The world looked on in astonishment—diplomatists in dread of more secret and momentous compacts, and that not without cause. In the heat of this hastily-formed alliance, it was proposed to marry the young Archduchess, the heiress of the Austrian States, to one of the Infants of Spain—a contract, if carried out, which would probably have overthrown all that had been done at such cost of life and wealth for the establishment of the balance of power. This dangerous project was frustrated by other events, but serious engagements were entered into for compelling England to surrender Gibraltar and Minorca to Spain, and for placing the Pretender on the throne of Great Britain.
Comedy and farce occupied the middle portion of the reign, but neither of them rose to the height of Sheridan. In tragedy, Murphy's "Arminius," Godwin's "Antonio," and Madame D'Arblay's "Edwy and Elgiva," were the best. Amongst the comedies, Holcroft's "Road to Ruin," Morton's "Speed the Plough," Mrs. Inchbald's "Wives as they Were, and Maids as they Are," and Colman's "Sylvester Daggerwood," were the most popular.These resolutions being carried, it then became a question whether the prince would accept this restricted regency. Burke had warned the House that perhaps, after all, the prince would not accept such a shadow of his own natural powers, and he warned them likewise that the British Parliament might find itself electing the prince as regent, whilst the Irish Parliament was nominating him as by right. But it would appear that the Whigs were so anxious to seize on office, even under such cramping restrictions, and to see Pitt dethroned, that they advised the prince to accept. A joint committee of Lords and Commons waited on him on the 30th of January, the anniversary of the execution of Charles I., and another joint-committee the same day waited on the queen, and the next day their answers, accepting their respective offices, were communicated to Parliament. The prince, indeed, qualified his acceptance by declaring that he did it only as a temporary arrangement, and in the hope, notwithstanding the peculiar and unprecedented circumstances, of preserving the interests of the king, the crown, and the people.
He was proceeding in all apparent safety when, approaching the village of Tarrytown, three militiamen suddenly sprang forward, and, seizing his bridle, demanded who he was. André, being on neutral ground, exceeded his former incaution, and instead of ascertaining whether the men were Americans, in which case Arnold's pass was his security, he asked the men who they were, and being answered "From below," which was the pass for New York, replied, "And so am I." By this, discovering that he was a British officer, the men began to search him, and soon made prize of his fatal papers. Warned in time, Arnold escaped on board a British man-of-war. But very different was the fate of Major André. General Clinton, the moment he was aware of his arrest, sent a letter to Washington, stating that André had gone on shore under a flag of truce, and, at the time of his arrest, was travelling under a pass from Arnold, the commander of the district. Clinton therefore requested Washington to liberate André immediately. To this letter Washington did not reply till after a lapse of four days, and after the board of officers appointed for the purpose had declared André a spy. He even rejected the last prayer of the gallant soldier that he might be spared the gibbet, and had him hanged.HENRY FIELDING. (The Portrait by Hogarth; the Border by James Basire.)
