严智泽诗二首·谒成吉思汗陵

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

But the violent proceedings of Hastings and his Council, partly against each other, and still more against the natives, did not escape the authorities at home. Two committees were appointed in the House of Commons in 1781, to inquire into these matters. One of them was headed by General Richard Smith, and the other by Dundas, the Lord Advocate of Scotland. In both of these the conduct of Hastings, especially in the war against the Rohillas, was severely condemned, and the appointment of Impey to the new judicial office was greatly disapproved. In May, 1782, General Smith moved an address praying his Majesty to recall Sir Elijah Impey, which was carried unanimously, and he was recalled accordingly. Dundas also moved and carried a resolution declaring it to be the duty of the Court of Directors to recall Warren Hastings, on the charge of his "having, in sundry instances, acted in a manner repugnant to the honour and policy of the nation." The Court of Directors complied with this suggestion; but Lord Rockingham dying, his Ministry being dissolved, and Burke, the great opponent of Indian oppressions, being out of office, in October the Court of Directors, through the active exertions of the friends of Hastings, rescinded his recall. The succeeding changes of administration, and their weakness, first that of the Shelburne, and then that of the Coalition Ministry, enabled Hastings to keep his post in India, and finish the war in Madras. It was the India Bill of Pitt in 1784, which, by creating the Board of Control, and enabling the Government to take immediate cognisance of the proceedings of the Governors-General, and other chief officers in India, broke the power of Hastings, and led him to resign, without, however, enabling him to escape the just scrutiny which his administration needed.

The Ministry were now involved in a transaction which produced them a plentiful crop of unpopularity. The country was already highly disappointed by the character of the financial measures, and now saw them engaged in an attempt to gratify the domestic resentments of the Prince of Wales. We have already alluded to the[520] disreputable circumstances attending his marriage with the Princess Caroline of Brunswick. After little more than a year's cohabitation they separated, but not before a daughter was born. So long as the Pitt Administration continued, all offensive measures of a public nature were warded from the unfortunate princess. The king had always been her decided protector; but now the Whigs came in, who had ever been in alliance with the Prince of Wales, and that exemplary gentleman conceived hopes that he might rid himself of her. The public had been for some time scandalised by disputes between the prince and princess as to a proper separate allowance for her, and concerning the prince's endeavours to deprive her of the company of her own child; but, as he had not succeeded in taking away the infant, rumours were soon industriously spread that the princess, at Blackheath, was leading a very disreputable life. All that they could gather up or construe to the princess's disadvantage was duly communicated to the Duke of Sussex, and by the duke to his brother, the prince. In 1805 they had supplied their employer or employers with a most startling story of the princess's having been delivered of a son, whom she was openly keeping in her house, under pretence that it was the child of a poor woman of the name of Austin, which she had adopted. Immediate steps were taken privately to get up a case. On the 24th of May Lord Chancellor Erskine read the written statements to the king, who decided that a private inquiry should take place; that the house of Lord Grenville should be selected as the proper scene, and that Lords Erskine, Spencer, Grenville, and Ellenborough should undertake the inquiry and report to him upon it. This meeting and inquiry took place, accordingly, on the 1st of June. Romilly attended. The servants were examined, and appear, according to Romilly's diary, to have uniformly given the most favourable testimony to the conduct of the princess. Further: the reputed mother of the child, Sophia Austin, was examined, and proved that the child was veritably her own; had been born at the Brownlow Street Hospital on the 11th of July, 1802, and had been taken to the princess's house on the 15th of November, adopted by her, and had remained there ever since. "The result," says Romilly, "was a perfect conviction on my mind, and, I believe, on the minds of the four lords, that the child was the child of Sophia Austin." This affair of the Princess of Wales was not terminated till the end of January, 1807. When the report was laid before the king, he referred it to the Cabinet, and they advised him to send a written message to the princess, acquitting her of the main charge, but observing that he saw in the depositions of the witnesses, and even in her own letter to him, defending her conduct, evidence of a deportment unbecoming her station. The odium excited against the Ministry by these un-English proceedings was intense, especially amongst women, all over the country.

