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Reign of George III. (Continued.) page 3


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Calvi, the most strongly-situated and fortified place, still remained to be taken. By the middle of June it was thoroughly invested, both by sea and land, and Nelson again serving on shore, assisted by captains Hallowell and Sere- cold, was pouring shells and red-hot shot into the fort. Captain Serecold was killed at the very outset; but Nelson and Hallowell, chiefly with the sailors and marines, continued the bombardment through the terrible heat of the dog-days, and the enervating effects of malaria from pestilential bogs and stagnant ponds in the hollows of the hills, and compelled the surrender on the 10th of August, but not before one-half of the two thousand men engaged were prostrated by sickness. Nelson himself lost the sight of one eye by gravel driven into it by a shot which fell near him.

The island was now, by the advice of Paoli, offered to the British crown, and accepted; but a gross blunder was made in not appointing Paoli governor, as was expected both by himself and his compatriots. Instead of this most proper and conciliatory measure, sir Gilbert Eliot was appointed governor, to the universal disappointment and disgust of the Corsicans. Sir Gilbert attempted to gratify the islanders by framing a new constitution for them, and granting them trial by jury; but neither of these institutions were adapted to their ideas, and they failed to heal the wound which the passing over their great patriot occasioned. No sooner had we secured the island than the Genoese laid claim to it, though they had formerly made it fully over to the French. The claim, of course, was treated with the deserved inattention; but Orders were given to the Corsicans to respect the Genoese flag.

But this little episode of the war presented but one bright spot amid the vast picture of miserable mismanagement, want of concert, and of activity, amongst the allies engaged against France. The campaign of 1794 was most disgraceful and discouraging. The plan still was for the different armies of the allies to advance from the different frontiere, north, west, east, and south, and concentrate themselves in Paris; but all the activity and concentration were on the side of the French. In the very commencement of it, it was observed that Prussia was not bringing, by any means, the stipulated amount of forces into the field. We have seen that the duke of Brunswick, dissatisfied at once with Prussia and Austria, had retired from the command of the Prussian army. The king of Prussia, thinking much more of securing his Polish robberies than of co-operating against France, continued in Poland, and was even discovered to be secretly negotiating with the French convention for peace. England, who had no direct interest in the war, and was in the Netherlands only ostensibly to defend the Dutch frontiere, according to treaty, was alarmed at this symptom of Prussian defection, and made strong remonstrances. Frederick William coolly replied that it was impossible for him to go on without a large sum of money. This ought to have acted as a sufficient warning to England to confine herself to the point to which she was bound - the defence of Holland - and leave the Prussians and Austrians to defend their own possessions. But she had now got the idea that it depended alone on England to conquer the French, and that the business of all the wars of the world was her business. The hint of Prussia was not lost; money was promised, and, in April of this year, a subsidy of two millions two hundred thousand pounds was paid to Prussia to secure her more active operation, and on condition that she brought into the field sixty thousand men. The bulk of this money was paid by England, a small fraction by Holland, and what was the result? The king of Prussia sent very few troops into the field, but employed the money in paying and maintaining armies to keep down the invaded provinces of Poland, and to invade more! Thus, England was duped into the disgraceful business of riveting the fetters of unhappy Poland; and it would have been well had this taught the English government wisdom. But it was now intent on that astonishing career of subsidising almost all the nations of Europe against France; of purchasing useless German soldiers at astounding prices; of pouring out the wealth and blood of England like water to enable the Germans and Russians to defend their own hearths and homes, and in vain. The results of this subsidy ought to have satisfied England, and would have satisfied any other nation; for it did not long retain Prussia as an ally, even in name.