The year 1813 opened in Great Britain with high hopes. The defeat of Napoleon in Russia, and the destruction of his army, opened prospects of at length seeing this ambitious and unprincipled man, who had drenched all Europe in blood, brought down and removed from the scene. Lord Liverpool had for some time predicted that one day a British army would march into Paris, and encamp on the Bois de Boulogne, and now it really seemed probable. The nations of the north and centre of Europe were mustering to follow the aggressor home, and Lord Wellington, in Spain, was daily advancing towards the southern frontiers of France by victory after victory. True, there was much yet to be done, and enormous calls on the wealth of Britain had yet to be made; and at this time, whilst Great Britain and all Europe were engaged in this mighty contest, the people of the United States, instead of sympathising with the grand occasion, were doing all they could to divide our attention and weaken our hands. There were warm debates in Parliament on the American question, but Government carried addresses expressing approbation of the course which Great Britain had taken in regard to the United States. But this annoying quarrelsomeness of the Americans tended necessarily to raise the amount of the Budget, already too much swelled by the aids to Russia and our contest in Spain. The supplies demanded were seventy-two million pounds—more than had been granted in any former year. Amongst the ways and means were a fresh loan of twenty-one million pounds, and vote of credit for six million pounds. It was, however, some consolation that the nation at last saw the beginning of the end.Before the proclamation of the new king the Council had met, and, according to the Regency Act, and an instrument signed by the king and produced by Herr Kreyenberg, the Hanoverian resident, nominated the persons who were to act till the king's arrival. They consisted of the seven great officers of State and a number of the peers. The whole was found to include eighteen of the principal noblemen, nearly all of the Whig party, as the Dukes of Shrewsbury, Somerset, and Argyll; the Lords Cowper, Halifax, and Townshend. It was noticed, however, that neither Marlborough, Sunderland, nor Somers was of the number; nor ought this to have excited any surprise, when it was recollected that the list was drawn out in 1705, though only signed just before the queen's death. These noblemen belonged to that junto under whose thraldom Anne had so long groaned. The omission, however, greatly incensed Marlborough and Sunderland.
But this improvement produced no sensible effect upon the mass of labouring people. However brightly the sun of prosperity might gild the eminences of society, the darkness of misery and despair settled upon the masses below. The Commissioners proceed:—"A reference to the evidence of most of the witnesses will show that the agricultural labourer of Ireland continues to suffer the greatest privations and hardships; that he continues to depend upon casual and precarious employment for subsistence; that he is still badly housed, badly fed, badly clothed, and badly paid for his labour. Our personal experience and observation during our inquiry have afforded us a melancholy confirmation of these statements; and we cannot forbear expressing our strong sense of the patient endurance which the labouring classes have generally exhibited under sufferings greater, we believe, than the people of any other country in Europe have to sustain."
Howe's real intention had been to enter the Delaware, and proceed up it direct to Philadelphia; but, understanding that the Americans had placed enormous impediments in the river, he stood away for the mouth of the Elk, in Chesapeake Bay. He was tediously detained by the contrary winds that always prevail on that course in that season, and it was the 28th of August before he entered the Elk, and reached the Elk head, where he landed his troops. On the 2nd of September (1777) he began his march for Philadelphia. He soon came upon a body of Washington's army at Iron Hill, which he charged and drove from the hill. On the 11th he came in sight of Washington's main army, strongly posted and fortified on the forks of the Brandywine river. Here Howe's dispositions were excellent. He sent forward, under General Knyphausen, the second division, which advanced to a ford called Chad's Ford, and drove a detachment of Americans across it. Howe then advanced, and, planting his cannon along the bank of the river, he engaged the Americans in a brisk cannonade across the stream. Meanwhile, Lord Cornwallis was silently marching in the rear of Howe's troops, round to another ford at the forks of the Brandywine, which he crossed, and took Washington's army in the rear. On firing his signal gun, the Americans were thrown into consternation, and at the same moment Knyphausen dashed across Chad's Ford, and drove the surprised Americans from their batteries and entrenchments at the point of the bayonet. The batteries were instantly turned against them, and Cornwallis, who had been checked by a division under Sullivan, coming up, there was a general rout. The Americans fled in utter confusion, having lost three hundred killed, six hundred wounded, and four hundred taken prisoners. The English had one hundred killed and four hundred wounded.The success of the Waverley Novels turned the main force of the genius and literary resources of the country into the ever widening channel of prose fiction. Many names of note appeared before the public as novel writers about that time. In Scotland, under the immediate shadow of the author of "Waverley," came John Galt, Mrs. Johnstone, Miss Ferrier, the Ettrick Shepherd, Allan Cunningham, Gibson Lockhart, Picken, Moir. In Ireland, and of Irish birth, there were Colley, Grattan, Crofton Croker, Banim, Gerald Griffin, Samuel Lover, and last, though not least, William Carleton. In England, and chiefly of English birth, were Mrs. Shelley, Peacock, Thomas Hope, Theodore and James Hook, Morier, Lister, Ward, Gleig, Horace Smith, Miss Mitford, Mrs. Gore, Mrs. Trollope, Captain Marryat, and Mr. James.