The King of Prussia was anxious to unite with Russia, and to furnish forty thousand men for the common defence. But all his strongest garrisons were in the hands of France, and Alexander did not advise him to subject his territories to the certain misery of being overrun by the French till the contest in Russia was decided; for Alexander meant to fall back during the early part of the campaign, and could, therefore, lend no aid to Prussia. It was agreed, therefore, that Prussia should afford the demanded twenty thousand men and sixty pieces of artillery to the army of Napoleon, and act according to circumstances. Prussia was also to furnish the French army with all that it required during its march across it, the charge to be deducted from the debt of Prussia to France. On the 1st of September the British commander made a formal demand for the surrender of the fleet. The Danish General requested time to communicate this demand to the Crown Prince, but the vicinity of the French would not permit this, and the next day, the land batteries on one side, and our bomb-vessels on the other, began to fling shells into the town. The wooden buildings were soon in flames, but the Danes replied with their accustomed bravery to our fire, and the conflict became terrible. The bombardment of the British continued without cessation all day and all night till the morning of the 3rd. It was then stopped for an interval, to give an opportunity for a proposal of surrender; but, none coming, the bombardment was renewed with terrible fury. In all directions the city was in a blaze; the steeple of the chief church, which was of wood, was a column of fire, and in this condition was knocked to pieces by the tempest of shot and shells, its fragments being scattered, as the means of fresh ignition, far around. A huge timber-yard taking fire added greatly to the conflagration. The fire-engines, which the Danes had plied bravely, were all knocked to pieces, and, to prevent the utter destruction of the city, on the evening of the 5th the Danish governor issued a flag of truce, and requested an armistice of twenty-four hours. Lord Cathcart replied that, in the circumstances, no delay could be permitted, and that therefore no armistice could take place, except accompanied by the surrender of the fleet. This was then complied with, and Sir Arthur Wellesley, Sir Home Popham, and Lieutenant-Colonel George Murray went on shore to settle the terms of the capitulation. This was completed by the morning of the 7th, signed, and ratified. The British were to be put at once in possession of the citadel and all the ships and maritime stores, and, within six weeks, or as much earlier as possible, they were to remove these and evacuate the citadel and the isle of Zealand. All other property was to be respected, and everything done in order and harmony; prisoners were to be mutually exchanged, and Britons seized in consequence of the proclamation to be restored. The whole of these measures were completed within the time specified, and seventeen ships of the line, eleven frigates, and twenty-five gunboats became the prize of the British.

