While the Irish Government was in this state of miserable trepidation, the Dublin confederates carried on their proceedings with the most perfect unconcern and consciousness of impunity. Among these proceedings was the sending of a deputation to Paris to seek the aid of the republican Government on behalf of the "oppressed nationality of Ireland." The deputation consisted of Messrs. O'Brien, Meagher, and O'Gorman. They were the bearers of three congratulatory addresses, to which Lamartine gave a magniloquent reply about the great democratic principle—"this new Christianity bursting forth at the opportune moment." The destinies of Ireland had always deeply moved the heart of Europe. "The children of that glorious isle of Erin," whose natural genius and pathetic history were equally symbolic of the poetry and the heroism of the nations of the North, would always find in France under the republic a generous response to all its friendly sentiments. But as regarded intervention, the Provisional Government gave the same answer that they had given to Germany, to Belgium, and to Italy. "Where there is a difference of race—where nations are aliens in blood—intervention is not allowable. We belong to no party in Ireland or elsewhere except to that which contends for justice, for liberty, and for the happiness of the Irish people. We are at peace," continued Lamartine, "and we are desirous of remaining on good terms of equality, not with this or that part of Great Britain, but with Great Britain entire. We believe this peace to be useful and honourable, not only to Great Britain and to the French Republic, but to the human race. We will not commit an act, we will not utter a word, we will not breathe an insinuation, at variance with principles of the reciprocal inviolability of nations which we have proclaimed, and of which the continent of Europe is already gathering the fruits. The fallen monarchy had treaties and diplomatists. Our diplomatists are nations—our treaties are sympathies." The sympathies felt for the Irish revolutionists, however, were barren. Nevertheless the deputation who were complimented as "aliens in blood" shouted "Vive la République," "Vive Lamartine," who had just declared that the French would be insane were they openly to exchange such sympathy for "unmeaning and partial alliance with even the most legitimate parties in the countries that surrounded them."
On the other hand, the Corresponding Society and the Society for Constitutional Information kept up an open correspondence with the National Convention of France, even after the bloody massacres of September of this year, which we have yet to mention. Unwarned by these facts, they professed to see, in the example of Frenchmen, the only chance of the liberation of the English nation from the oppressions of the Crown and of an overgrown aristocracy. They made no secret of their desire to establish a Republic in Great Britain; and the Society for Constitutional Information included amongst its members a number of red-hot Americans. These Societies and the Revolutionary Society in London continued to send over glowing addresses to the French Convention, declaring their desire to fraternise with them for liberty and equality, and their determination never again to fight with Frenchmen at the command of despots.
[See larger version]The year 1763 opened with the signing of the definitive treaty at Paris on the 19th of February, whence it was called the Peace of Paris. Five days later, a peace was signed between Prussia and Austria at Hubertsberg, in Saxony, to which Saxony, as the ally of Austria, was a party. Indeed, when England and France, Russia and Sweden, had withdrawn from the contest, there was little prospect of the continuance of the war. Both parties were exhausted, and yet, of the two, Frederick, in his dogged firmness, and in the almost unparalleled endurance of his people, was more than a match for Austria. If Maria Theresa could not cope with him when she had France, Russia, Saxony, and Poland, all united with her to put him down, the case was now hopeless. The English had stipulated that France should evacuate all the places in Germany and Flanders that belonged to those countries, and Frederick had easily induced the German states, in these circumstances, to a maintenance of neutrality. Austria, therefore, consented to this peace. She stood out the longest for the retention of Glatz, the only place won from Frederick still in her hands, but she was compelled to yield that, too. Both parties returned to the same situations as before the commencement of this fatal Seven Years' War.We must open the year 1790 by reverting to the affairs of Britain, and of other countries having an influence on British interests. The Parliament met on the 21st of January; and, in the course of the debate on the Address in the Commons, Fox took the opportunity to laud the French Revolution, and especially the soldiers for destroying the Government which had raised them, and which they had sworn to obey. Burke, in reply, whilst paying the highest compliments to the genius of Fox, and expressing the value which he placed on his friendship, endeavoured to guard the House and country against the pernicious consequences of such an admiration as had been expressed by Fox. He declared the conduct of the troops disgraceful; for instead of betraying the Government, they ought to have defended it so far as to allow of its yielding the necessary reforms. But the so-called reforms in France, he said, were a disgrace to the nation. They had, instead of limiting each branch of the Government for the general good and for rational liberty, destroyed all the balances and counterpoises which gave the State steadiness and security. They had pulled down all things into an incongruous and ill-digested mass; they had concocted a digest of anarchy called the Rights of Man, which would disgrace a schoolboy; and had laid the axe to the root of all property by confiscating that of the Church. To compare that revolution with our glorious one of 1688, he said, was next to blasphemy. They were diametrically opposed. Ours preserved the Constitution and got rid of an arbitrary monarch; theirs destroyed the Constitution and kept a monarch who was willing to concede reforms, but who was left helpless. Fox replied that he had been mistaken by his most venerated and estimable friend; that he was no friend to anarchy and lamented the cruelties that had been practised in France, but he considered them the natural result of the long and terrible despotism which had produced the convulsion, and that he had the firmest hopes that the French would yet complete their Constitution with wisdom and moderation. Here the matter might have ended, but Sheridan rose and uttered a grand but ill-considered eulogium on the French Revolution, and charged Burke with being an advocate of despotism. Burke highly resented this; he made a severe reply to Sheridan; and instead of the benefits which he prognosticated, Burke, with a deeper sagacity, declared that the issue of that revolution would be not only civil war but many other wars.
