Εικόνες σελίδας

however, was accompamed by a strong protest. On the 14th of August the parliament was prorogued by commission. In the course of the summer an affair arose, which occasioned a painful misunderstanding between Great Britain and the United States of America. The Chesapeake, American frigate of forty-four guns, being known to have several English deserters on board, representations of the fact were made to the American secretary, to which no satisfactory answer was given. Captain Humphreys, in the Leopard, was therefore ordered to search the American vessels for deserters, a liberty which was to be reciprocal. Having, on the 28th of June, come up with the Chesapeake, he sent a boat with advice of the information which he had received concerning the deserters, and of his orders to search the ship. This being refused by commodore Barron, the British commander fired several shots, to which no attention was paid : he then fired a broadside into the Chesapeake, which she returned by some scattered shot, and, on receiving a second broadside, immediately struck her colors. On examining the American frigate the deserters were found; but in therencounter the Chesapeake had six men killed and twenty-one wounded : with the latter she returned to port in a very shattered state, and a proclamation was issued by the president, Mr. Jefferson, prohibiting all intercourse between the American states and the armed vessels of Great Britain. A negociation was now long carried on between the two countries; but the disputes were revived by circumstances hereafter to be mentioned. From the conclusion of the treaty of Tilsit it became evident, that Denmark could not long maintain her neutrality; and the British ministry had strong suspicions, or rather positive assurance, that a naval force now augmenting in the }. of that country was to be directed against ngland. In every view of the subject it was thought expedient, in order to prevent the Danish fleet from falling into the hands of the French government, to request from the court of Denmark, the temporary deposit of the Danish ships of the line in some of the British ports. This proposal was made in a friendly manner, representing the indispensable necessity of the measure, under the relative circumstances of the powers of Europe. To give weight to the application a naval and military force, under admiral Gambier and lord Cathcart, was sent to the Baltic, with the view of p. Denmark against the resentment of France in case of an amicable result, or to enforce compliance should her government reject the proposal. But the Danish cabinet refused all terms of accommodation: and all the preparations being completed, on the 1st of September the city was summoned, and the offers renewed which at different times' had been made to the crown-Qrince and the governor. This producing no effect, the bombardment both from the land batteries and the shipping commenced on the following day, and continued till the evening of the 5th, when a proposal for capitulating was made by the garrison. On the following day the Danish navy was agreed to be delivered up

to our force. It consisted of eighteen ships of the line; one of ninety-six, two of eighty-four, twelve of seventy-four, and three of sixty-four guns; fifteen frigates, five brigs, and twenty-five gun-boats; a force which, in the hands of the emperor of the French, might have proved a means of great annoyance to Great B itain. The capitulation, however, was not ratified by the crown-prince; and the Danish government, rejecting every conciliatory proposal, issued a formal declaration of was against England. Notwithstanding, however, these demonstrations of hostility, the occupation of Zealand requiring a greater number of troops than Great Britain could spare from other services, the country was evacuated according to the convention; and from that period the war with Denmark produced no important events. The peace of Tilsit having freed the French empercr from all apprehensions in the north, his armies entered Spain, with threats of invading Portugal, the autumn of this year, and so far intimidated the court of Lisbon that a decree for shutting the ports of that kingdom against the ships and commerce of Great Britain was issued 22d of October, 1807. In consequence of these proceedings his Britannic majesty deemed it expedient to send a squadron to the mouth of the Tagus, to act as circumstances might render necessary: when the appearance of a French army on the frontier of Portugal induced the prince regent to sign an order for the detention of all British subjects, and the sequestration of British property. This decree bears date November 8th, 1807; but the event had been foreseen, and most of the British subjects had previously removed their effects. Such measures, however, although the effect of compulsion, placed England and Portugal virtually in a state of hostility. Lord Strangford, the British ambassador, demanded his passports; o a final remonstrance against the conuct of the court of Lisbon; and, proceeding to the squadron of Sir Sidney Smith, a rigorous blockade was established at the mouth of the