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The English lay all night on their arms, and, as day dawned, began to entrench their position. If ever a general needed to push on his advantage it was now. Every day was consuming Burgoyne's stores; every day was augmenting the forces of the enemy. The country was closed to Burgoyne; it was open with all its resources to the Americans. Yet he lay there, as if paralysed, from the 20th of September to the 7th of October. The reason of this fatal delay is said to have been that Burgoyne had received a letter from General Sir Henry Clinton at New York, informing him that he must expect no co-operation from General Howe, but that he himself would take the responsibility of making a diversion in his favour by attacking the Forts Montgomery and Clinton, on the lower part of the Hudson. Burgoyne, on receiving this intelligence, sent Clinton word that he would remain where he was till the 12th of October—a fatal resolve, as a calculation of his stores should have shown him, which the acts of the Americans were certain to render calamitous. Elated at being able to stand their ground in some degree, this novel and almost sole success in the war had raised the spirits of the Colonials as by a miracle. They poured in on all sides, and Arnold, ever ready in resource, suggested to Gates an enterprise to be effected while Burgoyne was lying still and consuming his own victuals.The first charge, however, was not so encouraging. The French made an impetuous onset, and threw the advanced guard of the English into confusion; but the king and his son, the Duke of Cumberland, who commanded on the left, and, like his father, took his stand in the front line, displayed the highest pluck, and inspired their troops with wonderful courage. The tide of battle was quickly turned, and Noailles, from the other side, saw with astonishment and alarm his troops in action contrary to his plans. He returned in all haste to give fresh support to his soldiers, but it was too late. Gallantly as the French fought, the presence of the king and prince on the other side made the English and Hanoverians irresistible. King, and prince, and army all showed an enthusiastic courage and steadiness which bore down everything before them. The dense column of infantry, led on by the king, broke the French ranks, and cut through them with terrible slaughter. Noailles, seeing the havoc, gave a command which completed the disaster. To shield his men, he ordered them to repass the Main; but a word of retreat, in all such cases, is a word of defeat. The retrograde movement produced dismay and disorder; the whole became a precipitate rout. The French were driven in confused masses against the bridges, the bridges were choked up with the struggling throng, and numbers were forced into the river, or jumped in for escape, and were drowned.

CHAPTER V. THE REIGN OF GEORGE IV.Buonaparte took up his residence at a palace in the suburbs. In the night there was an alarm of fire; it broke out in the quarter full of bazaars and coachmakers' factories. Napoleon rushed to the spot, and the flames were extinguished by the exertions of the soldiers. The next day all was quiet, and such French as lived in Moscow came out of their hiding-places and joined their countrymen. The following night the fires burst forth again. At first the conflagration had been attributed to accident; now it was felt to be the result of design, and Russians were seen fanatically hurrying from place to place with combustibles in their hands—the preparations of Rostopschin. Buonaparte during the day had taken possession of the Kremlin, and it was in imminent danger. When the fire was discovered near it, it came with the wind; it was extinguished, but the wind changed, and fire rose on that side, and again blew towards the palace. This occurred several times during the night; it was clear that there was a determined resolve to burn down the Kremlin. The flames defied all the efforts of the soldiers; they hunted down, according to Napoleon's twenty-first bulletin, no less than three hundred incendiaries, and shot them on the spot. These were armed with fusees six inches long, and inflammables, which they threw on the roofs. Buonaparte, who that day had dispatched a letter to Alexander proposing peace, was in the utmost agitation. He walked to and fro in distraction. "These are indeed Scythians!" he exclaimed. The equinoctial gales rose in all their wild fury. Providence commenced its Nemesis. The Kremlin was on fire, and all was raging fire around it; churches, palaces, streets, mostly of wood, were roaring in the storm. It was with difficulty that Buonaparte could be induced to leave the Kremlin, and as he did so he said gloomily, "This bodes us great misfortunes." He began to foresee all the horrors which followed.In electricity great strides were made. Between the years 1705 and 1711 Francis Hawksbee published in the Transactions of the Royal Society several experiments, in which he had, for the first time, discovered the production of the electric spark by friction, and electrical attraction and repulsion. In 1720 Stephen Gray, a pensioner of the Charterhouse, published the result of his experiments on this subject, with a list of the substances which showed electricity under friction; and in 1732 he discovered the conducting property of non-electrical bodies. Before 1739, Dufray, keeper of the King's Garden at Paris, discovered the repellent power of two similarly-electrified bodies, and the attraction of these positively and negatively electrified—or, as he termed it, possessing the vitreous and the resinous electricity. Cuneus and Lallemand discovered the mode of accumulating the electric fluid in what was called the Leyden jar in 1745. This discovery gave a new impetus to inquiry, and Nollet, in France, and Watson, in England, conceived the hypothesis of the jar being overcharged on one side and undercharged on the other. This growing perception of the positive and negative conditions of the electric fluid received confirmation from the experiments of Benjamin Franklin, in America. Franklin soon improved the Leyden jar into an electrical battery; and, in 1752, he proved the identity of electricity and lightning by his grand experiment of the kite. On this he recommended lightning conductors, which, however, were not used in England till ten years afterwards.