At the very moment that these negotiations on the part of Britain were going on, Buonaparte, who had been appointed to the command of the army of Italy, was achieving there victory after victory. Genoa had shut her ports against our ships, Naples had concluded peace with France, Spain had been induced to proclaim war against us, and Hoche had sailed for Ireland with twenty-five thousand troops. On the 19th of December Lord Malmesbury received a message to quit Paris within forty-eight hours, with the additional assurance, that whenever Great Britain was prepared to accept the terms of France, an ordinary courier would answer the same purpose as well as a lord. The blame of continuing the war thus lay entirely with the French.
As it was, the extreme caution of Kutusoff saved Buonaparte and the little remnant of his army that ever reached France again. Buonaparte left Smolensk with only forty thousand, instead of four hundred and seventy thousand men, which he had on entering Russia, and a great part of the Italian division of Eugene was cut off by the Russians before the Viceroy could come up with Buonaparte. Napoleon, therefore, halted at Krasnoi, to allow of the two succeeding divisions coming up; but Kutusoff took this opportunity to fall on Buonaparte's division, consisting of only fifteen thousand men, and attacked it in the rear by cannon placed on sledges, which could be brought rapidly up and as rapidly made to fall back.When the rumours of Mr. Drummond having been mistaken for Sir Robert Peel were spread abroad, it was impossible for zealous Conservatives to forget these things. If the assassin M'Naughten was mad, he was certainly mad about politics; one of the first utterances of his insane ravings when captured having been directed against the Tories of Glasgow. One witness, indeed, swore that on his being asked if he knew the gentleman shot at, M'Naughten replied, "It is Sir Robert Peel, is it not?" The Minister's life was not considered safe, and for some time two policemen in plain clothes followed him about in the street wherever he went. On the 17th of February, the fifth night of a debate in the Commons on the distress of the country, Mr. Cobden rose to speak, and in the course of his address alluded to an attempt made to identify the members of the Anti-Corn-Law League with a most odious, a most horrible transaction which had lately occurred; but in the conclusion of his speech, he said, "I tell the right honourable gentleman [Sir Robert Peel] that I, for one, care nothing for Whigs or Tories. I have said that I never will help to bring back the Whigs, but I tell him that the whole responsibility of the lamentable and dangerous state of the country rests with him." No outcry at these words, even among the Ministerial party, evinced that the House regarded them as overstepping the proper limits of debate. Loud cries for Mr. Bankes, the Dorsetshire landowner, who had been attacked in Mr. Cobden's speech, were the only party sounds uttered, but the Prime Minister was immediately seen to rise. It has been stated that he was "ill and harassed with public anxieties." He was certainly deeply moved by the loss of his valued and confidential friend, Mr. Drummond. His countenance, it is said, indicated extreme agitation, while by gesticulating, and violently striking an empty box before him, he succeeded in obtaining the ear of the House. It was then that his audience perceived that the Minister regarded Mr. Cobden as pointing him out for the hand of the assassin.
