BRITISH LINE-OF-BATTLE SHIPS (1836).Mr. Vansittart introduced some financial measures which effected a material saving. He proposed a plan for reducing the interest of the Navy Five per Cents. to four per cent. Holders not signifying their dissent were to have one hundred and five pounds in a New Four per Cent. stock, and persons dissenting were to be paid off in numerical order. By this scheme an annual saving to the public of one million one hundred and forty thousand pounds would be effected; besides a further saving of upwards of ninety thousand pounds of annual charge, which would be gained by similar reduction of the Irish Five per Cents. The high prices of the public funds obviated all difficulty in the execution of this financial operation, and the holders of the Five per Cent. stock found it expedient to acquiesce in the Minister's terms. The dissentients were in number only one thousand seven hundred and seventy-eight, and the stock held by them amounted to two million six hundred and fifteen thousand nine hundred and seventy-eight pounds, not a fifteenth part of the Five per Cent. capital. Another operation related to what was called "The Dead Weight Annuity." The amount of military and naval pensions and civil supernumeraries was about five millions annually. Accordingly Mr. Vansittart brought forward an amended scheme for relieving the immediate pressure of this dead weight by extending it over a longer term of years than the natural lives of the annuitants. For this purpose an annuity of two million eight hundred thousand pounds was appropriated out of the existing revenue for forty-five years, invested in trustees for the discharge of the then payments, which for that year were estimated at four million nine hundred thousand pounds, subject to a yearly diminution by deaths. It was computed that, according to the ordinary duration of human life, the annuities for the lives of the then holders would be equal to the annuity of two million eight hundred thousand pounds for forty-five years. The trustees were therefore empowered to sell from time to time such portions of this annuity as would provide the funds required for the payment of the dead weight, according to a computation made of the amount which would probably be due in each year. The Bank of England became the contractor for a portion of the annuity. There was no novelty of principle in the project; it was only the old one of anticipating distant resources by throwing the burden of the existing generation on the next. It had the further disadvantage of incurring a useless expense for management; whereas the Sinking Fund, amounting at the time to about five millions, might have been applied to existing exigencies, and a real saving effected.
But this declaration did not issue without a violent debate in Congress, where the moderate party stated that the interests of the country were sacrificed to a mischievous war-spirit, and in the east and north of the States there was raised a loud cry for severance, as there had been in the south when Jefferson laid his embargo on American vessels. They complained that if, as was now alleged, the French Emperor had abrogated his Berlin and Milan Decrees in favour of America as early as the 2nd of March, 1811, why was this not communicated to England before the 20th of May, 1812? And when England had long ago declared that she would rescind her Orders in Council when such a notification could be made to her, accompanied by a repeal of the American non-Intercourse Act; and when she did immediately rescind her Orders in Council on this condition, why should there be all this haste to rush into war with Great Britain? They complained bitterly that though Buonaparte was professed to have abrogated his Decrees as early as November, 1810, he had gone on till just lately in seizing American ships, both in the ports of France and by his cruisers at sea. The State of Massachusetts addressed a strong remonstrance to the Federal Government, in which they represented the infamy of the descendants of the Pilgrim Fathers cooperating with the common enemy of civil liberty to bind other nations in chains, and this at the very moment that the European peoples were uniting for their violated liberties.
[See larger version]Lord Wellington did not give the retreating enemy much time for repose; within the week he was approaching Valladolid and Clausel was quitting it in all haste. On the 30th of July Wellington entered that city amid the enthusiastic acclamations of the people. In his haste, Clausel abandoned seventeen pieces of artillery, considerable stores, and eight hundred sick and wounded. The priests were preparing to make grand processions and sing a Te Deum in honour of Wellington's victories, as they had done at Salamanca; but he was much too intent on following up his blows to stay. He was on his march the very next day. He re-crossed the Douro to advance against King Joseph Buonaparte, who had set out from Madrid to make a junction with Marmont, but on arriving at Arevalo Joseph had learnt with amazement of the French defeat, and diverted his march, with twenty thousand men, on Segovia, in order to reinforce Clausel. Wellington left a division to guard against Clausel's return from Burgos, whither the latter had fled, and, collecting provisions with difficulty, he marched forward towards Madrid. Joseph fell back as the British advanced. Wellington was at San Ildefonso on the 9th of August, and on the 11th issued from the defiles of the mountains into the plain on which Madrid stands. On the 12th he entered the capital amid the most enthusiastic cheers—Joseph having merely reached his palace to flee out of it again towards Toledo. He had, however, left a garrison in the palace of Buon Retiro; but this surrendered almost as soon as invested, and twenty thousand stand of arms, one hundred and eighty pieces of ordnance, and military stores of various kinds were found in it. These were particularly acceptable; for it can scarcely be credited in what circumstances Wellington had been pursuing his victorious career. We learn this, however, from his dispatch to Lord Bathurst, dated July 28th—that is, very shortly before his arrival at Madrid. After declaring that he was in need of almost everything, he particularises emphatically: "I likewise request your lordship not to forget horses for the cavalry, and money. We are absolutely bankrupt. The troops are now five months in arrears, instead of being one month in advance. The staff have not been paid since February, the muleteers not since July, 1811; and we are in debt in all parts of the country. I am obliged to take the money sent to me by my brother for the Spaniards, in order to give a fortnight's pay to my own troops, who are really suffering from want of money."
Reproduced by André & Sleigh, Ld., Bushey, Herts.
Amongst the most distinguished persons captured were Lords Kilmarnock, Cromarty, Balmerino, Mordington, and Lovat. Cromarty, Balmerino, and Kilmarnock were brought to trial before the peers in Westminster Hall on the 28th of July. "Cromarty," says Horace Walpole, "was a timid man, and shed tears; and Kilmarnock, though behaving with more dignity, pleaded guilty, both expressing remorse for their past conduct, and their fervent good wishes for the person and government of the king." But old Balmerino, the hero of the party, pleaded not guilty, and took exceptions to the indictment. "He is," writes Walpole, "the most natural, brave old fellow I ever saw; the highest intrepidity, even to indifference." All these noblemen were pronounced guilty. Cromarty pleaded piteously the condition of his wife and family: that he left his wife enceinte, and eight innocent children to suffer for his fault. His wife's entreaties and the interest of the Prince of Wales saved him; Kilmarnock and Balmerino were beheaded.
BY THOMAS DAVIDSON.The whole mode of coming into possession of these papers has something in it revolting to all honourable minds. Franklin, aware of this, insisted that they should not be printed nor made public, but only circulated amongst a select few. But the same motives which had induced Franklin to break his pledged secrecy, operated on the Assembly. They determined to make them public, and therefore pretended that other copies of them had reached them from England, and that they were thus absolved from all conditions of secrecy. This was totally false. The story was invented for the occasion, and the letters, without the name of Whately, to whom they had been addressed, were published by the Assembly. It was left to be inferred by the public, that they had been sent officially to England by the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor, and the Assembly voted the writing of them ample evidence of a fixed design on the part of the British Government to destroy the Constitution and establish arbitrary power. A petition was dispatched to be presented by Franklin to the king, calling for the removal of Hutchinson and Oliver from their posts. When these letters were read under these false impressions, sentiments were found in them which assumed a wholly exaggerated character, and the flame produced was, as Franklin and the Assembly intended, of the most furious kind.
[See larger version]
But whilst Tchitchagoff attacked the French on the right bank, Wittgenstein attacked them on the left. The Russians then threw a bridge of pontoons over the river at Borissov, and, being in communication, attacked the French vehemently on both sides of the river at once. Buonaparte and the troops who were over the river forced their way across some marshes over wooden bridges, which the Russians had neglected to destroy, and reached Brelowa, a little above Borissov on the other side. But terrible now was the condition of the forces and the camp-followers who had not crossed. Wittgenstein, Victor, and Oudinot were engaged in mortal combat on the left bank at the approach of the bridge, the French generals endeavouring to beat off the Russians as the troops and people pressed in a confused crowd over the bridges. Every moment the Russians drove the French nearer to the bridges, and the scene of horror became indescribable. The throngs rushed to make their way over the bridge; the soldiers, forgetting their discipline, added to the confusion. The weak and helpless were trampled down; thousands were forced over the sides of the bridge, and perished in the freezing waters. In the midst of the struggle a fierce tempest arose, and deluges of rain fell; and to carry the horror to the highest pitch, the bridge over which the baggage was passing broke down, plunging numbers of sick, and women and children, into the flood, amid the most fearful cries and screams. But all night the distracted multitude continued to press over the sole remaining bridge under the fire of the Russian artillery, and amongst them passed the troops of Victor, who gave up the contest on the left bank, and left those who had not crossed to their fate. Thousands of poor wretches were seen, as morning dawned, huddled on the bank of the river, amid baggage-waggons and artillery, surrounded by the infuriated Russians, and in dumb despair awaiting their fate. To prevent the crossing of the Russians, the French set fire to the bridge, and left those behind to the mercy of the enemy.
Letitia Elizabeth Landon, known as one of the most eminent female poets of her time, by the signature "L. E. L." which she appended to her numerous contributions in the magazines, was born at Hans Place, Chelsea, in 1802. Her "Poetical Sketches" were published first in the Literary Gazette. In 1824 appeared her "Improvisatrice." She was the author of two other volumes of poetry, and of a successful novel. A spirit of melancholy pervades her writings; but it is stated by Mr. L. Blanchard, in the "Life and Literary Remains," which he published, that she was remarkable for the vivacity and playfulness of her disposition. Her poetry ranked very high in public estimation for its lyric beauty and touching pathos; but the circumstances of her early death, which was the subject of much controversy, invested her name with a tragic and romantic interest. In 1838 she was married to Mr. George Maclean, Governor of Cape Coast Castle, but the marriage was unhappy, and she died, shortly afterwards, from an overdose of laudanum.详情
Copyright © 2020