类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-12-05 17:32:44



[305]The new Ministry consisted of Addington, son of Chatham's old physician, Dr. Addington, as First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer: the Duke of Portland, President of the Council; Lord Eldon, Chancellor; Earl St. Vincent, First Lord of the Admiralty; the Earl of Chatham, Master-General of the Ordnance; Lord Pelham, Secretary of the Home Department; Lord Hawkesbury, the eldest son of the Earl of Liverpool, Secretary for Foreign Affairs; Lord Hobart, Secretary for the Colonies. Several of Pitt's Ministers remained, but the important members, Grenville, Dundas, Woodham and Spencer retired with him. It was soon seen, however, that though Pitt was out of office his principles dominated in it, and that there was no chance of a change of system. The Cabinet was one of mediocrities, and was probably regarded by Pitt as a convenient makeshift until he could return to power.[480]

FLIGHT OF THE ROYAL FAMILY OF PORTUGAL. (See p. 547.)BRITISH LINE-OF-BATTLE SHIPS (1836).Amid these angry feelings Admiral Byng was brought to trial. The court-martial was held at Plymouth. It commenced in December, 1756, and lasted the greater part of the month of January of the following year. After a long and[125] patient examination, the Court came to the decision that Byng had not done his utmost to defeat the French fleet or relieve the castle of St. Philip. The Court, however, sent to the Admiralty in London to know whether they were at liberty to mitigate the twelfth Article of War, which had been established by an Act of Parliament of the twenty-second year of the present reign, making neglect of duty as much deserving death as treason or cowardice. They were answered in the negative, and therefore they passed sentence on Byng to be shot on board such of his Majesty's ships of war and at such time as the Lords of the Admiralty should decide.

At the time of this armistice, Napoleon, by the great battles of Lützen and Bautzen, had recovered his prestige sufficiently to induce the German Confederates of the Rhine to stand by him; but he was by no means what he had been. The[67] opinion of his invincibility had been irreparably damaged by the Russian campaign, and the success in these battles was not of a character to give confidence to his own army. They saw that the Allies had lost all superstitious fear of him. To assist in the negotiations of this armistice, Buonaparte sent for his two ablest heads, Fouché and Talleyrand, whom he had so long thrown from him for their sound advice. If Buonaparte could have heard, too, what was really going on in France, what were the growing feelings there, he would have been startled by a most ominous condition of things. But he had thoroughly shut out from himself the voice of public opinion, by his treatment of the press and of liberty, and he now was to suffer for it. Great Britain, on the 14th of June, had concluded an alliance with Russia and Prussia, and promised to send ample materials of assistance, even an army to the north of Prussia; and many British officers of the highest rank repaired to the headquarters of the Allies. When Great Britain was asked to take part in this negotiation she refused, declaring it useless, as Napoleon would not grant the only demands which the Allies ought to make.At the same unfortunate juncture, the king[196] insisted on Lord North demanding from Parliament half a million for the liquidation of his debts, though he possessed a civil list of eight hundred thousand a-year. Simple as were the habits of George and his queen, the most reckless disregard of economy was practised in his household. No means were taken to check the rapacity of his tradesmen, and it was shown that even for the one item of the royal coach, in 1762, there had been charged seven thousand five hundred and sixty-two pounds! The Commons voted the half million, the public grumbled, and the popularity of Wilkes, the great champion of reform, rose higher than ever. A fourth time the freeholders of Middlesex nominated him as their candidate; and on this occasion a fresh Government nominee presented himself. This was Colonel Henry Lawes Luttrell. Two other candidates, encouraged by Luttrell's appearance, came forward; and on the 13th of April the list of the poll, which had gone off quietly, showed Wilkes one thousand one hundred and forty-three; Luttrell, two hundred and ninety-six; Whitaker, five; and Roach, none.But at length the thunder of the Russian cannon roused him from this delirious dreaming. Kutusoff, inducing Murat by a stratagem to declare the armistice at an end, attacked his position and defeated him, with a loss of two thousand men killed, and one thousand five hundred taken prisoners. He took his cannon and baggage, and drove him from his entrenchments. The only food found in the French camp was horseflesh and flayed cats; the King of Naples had no better for his table—thus showing the miserable straits to which they were reduced. On the 19th of October Buonaparte marched out of Moscow, leaving, however, a strong garrison in the Kremlin, under Mortier, for it would appear that he still intended to return thither. The army which followed him still consisted of nearly one hundred and twenty thousand men, accompanied by five hundred and fifty pieces of cannon, and two thousand artillery waggons. Buonaparte spoke with affected cheerfulness to his generals, saying that he would march by Kaluga to the frontiers of Poland, where they would go into comfortable winter quarters. After the army came another host of camp-followers of French who had been resident at Moscow but dared not remain behind, and a vast train of carriages loaded with baggage and the spoils of Moscow.[49]

