The coasting trade carried on by means of steamers underwent an astounding development during the twenty years now under review. In 1820 there were but nine steamers engaged in it, with a tonnage of 500. The next year there were 188 steamers, and thenceforth they went on doubling for several years. In 1830 the number of vessels was nearly 7,000, with a tonnage of more than a million; in 1840 it was upwards of 15,000, with a tonnage of nearly three millions; and in 1849 it was 18,343, with a tonnage of upwards of four millions and a quarter. This account does not include vessels arriving and departing in ballast or with passengers only, which are not required to enter the Custom House. Steam-vessels were not employed in this kingdom for conveying goods coastwise before 1820, nor in foreign trade, except for the conveyance of passengers, earlier than 1822. In the foreign trade the number of steamers increased gradually from that year till they reached the number of 4,000, with an aggregate tonnage of 800,000.Cleaves the dark air, and asks no star but thee!
Buonaparte apparently lost no time, after his return to Paris from Sch?nbrunn, in communicating to Josephine the fact that the business of the divorce and the new marriage was settled. On the 30th of November, 1809, he opened the unpleasant reality to her in a private interview, and she fell into such violent agitation, and finally into so deep a swoon, as to alarm Napoleon. He blamed Hortense for not having broken the matter to her three days before, as he had desired. But however much Napoleon might be affected at this rude disruption of an old and endeared tie, his feelings never stood in the way of his ambitious plans. The preparations for the divorce went on, and on the 15th of December a grand council was held in the Tuileries on the subject. At this important council all the family of Napoleon, his brothers and sisters, now all kings and queens, were summoned from their kingdoms to attend, and did attend, except Joseph from Spain, Madame Bacciochi—that is, Elise—and Lucien, who had refused to be made a king. Cambacérès, now Duke of Parma and arch-chancellor of the Empire, and St. Jean d'Angély, the Minister of State, attended to take the depositions. Napoleon then said a few words expressive of his grief at this sad but necessary act, of affection for and admiration of the wife he was about to put away, and of his hope of a posterity to fill his throne, saying he was yet but forty, and might reasonably expect to live to train up children who should prove a blessing to the empire. Josephine, with a voice choked with tears, arose, and, in a short speech, made the act a voluntary one on her part. After this the arch-chancellor presented the written instrument of divorce, which they signed, and to which all the family appended their signatures. This act was presented to the Senate the very next day by St. Jean d'Angély, and, strangely enough, Eugene Beauharnais, Josephine's son, was chosen to second it, which he did in a speech of some length. The Senate passed the necessary Senatus Consultum, certifying the divorce, and conferring on Josephine the title of empress-queen, with the estate of Navarre and two millions of francs per annum. They also voted addresses to both Napoleon and Josephine of the most complimentary character. This being done, Napoleon went off to St. Cloud, and Josephine retired to the beautiful abode of Malmaison, near St. Germains, where she continued to reside for the remainder of her life, and made herself beloved for her acts of kindness and benevolence, of which the English détenus, of whom there were several at St. Germains, were participants.[See larger version]
Here, then, our history of the political transactions of the reign of George III. terminates. That reign really terminated in 1811, with the appointment of the Regency, which continued the ruling power during the remainder of his life. From that date it is really the history of the Regency that we have been prosecuting. But this was necessary to maintain the unity of the narrative of that most unexampled struggle which was involving the very existence of every nation in Europe. Of all this the poor old, blind, and deranged king knew nothing—had no concern with it. The reins of power had fallen from his hands for ever: his "kingdom was taken from him, and given to another." He had lived to witness the rending away of the great western branch of his empire, and the sun of his intellect went down in the midst of that tempest which threatened to lay in ruins every dynasty around him. We have watched and detailed that mighty shaking of the nations to its end. The events of the few remaining years during which George III. lived but did not rule, were of a totally different character and belong to a totally different story. They are occupied by the national distresses consequent on the war, and the efforts for reform, stimulated by these distresses, the first chapter of which did not close till the achievement of the Reform Bill in 1832.At the end of the fortnight Lord Grenville and Lord Grey pointed out the necessity of proceeding to appoint a regent. Ministers replied that the physicians were confident of the king's speedy recovery; but as there were repeated adjournments and the reports of the physicians still held the same language, the sense of Parliament prevailed. On the 17th of December Mr. Perceval moved that on the 20th they should go into committee on the question of the Regency; and on that day the same resolutions were passed as had been passed in 1788—namely, that the Prince of Wales should be Regent under certain restrictions; that the right of creating peerages, and granting salaries, pensions, and offices in reversion, should be limited specifically, as in 1788. The royal dukes made a protest against these limitations; but on the 30th they were confirmed by both Houses, with additional resolutions for the care of his Majesty's person and the security of his private property, which were passed on the last day of the year 1810.
(From a Drawing by Gravelot engraved by W. J. White.)[See larger version]The terms which Junot required were that the French should not be considered as prisoners of war, but should be conveyed to France by sea, with all their baggage; that nothing should be detained. These would, in fact, have allowed them to carry off all the plunder of churches and houses, and to this Sir Arthur objected. He said that some means must be found to make the French disgorge the church plate. But the Convention was signed, subject to the consent of the British admiral, Sir Charles Cotton, a condition of importance, seeing that Junot had stipulated that the Russian fleet in the Tagus, commanded by Admiral Siniavin, should not be molested or stopped when it wished to go away. Admiral Cotton objected to these terms, and it was agreed that the Russian fleet should be made over to Britain till six months after the conclusion of a general peace. Commissioners were appointed to examine the French spoil, who recovered the property of the Museum and Royal Library, and some of the church plate; but the French were allowed to carry off far too much of their booty. The definitive treaty was signed at Cintra on the 30th of August, much to the disgust of Sir Arthur Wellesley, who, however, signed it as a matter of form. He then wrote to Lord Castlereagh, to say that he desired to quit the army; that matters were not prospering, and that he had been too successful to allow him to serve in it in any subordinate situation. Indeed, he saw that, left to himself, he could carry victory with the British standard, but that it was impossible to do any good under incompetent men.
The Emperor Joseph of Austria had returned from the campaign of 1788 against Turkey greatly chagrined, and with fast-failing health. Had he been wise, he would have accepted the overtures for peace made to him by the Sultan, and have spent the few remaining days of his existence in tranquillity. But his ambitious and persuasive ally, Catherine, prevailed upon him to make another effort. He mustered fresh troops. A hundred and fifty thousand men were marched against the Turkish frontier, early in the year of 1789, in different divisions. It was a circumstance very much in their favour that the able Sultan, Abdul Hamid, died suddenly in April, and was succeeded by his nephew, Selim, a young, rash, and unprincipled man. The acts of Selim, in murdering and dismissing his father's best ministers and commanders, and the unruly condition of the janissaries, rendered Turkey especially open to the attacks of its enemies. Marshal Laudohn, supporting his earlier fame, took the fortress of Gradiska, and stormed Belgrade. But this was not accomplished till the 8th of October, and an attempt was then made to reduce Orsova, but this failed. Coburg and Suvaroff having joined, won a great victory over the new Vizier, Martinitzi, in Wallachia, on the 22nd of September, and the remains of the Turkish army retired to the pass of Shumla, on the Balkan mountains. Potemkin, on his part, had greatly increased his forces after the reduction of Oczakoff, and after a desperate resistance took Bender, famous as the abode of Charles XII. of Sweden, after the battle of Pultawa. Before winter, the Russians had made decided progress in their inroads into the Turkish dominions on the Black Sea. They had gained possession of Akerman, at the mouth of the Dniester; of Keglia Nova, on the northern banks of the Danube, and of other places on the Black Sea. They had also extended their frontier to the left bank of the Danube, and they had actually reduced every important place between the Bug and Dniester and that river. Had Catherine had a sufficient fleet in the Black Sea, Constantinople might have trembled for its safety.Since the appearance of the Waverley Novels the poetry of Scott has been somewhat depreciated, but his metrical romances, if not of the highest class of poetry, are always fresh, from their buoyancy and the scenery in which they are laid. They are redolent of the mountain heather and summer dews; and the description of the sending of the "fiery cross" over the hills, and the battle in "Marmion," as well as other portions, are instinct with genuine poetic vigour. Campbell, who won an early reputation by his "Pleasures of Hope," is more esteemed now for his heroic ballads "Hohenlinden," "The Battle of the Baltic," and his "Mariners of England;" Moore, for his "Irish Melodies," than for his "Lalla Rookh;" Byron, for his "Childe Harold," rather than for his earlier love tales of the East, or his later dramatic poems. Amongst the very highest of the poets of that period stands Percy Bysshe Shelley (b. 1792; d. 1822), the real poet of spiritual music, of social reformation, and of the independence of man. Never did a soul inspired by a more ardent love of his fellow-creatures receive such a bitter portion of unkindness and repudiation. John Keats, of a still more delicate and shrinking temperament, also received, in return for strains of the purest harmony, a sharp judgment, in no degree, however, equal to the severity of that dealt out to Shelley. In his "Ode to a Grecian Urn," and his "Lamia," Keats left us examples of beauty of conception and felicity of expression not surpassed since the days of Shakespeare. In his "Hyperion" he gave equal proof of the strength and grandeur to which he would have attained.
Whilst our armies were barely holding their own in Spain, our fleets were the masters of all seas. In the north, though Sweden was nominally at war with us, in compliance with the arrogant demands of Buonaparte, Bernadotte, the elected Crown Prince, was too politic to carry out his embargo literally. The very existence of Sweden depended on its trade, and it was in the power of the British blockading fleet to prevent a single Swedish vessel from proceeding to sea. But in spite of the angry threats of Napoleon, who still thought that Bernadotte, though become the prince and monarch elect of an independent country, should remain a Frenchman, and, above all, the servile slave of his will, that able man soon let it be understood that he was inclined to amicable relations with Great Britain; and Sir James de Saumarez, admiral of our Baltic fleet, not only permitted the Swedish merchantmen to pass unmolested, but on various occasions gave them protection. Thus the embargo system was really at an end, both in Sweden and in Russia; for Alexander also refused to ruin Russia for the benefit of Buonaparte, and both of these princes, as we have seen, were in a secret league to support one another. Denmark, or, rather, its sovereign, though the nephew of the King of Great Britain, remained hostile to us, remembering not only the severe chastisements our fleets had given Copenhagen, but also the facility with which Napoleon could, from the north of Germany, overrun Denmark and add it to his now enormous empire. In March of this year the Danes endeavoured to recover the small island of Anholt, in the Cattegat, which we held; but they were beaten off with severe loss, leaving three or four hundred men prisoners of war.
Such were the advantages now possessed by the British over the French commander, that both the Portuguese and people at home were impatient that Wellington should at once attack and annihilate Massena's army. But Wellington knew better. He knew that a great battle, or battles, must vastly reduce his own as well as Massena's army. He knew that France could readily march down eighty or a hundred thousand fresh men into Portugal at extremity, but that Great Britain could not so readily do that; and, should the Whigs come into power, as was probable, he could not calculate on any support at all. The king now hopelessly insane, the Prince of Wales must be soon appointed Regent, and then, perhaps, would come in his friends the Whigs. There were many other considerations which made Wellington refuse to accede to a general attack on the French at present. He had, as it was, trouble enough with the Junta; but, should any reverse occur, his situation then would be intolerable. Just now the Portuguese troops were in good spirits for fighting, but defeat would ruin all the progress yet made with them. He knew that the winter would do for the French army all that he expected without any cost to himself, and he waited for that, ready then to follow up the advantages it would give him. It was his great plan of operations which already reduced them to the dilemma in which they were, and now came winter and did the rest, fully showing his superior sagacity. In November the weather became and continued wretched in the extreme. The country was flooded, cutting off the precarious supplies of the French, but adding strength to the encampment of Torres Vedras. The cross roads were impassable for artillery, and all but impassable for waggons bringing provisions, which had to be hunted for far and wide, with incredible hardships and little success. Leaving the hostile armies in this position till the spring, we must notice other important matters.
GEORGE WASHINGTON. (After the Portrait by Smart.)
No sooner did Howe return to port than he had orders to sail in aid of Gibraltar, which was not only greatly in need of stores and provisions, but was menaced by the combined armies and fleets of France and Spain with one great and overwhelming attack. The evil fortune of England did not yet, however, seem to have disappeared, for the Royal George, the finest vessel in the service, went down in a sudden squall. But this awful catastrophe did not hinder the sailing of Lord Howe. He had by great exertion mustered a fleet of thirty-four sail-of-the-line, and on the 11th of September steered out for Gibraltar. For upwards of three years this famous rock had now been beleaguered. After the relief thrown in by Admiral Darby, the Spaniards, despairing of reducing the garrison by blockade, determined to destroy the town and works by a terrific bombardment. This bombardment was, accordingly, opened with unexampled fury, and continued incessantly for days and weeks. The town was set on fire, and numbers of houses consumed; the damage done to the ramparts and public buildings was appalling. General Elliot displayed the utmost temper and skill during this bombardment, as he did throughout the whole siege. He continued by night, and at other opportunities, to repair actively the damages done; and, reserving his fire for occasions when he saw a chance of doing particular damage, he caused the enemy to wonder at the little impression that they made.On the 28th Massena had discovered the pass of Boyalva through these hills, to the north of Busaco, which Wellington had ordered Colonel Trant to occupy. But Trant had missed his way, and did not reach the pass in time. Wellington saw, therefore, his flank turned, and the enemy on the highway to Oporto. He therefore quitted his position, and, taking Coimbra in his way, compelled such of the inhabitants as had not obeyed his order to march along with him. On the 1st of October he was on his route southward, accompanied by this strange crowd. It was a perfect exodus, and appeared to the poor inhabitants as a severe measure, but to it they owed their after-salvation. Had they remained, it would have been only to suffer the oppressions and insults of the French, and to see them supporting themselves on their provisions. As it was, the French, on entering Coimbra, found it, as they had done Viseu, totally deserted, and the stacks of corn and provision that could not be carried away, for the most part too adroitly buried to be easily found. They were left to the starvation that the English general designed for them. But what a scene on the road! The whole country moving south with the cattle and sheep, and waggons laden with their goods. "No power of description," said an eye-witness, "can convey to the mind of any reader the afflicting scenes, the cheerless desolation that we daily witnessed on our march from the Mondego to the lines. Where-ever we moved, the mandate, which enjoined the wretched inhabitants to forsake their homes and to remove or destroy their little property, had gone before us. The villages were deserted; the churches—retreats so often, yet so vainly confided in—were empty; the mountain cottages stood open and untenanted; the mills in the valley, but yesterday so busy, were motionless and silent. From Thomar the flanks of our line of march were literally covered with the flying population of the country. In Portugal there are at no time many facilities for travelling, and those few the exigencies of the army had very greatly diminished. Rich indeed were those who still retained a cabriolet, and mules for its service. Those who had bullock-cars, asses, or any mode of transporting their families and property, looked contented and grateful; for respectable men and delicate women of the second class might on every side be seen walking slowly and painfully on foot, encumbered by heavy burdens of clothes, bedding, and food." It was a whole country in emigration; quitting their cities, homes, and fields to coop themselves up in the vicinity of Lisbon, for the stern purpose of starving the detested enemy out of the land.详情
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