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[See larger version]With this debate terminated the friendship of Fox and Burke. Fox disclaimed any premeditated attack on Burke, but the severe things which he himself had said of his old friend, the contempt which he expressed for Burke's "Reflections on the French Revolution," and the private conversations which he invariably dragged into these public debates, give us less confidence in this assertion; whilst the co-operation of his party with him bore all the marks of a systematic assault. On the one side stood Fox, expressing much feeling and regret, but uttering the most cutting things, taunting Burke with his age and his enthusiastic temperament, and backed by a violent and insulting crew; on the other side stood Burke, deserted by those, and they were numerous, who thought entirely with him. Not a few expressed to Burke, in private, their agreement of opinion and admiration of his conduct; but to make this expression of any value it should have been open and bold. As it was, the great master who had taught the whole generation of politicians their principles, was left to stand alone in the conflict. He sustained his part nobly, and time was not long in justifying his accuracy of calculation and his prescience. All the results, however, which he declared inevitable, were already rushing into open day, and the enamoured lovers of the French Revolution were forced to hang their heads. In the meantime, the newspapers had poured on the head of Burke their vials of abuse. On the very day on which the Quebec debates terminated, the Morning Chronicle, the organ of the Whigs, published this paragraph:"The great and firm body of the Whigs of England, true to their principles, have decided on the dispute between Mr. Fox and Mr. Burke; and the former is declared to have maintained the pure doctrines by which they are bound together, and upon which they have invariably acted. The consequence is that Mr. Burke retires from Parliament." They were not contented with this premature announcement; they charged him with corruption and apostacy, and described his life, one of honour and generosity, as a long series of basenesses.

Buonaparte's army now occupied the city and the right bank of the Danube. The archduke arrived, and posted himself on the left bank. The river was swollen with the spring rains and the melting of the snow in the mountains. All the bridges had been broken down by which Buonaparte might cross to attack the Austrians before they were joined by their other armies. Buonaparte endeavoured to throw one over at Nussdorf, about a league above Vienna, but the Austrians drove away his men. He therefore made a fresh attempt at Ebersdorf, opposite to which the Danube was divided into five channels, flowing amongst islands, the largest of which was one called Lobau. Here he succeeded, the Archduke Charles seeming unaware of what he was doing, or taking no care to prevent it. On the 20th of May the French began to cross, and deployed on a plain between the villages of Aspern and Esslingen. Thirty thousand infantry had crossed before the next morning, and six thousand horse, and they were attacked by the Austrians, near the village of Aspern, about four in the afternoon. The battle was desperately contested on both sides. The villages of Aspern and Esslingen were taken and retaken several times. The struggle went on with great fury, amid farm-yards, gardens, and enclosures, and waggons, carts, harrows, and ploughs were collected and used as barricades. Night closed upon the scene, leaving the combatants on both sides in possession of some part or other of these villages. On the following morning, the 22nd, the fight was renewed, and, after a terrible carnage, the French were driven back on the river. At this moment news came that the bridge connecting the right bank with the islands was broken down, and the communication of the French army was in danger of being altogether cut off. Buonaparte, to prevent this, retreated into the island of Lobau with the whole of the combating force, and broke down the bridge which connected the islands with the left bank behind them. The Austrians followed keenly upon them in their retreat, and inflicted a dreadful slaughter upon them. Marshal Lannes had both his legs shattered by a cannon-ball, and was carried into the island in the midst of the mle; General St. Hilaire also was killed. The loss in killed and wounded on both sides amounted to upwards of forty thousand. For two days Napoleon remained on the island, with his defeated troops, without provisions, and expecting hourly to be cut to pieces. General Hiller earnestly pressed the Archduke Charles to allow him to pass the Danube, by open force, opposite to the isle of Enzersdorf, where it might be done under cover of cannon, pledging himself to compel the surrender of Buonaparte and his army. But the archduke appeared under a spell from the moment that the fighting was over. Having his enemy thus cooped up, it was in his power to cut off all his supplies. By crossing the river higher or lower, he could have kept possession of both banks, and at once have cut off Buonaparte's magazines at Ebersdorf, under Davoust, from which he was separated by the inundation. By any other general, the other armies under his brother would have been ordered up by express; every soldier and every cannon that Austria could muster within any tolerable distance would have been summoned to surround and secure the enemy, taken at such disadvantage. In no other country but Austria could Napoleon have ever left that island but as a prisoner with a surrendered army.

