The interval of repose now obtained continued through the winter, and late into the spring of 1813. It was greatly required by the British army. Lord Wellington stated that the long campaign, commencing in January, had completely tired down man and horse; that they both required thorough rest and good food, and that the discipline of the army, as was always the case after a long campaign, needed restoration; and he set himself about to insure these ends, not only in the troops immediately under his own eye, but in those under Maitland and his successors in the south. He had, even during his own retreat, written to Maitland, encouraging him to have confidence in his men, assuring him that they would repay it by corresponding confidence in themselves. Lord William Bentinck, however, ordered Maitland to return to Sicily with his army in October; Lord Wellington decidedly forbade it. Maitland therefore resigned, and was succeeded by General Clinton, who found himself completely thwarted in his movements by the governor of Alicante, who treated the allies much more like enemies, and would not allow the British to have possession of a single gate of the town, keeping them more like prisoners than free agents. At the beginning of December a fresh reinforcement of four thousand men, under General Campbell, arrived from Sicily, and Campbell took the chief command; but he did not venture to take any decisive movement against the French, but waited for Lord William Bentinck himself, who now determined to come over, but did not arrive till July, 1813. Whilst Campbell remained inactive from this cause, his motley foreign troops continued to desert, and many of them went and enlisted with Suchet.
We must now step back a little to observe the war on the Continent from the opening of the present campaign. Frederick of Prussia lay encamped during the winter in Silesia, surrounded by difficulties and enemies. His resources both in money and men appeared well nigh exhausted. The end of autumn, 1760, brought him the news of the death of George II., and, from what he could learn of the disposition of his successor and his chief advisers, it was certain that peace would be attempted by England. This depressing intelligence was confirmed in December by the British Parliament indeed voting again his usual subsidy, but reluctantly, and he found it paid with still more reluctance and delay. Whilst thus menaced with the total loss of the funds by which he carried on the war, he saw, as the spring approached, the Russians and Austrians advancing against him with more than double his own forces. Disasters soon overtook him. The capture of Schweidnitz enabled the Austrians to winter in Silesia, which they had never yet done during the war; and the Russians also found, to their great satisfaction, on arriving in Pomerania, that they could winter in Colberg. The Russian division under Romanzow had besieged Colberg both by land and sea, and, despite the attempts of the Prussians sent by Frederick to relieve it, it had been compelled to surrender. In these discouraging circumstances Frederick took up his winter quarters at Breslau. His affairs never wore a darker aspect. He was out-generaled and more discomfited this campaign than by a great battle. His enemies lay near in augmented strength of position, and his resources had ominously decreased.ATTACK ON THE ROYAL CARRIAGE. (See p. 448.)The Irish Bill was read a second time in the House of Lords on the 23rd of July. It was strongly opposed by the Duke of Wellington, as transferring the electoral power of the country from the Protestants to the Roman Catholics. Lord Plunket, in reply, said, "One fact, I think, ought to satisfy every man, not determined against conviction, of its wisdom and necessity. What will the House think when I inform them that the representatives of seventeen of those boroughs, containing a population of 170,000 souls, are nominated by precisely seventeen persons? Yet, by putting an end to this iniquitous and disgraceful system, we are, forsooth, violating the articles of the union, and overturning the Protestant institutions of the country! This is ratiocination and statesmanlike loftiness of vision with a vengeance! Then it seems that besides violating the union Act we are departing from the principles of the measure of 1829. I deny that. I also deny the assumption of the noble Duke, that the forty-shilling freeholders were disfranchised on that occasion merely for the purpose of maintaining the Protestant interests in Ireland. The forty-shilling freeholders were disfranchised, not because they were what are called 'Popish electors,' but because they were in such indigent circumstances as precluded their exercising their suffrage right independently and as free agents—because they were an incapable constituency." The Bill, after being considered in committee, where it encountered violent opposition, was passed by the Lords on the 30th of July, and received the Royal Assent by commission on the 7th of August.