Before this great measure had passed, Pitt had introduced his Budget. On the 30th of June he made his financial statement. He said that the resources of the country were in a very burthened and disordered state; but that was not his work, but the work of his predecessors. The outstanding arrears, owing to the late war, were already ascertained to amount at least to fourteen million pounds. These operated very injuriously on the public credit, being at a discount of from fifteen to twenty per cent.; and that without greatly[308] affecting the public securities, he should not be able to find more than six million six hundred thousand six hundred pounds of them at once. To meet the interest, he proposed to raise taxes to the amount of nine hundred thousand pounds a year. The imposts—some entirely new, and some augmented—were on hats, ribbons, gauzes, coals, saddle and pleasure horses, printed linens and calicoes, candles, paper, and hackney coaches; licences to deal in excisable commodities, bricks, and tiles; licences for shooting game.On the other hand, Barclay de Tolly, anxious to unite with Bagration and reach Smolensk, abandoned the strong encampment at Drissa, leaving Wittgenstein near there to watch the enemy and cover the road to St. Petersburg. The French pursued him with great rapidity, which, though it endangered his immediate union with Bagration at Vitebsk, yet served the Russian policy of drawing the enemy into the interior. Murat continually rushed forward with his cavalry to attack the rear-guard of De Tolly; but the Russian infantry maintained steady order, and continually withdrew before him. Every evening he was close upon them; every morning he found himself again distanced. The Russians appeared in full vigour, and well supplied with everything; the French were sinking with famine and fatigue. At Polotsk the Emperor Alexander left De Tolly, and hastened on to Moscow to prepare the inhabitants for that grand catastrophe which he already foresaw, and had resolved upon.Another attempt of the French to draw the attention of Wellington from Massena was made by Mortier, who marched from Badajoz, of which Soult had given him the command, entered Portugal, and invested Campo Mayor, a place of little strength, and with a very weak garrison. Marshal Beresford hastened to its relief at the head of twenty thousand men, and the Portuguese commandant did his best to hold out till he arrived; but he found this was not possible, and he surrendered on condition of marching out with all the honours of war. Scarcely, however, was this done when Beresford appeared, and Mortier abruptly quitted the town, and made all haste back again to Badajoz, pursued by the British cavalry. Mortier managed to get across the Guadiana, and Beresford found himself stopped there by a sudden rising of the water and want of boats. He had to construct a temporary bridge before he could cross, so that the French escaped into Badajoz. Mortier then resigned his command to Latour Maubourg, and the British employed themselves in reducing Oliven?a, and some other strong places on the Valverde river, in the month of April. Lord Wellington made a hasty visit to the headquarters of Marshal Beresford, to direct the operations against Badajoz, but he was quickly recalled by the news that Massena had received reinforcements, and was in full march again to relieve the garrison in Almeida. Wellington, on the other hand, had reduced his army by sending reinforcements to Beresford, so that while Massena entered Portugal with forty thousand foot and five thousand cavalry, Wellington had, of British and Portuguese, only thirty-two thousand foot and about one thousand two hundred horse. This force, too, he had been obliged to extend over a line of seven miles in length, so as to guard the avenues of access to Almeida. The country, too, about Almeida was particularly well adapted for cavalry, in which the French had greatly the superiority. Notwithstanding, Wellington determined to dispute his passage. He had no choice of ground; he must fight on a flat plain, and with the Coa flowing in his rear. His centre was opposite to Almeida, his right on the village of Fuentes d'Onoro, and his left on fort Concepcion.

During the recess of Parliament, a dispute occurred with Spain regarding the Falkland Islands, which led to the very verge of war. In 1764 the French, under Bougainville, made a settlement on Falkland Sound; but Spain putting in a claim that these isles were part of her South American territory, Choiseul, the French Minister, abandoned the settlement, and the Spaniards changed its name from Port Louis to Port Soledad. The very next year, 1765, Commodore Byron was sent to form a settlement on another of the islands, which he named Port Egmont, in honour of Lord Egmont, First Lord of the Admiralty. Such were the distant islets to which, in 1769, Spain began to assert her claim. The Governor of Port Soledad sent repeated messages to Captain Hunt, of the Tamar, stationed at Port Egmont, requiring the abandonment of the place. When the notices were succeeded by threats, Captain Hunt sailed home to lay the matter before his Government. He landed at Portsmouth in June, 1770, and made known the Spanish interference to the Cabinet. Meanwhile, the Spaniards, taking advantage of Hunt's absence, had, about the time that he arrived in England, dispatched to the Falklands Buccarelli, the Governor of Buenos Ayres, with five frigates and one thousand six hundred men. Having entered the port on pretence of wanting water, and finding the Tamar absent, and only two armed sloops there, and a mere handful of soldiers, Buccarelli landed his force, and, after the firing of a few shots for form's sake, the English surrendered, and were permitted to depart with all the honours of war.The whole mode of coming into possession of these papers has something in it revolting to all honourable minds. Franklin, aware of this, insisted that they should not be printed nor made public, but only circulated amongst a select few. But the same motives which had induced Franklin to break his pledged secrecy, operated on the Assembly. They determined to make them public, and therefore pretended that other copies of them had reached them from England, and that they were thus absolved from all conditions of secrecy. This was totally false. The story was invented for the occasion, and the letters, without the name of Whately, to whom they had been addressed, were published by the Assembly. It was left to be inferred by the public, that they had been sent officially to England by the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor, and the Assembly voted the writing of them ample evidence of a fixed design on the part of the British Government to destroy the Constitution and establish arbitrary power. A petition was dispatched to be presented by Franklin to the king, calling for the removal of Hutchinson and Oliver from their posts. When these letters were read under these false impressions, sentiments were found in them which assumed a wholly exaggerated character, and the flame produced was, as Franklin and the Assembly intended, of the most furious kind.