Tagus. Still the rapacity of the French emperor could not be satisfied. He declared, “that the house of Braganza should cease to reign; and the French army had entered Portugal, when lord Strangford, having received fresh instructions, returned on the 27th of November to Lisbon to renew negociations. The issue was that, after receiving the most positive assurances of protection from the British navy, his royal highness the prince regent came to the resolution of removing the royal family and the seat of government to Brasil, and the embarkation was so expeditiously performed, that on the morning of the 29th the Portuguese fleet sailed out of the Tagus, having on board the prince, with the whole of the royal family, together with a number of persons attached to its fortunes. The French troops arrived in the vicinity of Lisbon, just in time to gain from the bills a view of the fleet as it dropped down the river. Sir Sidney Smith, with a British squadron, accompanied the royal emigrants to Rio de Janeiro. In the commencement of 1808 Austria, hitherto the principal ally of Great Britain, having vainly offered her mediation between Great Britain and France, went over to the ranks of the latter. The month of February of this year was also memorable for the subversion of the temporal power of the pope. The city of Rome was seized by the Fo, and, together with the whole of the ecclesiastical states, incorporated with the kingdom of Italy. The king of Sweden, engaged in a war against Russia, Denmark, and France, magnanimously prepared to repel the dangers with which he was menaced by so powerful a combination. In his efforts he was seconded by the loyalty and zeal of his subjects; and rarely had any nation afforded a more striking display of patriotic enthusiasm. But, as the resources of his kingdom were inadequate to the contest, the British government granted to his Swedish majesty a subsidy of £100,000 per month, and sent a squadron to the Baltic with 10,000 land forces cn board, under general Moore, to co-operate as circumstances should require. The imbecile court of Spain was at this time fast hastening to that state of internal dissension and degradation, which soon after occasioned the deposition of the royal family. On the 30th of October 1807 an extraordinary decree or marifesto was issued by the king of Spain, acquainting his subjects that his life and crown had been brought into danger by a conspiracy, of which his son was the author, whom, in consequence, he had caused to be arrested. The foundation of this charge was a clandestine correspondence carried on by the prince of Asturias with the French emperor. Through the interposition of the prince of Peace, Godoy, a jo. was effected; the prince of Asturias having been induced to write penitential letters to his father and mother. A treaty was soon afterwards concluded between the sovereigns of France and Spain, the object of which was a partition of the kingdom of Portugal; but, in return for the ortion which was to devolve on the king of truria, his kingdom of Tuscany was to be ceded to Napoleon in quality of king of Italy. By a secret convention, French troops were to be admitted into Spain, and others were to be assembled at Bayonne, to assist in the conquest of Portugal. †. a handle was given for placing Spain at the disposal of the emperor of France. The attention of all Europe was at this time turned towards the Peninsula. A perfect harmony seemed to reign between the É. and Spanish cabinets; and the popular reports of the approaching annexation of Portugal and Gibraltar to Spain, were well calculated to allay the suspicions which the entrance of the French armies must naturally have tended to excite among the people. But it appears that his Catholic majesty had formed the design of removing the seat of government to Mexico. The motives which led to this project are enveloped in mystery; as are indeed all the affairs of the court of Madrid, from the period of the alleged conspiracy of the prince of Asturias, till the journey of the royal family to Bayonne. It seems, however, that the design of emigrating

beyond the Atlantic had originated with the prince of Peace, whose views in this affair are not fully ascertained. No sooner had the intended emigration of the royal family been hinted, than the Spanish capital presented a scene of confusion and turbulence; and the inhabitants of Madrid rushed in crowds to the road near the palace to prevent their departure. At the same time several of the ministers and grandees, who disapproved of the emigration, circulated hand-bills in the surrounding country, stating the designs of the court. The night of the 17th of March was a scene of tumult, and on the following day immense crowds of people hurried to Aranjuez. The palace of the prince of Peace was forcibly opened, and his brother, Don Diego Godoy, commandant of the life-guards arrested. On the 19th of March issued a royal decree by which Charles IV. abdicated the throne of Spain in favor of his son, the prince of Asturias; one of the first acts of whose sovereignty was the confiscation of the estates and property of Godoy, who had been