It might have been imagined that this magnificent and destructive repulse would have convinced the allies that the siege was hopeless, but they were pretty well informed that General Elliot had well nigh exhausted his ammunition in this prodigal death-shower, and they had still their great combined fleet, snug in the narrow bay, with scouts in the Strait to prevent the carrying in of supplies. But on the 24th of September news arrived at Madrid that the fleet of Lord Howe was under weigh for Gibraltar. Howe's fleet of thirty-four sail-of-the-line, six frigates, and three fire-ships, though in the neighbourhood of one of fifty sail-of-the-line, besides a number of frigates and smaller vessels, managed to get into the bay of Gibraltar all safe, amid the wildest acclamations of soldiers and inhabitants. By the 18th of October all the store-ships had discharged their cargoes, and had passed through the Strait, and on the 19th Lord Howe followed them with his fleet. The enemy's fleet then came out after him, and the next day they were in the open ocean, and Howe proceeded to their leeward to receive them. Some of their vessels had suffered in the late gales, but they had still at least forty-four sail to Howe's thirty-four, and, having the weather-gauge, had every advantage. But after a partial firing, in which they received great damage from Howe, they hauled off and got into Cadiz bay. Howe, then dispatching part of his fleet to the West Indies and a second squadron to the Irish coast, returned home himself. The news of the grand defence of Gibraltar produced a wonderful rejoicing in England; thanks were voted by Parliament to the officers and privates of the brave garrison; General Elliot was invested with the Order of the Bath on the king's bastion in sight of the works which he had preserved, and on his return, in 1787, at the age of seventy, he was created a Peer as Lord Heathfield of Gibraltar.
On the 28th of March the Ministry, as completed, was announced in the House, and the writs for the re-elections having been issued, the House adjourned for the Easter holidays, and on the 8th of April met for business. The first affairs which engaged the attention of the new Administration were those of Ireland. We have already seen that, in 1778, the Irish, encouraged by the events in North America, and by Lord North's conciliatory proposals to Congress, appealed to the British Government for the removal of unjust restrictions from themselves, and how free trade was granted them in 1780. These concessions were received in Ireland with testimonies of loud approbation and professions of loyalty; but they only encouraged the patriot party to fresh demands. These were for the repeal of the two obnoxious Acts which conferred the legislative supremacy regarding Irish affairs on England. These Acts were—first, Poynings' Act, so called from Sir Edward Poynings, and passed in the reign of Henry VII., which gave to the English Privy Council the right to see, alter, or suppress any Bill before the Irish Parliament, money Bills excepted; the second was an Act of George I., which asserted in the strongest terms the right of the king, Lords, and Commons of England to legislate for Ireland.
But the loss of the Allies had also been perfectly awful. The Prussians, besides the great slaughter at Ligny, had been engaged in a bloody struggle at Planchenoit, and the British and their Allies had lost in the battle of Waterloo two thousand four hundred and thirty-two killed, and nine thousand five hundred and twenty-eight wounded; these, added to the numbers killed and wounded at Quatre Bras, raised the total to fifteen thousand. Of British and Hanoverian officers alone six hundred were killed or wounded at Waterloo. The Duke of Brunswick fell at the head of his troops at Quatre Bras, without having the satisfaction of witnessing the final ruin of Buonaparte. So many of Wellington's staff were disabled that he had at one time no officer to dispatch with a pressing order. A young Piedmontese, of the family of De Salis, offered himself. "Were you ever in a battle before?" asked the Duke. "No, sir," he replied. "Then," said the Duke, "you are a lucky man, for you will never see such another." When the Duke, who had witnessed so many bloody battles, saw the carnage of Waterloo, and heard, one after another, the losses of so many companions in arms, he was quite overcome. In his despatches he says: "I cannot express the regret and sorrow with which I look round me, and contemplate the losses that we have sustained." And again, "The losses I have sustained have quite broken me down, and I have no feeling for the advantages we have gained."
