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Soon after, a resolute attack was made on the right of the British centre by a great body of cavalry, which rode impetuously into the front of the squares and of thirty pieces of artillery. Though cut down in heaps, they drove the artillerymen from their guns, but these only retreated amongst the infantry, carrying with them the implements for serving the guns, and, the moment the infantry repelled their assailants a little, the men were at their guns again, and renewed the firing. The cuirassiers fought most undauntedly; they rode along the very front of the squares, firing their pistols into them, or cutting at them with their swords. Again and again they dashed forward to break the squares, but in every instance were met with such a destructive fire that they were compelled to draw off, only a mere fragment of this fine cavalry surviving this heroic but fatal attempt. From that time the French continued the battle chiefly by an incessant fire of artillery along the whole line, which the British avoided in great part by lying on their faces.But the despondency of Wolfe was but for a moment. Suddenly a new ideaan inspiration, it seemedburst upon him: he would scale the Heights of Abrahamthe point where no mortal ascent was dreamed of, and which therefore was less defended, except by nature, than the rest of the vicinity of the city. The ships were immediately ordered to make a feint, under Admiral Saunders, opposite Montcalm's camp at Beauport, and those under Holmes, at a point higher up the river. Attention being thus drawn from himself, on the night of the 12th of September, when it was pitch dark and the tide flowing, he put across the river to a small inlet about two miles above Quebec, which ever since bears the name of Wolfe's Cove.Food we had none;

The year 1810 opened with violent debates on the conduct of the late Ministry, and the miserable management of the Walcheren Expedition. The King's Speech, read by commission, passed over the disasters in Belgium entirely, and spoke only of Wellesley's glorious victory at Talavera. But the Opposition did not pass over Walcheren; in both Houses the whole business was strongly condemned by amendments which, however, the Ministry managed to get negatived by considerable majorities. Both Castlereagh and Canning defended their concern in the expedition. They declared that the orders were to push forward and secure Antwerp, and destroy the docks and shipping there, not to coop up the troops in an unhealthy island swamp; and that they were not responsible for the mismanagement of the affair. This threw the onus on Lord Chatham, the commander, but did not exonerate Ministers for choosing such a commander; and though they were able to defeat the amendments on the Address, they were not able to prevent the appointment of a secret committee to inquire into the conduct and policy of the expedition. The committee was secret, because Buonaparte carefully read the English newspapers, and Parliament was desirous of keeping from his knowledge the wretched blunders of our commanders. This object, however, was not achieved, for the evidence given before the committee oozed out and appeared in our newspapers, and was duly set forth in the Moniteur for the edification of France and the Continent. Notwithstanding the frightful details laid before the committee, and the gross proof of dilatoriness and neglect, Ministers succeeded in negativing every condemnatory motion; and though General Craufurd actually carried resolutions affirming the propriety of taking and keeping the island of Walcheren, awfully fatal as it was, still Lord Chatham, though exculpated by the Court and Parliament, was by no means acquitted by the country, and he found it necessary to surrender his post of Master-General of the Ordnance.THE MANSION HOUSE, LONDON, IN 1760.

But they were not then in the position of a beleaguered garrison. Before relief came, they had won a victory that covered them with glory. The troops had been in the highest pluck, and never seemed so happy as when they could encounter any portion of the enemy. In this state of feeling an idea began to take possession of the officers that they were able to capture Mahomed Akbar's camp. A false report had come to the Sirdar, that General Pollock had been beaten back with great slaughter in the Khyber Pass; and in honour of this event his guns fired a royal salute. A rumour also reached the garrison that there had been a revolution at Cabul, and that the enemy was obliged to break up his camp and hasten back to the capital. Whether either or both these reports should prove true, the time seemed to have come for General Sale to strike a blow. A council of war was held; the general would have shrunk from the responsibility of an attack upon the camp; but he was dissuaded by Havelock. Akbar Khan, at the head of 6,000 men, was aware of their approach and ready to receive them. On issuing from the gate, General Sale had ordered Colonel Dennie forward, to attack a small fort, from which the enemy had often molested the garrison. The colonel, at the head of the brave 13th, rushed to the fort; but having entered the outer wall, they found themselves exposed to a murderous fire from the defences of the inner keep. There Colonel Dennie received a mortal wound, a ball passing through his sword-belt. Sale now gave orders for a general attack on the enemy's camp, and in his despatch he thus describes the result:"The artillery advanced at a gallop, and directed a heavy fire upon the Afghan centre, whilst two of the columns of infantry penetrated the line near the same point, and the third forced back its left from its support on the river, into the stream of which some of his horse and foot were driven. The Afghans made repeated attempts to check our advance by a smart fire of musketry, by throwing forward heavy bodies of horse, which twice threatened the detachments of foot under Captain Havelock, and by opening upon us three guns from a battery screened by a garden wall, and said to have been served under the personal superintendence of the Sirdar. But in a short time they were dislodged from every point of their position, their cannon taken, and their camp involved in a general conflagration. The battle was over, and the enemy in full retreat, by about seven a.m. We have made ourselves masters of two cavalry standards, re-captured four guns lost by the Cabul and Gundamuk forcesthe restoration of which to our Government is matter of much honest exultation among the troopsseized and destroyed a great quantity of material and ordnance stores, and burnt the whole of the enemy's tents. In short, the defeat of Mahomed Akbar, in open field, by the troops whom he had boasted of blockading, has been complete and signal. The field of battle was strewed with the bodies of men and horses, and the richness of the trappings of some of the latter seemed to attest that persons of distinction were among the fallen. The loss on our side was remarkably smallseven privates killed, and three officers and fifty men wounded."

The consequence was that the condition of the agricultural population was as debased morally as it was destitute physicallyin the almost total absence of education, the very funds granted by pious testators for this end being embezzled by the clergy or squirearchy. Everything which could brutalise the people was encouraged by the aristocracy on the plea that it made them good soldiers. When the horrors and brutalities of almost universal dog-fightings, cock-fightings, bull and bear-baitings began to attract the attention of philanthropists, and it was sought by Parliamentary enactment to suppress them, they were defended by Windham, and others, on the ground that they accustomed the people to the sight of blood, and made them of the "true British bull-dog character."The press played a most important part in the agitation for Reform. A host of the most witty, brilliant, and powerful writers of the day wielded their pens against monopoly with tremendous effect, assailing it with argument and ridicule, like a continual storm of shot and shell. Of these, the[334] most distinguished was the Rev. Sydney Smith, who mingled argument, sarcasm, humour, and pathos, in his ardent advocacy of the popular cause, with a power and effect that made him a host in himself. In answer to the objection that the Reform Bill was a mere theory, he furnished the most telling illustrations, from life, of the way in which the existing system kept down merit and damaged the public service. So far from Reform being a mere theoretical improvement, he said, "I put it to every man who is himself embarked in a profession, or has sons in the same situation, if the unfair influence of borough-mongers has not perpetually thwarted him in his lawful career of ambition and professional emolument? 'I have been in three general engagements at sea,' said an old sailor; 'I have twice been wounded; I commanded the boats when the French frigate Astrolabe was cut out so gallantly.' 'Then, you were made a post captain?' 'No, I was very near it, but Lieutenant Thomson cut me out as I cut out the French frigate; his father is town-clerk of the borough of which Lord F is member, and there my chance was finished.' In the same manner all over England, you will find great scholars rotting on curacies, brave captains starving in garrets, profound lawyers decayed and mouldering in the Inns of Court, because the parsons, warriors, and advocates of borough-mongers must be crammed to saturation before there is a morsel of bread for the man who does not sell his votes and put his country up for auction; and though this is of every-day occurrence, the borough system, we are told, is no practical evil...." Another witty and brilliant writer, Mr. Fonblanque, rendered important services to the cause of Reform by his writings in the Examiner, which have been collected under the name of "Seven Administrations." Though Radical in its tendencies, he wrote, "Ministers have far exceeded our expectations. The plan of Reform, though short of Radical Reform, tends to the utter destruction of borough-mongering, and will prepare the way for a complete improvement. The ground, limited as it is, which it is proposed to clear and open with popular influence, will suffice, as the spot desired by Archimedes, for the plant of the power which must ultimately govern the whole system. Without Reform, convulsion is inevitable. Upon any Reform further improvement is inevitably consequent, and the settlement of the Constitution on the democratic basis certain."[1] At this period the Times was by far the greatest power of the newspaper press, and its advocacy of the cause of Reform was distinguished by a vigour and boldness which rendered it obnoxious to the House of Lords, and provoked an attack on the liberty of the press that caused a great deal of excitement during the discussions on the first Reform Bill. Mr. Lawson, the printer, was arrested, but released after a reprimand.In fact the Ministry remained deplorably weak, despite the numerous changes in the Cabinet. The Marquis of Normanby, who had been a failure at the Home Office, changed places with Lord John Russell, who went to the Colonial Office. Mr. Francis Baring was made Chancellor of the Exchequer in the place of the most incompetent financier of modern times, Mr. Spring-Rice, who was raised to the peerage by the title of Baron Monteagle, and soon afterwards appointed Comptroller of the Exchequer, with a salary of 2,000 a year; Sir John Newport having retired from that post on a pension. The Earl of Clarendon became Lord Privy Seal, and Mr. Macaulay Secretary at War, with a seat in the Cabinet in the room of Viscount Howick, who had quitted the Administration because he had disapproved of the political import of the changes, taken altogether, and they were unalterably fixed without seeking his concurrence. Mr. Charles Wood, the brother-in-law of Lord Howick, also resigned shortly afterwards, and Sir Charles Grey was refused promotion.

The End

He despatched a squadron of ten ships of the line to the Mediterranean, under Admiral Haddock; another strong squadron sailed for the West Indies; letters of marque and reprisal were issued to the merchants; and troops and stores were forwarded to Georgia, which the Spaniards had threatened to invade. He gave directions to all merchants in Spanish ports to register their goods with a public notary in case of a rupture. These measures produced a rapid change of tone at the Spanish Court. On comparing the demands on both sides for damages sustained in commerce, there appeared a balance in favour of England of two hundred thousand pounds. Against this, the Spaniards demanded sixty thousand pounds in compensation for the ships taken by Admiral Byng in 1718a claim which Stanhope would never allow, but which had been recognised in the Treaty of Seville, and was now, therefore, acknowledged. This reduced the sum to a hundred and forty thousand pounds, which the Spanish Court proposed should be paid by assignments on the American revenues. This, the Ministers were well aware, might involve the most endless delays and uncertainties, and they certainly showed a most conceding spirit by allowing a deduction of forty-five thousand pounds for prompt payment at Madrid. The sum was now reduced to ninety-five thousand pounds; and this being agreed to, a convention was signed on the 14th of January, 1739.[See larger version]

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On the 15th of April Buonaparte quitted Paris, for the last time as a permanent abode; on the 16th he was at Mainz, and on the 25th at Erfurt. Before quitting Paris he had appointed Maria Louisa regent in his absence. This he deemed a stroke of policy likely to conciliate the Emperor of Austria. But the Empress's power was merely nominal. She could appear at the Council board, but it was only as the instrument of the Emperor; he carried all active power along with him, and ruled France from his camp. He had still upwards of fifty thousand troops in the garrisons of Prussia, commanded by Eugene, the Viceroy of Italy; and he advanced at the head of three hundred thousand men. Eugene Beauharnais had been compelled necessarily to evacuate Dantzic, Berlin, and Dresden as the Russians and Prussians advanced, and to retreat upon the Elbe. In the month of May Bernadotte, according to concert, crossed over to Stralsund with thirty-five thousand men, and awaited the reinforcements of Russians and Germans which were to raise his division to eighty thousand men, with which he was to co-operate with the Allies, and protect Hamburg. The Allies, under Tetterborn, Czernicheff, and Winzengerode, spread along both sides of the Elbe, the Germans rising enthusiastically wherever they came. Hamburg, Lübeck, and other towns threw open their gates to them. The French general, Morand, endeavouring to quell the rising of the people of Lüneburg, was surprised by the Russians, and his detachment of four thousand men was cut to pieces, or taken prisoners. Eugene marched from Magdeburg to surprise Berlin, but was met at M?ckern, defeated, and driven back to Magdeburg. Such was the success of the Allies, and the exulting support of the people, that even Denmark and Saxony began to contemplate going over to the Allies. Blucher entered Dresden on the 27th of March, driving Davoust before him, who blew up an arch of the fine bridge to cover his retreat. The Emperor of Russia and King of Prussia entered the city soon afterwards, and were received by the inhabitants with acclamations. On the 28th of April died the old Russian general, Kutusoff, at Bautzen, and was succeeded by General Wittgenstein.




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