Belgium, this summer, was the great battle-ground. In it were Austrians, Dutch, English, and Hanoverians. At the opening of the campaign, the allies had, probably. two hundred thousand men scattered along the frontiere, and the French upwards of three hundred thousand. But whilst the French were united in one object, and the Convention kept pouring fresh masses of men in, the allies were slow and disunited. The duke of York, who commanded the English and Hanoverians, about thirty thousand men, was completely tired of the sluggish formality of the Austrian general, Clairfayt, and refused to serve under him. To remove the difficulty, the emperor of Austria agreed to take the command of his forces in the Netherlands in person, so that the duke of York would serve under him. Francis II. arrived in April, and great expectations were excited by his presence. The royalists of Brussels received him with great exultation, putting over their gate the inscription, "Caesar adest, tremunt Galli!" ("Caesar is come, the Gauls tremble! ")

But there was nothing to tremble at in Francis: he was no general. In fact, the French had revolutionised the whole system of war as well, as of government, and turned adrift all the old theories of attack and defence, whilst the Germans remained enslaved to them many a day, and, in consequence, were beaten over and over without learning any better from it. Instead of urging all the different divisions of the allied armies to concentrate in large masses against the able generals, Pichegru and Jourdan, Francis sate down before the secondary fortress of Landrecies, though the allies already held those of Valenciennes, Condé, and Quesnay. This enabled Pichegru to advance on West Flanders, and take Courtrai and Menin in the very face of Clairfayt. At the same time, Jourdan had entered the country of Luxembourg with a large force, and whilst the Austrians were wasting their time before Landrecies, he was still further reinforced from the army of the Rhine, which the absence of the king of Prussia left at leisure, and he now fell upon the Austrian general, Beaulieu; and though Beaulieu fought bravely for two days, he overwhelmed him by successive columns of fresh troops, and drove him from his lines. Jourdan then advanced upon the Moselle, where the Prussians ought to have been, and were not, spite of the subsidy.

Pichegru, on his part, having driven back Clairfayt, turned round on the duke of York, who lay at Tournay. There he met with a severe repulse, and fell back with heavy loss; but Clairfayt having again advanced to regain Courtrai, Pichegru once more engaged and defeated him. Clairfayt then fell back into Flanders, to cover Ghent, Bruges, and Ostend. Pichegru, urged on against his better judgment by St. Just, who was the commissioner from the convention, sent Kleber and Marceau across the Sambre to attack the general Kaunitz; but Kaunitz gave the French a severe defeat, killing four thousand of them; and, had the Austrians been as rapid as they were brave, they might have nearly exterminated the whole of the French division. This success inspirited the allies to advance actively, but the duke of York, not taking into account the habitual slowness of German troops, shot ahead, expecting to fall in with Clairfayt's columns at Turcoing; but there he only found the French, under Souham and Bonnaud, who well nigh enveloped him by their vast numbers, totally defeated, and nearly took him prisoner. This gave such a panic to the Austrians, that the entire army fell back, and Francis II., thoroughly discouraged, withdrew from the command, and left it to the prince of Coburg. The duke of York rallied, and maintained his ground at Tournay against Pichegru, and Kaunitz followed up his advantage against Kleber and Moreau, driving them across the Sambre; but these were but temporary successes. Jourdan, finding no Prussians in the Moselle, drew nearer to the camp of Pichegru. There were various conflicts at Vpres, Charleroi, and on the plains of Fleurus. The allies drove the French three times across the Sambre, but they returned with fresh and never-ending forces, and compelled the allies to a general retreat. Bruges opened its gates to the French; Pichegru, aided by Moreau, compelled the duke of York to retire successively on Oudenarde, Tournay, and Antwerp, places filled with the fame of Marlborough. At Antwerp, the duke of York was joined by lord Moira, with ten thousand men, intended originally for La Vendee, but too late to prevent the massacre of Savenay. The English garrison quitted Ostend, and came round to Antwerp; and the English occupied that town, whilst Clairfayt lay at Louvain, and the two armies, unitedly, protected Mechlin.

The French allowed the retreating allies no rest. There was no want of men. The convention, by the menace of the guillotine at home, and the promises of plunder and license abroad, could raise any number of thousands of men, could raise millions of money, and they had not a single feeling of humanity, as the streaming axes of the executioners all over the country showed. They could also fight and daunt their enemies by the same unhesitating ferocity. They had long published to all their armies that no quarter was to be given to English or Hanoverians - they were to be massacred to a man; and they now sent word to the fortresses of Valenciennes, Conde, Quesnoi, and Landrecies, that, unless the garrisons surrendered, every soul, on their being taken, should be butchered. The fortresses were immediately surrendered, for the menace was backed by one hundred and fifty thousand men - the united troops of Pichegru and Jourdan. Besides, the fortresses in the hands of the allies were so badly supplied both with ammunition and stores, that they were but dens of famine and impotence. On the 5th of July Ghent opened its gates to the French; on the 9th the French entered Brussels, having driven the duke of Coburg out of his entrenchments in the wood of Soignies, near which the battle of Waterloo has since been fought. They next attacked the duke of York and lord Moira at Mechlin, and, after a sharp conflict, drove them thence. The very next day, Clairfayt was defeated, and obliged to abandon both Louvain and Liege. General Beaulieu was driven out of Namur, solely because he had no provisions there for his army, though, otherwise, the place could have made a long defence. The duke of York was compelled to abandon the strong and important citadel of Antwerp from the same cause, and to cross the Scheldt into the Dutch territory, leaving the French to make their triumphant entry into Antwerp on the 23rd of July.

Such was the brilliant campaign of the French in the Netherlands in the summer of 1794 - such the ignominious defeat of the allies, with an army of two hundred thousand men. All Belgium was lost; and the duke of Coburg, who had made a brave resistance, called loudly on the Germans to rise en masse for the defence of their own country; to put forth every energy for the recovery and maintenance of their national honour, and coin the silver and gold of their churches into pay for the necessary armies. The appeal fell dead: the day Vas yet far distant when the German monarchs - themselves despots, to a man - would echo that appeal, and put arms into the hands of a people smarting under the deepest political thraldom. When, after having been trodden and beaten by the French for years, they at last did make that appeal, they were obliged to accompany it by sacred promises of free constitutions. The people then rose, and drove out the French; and then the false monarchs did not give the constitutions. Years of national degradation, with the foot of France on the neck of Germany, had yet to pass even before this took place. Monarchs and people remained quiescent, and the duke of Coburg surrendered his command.

Then the emperor Francis gave intimations that he was about to treat with France for peace. It was not that he wanted peace, but a large sum of money, such as Prussia had obtained from England. That transaction had awaked the cupidity of all the German states. They were not aroused by patriotism to defend their own country, but their princes were all alive to the prospect of being paid by England to defend it. What England should have done, having seen the wretched material and still more wretched command of the German armies, was to have said, " By all means make peace; we can defend our own shores." But Pitt fell at once into the snare. He had become insane on the idea that England was the political Atlas that must- support the world. He again complied, and again fed the vulture of German rapacity, which, the more it was indulged, was sure to become the more insatiable. A loan of four million pounds was granted to Austria - a loan, like hundreds of other millions, never to be repaid. At the same time, in addition to the Hessian soldiers engaged, the duke of Brunswick, the king's relative, was to furnish two thousand two hundred and eighty-nine men on the same liberal terms, and was himself to have an annual allowance of sixteen thousand pounds sterling.

As we are now entering on the history of the most tremendous war that the world has yet seen, it is necessary that we should do so with a clear idea of our own particular business in it as a nation. We will, therefore, revert to the causes of our participation in it, and review its progress and consequences. The original root of all this warfare on our part was the bargain, which we have detailed in its place, betwixt Charles II. and the whig aristocracy for his return to the throne. By this bargain, the aristocracy threw off all their feudal obligations, and transferred the system of taxation to the nation at large. From that moment it became the interest of the aristocracy to have foreign wars, because they would employ themselves and their sons. Till then there had been no national debt, because the aristocracy would have had to pay it. From that moment the debt began to accumulate, wars became incessant, and William HI., a Dutchman, involved us in the whole continental system of quarrel. We have since been almost always fighting on the continent, at one time for, and at another against, the same princes; and mark the consequences. From this apparently distant source came our loss of America; from this, our stupendous war against France, now to be related. We fought a long time against Frederick, called the "great," because he was a great robber; and then we fought in the Seven Years' War for him against our former allies, the Austrians. We enabled him not only to pare down Austria, but Saxony also. We sent him soldiers, and subsidised him at the rate of six hundred and seventy thousand pounds per annum. In this war, which terminated in 1763, we spent a hundred and twelve millions of money - "a sum," says Sir John Sinclair, in his " History of the Revenue," " which would have maintained the whole peace establishment, at the then rate of expenditure, for a hundred and thirty years! "

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