There was, however, no violation of the peace, which Lord Anglesey had taken effective measures to preserve. He had placed at the disposal of Major Warburton 47 artillery, with two 6-pounders; 120 cavalry, and 415 infantry. These were at Clare Castle, close at hand; within a few miles there were 183 cavalry, and 1,313 infantry; within thirty-six miles, 28 cavalry, 1,367 infantry, and two 6-pounders; and at a farther distance there was a regiment of cavalry and above 800 infantry. There were besides, on duty at Ennis, 300 of the constabulary.
The Queen's marriage has been referred to in connection with the proceedings in Parliament. The details of that interesting event, and other incidents affecting her Majesty's happiness which occurred during the year, will now be recorded. The royal party assembled in the morning of the 10th of February at Buckingham Palace, whence it had been arranged that the members of her Majesty's family and those of Prince Albert's, accompanied by the officers of State, should proceed to St. James's Palace. The entire route along which the royal cortège was to pass was lined by the Horse Guards, while the trumpeters, in their State uniforms, were stationed at intervals to announce the approach of the royal bride and bridegroom. First, the Ladies and Gentlemen of her Majesty's Household, in seven royal carriages, arrived at the garden entrance of St. James's Palace; and then followed the splendid State coach containing her Majesty, her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent, and the Mistress of the Robes. The closet behind the Throne Room had been draped with silk and prepared for the reception of the Queen. There her Majesty, attended by her maids of honour, train-bearers, and bridesmaids, remained until the Lord Chamberlain of her Household marshalled the procession to the Chapel Royal. Soon after her Majesty had entered the closet, the clash of "presented arms," the roll of drums and flourish of trumpets outside, told that the bridegroom had arrived. At a quarter to one o'clock the ring was placed upon her Majesty's finger; outside, the guns thundered forth the intelligence; but their loud booming was nearly drowned by the long-continued shouts of acclamation which arose from the thousands who thronged the park. At the conclusion of the service the Queen Dowager cordially embraced and kissed the bride, and the Prince acknowledged Queen Adelaide's congratulations by kissing her hand. The bride and her royal consort drove at once to Buckingham Palace, and the noble assembly that had witnessed the ceremony retired. After a splendid breakfast at Buckingham Palace the bride and bridegroom took their departure for Windsor Castle. The sun shone out in cloudless lustre just at the moment of their leaving the gateway; the vast concourse of people assembled outside the palace hailed this as a happy omen, and as the carriage containing the royal pair drove off, the air was rent with the most enthusiastic cheering.
[See larger version][See larger version]The Emperor Joseph of Austria had returned from the campaign of 1788 against Turkey greatly chagrined, and with fast-failing health. Had he been wise, he would have accepted the overtures for peace made to him by the Sultan, and have spent the few remaining days of his existence in tranquillity. But his ambitious and persuasive ally, Catherine, prevailed upon him to make another effort. He mustered fresh troops. A hundred and fifty thousand men were marched against the Turkish frontier, early in the year of 1789, in different divisions. It was a circumstance very much in their favour that the able Sultan, Abdul Hamid, died suddenly in April, and was succeeded by his nephew, Selim, a young, rash, and unprincipled man. The acts of Selim, in murdering and dismissing his father's best ministers and commanders, and the unruly condition of the janissaries, rendered Turkey especially open to the attacks of its enemies. Marshal Laudohn, supporting his earlier fame, took the fortress of Gradiska, and stormed Belgrade. But this was not accomplished till the 8th of October, and an attempt was then made to reduce Orsova, but this failed. Coburg and Suvaroff having joined, won a great victory over the new Vizier, Martinitzi, in Wallachia, on the 22nd of September, and the remains of the Turkish army retired to the pass of Shumla, on the Balkan mountains. Potemkin, on his part, had greatly increased his forces after the reduction of Oczakoff, and after a desperate resistance took Bender, famous as the abode of Charles XII. of Sweden, after the battle of Pultawa. Before winter, the Russians had made decided progress in their inroads into the Turkish dominions on the Black Sea. They had gained possession of Akerman, at the mouth of the Dniester; of Keglia Nova, on the northern banks of the Danube, and of other places on the Black Sea. They had also extended their frontier to the left bank of the Danube, and they had actually reduced every important place between the Bug and Dniester and that river. Had Catherine had a sufficient fleet in the Black Sea, Constantinople might have trembled for its safety.