The fear of the Russians being removed, the king was impatient to get the Treaty with France ratified both by England and Holland. As there was some delay on the part of Holland, Stanhope proposed to comply with the king's desire, that the Treaty should be signed, without further waiting for the Dutch, but with the agreement on both sides that they should be admitted to sign as soon as they were ready. Dubois was to proceed to the Hague, and there sign the Treaty in form with our plenipotentiaries at that place, Lord Cadogan and Horace Walpole. But these ministers had repeatedly assured the States that England would never sign without them, and Horace Walpole now refused to consent to any such breach of faith. He declared he would rather starve, die, do anything than thus wound his honour and conscience; that he should regard it as declaring himself villain under his own hand. He said he would rather lay his patent of reversion in the West Indies, or even his life, at his Majesty's feet, than be guilty of such an action, and he begged leave to be allowed to return home. Townshend, for a moment, gave in to the proposition for not waiting for the Dutch, but immediately recalled that opinion; and he drew the powers of the plenipotentiaries for signing so loosely, that Dubois declined signing upon them. As we have said, the ratification did not take place till January, 1717, and after great causes of difference had arisen between Townshend and Stanhope. So greatly did Stanhope resent the difference of opinion in Townshend, that he offered his resignation to the king, who refused to accept it, being himself by this time much out of humour with both Townshend and Robert Walpole, the Paymaster of the Forces.The depth of Walpole's mortification, however, was shown by the vengeance he took on those who had opposed him. This fell with peculiar weight on Lord Chesterfield. Chesterfield had acquired a great reputation by his able management of affairs at the Hague. Since his return he had become Lord Steward of the Household, and a frequent and much admired debater in the House. But Chesterfield was too ambitious himself to stoop patiently to the domineering temper of Walpole. He was said to have thrown out some keen sarcasms at Walpole's Excise Bill, and his three brothers in the Commons voted against it. Only two days after the abandonment of the Bill, as Chesterfield was ascending the staircase at St. James's, he was stopped by an attendant, and summoned home to surrender the White Staff. The same punishment was dealt out to a number of noblemen who acted in concert with him. Lord Clinton, a Lord of the Bedchamber, the Earl of Burlington, Captain of the Band of Pensioners, were dismissed, as well as the Duke of Montrose, and the Earls of Marchmont and Stair from offices held in Scotland. The Duke of Bolton and Lord Cobham were, by a most unjustifiable stretch of authority, deprived of their regiments.On the 7th of March the House of Commons went into committee on the establishment of the Duke of York, on account of his marriage. Fox united with Pitt in supporting the recommendation that twenty-five thousand pounds per annum should be added to the twelve thousand pounds which the duke already had; besides this the duke had a private yearly revenue of four thousand pounds, making altogether forty-one thousand a year, in addition to the bishopric of Osnaburg, in Germany, which had been conferred on the duke, though a layman and a soldier. Notwithstanding the union of Whigs and Tories on this occasion, the vote did not pass without some sharp remarks on the miserable stinginess of the King of Prussia, who only gave his daughter the paltry sum of twenty-five thousand pounds as a dowry, and stipulated that even that should be returned in case of the duke's death, though in that case his daughter was to have a permanent allowance of eight thousand pounds a year.
