From the manufacturing districts the movement was spreading to the metropolis, where usually there had been but little attention paid to this important subject. The various trades of London began to take part in the preparation of petitions, and to hold meetings. At some of these the working men carried resolutions against the petitions; and they made similar, though unsuccessful, attempts in various towns. But it was remarked that even while refusing to take preliminary measures for procuring relief from the bread-tax, they declared its injustice; in fact, the savage mood to which the prevalent distress was bringing the labouring classes began to manifest itself in a determination to postpone every question save that of their claim to a share of political power. They were not friendly to the middle class; but their ill-will could not be cited even as a proof of their indifference to the continuance of the Corn Law system.Napier, in his "History of the Peninsular War," describes the scene with the enthusiasm of a soldier:—"Such a gallant line issuing from the smoke, and rapidly separating itself from the confused and broken multitude, startled the enemy's heavy masses, which were increasing and pressing onwards as to an assured victory. They wavered, hesitated, and then, vomiting forth a storm of fire, hastily endeavoured to enlarge their front, while a fearful discharge of grape from all their artillery whistled through the British ranks. Sir William Myers was killed; Cole, and three colonels—Ellis, Blakeney, and Hawkshawe—fell wounded; and the Fusilier battalions, struck by the iron tempest, reeled and staggered like sinking ships. Suddenly and sternly recovering, they closed on their terrible enemies, and then was seen with what a strength and majesty the British soldier fights. In vain did Soult, by voice and gesture, animate his Frenchmen; in vain did the hardiest veterans, extricating themselves from the crowded columns, sacrifice their lives to gain time for the mass to open out on such a fair field; in vain did the mass itself bear up, and, fiercely arising, fire indiscriminately on friends and foes, while the horsemen, hovering on the flank, threatened to charge the advancing line. Nothing could stop that astonishing infantry. No sudden burst of undisciplined valour, no nervous enthusiasm, weakened the stability of their order. Their flashing eyes were bent on the dark columns in their front; their measured step shook the ground; their dreadful volleys swept away the head of every formation; their deafening shouts overpowered the dissonant cries that broke from all parts of the tumultuous crowd, as foot by foot, and with a horrid carnage, it was driven by the incessant vigour of the attack to the farthest edge of the hill. In vain did the French reserves, joining with the struggling multitudes, endeavour to sustain the fight; their efforts only increased the irremediable confusion, and the mighty mass, giving way like a loosened cliff, went headlong down the ascent. The rain flowed after in streams discoloured with blood, and one thousand five hundred unwounded men—the remnant of six thousand unconquerable British soldiers—stood triumphant on the fatal hill." The loss on both sides was fearful, for no battle had ever been more furiously contested. The French are said to have lost nine thousand men; the allies, in killed and wounded, seven thousand, of whom two-thirds were British. The French had two generals killed and three wounded. Some persons were inclined to blame Marshal Beresford for risking a battle in the circumstances; but Wellington gave him the highest praise, and declared that the frightful loss was owing to the utter failure of the Spaniards; that their discipline was so bad that it was found impossible to move them without throwing them into inextricable confusion; that at both Talavera and Albuera the enemy would have been destroyed if the Spaniards could have been moved; and that the same course had prevented Lape?a from supporting Graham at Barrosa. Beresford maintained his position for two days in expectation of a fresh attack by Soult; but, no doubt, that general had heard that Lord Wellington was rapidly advancing to support Beresford; and on the morning of the 18th Soult commenced his retreat to Seville. With his small handful of cavalry Beresford pursued him, and cut off a considerable number of his rear, and, amongst them, some of the cavalry itself at Usagnè, taking about a hundred and fifty of them prisoners. Had we had a proper body of horse, the slaughter of the flying army would have been awful. Soult did but quit the ground in time; for, the very day after, Wellington arrived at Albuera with two fresh divisions.NAPOLEON ABANDONING HIS ARMY. (See p. 54.)
At this moment the horse which George II. was riding, taking fright at the noise made by the French in their advance, became unmanageable, and plunged forward furiously, nearly carrying the king into the midst of the French lines. Being, however, stopped just in time, the king dismounted, and placing himself at the head of the British and Hanoverian infantry on the right, he flourished his sword and said, "Now, boys! now for the honour of England! Fire, and behave bravely, and the French will soon run!"
Napoleon also exerted himself to excite a rebellion in Ireland. He was the more bent on this, because he saw that it was hopeless to make a direct descent on England itself. He had collected a great fleet in the harbours of Boulogne, Dieppe, Havre, Dunkirk, Ostend, and other smaller ports, many of them capable only of receiving the gunboats in which he proposed to transport his soldiers. He had assembled a very fine army on the heights above Boulogne, called the Army of England, and there continually exercised it, under the inspection of Soult, Ney, Davoust, and Victor—men, the pride of his army; but he saw such powerful fleets crowding the Channel, blockading his very ports, cutting out, every now and then, some of his gunboats under the very batteries, and the war-ships of Britain even standing in and firing at him and his suite as they made observations from the cliffs, that, combined with the information that England was almost all one camp, he abandoned the project, for the present, in despair. But Ireland he deemed vulnerable, from the treason of her own children. He assembled all the Irish refugees in Paris, formed the Irish Brigade into the Irish Legion, and sent over active agents to arouse their countrymen in Ireland. Amongst these were Quigley and Robert Emmett, who had been engaged in the Rebellion of 1798. Quigley had been outlawed, and Emmett had been so deeply implicated in that Rebellion with his brother Thomas, who was banished, that he had found it necessary to quit the country. These emissaries soon collected around them, in Dublin, disaffected associates, amongst them being Dowdall, Redmond, and Russell. They formed a central committee, and corresponded with others in different towns, and especially with one Dwyer, who had also been in the former Rebellion, and had ever since maintained himself and a knot of desperate followers in the mountains of Wicklow. The Government received, from time to time, information of the proceedings of these foolish men—Emmett being a rash youth of only twenty-two or twenty-three years of age—but they took no precautions; and when, on the 23rd of July, the eve of the Festival of St. James, these desperadoes rushed, at evening, into the streets of Dublin, armed with pikes, old guns, and blunderbusses, the authorities were taken entirely by surprise. There were from two thousand to three thousand soldiers in the Castle, but neither police, soldier, nor officer appeared till the mob had murdered Colonel Brown, who was hastening to the Castle to arouse the troops, and Lord Kilwarden, the Chief Justice, whom they dragged from his carriage as it passed, and killed, along with his nephew, but, at the same time, they allowed the Chief Justice's daughter, who was with them, to depart. Soon after this—but not before the insurgents had severely wounded a Mr. Clarke, a manufacturer, who was riding to alarm the Castle—the soldiers appeared, and the mob fled at their very sight. The same day Russell had turned out at Belfast, and Quigley at Kildare, but with as little success. Emmett had escaped to the Wicklow mountains to join Dwyer; but having assumed the fatal disguise of French officers, the country people, who hated the French since their appearance under General Humbert, when they had ridiculed the Catholic religion, drove him and twelve of his companions back. In a short time, Emmett, Russell, Redmond, and others were all secured and executed. Dowdall escaped, with Allen and others, out of Ireland; Quigley and Stafford, one of his companions, were admitted as king's evidence, and thus escaped. The project of Napoleon had thus entirely failed, with the sacrifice of some of his leading agents.Such were the difficulties under which Congress and Washington had been struggling through this winter to raise and keep together any considerable force; whilst General, now Sir William Howe, had been completely dozing at New York. The first movements of Howe were to execute several detached evolutions, and a vast quantity of stores were destroyed. As a retaliation, the Americans sent Colonel Meigs over to Long Island, to a place called Sag Harbour, where the English had a great quantity of provision stores, which they learned were very remissly guarded. Meigs, who had been trained under Arnold, conducted the enterprise very adroitly. He passed the Sound in whale-boats in the night, landed without much difficulty before the break of day, and began to fire the magazines. He met with a brave resistance from the crews of the merchants' vessels; but, having two hundred men, and there being no soldiers to oppose him, he destroyed twelve of the trading vessels, took ninety prisoners, and returned triumphantly without the loss of a single man. In the meantime, Washington had quitted his encampment at Morristown, and taken up a strong position at Middlebrook, about twelve miles from Princeton. On the 13th of June Howe at last marched out of New Brunswick to attack him. On this, Washington called to his assistance a great part of the troops in the highlands, the whole force of the Jersey militia, whilst Arnold, who had the command at Philadelphia, was actively engaged with Mifflin in preparing defences for the Delaware. The object of Howe was to draw Washington from his entrenchments, certain that, on fair ground, it would require little exertion to totally dissipate his army; therefore, after marching up almost to the American lines, he commenced a retreat, evacuated even New Brunswick, and fell back to Amboy. Washington fell into the snare; he sent a strong force in pursuit of Howe, who, keeping up the ruse, threw a bridge over the narrow strait which divides Staten Island from the mainland, and sent over part of his baggage and a number of troops. Satisfied then that Howe was bent on resuming his old quarters at New York, Washington quitted his camp, which had cost him so much labour to create, and descended with his main body to Quibbletown. On seeing this, Howe advanced again, and dispatched several bodies of soldiers by different routes, to get, if possible, between Washington and his old post on the hills, so as to bring him to an engagement on the plain. Washington instantly became aware of his design, and retreated with all speed. Lord Cornwallis, who led the British van, notwithstanding, managed to come up with him, and fell upon a division of three thousand strong, advantageously posted, and defended with cannon. Cornwallis's charge, however, threw him into confusion, the rout became general, and the British pursued them as far as Westfield, when, coming to a woody country, and the heat of the day being intense, they halted for the night. This halt was the salvation of Washington: it enabled him to regain his old fortified post in the hills, leaving behind him part of his cannon, and about two hundred men killed.
Charles, on his part, had determined to occupy Corriarrick. For that purpose he had made a forced march, disencumbered himself of all possible encumbrances by burning his own baggage, and encouraging his followers to do the same. On the morning of the 27th he stood on the north side of Corriarrick, and, as he put on his brogues, he is said to have exclaimed, with exultation, "Before these are unloosed, I shall be up with Mr. Cope." To his great astonishment, however, when he reached the summit all was one wild solitude—not a man was visible. At length they discerned some soldiers ascending, whom they set down for part of Lord Loudon's regiment, forming the English vanguard. They turned out to be only some deserters, who informed them of the change in Cope's route.The receipt of such proposals in England produced the utmost consternation in the Cabinet. Townshend, in an "absolutely secret" answer to Stanhope, expressed the concern both of himself and the Prince of Wales at the prospect of a rupture with the Czar, who would seize the British ships and subjects in Russia, and prohibit the supply of naval stores from his kingdom, and that especially at a crisis when England was threatened with an invasion from Sweden and a rising of the Jacobites. He did not deny that there was a great risk of both these kingdoms and the German empire being exposed to imminent danger by the designs of the Czar on the whole coast of the Baltic, a danger which he might, had he dared, truly have attributed to George's own deeds by offending Sweden, instead of uniting with it to counterbalance the Czar's plan of aggrandisement. Fortunately, the Czar was induced, by the combined remonstrances of Austria, Denmark, and Sir John Norris, to abandon his projects for the moment, at least in Germany, and to withdraw his troops from Mecklenburg.During this period Richard Bentley, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, and archdeacon of Ely, figures prominently as one of the most profound classical scholars that Great Britain has produced, and, at the same time, as one of the most quarrelsome, arrogant, and grasping of men. The circumstance which made the most noise in his career was his controversy with the Hon. Charles Boyle regarding the authenticity of the Epistles of Phalaris and the Fables of ?sop. In this dispute he had to contend with Drs. Atterbury, French, King, and Smallridge, who made the reply to him in their "Examination of Bentley's Dissertation on the Epistles," in the name of Boyle. Swift also attacked him in "The Battle of the Books." The controversy made an immense noise at the time, and Bentley completely proved his assertion, that both the Epistles of Phalaris and the Fables of ?sop, in their present form, are spurious. The services of Bentley in publishing corrected editions of various classical works are of no ordinary kind. Amongst the authors who have received the benefit of his critical touches are Aristophanes, Cicero, Menander, Philemon, Horace, Nicander, Ph?drus, and Homer. In his editions of Horace and Homer, however, he laid himself open to severe criticism by his rash and arbitrary emendations of the text, and still more so by his edition of Milton's "Paradise Lost," from the same cause. In this case he showed that he was as deficient in the Italian and romantic learning, which Milton had made himself master of, as he was great in his own classical field. Bentley displayed himself as a theologian of great distinction by his refutation of Collins's "Discourse of Freethinking," and his lectures at Oxford in defence of the Christian religion.
Mr. Charles Osborne, made judge of the King's Bench ￡3,300
Prevented by the arrival of Daun from utterly destroying Dresden, though he had done enough to require thirty years of peace to restore it, Frederick marched for Silesia. Laudohn, who was besieging Breslau, quitted it at his approach; but the Prussian king, who found himself surrounded by three armies, cut his way, on the 15th of August, at Liegnitz, through Laudohn's division, which he denominated merely "a scratch." He was instantly, however, called away to defend his own capital from a combined army of Russians under Todleben, and of Austrians under Lacy, another Irishman; but before he could reach them they had forced an entrance, on the 9th of October. The Russians, departing from their usual custom of plunder, touched nothing, but levied a contribution of one million seven hundred thousand dollars on the city. At Frederick's approach they withdrew.
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The eyes of the world were now turned upon Rome. It was not to be expected that the Catholic Powers would allow the bark of St. Peter to go down in the flood of revolution without an effort to save it. Spain was the first to interpose for this purpose. Its Government invited France, Austria, Bavaria, Sardinia, Tuscany, and Naples to send plenipotentiaries to consult on the best means of reinstating the Pope. Austria also protested against the new state of things, complaining that the Austrian flag, and the arms of the empire on the palace of its ambassador at Rome, had been insulted and torn down. On the 8th of February a body of Austrian troops, under General Haynau, entered Ferrara, to avenge the death of three Austrian soldiers, and an insult offered to an Austrian consul. He required that the latter should be indemnified, that the Papal colours should be again displayed, that the murderers of the soldiers should be given up, and that the city should support 10,000 Austrian troops. This was a state of things not to be endured by the French Republic, and its Government determined to interpose and overreach Austria, for the purpose of re-establishing French ascendency at Rome, even though based upon the ruins of a sister republic. The French Republicans, it is well known, cared very little for the Pope, but they were ready to make use of him to gratify their own national ambition. Their attack on the Roman Republic would therefore be fittingly described by the language which Pius IX. applied to that republic itself, as "hypocritical felony."After passing a Factory Act of some importance, which, however, was only the forerunner of much subsequent legislation, the House of Commons engaged in Poor Law Reform. In the winter of 1832-3 a very startling state of things was disclosed. In a period of great general prosperity, that portion of England in which the Poor Laws had their most extensive operation, and in which by much the largest expenditure of poor-rates had been made, was the scene of daily riot and nightly incendiarism. There were ninety-three parishes in four counties of which the population was 113,147 and the Poor-Law expenditure ￡81,978, or fourteen shillings and fivepence per head; and there were eighty parishes in three other counties the population of which was 105,728 and the Poor-Law expenditure ￡30,820, or five shillings and ninepence a head. In the counties in which the Poor-Law expenditure was large the industry and skill of the labourers were passing away, the connection between the master and servant had become precarious, the unmarried were defrauded of their fair earnings, and riots and incendiarism prevailed. In the counties where the expenditure was comparatively small, there was scarcely any instance of disorder; mutual attachment existed between the workman and his employer; the intelligence, skill, and good conduct of the labourers were unimpaired, or increased. This striking social contrast was but a specimen of what prevailed throughout large districts, and generally throughout the south and north of England, and it proved that either through the inherent vice of the system, or gross maladministration in the southern counties, the Poor Law had a most demoralising effect upon the working classes, while it was rapidly eating up the capital upon which the employment of labour depended. This fact was placed beyond question by a commission of inquiry, which was composed of individuals distinguished by their interest in the subject and their intimate knowledge of its principles and details. Its labours were continued incessantly for two years. Witnesses most competent to give information were summoned from different parts of the country. The Commissioners had before them documentary evidence of every kind calculated to throw light on the subject. They personally visited localities, and examined the actual operation of the system on the spot; and when they could not go themselves, they called to their aid assistant commissioners, some of whom extended their inquiries into Scotland, Guernsey, France, and Flanders; while they also collected a vast mass of interesting evidence from our ambassadors and diplomatic agents in different countries of Europe and America. It was upon the report of this commission of inquiry that the Act was founded for the Amendment and Better Administration of the Laws relating to the Poor in England and Wales (4 and 5 William IV., cap. 76). A more solid foundation for a legislative enactment could scarcely be found, and the importance of the subject fully warranted all the expense and labour by which it was obtained.
Referring to the means at the disposal of Government for putting down the agitations by military force, Peel has this remarkable passage:—"This is a very delicate matter to discuss; but why have I deferred for twenty years this vindication of my conduct? Why have I consented to submit for that long period to every reproach which malice, or mistake, or blindness to the real state of affairs could direct against me, except in the hope that the time would come (I cared little whether I were in the grave or not when it should come) when delicate matters might safely be discussed, and when, without prejudice to the public interests, or offence to private feelings, the whole truth might be spoken? I deliberately affirm that a Minister of the Crown, responsible at the time of which I am speaking for the public peace and the public welfare, would have grossly and scandalously neglected his duty if he had failed to consider whether it might not be possible that the fever of political and religious excitement which was quickening the pulse and fluttering the bosom of the whole Catholic population—which had inspired the serf of Clare with the resolution and energy of a free man—which had, in the twinkling of an eye, made all considerations of personal gratitude, ancient family connection, local preferences, the fear of worldly injury, the hope of worldly advantage, subordinate to the all-absorbing sense of religious obligation and public duty—whether, I say, it might not be possible that the contagion of that feverish excitement might spread beyond the barriers which, under ordinary circumstances, the habits of military obedience and the strictness of military discipline opposed to all such external influences."Napoleon's saying about French revolutions was verified in 1830. The shock of the political earthquake was felt throughout the Continent, and severed Belgium from Holland. The inhabitants of Brussels began their revolt by resistance to local taxes, and ended by driving the Dutch garrison out of the city, and proclaiming the independence of Belgium. The Duke of Wellington had no difficulty about the prompt recognition of the de facto Government of France. The change of dynasty had not been officially communicated to him many hours when he sent instructions to the British ambassador to enter into friendly relations with the new Government. He had not, however, the same facility in recognising the independence of Belgium. He had been instrumental in establishing the kingdom of the Netherlands; and he regarded the union as being a portion of the great European settlement of 1815, which ought not to be disturbed without the concurrence of the Great Powers by which it was effected. This hesitation on his part to hail the results of successful revolution added to his unpopularity. In the meantime a dangerous spirit of disaffection and disorder began to manifest itself in the south of England. Incendiary fires had preceded the Revolution in France, especially in Normandy, and they were supposed to have had a political object. Similar preludes of menaced revolution occurred during the autumn in some of the English counties nearest the French coast, in Kent, Sussex, Surrey, and Hampshire. Night after night, in the most fertile districts, the sky was reddened with the blaze of burning stack-yards. Crowds of the working classes, complaining of want of employment, went about throughout the country, breaking the threshing-machines, which had then come into extensive use. The Government were compelled to employ force to put down these disturbances—a fact which supplied inflammatory arguments to agitators, who denounced the Duke of Wellington as the chief cause of the distress of the working classes. Such was the state of things when the new Parliament met on the 26th of October.Sir John Moore was left in a most critical situation. All those fine armies, which were to have enfranchised Spain without his assistance, were scattered as so much mist; but this he only knew partly. He knew enough, however, to induce him to determine on a retreat into Portugal, and there to endeavour to make a stand against the French. He wrote to Sir David Baird and Sir John Hope—both of them still at a great distance—to retreat too: Sir David, with his division, to fall back on Corunna, and then sail to Lisbon to meet him; Sir John to await him at Ciudad Rodrigo. Had Moore carried out this plan whilst Buonaparte and his troops were engaged with the army of Casta?os, and with Madrid, his fate might have been very different. But here again he was the victim of false information. Mr. Frere, who seems to have really known nothing of what was going on, and to have believed anything, wrote to him from Aranjuez, on the 30th of November, protesting against his retreat, and assuring him that he had nothing to do but to advance to Madrid, and save Spain. He expressed his most unbounded faith in the valour and success of the Spaniards. He talked to Moore of repulsing the French before they collected their reinforcements. On reflecting on the statements of Mr. Frere, Sir John concluded that Madrid was still holding out, and thought it his duty to proceed to its rescue. He was joined, on the 6th of December, by Hope and the artillery, and he wrote again to Sir David Baird to countermand his retreat, and order him to come up with dispatch. Thus precious time was lost, and it was not till the 9th that he was undeceived. He had sent Colonel Graham to Madrid with a reply to Morla, and to procure intelligence of the real state of affairs. Graham now came back with the alarming and astonishing truth that the French were in Madrid; that it had held out only one day. It is strange that Sir John did not instantly commence his retreat; but he was still misled by false accounts of the strength of the French, and actually resolved to proceed to Madrid. On the 11th he sent forward his cavalry, under General Stewart, when they came upon the advanced post of the enemy occupying the village of Rueda. It was but about eighty men, infantry and cavalry. They were quickly surrounded by the British dragoons, and the whole killed or taken prisoners. On the 14th, an intercepted letter of Berthier to Soult fell into Moore's hands, by which he learned that various French divisions were moving down upon him, and that Soult was in advance. He thought that he might meet and beat Soult before the other divisions arrived, and he therefore, after sending a dispatch to General Baird to warn him of Soult's approach, crossed the Tordesillas, and continued his march as far as Mayorga, where he was joined by Sir David Baird and Sir John Hope, so that his army now amounted to twenty-three thousand five hundred and eighty on the spot. He had other regiments in Portugal and on the road, making up his total to thirty-five thousand.详情
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