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Reign of George III. (Continued.) page 3


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The Portuguese were soon relieved from the unequal strife by the landing of eight thousand British soldiers, commanded by lord Tyrawley, with the earl of Loudon, lord George Lennox, general Townshend, brigadiers Crawford and Burgoyne, under him. Tyrawley soon resigned, being heartily disgusted with the people and the service, and lord Loudon succeeded him. The Portuguese army was intrusted to count la Lippe, who had been master of artillery to prince Ferdinand, in Germany. Lippe showed an activity worthy of the school he had studied in. He collected his forces at Puente de Marcello to prevent the advance of the Spaniards north of the Douro, and he dispatched brigadier Burgoyne to make a diversion by falling on Valentia D'Alcantara. Burgoyne executed this commission admirably. He struck through the mountains by Castel da Vida; and, after a forced march of five days, through a most rugged and difficult country, carried Valencia D'Alcantara by a coup-de- main, securing a great quantity of arms, ammunition, and stores, and taking prisoner a Spanish general, with all his staff. He also levied considerable sums on the town, and made his retreat as successfully. This brilliant movement confounded the plans of the Spaniards, but did not prevent the count D'Aranda taking Almeida and Ciudad Rodrigo, D'Aranda then marched for Castel Branco, and succeeded in crossing the Tagus, at Villa Velha, in spite of a force under count St. Jago. Meantime, Burgoyne, who was posted at Niza, threw a detachment across the Tagus, under colonel Lee, on a dark night, whilst he himself occupied the attention of the Spaniards by feigning to attack them in front from Niza. Lee's detachment thus came suddenly on the rear of the Spaniards, surprised and routed them with great slaughter, destroyed their magazines, and spiked their guns, returning loaded with booty, and bringing great numbers of prisoners.

The autumnal rains now setting in, D'Aranda found himself harassed on all sides by the peasantry, his provisions exhausted; and the expected French reinforcements, under the prince de Beauvau, nowhere appearing, he dismantled the few fortresses that he had taken, and made a hasty retreat into Spain again.

This campaign was humiliating enough to the proud Spaniards, who had foolishly listened to the interested persuasions of France; but this was the least part of their losses and mortifications. The English fleets were everywhere busy attacking their colonies, and cutting off their ships at sea. The "Hermione," a treasure ship, returning from Lima, with nearly a million sterling on board, was captured off Cape St. Vincent by two of our frigates. The expeditions sent out against the Spanish possessions, in the West Indies and the Indian Ocean, proved most successful. A fleet had been dispatched, under admiral Rodney, at the latter end of the last year, against Martinico, carrying nearly twelve thousand men, commanded by general Monckton. They landed on the 7th of January at Cas de Navires, besieged and took Port Royal, the capital of St. Pierre, and, finally, the whole island. This was followed by the surrender of St. Vincent, Grenada, and St. Lucia, so that the English were now masters of the whole of the Carribbees.

A portion of this squadron, under Sir James Douglas, then proceeded to join an expedition, which sailed from Portsmouth on the 5th of March; the fleet commanded by admiral Sir George Pococke, and the army by the earl of Albemarle. On the addition of Sir James Douglas's squadron, the whole force, which was destined for Cuba, amounted to nineteen ships of the line, eighteen frigates, and other smaller vessels, with a hundred and fifty transports, carrying ten thousand men.

The squadron arrived before Havanna on the 4th of June - king George's birthday - and effected a landing without much difficulty. But the difficulties lay in the climate, which, during the summer, is deadly to the European, and to soldiers, who had to labour and fight under the fierce sun, it proved tremendously so. The city, as the great depot of the Spanish West Indian trade, was strongly fortified, and contained a garrison equal in number to the besiegers. In the port lay twelve ships of the line; the port was surmounted by strong bastions and batteries, and its narrow entrance, defended by two forts, Puntal and Moro, deemed almost impregnable. The English commenced their attack first on the Moro, on the 12th of June; but they found the utmost difficulty in casting up batteries, in consequence of the fortress standing on a bare rock. Besides this, the artillery had to be dragged for a great distance over a very rugged shore; and such was the excessive labour, that several of the men fell exhausted, and died from the heat and fatigue. Still, on the 12th of June, they commenced playing with their batteries on the Moro; but they found the Spaniards respond with vigour to their attack, fighting not only bravely from the walls, but making desperate sallies to drive them from their guns.

In order to silence their guns, three ships of the line were brought up as near as possible to the Moro, to act on it from the sea, simultaneously with the batteries on land, but they were soon compelled to draw off. When the besiegers were beginning to despair, some further reinforcements, from New York and the West Indian Islands, gave them fresh spirit. Eight hundred marines were also landed from the fleet, and it was determined to carry the fort by storm. On the 30th of July a mine was sprung, a breach, though only a narrow one, was effected, and through that the British troops, fighting furiously, forced their way. The commander of the fort, Don Louis de Velasco, and the second in command, the marquis de Gonzales, fell mortally wounded in defending the breach.

