At length the firing mutually ceased, but the Russians did not quit their position; it was the French who drew off, and their outposts, during the following night, were alarmed by the Russian cavalry. The Russians had fifteen thousand killed and thirty thousand wounded; the French ten thousand killed and above twenty thousand wounded, and of these latter very few recovered, for they were destitute of almost every hospital necessary, even lint. The Russians made one thousand prisoners and the French about two thousand. The loss of guns on either side was nearly equal. Had the battle been resumed the next day it must have gone hard with the French; but Kutusoff was not willing to make such another sacrifice of his men, and he resumed the policy of De Tolly and made his retreat, continuing it to Moscow in so masterly a manner, that he left neither dead, nor dying, nor wounded, nor any article of his camp equipage behind him, so that the French were at a loss to know where he had really gone. On the 12th they learned, however, that he had retreated to Moscow, and Buonaparte instantly resumed his march. At Krymskoi Murat and Mortier came upon a strong body of Russians, and were repulsed, with the loss of two thousand men. The Russian rear-guard then hastened on again towards Moscow.[See larger version]
The Budget excited extraordinary interest throughout the country; but the proposed sugar duties were, in the eyes of the Free Traders, objectionable, as maintaining the differential rates in favour of the West Indian landlords. Though well received on the whole, it was impossible not to see in the Budget traces of the anomalous position of the Minister. One newspaper described his measures as combining the most glaring inconsistencies that ever disfigured the policy of any Minister, and arranged in parallel columns illustrations of its assertion. Sir Robert Peel was charged with proposing at the same time a tariff whose express object was declared to be to cheapen the necessaries of life and corn, and provision laws whose sole object was to make the chief necessaries of life dear; with professing great concern to relieve trade and commerce, for the sake of which a property tax was proposed, combined with a still greater concern to uphold the rent of land, for the sake of which trade and commerce were loaded with a bread tax; with devising taxes for the mere purpose of revenue; with levying taxes for the mere purpose of protection; with repealing the duty on slave-grown cotton, while imposing prohibitory duties on slave-grown sugar; with encouraging Brazilian coffee and cotton, while refusing Brazilian sugar; and with admitting cheap slave-grown sugar to be refined in Britain, and sold to Continental nations, while forbidding the selfsame cheap sugar to our own working people. Still, there was progress. The Corn Law was untouched, but statesmen of all parties had spoken despairingly of its continuance.
The Bill was prepared by the judges, and afterwards remodelled and conducted through the Lords by Lord Chancellor Hardwicke. It provided that banns should be published for every marriage in the parish church for three successive Sundays; that no license to waive these banns should be granted to any minor without consent of the parent or guardian; and that special licenses, empowering the marriage to be celebrated at any time or place, should only be granted by the archbishop, and for a heavy sum. The Bill was opposed in the Lords by the Duke of Bedford, and in the Commons by Henry Fox, Mr. Nugent, Mr. Charles Townshend, and others. It was declared to be a scheme for keeping together the wealth of the country in the hands of a few grasping and ambitious families. Townshend denounced it as intended to shut younger sons out of all chance of raising themselves by marriage. Henry Fox had benefited especially by the looseness of the old marriage law, for he had run away with Lady Caroline Lennox, the eldest daughter of the Duke of Richmond. He was especially severe on Lord Hardwicke, accusing him of seeking by the Bill to throw more power into the hands of the Lord Chancellor, and Hardwicke retorted with still greater acrimony. The Bill passed, and there was a strong inclination to extend its operation to Scotland, but the Scottish lawyers and representative peers defeated this attempt.[See larger version]
The poets who most retained the robes of the past, without disguising the divine form within, were the Rev. George Crabbe and Cowper. The poetry of Crabbe, all written in the metre of Pope, is, nevertheless, instinct with the very soul of nature. It chooses the simplest, and often the least apparently lofty or agreeable topics, but it diffuses through these, and at the same time draws from them, a spirit and life that are essentially poetry. Nothing at the time that it appeared could look less like poetry. The description of a library, the dirty alleys, the pothouses, the sailors, and monotonous sea-shores in and about a maritime borough, struck the readers of the assumed sublime with astonishment and dismay. "Can this be poetry?" they asked. But those who had poetry in themselves—those in whom the heart of nature was strong, replied, "Yes, the truest poetry." Nature smiles as the rude torch flickers past, and shows its varied forms in its truest shape. In his "Tales of the Hall" Crabbe entered on scenes which are commonly deemed more elevated; he came forward into the rural village, the rectory, and the manor-house; but everywhere he carried the same clear, faithful, analytical spirit, and read the most solemn lessons from the histories and the souls of men. Crabbe has been styled the Rembrandt of English poetic painting; but he is not merely a painter of the outward, he is the prober of the inward at the same time, who, with a hand that never trembles, depicts sternly the base nature, and drops soothing balm on the broken heart.
And there I met another man,[See larger version]The 20th of November arrived; the two Houses met, and Lord Camden in the Peers, and Pitt in the Commons, were obliged to announce the incapacity of the king to open the Session, and to move for an adjournment till the 4th of December, in order that the necessary measures for transferring the royal authority, temporarily, might be taken. Fox, at this important crisis, was abroad, and had to hurry home with headlong speed, in order to join his party in their anxious deliberations preparatory to the great question of the regency. In the meantime, the king's physicians had been examined before the Privy Council, and had given their opinion that the royal malady would prove only temporary. This in particular was the opinion of Dr. Willis, a specialist who had the chief management of the case, and whose mild treatment, in contrast to the violent means previously employed, had already produced a marked improvement. From this moment Pitt appears to have taken his decision—namely, to carry matters with a high hand, and to admit the Prince of Wales as regent only under such restrictions as should prevent him from either exercising much power himself, or conferring much benefit on his adherents. When, therefore, Parliament met, after the adjournment, and that in great strength—for men of all parties had hurried up to town,—Lord Camden moved in the Lords, and Pitt in the Commons, that, in consequence of the king's malady, the minutes of the Privy Council containing the opinions of the royal physicians should be read, and that this being done, these opinions should be taken into consideration on the 8th of December.
In sculpture at this period we stood much lower than in painting. Here we had no Hogarth, nor even a Thornhill. All that was of any value in this art proceeded from the chisels of foreigners, and even in that what an immense distance from the grand simplicity of the ancients! The sculpture of Italy and France was in the ascendant, but Bernini and Roubiliac had little in common with Phidias and Praxiteles, and our own sculptors presented a melancholy contrast to the work of artists of the worst age of Greece or Rome; there is scarcely a name that is worth mentioning. The best of the native sculptors was John Bushnell, who was employed by Wren to execute the statues of the kings at Temple Bar; and Francis Bird, who was also employed later by Wren to execute "The Conversion of St. Paul," in the pediment of the new cathedral, the bas-reliefs under the portico, and the group in front, all of a very ordinary character. His best work is the monument of Dr. Busby in the transept of Westminster Abbey. Besides this he executed the monument of Sir Cloudesley Shovel, also at Westminster, and the bronze statue of Henry VI., in the quadrangle of Eton College, both very indifferent. Gibbs and Bird executed the ponderous and tasteless monument of Holles, Duke of Newcastle, at Westminster, and the fine old minster is disgraced by a crowd of still more contemptible productions of this period. These can only be equalled in wretchedness by the works of a trading school, who supplied copies in lead of ancient gods, goddesses, shepherds, shepherdesses, etc., for the gardens of the nobility, which soon swarmed in legions in all the gardens and areas in and around the metropolis. Amongst the chief dealers in this traffic were Cheere and Charpentier, who employed foreign artists, even, for such images, and it was the fortune of Roubiliac to commence his English career with the former of these traders. The three chief foreigners of this period were Rysbraeck, Scheemakers, and Roubiliac, who were copyists of the French sculptors Coysevox, Bouchardon, and Le Moyne, as these had been of Bernini.
O'Connell was promptly challenged by Alvanley, and declined the combat. But his second son, Morgan, was resolved not to let the matter rest. As soon as he heard of the proceedings, he wrote to Lord Alvanley a very spirited letter, in which he designated the challenge as a party man?uvre, with no other object than to cast a stigma upon his father—upon the party to which he belonged, as well as upon the Government and its supporters. He denounced the proceeding as a wretched man?uvre—as an utterly ungentlemanly and braggadocio mode of carrying on party warfare. He adopted his father's insulting language, not, he said, in the vain hope of inducing him to give satisfaction; but, lest he should be wrong in that surmise, he intimated that he was at his lordship's service. This letter was conveyed through Colonel Hodges. The result was that the parties met at Arlington Street, when they arranged to have a meeting at a short distance beyond the turnpike next the Regent's Park, on the Barnet Road. The ground was measured at twelve paces; the parties took their positions; the word was given, "Ready—fire." O'Connell fired, but Lord Alvanley did not, owing to a mistake, and claimed the right to fire, which was refused. Both parties fired two rounds more without effect, each satisfied that the other had acted with perfect fairness. There was no apology made on either side.As for the queen, she was a far superior person. She had been well brought up on the second marriage of her mother after the death of her father, by the Queen of Prussia, Sophia Charlotte, the sister of George I. She had been handsome till she grew corpulent and suffered from the smallpox, and still she was much admired for her impressive countenance, her fine voice, penetrating eye, and the grace and sweetness of her manner. She was still more admired for the striking contrast which she presented to her husband in her love of literature and literary men, extending her interest and inquiries into philosophy, theology, and metaphysics. Those who are disposed to ridicule her pretence to such knowledge admit that she was equally distinguished by prudence and good sense. She combined in her manners royal dignity and unassuming grace, and was more popular with the nation than any one of the Hanover family had ever yet been. She delighted to engage theologians in discussing knotty points of doctrine, and in perplexing them with questions on the various articles of faith in different churches, and corresponded with them on these subjects through her bedchamber woman, Mrs. Clayton, afterwards Lady Sundon. But the best proofs of Queen Caroline's superiority were shown in her pure moral character, which was free from the slightest stain, and in her quick discernment and substantial promotion of the most able men in the Church.
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The prince found in the Opposition in England the most unfortunate fosterers of his unfilial temper. Pulteney, Wyndham, Chesterfield, Carteret, Cobham, and, worst of all, Bolingbroke, became his associates, and the frequenters of his house. Fast ripening into a pattern of unfilial popularity under such influences, possessing some accomplishments, and a desire to stand well with the people, he married in April, 1736, Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, a princess of so much beauty and good sense, as might have reclaimed many a nature; who seems to have at least won the heart of her husband from his former romantic passion. It was an ominous circumstance, however, that the address of congratulation on this occasion was moved, not by the king's own Ministers, but by the king's own Opposition. Pulteney was the mover, and it was supported by two young men who that evening made their first speeches, and in them burst suddenly forth with that splendour which was destined to grow transcendent through many years. They were Pitt, afterwards Lord Chatham, and Lord Lyttelton.As Ministers did not resign on being placed in a minority the third time, rumours were industriously circulated by their opponents that they meant to rule the country despotically; that they were about to dissolve Parliament the second time, and had resolved to maintain the army on their own responsibility, without the Mutiny Act. On the 2nd of March Lord John Russell, referring to these rumours, gave notice that he intended to bring forward the Irish Appropriation question, and the question of Municipal Reform. It was for a test of this kind that Sir Robert Peel waited. In the meantime he denied that he had any such intentions as those ascribed to him, and compelled Mr. Hume to withdraw his proposal to limit the supplies to three months. He promised that Government would bring in a Bill on the Irish Church; but it would adhere strictly to the principle that ecclesiastical property should be reserved for ecclesiastical purposes. He declared they would be prepared to remedy all real abuses when the report of the Commissioners appointed for their investigation was received.详情
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