Whilst the American colonies were thus stimulated, by unwise taxation, into a temper which never again could be entirely allayed, the king was suddenly attacked with an illness, that startled himself and the kingdom from that security which his apparently robust constitution had inspired. He was said to labour under cough and fever; but it became pretty well understood, after a time, that it was something more[186] alarming—that it was, in fact, an attack of that insanity which recurred again and again, and held him for years, during the latter part of his reign, in its fearful power. This time it was of short occurrence; and the moment it was past, George held a levee at St. James's, and appeared at it with a cheerful air, as if to dissipate all alarm. But the king himself immediately proposed a measure, which showed that it had excited grave thoughts in him. He submitted to Ministers the propriety of a provision for a regency, in case of any recurring malady which should incapacitate him for business. The matter was discussed in the Cabinet, and it was agreed that such a bill should be prepared, empowering the king to name, if deemed necessary, "either the queen, or any other person of the royal family usually residing in Great Britain."Bolingbroke was now Prime Minister, and he hastened to arrange his Cabinet entirely on Jacobite principles. So far as he was concerned, the country was to be handed over to the Pretender and popery on the queen's death. He would not run the risk of a new antagonist in the shape of a Lord Treasurer, but put the Treasury in commission, with Sir William Wyndham at its head. The Privy Seal was given to Atterbury; Bromley was continued as the other Secretary of State; and the Earl of Mar, the rankest of Jacobites, was made Secretary of State for Scotland. Ormonde, long engaged in the Pretender's plot, was made Commander-in-Chief—a most significant appointment; Buckingham was made Lord President, and Harcourt Lord Chancellor. As for the inferior posts, he found great difficulty in filling them up. "The sterility of good men," wrote Erasmus Lewis to Swift, "is incredible." Good men, according to the unprincipled Bolingbroke's notions, were not to be found in a hurry. There were plenty of candidates ready, but it may give an impressive notion of the state of that party, that there was scarcely a man beyond those already appointed whom Bolingbroke could trust. The Cabinet never was completed. What his own notions of moral or political honesty were, may be imagined from the fact that he did not hesitate to attempt a coalition with the Whigs. He gave a dinner-party at his house in Golden Square to Stanhope, Walpole, Craggs, General Cadogan, and other leaders; but though Walpole, when Minister himself, boasted that every man had his price, Bolingbroke had not yet discovered Walpole's price nor that of his colleagues. They to a man demanded, as a sine qua non, that the Pretender should be compelled to remove to Rome, or to some place much farther off than Lorraine, and Bolingbroke assured them that the queen would never consent to such a banishment of her brother. Nothing but the lowest opinion of men's principles could have led Bolingbroke to expect any other result from these Whig leaders. Perhaps he only meant to sound their real views; perhaps only to divert public attention from his real designs, which the very names of his coadjutors in the Ministry must have made patent enough to all men of any penetration. The very same day that he thus gave this Whig dinner he assured Gualtier that his sentiments towards "the king" were just the same as ever, provided his Majesty took such measures as would suit the people of England. Time only was wanting for this traitor-Minister to betray the country to its old despotisms and troubles; but such time was not in the plans of Providence. The end of Anne was approaching faster than was visible to human eyes; but the shrewd and selfish Marlborough had a pretty strong instinct of it, and was drawing nearer and nearer to the scene of action, ready to secure himself whichever way[22] the balance inclined. He was at Ostend, prepared to pass over at an hour's notice, and to the last moment keeping up his correspondence with the two Courts of Hanover and Bar-le-duc. Both despised and suspected him, but feared him at the same time. Such was still his influence, especially with the army, that whichever party he adopted was considered pretty sure to succeed. That it was likely to succeed was equally certain before Marlborough did adopt it. Lockhart of Carnwath, one of the most active and sagacious Jacobites, and likely to be in the secrets of the Jacobite party, says that the Pretender, to test the sincerity of Marlborough, asked the loan of one hundred thousand pounds from him, as a proof of his fidelity. He did not abide the test, but soon afterwards offered twenty thousand pounds to the Electoral Prince, to enable him to come over to England. The moment that Marlborough was prepared, with his deep-rooted love of money, to do that, it might be certainly pronounced that he was confident of the success of the Hanoverians.

