Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

atchievements, and as we think, in a few words, he compresses his. military mierits, we shall quote the passage.

“ Those who estimate conquerors merely by their warlike atchievements, without considering either the justness of the cause, or the wisdom of the pursuit, must regard Buonaparte with high honour. He undoubtedly displayed all that combination of intellectual and active powers which rendered 'Alaric, Genseric, and Attila, with their respective Goths, Vandals, and Huns, irrefistibly successful in subjugation and plunder. But in one instrument of iniquitous acquisition, the Corsican surpalled the northern invaders: they fimply employed force, whereas be wied artifice and deceit, as well as violence and plunder. In this his most difficult campaign, Buona parte proved himself an able, energetic, and dexterous adventurer ; but in no instanco manifefted either the magnanimous hero, or the wise statesman:"16

Our author appears to reckon the retreat of Moreau a more mara terly specimen of generalfhip than any that was displayed by Buonaparté. Britain this year having fought apart from her allies was uniformly successful. Parliament being met, the king announced pacific intentions. Mr. Burke, adhering to his original opinion, conceived no peace could be secure until monarchy were restored. Lord Malmibury was sent to Paris, but found the French would not accede to reasonable terms. He was ordered to leave France, and the negotia. tion broke off. The aspect of affairs in the earlier part of 1799 was gloomy; " national credit seemed to totter from its base; rebellion was ready to burst out in the fifter island ; and, while foreign invasion threatened, those who had so long been the champions of Britain upon her own element, refused to obey orders issued for her defence, and turned their mutinous arms against their country." The apprehenfions concerning the Bank proved totally unfounded : the wisdom of . Pitt removed every alarm respecting the national credit. The mutiny was very alarming, both in its causes and proceedings, but by firmness and vigour was suppressed. Buonaparté compelled the Emperor to make peace, The French directed the naval efforts of their dependents, Spain and Holland, against Britain ; bút Admiral Jervis by a lignal victory destroyed the navy of the former, and Admiral Duncan the navy of the latter. Britain again cffered peace, but the French would only agree to such terms as were inadmillible. In Scotland considerable disturbances took place from a misapprehension of the militia act, but by united firmness and moderation were quelled. The late victories in a considerable degree dispelled the discontents of the former years, and the haughty refusal of France enflamed the generous indignation of Britons; both Parliament and nation were bent on great exertions. Mr. Pitt proposed a new scheme of finance to raise a considerable part of the supplies within the year. Mr. Addington proposed voluntary contributions. Notwithstanding the weight of the taxes most individuals and classes vied in subscription. Mr. Dundas proposed loyal and patriotic'associations: for the defence of the couna try, volunteers role in all quarters, and the nation became armed against foreign and domestic enemies. While such loyalty and pan

triotisma

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

triotism prevailed in Britain there broke out in Ireland a rebellion, the origin and progress of which our author retraces from the first forma tion of the united Irishmen to its suppression.

While France threatened invafion against Britain her attention was turned to a very different object. Her plundering adventurer, Buonaparté, proposed Egypt as a fresh and untouched field for depradation, which, besides prefent spoil, might open the way to farther robbery in the East. This righteous plan being adopted, a grand expedition was undertaken, headed by Buonaparté. The robbing adventurers having caprured and plundered Malta arrived in safety in Egypt, and landed, their forces, but the British admiral, Nelson, overtook their Acet... As the battle of Aboukir Bay is one of the most splendid actions recorded in Britifh history, so is our historian's description one of the most fplendid passages in the work. Our author follows the victory to its political effects in the spirit which it kindled througout Europe. Minifters now excited and invigorated a coalition against France, At home they directed their attention to the administration of Ireland. Our author presents a luminous view of the state of facts: the reasonings of statesmen and political writers who were favourable to union between Britain and Ireland : of statesmen and writers who were adverse to, union from patriotic considerations; parties and classes that opposed it from selfish motives, such as antiininisterialists or from difaffection to government. Mr. Pitt's opening speech on the business spoke to every argument or motive for and against, and exhibited a masterly view of the benefits which might result from such a connection. It was resolved that his projet should be submitted to the Irish parliament. Paul, the new Emperor of Ruflia, formed an alliance with Britain and Austria for opposing the French. The Russians invaded Italy, marched into Switzerland under Marshal Suworrow, in conjunction with the Austrians, gained signal advantages, and even recovered the greater part of Italy, but not being properly supported by their allies, found it necessary to retreat, and, at length, withdrew from the field. The British undertook an expedition to Holland under the Duke of York, they displayed their usual valour, but the event did not answer their expectations. In this part of the history our author adheres to his usual accuracy and impartiality of narrative, but is very sparing in his reflections. Historic truth he preserves as rigidly as in. describing the ift of June, St. Vincent's, Canıperdown, or the Nile, but we cannot discover that he is equally plealed with the subject. The history now carries us to the East, the projects of Tippoo Saib in reliance on the co-cperation of France, and the discomfiture and death of that renowned adventurer. Next we accompany Buonaparte in Egypt, and after he had plundered that country, and massacred all who oppoled his robbery, we watch his steps into Syria in quest of fresh Booty. The fiege of Acre, and its renowned defence, have never been recorded in a manner that does more ample justice to the heroism and genius of Sir Sidney Smith. We follow the vanquitied Buonaparté. in his retreat from Syria, and soon after his flight from Egypt." The

proceedings,

[ocr errors]

proceedings of Buonaparte and his coadjutors in France from his first arrival to the establishment of the Consular despotism are represented in a very striking and indeed picturesque exhibition. The Chief Consul offered peace to Britain, his proposals were rejected, the subftance and manner of the rejection were severely censured by oppofi. tion. The plan of union between Britain and Ireland was finally adjusted between the respective Parliaments, and the time of commencement fixed to be January ist, 1801. An attempt to assassinate the king alarmed the public, and new regulations were made by Parliament for the personal safety of his Majesty. Russia being withdrawn Auftria only remained to combat France on the continent. Buoniaparté undertook to recover Italy, encountered the Imperialists at Marengo, and was almost defeated, when Deffaix coming up, procured to him a signal victory, which decided the fate of Italy. In Gerinany Moreau, by a masterly system of operations, advanced upon the Germans until he gained at Hohenlinden a victory which terminated the continental war. In Britain a great scarcity prevailed, and it was proposed that the legislature should interfere in the price of corn ; but the proposition was reprobated as extremely impolitic and unjust. The dispute with the northern powers evinces our author thoroughly acquainted with the public law of Europe. In a few. words he thews that it is the interest of all trading countries that Britain thould prosper.

" Nothing (he says) is more evident, than that the commercial exertions of Great Britain, promoting the indusiry and arts of the various countries with which ne traffics, and exchanging surplus for supplies, benefits respectively and jointly every country within the wide range of her trade: it is, therefore, the interest of all those countries that her commerce should continue and increałe, by which their emolument and gratification continue and increase in the same proportion; her capital, ability, and tkill, stimulate their moft lucratively productive labours, and enabled them to purchase imported actommodation and luxuries.''

The northern princes at this time were blind to their interest, and sought to change maritime law, but Britain resisted their attempts. At this time a very unexpeded change took place in the British cabinet by the resignation of Mr. Pitt and his co-adjutors, the causes of which our author cievelopes, and concludes that part of his narrative with a fumma. sy of Mr. Piti's character, and short sketches of Mr. Dundas, Lord Grenville, Mr. Windham, and Earl Spencer. Mr. Pitt was succeeded by Mr. Addington, and Lord Grenville by Lord Hawkesbury. Vain was the attempt of the northern powers to intimidate Britain, a feat failed to the Baltic, Nelson was victorious, an armistice was proposed and accepted, and Paul being dead, and Alexander Jiipofid to peace, an ami. cable adjustment took place between Britain and the northern powers. The history now comes to the naval campaign of our country in the channel and ocean, where success attended all her efforts. We are now conducted to exploits and atchievements of the British army, which,

as

as our historian well obferves, had never been surpassed in the annals of war. Our historian pursues che state of the French in Egypt from iz the departure of Buonaparté to the spring 1801, thence he conducts us to the bay of Tetuan, where was allembled the armament under Sir Ralph Abercroinbie and Lord Keith to proceed againit the French in Egypt. Having crossed the Mediterranean, the expedition arrived, near the end of September 1801, at Marmorice, in Alia Minor. The object of this diagonal movement was to be attured of the military cooperation of the Turks, and also their aslistance in furnishing horses, gun-boats, and other necessary articles: here also they procured fup. plies of fresh provisions. There they remained till the end of February, On the ift of March they discovered land that proved to be the coast near Arabs Tower, and on the next morning the whole Aeet moored in Aboukir Bay, and the men of 'war'occupied the very ground on which had been fought the battle of Nelson. There follows a very Atriking description of the coast, the strength of the enemy, the batteries and fand-hills. For some days the extreme roughness of the furf prevented an attempt to dis-embark, but on the 8th the attempt was made. The fignal was given, and the troops proceeded to the Thore. The French poured from the heights and Aboukir Castle all the thot and grape-shot that their musketry and artillery could issue: the effect was tremendous; in a situation in which they could not return the fire, and seeing their comrades fall about them; under these fell messengers of multiplied death, initead of being dismayed, our heroic foldiers were the more indignantly eager to reach the thore, where, bringing arm to arm of Briton against Frenchiman, they knew they would soon avenge their fellow countrymen. The boats arrived at the destined point; springing on land, in the face of cannon, our champions formed on the beach, and advanced in a line, Marching coolly and steadily up to the foes, they were enabled to use the surest instrument of victory to British courage, supported by British muscular ftrength--the bayonet; and now the artillery from our ships could operate against the batteries of Aboukir, without exposing our foldiers to danger. The French made a stand worthy of their national heroism : but when British sailors can use their cannon, and British fol., diers their bayonets, the most valiant Frenchmen are destined to yield. In the conflict between such combatants, the battle was obstinate and bloody; but our heroes prevailed. The French found they had more formidable foes to encounter than even those whom they had met at Lodi and Arcola; and that a British handful at Acre, had merely given a specimen of what they might expect from a British army. The description of the campaign rises in interest, T'he engagement of the 13th farther displays British heroism, but the most striking and glorious display was secured for the 21st, of which our author's account is a masterly piece of historical painting. To all the troops that were engaged he renders justice and consequently high praise: perhaps a little more than justice to his countrymenihe 42d. On the capture of the standard, however, he allows the merits of Anthony Lutz.

Briefly

Briefly stating the evidence he observes the result of the whole is,

s that Major. Stirling took the standard and delivered it to Sinclair, who being wounded, and in a state of insensibility, loft the same, and . that it was retaken by Anthony Lutz," and concludes with the fol-' lowing compliment to both.

,“ Taking no part in the dispute, the historian has only to express his with, that future narrators of British wars may ever have to celebrate fach valour as was exhibited by the 42d. and foreign regiments, the captors and re-captors of a standard that was termed invincible till it was borne against the troops of Britain.” . ..

Our historian conducts us with the army to upper Egypt through all the difficulties which they had to encounter, and places their perseverance and fortitude in a light no less striking than their recent vaa lour and prowess. Another virtue draws forth the deserved praise. :: • ^ Accustomed,” says our author, “ 10 Mahometan and French depredators, the people regarded the new comers at first with dread, but afterwards with wonder, when they found that not a single soldier of the Britis, com: mitted the flightelt pillage; and, at last, with gratitude hailed them as their deliverers from a plundering banditti. The only gratuitous contribution which our champions required was water, this beverage with gladdened eagerness the natives brought, and readily supplied with every provision it their power, heroes, who in the midst of war and scanty stores, Itrially observed the principles of justice, anel (newed that Britifh troops were 'solu DIERS not robbers.".

Having brought the campaign of Egypt to the expulsion of the French, he concludes his account of that glorious enterprize in the

following terms worthy of the splendid subject. · « Such was the issue of Buonaparté's expedition to Egypt; there, as in all their undertakings during the last war, the French prospered, until they encountered the forces of Britain : there Buonaparte learned, that in vain he might project schemes of maritime and commercial conquest, when opposed by the paral and military heroes of Britain. All the mighty preparations and boasted atchievements of four years in pursuit of the favourite object of the Chief Conful, perished without leaving a wreck behind. The whole, and every part of this expedition, displayed the British character in its manifold excellencies. Adventurous courage, were guided by wisdom, united with patience and magnanimous constancy, and were all inspired by patriotism and loyalty, and enhanced by justice. Such were the qualities that rendered Britain'triumphant in the signally glorious campaign of Egypt, in fuch Britain may always confide, and such let her enemies dread." If anbitious pride should overlook more remote events when she seeks war with Britain, let her REMEMBER EGYPT.”

The history concludes with the termination of the war, mentions. the general joy which it occasioned, and acknowledges, in a note, that the author himself was one who rejoiced at the cellation of hoftilities, He does not, however, enter into the merits of the peace. . .

“ The treaty of Amiens, (he says) opened new subjects of discussion beNO. LXXIII. VOL. XVII. .

longing

« PreviousContinue »