生态复绿  废矿变身

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.

Napoleon reached Warsaw on the 10th of December, after a narrow escape of being taken at a village named Youpranoui. On the 14th of December he was in Dresden, and had a long conversation with his satrap king there; and, after escaping some endeavours of the Prussians to seize him, he arrived safely in Paris at midnight of the 18th, where the Parisians, who had with some indifference suppressed the conspiracy got up by the Republicans under General Mallet, hastened to overwhelm him with the most fulsome flatteries. The story of his rubbing his hands over the fire on his arrival at the Tuileries, and saying, "This is pleasanter than Moscow," shows an intensity of selfishness which no history on earth can equal. In this one campaign, that magnificent army, the very flower of French, German, and Polish soldieryperhaps the finest army ever assembledhad perished to a mere fraction, and that amid the most unheard of, the most hitherto unconceived horrors. The remnant of these soldiers was still struggling on in their deserted march, through these horrors even still more intensified. Numbers were falling every day all along the frozen desert tracks, exhausted by famine and cold, and the snows immediately buried them. When they approached any place of rest or refreshment, they fought furiously for fragments of firewood or pieces of horse-flesh. When a horse fell under the burdens they had piled upon him, he was torn by them limb from limb, while yet palpitating with life, and devoured raw. Such was the weariness of these miserable fugitives over immeasurable deserts of frost and snow, through cutting, scythe-edged winds, that nothing but the sound of the Cossack drum, and the howls of the Cossack avengers could induce them to rise and pursue their desolate march. And the man who had brought all these terrible calamities upon nearly half a million of menand more than half a million by far, including women, children, and other camp-followers, to say nothing of the invaded Russiansfelt not a pang for these vast human sufferings, but only for his own detestable pride.

In America, all at the opening of the campaign seemed to favour the English cause. The army of Washington, still suffering the utmost extremities of cold and starvation, began in earnest to mutiny. A Pennsylvanian division of one thousand three hundred men marched out of their camp at Morristown, and proceeded to Princeton, carrying with them six field-pieces and their stores, and their demands were granted by Congress. The success of this revolt encouraged others to repeat the man?uvre. On the night of the 20th of January a part of the Jersey brigade, stationed at Pompton, marched to Chatham, and made precisely the same demands. But now seeing that, if this were suffered, the whole army would quickly go to pieces, Washington sent General Howe after them, with orders to surround them, and shoot them down, if they did not surrender; and if they did surrender, immediately to seize the most active ringleaders, and execute them. Howe readily accomplished his mission; he reduced the mutinous, and shot their leaders.

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. At this crisis, when an able diplomatist at Paris might have avoided a great war, the Earl of Albemarle, who never had been an able or attentive ambassador, but a mere man of pleasure, died; and though George II. was so well aware of the gathering storm that he sent a message to the House of Commons announcing the necessity for increased forces, and, consequently, increased supplies, nothing could induce him to forego his usual summer journey to Hanover. The Commons readily voted a million and a half, but made an energetic protest against the king quitting the country in the circumstances. Besides the state of affairs in France and Spain, those of Ireland were very disturbed. The Duke of Dorset, the Lord-Lieutenant, was recalled, and Lord Harrington sent in his place to endeavour to restore order. Lord Poulett, therefore, moved a resolution against George's journey; but it was overruled, and the infatuated king set out in April, attended by Lord Holderness.

Fox did not suffer the Session to close without another powerful effort to avoid war with France. A petition had been handed to him for presentation to the Commons, drawn up by Mr. Gurney of Norwich, and signed by the Friends and other inhabitants of that city, praying that peace with France might be concluded. Fox not only agreed to present it and support its prayer, but he earnestly exhorted Mr. Gurney and his friends to promote the sending of petitions from other places for this object, as the only means of influencing the House, bent determinedly on war. On the 17th of June, only four days before the close of the Session, Fox moved an Address to the Crown, praying that, as the French had been driven out of Holland, peace should be made. In pursuance of his objecta great one, if attainablehe did not spare his former favourite, the Empress of Russia, and the other royal robbers of Poland. Burke replied that Fox knew very well that the defence of Holland was but a very partial motive for the war. The real obstacles to peace were the avowed principles of the Frenchthose of universal conquest, of annexation of the kingdoms conquered, as already Alsace, Savoy, and Belgium; their attempts on the Constitution of Great Britain by insidious means; the murder of their own monarch held up as an example to all other nations. To make peace with France, he said truly, was to declare war against the rest of Europe, which was threatened by France; and he asked with whom in France should we[418] negotiate for peace, if so disposed? Should it be with Lebrun, already in a dungeon, or with Clavire, who was hiding from those who were anxious to take his head? or with Egalit, who had been consigned to a dungeon at Marseilles? Burke declared that you might as well attempt to negotiate with a quicksand or a whirlwind as with the present ever-shifting and truculent factions which ruled in France.

In astronomy, Herschel discovered the planet Uranus in 1781; in 1802 he published, in the "Philosophical Transactions," his catalogue of five[199] hundred new nebul? and nebulous stars; and in 1803 announced his discovery of the motion of double stars round each other. In chemistry, Sir Humphry Davy, in 1807, extracted their metallic bases from the fixed alkalies; in 1808 demonstrated the same fact as it regarded the alkaline earths; in 1811 discovered the true nature of chlorine; in 1815 invented his safety lamp; and in 1817 (as already mentioned) brought it to perfection. In 1804 Leslie published discoveries of the nature and properties of heat; in 1808 Dalton announced his atomic theory; and in 1814 Wollaston completed its development and proof.


The Home Secretary once more submitted his views to the Duke, in a memorandum dated January 12th, that was written with a view to being submitted to the king, in which he put the inevitable alternative of a Cabinet united in the determination to carry Catholic Emancipation, or a Cabinet constructed on exclusively Protestant principles; and he came to the conclusion that no Cabinet so constructed could possibly carry on the general administration of the country. The state of the House of Commons appeared to him to be an insuperable obstacle to the successful issue of that experiment. Since the year 1807 there had been five Parliaments, and in the course of each of these, with one exception, the House of Commons had come to a decision in favour of the consideration of the Catholic question. The present Parliament had decided in the same manner. A dissolution, were it practicable, would not result in an election more favourable to the Protestant interest, if an exclusively Protestant Government were formed. Even should there be an increase of anti-Catholic members in England, it would not compensate for the increased excitement in Ireland, and the violent and vexatious opposition that would be given by fifty or sixty Irish members, returned by the Catholic Association and the priests. Then there would be the difficulty about preserving the peace in Ireland. During the last autumn, out of the regular infantry force in the United Kingdom, amounting to about 30,000 men, 25,000 men were stationed either in Ireland or on the west coast of England, with a view to the maintenance of tranquillity in Ireland, Great Britain being then at peace with all the world. What would be the consequence should England be involved in a war with some foreign Power? Various other considerations were urged, upon which Mr. Peel founded his advice to the king, which wasthat he should not grant the Catholic claims, or any part of them, precipitately and unadvisedly, but that he should, in the first instance, remove the barrier which prevented the consideration of the Catholic question by the Cabinet, and permit his confidential servants to consider it in all its relations, on the same principles on which they considered any other question of public policy, in the hope that some plan of adjustment could be proposed, on the authority and responsibility of a Government likely to command the assent of Parliament and to unite in its support a powerful weight of Protestant opinion, from a conviction that it was a settlement equitable towards Roman Catholics and safe as it concerned the Protestant Establishment.

We need not follow the track of the deserted army with much minuteness. The moment Buonaparte was gone, all discipline and command ceased. The chief officers quarrelled vehemently; and Murat denounced his Imperial brother-in-law in the bitterest terms, and escaped away into Italy on the first opportunity. The Austrians and Prussians marched off, and the French, pursued by the Russians till they crossed the Niemen, were continually assailed, and dispersed or killed; so that Macdonald at length reached K?nigsberg with nine thousand men, the body of French presenting anything but the appearance of an army! In this fatal campaign, Boutourlin states that, of this splendid army, one hundred and twenty-five thousand were killed; one hundred and thirty-two thousand died from fatigue, hunger, and the severity of the climate; and one hundred and ninety-three thousand, including forty-eight generals and three thousand officers, were taken prisonersan awful comment on the assertions of Buonaparte that he had beaten the Russians everywhere. The nine thousand soldiers who returned with Macdonald leave only eleven thousand to be accounted for of the whole four hundred and seventy thousand, besides women, children, and camp servitors, who entered Russia. These eleven thousand were, no doubt, dispersed fugitives, some of whom might eventually reach France. Such a destruction of human life in one campaign, so utterly unfelt for by the man who[55] occasioned it, stands alone in the history of this world's miserable wars. The crime of it, as it rests on the head of that guilty soul, is beyond mortal calculation.