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The Reign of George III - (Continued.) page 10


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The news of the battle of Trafalgar came to spoil his triumph at the surrender of Ulm. It occurred the day after that event, and Fouché says - The disaster of Trafalgar, by the ruin of our navy, completed the security of Great Britain. It was a few days after the capitulation of Ulm, and upon the Vienna road, that Napoleon received the dispatch containing the first intelligence of this misfortune. Berthier has since related to me that, whilst seated at the same table with Napoleon, he read the fatal paper, but, not daring to present it to him, he pushed it gradually with his elbow under his eyes. Scarcely had Napoleon glanced through its contents, than he started up full of rage, exclaiming - ' I cannot be everywhere! ' His agitation was extreme, and Berthier despaired of tranquillising him."

The unfortunate Villeneuve was never forgiven by Buonaparte. He was soon liberated on his parole, and allowed to return to France; but he had better have gone any other way. Though Buonaparte published in the Moniteur, and also stated in opening the Senate at Paris, that a " tempest had deprived him of some few ships, after a battle imprudently entered into " - and that was all the public notice he took of this ruinous catastrophe of Trafalgar - yet, amongst those immediately around him, he indulged in the most violent language against Villeneuve, declaring that he h ad disobeyed the Orders sent to him - Orders which would have insured victory. He was the more exasperated, because, notwithstanding all his exertions to keep concealed the truth, it was every day becoming more known through the return of the soldiers and sailors from Spain, and from the active endeavours of the royalists in France. Napoleon would not allow Villeneuve to approach Paris, and this is his account of the end of the admiral: - " At Rennes, on the 26th of April, 1806, on his way from England, Villeneuve put an end to himself! When taken prisoner, and conveyed to England, he was so much grieved at his defeat that he studied anatomy, in order; to destroy himself. For this purpose, he bought some anatomical plates of the heart, and compared them with his own body, in order to ascertain the exact situation of that organ. On his arrival in France, I ordered that he should remain at Rennes, and not proceed to Paris. Villeneuve, afraid of being tried by a court-martial, determined to destroy himself, and accordingly took his plates of the heart, and compared them with his breast. Exactly in the centre of the plate he made a mark with a large pin, then fixed the pin, as near as he could judge, in the same spot in his own breast, shoved it in to the head, penetrated his heart, and expired. He need not have done it, as lie was a brave man, though possessed of no talent."

This story is altogether too absurd. A man accustomed to battles and death was under no necessity to study anatomy in order to destroy himself. A pistol bullet through his head was a much like her means of suicide than a pin, and all this adaptation. Accordingly, the public, bearing in mind the deaths of Pichegru and captain Wright, formed its own conclusions about the matter. It felt that Villeneuve had the strengest interest in telling a very différent story of the battle of Trafalgar to that which Buonaparte had given; his story would have confirmed that of the returned soldiers and sailors, and have been identical with that which was now circulating all the world over. What rendered the public conviction stronger of the real nature of Villeneuve's death was, that not this version only, but a number of others were spread abroad. By one, he shot himself; by another, he stabbed himself with a dagger; by a third, he fell on his own sword!

In England, the news of the death of Nelson nearly neutralised the rejoicing for the most important victory which accompanied it. His brother, a country clergyman, who succeeded to his title, was raised to the dignity of an earl. Parliament voted a hundred thousand pounds for the purchase of an estate, and granted ten thousand pounds to each of his sisters. But no regard was ever paid to his dying request in behalf of lady Hamilton, who lived in poverty, and lies in an unknown grave at St. Pierre, near Calais, nor to his daughter; neither was his anticipation of a tomb in Westminster Abbey realised, but he was assigned one in St. Paul's Cathedral, and his remains were attended thither with the usual State.

