类型:奇幻地区:发布:2020-10-28 04:05:46


Whilst Burgoyne had been looking in vain for aid from New York, Sir Henry Clinton, at length daring the responsibility of a necessary deed, had set out with three thousand men, in vessels of different kinds, up the Hudson. On the 6th of Octobereleven days before Burgoyne signed the capitulationClinton set out. Leaving one thousand men at Verplank's Point, he crossed to the other bank with his remaining two thousand, and landed them at Stony Point, only twelve miles from Fort Montgomery. He advanced with one-half of his force to storm Fort Clinton, and dispatched Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell to attack Fort Montgomery. Both forts were to be[245] attacked, if possible, at the same instant, to prevent the one from aiding the other. The simultaneous assaults took place about sunset. Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell was killed leading his column against Fort Montgomery, but his brave troops entered and drove the garrison of eight hundred men from the place. Clinton found the approach to the fort of his own name much more arduous. But on went our brave fellows till they reached the foot of the works, where, having no ladders, they hoisted one another on their shoulders to the embrasures, through which they pushed past the cannon, and drove the Americans from their guns, and across the rampart, at the points of their bayonets. It was dark by the time the forts were taken, but the Americans soon threw light enough on the scene by setting fire to several vessels which were moored close under the guns of the forts. Had the English been disposed to risk the attempt to save them, they were prevented by several strong booms and chains thrown across the river. These they afterwards broke through, and, on the 13th of October, at the very moment that Burgoyne was making his first overtures for surrender, the English troops under General Vaughan ascended, in small frigates, as far as Esopus Creek, only thirty miles overland to Saratoga. But Burgoyne having now surrendered, and Gates being at liberty to send down strong reinforcements to co-operate with Putnam, the English vessels and troops were recalled, and returned to New York. Such was the campaign of 1777; equally remarkable for the valour of the British troops, and for their misfortunes; for the imbecility of their Government, and the incapacity or rashness of their commanders.

"Hereditary bondsmen! know ye not,The only matters of interest debated in Parliament during this year, except that of the discontent in the country, were a long debate on Catholic emancipation, in the month of May, which was negatived by a majority of only twenty-four, showing that that question was progressing towards its goal; and a motion of Lord Castlereagh for the gradual abolition of sinecures. This intimated some slight impression of the necessity to do something to abate the public dissatisfaction, but it was an impression only on the surface. This Ministry was too much determined to maintain the scale of war expenditure to which they had been accustomed to make any real retrenchment. A committee appointed to consider the scheme recommended the abolition of sinecures to the amount of fifty-four thousand pounds per annum, but neutralised the benefit by recommending instead a pension-list of forty-two thousand pounds per annum. The country received the amendment with disgust and derision.

Most unexpectedly, however, the French were as desirous of peace as the Allies ought to have been. At sea and in Italy they had not been so successful as in Flanders. Admiral Anson had defeated them off Cape Finisterre, and taken six ships of the line, several frigates, and a great part of a numerous convoy; Admiral Hawke, off Belleisle, had taken six other ships of the line; and Commodore Fox took forty French merchantmen, richly laden, on their way from the West Indies. In fact, in all quarters of the world our fleet had the advantage, and had made such havoc with the French commerce as reduced the mercantile community to great distress.

At length, then, after all his marvellous doublings, O'Connell was hunted into the meshes of the law. He was convicted of sedition, having pleaded guilty, but was not called up for judgment. This was made a charge against the Government; with how little reason may be seen from the account of the matter given by Lord Cloncurry. The time at which he should have been called up for judgment did not arrive till within a month or two of the expiration of the statute under which he was convicted, and which he called the "Algerine Act." In these circumstances, Lord Cloncurry strongly urged upon the Viceroy the prudence of letting him escape altogether, as his incarceration for a few weeks, when he must be liberated with the expiring Act, "would only have the appearance of impotent malice, and, while it might have created dangerous popular excitement, would but have added to his exasperation, and have given him a triumph upon the event of his liberation that must so speedily follow."The duties on bricks and tiles were opposed, as affecting brick-makers rather than the public, because stones and slates were not included. These duties were, however, carried, and the Bill passed; but great discontent arising regarding the duties on coals and on licences to deal in excisable commodities, the Chancellor of the Exchequer was obliged to produce a supplementary Budget, and, after withdrawing these, to lay others on the sale of ale, gold and silver plate, the exportation of lead, and postage of letters, at the same time limiting the privilege of franking. It was high time that the latter practice were put under regulation, for the privilege was enormously abused. Till this time, a simple signature of a member of Parliament, without name of the post town whence it was sent, or date, freed a letter all over the kingdom. Many persons had whole quires of these signatures, and letters were also addressed to numbers of places where they did not reside, so that, by an arrangement easily understood, the persons they were really meant for received them post-free. The loss to Government by this dishonest system was calculated at one hundred and seventy thousand pounds a year. By the present plan, no member was to permit any letter to be addressed to him except at the place where he actually was; and he was required, in writing a frank, to give the name of the post town where he wrote it, with the dates of day and year, and to himself write the whole address.

The sum of twenty millions was divided into nineteen shares, one for each of the colonies, proportioned to the number of its registered slaves, taken in connection with the market price of slaves in that colony, on an average of eight years, ending with 1830. But no money was payable in any colony until it should have been declared by an Order in Council that satisfactory provision had been made by law in such colony for giving effect to the Emancipation Act. Two of them were so perverse as to decline for several years to qualify for the reception of the money; but others acted in a different spirit. Believing that the system of apprenticeship was impolitic, they declined to take advantage of it, and manumitted their slaves at once. Antigua was the first to adopt this wise course. Its slaves were all promptly emancipated, and their conduct fully justified the policy; for on Christmas Day, 1834, for the first time during thirty years, martial law was not proclaimed in that island. Thus, the effect of liberty was peace, quietness, and confidence. Bermuda followed this good example, as did also the smaller islands, and afterwards the large island of Barbadoes; and their emancipation was hailed by the negroes with religious services, followed by festive gatherings. Jamaica, and some other islands, endeavoured to thwart the operation of the new law, as far as possible, and took every advantage in making the apprentices miserable, and wreaking upon them their spite and malice. They met with harsher treatment than ever, being in many instances either savagely ill-used or inhumanly neglected. Considering their provocations, it was generally admitted that they behaved on the whole very well, enduring with patience and resignation the afflictions which they knew must come to an end in a few years. The total number of slaves converted into apprentices on the 1st of August, 1834, was 800,000. The apprenticeship did not last beyond the shorter time prescribed, and on the 1st of August, 1838, there was not a slave in existence under the British Crown, save only in the island of Mauritius, which was soon required by instructions from the Home Government to carry the Act into effect.On the 21st of September the Convention had met in the Tuileries. The first act of the Convention was to send to the Legislative Assembly the notification of its formation, and that the existence of that body was, as a matter of course, at an end. They then marched in a body to the Salle de Manege, and took possession of it. The Girondists now appeared on the Right, the Jacobins on the Left, under the name of the Mountain, and the Centre, or Moderates, took the name of the Plain. The first speech and motion was made by Manuel, proposing that the President of the Convention and of France should be lodged in the Tuileries, attended by all the state which had accompanied the king, and that, whenever he appeared in the House, all the members should receive him standing. The motion was received with a storm of reprobation, and dismissed. The second motion, made by Collot d'Herbois, was for the immediate abolition of royalty. He was seconded by the Abb Gregoire, and it was unanimously abolished accordingly. No time was lost in communicating this fact to the royal family in the Temple.

The Fte de la Concorde took place on Sunday, the 21st of May, and passed off without any attempt at disturbance. On the contrary, the people were in excellent humour, and everything upon the surface of society seemed in keeping with the object of the festivity. On the 26th the Assembly decreed the perpetual banishment of Louis Philippe and his family, by a majority of 695 to 63. But the ex-king was not the only pretender who occupied the attention of the new Government; a far more dangerous one was Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, nephew of the Emperor and then an exile in London. He had gone over to Paris when the Republic was proclaimed, but acting on the advice of the Government, he quietly retired from the country. So potent, however, was still the charm that attached to the name of Napoleon, that his heir was elected a member of the National Assembly by no less than four constituencies. It was moreover discovered that money had been distributed in Paris by his partisans; that placards in his favour were posted upon the walls, and cries of "Vive Napoleon!" resounded through the city. Within four days, three journals had been established in Paris preparing the way for the candidature of Louis[553] Napoleon as President. After a violent debate, it was resolved by a large majority that he should be permitted to take his seat as a representative. On the Monday following Paris was excited by a rumour that Louis Napoleon had arrived, and while Lamartine was speaking in the Assembly several shots were fired, one at the Commandant of the National Guard, another at an officer of the army, and this was done to the cry of "Vive l'Empereur Napoleon!" "This," said Lamartine, "is the first drop of blood that has stained our revolution; and if blood has now been shed, it has not been for liberty, but by military fanaticism, and in the name of an ambition sadly, if not voluntarily, mixed up with guilty man?uvres. When conspiracy is taken in flagrante delicto, with its hand dyed in French blood, the law should be voted by acclamation." He then proposed a decree, causing the law of banishment of 1832 against Louis Napoleon to be executed. It was voted by acclamation, the Assembly rising in a body, and shouting, "Vive la Rpublique!"



Grattan had given notice that on the 16th of April he would move for the utter repeal of the Acts destructive of the independent legislative[289] rights of Ireland. On the appointed day, the House of Commons having been expressly summoned by the Speaker, Grattan rose, and, assuming the question already as carried, began, "I am now to address a free people. Ages have passed away, and this is the first moment in which you could be distinguished by that appellation. I have found Ireland on her knees; I have watched over her with an eternal solicitude; I have traced her progress from injury to arms, from arms to liberty. Spirit of Swift! spirit of Molyneux! your genius has prevailed! Ireland is now a nation. In that new character I hail her, and, bowing to her august presence, I say, Esto Perpetua!" The speech was received with thunders of applause. It concluded with an Address to the Crown, declaring in the plainest, boldest language, that no body of men, except the Irish Parliament, had a right to make laws by which that nation could be bound. The Address was carried by acclamation; it was carried with nearly equal enthusiasm by the Lords, and then both Houses adjourned to await the decision of the Parliament and Ministry of Great Britain.




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