All the traversers were found guilty. The Attorney-General did not press for judgment against the Rev. Matthew Tierney. Upon the rest Mr. Justice Burton, who was deeply affected, pronounced judgment on the 30th of May, in the following terms:—"With respect to the principal traverser, the Court is of opinion that he must be sentenced to be imprisoned for the space of twelve calendar months; and that he is further to be fined in the sum of ￡2,000, and bound in his own recognisances in the sum of ￡5,000, and two sureties in ￡2,500, to keep the peace for seven years. With respect to the other traversers, we have come to the conclusion that to each shall be allotted similar sentences, namely, that they be imprisoned for the space of nine calendar months, each of them to pay ￡50 fine, and to enter into their own recognisances of ￡1,000 each, and two sureties of ￡500, to keep the peace for seven years."
But whilst Gifford was thus demolishing an outbreak of bad taste, a much more remarkable evidence that those who lay claim to good taste frequently have it not was given by the appearance of several new plays and other documents attributed to Shakespeare. The chief of these was "Kynge Varrtygerne," a tragedy, edited by Samuel Ireland. Numbers of persons of high name and pretension, as Dr. Parr, Boswell, Pye, the laureate, Chalmers, the editor of an issue of "British Poets," Pinkerton, a writer of all sorts of things, etc., became enthusiastic believers and admirers of these pretended discoveries. They turned out to be impudent forgeries by the son of the editor, named William Henry Ireland, and are in reality such trash that they are a melancholy proof of how little value, from some learned persons, is the adoration of Shakespeare. Malone, in an "Inquiry" into the authenticity of these writings, in 1796, completely exposed their spuriousness. Pinkerton, one of their most zealous advocates, himself perpetrated a similar forgery of a volume of Scottish poems, issued as ancient ones. He enjoyed the particular patronage of Horace Walpole.[See larger version]
In July of the present year the union of Ireland with Great Britain was carried. Pitt and Lord Cornwallis had come to the conclusion that a double Government was no longer possible, and that unless the Irish were to be allowed to exterminate one another, as they had attempted to do during the late rebellion, the intervention of the British Parliament was absolutely necessary. A resolution had passed the British Parliament in 1799, recommending this union, and the news of this created a tempest of indignation in Protestant Ireland. In January, 1799, the speech on the Address to the throne in the Irish Parliament was, on this account, vehemently opposed, and an amendment was carried against the Government by a majority of one; yet in January, 1800, a motion was carried, at the instigation of Lord Castlereagh, the Secretary, in favour of the union, by a majority of forty-two. Whence this magical change in twelve months? On the 5th of February the whole plan of the union was detailed by Lord Castlereagh, the principal Secretary of State for Ireland, in the Irish Commons. He stated that it was intended to give to Ireland in the Parliament of the United Kingdom four lords spiritual sitting in rotation of sessions, and twenty-eight lords temporal elected for life by peers of Ireland, and that the Irish representatives in the united House of Commons should be a hundred. The motion for this plan was carried in the Irish Commons by a majority of forty-two in spite of a magnificent speech from Grattan, and by a great majority in the House of Lords; but this was in the face of the most unmitigated amazement on the part of the opposition, and of the people, who were not in the secret. Their rage was beyond description. On the 13th of March Sir John Parnell declared that this measure had been effected by the most unexampled corruption, and moved for an Address to his Majesty, imploring him to dissolve this Parliament, and present the question to be decided by a new one. But the Solicitor-General declared that this motion was "unfurling the bloody flag of rebellion;" and Mr. Egan replied that the Solicitor-General and other members of the administration had already "unfurled the flag of prostitution and corruption." But the measure was now passed, and that by the same Parliament which, only a year before, had rejected the proposition in toto. But what were the means employed by the British Government to produce this change? The answer is simple; a million and a quarter was devoted to the compensation of borough owners, lawyers who hoped to improve their