A new and vigorous campaign was this year carried on in India by general, now lord Lake, against the Mahrattas. Holkar had refused to enter into amicable arrangements with the English at the same time as Scindia and the rajah of Berar, but had continued to strengthen his army, and now assumed so menacing an attitude, that lord Lake and general Frazer were sent to bring him to terms or to action. They found him strongly posted near the fortress of Deeg, in the midst of bogs, tanks, and topes, and formidably defended by artillery. On the 13th of November, 1804, general Frazer attacked them, notwithstanding, and defeated them, but was killed himself in the action, and had six hundred and forty-three men killed and wounded; for the fire of round, grape, and chain-shot by the Mahrattas was tremendous. The English captured, however, eighty-seven pieces of cannon of splendid European workmanship. On the 17th, lord Lake fell on Holkar's cavalry near Ferruckabad, commanded by Holkar himself, and thoroughly routed it, very nearly making capture of Holkar. He retreated into the Bhurtpore territory, the rajah of that district having joined him. Lord Lake determined to follow him, and drove him thence, reducing the forts in that country. He had first, however, to make himself master of the fortress of Deeg, and this proved a desperate affair. Still the garrison, consisting of troops partly belonging to Holkar and partly to the rajah of Bhurtpore, evacuated it on Christmas-day, leaving behind them a great quantity of cannon and ammunition. On the 1st of January, 1805, lord Lake, accompanied by colonel Monson, marched into the territory of Bhurtpore, and, on the 3rd, sate down before its fortress, one of the strongest places in India. It was situated amid lakes and morasses, about thirty miles from Agra, and was difficult of approach, as well as most skilfully fortified. It had a numerous garrison, and abundance of artillery. It was surrounded by a broad ditch, more than eight feet deep in water. Lord Lake cannonaded it till a breach was made, and then a storming party was pushed across the ditch on rafts, and endeavoured to take the fortress by escalade. They were driven back, with three hundred English and two hundred sepoys killed. The cannonade continued, and, as fresh breaches appeared, fresh assaults were made, but with the same slaughterous and abortive results. The Mahrattas secured the breaches by strong stockades within till they could repair them. On the 18th of January, major- general Smith arrived from Agra with three battalions of sepoys and a hundred Europeans, and Ishmail Beeg deserted from Holkar with five hundred horse. But these advantages were counterbalanced by Meer Khan arriving with a strong force from Bundelcund to assist Holkar.

On the 21st of January another great breach was made, and another attempt to carry the place by assault; but it was repelled by a terrible slaughter, upwards of six hundred men being killed or wounded. At the same time, Meer Khan, with eight thousand horse, endeavoured to cut off a great train of camels and bullocks bringing up provisions, but was defeated, as were the united forces of Meer Khan, Holkar, and the rajah of Bhurtpore, in a similar attempt to intercept another provision train on its way from Agra. In order to compel Lake to raise the siege of Bhurtpore, Meer Khan made an incursion with his own cavalry, and a powerful reinforcement of Pindarries, into the Doab, the company's territory. But lord Lake was not to be drawn away from the fort. He dispatched major-general Smith with a body of horse and the horse-artillery, who followed the track of Meer Khan, marked by burning villages and desolated fields, and coming up with him, on the 1st of March, near Afzulgur, he routed him with great slaughter, dispersing and almost annihilating his force. During this expedition, which lasted a month, and in which the English crossed and recrossed the Ganges and the Jumna several times, they gave a splendid example of the effective condition of our troops in India.

During the absence of major-general Smith, lord Lake continued the bombardment of the fortress of Bhurtpore. He had been joined by a considerable reinforcement of British and native troops, under major-general Jones, who had made an extraordinary march all the way from Bombay, through the territories of Malwa, and the dominions of Holkar and Scindiah. But ail lord Lake's endeavours had proved abortive. On one occasion he lost nearly a thousand men, English and native, by the explosion of a mine. As his stores and ammunition were getting low, he determined to make one more bold dash, and, the next day, threw the whole of his force on the breach. The English rushed upon the walls with a perfect desperation, sticking their bayonets into the joints of the stones to aid them to climb; but the enemy defended the place with equal spirit, and the English were compelled to desist, with the loss of another thousand men, chiefly sepoys, including major Menzies, lieutenant Templeton, and three other officers. Upwards of three thousand men having been killed, and a great number wounded, in the endeavours to storm the place, lord Lake now converted the siege into a blockade, and sent out parties to obstruct the roads leading to the fort, and others to bring up fresh cannon and supplies, his artillery having become blown at the touch-hole by the continued firing. As Holkar continued to hover near with a large body of cavalry, lord Lake went in quest of him, and, coming up with him, now again joined by Meer Khan and some bands of Pindarries, lie gave him a most crushing defeat on the 2nd of April, and drove him across the Chumbul river. On this, the rajah of Bhurtpore consented to treat; and, on the 2nd of April, lie agreed to surrender the fort of Deeg to the English till such time as they were satisfied of his fidelity; to renounce all connection with the enemies of England; to pay by instalments twenty lacs of Furruckabad rupees; to surrender a portion of his territory, and deliver one of his sons as a hostage for the fulfilment of his engagements. This was settled on the 10th of April, and, on the 21st, Lord Lake went in quest of Scindiah and Holkar, who had united their forces. At his approach, they retreated towards Ajmeer. As the rainy season was approaching, lord Lake returned and quartered his troops at Agra, Mutra, and the neighbouring towns. Lord Wellesley was now superseded in the government of India by lord Cornwallis, who was averse to the system of extensive annexation which lord Wellesley had pursued. But his own health was failing, and as he ascended the country in order to confer with lord Lake on his future policy, he died at Gazepoor, near Benares, having returned to India only three months. Sir George Barlow assumed the direction of affairs till the appointment of a new governor-general; and, as lord Lake was of opinion that there could be no security till Holkar and Scindiah were driven over the Indus, it was resolved to carry out that object. Scindiah, however, came in and made peace, and Holkar went north ward, boasting that he would cross the Indus, and then return with a new avalanche of Sikhs and Affghans, and sweep away the British forces. He managed to elude major-general Jones and colonel Ball, who marched from différent quarters to intercept him; and, to prevent him arousing the Sikhs to arms, lord Lake marched rapidly after him with the cavalry, and a portion of the infantry. He reached the country of the Sikhs, who professed themselves friendly, and, crossing the Sutledjh, lie pushed on with wonderful celerity into the Punjab, and, being joined by a reinforcement, under colonel Burn, he still advanced, and reached the banks of the Beas river, the Hyphasis of Alexander the Great, where he and his Macedonians halted, and turned back towards their far-off country. On the banks of this river, a tributary of the Indus, the British troops beheld above them the mighty ranges of the Himalaya, and the distant, snow-clad summits of the ancient Imaus. Around them were vast pine-woods clothing the slopes, and enchanting Valleys, with numerous villages and temples, and the ruined structures of past ages. The natives gazed on them with as much wonder as their ancestors, more than two thousand years before, had gazed on the Macedonian army; but they proved friendly, and soon flocked in with provisions and fruits. Holkar lay encamped betwixt them and the city of Lahore, and lord Lake was preparing to reach him, or drive him across the Hydrastes, when he found himself, like Alexander, arrested in his march.

Sir George Barlow had concluded a treaty with Scindiah, and lord Lake was instructed to refrain from attacking Holkar, and to offer him very favourable terms of accommodation. It was now the policy of government to limit our territories in that part of India by the Jumna, and this necessitated the abandonment of some defensive alliances beyond it, as with the rajah of Gypore, and some lesser powers. This was an abandonment which left those states to the vengeance of the Mahrattas, and was greatly blamed on that account by those who advocated the annexation of the whole peninsula. Holkar himself did not appear desirous of entering into treaty with us, but the Sikhs, who wished both him and us away, refused all aid to Holkar, except to mediate for him. Even then lie hung back, and made great difficulties about the conditions; but lord Lake at length informed him that, unless the treaty was signed by a certain day, he would cross the Hyphasis, and advance to attack him. This brought him to, and, on the 7th of January, 1806, the treaty was duly signed by him. By it Holkar renounced all claims on Foonah and Bundelcund, and, indeed, on any territory on the northern bank of the Chumbul, as well as all cianns on the British government and its allies. On our part, we agreed to restore to him, eighteen months after the treaty, Chandore, Galnauh, and other forts and districts south of the Taptee and Godavery, provided lie fulfilled his engagements, remained peaceful, and did not molest the territories of the Company and its allies, nor admit Surjee-Row-Gautka into his service. By the treaty with Scindiah, which was completed on the 23rd of November, that of Surjee Anjengaum, made by general Wellesley, was confirmed: to restore to him Gwalior and Gohud, with the right to resume them in case he violated the treaty. The river Chumbul was made his boundary. In exchange for certain jaghires, amounting to fifteen lacs of rupees annually, which had been granted to some of his officers by the former treaty, lie received au annual pension of four lacs of rupees for himself, a jaghire, worth two lacs of rupees, for his wife, and another, worth one lac, for his daughter. As for his father-in-law, Surjee-Row-Gautka - a man most hostile to the English, and who was supposed to have stimulated both Scindiah and Holkar to their late war - he was bound, like Holkar, not to admit him again to his counsels or service. No interference was made with his conquests between the rivers Chumbul and Taptee, nor with his arrangements with his tributary chiefs in Mewar and Marwar; but, on the other hand, he was required not to take into his service any Europeans, without consent of the British. French officers, indeed, who had served under M. Perron, were found to have directed the defence of the hill forts in this campaign, greatly to our damage.

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Pictures for The Reign of George III - (Continued.) page 10

Pope Pius VII
Pope Pius VII >>>>
Lord Sidmouth
Lord Sidmouth >>>>
Coronation of Napoleon the First
Coronation of Napoleon the First >>>>
Conscript
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Napoleon entering Milan
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City of Trieste
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The Battle of Austerlitz
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French soldier
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Birth-place of Lord Nelson
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Plan of the Battle of Trafalgar
Plan of the Battle of Trafalgar >>>>
Lord Nelson mortally wounded
Lord Nelson mortally wounded >>>>
View of Peschiera.
View of Peschiera. >>>>
All the Talents
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A Brazilian forest
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Statue of Napoleon
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Jerome Buonaparte
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Sir John Duckworth
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Trial of Palm
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