discovered .." made prisoner in the place of his concealment. These events, however, were soon succeeded by a counter-revolution. The duke of Berg, with the French army, had entered Madrid, and was in full possession of that capital; when the two kings of Spain, Charles IV. and Ferdinand VII. formerly prince of Asturias, with the whole of the royal family, and some of the principal grandees, were allured by various pretexts to Bayonne, to meet the French emperor. Ferdinand declared, that the circumstances in which he assumed the reins of government dictated the propriety of the measure. Unfortunately, however, this proved eventually to be the most imprudent step he could have taken. It was followed by terrible commotions throughout the country, and in Madrid, in particular, the most dreadful disorders prevailed. The French were insulted daily; numerous assemblies were held by the populace; and every thing indicated a dreadful explosion. At length, on the 2d of May, a general insurrection took place. The grand duke of Berg, commander-in-chief of the French armies in Spain, in coming from the palace, was surrounded by the populace, and, after defending himself for some time, was on the point of falling when he was rescued by his grenadiers. The street of Alcala, and the great square, were crowded with insurgents. The grand duke flew to his post, and a battalion of the French, with some cannon, repaired to the palace. Vollies of grape-shot, and charges of cavalry, cleared the streets and the square; but, the insurgents continuing to fire from the houses, generals Daubrin and Guillot, with their divisions, broke open the doors, and all who were found in arms were put to the sword. A body of the insurgents, in the meanwhile, pushed forward to the arsenal, and had already broke in, when general Lafraen just arrived in time to save the arms and ammunition. The loss sustained on each side was variously represented: but there can be no doubt of its having been very considerable. In consequence of these disorders, the grand duke of Berg was constituted lieutenant general of the kingdom. At last, on the 25th of May, an imperial decree was issued, declaring the throne of Spain vacant by the abdication of the reigning family, and ordering an assembly of notables, consisting of the prelates, grandees, &c., to be held at Bayonne, for the purpose of fixing the basis of a new government. This was communicated to the council of Castile, by the duke of Berg; and a commission was established for secularising the lands of the church. A spirit of discontent had long pervaded the kingdom; but now the public exasperation was indescribable. Except the partisans of France, few Spaniards attended the junta at Bayonne. The consummation of the whole plan, however, proceeded: it was that the French emperor, on the 6th of June, conferred the crown of Spain on his brother, Joseph Buonaparte, who abdicated his kingdom of Naples in favor of the grand-duke of Berg, otherwise Joachim Murat, who had married the sister of Napoleon. The news of these renunciations was the signal for a general insurrection in Spain. The patriotic flame burst forth in Asturia; whence it spread into Gallicia, and into several districts of Leon. An assembly, convened at Oviedo, published a formal declaration of war against the French government; and, having appointed the marquis of Santa Cruz generalissimo of the patriotic army, sent deputies to request the assistance of England. This request was immediately acceded to; and on the 4th of July his majesty issued a proclamation, declaring that Great Britain was at peace with the Spanish nation. In every quarter of Spain the inhabitants now flew to arms. The council of Seville proclaimed Ferdinand VII.; and published an appeal to the Spanish nation. Provincial assemblies were formed in most of the principal towns, and depôts established in the most suitable situations. In Andalusia above 15,000 regular troops were collected; arms were put into the hands of 60,000 peasants; and general Castanos was appointed commander-inchief. The French general Dupont, with about 20,000 men, was at this time sent to secure a position at Cordova, whence he might readily move upon Seville, Carthagena, or Cadiz. Moncey, with upwards of 12,000 men, was detached to the provinces of Valentia and Murcia. Le Febre, with about 18,000, was stationed in Arragon, for the purpose of obtaining possession of Saragossa, and keeping open the communication with Barcelona: and the French army in the north-western parts, consisting of between 40,000 and 50,000 men, commanded by marshal Bessieres, who had his principal station at Burgos. The city of Cadiz was among the first to show its zeal for the patriotic cause. The French squadron, consisting of five ships of the line and one frigate, lying in the harbour, was obliged to surrender, on the 14th of June, to the Spanish arms. This was followed by the defeat and almost total destruction of the French army near Almanza. General Moncey, having assaulted the city of Valencia, was repulsed with an almost incredible slaughter. Saragossa vied with Valencia in patriotic enthusiasm. On the 1st of