prospects by entering the House, and the Dublin tradesmen.In the meantime rumours were in circulation, said to have emanated from Dublin Castle, to the effect that a conspiracy existed to massacre the members of the Government and the loyal citizens. However these rumours may have originated, they spread a panic through the city. People expected that when they woke some morning they would find the barricades up in the leading streets, and behold an imitation of the bloody scenes lately enacted in Paris. The Government seemed to share the alarm. Strong bodies of soldiers were posted in different parts of the city. Trinity College, the buildings of the Royal Dublin Society, the Linen Hall, and the Custom House were occupied as temporary barracks. The Bank of Ireland was put in a state of defence, and cannon were placed on the roof in such a way as to command the streets. Bullet-proof shutters were furnished for the front of Trinity College. The Viceroy evidently apprehended some serious work, for he ordered the troops in all these extemporised fortresses to be furnished with rations for several days. These preparations for a siege continued throughout the months of March and April. For more than three months the chambers of the College were turned into barracks; the troops were paraded in the quadrangles every morning. In all the fortified positions the soldiers were kept under arms at unreasonable hours. In fact the whole community was in a state of painful suspense, hourly anticipating the attacks of an imaginary enemy. During all this time there was not a single dep?t of arms seized nor a single rebellious leader arrested. The clubs, indeed, were meeting and plotting, and the Government spies were amongst them, but they had made no preparations for insurrection that should have excited alarm. There was much talk of the manufacture of pikes, but the only instance made public was one in which a blacksmith had been asked to make one by a detective policeman.
On the 8th of May, 1777, Ministers moved for more money for the insatiable Landgrave of Hesse, whose troops were at this very time exhibiting the most scandalous state of defiance of discipline, of consequent inefficiency, and of plunder of the inhabitants of America. This grant, though violently opposed, was carried, but only by a majority of eight. All parties now began to denounce the shameless rapacity of these German princes. Nor did Chatham, ill as he was, allow the Session to pass without making one more energetic protest against the continuance of the war with America. On the 30th of May he moved an address to his Majesty for the immediate cessation of hostilities. Notwithstanding all that had been said on our successes over the Americans, Chatham contended as positively as ever that we could never conquer them. "You have," he said, "ransacked every corner of Lower Saxony, but forty thousand German boors never can conquer ten times the number of British freemen. You may ravage, you cannot conquer—it is impossible—you cannot conquer America. You talk of your numerous funds to annihilate the Congress, and your powerful forces to disperse their army; I might as well talk of driving them before me with my crutch! But what would you conquer? The map of America? I am ready to meet any general officer on the subject" (looking at Lord Amherst)—"What will you do out of the protection of your fleet? In the winter, if together, they are starved; and if dispersed, they are taken off in detail. I am experienced in spring hopes and vernal promises. I know what Ministers throw out; but at last will come your equinoctial disappointment. You have got nothing in America but stations. You have been three years teaching them the art of war. They are apt scholars; and I will venture to tell your lordships that the American gentry will make officers enough fit to command the troops of all the European Powers." Chatham's motion was rejected by ninety-nine votes against twenty-eight. Parliament was prorogued by the king on the 6th of June, in a speech in which he indulged the fallacious hope that the American insurrection would be terminated in the present campaign. But Chatham's prophecies were at the very time realising themselves. Had the Howes had the necessary qualities of commanders in such an important cause—had they pursued and dispersed the American army, as they ought to have done on defeating it, and as they might readily have done; and had the British Government instantly, whilst in this favourable position, repealed all the obnoxious statutes, they would have thrown Congress and Washington so completely into the wrong, that it would have been