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Whilst all the countries which Buonaparte, at such an incalculable cost of life and human suffering, had compelled to the dominion of France were thus re-asserting their freedom, Buonaparte, in Paris, presented the miserable phantom of a vanished greatness. He called on the Senate to vote new conscriptions, telling them that theirs had been made by him the first throne of the universe, and they must maintain it as such; that without him they would become nothing. But the Allies were now entering France at one end, and Wellington was firmly fixed in the other; ere long the insulted nations would be at the gates of Paris, and the Senate and people demanded peace. Buonaparte refused to listen, and the Senate voted the conscription of three hundred thousand men, knowing that there was no longer any authority in the country to raise them. La Vende, and all the Catholic South, were on the verge of insurrection; Murat, in Naples, was ready to throw off his last link of adhesion to Buonaparte; and the defeated usurper stood paralysed at the approach of his doom.

On the 21st of January, 1772, the king opened Parliament, and the two divisions of the Opposition under the leadership of Rockingham and Chatham were found to be divided and dispirited. The chief proceeding of this session was one of a very remarkable character. The boasted morals of George III. and of his queen had not defended his family from gross crimes and corruptions. Very notorious was the life of his brother, the Duke of Cumberland. Amongst his licentious intrigues was one with Henrietta Vernon, Lady Grosvenor, a young and beautiful woman, whom he seduced, following her into Cheshire, when her husband took her from town, and meeting her in various disguises. In 1770 Lord Grosvenor brought an action against him and obtained a verdict of ten thousand pounds. With a rapidity of fickleness almost unexampled, he was immediately afterwards paying suit to Mrs. Horton. Cumberland went over to Calais with Mrs. Horton, and there married her according to the[206] rites of the Church of England (October 2, 1771). The Duke of Gloucester also now confessed to a secret marriage (September 6, 1766) with the Countess Dowager Waldegrave. A Bill was brought into Parliament in 1772, since well known as the Royal Marriage Act, by which every prince or princess, descendant of George II., except only the issue of princes married abroad, was prohibited from marrying until the age of twenty-five without the king's consent. After that age they might apply to the Privy Council, and if within a year of such announcement both Houses of Parliament should not express disapprobation of the intended marriage, it might then be lawfully solemnised. The Bill did not pass without violent opposition.

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On the 28th of September the combined army of French and Americans came in sight of York Town, and encamped about two miles from the outworks. The next morning they extended themselves towards the left of Cornwallis, but cautiously; and the English pickets slowly retired within the outer lines at their approach. That evening Cornwallis received a despatch from Sir Henry Clinton, dated September 24th, which gave the cheering expectation that he was duly sensible of the imminence of the danger, and of his responsibility. He said:"At a meeting of the general and flag officers held this day, it is determined that above five thousand men, rank and file, shall be embarked on board the king's ships, and the joint exertions of the navy and army made in a few days to relieve you, and afterwards to co-operate with you. The fleet consists of twenty-three sail of the line, three of which are three-deckers. There is every reason to hope that we start on the 5th of October." On this promising intimation of speedy aid, Cornwallis immediately drew in his small force from the extended outworks, and concentrated them within the entrenchments round the town. Undoubtedly it was a measure calculated to save much life, which must have been lost in defending outworks too widely extended for the enclosed force; but it encouraged the Americans, who did not expect to gain them thus easily. Two thousand men took up their ground before Gloucester. Round York Town itself Washington, Rochambeau, Lafayette, and St. Simon concentrated their forces. On the night of the 1st of October, the French on the right and the Americans on the left drew nearer, and commenced breaking ground. Six days were then spent in bringing from the ships fifty pieces of cannon, some of them very heavy, ammunition, and other military stores; in fact, as much preparation was made for carrying this single post as if it had been a regular and first-rate fortress. On the night of the 6th of October the French and Americans began casting up their first parallel within six hundred yards of Cornwallis's lines. By the 9th of October their trenches and batteries were completed, and that afternoon they opened a tremendous fire on the town. Cornwallis replied to them with vigour,[283] but he found many of his guns on the left silenced, and his works greatly damaged. On the night of the 11th the enemy began their second parallel within three hundred yards of the lines. In its progress, for three days, Cornwallis committed much havoc amongst them by opening fresh embrasures for guns, and pouring an incessant shower upon them of balls and shells. Two redoubts on the left flank of the British more particularly annoyed them, and Washington determined to carry these by storm. Of course they were carried, and their guns then turned on York Town. ST. GEORGE'S CATHEDRAL, SOUTHWARK.

On the 14th of July, when Barclay de Tolly was close pressed by Napoleon, he learned that though Bagration had been repulsed at Mohilev, he was now advancing on Smolensk; he therefore himself again retreated before the French towards Vitebsk. At that town he had a partial engagement with the French; but he quitted it in good order. Here Murat and most of the other general officers entreated Napoleon to close the campaign for this year; but he refused. The soldiers were dispirited by this continual pursuit without result; Murat himself was heartily sick of endeavouring to get a dash at the enemy and being as constantly foiled; King Jerome had been disgraced and sent back to his Westphalian dominions, on the charge of having let Bagration escape by want of sufficient energy; and Wittgenstein had, to the great disgust of Napoleon, on the 2nd of July, crossed the river, surprised Sebastiani's vanguard of cavalry in Drissa, and completely routed them. These things had embittered Buonaparte; and if he ever intended to encamp for the winter at Vitebsk, he now abandoned the idea with indignation. It was still midsummer; the enemy had so far eluded him; he had not been able to strike one of his usual great blows and send terror before him. He was impatient of a pause. "Surrounded," says Sgur, "by disapproving countenances, and opinions contrary to his own, he was moody and irritable. All the officers of his household opposed him, some with arguments, some with entreaties, someas Berthiereven with tears; but he exclaimed, 'Did they think he was come so far only to conquer a parcel of wretched huts? that he had enriched his generals too much; that all to which they now aspired was to follow the pleasures of the chase, and to display their splendid equipages in Paris. We must,' he said, 'advance upon Moscow, and strike a blow, in order to obtain peace, or winter-quarters and supplies.'"

Carteretor Granville, as we must now style him, for he succeeded to the earldom in 1744still retained the favour of the king precisely in the same degree as he had forfeited that of the people and the Parliament, by his unscrupulous support of George's Hanoverian predilections. Elated with the favour of the king, Granville insisted on exercising the same supreme power in the Cabinet which Walpole had done. This drove Pelham and his brother, Newcastle, to inform the king that they or Granville must resign. George, unwilling to part with Granville, yet afraid of offending the Pelham party, and risking their support of the large subsidies which he required for Germany, was in a great strait. He sent for Lord Orford up from Houghton, who attended, though in the extreme agonies of the stone, which, in a few months later, brought him to his end. Walpole, notwithstanding the strong desire of the king to retain Granville, and that also of the Prince of Waleswho on this and all points connected with Hanover agreed with the king, though no one else diddecided that it was absolutely necessary that he should resign; and accordingly, on the 24th of November, Granville sullenly resigned the seals, and they were returned to his predecessor, the Earl of Harrington.

Quippe ferant rapidi secum verrantque per auras.'

In the month of April arrived the permission for Sir William Howe to retire, and, although he was one of the five Commissioners named for carrying into effect the proposals in Lord North's Bill, he determined to leave at the earliest day for England. Lord Howe, the Admiral, was equally impatient to return, but Lord Sandwich had informed him that it would be considered a great misfortune for him to quit his command in the present circumstances. This was, in fact, an order for his remaining, which the breaking out of the war with France, and the expected arrival of a French fleet, rendered doubly imperative.[256] Sir Henry Clinton was appointed to succeed Sir William Howe, and, the former having arrived in Philadelphia, Howe departed. Scarcely had Clinton assumed the command, when an order arrived from the Government at home to abandon Philadelphia, and concentrate his forces at New York. The French fleet under D'Estaing was on its way, and it was considered that we had not a fleet of sufficient strength to beat them back from the mouth of the Delaware.

CHAPTER XVII. THE REIGN OF VICTORIA (continued).

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This was wormwood to the Government; and Wilkes did not leave them many days in quiet. He had declared that, on returning to England, he would surrender himself under his outlawry on the first day of the next term. Accordingly, on the 20th of April, he presented himself to the Court of King's Bench, attended by his counsel, Mr. Glynn, and avowed himself ready to surrender to the laws. Lord Mansfield declared that he was not there by any legal process, and that the court could not take notice of him; but in a few days he was taken on another writ, and on the 8th of June he was again brought before Lord Mansfield, who declared the outlawry void through a flaw in the indictment; but the original verdict against him was confirmed, and he was sentenced to imprisonment for twenty-two calender months, and two fines of five hundred pounds eachone for the North Briton, and the other for the "Essay on Woman."