Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

rendered almost on the first summons; and on and became general. It would exceed the limits the 25th of October the marshals Davoust and of this summary to follow the official accounts Augereau entered Berlin.

of the operations; but they assert that all the From Berlin the French emperor issued a de- attempts of the French cavalry to break the Ruscree, dated 20th November, 1806, interdicting sian columns were defeated. In vain, says all commerce and correspondence between the Benningsen, did the emperor of France lavish countries under his government and the islands his last resources; in vain did he endeavour to of Great Britain, which he declared to be in a excite the courage of his soldiers, and sacrifice state of blockade; denouncing all English pro- so great a part of his army: the bravery and perty as lawful prize; and all vessels touching persevering courage of the Russians withstood at any port in England, or any English colony, all his efforts, and snatched from him a victory were excluded from the harbours of France, or which had long remained doubtful.' At midthe countries under its control. This was vin- night the Russians remained masters of the field dicated as a measure of retaliation for the flagrant of battle ; but in the morning retreated, and violations of the laws of maritime neutrality by the French took possession of the town of Eylau. Great Britain; and, extravagant as the terms of the After this the armies of France and Russia decree might seem, its effects were severely felt. remained, for a considerable time, inactive.

After the dreadful defeat of Jena, the king of Warlike operations, however, continued in SwedPrussia had retired to Koningsberg, where he was ish Pomerania, where, after a number of actions actively employed in collecting the scattered and fought with various success, the Swedes were at feeble remains of his forces. In the mean time last driven into Stralsund. In the month of the French, under Jerome Buonaparte, made April a division of the French army commenced themselves masters of Silesia, and the barrier, the siege of Dantzic; and the houses of the which seemed to have wholly separated France suburbs were destroyed to the value of 9,000,000 and Russia, was now broken down. On this of livres; the damages occasioned in the city the emperor Alexander resolved to make a grand itself, by the cannonade and bombardment, were effort to protect his own dominions, as well as estimated at 12,000,000. The Russians, notwithto support the throne of Prussia. While marshals standing their assumed victory at Eylau, could Davoust and Lasnes entered Prussian Poland, never make an effort for the relief of this city; a large force was collecting in different parts of which, on the 28th of May, surrendered to the the Russian empire, and began to move towards French by capitulation. the frontier.

The fatal day at length arrived which was to The Russians, having crossed the Vistula on decide the mighty contest. That day was the the 26th November, met the French advanced 14th of June, the anniversary of the battle of posts, which finding themselves unequal to resist, Marengo. Having put his soldiers in mind of they repassed that river; and two days after, the this circumstance, the emperor Napoleon preduke of Berg, with a division of the French army, pared for an attack on the Russian position at entered Warsaw. About a month after the forces Friedland. The battle did not commence till of these two great powers came into contact in half past five in the evening, when marshal Ney the battle of Pultusk. The Russian general and general Marchand advanced, while general Benningsen, having taken a position at this Bisson's division supported their left. The Rusplace, was attacked by the French on the 26th sians attempted to turn marshal Ney with several December, led on by marshals Davoust and regiments of cavalry, preceded by a numerous Lasnes, under the immediate direction of the body of Cossacks. But general Latour Mauberg emperor of France. Davoust, with 10,000 men, immediately formed his division of dragoons, fell upon the left wing of the Russians; at the and, advancing to the right at full gallop, repelled same time the attack on their right was extremely their charge. In the mean while general Victor impetuous, and conducted by Napoleon in per- ordered a battery of thirty pieces of cannon to be son. The conflict was extremely obstinate, and placed in the front of his centre; and general Surucontinued till night. The enemy was certainly mermont having caused it to be moved about 400 repulsed; but the French and Russian accounts paces forward, the Russians sustained a dreadful are extremely contradictory. Both sides laid loss from its fire. The different movements which claim to the victory, but neither gained ground. were made to effect a diversion proved useless. The loss was unquestionably great; and, from Several columns of the Russian infantry attacked subsequent circumstances, it appears to have the right of marshal Ney's division, but were been nearly equal.

