Imágenes de páginas

at LUNEVILLE (Feb. 9, 1801). Malta was surrendered to the English in Sept. 1800; but a new danger threatened from the north, where the emperor Paul, a fanatical admirer of Bonaparte, seized British ships and property, and united Russia with Sweden and Denmark in an armed neutrality. At this crisis the king's scruples against the removal of the Catholic disabilities, a measure which Pitt deemed necessary for the settlement of Ireland, combined with that minister's desire to remove an obstacle in the way of peace, led to his resignation (Feb. 1801). He was succeeded by Mr. ADDINGTON, with lord ELDON (John Scott) as chancellor.

In March, 1801, Prussia joined the northern league, and took possession of Hanover, Hamburg having already been seized by Denmark. A British fleet was sent into the Baltic, and Nelson's great victory at COPENHAGEN (April 2, 1801) detached Christian VII. from the league, which was soon broken up by the assassination of Paul, whose son and successor, ALEXANDER I., made a treaty with Great Britain, Sweden, and Denmark, to regulate the rights of neutrals (June 17, 1801). In the same spring an English army landed in Egypt (March 1,1801); and after the victory of Alexandria, which cost the life of sir Ralph ABERCROMBY (March 21), the French army capitulated (Aug. 31). Bonaparte had carried with him a body of savans to collect manuscripts and monuments, which now became the prize of war, and were presented by George III. to the British Museum as the foundation of a gallery of Egyptian antiquities. Among them was the trilingual inscription known as the Rosetta Stone, which forms the key to hieroglyphic writing.

The peace, for which Bonaparte had made overtures when he became First Consul, was at length arranged (Oct. 1, 1801), and signed at AMIENS (March 18, 1802). While England ceded nearly all her conquests, France retained Belgium, the left bank of the Rhine, Avignon, Savoy, Geneva, and Nice. Bonaparte, who was elected consul for life on May 9, annexed Piedmont to France on the abdication of Charles Emmanuel (June 4), seized on the duchy of Parma, found a pretext for keeping his troops in Holland, and made great naval preparations in the ports of France and Holland. He complained of the countenance given by England to French emigrants, and of the delay in surrendering Malta to tho knights of St. John, and publicly insulted the British ambassador lord Whitworth, who at length left Paris, May 13, 1803.

The rupture was followed by the seizure of all the English whom the peace had attracted to France, to the number of 10,000. Hanover was overrun by general Mortier (June, 1803), and a great camp was formed at Boulogne for the invasion of England. The menace was met by a most patriotic response, and 300,000 volur

teers were enrolled, some of whom have survived to return to their standards at the present day. The British fleet swept the Channel, and recaptured the French and Dutch colonies; and the naval preparations of Spain led to a collision which was followed by a declaration of war on the part of that power (Dec. 12, 1804). Addington had already resigned, and Pitt returned to the helm to conduct the war against NAPOLEON I., who had assumed the title of emperor of the French (May 15, 1804), and whose murder of the duc d'Enghien (a Bourbon prince), with other outrages, made him the object of the bitterest personal animosity. All the powers of Europe now combined against him, except Prussia, which the bait of Hanover kept aloof. His invasion of England was completely organised, and only awaited the junction of the fleets of Toulon, Cadiz, and Brest, to sweep the Channel. Nelson blockaded Toulon through the winter of 1804. On his retiring to Barcelona to draw out the enemy, the French fleet, under Villeneuve, passed the Straits of Gibraltar, was joined by the fleet of Cadiz, and sailed for the West Indies, pursued by Nelson, who had at first mistaken its destination. The terror of his name chased them back again, but Nelson returned to England without meeting them. To the west of Cape Finisterre, however, Villeneuve fell in with sir ROBERT CALDER, who gained a victory and took two Spanish ships (July 22, 1805). Calder was brought to a court-martial for not doing more, but was acquitted. Villeneuve got back to Cadiz, where his fleet of 35 sail was blockaded by lord Cornwallis. NELSON was now called from his retirement at Merton to win his last battle. He hoisted his flag on board the Victory, and arrived off Cadiz on his birthday (Sept. 29, 1805). Villeneuve put out from the harbour on Oct. 19; and on the 21st ensued the BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR, memorable alike for Nelson's presentiments of his death-for his thrilling signal, “ ENGLAND EXPECTS EVERY MAN WILL DO HIS DUTY "- for his masterly tactics in breaking the double line of Villeneuve by a double column of attack-for the fury of the conflict, the completeness of the victory, and his own glorious death. The “mighty seaman, tender and true," was buried in St. Paul's, amidst a pomp of ceremony and a depth of sorrow which few live to remember, but which can be in part conceived by those who saw the victor of Waterloo laid beside him.

“ Not once or twice, in our rough island story,

The path of duty was the way to glory."

Not even the victory of Trafalgar and the blood of Nelson could save Europe. Eager to chastise Austria, and doubtful of his success in the attack on England, Napoleon suddenly marched the “Grand Army" from the shores of the Channel to the banks of the Danube

(Aug. 28), forced Mack to surrender at Ulm on the very day before Trafalgar (Oct. 20), occupied Vienna (Nov. 13), pursued the Austrians and Russians into Moravia, and there gained the great victory of AUSTERLITZ on the anniversary of his coronation, a day which became marked in his calendar like the 3rd of September in Cromwell's.(Dec. 2, 1805). The news was Pitt's death-blow. “Roll up that map of Europe," he said ; "it will not be wanted these ten years." His weak constitution, worn out with the cares of office now gave way, but he worked on to prepare for the opening of parliament up to the very day of its meeting (Jan. 22), and then expired at the age of forty-six (Jan. 23, 1806).* His great rival did not long survive him. Fox, called to the government as foreign secretary, under lord GRENVILLE, finding that Napoleon would only consent to peace on terms dishonourable to England, had resolved to prosecute the war with vigour, when he fell ill from an attack of dropsy. In July he was too unwell to transact business, and he died on Sept. 13, in his fifty-eighth year. On the 10th of October he was buried close to Pitt in Westminster Abbey.

The government of lord Grenville was called the Ministry of all the Talents. It comprised lord ERSKINE and lord Howick (who, as earl GREY, carried the Reform Bill of 1832); and one of its subordinate offices was filled by lord HENRY PETTY, now the marquis of LANSDOWNE. They had the honour, which Pitt had sought in vain, of abolisbing the African slave-trade, after an agitation of twenty years, conducted by GRANVILLE SHARP, THOMAS CLARKSON, and WILLIAM WILBERFORCE. In the conduct of the war they had little success. Their income-tax of 10 per cent. was very unpopular; and though the brilliant victory of sir John Stuart at MAIDA (July 4, 1806) raised the prestige of the British arms, the expeditions of sir John Duckworth to Constantinople and general Frazer to Egypt proved unsuccessful, and caused Turkey to declare war (1807). In March, 1807, a bill brought in by lord Howick to enable Roman Catholice to serve in the army gave George III. a pretext for dismissing the government. They were succeeded by the ministry of the duke of Portland, in which GEORGE CANNING was foreign secretary, lord CASTLEREAGH secretary for war and the colonies, SPENCER PERCEVAL chancellor of the exchequer, and lord ELDON lord chancellor. Viscount PALMERSTON, then 23 years old (b. 1784), was a junior lord of the Admiralty.

Meanwhile Napoleon was in the full tide of success. After Austerlitz he formed the lesser states of Germany into the Confederation of the Rhine. Mutual provocations led to war with Prussia, which

* It is only this year (1862) that Pitt has found a worthy biographer in earl STANHOPE,


was laid at his feet by the battle of JENA (Oct. 14, 1806). On the 25th he entered Berlin, whence he dated his first decree against all commercial intercourse with Great Britain. (The second was issued from Milan in 1809.) The victories of Eylau and FRIEDLAND led to his interview with the emperor Alexander, with whom he formed a close alliance at Tilsit (July 7, 1807). To prevent the fleets of the northern powers from falling into the hands of Napoleon, a powerful force was sent to demand the surrender of the Danish navy, which was only given up after the bombardment of Copenhagen by Admiral Gambier (Sept. 7, 1807).

The same autumn Napoleon began his schemes of conquest in the Spanish peninsula. An army under Junot overran Portugal, and entered Lisbon on Nov. 30, the royal family fleeing to Brazil. Napoleon then decoyed the imbecile Charles IV. of Spain, and his worthless son Ferdinand, to Bayonne, and obtained from them a renunciation of the throne of Spain, which he conferred on his brother JOSEPH' BONAPARTE, who entered Madrid July 20, 1808. The Spaniards had meanwhile risen and established a “ Junta" at Seville, which proclaimed Ferdinand VII. king, and Joseph was driven out of Madrid in a fortnight. The British government sent an expedition to Portugal under sir ARTHUR WELLESLEY, who had earned great distinction in India, where he defeated the Mahrattas at Assaye, and had served in the expedition against Copenhagen. He defeated Junot at VIMIERA (Aug. 21, 1808); but was superseded by sir Harry Burrard and sir Hew Dalrymple, who, by the shame. ful Convention of Cintra, permitted Junot to evacuate Portugal (Aug. 30). Then came the advance of sir John Moore into the north of Spain to co-operate with the Spaniards, and his disastrous . retreat to Corunna, where he fell in the battle which he fought and gained to secure the embarkation of his troops (Jan. 17, 1809). His burial at night, on the ramparts of Corunna, forms the subject of one of the most touching odes in our language.

Napoleon took part in this campaign; but before its end he was called away (Jan. 1) by danger on the side of Austria, which declared war (March, 1809). With his wonted rapidity he marched upon Vienna, and, after the doubtful battle of Aspern, gained a decisive victory at WAGRAM, and dictated terms of peace at Schönbrunn (Oct. 14). During this campaign he declared the States of the Church annexed to the French empire, and sent pope Pius VII, a prisoner, first to Grenoble and then to Fontainebleau. An expedition, which the British government sent to the Scheldt during Napoleon's advance into Austria, came to a disastrous end at the island of Walcheren (Nov. 1809). The discussions on this affair in the house led to the committal of sir FRANCIS BURDETT to the Tower,

and to riots in his cause (April 1810). Disputes arising out of it also caused a duel between Canning and Castlereagh, who had long been at variance, and had both resigned. Spencer Perceval soon afterwards became prime minister, the marquis WELLESLEY foreign secretary, and lord LIVERPOOL secretary for war, with lord PALMERSTON as under secretary.

Napoleon was now master of Europe. Russia was his ally; Prussia and Austria almost his vassals ; Germany at his feet. The boundaries of France itself reached from the mouth of the Scheldt to the frontiers of Naples, the throne of which kingdom was held by his brother-in-law, JOACHIM MURAT; while his brothers Joseph and Louis reigned in Spain and Holland. The latter country was soon afterwards added to France. To perpetuate his dynasty he divorced his loving and beloved wife JOSEPHINE, and married Maria LOUISA, daughter of the emperor Francis II. (April 2, 1810). His hopes were crowned (March 20, 1911) by the birth of an heir, NAPOLEON,

whom he named KING OF Rome, and who was afterwards called , duke of Reichstadt. And here we mark the hand of Divine Provi

dence. While Maria Louisa deserted Napoleon at his fall, and his son died childless at Vienna in 1832, the descendants of Josephine by her first husband, general Beauharnais, are allied to most of the royal families of Europe, and her grandson, CHARLES LOUIS BONAPARTE, the son of her daughter Hortense and Louis Bonaparte, reigns in France as NAPOLEON III.

Already, however, the “little cloud” had arisen in the West. The English government, and Canning in particular, had resolved not to abandon the peninsula after the retreat of sir John Moore. Sir ARTHUR WELLESLEY again landed at Lisbon (April 22, 1809), and, at the head of about 25,000 British and Portuguese, he crossed the Douro in face of Soult's army, whom he drove out of Oporto; and then, advancing into Spain, he defeated marshals Victor and Sebastiani at TALAVERA (July 28), and gained the title of viscount WELLINGTON. The utter failure of his Spanish allies, and the vast forces of the French, who had 200,000 men in the peninsula, compelled him to retire to Portugal; while the Spanish junta were shut up in Cadiz, and remained so till August 1812. Napoleon poured in fresh troops, and sent MASSENA to “ drive the English leopards into the sea.” Wellington prepared the wonderful lines of TORRES VEDRAS, from the Tagus to the sea, in front of Lisbon, and retired behind them, after checking the pursuit of Massena at Busaco (Oct. 1810). In the spring he advanced from those lines, before which Massena had worn out his men during the winter, to pursue a course of conquest, slow but sure, and with only one serious check (the retreat from Burgos), till he crossed the Pyrenees. The most

« AnteriorContinuar »