Scarcely had Lord Exmouth reached home when he was ordered forth again to avenge this outrage, and he sailed from Plymouth on the 28th of July, 1816, with a fleet of twenty-five large and small ships. At Gibraltar he was joined by the Dutch Admiral Van Cappellan with five frigates and a sloop, to which were added a number of British gunboats. On the 27th of August Lord Exmouth sailed right into the formidable harbour of Algiers, and dispatched a messenger to the Dey, demanding instant and ample recompense for the outrage; the delivery of all Christian slaves in the kingdom of Algiers; the repayment of the money received by the Dey for the liberation of Sicilian and Sardinian slaves; the liberation of the British consulwho had been imprisonedand of two boats' crews detained; and peace between Algiers and Holland. The messenger landed at eleven o'clock, and two hours were given the Dey to prepare his answer. The messenger remained till half-past two o'clock, and no answer arriving, he came off, and Lord Exmouth gave instant orders for the bombardment. The attack was terrible. The firing from the fleet, which was vigorously returned from the batteries in the town and on the mole, continued till nine in the evening. Then most of the Algerine batteries were knocked literally to pieces, but the firing did not cease till about eleven. No sooner was the assault over than a land wind arose and carried the fleet out of the harbour, so that the vessels were all out of gunshot by two o'clock in the morning. A wonderful spectacle then presented itself to the eyes of the spectators in the fleet. Nine Algerine frigates, a number of gunboats, the storehouses within the mole, and much of the town were in one huge blaze, and by this they could see that the batteries remained mere heaps of ruins. The next morning Lord Exmouth sent in a letter to[123] the Dey with the offer of the previous day, saying, "If you receive this offer as you ought, you will fire three guns." They were fired. The Dey made apologies, and signed fresh treaties of peace and amity, which were not of long endurance. But within three days one thousand and eighty-three Christian slaves arrived from the interior, and were received on board and conveyed to their respective countries.

United Mexican 35 0 0 1,550 0 0Charles, wrought up to the highest pitch of agony at the prospect of being compelled to abandon the splendid design of entering London in triumph, continued to expostulate and entreat the whole day. The Duke of Perth and some of the Irish officers, moved by his distress, gave way, and called on the other chiefs to yield; but they remained immovable, and the prince, seeing the case hopeless, at length gave up the contest, and, in deep dejection, assented to the retreat. But, as if he deemed the relinquishment of the march on the metropolis the ruin of the whole enterprise, he declared that henceforth he would summon no more councilsbeing accountable only to God and his father, he would not again either seek or accept their advice.[See larger version]

Two more attempts were made. Mr. Crewe reproduced the Bill to disable revenue officers from voting at elections, which was at once rejected. Sir Philip Jennings Clerke then reintroduced his Bill to exclude contractors from the House of Commons, unless their contracts were obtained at a public bidding. This was suffered, for appearance' sake, to pass the House with little opposition; but it was arrested in the Peers by the law lords, at the head of whom were Mansfield and Thurlow, and thrown out.

"I well know that there are those upon whom such considerations as these to which I have been adverting will make but a faint impression. Their answer to all such appeals is the short, in their opinion the conclusive, declaration'The Protestant Constitution in Church and State must be maintained at all hazards, and by any means; the maintenance of it is a question of principle, and every concession or compromise is the sacrifice of principle to a low and vulgar expediency.' This is easily said; but how was Ireland to be governed? How was the Protestant Constitution in Church and State to be maintained in that part of the empire? Again I can anticipate the reply'By the overwhelming sense of the people of Great Britain; by the application, if necessary, of physical force for the maintenance of authority; by the employment of the organised strength of Government, the police and the military, to enforce obedience to the law.'"[See larger version]