charged with the bayonet, and driven into the On reaching Eylau the Russian commander Alle, in which river several thousands found sent general Marcoff to take possession of the their death. While Ney advanced to the ravine town, and a sanguinary conflict again ensued which surrounds the town of Friedland, the between his corps and several columns of the Russian imperial guards made an impetuous enemy. The Russians, after an obstinate contest, attack on his left. This corps was for a moment made themselves master of the town on the 7th shaken; but general Dupont's division, which of February, 1807; but the French advanced in formed the right of the reserve, marched against such force that they were obliged to retreat. In the guards, and routed them with dreadful consequence of this reverse general Benningsen slaughter. The Russians then drew several reinordered another division to advance, which, forcements from their centre, and other corps of inarching in three columns, bore down all oppo- reserve, to defend Friedland; but, in defiance sition, and retook Eylau by assault.

of all their efforts, the town was forced, and its On the following day the action was renewed, streets covered with dead bodies. At this

moment the centre of the French, commanded a division. There were individuals, however by marshal Lasnes, was attacked ; but the Rus who expressed their dissatisfaction on very opsians could make no impression. This sangui- posite grounds. Mr. Whitbread, in the comnary contest was decided chiefly by the bayonet, mons, in a masterly speech, declared, that war, and the result was the total defeat of the Rus- eternal war, ought not to be waged for Sicily and sians. The carnage that now ensued was dreadful. Dalmatia ; and he moved an amendment, expresAccording to the French bulletins, the Russians sive of the hope entertained by the house, that left from 15,000 to 18,000 dead on the field, and his majesty would make every arrangement, conthe number does not appear to be greatly exag- sistent with honor, for the restoration of peace. gerated. But it is difficult to give implicit credit Lord Yarmouth declared his firm conviction, to their relations, when they state theịr own loss that the negociation would have been brought to at no more than 500 killed, and 6000 wounded. a favorable conclusion had it not been for the The French took eighty pieces of cannon, a melancholy event of the death of Mr. Fox. great number of caissons, and several standards. On the 20th of February lord Howick inti

This sanguinary action was followed by an in- mated his intention of preparing some additional terview between the emperors of France and and very necessary clauses for insertion in the Russia and the king of Prussia, on the 7th of mutiny bill. By the Irish mutiny act, passed in July, and a treaty of peace was concluded at 1793, Catholics were allowed to hold any rank Tilsit between France and Russia, and a few in the army under that of general on the staff in days afterwards between France and Prussia. Ireland, though in Great Britain they were disThe principal articles were, that a part of the qualified to serve under severe penalties; thus Prussian dominions, especially on the eastern being deemed by law worthy of trust in one part side of the Elbe, should be annexed to the new of the United Kingdom, and unworthy in anokingdom of Westphalia. Those parts which had ther. This anomaly it was the object of lord been wrested from Poland, and become subject Howick to remedy, by making the provisions of to Prussia, were ceded to the king of Saxony, the Irish act general. But on the 5th of March under the title of the duchy of Warsaw, with a his lordship, in lieu of the proposed clauses, free communication with Saxony by a military moved to bring in a bill for enabling his majesty road through the king of Prussia's dominions. to avail himself of the services of all his subThe city of Dantzic, with a surrounding territory jects, in his naval and military forces, on their of two leagues, was restored to independence. taking the prescribed oath of allegiance; for to The navigation of the Vistula was to be free. grant this privilege to Catholics and deny it to Russia acknowledged Joseph Buonaparte and his Protestants, would have been manifestly unjust. brother Louis, as kings of Naples and Holland, It might be thought that a law so salutary and and Jerome as king of Westphalia. The em- equitable would sufficiently recommend itself by peror of all the Russias also acknowledged the its mere statement; yet the inotion of lord confederation of the Rhine.