The next attack was on the city itself. It was not, however, till the 12th of August that they were ready with their batteries. The effect of the bombardment was almost instantaneous. Within six hours nearly all the enemy's guns were silenced, and the next day the Spaniards capitulated, agreeing to yield not only the place, and the vessels in the harbour, but the country for a hundred and eighty miles to the westward; in fact, all the best part of Cuba. The booty taken was valued at nearly three million pounds; but the same dishonourable conduct in the distribution of the prize money, which has too often disgraced our service, was most flagrant here, and excited the loudest murmurs. The admiral and general pocketed each one hundred and twenty-two thousand six hundred and ninety- seven pounds; the sea captains one thousand six hundred pounds each; the field officers only five hundred and sixty- four pounds each; the land captains only one hundred and eighty-four pounds each, not so much as a naval lieutenant, who had each two hundred and thirty-four pounds; whilst the poor sailors had merely three pounds fourteen shillings and ninepence each! and the soldiers, who had borne the brunt of the heat, the labour, and the fighting, received the paltry sum of four pounds one shilling and eightpence each! What had been the nature of the service to these poor fellows may be known from the fact, that one thousand one hundred of them were killed by the climate and the enemy, and of the remaining army, of at least ten thousand men, not more than two thousand five hundred were capable of service. By this conquest, the passage of the Spanish plate-fleets was left entirely at our mercy.

In the East Indies, immediately afterwards, another severe blow was inflicted on Spain. An expedition sailed from Madras, and admiral Cornish conveyed in a small fleet a body of men amounting to two thousand three hundred, and consisting of one regiment of the line, in addition to marines and sepoys. Colonel William Draper, afterwards so well known for his spirited contest with the still undiscovered author of "Junius's Letters," was the commander. They landed near Manilla, the capital of the Philippine Islands, on the 24th of September, the Spanish garrison there being taken completely by surprise, having received no information of the war. But the archbishop, who was also governor of the whole group of islands, defended the place with the bravery of a bishop of the earlier ages. He summoned the natives to his aid, and, with about eight hundred Spanish regulars, endeavoured to drive out the invaders. The Indians fought with the utmost ferocity, though only armed with bows and spears, and, when pierced by the bayonets, turned and gnawed them with their teeth like wild beasts. These poor people had no chance against European artillery, and were mowed down or dispersed; and, on the 6th of October, the twelfth day after landing, Manilla was carried by storm. Admiral Parker, who was made a baronet for his services on this occasion, and became well known as Sir Hyde Parker, and captain Kempenfelt, who became rear-admiral Kempenfelt, and was lost in the "Royal George," off Portsmouth, most ably supported the movements of the troops. Though the town was taken, the archbishop still held out in the citadel, and only surrendered on conditions. These were to pay a ransom of two millions of dollars for the lives and safety of the inhabitants and their property. This was a cheap purchase; for, though Draper agreed to accept an order on the treasury in Madrid for the same amount, there was very little prospect of this second sum ever being paid. The invaders had, however, helped themselves pretty freely to money's worth. They had seized all public property, several ships, the artillery and military stores, and they captured the "Santa Trinidad," a great Manilla and Acapulco galleon, valued at three millions of dollars. Another still richer galleon, the "Santa Philipina," escaped them, after a long chase. The whole of the Philippines submitted without further resistance; and Draper, besides being made a knight of the Bath, was, with the naval commanders, thanked by parliament, as well they might be.

Such were the ruinous results, in a single campaign, of Spain having listened to French counsels, and quarrelled with a power capable of stripping her of all her colonies. Besides the capture of Havanna, the Philippines, and the treasure ship there, we had, as already stated, captured the "Hermione," a very valuable prize, and many smaller ones. The whole mercantile navy of Spain was at our mercy; her resources were cut off, and France was in no condition to defend her at sea, and had really afforded her no aid on land. The only trifling piece of success was the seizure of the Portuguese colony of Sacramento, on the river La Plata; the capture of several British merchantmen there, and the repulse, by these means, of a private expedition of English and Portuguese adventurers against Buenos Ayres.

The brilliant successes of this campaign had clearly been the result of Pitt's plans before quitting office. Bute and his colleagues had no capacity for such masterly policy, and as little perception of the immense advantages which they gave them in making peace. Peace they were impatient for - less on the great grounds that peace was the noblest of national blessings, than because the people grumbled at the amount of taxation - and because, by peace, they diminished, or hoped to diminish, the prestige of the great minister, who had won such vast accessions to the national territory. Bute was eager to come to terms with France and Spain, regardless of the advantages he gave to prostrate enemies, by showing that impatience. Had he made a peace as honourable as the war had been, he would have deserved well of the country; but to accomplish such a peace required another stamp of mind.

Bute made overtures to France through the neutral court of Sardinia. Louis XV. and his ministers caught at the very first whisper of such a thing with the eagerness of drowning men; a sufficient intimation to all able and cautious ministers, that he might safely name his own terms. The duke of Bedford was immediately sent to Paris as ambassador, and the gallant and graceful duke of Nivernoes was sent to London as the French envoy to arrange the terms of the treaty. The two ambassadors, however, soon found that the real business of the treaty was transacted betwixt Bute, on our part, and the duke de Choiseul, on that of France; and that not through the two ambassadors, but through Sardinian envoys.

The conditions first agreed upon were, that both England. and France were to withdraw their support, either by men or money, to the war in Germany. France was to evacuate the few towns that she held there, as well as Cleves and Gueldres. Minorca was to be restored in exchange for Belleisle, which thus fully justified Pitt's capture of that little, otherwise useless island. The fortifications of Dunkirk were to be reduced to the state required by the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.

France ceded Canada, Nova Scotia, and Cape Breton, stipulating for the free exercise of their religion by the inhabitants of Canada, and for their leaving the country if they preferred it, carrying away their effects, if done within eighteen months. Nova Scotia and Cape Breton were given up unconditionally. The boundaries of Louisiana were more clearly defined. The French retained the right to fish on part of the coast of Newfoundland and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and to retain the two little islets of St. Pierre and Miguelon, as places of shelter for their fishermen, on condition that no batteries should be raised on them, nor more than fifty soldiers should keep guard there. -Their fishermen were not to approach within fifteen miles of Cape Breton.

In the West Indies it was decided that we should, of the French islands that we had taken, retain Tobago, Dominico, St. Vincent, and Grenada, but restore to France Guadaloupe, Martinico, St. Lucia, Marigalante, and Desiada.

In the East Indies France agreed to keep no troops, and raise no fortifications in Bengal, and on these conditions their settlements were restored, but merely as places of trade. Goree, on the coast of Africa, was restored, but Senegal was surrendered.

As for Spain, she abandoned all designs on Portugal, and restored the colony of Sacramento; and she surrendered every point on which her declaration of war against England was based - namely, the right to fish on the coast of Newfoundland; the refusal to allow us to cut logwood in Honduras; and to admit the settlement of questions of capture by our courts of law.

These certainly were large concessions, but it was to be remembered that we had not received these gratis; they had cost enormous sums, and the national debt had been doubled by this war, and now amounted to one hundred and twenty-two million six hundred thousand pounds. These territories had then, in fact, cost us upwards of sixty million pounds; and it is certain that Pitt would have exacted a more complete renunciation from France of the conquered countries. There was a clause inserted which Pitt would never have permitted - namely, that any conquests that should, after the signing of these conditions, be made, should be restored by all parties. Now, Bute and the ministry knew that we had expeditions out against Cuba and the Philippines, and that the only conquests likely to be made were in those quarters. To throw away without equivalent the blood and money expended in these important enterprises was a most unpatriotic act. Still, there was opportunity for more rational terms, for Grimaldi, the Spanish ambassador at Paris, held back from signing, in hope that we should be defeated at the Havanna, and that then he could raise his terms. When the news of the loss of both Havanna and Manilla arrived, Grimaldi was in great haste to sign, and Mr. Granville and lord Egremont very properly insisted that we should demand an equivalent for the conquest in Cuba. Pitt would have stood firm for the retention of that conquest as by far the most important to us, and as justly secured to us, by the refusal of the Spanish ambassador to sign at the proper time. But Bute would have signed without any equivalent at all. Fortunately, there was too strong an opposition to this in the cabinet, and the duke of Bedford was instructed to demand Florida or Porto Rico in lieu of the Havanna. Florida was yielded - a fatal, though at the moment it appeared a valuable concession, for it only added to the compactness of the American colonies, hastening the day of independence, whilst Cuba would have remained under the protection of our fleet, one of the most valuable possessions of the British empire.

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Pictures for Reign of George III. (Continued.) page 3

Great seal of England
Great seal of England >>>>
Queen Charlotte
Queen Charlotte >>>>
Catherine II
Catherine II >>>>
Storming the fortress of Moro
Storming the fortress of Moro >>>>
View in the Island of Cuba
View in the Island of Cuba >>>>
Monument erected to the memory of the sufferers in the Black Hole, Calcutta
Monument erected to the memory of the sufferers in the Black Hole, Calcutta >>>>
Medal struck in commemoration of the battle of Plassy
Medal struck in commemoration of the battle of Plassy >>>>
Threatened arrest of Wilkes
Threatened arrest of Wilkes >>>>
Duel between Wilkes and Martin
Duel between Wilkes and Martin >>>>
North Briton
North Briton >>>>

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