[542]The remnant of the Beloochee forces were hunted for some weeks by flying columns. At length, Captain Roberts, at the head of one of them, captured the brother of Shere Mahommed and 1,000 of his followers. Another column was attacked by the Ameer himself; but his followers,[593] after the first round of fire, dispersed. The whole military force of the Ameers was now annihilated, and the conquest of Scinde was complete. "I think," said Sir Charles Napier, "I may venture to say that Scinde is now subdued. The Scindian population everywhere express their satisfaction at the change of masters." No doubt the change from Mohammedan to British rule was an advantage to the poor Hindoos; and if it be allowable to do evil that good may come, Lord Ellenborough was justified in the means he had adopted for supplanting the Ameers.

On his return to the Vistula, Buonaparte displayed an unusual caution. He seemed to feel that his advance into Poland had been premature, whilst Prussia was in possession of Dantzic, whence, as soon as the thaw set in, he was open to dangerous operations in his rear, from the arrival of a British army. He therefore determined to have possession of that post before undertaking further designs. The place was invested by General Lefebvre, and capitulated at the end of May. Buonaparte all this time was marching up fresh troops to fill up the ravages made in his army. The Russians, after a drawn battle near Heilsberg on the 10th of June, then crossed the Aller, and placed that as a barrier between them and the French, in order that they might avoid the arrival of a reinforcement of thirty thousand men who were on the march.The large majorities in the House of Lords were to be ascribed chiefly to the unparalleled influence of the Duke of Wellington. But the public at the time were little aware of the difficulties that great man had to deal with in overcoming the opposition of the king, who was much under the influence of the Duke of Cumberland. When the storm of Conservative violence reached its height, after the rejection of Peel in Oxford, and his return, not without a struggle, for Westbury; and when, on the 3rd of March, he gave notice that he would draw the attention of the House to the clause of the Royal Speech referring to Ireland, the king, greatly excited and alarmed, sent the same evening to desire that the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary, and the Chancellor should wait upon him next day. He had already seen the Chancellor once, and the Duke twice separately. The king received his three Ministers, when they presented themselves at the palace, kindly but gravely; he looked anxious and embarrassed while he requested them to make him acquainted with the details of their Bill. It was explained to him that it would relieve Roman Catholics from the necessity of making a declaration against the doctrine of transubstantiation; whilst it so far modified in their case the oath of supremacy, as to omit all notice of the king's authority in things spiritual. "What!" he exclaimed, "do you mean to alter the ancient law of supremacy?" It was to no purpose he was shown that the alteration applied only to Roman Catholics, who would be dispensed from swearing what they could not believe; but he appealed to his own coronation oath, in reference to which he could not recognise the dispensing power of his Ministers. The king was condescending in the extreme. He seemed deeply grieved at the dilemma to which they had been brought. He acknowledged that possibly he had gone too far on former occasions, though he had acted entirely through misapprehension. But now he trusted that they would see, with him, that it had become a point of conscience, and that there was no alternative left him except to withdraw his assent. In the most respectful manner they acquiesced in his Majesty's determination, allowing, without a murmur, that he had a perfect right to act as he proposed. But when he went on further to ask what they intended to do, the Duke's answer was explicit: they must retire from his Majesty's service, and explain to Parliament that unexpected obstacles had arisen to the accomplishment of the policy which they were engaged to pursue. To this Mr. Peel added, that as the Bill for the