Howick was enforced with all the wisdom and The French emperor also agreed to accept the eloquence of an accomplished statesman. Mr. mediation of the emperor of Russia, in order to Percival, late attorney-general, immediately rose negociate and conclude a peace with Great Bri- to resist, what he styled one of the most dantain, under the condition, however, that this me- gerous measures that had ever been submitted diation should be accepted by England within a to the judgment of the legislature. Our ancient month after the conclusion of the treaty of and venerable establishment, he contended, Tilsit. By secret articles of this treaty, the ports' could only be preserved by making a stand of Prussia, as well as of Dantzic, were to be against every fresh attempt at innovation, which, shut against the vessels and trade of Great Bri- if encouraged, would not stop short of abolishing tain; and it is not certain whether the emperor all that the wisdom of our ancestors had thought of Russia was not bound by the same condition. necessary to enact in defence of our religion. By another secret article, Russia had consented The present question was simply, whether the to cede Corfu and the Seven Islands as an ap- legislature were prepared to give up the Protespendage to France. In the month of August tant ascendancy in Ireland? This measure was, Russian officer, attended by French commis- indeed, but a part of the principle of innovation sioners, arrived there; and, having convened the which was gradually increasing; and these apsenate, spened a despatch from the emperor proaches were far more dangerous than if it were Alexander, in which his imperial majesty de- to come forward at once in all its frightful magclared that he renounced all the rights which he nitude; and, what might be at first denied by the possessed in quality of protector of the Seven wisdom of parliament, would be ultimately exÍslands, and ceded them to his majesty the em- torted from its weakness. Such was the nature peror of the French and king of Italy. The king of the alarm sounded in parliament; and the of Sweden refused to accede to the treaty of spirit of bigotry instantly awoke from its slumber, Tilsit.

and answered to the call. After an animated In December 1806 the new parliament was debate an early day was fixed for the second opened, and the great measure of the abolition reading of the bill. This, however, was twice of the Slave Trade finally accomplished. postponed; and on the 18th of March lord

On the 5th of January the papers relative to Howick gave notice, that the bill was not inthe la:e negociation were taken into considera- tended, under the present circumstances, to be tion in parliament. The conduct of government proceeded upon. These circumstances were of was abıy vindicated by the chiefs of administra- a nature so singular, as to require a particular tion in both houses, and addresses voted without elucidation.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

On the 4th of February, a despatch was re- tice of his resolution to resign office, with a view ceived from the duke of Bedford, lord-lieutenant to oppose the bill. But the king refused to acof Ireland, stating, that a disposition had been cept his resignation; and mentioned in strong manifested by the Irish Catholics to prosecute terms his surprise at the extent of the proposition their claims by petition to parliament. Desirous made in the house of commons, after his declato prevent au application so unseasonable, and ration to lord Howick. On the same day lord at the same time to assure the Catholics of their Grenville was informed by the king, in a manner favorable disposition, an answer to the despatch which could not possibly be mistaken, that to of the lord-lieutenant was prepared by ministers, those parts of the bill which went beyond the stating their intention relative to the mutiny bill, limits of the act of 1793, he could not be ina copy of which was transmitted to the king, duced to give his consent. Lord Sidmouth accompanied by a cabinet minute. To this pro- therefore prudently advised them to modify the position the king expressed a strong dissent; bill, in such a manner as to free it from objecand, upon receiving his disapproval, the cabinet, tions evidently insuperable. And lord Grenville, on the 10th of February, made a respectful re- with the concurrence of his colleagues, respectpresentation of the grounds of policy and prin- fully apprised the king of the misconception that ciple upon which the measure in question was had prevailed, and their present purpose to mofounded. Lord Sidmouth, who was president dify the measure, so as to confine it precisely of the council, had fairly avowed his readiness within those limits to which his majesty underto concur in the extension of the Irish act, so stood himself to have consented. This intifar as to legalise the services of the Irish Catholic mation was graciously received by the king, who officers in England, and no further. This he gave the strongest assurances of his conviction, had made known to the king on being ques that the intentions of the ministers towards him tioned by him, acknowledging, that there was no were perfectly honorable. It was thus hoped alternative but to repeal the Irish act, or make it that the difficulty was got over, and that minisoperative in England. In consequence of this ters would be able to proceed with the bill, opinion corroborated by the lord chancellor, who modified so as to meet the wishes of all parties; described the measure as merely a corollary from but, most unaccountably, at a subsequent cabinet the Irish act, the king replied to the cabinet meeting held on the 15th of March, to which minute, that, adverting to what had taken place neither the lord chancellor, the lord president, in 1793, he would not prevent his ministers from nor the lord chief justice were summoned, a resubmitting to the consideration of parliament solution was taken to abandon the measure altothe proposed clauses in the mutiny bill; but gether. Nor was this the only, or the principal thought it necessary to declare, that he could not indiscretion. A minute was transmitted to the go one step farther; and trusted that this reluc- king, who now conceived that an amicable and tance and concession would secure him from final explanation had taken place, announcing being distressed by any future proposal con- the relinquishment of the measure; but at the nected with the Catholic question. Under this same time asserting their right and intention to frail and limited sanction, nevertheless, the ma avow their opinions in parliament respecting jority of the cabinet transmitted a despatch to their withdrawment of the bill, and in all fuIreland, exciting expectations far beyond the ture discussions relating to the Catholic quesletter of the act of 1793, not only by removing tion; and also to submit for his majesty's the bar to higher military advancement, but ex- decision, from time to time, such advice respecttending the provisions of the act to the navy, and ing Ireland as the course of circumstances and imparting the same privileges to English Protes- the interests of the empire should require. tant dissenters.