Mr. Robert Johnson, made judge of Common Pleas 3,300On 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 first transactions of the campaign of 1795 which demand our attention, are those of Holland. To the British army these were most disastrous, and came to an end before the winter closed. The Duke of York had returned to England early in December, 1794, leaving the chief command to General Walmoden, a Hanoverian, second to whom was General Dundas. Walmoden had gone quietly into winter quarters in the isle of Bommel, forgetting that the firmness of the ice would soon leave him exposed with his small force to the overwhelming swarms of the French, under Pichegru, who, in the middle of December, crossed the Waal with two hundred thousand men, and drove in his lines. General Dundas advanced against him with eight thousand men, and, for the time, drove the French back, on the 30th of December, across the Waal. But this could not last with such disproportionate forces, especially as our troops were left with the most wretched commissariat, and an equally wretched medical staff; in fact, there were neither surgeons to attend the greater part of the wounded, nor medicines for the sick. On the 4th of January, 1795, the French came back with their overpowering numbers, and on the 6th the British were compelled to retire across the Leck, and continue their retreat, suffering indescribable miseries from the want of food, tents, and proper clothes, in the horrors of a Dutch winter. Notwithstanding this, the British repeatedly turned and drove back the enemy with heavy slaughter. But on the 11th of January Pichegru attacked them in a defile between Arnhem and Nimeguen, with a condensed force of seventy thousand men, and took every measure to destroy, or compel the surrender of, the whole British army. They, however, fought their way through and continued their march for the Elbe, the only quarter open to them. During this retreat they were less harassed by the French, who fell off to occupy Utrecht and Rotterdam, than by the fury of the winter and the hostility of the Jacobinised Dutch, who cursed them as the cause of all the sufferings of their country. Such was the end of Britain's campaign for the defence of her Dutch allies. Holland was proclaimed a free Republic under the protection of France, and Britain immediately commenced operations for indemnifying herself, by seizing the ships and colonies of her late ally in every quarter of the globe. They intercepted the homebound Dutch Indiamen, and when the Council of Government sent deputies to London to reclaim them, Lord Grenville, the Foreign Minister, asked them in what character they came. They replied, that they came as representatives of the sovereign people of Batavia. The Foreign Minister said he knew of no such Power, and declined to receive them. No time was lost in seizing the Dutch colonies and factories. On the 14th of July Admiral Sir G. Keith Elphinstone appeared in Table Bay, and landed a considerable force under command of Major-General Craig. They possessed themselves of Simon's Town and the strong fort of Muyzenberg, and in the beginning of September, being reinforced by another body of troops, under Major-General Alured Clarke, on the 23rd of that month they were masters of Cape Town. A similar activity was displayed in the East Indies; and in the course of the year, or early in 1796, all the Dutch possessions in Ceylon, Malacca, Cochin, Amboyna, and other places were surrendered to the British. The same seizures were in course of execution on the settlements of the Dutch in the West Indies, and on the coast of South America.
OLD NEWGATE.[See larger version]
And, for some time, events seemed to justify these apprehensions by the old governing class. Not a plan of Pitt's but failed. His first enterprise was one of that species that has almost universally failed—a descent on the coast of France. Early in September a fleet of sixteen ships of the line, attended by transports and frigates, was despatched to Rochefort, carrying ten regiments of foot, under the command of Sir John Mordaunt. Sir Edward Hawke commanded the fleet, and the troops were landed on a small fortified island named Aix, at the mouth of the Charente. There, in spite of strict orders, the English soldiers and sailors became awfully drunk, and committed shocking excesses and cruelties on the inhabitants. The rumour of this made the forces in Rochefort furious for vengeance; and when the army was to be landed within a few miles of the place in order to its attack, as usual in such cases, the admiral and general came to an open quarrel. Mordaunt betrayed great timidity, and demanded of Hawke how the troops, in case of failure, were to be brought off again. Hawke replied, that must depend on wind and tide—an answer which by no means reassured Mordaunt. General Conway, next in command to Mordaunt, was eager for advancing to the attack; and Colonel Wolfe—afterwards the conqueror of Quebec—offered to make himself master of Rochefort with three ships of war and five hundred men at his disposal. The brave offer was rejected, but the report of it at once pointed out Wolfe to Pitt as one of the men whom he was on the look-out to work with. Howe, the next in command to Hawke, proposed to batter down the fort of Fouras before advancing on Rochefort; but Mordaunt adopted the resort of all timid commanders—a council of war—which wasted the time in which the assault should have been made, and then it was declared useless to attempt it; the fortifications of Aix were destroyed, and the fleet put back. Mordaunt, like Byng, was brought before a court-martial, but with very different results. He was honourably acquitted—perhaps, under the atrocious 12th Article of War, the Court feared even to censure; and it was said by the people that Byng was shot for not doing enough, and Mordaunt acquitted for doing nothing at all.On the 27th of May Mr. Ward brought forward a motion upon this subject. In an able speech he reviewed the state of Ireland, and remarked that since 1819 it had been necessary to maintain there an army of 22,000 men, at a cost of a million sterling per annum, exclusive of a police force that cost ￡300,000 a year. All this enormous expense and trouble in governing Ireland he ascribed to the existence of a religious establishment hostile to the majority of the people; he therefore moved that "the Protestant episcopal establishment in Ireland exceeds the spiritual wants of the Protestant population; and that, it being the right of the State to regulate the distribution of Church property in such a manner as Parliament may determine, it is the opinion of this House that the temporal possessions of the Church of Ireland, as now established by law, ought to be reduced."详情
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