There was still a fair chance for the Austrians—Britain had furnished them with money—and two fresh armies were descending from the hills. One of these, amounting to thirty thousand, was led by a brave officer, General Alvinzi; the other of twenty thousand, under Davidowich, was marching from the Tyrol to meet Alvinzi near Verona, who was coming from Carinthia by Belluno. Buonaparte did not allow them to meet. He attacked Alvinzi on the 6th of November, and met with a terrible repulse. A detachment of French under Vaubois had been dispatched to impede the march of Davidowich, but was also in retreat. Buonaparte again attacked Alvinzi near Verona, and again was repulsed. Had the Austrians united their two new armies before entering Italy, or had Wurmser marched from Mantua to support Alvinzi, the French must have been utterly annihilated. As it was, Napoleon was dreadfully disheartened, and wrote a despairing letter to the Directory, saying his best officers were killed, and his men exhausted from fighting and severe marches. But his pride and dogged pertinacity came to his aid. He made a rapid march and got into the rear of Alvinzi, but found himself stopped by a narrow bridge over the Alpone at Arcole. The country on each side was a marsh, and the only approach to the bridge was by long narrow causeways. As the French advanced along the causeway on their side to storm the bridge, they were swept down by hundreds by the Austrian cannon. Time after time, Buonaparte drove his columns along the causeway, but only to see them mown down by grape shot. His men fled into the very marshes to save themselves, and he himself was thrown from his horse into the marsh, and had to be dragged from the mire. Bodies of Hungarians and Croats made a final sally along the causeway, cutting down all before them, and it was marvellous that he escaped them. By this time Alvinzi had brought up his main body to the neighbourhood of the bridge, and the battle raged obstinately there for three days. Seeing it impossible to carry the bridge against that solid mass of troops, Buonaparte dispatched General Guyeuse to cross the Adige at the ferry of Albaredo, below the confluence of the Alpone, and take Alvinzi in flank. Guyeuse succeeded in crossing, but was repulsed on the other side by the Austrians. Buonaparte again, on the 16th, made one more desperate rush at the bridge, but only to receive another bloody defeat. The next day he threw a bridge over the Alpone, just above its confluence with the Adige, and sent over Augereau with a powerful force, whilst he again assailed the bridge from his side. These combined operations succeeded. Alvinzi was compelled to retreat to Vicenza and Bassano. Scarcely had he given way, when Davidowich, who ought to have joined him long before, came down the right bank of the stream. He now came only to experience a severe defeat, whereas his timely arrival might have insured a complete victory. He again had recourse to the security of the hills. The belligerents then went into winter quarters, leaving the French victorious.

[See larger version]Prussia having been introduced into the debate, on the 1st of March it was renewed by Mr. Martin, followed by Francis, Fox, and others, who argued that the secret was thus out; we were fighting again on account of the old mischief—German alliances. Pitt defended the policy of Ministers. He asked whether Russia was to be permitted to drive the Turks from Europe and plant herself in Constantinople, with Greece as part of her empire? In that case, Russia would become the first maritime power in the world, for her situation in the heart of the Mediterranean, and with Greeks for her sailors—the best sailors in that sea—would give her unrivalled advantages, and make her the most destructive opponent of British interests that had ever arisen. Pitt drew a dark character of the Czarina—the Messalina of the North; reminded the House of her endeavours to strike a mortal blow at us during the American war; of her arrogance and insolence on many occasions, and said that he did not envy Fox the honour of having his bust ordered by this notorious woman from Nollekens, the sculptor. Fox well deserved this hard blow, for he had shown a strange blindness to the grasping designs of Russia, and confessed that, whilst in office, he had refused to concur in remonstrances to Russia against the seizure of the Crimea. The motion of Whitbread was rejected by a majority of two hundred and forty-four against one hundred and sixteen.

Eugene, during these affairs, had been actively prosecuting the fortunes of the Allies with his remnant of an army. He pushed on the siege of Quesnoy, and took it. He sent a flying detachment of one thousand five hundred cavalry, under Major-General Grovestein, to make an incursion into France. This force made a rapid raid in Champagne, passed the Noire, the Meuse, the Moselle, and the Saar, ravaged the country, reduced a great number of villages and towns to[7] ashes, rode up to the very gate of Metz, and then retired to Traerbach with a load of rich booty. This was a proof of what might have been done in France at this period with the whole army united under a commander like Marlborough, in place of miserably giving up everything to that country in the moment of power. As it was, it created the utmost consternation in Paris, the people of which already saw the English at their gate; whilst Louis did not think himself safe at Versailles, but gathered all the troops in the neighbourhood of the capital around his palace, leaving the city to take care of itself.This proposal, which, at an earlier stage of the dispute, might have been listened to, was one at this stage which was sure to be rejected, and was only one of those miserable half measures which commonplace minds so frequently put forth only to demonstrate their inability to grasp the amplitude of the occasion. It was supposed that the measure had been intended to be larger, but that the Bedford party had fallen on it in Council, and reduced it to these pitiable dimensions. Yet when it was introduced into the Commons by Lord North, the Bedford party looked at each other in consternation, and soon the tempest broke loose on the Treasury benches.There was besides a tax called Church Cess, levied by Protestants in vestry meetings upon Roman Catholics for cleaning the church, ringing the bell, washing the minister's surplice, purchasing bread and wine for the communion, and paying the salary of the parish clerk. This tax was felt to be a direct and flagrant violation of the rights of conscience, and of the principles of the British Constitution; and against it there was a determined opposition, which manifested itself in tumultuous and violent assemblages at the parish churches all over the country on Easter Monday, when the rector or his curate, as chairman of the meeting, came into angry collision with flocks who disowned him, and denounced him as a tyrant, a persecutor, and a robber.

[See larger version]Meanwhile the Whigs were anxious to add fresh security to their own lease of office. At the last election they had procured the return of a powerful majority; but two years out of the triennial term had expired, and they looked with apprehension to the end of the next year, when a dissolution must take place. They were aware that there were still strong plottings and secret agitations for the restoration of the banished dynasty. By both the king and his Ministers all Tories were regarded as Jacobites, and it was resolved to keep them out of office, and, as much as possible, out of Parliament. They had the power in their own hands in this Parliament, and, in order to keep it, they did not hesitate to destroy that Triennial Act for which their own party had claimed so much credit in 1694, and substitute a Septennial Act in its place. They would thereby give to their own party in Parliament more than a double term of the present legal possession of their seats. Instead of one year, they would be able to look forward four years without any fear of[33] Tory increase of power through a new election. On the 10th of April, Devonshire, Lord Steward of the Household, moved the repeal of the Triennial Act, long lauded as one of the bulwarks of our liberties, under the now convenient plea that it had been "found very grievous and burthensome, by occasioning much greater and more continued expenses in order to elections of members to serve in Parliament, and more lasting heats and animosities amongst the subjects of this realm than ever were known before the said clause was enacted."


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Many improvements were made also in the glass manufacture during this reign, and more would undoubtedly have been made but for the very heavy duties upon it to help to support the ruinous wars of the period. In 1760, the first year of the reign, crown glass is said to have been introduced. In 1763 the first glass plates for looking-glasses and coach-windows were made at Lambeth. In 1779 flint-glass was first made; and about that time plate-glass. The duties on different kinds of glass at that date were about one hundred and forty thousand pounds per annum. So oppressive were those duties that, in 1785, the St. Helens Plate-glass Company petitioned Parliament, stating that, in consequence of the weight of taxation, notwithstanding an expenditure of one hundred thousand pounds, they had not been able to declare a dividend.

[438]Louis was succeeded for the time by the Duke of Orleans as Regent, who had other views, and was surrounded by other influences than the old king. He had secured the Regency in opposition to Madame Maintenon and the royal bastards. He changed all the ministers, and was not inclined to risk his government by making enemies of the English abroad, having sufficient of these at home. He had been for some time cultivating the good offices of the present English Government, which had offered to assist him with troops and money, if necessary, to secure the Regency. He had seen a good deal of the new Secretary of State, Stanhope, in Spain, and still maintained a correspondence with him. Lord Stair, the British Ambassador, therefore, was placed in a more influential position with the Regent, and the Pretender and his ministers were but coldly looked on.



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