PARISHES. The main subject for consideration at that moment was the policy of continuing the Act for the suppression of the Catholic Association, which was to expire at the end of the Session of 1828. In connection with this subject a letter from Lord Anglesey came under the Ministry's consideration. "Do keep matters quiet in Parliament," he said, "if possible. The less that is said of Catholic and Protestant the better. It would be presumptuous to form an opinion, or even a sanguine hope, in so short a time, yet I cannot but think there is much reciprocal inclination to get rid of the bugbear, and soften down asperities. I am by no means sure that even the most violent would not be glad of an excuse for being less violent. Even at the Association they are at a loss to keep up the extreme irritation they had accomplished; and if they find they are not violently opposed, and that there is no disposition on the part of Government to coercion, I do believe they will dwindle into moderation. If, however, we have a mind to have a good blaze again, we may at once command it by re-enacting the expiring Bill, and when we have improved it and rendered it perfect, we shall find that it will not be acted upon. In short, I shall back Messrs. O'Connell's and Sheil's, and others' evasions against the Crown lawyers' laws." Periodical writing grew in this reign into a leading organ of opinion and intelligence. The two chief periodicals, according to our present idea of them, were the Gentleman's Magazine and the Monthly Review. These were both started prior to the accession of George III. The Gentleman's Magazine was started by Cave, the publisher, in 1731; and the Monthly Review commenced in 1749. The former was a depository of a great variety of matters, antiquarian, topographical, critical, and miscellaneous, and has retained that character to the present hour. The Monthly Review was exclusively devoted to criticism. But in the early portion of the reign a periodical literature of a totally different character prevailedthe periodical essayistformed on the model of the Spectator, Guardian, and Tatler of a prior period. Chief amongst these figured Ambrose Philips's Freethinker; the Museum, supported by Walpole, the Wartons, Akenside, etc.; the Rambler, by Dr. Johnson; the Adventurer, by Hawkesworth; the World, in which wrote chiefly aristocrats, as Lords Lyttelton, Chesterfield, Bath, Cork, Horace Walpole, etc.; the Connoisseur, chiefly supplied by George Colman and Bonnel Thornton; the Old Maid, conducted by Mrs. Frances Brooke; the Idler, by Johnson; the Babbler, by Hugh Kelly; the Citizen of the World, by Goldsmith; the Mirror, chiefly written by Mackenzie, the author of the "Man of Feeling;" and the Lounger, also chiefly conducted by Mackenzie. This class of productions, appearing each once or twice a week, afforded the public the amusement and instruction now furnished by the daily newspapers, weekly reviews, and monthly magazines. Towards the end of the reign arose a new species of review, the object of which was, under the guise of literature, to serve opposing parties in politics. The first of these was the Edinburgh Review, the organ of the Whigs, started in 1802, in which Brougham, Jeffrey, and Sydney Smith were the chief writers. This, professing to be liberal, launched forth the most illiberal criticisms imaginable. There was scarcely a great poet of the timeWordsworth, Coleridge, Southey, Byron, James Montgomery, Leigh Hunt, Shelley, Keatswhom it did not, but vainly, endeavour to crush. To combat the influence of this Whig organ, in 1809 came forth the Quarterly Review, the great organ of the Tories, to which Scott, Southey, Wilson Croker, Gifford, etc., were the chief contributors. In 1817 this was followed by another Conservative journal, not quarterly, but monthly in its issue, conducted chiefly by Professor Wilson and Lockhart, namely, Blackwood's Magazine, in which the monthly magazines of to-day find their prototype, but with a more decided political bias than these generally possess.

This retreat had been made under great difficulties; the weather being excessively wet, the rivers swollen, and the roads knee-deep in mud. Provisions were scarce, and the soldiers found great difficulty in cooking the skinny, tough beef that they got, on account of the wet making it hard to kindle fires. The Spaniards, as usual,[31] concealed all the provisions they could, and charged enormously for any that they were compelled to part with. In fact, no enemies could have been treated worse than they treated us all the while that we were doing and suffering so much for them. The soldiers became so enraged that they set at defiance the strict system which Wellington exacted in this respect, and cudgelled the peasantry to compel them to bring out food, and seized it wherever they could find it. In fact, the discipline of the army was fast deteriorating from these causes, and Wellington issued very stern orders to the officers on the subject. Till they reached the Tormes, too, the rear was continually harassed by the French; and Sir Edward Paget, mounting a hill to make observations, was surprised and made prisoner.

