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THE FLIGHT OF THE FRENCH THROUGH THE TOWN OF VITTORIA, JUNE 21st, 1813.

来源: 南方日报网络版     时间: 2020-01-28 15:34:08
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 In pursuance of this plan of the campaign, Prideaux and Johnson arrived before the fort of Niagara in the middle of July, which they found very strong, and garrisoned by six hundred men. Prideaux was soon killed by the bursting of a shell, but Johnson continued the siege with great ability, having to invest the fort on one hand, whilst he was menaced on the other by a mixed body of French and Indians, one thousand seven hundred in number, who came to relieve the fort. The attack upon him commenced with a terrible war-whoop of the Indians, which, mingling with the roar of the great cataract near, made the most horrible din imaginable. But this did not disconcert the English and their savage allies, who received them with such steady courage, that in less than an hour they were put to the rout in sight of their own garrison, and pursued for five miles with dreadful slaughter. The garrison thereupon capitulated, remaining prisoners of war. There, however, Sir William Johnson's career stopped. From various causes, not foreseen, he was not able to advance beyond the Ontario to unite with Amherst. That general had fully succeeded in taking Ticonderoga and Crown Point, but he found the French so strongly posted on an island at the upper end of Lake Champlain, that he was compelled to stop and build[134] boats to enable his army to reach and dislodge them; and it was not till October that he was ready to proceed, when he was driven back repeatedly by tempests, and compelled to go into winter quarters. 

 

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Napoleon's saying about French revolutions was verified in 1830. The shock of the political earthquake was felt throughout the Continent, and severed Belgium from Holland. The inhabitants of Brussels began their revolt by resistance to local taxes, and ended by driving the[320] Dutch garrison out of the city, and proclaiming the independence of Belgium. The Duke of Wellington had no difficulty about the prompt recognition of the de facto Government of France. The change of dynasty had not been officially communicated to him many hours when he sent instructions to the British ambassador to enter into friendly relations with the new Government. He had not, however, the same facility in recognising the independence of Belgium. He had been instrumental in establishing the kingdom of the Netherlands; and he regarded the union as being a portion of the great European settlement of 1815, which ought not to be disturbed without the concurrence of the Great Powers by which it was effected. This hesitation on his part to hail the results of successful revolution added to his unpopularity. In the meantime a dangerous spirit of disaffection and disorder began to manifest itself in the south of England. Incendiary fires had preceded the Revolution in France, especially in Normandy, and they were supposed to have had a political object. Similar preludes of menaced revolution occurred during the autumn in some of the English counties nearest the French coast, in Kent, Sussex, Surrey, and Hampshire. Night after night, in the most fertile districts, the sky was reddened with the blaze of burning stack-yards. Crowds of the working classes, complaining of want of employment, went about throughout the country, breaking the threshing-machines, which had then come into extensive use. The Government were compelled to employ force to put down these disturbances—a fact which supplied inflammatory arguments to agitators, who denounced the Duke of Wellington as the chief cause of the distress of the working classes. Such was the state of things when the new Parliament met on the 26th of October.This report was published in the Moniteur on the morning of Monday, July 26th. On the same day, and in the same paper, appeared the famous Ordonnances, signed by the king, and countersigned by his Ministers. By the first the liberty of the press was abolished, and thenceforth no journal could be published without the authority of the Government. By the second the Chamber of Deputies, which was to meet in the ensuing month, was dissolved. By the third a new scheme of election was introduced, which destroyed the franchise of three-fourths of the electors, and reduced the number of deputies to little more than one half. Thus the whole Constitution was swept away by a stroke of the royal pen. As soon as these Ordonnances became generally known throughout the city the people were thrown into a state of violent agitation. The editors and proprietors of twelve journals assembled, and having resolved that the Ordonnances were illegal, they determined to publish their papers on the following day. A statement of their case, signed by thirty-eight persons, was published in the Nationale. They said: "In the situation in which we are placed, obedience ceases to be a duty. We are dispensed from obeying. We resist the Government in what concerns ourselves. It is for France to determine how far her resistance ought to extend." In pursuance of this announcement the journalists were preparing to issue their papers when the police entered the offices and began to scatter the type and break the presses. In some of the offices the workmen resisted, and the locks of the doors had to be picked; but no smith could be got to do the work except one whose business it was to rivet the manacles on galley slaves. There was a meeting of the electors of Paris, who quickly decided upon a plan of operations. Deputations were appointed to wait on the manufacturers, printers, builders, and other extensive employers, requesting them to discharge their workpeople, which was done, and on the 27th 50,000 men were assembled in different parts of the town, in groups, crying, "Vive la Charte!" About thirty deputies, who had arrived in town, met at the house of M. Casimir Perier, and resolved to encourage the rising of the people. The troops were under arms; and it is stated that without any provocation from the people except their cries, the military began to sabre the unarmed multitude. The first shot seems to have been fired out of a house, by an Englishman, named Foulkes, who was fired on by the military, and killed. Alarming reports spread through the city that the blood of the people was being wantonly shed, and that women were not spared. The black flag was raised in various quarters, ominous of the desperate nature of the struggle. The night of the 27th was spent in preparation. The shops of the armourers were visited, and the citizens armed themselves with all sorts of weapons—pistols, sabres, bayonets, etc. In every street men were employed digging up the pavements, and carrying stones to the tops of the houses, or piling them behind the barricades, which were being constructed of omnibuses and fiacres at successive distances of about fifty paces. The fine trees of the Boulevards were cut down and used for the same purpose. The garrison of Paris was commanded by General Marmont. It consisted altogether of 11,500 men. At daybreak on the 28th the citizens were nearly ready for battle. Early in the morning national guards were seen hastening to the H?tel de Ville, amidst the cheers of the people. Parties of cavalry galloped up and down, and occasionally a horseman, shot from a window, fell back out of his saddle. At ten o'clock Marmont formed six columns of attack, preceded by cannon, which were to concentrate round the H?tel de Ville. The insurgents retired before the artillery, and the troops, abandoning the open places, took shelter in the houses and behind barriers. In the meantime a desperate fight raged at the H?tel de Ville, which was taken possession of, and bravely defended by the National Guard. Their fire from the top of the building was unceasing, while the artillery thundered below. It was taken and retaken several times. It appears that hitherto the Government had no idea of the nature of the contest. The journals had proclaimed open war. They declared that the social contract being torn, they were bound and authorised to use every possible mode of resistance, and that between right and violence the struggle could not be protracted. This was on the 26th; but at four o'clock p.m., on the 27th, the troops had received no orders; and when they were called out of barracks shortly after, many officers were absent, not having been apprised that any duty whatever was expected. The night offered[317] leisure to arrange and opportunity to execute all necessary precautions. The circumstances were urgent, the danger obvious and imminent; yet nothing at all was done. The contest lasted for three days with varying fortunes. Twice the palace of the Tuileries was taken and abandoned; but on the third day the citizens were finally victorious, and the tricoloured flag was placed on the central pavilion. Marmont, seeing that all was lost, withdrew his troops; and on the afternoon of the 29th Paris was left entirely at the command of the triumphant population. The National Guard was organised, and General Lafayette, "the veteran of patriotic revolutions," took the command. Notwithstanding the severity of the fighting, the casualties were not very great. About 700 citizens lost their lives, and about 2,000 were wounded. It was stated that the troops were encouraged to fight by a lavish distribution of money, about a million francs having been distributed amongst them, for the purpose of stimulating their loyalty. The deputies met on the 31st, and resolved to invite Louis Philippe, Duke of Orleans, to be lieutenant-general of the kingdom. He accepted the office, and issued a proclamation which stated that the Charter would thenceforth be a truth. The Chambers were opened on the 3rd of August; 200 deputies were present; the galleries were crowded with peers, general officers of the old army, the diplomatic body, and other distinguished persons. The duke, in his opening speech, dwelt upon the violations of the Charter, and stated that he was attached by conviction to the principles of free government. At a subsequent meeting the Chamber conferred upon him the title of the King of the French. He took the oath to observe the Charter, which had been revised in several particulars. On the 17th of August Charles X. arrived in England; and by a curious coincidence there was a meeting that day in the London Tavern, at which an address to the citizens of Paris, written by Dr. Bowring, congratulating them on the Revolution of July, was unanimously adopted. Meetings of a similar kind were held in many of the cities and towns of the United Kingdom. Feelings of delight and admiration pervaded the public mind in Britain; delight that the cause of constitutional freedom had so signally triumphed, and admiration of the heroism of the citizens, and the order and self-control with which they conducted themselves in the hour of victory. Thus ended the Revolution of July, 1830. It was short and decisive, but it had been the finale of a long struggle. The battle had been fought in courts and chambers by constitutional lawyers and patriotic orators. It had been fought with the pen in newspapers, pamphlets, songs, plays, poems, novels, histories. It had been fought with the pencil in caricatures of all sorts. It was