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Reign of George II. (Concluded) page 15


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The earliest martial event of the year 1760 was the landing of Thurot, the French admiral, at Carrickfergus, on the 28th of February. He had been beating about in the stormy seas betwixt Scandinavia and Ireland till he had only three of his five ships remaining, and six hundred soldiers only. But Carrickfergus was most negligently garrisoned; Thurot made his way into the town and plundered it, but was soon obliged to abandon it, and was overtaken by captain Elliot and three frigates before he had got fairly out to sea, his ships taken, himself killed, and his men carried prisoners to Ramsay, in the Isle of Man.

In April the French made an attempt to recover Quebec. Brigadier-general Murray had been left in command of the troops, six thousand in number, and the fleet had returned to England. The marquis de Vaudreuil, now the French governor at Montreal, formed a plan of dropping down the St. Lawrence the moment the ice broke up, and before the mouth of the river was clear for ships to ascend from England. He therefore held in readiness five thousand regular troops, and as many militia, and the moment the ice broke in April, though the ground was still covered with snow, he embarked them in ships and boats under the command of chevalier de Levis, an officer of reputation. On the 28th of that month they were within sight of Quebec. They had landed higher up than where Wolfe did, and were now at the village of Sillery, not far from Wolfe's place of ascent. Murray, who had only about three thousand men disposable for such a purpose, the rest having been reduced by sickness, or were needed to man the fortifications, yet ventured to march out against them. He was emulous of the fame of Wolfe, and attacked this overwhelming force with great impetuosity, but was soon compelled to retire into Quebec with the loss of one thousand men killed and wounded. This was a serious matter with their scanty garrison, considering the numbers of the enemy, and the uncertainty of the arrival of succour.

Levis, who knew that his success depended on forestalling any English arrivals, lost no time in throwing up trenches and preparing batteries. Had the river continued closed, Quebec must soon have reverted to the French; but, on the 11th of May, the English were rejoiced to see a frigate approaching, and this, only four days after, was followed by another frigate and a ship of the line. These, commanded by lord Colville, immediately attacked and destroyed or run on shore the French flotilla, and at that sight Levis struck his tents and decamped as rapidly as he mine, leaving behind him his baggage and artillery. Nor was the marquis de Vaudreuil left long undisturbed at Montreal. The three expeditions, which had failed to meet the preceding summer, were now ordered to converge on Montreal - Amherst from Lake Ontario, Haviland from Crown Point, and Murray from Quebec. Amherst had been detained at Oswego by an outbreak of the Cherokees against us. This native tribe had been friendly to us, and we had built a fort in their country, and called it Fort London, after lord London; but in the autumn of 1759 they had been bought over by the French, and made a terrible raid on our back settlements, murdering and scalping the defenceless inhabitants. Mr. Lyttleton, the governor of South Carolina, marched against them with a thousand men, and compelled them to Submission; but no sooner had he retired than they re-commenced their hostilities, and Amherst sent against them colonel Montgomery, with one thousand two hundred men, who made a merciless retaliation, plundering and burning their villages, so as to imprint a sufficient terror upon them.

Amherst had now ten thousand men; and though he had to carry all his baggage and artillery over the Ontario in open boats, and to pass the rapids of the upper St. Lawrence, he made a most able and prosperous march, reducing the fort of Ile Royale on the way, and reached the isle of Montreal on the very same day as Murray, and a day before Haviland. Vaudreuil saw that resistance was hopeless, and capitulated on the 8th of September. The French were, according to contract, sent home, under engagement not to come against us during the remainder of the war, Besides this, lord Byron chased a squadron of three frigates, convoying twenty store-ships to Quebec, into the Bay of Chaleurs, and there destroyed them. Thus all the French possessions in North America, excepting the recent and f feeble settlement of New Orleans, remained in our hands.

