At the same time, the Duke of Brunswick was approaching from the rear, and Kellermann from Metz, but both with equal tardiness. Dumouriez dispatched a courier to order Kellermann, on arriving, to take his position on the heights of Gisancourt, commanding the road to Chalons and the stream of the Auve; but Kellermann, arriving in the night of the 19th, instead of reaching the heights of Gisancourt, advanced to the centre of the basin at Valmy, where, on the morning of the 20th, he found himself commanded by the Prussians, who had come up and formed on the heights of La Lune, when, had Kellermann taken the position assigned him on Gisancourt, he would have commanded La Lune. The Prussians had been in full march for Chalons when they took post here, and discovered Kellermann below them by the mill of Valmy, and Dumouriez above on the heights of Valmy. Kellermann, perceiving the error of his position, and that the Prussians would soon seize on the heights of Gisancourt, which he ought to occupy, sent to Dumouriez for assistance to extricate himself. The King of Prussia, perceiving that forces were thrown forward towards Kellermann's position, imagined that the French meant to cut off his march towards Chalons, and immediately commenced firing. From the heights of La Lune and of Gisancourt, which he now occupied, he poured a deadly fire of artillery on Kellermann; and the Austrians, about to attempt to drive the French from the heights of Hyron, if they succeeded, would leave him exposed on all sides. The battle now was warmly contested, but only through the artillery. A shell falling into one of Kellermann's powder waggons exploded it, and occasioned much confusion. The King of Prussia thought this the moment to charge with the bayonet, and now, for the first time, the Revolutionary soldiers saw the celebrated troops, bearing the prestige of the great Frederick, marching down upon them in three columns, with the steady appearance of victory. Kellermann, to inspirit his inexperienced soldiers, shouted, "Vive la Nation!" The troops caught the enthusiasm of the cry, replied with a loud "Vive la Nation!" and dashed forward. At this sight the Duke of Brunswick was astonished; he had been led to expect nothing but disorder and cowardice; he halted, and fell back into his camp. This movement raised the audacity of the French; they continued to cannonade the Prussians, and after one or two more attempts to reach them with the bayonet, Brunswick found himself, as night fell, in anything but a victorious position. About twenty thousand cannon shots had been exchanged, whence the battle was called the cannonade of Valmy. Yet there stood the French, who, according to the reports of the Emigrants, were to have run off at the first smell of powder, or to have come over to them in a body. The next morning it was worse. Kellermann, in the night, had recovered himself from his false position; had gained the heights of Gisancourt which he should have occupied at first; had driven the Prussians thence, and now commanded them in La Lune.
Deserted by the Prussians, the French retired with precipitation to Prague, where they were followed by the Austrian army under Prince Charles of Lorraine and Prince Lobkowitz. Soon after the Grand Duke of Tuscany took the principal command, and the French offered to capitulate on condition that they might march away with their arms and baggage. This was refused; but Marshal Belleisle stole out of Prague in December, and, giving Lobkowitz the slip, made for the mountains with fourteen thousand men and thirty pieces of artillery. Belleisle displayed unwearied activity in protecting his men and baggage from the harassing pursuit of Lobkowitz. Notwithstanding this his men perished in great numbers from famine and the severity of the season. They had been reduced to eat horseflesh before leaving Prague, and now they fell exhausted in the deep snows, and were mercilessly butchered by the Austrian irregulars and peasantry. On the 29th of December he reached Eger, and from that point marched into Alsace without further molestation; but he then found that of the thirty-five thousand troops which he took into Germany, only eight thousand remained. Though this retreat was celebrated as one of the most remarkable in history, the Marshal, on reaching Versailles, was received with great coldness.Toryism had now lost two of its main pillars, the Marquis of Londonderry and the Duke of York. They had worked together for many years, one directing the foreign policy of the country while sustaining the chief burden of a great war against France, the other at the head of the British army, whose valour ultimately triumphed at Waterloo. A third of those pillars, Lord Liverpool, was now struck down; and the fourth, Lord Eldon, was not destined to survive very long. On the 17th of February a stroke of paralysis terminated the public life of the Prime Minister, though he survived till December 4th in the following year (1828). He was born in 1770, and as Mr. Jenkinson and Lord Hawkesbury had been a firm supporter of Mr. Pitt; his Premiership commenced on June 9th, 1812. He had acquired from his father an extensive knowledge of monetary and commercial affairs, and this, combined with the experience of a protracted official career, gave him a great advantage in Parliament, making him master of the leading principles and facts. Amiable, exemplary, frank, and disinterested in his private character, he secured the attachment of his friends, and conciliated the good-will of his political opponents. He was not distinguished for superior statesmanship, power in debate, or originality of mind; but as a political leader he was what is called a safe man—cautious, moderate, plausible, and conciliatory. His Cabinet was weakened by division, the most agitating topic of the day being an open question with its members—Eldon, Wellington, and Peel voting with him on one side, Canning and his friends on the other. His practical wisdom was shown in so far yielding to the spirit of the times as to admit Mr. Canning into the Cabinet on the death of Lord Londonderry, though he found great difficulty in overcoming the repugnance of the king to this arrangement. In the same spirit he had admitted the Grenvilles to a responsible share in the Administration. Had he been a man of more decision of character and more energetic will, he would have been more one-sided and straightforward, and that would not have suited a time of great transition and changes of political currents. During his long tenure of office new ideas were fermenting in the public mind. The people had become impatient of class legislation, and were loudly demanding greater influence in the legislation of the country, greater security for their rights, and freer scope for their industry. They had the most powerful advocates in the press and in Parliament, where Henry Brougham stood foremost among their champions, incessantly battling for their cause. The Conservatives were entrenched behind the bulwarks of monopoly, which were assailed with a frequency and determination that, it was foreseen by the wisest of their defenders, nothing could ultimately resist. Lord Liverpool, with great tact and prudence, managed to postpone the hour of surrender so long as he was in command of the fortress. He had yielded one outwork after another, when resistance was no longer possible, but the value of his services in retaining the rest was not fully appreciated till he was disabled and placed hors de combat. Without any far-reaching sagacity, he could estimate the relative value of existing social and political forces, and, weighing all the circumstances, determine what was the best thing to be done, the best of several courses to adopt here and now. He felt that Catholic Emancipation and Parliamentary Reform might be still safely resisted, and here he was loyal to his party; but on questions of currency, Free Trade, and navigation, he went readily with his Liberal supporters.
Before the report of the committee was presented, Mr. Hume, on the 4th of August, moved eleven resolutions declaring the facts connected with Orangeism, proposing an Address to the king, and calling his Majesty's attention to the Duke of Cumberland's share in those transactions. Lord John Russell, evidently regarding the business as being of extreme gravity, moved that the debate be adjourned to the 11th of August, plainly to allow the Duke of Cumberland an opportunity of retiring from so dangerous a connection; but instead of doing so, he published a letter to the chairman of the committee, stating that he had signed blank warrants, and did not know that they were intended for the army. Lord John Russell expressed his disappointment at this illogical course. If what he stated was true, that his confidence was abused by the members of the society in such a flagrant manner, he should have indignantly resigned his post of Grand Master, but he expressed no intention of doing so. Mr. Hume's last resolution, proposing an Address to the king, was adopted, and his answer, which was read to the House, promised the utmost vigilance and vigour. On the 19th the House was informed that Colonel Fairman had refused to produce to the committee a letter-book in his possession, which was necessary to throw light on the subject of their inquiry. He was called before the House, where he repeated his refusal, though admonished by the Speaker. The next day an order was given that he should be committed to Newgate for a breach of privilege, but it was then found that he had absconded.The Canadas at that period contained only about sixty thousand souls, Quebec about seven thousand. But the city occupies a most formidable site. It stands on a steep and rocky promontory running into the left bank of the St. Lawrence, about a hundred leagues from its mouth, and where the river, from a breadth of from twelve to twenty miles, rapidly narrows to about one mile. The city is built part on the rocky heights, part on the slopes below. Up the river from the city rose still higher and almost inaccessible steeps, called the Heights of Abraham, and, on the other hand, the side of the city down the stream was bounded by the river St. Charles, which there runs into the St. Lawrence. The stretch of ground between the St. Charles and the stream of Montmorency, some miles lower, called Beauport, was connected by a bridge with Quebec. On this ground, as the most accessible side of the city, Montcalm had encamped his army, consisting altogether of ten thousand French, Canadians, and Indians.
The Government of England saw the necessity of coming to some conclusion on the subject of Irish commerce, which should remove the distress, and, as a consequence, the disorder. The Irish Government, at the instigation of the English Administration, sent over Commissioners to consult with the Board of Trade in London, and certain terms being agreed upon, these were introduced by Mr. Orde, the Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant, to the Irish House of Commons, on the 7th of February. These were, that all articles not of the growth of Great Britain or Ireland should be imported into each country from the other, under the same regulations and duties as were imposed on direct importation, and with the same drawbacks; that all prohibitions in either country against the importation of articles grown, produced, or manufactured in the other should be rescinded, and the duties equalised. There were some other resolutions relating to internal taxation, to facilitate the corn trade, and some details in foreign and international commerce. These, after some debate, were passed on the 11th, and, being agreed to by the Lords, were transmitted to England.
They succeeded in landing unobserved by any of the sentinels posted along the shore, where they had to wait for the boats fetching over the second detachment, there not being boats enough. Before this arrived, they began to climb the rocks by a narrow track, so steep and rugged that they could only ascend by clinging to the bushes and projecting crags. Directly above their heads was a watch-post of a captain and a hundred and fifty men. There, as they drew near the summit, Colonel Howe—a brother of Lord Howe, who fell at Ticonderoga—leading the van, the watch became aware of a noise, and fired down the rocks, directed by the sound. The English soldiers imprudently returned the volley upwards, instead of reserving it until they had gained the ascent. They continued their scramble up, however, with redoubled ardour, and the French, on their sudden appearance, panic-struck, fled. The second detachment soon followed them, and the whole little army stood on the heights above the town before the break of day.Sir Robert Walpole was not a man, with his huge standing majority, to be readily frightened from his purpose. On the 14th of March, 1733, he brought forward his project in a speech in which he put forth all his ability, and that under a well-maintained air of moderation. He took advantage of the alarm that the tax was to be general, by representing the falsity of that declaration, and the very slight and limited nature of his real proposal. Adverting to what he called the common slander of his having intended to propose a general excise, he said: "I do most unequivocally assert that no such scheme ever entered my head, or, for what I know, the head of any man I am acquainted with. My thoughts have been confined solely to the duties on wine and tobacco; and it was the frequent advices I had of the shameful frauds committed in these two branches that turned my attention to a remedy for this growing evil. I shall for the present confine myself to the tobacco trade." He then detailed the various frauds on the revenue in tobacco, which he stated were of such extent and frequency, that the gross average produce of the tax was seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds. but the nett average only a hundred and sixty thousand pounds. The remedy which he proposed was to transfer this revenue from the Customs to the Excise. That the same might afterwards be applied to wine, a system of warehousing for re-exportation or placing in bond was proposed, which, he said, "would tend to make London a free port, and, by consequence, the market of the world." He held out the expectation that the success of this plan would render the land tax unnecessary, and thus enable the Government to dispense with it entirely.
Lord Castlereagh, in recounting the aid given by Great Britain to the sovereigns of the Continent in this grand effort to put down the intolerable military dominance of Buonaparte, drew a picture of expenditure such as no country had presented since the commencement of history. He said that the nations of the north of Europe were so exhausted by their former efforts, that not one of them could move without our aid; that this year alone we had sent to Russia two million pounds; to Prussia two million pounds; to Austria one million pounds in money, and one hundred thousand stand of arms; to Spain two million pounds; to Portugal one million pounds; to Sicily four hundred thousand pounds. By these aids Russia had been able to bring up men from the very extremities of the earth, and Prussia to put two hundred thousand men into the field. We had sent during the year five hundred thousand muskets to Spain and Portugal, and four hundred thousand to other parts of the Continent. There was something sublime in the contemplation of one nation, by the force of her wealth and her industry, calling together the armies of the whole world to crush the evil genius of the earth.
[See larger version]In this same year, 1779, the Protestant Dissenters of Ireland were relieved by their Parliament from the operation of the Test and Corporation Acts, and it was not, therefore, very likely that the Dissenters of England would rest quietly under them much longer. These Acts were passed in the 13th of Charles II., and the 25th of the same monarch, and required that no person should be elected to any civil or military office under the Crown, including seats in Parliament or corporations, unless he had taken the sacrament according to the rites of the Church of England. On the 28th of March, 1787, Mr. Beaufoy, member for Yarmouth, moved that the House of Commons should resolve itself into a committee to consider the Test and Corporation Acts. Mr. Beaufoy represented that these Acts were a heavy grievance, not only to the Dissenters and to the members of the Established Church of Scotland, but to many members of the English Church itself, who regarded the prostitution of the most solemn ordinance of their faith to a civil test as little less than sacrilegious. In reply, it was contended that the Indemnity Acts had been passed to protect such as had omitted to take the sacrament within the time specified; but Mr. Beaufoy and his seconder, Sir Henry Houghton, who had carried the Bill relieving Dissenters from subscription to the Thirty-Nine Articles, showed that these measures were not always sufficient, and were but a clumsy substitution for the abolition of the obnoxious Acts.
In the House of Commons, too, the Speaker, Sir John Cust, was removed by death at the same moment, and Sir Fletcher Norton was elected in his place. On the 22nd of January, the same day that Sir Fletcher Norton was made Speaker of the House of Commons, the Marquis of Rockingham moved in the Lords for an inquiry into the state of the nation. The crumbling down of the Cabinet continued. James Grenville resigned; Dunning, the Solicitor-General, and General Conway, followed; and on the very day of Lord Rockingham's motion, the Duke of Grafton himself laid down the Seals. The whole of his administration had thus vanished, like a mere fog ministry, at the first reappearance of the luminary, Chatham.
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