Ministers were soon compelled to pursue the policy which Pitt had so successfully inaugurated. With all the determination of Lord Bute and his colleagues to make a speedy peace, they found it impossible. The Family Compact between France and Spain was already signed; and in various quarters of the world Pitt's plans were so far in progress that they must go on. In East and West, his plans for the conquest of Havana, of the Philippine Isles, and for other objects, were not to be abruptly abandoned; and Ministers were compelled to carry out his objects, in many particulars, in spite of themselves. And now the unpleasant truth was forced on the attention of Ministers, that the war which Pitt declared to be inevitable was so, and that he had recommended the only wise measure. The country was now destined to pay the penalty of their folly and stupidity in rejecting Pitt's proposal to declare war against Spain at once, and strip her of the means of offence, her treasure ships. Lord Bristol, our ambassador at Madrid, announced to Lord Bute, in a despatch of the 2nd of November, that these ships had arrived, and that all the wealth which Spain expected from her American colonies for the next year was safe at home. And he had to add that with this, Wall, the Minister, had thrown off the mask, and had assumed the most haughty and insolent language towards Great Britain. This was a confession on the part of Lord Bristol that he had suffered Wall to throw dust in his eyes till his object was accomplished, and it made patent the fact that Pitt had been too sagacious to be deceived; but that the new Ministers, whilst insulting Pitt and forcing him to resign, had been themselves completely duped. Spain now, in the most peremptory terms, demanded redress for all her grievances; and, before the year had closed, the Bute Cabinet was compelled to recall Lord Bristol from Madrid, and to order Fuentes, the Spanish ambassador in London, to quit the kingdom. On the 4th of January, 1762, declaration of war was issued against Spain. Neither king nor Ministers, seeing the wisdom of Pitt's policy and the folly of their own, were prevented from committing another such absurdity. They abandoned Frederick of Prussia at his greatest need. They refused to vote his usual subsidy. By this execrable proceedingfor we not only abandoned Frederick, but made overtures to Austria, with which he was engaged in a mortal strugglewe thus threw him into the arms and close alliance of Russia, and were, by this, the indirect means of that guilty confederation by which Poland was afterwards rent in pieces by these powers. On the 5th of January, 1762, died the Czarina Elizabeth. She was succeeded by her nephew, the Duke of Holstein, under the title of Peter III. Peter was an enthusiastic admirer of the Prussian king; he was extravagant and incessant in his praises of him. He accepted the commission of a colonel in the Prussian service, wore its uniform, and was bent on clothing his own troops in it. It was clear that he was not quite sane, for he immediately recalled the Russian army which was acting against Frederick, hastened to make peace with him, and offered to restore all that had been won from him in the war, even to Prussia proper, which the Russians had possession of. His example was eagerly seized upon by Sweden, which was tired of the war. Both Russia and Sweden signed treaties of peace with Frederick in May, and Peter went farther: he dispatched an army into Silesia, where it had so lately been fighting against him, to fight against Austria. Elated by this extraordinary turn of affairs, the Prussian ambassador renewed his applications for money, urging that, now Russia had joined Frederick, it would be easy to subdue Austria and terminate the war. This was an opportunity for Bute to retrace with credit his steps; but he argued, on the contrary, that, having the aid of Russia, Frederick did not want that of England; and he[173] is even accused of endeavouring to persuade Russia to continue its hostilities against Prussia; and thus he totally alienated a power which might have hereafter rendered us essential service, without gaining a single point. The Duke of Newcastle, man of mediocre merit as he was, saw farther than Bute into the disgraceful nature of thus abandoning a powerful ally at an extremity, as well as the impolicy of converting such a man into a mortal enemy; and, finding all remonstrances vain, resigned. Bute was glad to be rid of him; and Newcastle, finding both his remonstrance and resignation taken very coolly, had the meanness to seek to regain a situation in the Cabinet, but without effect, and threw himself into the Opposition.

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Rodney, on reaching the West Indies, found, as we shall see, a combined fleet of French under the Count de Guichen, and of Spanish under Admiral Solano; but he could not bring them to an engagement, and, after a brief brush, they eventually eluded him, Solano taking refuge in Havana, and De Guichen convoying the home-bound merchant ships of France. Disappointed in his hopes[272] of a conflict with these foes, Rodney sailed for the North American coasts. Scarcely had he quitted the European waters, however, when the Spaniards took a severe revenge for his victory over them at St. Vincent. Florida Blanca, the Minister of Spain, learnt, through his spies in England, that the English East and West Indian traders were going out under a very foolishly feeble escortin fact, of only two ships of the line. Elated at the news, Florida Blanca collected every vessel that he could, and dispatched them, under Admirals Cordova and Gaston, to intercept this precious prize. The enterprise was most successful. The Spanish fleet lay in wait at the point where the East and West India vessels separate, off the Azores, captured sixty sail of merchantmen, and carried them safe into Cadiz. The two vessels of war escaped, but in the East Indiamen were eighteen hundred soldiers going out to reinforce the troops in the East.

From the Painting by J. S. Copley, R.A., at the National Gallery.

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