The war in Germany grew more and more bloody. Frederick of Prussia, in his winter quarters at Freyberg, seems to have ruminated gloomily on his Situation. In his desperate conflict of five millions of people against ninety millions, he had certainly shown that he was a great military genius, but that was his only greatness. The whole of this bloody struggle had been produced by his unprincipled invasion of his neighbours' territories in order to enlarge Ins own; and, however human policy may endeavour to reconcile such conduct to the rules of Christian truth and morality by the mere phrases of "great talent," "martial glory," "expansive policy," and the like, these phrases do not any the more render robbery and murder for your own self-interest the less criminal and disgraceful; if they did, they would loosen all the bonds of society, and the man in private life who murdered his neighbour and seized his estate would be worthy of our applause instead of the gallows. It is in vain that human ambition endeavours to disguise its truculence under the robes of a specious rhetoric - villany remains villany for ever. But Frederick was freed, or endeavoured to be so, from the bonds which Christians at once profess to wear and yet ignore at their will and convenience. He laughed atallideasof revealedreligion, scoffed with Voltaire, who was his guest at Sans Souci, at the immortality of the soul, and persuaded himself that his bottle of poison could reduce him to an equality with his dogs and horses, which he buried on the terrace of his garden at Potsdam, and ordered his own carcase, which he would fain think his only remains, to be laid beside them. Yet his theory of materialism did not render him any the more happy or cheerful. During this winter he wrote the most lugubrious letters, in which he seemed to have a lucid glimpse of his real life and character, which, however, produced no result beneficial to mankind. "Wretched fools that we are!" he says, "who havebut a moment to live! we make that moment as painful as we can. We delight in destroying those masterpieces of industry which even time has spared. We seem resolved to leave a hateful memory of our ravages, and of all the calamities that we have caused! "

Yet how completely Frederick uttered this wisdom without any real appreciation of it we shall soon see at Dresden. In fact, he had reduced his whole kingdom, as well as those of his neighbours, to the most frightful condition. According to Archenholz, in his " History of the Seven Years' War," he had so drained his country of men, that he resorted to the swindling trick of offering commissions in his army to young men of all ranks all over Germany. His agents were everywhere making these engagements, and that in the form of written patents for the posts of lieutenants and captains; but when these young men, many of them of family and education, arrived at headquarters, they were unceremoniously made privates of, and, if they resisted, were cudgelled into obedience. By such means did his great kidnapper, colonel Coligny, and his assistants, entrap thirty thousand men. Besides these, not only were the poor peasantry dragged away to his bloody wars, but prisoners were treated the same. Without being asked whether they would become Prussian soldiers or not, they were forced to the standards, compelled to swear allegiance, and marched off to fight for Prussia and against their own countrymen! By such means was the kingdom of Prussia put together, and by such means Frederick earned the prostituted epithet of u Great!" The condition to which his people were reduced may be imagined; and when he came into the neighbouring countries he swept up everything before him, till, though before him might be a garden, behind him was literally a desert. On Mecklenburg and Saxony he levied the most rigorous assessments; from Leipsic alone, in this present year, he forced one million one hundred thousand dollars. He felled the woods of Saxony, and sold them to speculators for what he could get; he left all his civil officers unpaid, and only paid his army by the English subsidy of six hundred and seventy thousand pounds, and that after it and all other coin had been enormously adulterated.

Russia and Austria came down upon him this year with great forces. Daun entered Saxony, Laudohn and Soltikow, Silesia. Laudohn defeated Fouque at Landshut, and took the fortress of Glatz, and compelled Frederick, though hard pressed by Daun, to march for Silesia. The month was July, the weather so hot that upwards of a hundred of his soldiers fell dead on the march. Daun followed him, watching his opportunity to fall upon him when engaged with other troops, but on the way Frederick heard of the defeat of Fouque and the fall of Glatz, and suddenly turned back to reach Dresden before Daun, and take the city by ßtorm; but as Daun was too expeditious for him, and Maguire, the governor, an Irishman, paid no heed to his demands for surrender, Frederick, who had lately been so beautifully philosophising on the inhumanities of men, commenced a most ferocious bombardment, not of the fortress but of the town. He burnt and laid waste all the suburbs, fired red-hot balls into the city to burn it all down, demolished the finest churches and houses, and crushed the innocent inhabitants in their flaming and falling dwellings, till crowds rushed from the place in desperation, rather facing his ruthless soldiers than the horrors of his bombardment. Such were the doings of this sentimental atheist, who had just before lamented over the "destruction of those masterpieces of industry which Time had spared," and that men "left a hateful memory of their ravages, and of all the calamities they caused!"