July, about midnight, the French made a vigorous attack on the latter, but the courageous conduct of the brave general Palafox, who commanded, with the valor of the troops and armed inhabitants, completely baffled their efforts. Several succeeding attempts were equally ineffectual; and the enemy is said to have lost co fewer than 12,000 men in their various attacks. But the most important transaction took place in the }. of Andalusia. The French general upont took a strong position on the heights of Andujar, near the banks of the Guadalquiver; when general Castanos, at the head of the Andalusian patriots immediately advanced upon him; and having received intelligence that a detachment of 8000 French, from the headquarters at Madrid, was already on its march to Andujar, resolved to attack Dupont before he could receive this reinforcement. An obstinate and bloody action ensued; but the patriots at length prevailed, and their victory was decisive. The French general, in order to save the remains of his army from total destruction, on the 20th of July surrendered himself and his troops prisoners of war. The detachment that was on the way to join him was included in the capitulation, but with this difference, that they should not be considered as prisoners, but be conveyed by sea to France. This victory was of incalculable importance to the patriotic cause. While these events were transpiring in the provinces, Joseph Buonaparte was preparing to take possession of his kingdom, and, by a very singular coincidence, made his public entrance into his capital on the 20th of July, the identical day that was signalised by the defeat and surrender of Dupont. The splendid illusion, however, was not of long duration. After a short stay of seven days, on the 27th of July he began his retreat from Madrid towards France, while the patriots advanced and took possession of the capital. The French now began to retreat from the different provinces towards Vittoria; and concentrated the remainder of their forces on the banks of the Ebro. About the middle of August an event took place which brought to the patriotic cause a considerable accession of strength. Several bodies of Spanish troops had been furnished by the court of Madrid as auxiliaries to the French emperor: of these 8000 were stationed in the Danish island of Funen, and 2000 in that of Langeland. A negociation being entered into between their commander, the marquis del Romana, and admiral Keats, then commanding a British squadron in the North Seas, in order to effect their liberation, the Spaniards in Funen seized the vessels and small craft, the Danish troops in that island being inadequate to oppose them, and conveyed themselves to Langeland, where their countrymen had seized the battery at the mouth of the harbour. By this excellent manoeuvre 10,000 Spanish troops were rescued from the power of Buonaparte, and conveyed by the British ships to Spain, where they joined their brethren in arms in maintaining the cause of their country. The patriotic spirit was now communicated to Portugal. A general insurrection took place in the provinces of Traslos Montes and Entre Douro e Minho, which rapidly spread throughout the whole kingdom. After some severe contests, the French under general Loison were driven out of Oporto, and nearly cut off in their retreat towards Lisbon. The clergy, and particularly the monks of Oporto, distinguished themselves by their courage and patriotism; and partly by their exhortations, and partly by their example, encouraged the people to take up arms against their invaders, the plunderers of their churches, and the oppressors of their country. The result was, that the French were expelled from Coimbra and several other places, and general Junot was obliged to concentrate his troops in and about Lisbon. About the end of July a force of 14,000 men, under the command of Sir Arthur Wellesley, was despatched to Portugal: and, having effected a landing, at once commenced operations. The French general Laborde was posted on the heights near Roleia; and as there was reason to apprehend he might be joined by general Loison, who was then at Rio Major, the British general resolved to attack his position. The army advanced from Caldas in three columns, the right being comosed of the Portuguese, and the two others of ritish troops, led on by major-generals Ferguson and Hill, and brigadier-generals Nightingale, Crauford, and Fane. The enemy's positions were formidable, and defended with great bravery and skill; but the attack made by the British columns proved irresistible. After an obstinate engagement the French were compelled to retire with the loss of a considerable number of men, and three pieces of cannon. The loss of the English was 479 killed, wounded, and missing. Lieutenant-colonel Lake fell gallantly in the heat of the action. In the course of the succeeding night the French generals Loison and Laborde effected a junction at Torres Vedras and both began their march towards Lisbon. The British army was also reinforced by a body of troops commanded by brigadier-general Anstruther, being part of a force sent from England under brigadier-general Ackland. The moment was now approaching which was to decide the fate of the French army in Portugal, and of the Russian fleet in the Tagus. Junot, on whom the emperor of France had conferred the title of duc d'Abrantes, having collected all his detachments, attacked the British army on the 21st of Angust, in its strong position at the village of Vimiera. The attack was made in several columns, and with great impetuosity, till the French were driven back by the bayonet; and, being at the same time annoyed on their flank by a cannonade from the artillery placed on the heights, they were obliged, after a severe contest, to retire in confusion. At length the enemy, being every where repulsed, were obliged to retire with the loss of about 3500 men killed, wounded, and prisoners, thirteen pieces of cannon, and twenty-three tumbrils .P ammunition. One French general, Beniere, was taken prisoner, and another, supposed to be general Thebauld, was found dead on the field of battle. The loss of the English, as stated in the returns, was 740

men killed, wounded, and missing, in which were included many valuable officers. On the day after the battle of Vimiera, general Dalrymple landed, and took the chief command of the army. On the 30th of August a cessation of hostilies was agreed on, and eight days afterwards a definitive convention signed by the French and British commanders. By this treaty the French were to carry off all their arms, ammunition, artillery, carriages, and horses, with their military chest, and all the plundel acquired by contributions, and to be conveyed to France in British vessels, without any restrictions in regard to future service. The Portuguese artillery, &c., with the military and naval arsenals, were to be surrendered to the British army and navy. No Portuguese was to be molested on account of the part which he had taken with the French invaders; and the British commanders engaged to prevail on the Spaniards to release all the French who were arrested in Spain, and were not bona fide military men. The Russian fleet in the Tagus, consisting of nine ships of the line and a frigate, surrendered to the British government as a deposit, to be given up six months after the conclusion of a peace; but the officers and seamen, above 5600 in number, were to be immediately carried to Russia. The reasons assigned by our commanders for consenting to this extraordinary convention were, the apprehended difficulty of obtaining provisions, the importance of time, and the means which the enemy had of protracting his defence. These, however, were far from being satisfactory either to the British or Portuguese nation. A court of enquiry was instituted, but on a minute investigation of the case, nothing appeared that had a tendency to criminate any of the generals. It is requisite to observe, that the convention of Cintra probably saved the city of Lisbon. While the public attention was directed towards the affairs of Portugal and Spain, an abortive effort at negociation was made by the emperor of France. As a basis, it required the exclusion of the supreme government of Spain acting in the name of Ferdinand VII. from the negociation. But his Britannic majesty totally reprobated this idea, and, when a few notes had passed, the negociation broke off, as might have been expected. The British army now commenced its march for Spain, under the command of Sir John Moore. Sir David Baird had, on the 13th of October, landed a strong body of troops at Corunna, and, after many delays and innumerable difficulties, on the 19th of November arrived at Astorga. In the mean while the emperor of France personally entered Spain, and the patriotic armies under generals Belvidere, Blake, and Castanos, being successively defeated at Burgos, Espinosa, and Tudela, the French army forced the pass of Somma Sierra: on the 2d of December it advanced to Madrid, which it entered on the 4th. The French emperor having settled the affairs of the capital, hastened to endeavour to cut off the retreat of the English army. He himself departed from Madrid on the 18th of December, with an army of 32,000 infantry, and 8000 cavalry. #ue mean time, the British general meditated a junction with the marquis Romana, with the view of making an attack on the duke of Dalmatia. He therefore marched to Majorga, where he was joined by general Baird with the troops from Corunna. The whole British army, which was now found to consist of 23,000 infantry and upwards of 2000 cavalry, besides some small detachments, advanced to Sahagan. But general Moore was no sooner arrived at his station than he received intelligence of the movements of the enemy; and judging it impossible to make an effectual resistance against the formidable force that was coming against him, on the 24th of December commenced a precipitate retreat through Gallicia. Napoleon made forced marches after him as far as Astorga; but, finding that his prey had eluded his grasp, he resigned the further operations into the hands of the dukes of Dalmatia and Abrantes. The disasters of this retreat of the British army were great: great numbers of men, unable to keep up with the rest, were left on the line of march; many of their horses were also left behind; and no fewer than 1400 were killed to prevent them from falling into the hands of the enemy. General Anstruther died through excessive fatigue. The valor and perseverance of the troops were never more conspicuous than on this occasion. At length, after fourteen days of precipitate and harassing marches, the army reached Corunna on the 11th of January, 1809; and had the transports been ready, might have embarked without further loss. But these had been sent to Vigo; and it was not till the 13th that the first division of transports arrived. We have described the memorable battle that took place on the 16th in our article CoRUNNA. The expedition to Denmark was the leading topic of debate in both houses, when parliament met 31st of January, 1808. Mr. Ponsonby o to take a view of the subject in three istinct relations of Denmark, Russia, and France, and moved for certain documents to be laid before the house, but the motion was negatived by 253 votes against 108. It was, however admitted, that there was no evidence of the hostile intention of Denmark towards Great Britain before the aggression; and all that the ministers of the crown labored to establish on that head was, that it was probable, from past experience, that Denmark would be induced by inclination, or compelled by force, to join the enemy. Lord Sidmouth moved for an address to the king, praying that the Danish fleet might be kept in such a state as not to preclude the possibility of restoring it, should circumstances occur under which it might be expedient so to do. This was werfully supported by lord Grenville. It was, owever, negatived by 105 votes to fifty-one. The orders in council, which had been issued subsequently to Napoleon's decree of blockade, also occupied the attention of both houses. A great variety of argument with respect to the policy of these measures was employed on each side, during the debates on a bill brought in by

the chancellor of the exchequer for making these orders valid; but, on the 25th of Maro, the bill finally passed both houses. It was ac. companied by a bill for commercial intercourse with America, which was intended to afford time for making arrangements with that country. At this period of the session lord Folkestone introduced his attack on the marquis Wellesley, respecting his transactions with the nabob of Oude. The marquis was defended in an elsborate reply by Sir John Anstruther, who had held a high judicial office in Jadia. After a long and interesting debate the previous question was put on all the resolutions except the last; in lieu of which Sir John Anstruther moved, that “the marquis Wellesley, in his proceedings in the province of Oude, was actuated by an ardent zeal for the public service, and by an anxious desire to provide more effectually for the safety and prosperity of the British empire in India.’ This was carried by 180 to twenty-nine voices. On the 11th of April Mr. Percival brought forward his project of finance for the year. The war taxes he estimated at £20,000,000, and he proposed a loan of £8,000,000 in addition to £4,000,000 already funded of exchequer bills. Additional taxes were also voted to the amount of £300,000. The supplies required were £43,000,000 for England, and £5,500,000 for Ireland. A new financial plan, introduced by him, was that of enabling the holders of three per cent, stock to transfer their stock to the comissioners for the reduction of the national debt, and to receive equivalent annuities in its stead. The house of commons, having on the 8th of March gone into a committee on the mutiny bill, the introduction of a bill for establishing a local militia of 200,000 men was also introduced by lord Castlereagh in April, and passed into a law. The men were to be trained for twentyeight days annually. On the 4th of July paris. ment was prorogued by commission. On the continent of Europe during this year (1808) the emperor of France, before he set out for Spain, had an interview with the emperor of Russia, over whose mind he flattered himse; that he had acquired a lasting ascendancy. The meeting took place at Erfurt on the 27th of Sep. tember, each sovereign being accompanied by a numerous and splendid suite. As it was the obvious purpose of Napoleon to place matters upon such footing that he could withdraw his troops from Germany, and employ them in the Peninsula, he rendered the Russian monarch the mediator of a negociation, by which he engaged to evacuate the Prussian territory as soon as th: contributions should be paid, which he reduced to one-third of their amount; and he wrote, with his own hand, an obliging letter to the queen of Prussia. The only other part of Europe in which war-like operations were car. rying on this year was Sweden. The Russians in the month of March took possession of Abo, the capital of Finland, and declared its annexation to the Russian empire; on which the king of Sweden suddenly aban: doned the farther defence of that province, and undertook the invasion of Norway. Sir John

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »