General Kleber, whom Buonaparte had left in command of the Egyptian army, was an excellent officer, and he had improved the condition of the forces there. Instead of the French army in Egypt being weaker than when Buonaparte left it, it was much stronger. In 1800 Kleber was attacked at the fort of El Arish, in the Desert, by a strong Turkish force, supported by the British squadron under Sir Sidney Smith. Being defeated, he agreed to a convention, by which he promised to evacuate Egypt, on condition of his army being allowed to return unmolested to Europe; but no sooner were these terms communicated to the British Government than they disavowed them, declaring that Sir Sidney had no authority to propose them. Kleber, therefore, resumed hostilities and returned towards Cairo; but being attacked by the Turks, he fought and routed them with great slaughter, on the 20th of March, 1800, near the ruins of the ancient city of Heliopolis. The Moslems of Cairo, encouraged by Murad Bey, who still hovered about with his Mameluke cavalry, rose on the French there, and massacred such as could not escape into the citadel. Kleber hastened to Cairo, relieved the forces in the citadel, and entered into a truce with Murad Bey, but whilst thus busily engaged he was assassinated by an Arab, who declared he was commissioned by Allah to free the country of the infidels. The command was taken by Menou, whose administration of the army and general affairs was far inferior to that of Kleber. At the time that matters were changing thus for the worse, amongst the French, Dundas, now Lord Melville, urged upon Ministers the good policy of sending an army to Egypt and compelling the surrender of the French. He contended that, whilst one army was sent from Britain, another should be brought across the Persian Gulf from India, and success made certain. The plan was much too bold, even for Pitt; and the king opposed it energetically, as "a dangerous expedition against a distant province." But the danger of having this French army transferred to Europe at some critical moment—as it would have been had the Convention of El Arish been carried out, by which these twenty thousand seasoned men could have been landed in Italy to act against Suvaroff—at length brought the British Ministry to dare the attempt.
There were three or four more of these utterly unequal fights, in which the Americans succeeded in capturing small British vessels when at the point of sinking. Such was the case with the Macedon, which, with a crew of two hundred and sixty-two men and thirty-four boys, fought the United States, with more and heavier guns, and with a crew of four hundred and seventy-seven men and one boy. The Macedon was a complete wreck before she struck. Similar cases were those of the Java frigate, Captain Lambert, which struck to the Constitution, and the British eighteen-gun brig-sloop the Frolic, which struck to the American brig-sloop Wasp, of eighteen guns. Here the arms were equal, but the crews most unequal, for the Frolic had a small crew, very sickly from five years' service in the West Indies, and the ship itself was in bad condition. Within a very few hours the Frolic was re-captured by the British seventy-four gun-ship, the Poictiers, which carried off the American vessel too. In none of these cases was there anything like an equal fight, the Americans being too shrewd to risk that if they could avoid it. In all cases a large proportion of the crews was made up of British deserters. The accounts, however, which the Americans published of these affairs were as usual of the most vaunting character.
To all this his Lordship had to add various specimens of the Canons. By the 3rd, every one asserting that the Church of England was not a true apostolical church should be excommunicated. The 4th and 5th excommunicated all who declared that there was anything contrary to sound Scripture in the form of worship of the Church of England, or anything superstitious or erroneous in the Thirty-Nine Articles. The 65th enjoined all ordinaries to see that all offenders, under the different Acts here enumerated, should be cited and punished according to statute, or excommunicated. The 72nd forbade, under pain of excommunication, all ministers, without licence of the bishop, to attempt, upon any pretence whatever, to cast out any devil or devils, under pain of deposition from the ministry. The 73rd made it a subject of excommunication that any priest or minister should meet with other persons in any private house or elsewhere to consult upon any canon, etc., which may tend to impeach or deprave the doctrine, the Book of Common Prayer, or any part of the discipline and government of the Church of England; and by the 115th, all churchwardens are enjoined to make presentments of offenders in any of these particulars; and all judges, magistrates, etc., are bound to encourage, and not to discourage, all such presentments. Lord Stanhope observed that the Court of King's Bench, in 1737, had decided that these Canons, not having ever received the sanction of Parliament, were not binding on the laity; and he contended that the ratification of them by James I., not being authorised by the original statute, the 25th of Henry VIII., made them as little binding on the clergy. He had not, therefore, included the Canons in his Bill. He took care, too, to except Catholics from the benefit of the Bill; neither was the Bill to repeal any part of the Test and Corporation Acts, nor the 12th and 13th of William III., "for the better securing the rights and liberties of the subject." He finally showed that these fierce and persecuting Acts were not become utterly obsolete; they were ever and anon revived, and might, any of them, be acted upon at any moment. It might reasonably have been supposed that the bishops would have supported the Bill unanimously; that they would have been glad to have all such evidences of the odious means by which their Church had been forced on the people, swept out of the Statute-book and forgotten. No such thing. The Archbishop of Canterbury declared, if Dissenters were allowed to defend their principles, the atheist and the theist might be allowed to defend theirs. But Bishop Horsley, then of St. David's, was the chief speaker against the repeal of these precious laws. He declared that this repeal would level every bulwark of the Church; that "the Christian religion would not remain in any shape, nor, indeed, natural religion!" It is needless to say that the Bill was rejected; it could not attain even to a second reading.
In Wales, such was the neglect of religion by the Establishment, that, previous to 1804, there was scarcely a clergyman of the Church of England in the principality who was a native, or could preach in Welsh. The capability of a minister to make himself understood by his parishioners had been totally disregarded by those who had the presentation to livings; the exercise of patronage had alone been cared for; the souls of people went for nothing. About that time the Rev. Mr. Charles was engaged as curate in a Welsh parish. He found not a single Bible in the parish, and on extending his inquiries he scarcely found a Bible in Wales. He made this fact known to the public, in an appeal for Welsh Bibles, and for this appeal and the attendant exposure of the clerical neglect he was dismissed from his cure, and could find no bishop who would license him to preach in any other parish. But his truly Christian act had excited the attention of the religious public, and had the effect of establishing the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1804.
Whilst all the countries which Buonaparte, at such an incalculable cost of life and human suffering, had compelled to the dominion of France were thus re-asserting their freedom, Buonaparte, in Paris, presented the miserable phantom of a vanished greatness. He called on the Senate to vote new conscriptions, telling them that theirs had been made by him the first throne of the universe, and they must maintain it as such; that without him they would become nothing. But the Allies were now entering France at one end, and Wellington was firmly fixed in the other; ere long the insulted nations would be at the gates of Paris, and the Senate and people demanded peace. Buonaparte refused to listen, and the Senate voted the conscription of three hundred thousand men, knowing that there was no longer any authority in the country to raise them. La Vendée, and all the Catholic South, were on the verge of insurrection; Murat, in Naples, was ready to throw off his last link of adhesion to Buonaparte; and the defeated usurper stood paralysed at the approach of his doom.Another admiral was still less fortunate. This was Linois, who had been beaten off in his attack on a British fleet of India merchantmen, in the Straits of Malacca, some time before, and who had been cruising far and wide in pursuit of British prizes, whilst a number of English commanders were eagerly hunting after him. He was now returning home, when, in sight of the port of Brest, with only two of his ships remaining, Sir John Warren stood in his way, and compelled him to surrender both of them.As for the poems of Ossian, he made a violent attack upon them in his "Tour to the Western Isles."
Napoleon was at Vervins, on the 12th of June, with his Guard, and on the 14th he had joined five divisions of infantry and four of cavalry at Beaumont. The triple line of strong fortresses on the Belgian frontiers enabled him to assemble his forces unobserved by the Allies, whilst he was perfectly informed by spies of their arrangements. Wellington had arrived at Brussels, and had thrown strong garrisons into Ostend, Antwerp, Nieuwport, Ypres, Tournay, Mons, and Ath. He had about thirty thousand British, but not his famous Peninsular troops, who had been sent to America. Yet he had the celebrated German legion, eight thousand strong, which had won so many laurels in Spain; fifteen thousand Hanoverians; five thousand Brunswickers, under their brave duke, the hereditary mortal foe of Napoleon; and seventeen thousand men, Belgians, Dutch, and troops of Nassau, under the Prince of Orange. Doubts were entertained of the trustworthiness of the Belgians, who had fought under Napoleon, and who had shown much discontent of late; and Napoleon confidently calculated on them, and had Belgian officers with him to lead them when they should come over to him. But, on the whole, the Belgians behaved well; for, like all others, their country had felt severely the tyranny of Napoleon. Altogether, Wellington's army amounted to about seventy-five thousand men. He occupied with his advanced division, under the Prince of Orange, Enghien, Braine-le-Comte, and Nivelles; with his second, under Lord Hill, Hal, Oudenarde, and Grammont; and with his reserve, under Picton, Brussels and Ghent. What he had most to complain of was the very defective manner in which he had been supplied with cannon on so momentous an occasion, being able to muster only eighty-four pieces of artillery, though he had applied for a hundred and fifty, and though there were cannons enough at Woolwich to have supplied the whole of the Allied armies.But there was another topic started in this first Imperial Parliament which was as odious to George III. as the perfidious conduct of his late Russian ally. As one means of bringing about the union with Ireland, Pitt held out to the Irish Catholics the argument that by having Irishmen in the united Parliament they would be most likely to obtain a repeal of the Catholic disabilities. Both he and Lord Cornwallis had sent circulars to this effect, anonymous, it is true, but with a secret avowal of their authorship, amongst the leading Catholics, which had a great effect in procuring their assent to the union. Lord Castlereagh, who as Secretary of State for Ireland had helped to carry the union, claimed the redemption of this pledge. The matter was talked over in the Cabinet during the autumn of 1799, and again in September, 1800. Pitt introduced the subject about the middle of January in the Privy Council. But in the interval the Chancellor, Lord Loughborough, had betrayed the plan to the king, and in conjunction with Lord Auckland had convinced his Majesty that it would involve a violation of the Coronation Oath. George was indignant, and almost furious. At the levee on the 28th of January, when Lord Castlereagh was presented, he said to Dundas, "What is this which this young lord [Castlereagh] has brought over to fling at my head?" He alluded to a plan for Catholic emancipation, and added, "I shall reckon every man my personal enemy who proposes any such measure! This is the most jacobinical thing I ever heard of." Dundas replied that his Majesty would find amongst those friendly to the measure some whom he had never supposed to be his enemies. On the 31st of January Pitt wrote to the king, assuring him that the union with Ireland would render it absolutely necessary that important questions regarding the Catholics and Dissenters should be discussed; but, as he found how extremely such topics were disliked by his Majesty, and yet how just it was that Catholics should be admitted to Parliament as well as Protestant Dissenters, who were already admitted, he begged to be permitted to resign. At the same time, not to inconvenience his Majesty, he was willing to hold office till his Majesty had reconstructed a Cabinet wholly to his mind. George replied, the very next day, that Mr. Pitt's letter had occasioned him the liveliest concern; that, so far from exposing him to the agitation of this question, he had flattered himself that the union, by uniting the Protestants of both kingdoms, would for ever have excluded the question of Catholic emancipation. He expressed his ardent wish that Pitt should continue to be his Minister as long as he lived; and he only required, as a condition, that he should stave off this question. Pitt replied, on the 3rd of February, that his Majesty's determined tone on the subject of Catholic emancipation left him no alternative but to resign, in compliance with his duty; and that, as his Majesty's resolve was taken, it would certainly be best for the country that his retirement should be as early as possible. On the 5th the king wrote, accepting Pitt's resignation, though with expressions of deep regret.
THE GREAT MOGUL ENTERING THE ENGLISH CAMP. (See p. 317.)
William Cowper (b. 1731; d. 1800) combined in his verse the polish of Pope with the freedom and force of Churchill. He possessed the satirical strength of Churchill with a more gentle and Christian spirit. In Cowper broke forth the strongest, clearest sense that had distinguished any writer in prose or verse for generations. He painted nature like a lover, but with the truth of a great artist, and he flagellated the vices of society in the very highest quarters with unshrinking boldness; at the same time, with equal intrepidity, he advanced the assertions of a perfect faith in the religion of the Gospel, in the face of the hardest scepticism of the age.Besides the flattering assurances of the steady improvement in commerce and manufactures, and, consequently, in the revenues, the Regent's Speech, read, as usual, by the Lord Chancellor, justly congratulated the country on the successful termination of the Pindarree war by the Marquis of Hastings. It informed the two Houses that a new treaty had been entered into with the United States for adjusting the different points at issue between the two nations, not settled by the treaty of peace, and also for regulating the commerce between them. It announced the results of the Congress at Aix-la-Chapelle, and stated that some new measures were needed for the care of his Majesty's person in consequence of the death of the queen. The Address, in both Houses, was carried almost pro forma. Mr. Manners Sutton was elected Speaker of the Commons by acclamation.详情
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