This superfluous declaration of rights which Lord Sidmouth, on being apprised of the im- had never been controverted, excited in the port of the new clauses introduced into the bill, breast of the king the greatest une asiness. plainly declared the necessity he should feel of began to think that the question was never to be opposing the ineasure in parliament; and, in a at rest, and that he was to remain perpetually cabinet council held on the 1st of March, he exposed to a recurrence of importunity and stated his conviction, that the extent of it was anxiety. The royal answer, unadvisedly given, not understood by the king. Lord Grenville, expressed some dissatisfaction at the parliamenhowever, expressing an opposite opinion, it was tary avowals which the ministers supposed to be proposed by lord Howick to transmit to his necessary. It declared, that his majesty would majesty a copy of the clauses in question, which never consent to any farther concessions; and was done on the following day, accompanied by demanded from ministers a positive and written a despatch to the lord-lieutenant of the same assurance, that he should never again be distenor. These documents were returned without tressed by a recurrence to this subject. With comment; but on the 4th of March the king, regard to a demand of this nature, there could having previously conferred with lord Sidmouth, be no hesitation; and it was in dutiful terms declared to lord Howick, at an audience held represented to the king, that those who were after the levee, his dislike and disapprobation of entrusted by him with the administration of the the measure, without however, in express words, affairs of his extensive empire, were bound by withdrawing the consent which he had already by every obligation to submit, without reserve, given. The ministers, therefore, still acted under the best advice they could frame to meet the exia delusion, and the obnoxious bill was ordered to gencies of the times; and that the situation of be read a second time on the 12th of March. of Ireland constituted the most formidable part

During this interval lord Sidmouth gave no. of the present difficulties.


On the day succeeding this communication regarded as a forced ang reluctant union. The his majesty, with the most gracious expressions gubsequent conduct of the princess was far from of his satisfaction in regard to every other part of being so discreet and guarded as was requisite, their conduct, announced his intention of making under circumstances which required on her part a change of ministers; and on the 18th of March more than ordinary prudence. In consequence lord Howick was authorised to notify this inten- of representations made to bis royal highness, tion to parliament. On the 25th of March his and by him to the king, a committee of council majesty's pleasure was signified, that the mem- was appointed to investigate the charges against bers of the present administration should deliver her, consisting of the law lords, Erskine and up their seals of office.

Ellenborough, with other distinguished peers. "Before the end of March a new administra- Their report acquitted the princess of serious tion was formed. At the head of the treasury, culpability, though it admitted, as the evidence after an interval of more than twenty years, subjoined but too plainly proved, that her conwas for the second time placed the duke of Port- duct was liable to the imputation of levity and land, now from age and infirmity regarded as a indiscretion. cypher in office, the efficient power residing in On the 27th of April 1807 the parliament was Mr. Percival as chancellor of the exchequer. prorogued by commission, and dissolved on the Lord Eldon resumed the great seal; the earl of 29th. It was not surprising that, on the general Westmoreland the privy-seal; the earl of Cam- election wbich succeeded the dissolution of parden was made president of the council; lord liament, the cry of no Popery,' and 'the danger Mulgrave was appointed first lord of the admin of the church,' was made use of for political purralty; the earl of Chatham master of the ordnance; poses, and was found capable of inflaming the lords Castlereagh, Hawkesbury, and Mr. Can- minds of the multitude. ning, were the secretaries for the war, home, and It will be necessary now to revert back a little foreign departments: Mr. Robert Dundas pre- in our narrative, for the purpose of noticing some sided at the India board; Mr. George Rose was very important military and naval occurrences made treasurer of the navy; Sir James Pulteney which took place during the year 1807, and in secretary at war; Sir Vicary Gibbs, and Sir which England bore a conspicuous part. Thonias Plumer, attorney and solicitor-generals, The emperor of Russia having refused to ratify and the duke of Richmond succeeded the duke the treaty of D'Oubril, general Sebastiani was of Bedford in the government of Ireland. sent to Constantinople with a commission from

Both houses were at first adjourned to the 8th the French government, to induce the Sublime of April, when lords Grenville and Howick en Porte to declare war against Russia; in consetered into ample explanations respecting the quence of which an edict was issued probibiting causes of the late change in administration; and Russian ships of war the passage of the DardaMr. Brand, member for the county of Herts, nelles : when the British squadron, under Sir moved, “That it was contrary to the first duties John Duckworth, received orders to force that of the confidential servants of the crown to re- passage, which he accomplished, and presented strain themselves, by any pledge, express or im- himself in hostile array hefore Constantinople. plied, from offering to the king any advice that On the 20th of February one of the Turkish the course of circumstances may render neces- ministers came on board, professing an earnest sary for the welfare and security of any part of desire on the part of the sultan of giving satishis extensive empire.' Mr. Percival freely ad- faction; but the demand of the British admiral mitted the proposition as true in the abstract, but was no less than the delivery of all the ships of contended that it must be taken in conjunction war belonging to the Porte. The negociation with circumstances. Mr. Canning declared, that continued till the 27th, and this interval was dilithis was the first instance since the time of king gently employed by the Turks, under the direcCharles I. that a sovereign had been judged at tion of French engineers, in erecting batteries on the bar of that house. The house at length divi- both sides of the long and narrow strait. The ded, on the motion of Mr. Osborne for the order English admiral, now finding himself out-manof the day; in favor of which the numbers were æuvred even by Turkish artifice, thought only of 258 against 222 voices.

retreat; and weighing anchor on the 1st of March Two days after Mr. Lyttleton moved a resolu- he succeeded in forcing his passage through the tion in the house of commons, at the close of a straits, though not without incurring the most short and able speech, That this house consider- imminent peril. The castles of Sestos and Abying a firm and efficient administration as neces- dos, saluted him with the fire of vast blocks of sary at the present crisis, feels deep regret at marble, one of which, weighing 800 lbs., cut in the late change in his majesty's councils. But two the main-mast of the Windsor man of war. the first division was decisive; and after a vehe- The only effect produced by this attempt was ment debate the order of the day was carried by to confirm the influence of France at the Porte. 244 against 198 voices.

But another attempt on the Ottoman power In these contentions the prince of Wales did was more successful. On the 5th of March a not appear to take any interest; since the de- force of about 5000 men was sent from Messina, cease of Mr. Fox, indeed, his communications under the command of general Fraser, of which, with the late ministers were believed to be much on the 16th a part anchored to the westward of less frequent and cordial. The marriage of this Alexandria ; and the troops having taken posgreat personage bad, from causes imperfectly session of the castle of Aboukir, and the cut bedeveloped, proved very unhappy; and an early tween lakes Maadie and Mareotis, Alexandria separation had followed what was at the time capitulated on the 20th.