CHAPTER IV. Reign of George II. (continued).Ten years passed away from the adoption of Mr. Canning's resolution, and little or nothing was effectually done to mitigate the system, not-withstanding various subsequent recommendations of the British Government. The consolidated slave law for the Crown colonies contained in an Order in Council issued in 1830, was proposed for the chartered colonies as a model for their adoption; but it contained no provision for the education or religious instruction of the slaves. All the chartered colonies, except two, Grenada and Tobago, had legalised Sunday markets, and they allowed no other time to the negroes for marketing or cultivating their provision grounds. The evidence of slaves had been made admissible; but in most of the colonies the right was so restricted as to make it entirely useless. Except in the Crown colonies, the marriage of slaves was subject to all sorts of vexatious impediments. The provision against the separation of families was found everywhere inoperative. The right of acquiring property was so limited as to prove a mockery and a delusion. The Order in Council gave the slaves the right of redeeming themselves and their families, even against the will of their owners; but all the chartered colonies peremptorily refused any such right of self-liberation. In nearly all the colonies the master had a right by law to inflict thirty-nine lashes at one time, on any slave of any age, or of either sex, for any offence whatever, or for no offence. He could also imprison his victims in the stocks of the workhouse as long as he pleased. There was no return of punishments inflicted, and no proper record. An Order in Council had forbidden the flogging of females; but in all the chartered colonies the infamous practice had been continued in defiance of the supreme Government. The administration of justice—if the term be applicable to a system whose very essence was iniquity—was left to pursue its own course, without any effort for its purification. In July, 1830, Mr. Brougham brought forward his motion, that the House should resolve, at the earliest possible period in next Session, to take into consideration the state of the West Indian colonies, in order to the mitigation and final abolition of slavery, and more especially in order to the amendment of the administration of justice. But the national mind was then so preoccupied with home subjects of agitation that the House was but thinly attended, and the motion was lost by a large majority. The Reform movement absorbed public interest for the two following years, so that nothing was done to mitigate the hard lot of the suffering negro till the question was taken up by Mr. Stanley, in 1833, in compliance with the repeated and earnest entreaties of the friends of emancipation. The abolitionists, of course, had always insisted upon immediate, unconditional emancipation. But the Ministerial plan contained two provisions altogether at variance with their views; a term of apprenticeship, which, in the first draft of the measure, was to last twelve years, and compensation to the owners—a proposition which, though advanced with hesitation, ultimately assumed the enormous amount of twenty millions sterling. On the principle of compensation there was a general agreement, because it was the State that had created the slave property, had legalised it, and imposed upon the present owners all their liabilities. It was therefore thought to be unjust to ruin them by what would be regarded as a breach of faith on the part of the legislature. The same excuse could not be made for the system of protracted apprenticeship, which would be a continuance of slavery under another name. If the price were to be paid for emancipation, the value should be received at once. This was the feeling of Lord Howick, who was then Under-Secretary for the Colonies, and who resigned his office rather than be a party to the apprenticeship scheme, which he vigorously opposed in the House, as did also Mr. Buxton and Mr. O'Connell. But the principle was carried against them by an overwhelming majority. Among the most prominent and efficient advocates of the negroes during the debates were Mr. Buckingham, Dr. Lushington, Admiral Flemming, and Mr. T. B. Macaulay. The opposition to the Government resolution was not violent; it was led by Sir Robert Peel, whose most strenuous supporters were Sir Richard Vivian, Mr. Godson, Mr. W. E. Gladstone, and Mr. Hume. In the House of Lords the resolutions were accepted without a division, being supported by the Earl of Ripon, Lord Suffield, Earl Grey, and the Lord Chancellor Brougham. The speakers on the other side were the Duke of Wellington, the Earl of Harewood, Lord Ellenborough, and Lord Wynford.详情
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