suppression of the Catholic Association had been carried on the understanding that other and more comprehensive measures would follow, it would be necessary to make Parliament generally aware of the causes which operated to prevent the bringing forward of those measures. The king heard all this to an end, without attempting to interrupt, or argue with, his Ministers. He admitted, on the contrary, that it was impossible for them to take any other course, and then bade them farewell, kissing each of them on both cheeks. They set off from Windsor immediately, and arrived at Lord Bathurst's, where their colleagues were waiting dinner for them. They made a full report of all that had occurred, and announced that the Government was at an end. The party broke up, believing themselves to be out of office; but early next morning, before any decisive steps had been taken, a special messenger arrived at Apsley House with a letter from the king. It was guardedly expressed, for it went no further than to state that his Majesty had found greater difficulties than he expected in forming a new Cabinet, and was therefore desirous that the present Ministry should go on. The moment was critical, and the position of the Government delicate and in some sense insecure. No doubt, his Majesty's letter might be read as[299] implying an abandonment of the objections which he had taken to the policy of his Ministers overnight, but it was certainly capable of a different interpretation. It appeared, therefore, to the Duke, that before proceeding further it would be necessary to come to a clear understanding with the king as to his Majesty's real intentions, and Mr. Peel concurring in this opinion, the Duke was requested to write to the king on the subject. He did so, with all the candour and loyalty which were natural to him; and the result was an unequivocal declaration from the Sovereign that he would accept the measures of his Ministers as his own.

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Buonaparte landed at Cannes on the 1st of March. His advanced guard presented themselves before Antibes, and were made prisoners by the garrison. This did not discourage Buonaparte; he advanced by forced marches with his now less than one thousand men, and leaving behind him his train of artillery. Till he reached Dauphiné, however, he received very little encouragement from any party. All the authorities, proprietors, and clergy, stood aloof; only a few peasantry occasionally cried "Vive l'Empereur!" but did not join him. He began to be very uneasy. But on the 7th of March, as he approached Grenoble, Colonel Labédoyère, who had been gained over before, came out with an eagle in his hand, and at the gates distributed tricolour cockades, which had been concealed in a drum. Buonaparte advanced alone towards the troops, and called on any one who wished to kill his Emperor to do his pleasure. All cried "Vive l'Empereur!" and crowded round him. General Marchand endeavoured to recall the soldiers to their duty, but in vain.Early in February he commenced his operations, and carried them forward with a vigour most extraordinary. He drove Soult from all his entrenchments before Bayonne, and again on the 27th he routed him at Orthez and pursued him to the banks of the Adour. This was a sharply contested field, the British having nearly three hundred killed and two thousand wounded; but the loss of the French was far heavier, for they flung down their arms and ran, and there was a great slaughter of the fugitives. The towns of Bayonne and Bordeaux being now left uncovered by the French, Wellington sent bodies of troops to invest them. Bordeaux opened its gates on March 8th, and proclaimed Louis XVIII. Lord Wellington had issued orders that the British should take no part in any political demonstrations, but should leave all such decisions to the Allies, who would settle by treaty what dynasty should reign. He himself followed Soult to Tarbes, where he expected that he would give battle; but Soult was anxious for the arrival and junction of Suchet, who was advancing from Spain with upwards of twenty thousand men. Soult, therefore, retreated to Toulouse, which he reached on the 24th of March.


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