Prevented by the arrival of Daun from utterly destroying Dresden, though he had done enough to require thirty years of peace to restore, Frederick marched for Silesia. Laudohn, who was besieging Breslau, quitted it at his approach; but the Prussian king, who found himself surrounded by threes armies, cut his way, on the 15th of August, at Liegnitz, through Laudohn's division, which he denominated merely "a scratch." He was instantly, however, called away to defend his own capital from a combined army of Russians under Todtleben, and of Austrians under Lacy, another Irishman; but before he could reach them they had forced an entrance, on the 9th of October. The Russians, in a most extraordinary departure from their usual custom of plunder, touched nothing, but levied a contribution of one million seven hundred thousand dollars on the city. Prince Esterhazy, who commanded at Potsdam, was equally honourable - how different to Frederick at Dresden! - but Lacy and his Austrians plundered the palaces of Charlottenburg and Schönhausen, and ravaged the suburbs. At Frederick's approach they withdrew.

But there was no rest for Frederick. Daun was overrunning Saxony; had reduced Leipsic, Wittenberg, and Torgau. Frederick marched against him, retook Leipsic, and came up with Daun at Torgau on the 3rd of November. There a most sanguinary battle took place, which lasted all day and late into the night. Within half an hour five thousand of Frederick's grenadiers, the pride of his army were killed by Daun's batteries of four hundred cannon. Frederick was himself disabled and carried into the rear, and altogether fourteen thousand Prussians were killed or wounded, and twenty thousand of the Austrians. It was a most revolting spectacle of butchery, many of the wounded being, moreover, stripped and left naked all night on the field in a severe frost. This scene of savage slaughter closed the campaign. The Austrians evacuated Saxony, with the exception of Dresden; the Russians repassed the Oder, and Frederick took up his winter quarters at Leipsic.

Prince Ferdinand this summer had to contend with numerous armies of the- French. De Broglie marched from Frankfort into Hesse with a hundred thousand men. On the 10th of July they met the hereditary prince of Brunswick at Corbach, and defeated him, though he gained a decided advantage over them a few days after at Emsdorff, taking the commander of the division and five battalions prisoners. This was followed by Ferdinand himself, who was at Warburg, where he took ten pieces of artillery, killed one thousand five hundred of the French, and drove them into the Dimel, where many were drowned. The British cavalry had the greatest share in this victory. In fact, the marquis of Granby led them on all occasions with such spirit and bravery, that Ferdinand placed them continually in the post of danger - or, as it is termed, honour - where of course they suffered more severely than the other troops.

Notwithstanding these checks at Emsdorff and Warburg, the French obtained possession of Göttingen and Cassel. Ferdinand attempted, but in vain, to dislodge them from Göttingen, and the hereditary prince, attempting to surprise the marquis de Castries at Wesel, was repulsed with a loss of one thousand two hundred men at Closter- Campen, near that town, and was compelled to retreat. This closed the campaign, and the French took up their winter quarters at Göttingen and Cassel.

Whilst these things were happening, but two days before the mail arrived bringing the news of the defeat of Closter- Campen, and the surrender of Berlin, died George H. He had, till within about two years ago, enjoyed robust health. He had then a severe attack of gout, and from that time his eyes and hearing had failed. He complained that everybody seemed to have a black crape over their faces. On the morning of the 26th of October, he rose at his usual hour of six, drank his chocolate, inquired how the wind was, being anxious for the arrival of the mails, and then suddenly fell, uttered a groan, and expired. He had burst the right ventricle of the heart. He was about seventy-seven years of age. Since his ascension of the throne, England had been almost continually engaged in the wars of Germany, and had spent a vast amount of money and English blood for Germanic objects. Of late years, Pitt had won for the country far more valuable victories in India and America, and therefore, by a very common figure of speech, the poor old king, who would still have been in the hands of an imbecile and losing ministry of aristocrats if he could, died, according to Horace Walpole, "full of years and glory; without a pang, and without a reverse."

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Pictures for Reign of George II. (Concluded) page 15

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