impossible for them to have made head again. But neither the Generals nor the Government of that day had the capacity for such strategic and statesmanlike policy. The Generals went comfortably into winter quarters, leaving the embers of war to rekindle and spread; and Government, deaf to the warnings of Chatham, still stolidly refused justice whilst rigorously enforcing their injustice. And, indeed, when Chatham gave his last Cassandra-like remonstrance, it was already too late. We had indeed taught the Americans the art of war. Washington was no longer contented to stand on the defensive, happy if he could preserve his soldiers from running off without fighting at all. His circumstances were desperate, and the energy which springs from despair now urged him to measures of daring and wakefulness just as the English Generals, like northern bears, were entering on their winter's sleep. Benedict Arnold had paid him a visit in his wretched camp beyond the Delaware, and probably from their united counsels sprang a new style of movement, which confounded his unsuspecting enemies.The very day that Lord Cornwallis had marched from Wilmington, Lord Rawdon was bravely fighting with Greene at Hobkirk's Hill, in South Carolina. Greene had not ventured to attack Lord Cornwallis; but he thought he might, by diverting his course into South Carolina, induce him to follow, and thus leave exposed all North Carolina to Wayne and Lafayette, as well as all his important posts in the upper part of North Carolina. Greene failed to draw after him Cornwallis, but he sat down at Hobkirk's Hill, about two miles from the outposts of Lord Rawdon's camp at Camden. Lord Rawdon, hearing that Greene was waiting to be reinforced by troops under Lieutenant-Colonel Lee, did not give him time for that. He marched out of Camden, at nine o'clock in the morning, on the 25th of April, and quietly making a circuit through some woods, he came upon Greene's flank, and drove in his pickets before he was perceived. Startled from his repose, Greene sought to return the surprise by sending Colonel Washington, a nephew of the American commander-in-chief, with a body of cavalry, to fall on Rawdon's rear, as he was passing up the hill. But Rawdon was aware of this man?uvre, and prevented it, still pressing up Hobkirk's Hill, in the face of the artillery, charged with grape-shot. Greene's militia fled with all speed, and Rawdon stood triumphant on the summit of the hill, in the centre of Greene's camp. But the success was not followed up, owing to the insufficiency of the English troops, and Greene was able, without risking another engagement, to compel Rawdon to retire to Charleston. The American general encamped on the Santee Hills until September, when he descended on Colonel Stewart, who had succeeded Rawdon. After a severe struggle at Eutaw Springs on the 8th of September, Stewart retired to Charleston Neck, and all Georgia and South Carolina were lost to the English, with the exception of Charleston and Savannah. Meanwhile, Lord Cornwallis only allowed himself three days' rest at Presburg; he marched thence, on the 24th of May, in quest of Lafayette, who was encamped on the James River. Cornwallis crossed that river at Westover, about thirty miles below Lafayette's camp, and that nimble officer retreated in all haste to join General Wayne, who was marching through Maryland with a small force of eight hundred Pennsylvanians. Lafayette and Wayne retreated up the James River, and Cornwallis pursued his march to Portsmouth. There he received an order from Sir Henry Clinton, desiring him to look out for a position where he could fortify himself, and at the same time protect such shipping as might be sent to the Chesapeake to prevent the entrance of the French. Cornwallis fixed on York Town, on York River, and there, and at Gloucester, in its vicinity, he was settled with his troops by the 22nd of August. Sir Henry Clinton wrote, intimating that he should probably send more troops to the Chesapeake, as there was a probability that Washington and Rochambeau, giving up the attack of New York, would make a united descent on York Town. Wayne and Lafayette were already continually increasing their forces above York Town; but any such reinforcements by Sir Henry were prevented by the entrance of the Comte de Grasse, with twenty-eight sail of the line and several frigates, into the Chesapeake, having on board three thousand two hundred troops, which he had brought from the West Indies. These troops he landed, and sent, under the Marquis de St Simon, to join Lafayette, much to his delight.详情
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