In September the Americans in Fort Erie, being strongly reinforced, and elated by their repulse of General Drummond, marched out and made an attack on the British lines. General de Watteville received them with such effect that they rapidly fell back on Fort Erie and, no longer feeling themselves safe even there, they evacuated the fort, demolished its works, and retreated altogether from the shore of Upper Canada. When the news of peace, which had been concluded in December of this year, arrived in the spring, before the commencement of military operationsthough thirty thousand men at a time had invaded the Canadian frontiers, and Hampton, Wilkinson, and Harrison had all been marching in the direction of Kingston and Montreal simultaneously, the British were in possession of their fortress of Niagara, and of Michilimakinac, the key of the Michigan territory; and they had nothing to give in exchange but the defenceless shore of the Detroit. They had totally failed in their grand design on Canada, and had lostin killed, wounded, and prisonersnearly fifty thousand men, besides vast quantities of stores and ammunition. In short, they had incurred an expenditure quite heavy enough to deter them from lightly attacking the Canadas again.It was not only in the wild and dreary west, always the most neglected part of Ireland, without resident gentry, without a middle class, without manufacturers, and almost without towns, that the desolating effects of the famine were felt. In Ulster, even in the best counties and most thriving manufacturing districts, where the people were intensely industrious, orderly, and thrifty, some of its worst horrors were endured. In the county of Armagh, where the very small farmers kept themselves in comfort by weaving linen in their own houses, they were obliged to work their looms by night as well as by day in order to keep hunger from their homes. They worked till, by exhaustion and want of sleep, they were compelled to lie down. Many of them were obliged to sell or pawn all their clothes. In many cases, and as a last resource, those stout-hearted Presbyterians had to sell their Bibles in order to purchase a meal of food for their children. A clergyman of the Church of England in that county wrote to the Committee of the Society of Friends that he had seen the living lying on straw by the side of the unburied dead, who had died three days before. Not only the aged and infirm, not only women and children, but strong men, he had known to pine away till they died of actual starvation. Strong, healthy girls became so emaciated that they could not stand or move a limb. He visited[540] houses, once comfortable homes, in which not an article of furniture remained. The poor-house of Lurgan was shut. Seventy-five persons died there in one day. In Armagh poor-house forty-five died weekly. The poor-houses became pest-houses, which sent forth the miasma of death into every parish, already full of dysentery and fever. The congregations in the various churches were reduced to almost nothing. Deaths occurred so rapidly that the Roman Catholic priest ceased to attend funerals in his graveyard. The most deplorable accounts came from Cork, and especially from Skibbereen, a remote district of that county. In December, 1846, Father Mathew wrote to Mr. Trevelyan, then Secretary of the Treasury, that men, women, and children were gradually wasting away. They filled their stomachs with cabbage-leaves, turnip-tops, etc., to appease the cravings of hunger. There were then more than 5,000 half-starved wretches from the country begging in the streets of Cork. When utterly exhausted they crawled to the workhouse to die. The average of deaths in that union were then over 100 a week. At Crookhaven the daily average of deaths was from ten to twelve; and as early as the first Sunday in September a collection was made to purchase a public bier, on which to take the coffinless dead to the grave, the means to procure coffins being utterly exhausted in that locality. Earlier still in Skibbereen numerous cases had occurred of the dead being kept for several days above ground for want of coffins. In some cases they were buried in the rags in which they died. Throughout the entire west of the county of Cork it was a common occurrence to see from ten to a dozen funerals in the course of the day during the close of 1846.

But long before thisas early, indeed, as the 15th of Aprilnews had reached London of the death of the erratic Emperor Paul, and of the bombardment of Copenhagen by the British fleet. Paul had been won over by Buonaparte to his views, and had been flattered by him by being electedthough irregularly and illegallyGrand-Master of the Knights of Malta. He had been persuaded that the conquest of Malta by the British was an invasion of his rights, and by these and other flatteries Buonaparte had influenced his weak mind to become the agent of his plans in destroying the British ships in the Baltic, and in closing that sea to British commerce. Paul pretended that we had captured Danish convoys, these same convoys being engaged in guarding vessels loaded with materials of war for France, and that thus the independence of the North was menaced by us. On this ground, and on that of the invasion of Malta, he immediately laid an embargo on all British vessels in Russian ports, and as two vessels in the harbour of Narva resisted the attempts to seize them, in consequence of the embargo, he ordered all the British vessels in that port to be burned. In consequence of this sudden and unwarrantable order, contrary to all the laws of nations, about three hundred British vessels were seized, and the officers and crews dragged on shore, put into irons, and sent up the country under menaces of Siberia. Paul next ordered all property of Englishmen in Russia to be seized and sold. Denmarkwith whom we had various rencontres, on account of its men-of-war convoying vessels laden with stores for French portssoon joined Russia. We sent Lord Whitworth to Copenhagen to endeavour to come to some understanding on these matters in 1800, but though a convention was signed, it was not satisfactory. Sweden followed the example of Denmark, and the three Northern Powers entered into a treaty of armed neutrality to resist our search of their vessels in any circumstances. As the consequence of this policy would be to shut us out of all trade with the ports of the Baltic, it was resolved to send a fleet to chastise these Powers and break up their co-operation with France. Mr. Vansittart was despatched to Copenhagen, accompanied by a fleet of eighteen sail of the line, with several frigates and smaller vessels, under command of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, with Vice-Admiral Nelson as second. The fleet left the Yarmouth Roads on the 12th of March, 1801, and arriving at the mouth of the Sound, Nelson recommended that they should sail directly up to Copenhagen, and be prepared, on the refusal of our proposals, to bombard the place, as this would not allow them time to get ready their batteries, and thus do all the more damage to our ships and men. But this was deemed too offensive before any attempt at negotiation, and accordingly Mr. Vansittart was sent forward in a frigate with a flag of truce, leaving the fleet at the Scaw. He returned without effecting anything more than what Nelson anticipated. Sir Hyde Parker wasted time in making[481] the needless inquiry by a flag of truce of the Governor of Elsinore, whether the passage of the Sound would be disputed, who replied that it would. It was then proposed to enter by the Belt. Nelson said:"Let it be by the Sound, or the Belt, or anyhowonly don't let us lose an hour."On the 21st of January another great breach was made, and another attempt to carry the place by assault; but it was repelled with terrible slaughter, upwards of six hundred men being killed or wounded. At the same time, Meer Khan, with eight thousand horse, endeavoured to cut off a great train of camels and bullocks bringing up provisions, but was defeated, as were the united[514] forces of Meer Khan, Holkar, and the Rajah of Bhurtpore, in a similar attempt to intercept another provision train on its way from Agra. In order to compel Lake to raise the siege of Bhurtpore, Meer Khan made an incursion with his own cavalry, and a powerful reinforcement of Pindarrees, into the Doab, the Company's territory. But Lord Lake was not to be drawn away from the fort. He despatched Major-General Smith with a body of horse and the horse artillery, who followed the track of Meer Khan, marked by burning villages and desolated fields, and coming up with him, on the 1st of March, near Afzulgur, he routed him with great slaughter, dispersing and almost annihilating his force. During this expedition, which lasted a month, and in which the British crossed and re-crossed the Ganges and the Jumna several times, they gave a splendid example of the effective condition of our troops in India.

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He had, however, lost something of his old self-confidence, and the opposition which he had met with from the State, and the alienation of the people, were not exhilarating. Napoleon saw that he must conciliate the French by concessions, but neither his temperament nor his necessities permitted him to do this liberally. He gave nominal freedom to the press, but he bought up the majority of the editors and proprietors; yet, not being able to do this wholly, the opposition spoke bitter things to him and of him, and damaged his cause seriously. He called on Siys, Carnot, and Fouch to assist in framing his constitution; and he gave peerages to Carnot and Siys, and those once stern Republicans accepted them. But, even with their aid, he could not bring himself to grant a free constitution. Nobody believed him to be sincere even in what he did give. The police were as strict as ever, and yet every night the walls of Paris were covered with proclamations of Louis XVIII., forbidding the payment of taxes, and announcing the approach of one million two hundred thousand men.



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