On the 27th general Fraser detached a body amount to 11,000 rank and file; the object now of 1500 men to take possession of Rosetta ; but intended being the reduction of the whole protheir commander incautiously marching into the vince of Buenos Ayres. town, without previous examination, the troops On the 28th of June the united force, to the received so brisk a fire from the roofs and wit- number of 1800 men, was landed about thirty dows, that, after the loss of 300 killed and miles to the eastward of Buenos Ayres; and, wounded, they found it necessary to retreat to, after a fatiguing march, the different divisions Aboukir. Another corps of about 2500, under assembled in the suburbs. On the morning of July general Stewart, was now sent to erect batteries 5th a general attack was ordered, each corps to against the place; and, as a succour of Mame- enter by the streets opposite to it, and all with lukes was expected by the British, lieutenant- unloaded muskets. The greatest intrepidity was colonel Macleod was detached to seize a post in displayed in the attempt to execute this plan, order to facilitate their junction. Many days which was so far successful that two strong posts passed in fruitless expectation; at length a great were gained in the town, but at the expense of 2500 number of vessels were descried sailing down the men in killed, wounded, and prisoners; the fire Nile, which were not doubted to contain a re from the tops of the houses, and every advaninforcement to the enemy from Cairo. Orders tageous position, upon the exposed and defencewere immediately sent to colonel Macleod to re- less troops, having been most murderous. turn from his position; but they were unfortu On the following morning general Linieres nately intercepted, and his detachment was cut sent a letter to the English commander, offering off. General Stewart retreated, fighting all the to give up all the prisoners taken in this bloody way, to Alexandria; and this attempt on Rosetta rencounter, and also all those made with general cost 1000 men in killed, wounded, and missing. Beresford, if he would desist from any further A formidable force of the enemy now approach- attack, and withdraw the British armament from ing Alexandria, the inhabitants of which were La Plata; intimating, that such was the exaspealso disaffected, a flag of truce was sent by general ration of the populace, he could not answer for Fraser, offering immediately to quit Egypt with the safety of the prisoners if offensive operations his army on condition that the British prisoners were persisted in. Whitelocke, influenced, as should be liberated, which was readily agreed to, he said, by this consideration, and reflecting on and on the 23d of September the troops sailed the little advantage to be obtained from the pos for Sicily

session of a country absolutely hostile, agreed to Reinforcements, under the command of gene- the proposal. On his return home he was tried ral Sir Samuel Achmuty and admiral Stirling, by a court-martial, whose sentence was, that he having landed in the month of January near be cashiered, and declared totally unfit and unMonte Video, the general resolved to make an worthy to serve his majesty in any military capaattempt on that place; and on January the 18th city whatever.' In balance of these disasters, the commenced the siege. The works were found Dutch island of Curaçoa was early in the year strong, and were ably defended; but, a practica- 1807 reduced by a small squadron under the ble breach being made on the 2d of February, it command of captain Brisbane. was resolved ao longer to delay an assault. This The new parliament assembled on the 22d of was effected before day break on the next morn- June 1807. The address from the throne was ing; and after a severe action, in which 560 of the viewed in the light of a manifesto against a party assailants were killed or wounded, and more in the state, and it therefore was not to be exthan double that number of the defenders, every pected that it should pass without animadversion. thing was carried except the citadel, which soon Accordingly, in the house of lords, lord Fortescue after surrendered. The general, in his despatches moved an amendment, strongly censuring the mentions a circumstance highly to the credit of measure of the dissolution of parliament, and the his troops, as well as of their commander, that reasons which the new ministers had offered for • early in the morning the town was quiet, and its justification, which upon a division was rethe women were peaceably walking the streets. jected by a majority of 160 to sixty-seven. A The prizes captured here were fifty-seven West similar amendment, moved in the house of comIndiamen and merchantmen, besides several mons by lord Howick, was negatived hy 350 to gun-boats and armed vessels.

155; and a subsequent motion of enquiry into About this time the ministry resolved to send the state of the nation was negatived by 322 to out an expedition for the reduction of the whole 136 voices. In consequence of the distracted province of Chili. For this purpose a force of state of Ireland, bills were now moved for by 4200 men was placed under the command of Sir Arthur Wellesley, secretary to the lord-lieutebrigadier-general Crawford, which sailed in the nant, for the suppression of insurrection in that end of October 1806, accompanied by a naval country, and to prevent the disturbance of the force under admiral Murray. Intelligence of the peace. Their necessity was admitted by Mr. re-capture of Buenos Ayres, however, having Grattan. Lord Castlereagh at this time brought been received, an order was afterwards despatch- forward in the commons a new military plan, ed for the expedition to change its object, and the object of which was to augment the regular proceed to the river La Plata.

army from the militia, and to supply the defiGeneral Whitelocke had in the mean time ciencies accruing to the latter by a supplemenbeen nominated to the supreme command of the tary militia. A bill sent up from the lower house, forces in South America, and, leaving England in against granting reversions of offices, was, on a March, took with him an additional force of division of fifteen peers to nine, ordered to be 1630 men, making the British in that quarter read a second time that day three months. This,

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »