类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-12-04 15:41:34


LORD BROUGHAM.Soult, indeed, had sixty thousand men and ninety-one guns to deal with the flying and now greatly disorganised army of the British. At first the retreat had been made with much discipline and order, but the miserable weather, the torrents of rain, and heavy falls of snow, the roads rough with rocks, or deep with mud, tried the patience of the men. So long as they were advancing towards the enemy they could bear all this with cheerfulness, but the British are never good-humoured or patient under retreat. Sullen and murmuring, they struggled along in the[569] retreat, suffering not only from the weather, but from want of provisions, and the disgraceful indifference of the people to those who had come to fight their battles. Whenever a halt was made, and an order given to turn and charge the enemy, they instantly cheered up, forgot all their troubles, and were full of life and spirit. But their gloom returned with the retreat; and, not being voluntarily aided by the Spaniards, they broke the ranks, and helped themselves to food and wine wherever they could find them. Such was now the state of the weather and the roads, that many of the sick, and the women and children, who, in spite of orders, had been allowed to follow the army, perished. The French pressed more and more fiercely on the rear of the British, and several times Sir John was compelled to stop and repel them. On one of these occasions the French general, Colbert, was killed, and the six or eight squadrons of horse led by him were, for the most part, cut to pieces. At Lugo, on the 5th of January, Sir E. Paget beat back a very superior force. Again, on the 7th, Sir John Moore halted, and repulsed the advanced line of Soult, killing four or five hundred of the French. The next morning the armies met again in line of battle, but Soult did not attack; and as soon as it was dark Sir John quietly pursued his march, leaving his fires burning to deceive the enemy.

Still more have "The Seasons" and "The Castle of Indolence" of James Thomson retained, and are likely to retain, the public favour. "The Seasons" is a treasury of the life and imagery of the country, animated by a true love of Nature and of God, and abounding in passages of fire, healthy feeling, and strong sense, often of sublime conceptions, in a somewhat stiff and vicious style. "The Castle of Indolence" is a model of metrical harmony and luxurious fancy, in the Spenserian stanza. Another poet of the same time and country—Scotland—is Allan Ramsay, who, in his native dialect, has painted the manners and sung the rural loves of Scotland in his "Gentle Shepherd" and his rustic lyrics. Till Burns, no Scottish poet so completely embodied the spirit, feelings, and popular life of his country. Amongst a host of verse-makers, then deemed poets, but who were merely imitators of imitators, we must except Gray, with his nervous lyrics, and, above all, his ever-popular "Elegy in a Country Churchyard." Gray also has a genuine vein of wit and merriment in his verse. Collins was a poet who under happier conditions might have done the greatest things. Parnell's "Hermit," Blair's "Grave," Shenstone's "School Mistress," Akenside's "Imagination," can yet charm some readers, and there are others in great numbers whose works yet figure in collections of the poets, or whose individual poems are selected in anthologies, as Smith, King, Sprat Bishop of Rochester, Duke, Montague Earl of Halifax, Nicholas Rowe, Dyer—author of the "Fleece," "Grongar Hill," and "Ruins of Rome,"—Sheffield, Duke of Buckinghamshire, Fenton, Somerville—author of "The Chase," "Field Sports," etc.,—Hammond—author of "Love Elegies,"—Lord Lyttelton, Mallet, Mickle—author of the ballads of "Cumnor Hall," "There's Nae Luck about the House," and translator of the "Lusiad" of Camoens,—Shaw, Harte, West, Cawthorne, Lloyd, Gilbert Cooper, Grainger—author of "The Sugar Cane," and the once popular ballad of "Bryan and Pereene,"—Dodsley, poet and bookseller, Boyse—author of "The Deity," a poem, etc.,—Smollett—more remarkable as a novelist and historian,—Michael Bruce, Walsh, Falconer—author of "The Shipwreck,"—Yalden, Pattison, Aaron Hill, Broome, Pitt—the translator of Virgil,—John Philips—author of "Cider," a poem, "The Splendid Shilling," etc.,—West, and others. In fact, this age produced poets enough to have constituted the rhythmical literature of a nation, had they had as much genius as they had learning.

Next came the enactments regarding fasting. By 5 Elizabeth every person who ate flesh on a fish day was liable to a penalty of three pounds; and, in case of non-payment, to three months' imprisonment. It was added that this eating of fish was not from any superstitious notion, but to encourage the fisheries; but by the 2 and 3 Edward VI. the power of inflicting these fish and flesh penalties was invested in the two Archbishops, as though the offence of eating flesh on fish days was an ecclesiastical offence. Lord Stanhope showed that the powers and penalties of excommunication were still in full force; that whoever was excommunicated had no legal power of recovering any debt, or payment for anything that he might sell; that excommunication and its penalties were made valid by the 5 Elizabeth and the 29 Charles II.; that by the 30 Charles II. every peer, or member of the House of Peers, peer of Scotland, or Ireland, or member of the House of Commons, who should go to Court without having made the declaration against transubstantiation, and the invocation of saints therein contained, should be disabled from holding any office, civil or military, from making a proxy in the House of Lords, or from sueing or using any action in law or equity; from being guardian, trustee, or administrator of any will; and should be deemed "a Popish recusant convict." His Lordship observed that probably the whole Protestant bench of bishops were at that moment in this predicament, and that he had a right to clear the House of them, and proceed with his Bill in their absence. He next quoted the 1st of James I., which decreed that any woman, or any person whatever under twenty-one years of age, except sailors, ship-boys, or apprentices, or factors of merchants, who should go over sea without a licence from the king, or six of his Privy Council, should forfeit all his or her goods, lands, and moneys whatever; and whoever should send such person without such licence should forfeit one hundred pounds; and every officer of a port, and every shipowner, master of a ship, and all his mariners who should allow such person to go, or should take him or her, should forfeit everything they possessed, one half to the king, and the other half to the person sueing.

Apprehensions of this kind were not lessened by the memorable speech of Mr. Canning, delivered on the 15th of February, in which he gave a narrative of his labours and sacrifices in the Catholic cause, and complained of the exactions and ingratitude of its leaders. Having shown how he stood by the cause in the worst of times, he proceeded:—"Sir, I have always refused to act in obedience to the dictates of the Catholic leaders; I would never put myself into their hands, and I never will.... Much as I have wished to serve the Catholic cause, I have seen that the service of the Catholic leaders is no easy service. They are hard taskmasters, and the advocate who would satisfy them must deliver himself up to them bound hand and foot.... But to be taunted with a want of feeling for the Catholics, to be accused of compromising their interests, conscious as I am—as I cannot but be—of being entitled to their gratitude for a long course of active services, and for the sacrifice to their cause of interests of my own—this is a sort of treatment which would rouse even tameness itself to assert its honour and vindicate its claims."

Under sharp fighting, Wellington crossed the Nivelle on the 10th of November, and proposed to go into cantonments at St. Jean de Luz, on the right bank of the Nivelle; but he did not find himself in a position to obtain supplies there, and he therefore crossed the Nive, and occupied the country between that river and the Adour. Soult made desperate efforts to drive the enemy back; but he was compelled to fall back on his entrenched camp in front of Bayonne; and Wellington went into winter-quarters about the middle of December, but quarters extremely uncomfortable. Their late conflicts, between the 9th and 13th of December, had been made in the worst of weather, and they had marched over the most terrible roads. During these conflicts they had lost six hundred and fifty killed, and upwards of one thousand wounded and five hundred missing. The French had lost three times that number. But the French were at home amid their own people; while the allies were in a hostile country, suffering every species of want. At this moment Britain was sending clothes, arms, and ammunition to the Germans, the Sclavonians, and Dutch; but her own gallant army, which had chased the French out of Spain, and which had to maintain the honour of Great Britain by advancing towards Paris, was suffered to want everything, especially great-coats and shoes, in that severe season. Wellington had earnestly implored a reinforcement of twenty thousand men, but it did not arrive.

It may be as well to dispose here of the Irish Church question; for although Lord Morpeth, on the part of the Melbourne Administration, brought in a Bill for settling the Tithe question, which passed the House of Commons by a majority of 26 votes, and contained the appropriation clause—in the House of Lords this clause was struck out, and the Bill was otherwise altered in committee so materially that, when sent back to the Commons, they scarcely knew their own offspring. The Bill was therefore disowned, and thrown out.

Miserably as Arnold had passed the winter in his camp, as spring approached he again planted his batteries above Quebec, but produced so little effect that Carleton lay still in expectation of his reinforcements on the breaking up of the river. On the 1st of April General Wooster arrived, and took the command, much to the disgust of Arnold, who was sent to command a detachment at[224] Montreal. On the 1st of May, General Thomas, who was to be supreme in command, arrived, and found the forces amounting to about two thousand men. The river was now opening; and on the 6th of May three English ships had made their way up to Quebec, full of troops. Two companies of the 29th Regiment and one hundred marines were immediately landed amid the rejoicings of the inhabitants; and General Carleton gave instant orders to issue forth and attack the American lines. But General Thomas, conscious that, so far from being able to take Quebec, he should be himself taken, unless he decamped with all haste, was already on the move. General Carleton pursued him vigorously, and the retreat of the Americans became a regular rout. They threw themselves into boats at the Three Rivers, leaving behind them all their artillery and stores, as well as the sick, who were numerous, the smallpox having broken out amongst them. Thomas managed to reach Fort Chambly and St. John's on the Sorel; but there he died, having taken the smallpox.

MARIE ANTOINETTE (1783.)Meanwhile difficulties thickened daily about the king. His Cabinets resigned in rapid succession; there were no less than five of them between March and October; till at last he got a man of nerve for Prime Minister, in the person of Count von Brandenburg. The Ministry addressed a document to the king for the purpose of disclaiming on his behalf the desire to become German Emperor, stating that his assuming the German colours, and putting himself at the head of the movement for German unity, and proposing to summon a meeting of the Sovereigns and States did not justify the interpretation it had received; that it was not his intention to anticipate the unbiassed decision of the sovereign princes and the people of Germany by offering to undertake the temporary direction of German affairs. Thus the king was obliged to back quietly out of a position which he had rashly assumed. The United Diet acted as being itself only a temporary institution, having established the electoral law on the basis of universal suffrage in order to prepare the way for a constituent Assembly, by which means the revolutionary spirit penetrated to the very extremities of Prussian society.



The repetition of these infamous outrages excited great public indignation, and led to a general demand that something effectual should be done to put a stop to them by rendering the law more prompt and effective, and the punishment more disgraceful. In compliance with this demand, Sir Robert Peel brought in a Bill upon the subject, which was unanimously accepted by both Houses, and rapidly passed into law. Sir Robert Peel in his Bill proposed to extend the provisions of the Act of the year 1800, passed after the attempt of Hatfield on the life of George III., to cases where the object was not compassing the life, but "compassing the wounding of the Sovereign." "I propose," he said, "that, after the passing of this Act, if any person or persons shall wilfully discharge or attempt to discharge, or point, aim, or present at or near the person of the Queen any gun, pistol, or other description of firearms whatsoever, although the same shall not contain explosive or destructive substance or material, or shall discharge or attempt to discharge any explosive or destructive substance or material, or if any person shall strike, or attempt to strike the person of the Queen, with any offensive weapons, or in any manner whatever; or, if any persons shall throw or attempt to throw any substance whatever at or on the person of the Queen, with intent in any of the cases aforesaid to break the public peace, or to excite the alarm of the Queen, etc., that the punishment in all such cases shall be the same as that in cases of larceny—namely, transportation for a term not exceeding seven years." But a more effective punishment was added, namely, public whipping, concerning which Sir Robert Peel remarked, "I think this punishment will make known to the miscreants capable of harbouring such designs, that, instead of exciting misplaced and stupid sympathy, their base and malignant motives in depriving her Majesty of that relaxation which she must naturally need after the cares and public anxieties of her station, will lead to a punishment proportioned to their detestable acts."

[See larger version]The folly of Ripperda, however, had ruined his credit with his own sovereigns and the nation even more than with foreign Powers. His swaggering and inflated language, in which he imagined that he was enacting Alberoni, had destroyed all faith in him. But his final blow came from his own false representations to each other of the preparations for war made by Austria and Spain. Count K?nigseck was most indignant when he discovered the miserable resources of the Spanish monarchy in comparison with the pompous descriptions made of them by Ripperda at Vienna; and the Spanish Court was equally disappointed by a discovery of the real military status of Austria. Ripperda was suddenly and ignominiously dismissed on the 14th of May.


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