the triumph of public opinion over military despotism. To commemorate the three days of July it was determined to erect a column on the Place de la Bastille, which was completed in 1840.The Scottish rebellion had been an auspicious circumstance for the arms of France. Marshal Saxe had taken the field, to the surprise of the Allies, in the very middle of winter, invested Brussels, and compelled it to surrender on the 20th of February, 1746. One town fell after another; Mons, Antwerp, Charleroi, and finally, Namur capitulated on the 19th of September, after a siege of only six days. As soon as Cumberland could leave Scotland after the battle of Culloden, he returned to London, in the hope that he should be appointed, covered, as he was, with his bloody laurels, to the supreme command of the Allied forces in Flanders, where he flattered himself he could arrest the progress of the French. But that command had been conferred on Prince Charles of Lorraine, the Emperor's brother, much to the disgust of both Cumberland and the king. On the 11th of October the Prince of Lorraine engaged the French at Raucoux, on the Jaar, and was signally defeated; the English cavalry, under General Ligonier, managing to save his army from total destruction, but not being able to stem the overthrow. At the close of the campaign the French remained almost entire masters of the Austrian Netherlands.Dumouriez, the new Foreign Minister, advised the king to communicate this note to the Assembly without a moment's delay. There was immediate dissension in the royal council. This was the commencement of the division in the Gironde Ministry, which quickly destroyed it. Dumouriez proceeded, in the presence of the king, the rest of the Ministers, and a number of courtiers, on the 20th of April, to make that announcement which was to decide the fate of France and of Europe. Roland and the more determined Girondists had recommended that the king should himself make the declaration of war; but as the war itself was most repugnant to the king, Dumouriez had advised that he should only consult with the Assembly on the necessity of this declaration, and thus throw the responsibility on that body. There had been division of opinion amongst Ministers, and now Dumouriez read a detailed account of the negotiations with Austria, and then Louis, who looked jaded and anxious, stated that he had followed the recommendations of the Assembly, and of many of his subjects in various parts of France, in these negotiations, and, as they had heard the results, he put it to the Assembly whether they could any longer submit to see the dignity of the French people insulted, and the national security threatened. The speech was received with loud acclamations and cries of "Vive le Roi!" The President said they would deliberate, and the result was that a decree was passed resolving upon war. This resolve the Assembly justified by the declaration that the Emperor of Austria had concerted with the Emigrants and foreign princes to threaten the peace and the constitution of France; that he had refused to abandon these views and proceedings, and reduce his army to a peace establishment, as demanded of him by a vote of the 11th of March of this year; that he had declared his intention to restore the German princes by force to the possessions they had held[400] in Alsace, although the French nation had never ceased to offer them compensation; and that, finally, he had closed the door to all accommodation by refusing to reply to the dispatches of the king.The subject of Church rates having created much ill-feeling in towns and districts where the Dissenters were most numerous, an attempt was made by the Government to abolish the impost. It was found that the sum which they produced was about £250,000 a year, and it was proposed to obtain that amount by a better management of the estates of bishops, deans, and chapters, by placing them under the control of eleven Commissioners, who should first pay the bishops and dignitaries' salaries out of the proceeds, and devote the rest of the fund thus realised to the objects for which Church rates were levied, namely, the repair of churches and the supply of the necessaries for public worship. But an outcry was raised against this plan as being based upon the principle of Church spoliation. The bishops and clergy resisted strenuously, and the friends of the Church were roused to such an extent that the majority in the House of Commons on the second reading of the Bill was only five. This majority was tantamount to defeat, and therefore the measure was abandoned.Junot had from sixteen to eighteen thousand men in Portugal, but a considerable number of them were scattered into different garrisons; his hope of reinforcements from Spain was likewise cut off by the surrender of Dupont, and by the fact of the Spaniards being in possession of Andalusia, Estremadura, and Galicia. Thus the numbers of the two armies which could be brought into the field against each other were pretty equal, except that Junot had a fine body of cavalry, of which arm the British were nearly destitute. On the 9th of August General Wellesley commenced his march southward, in the direction of Lisbon, to encounter Junot. On the 16th Wellesley came in contact with the van of Junot's army. On the landing of the British, Junot had called in his different garrisons, and concentrated his troops about Lisbon. He also dispatched General Laborde to check Wellesley's march, and ordered Loison to support him. But before Loison could reach Laborde, Wellesley was upon him, and drove in his outpost at the village of Obidos, and forced him back on Roli?a. At that place Laborde had a very strong position, and there he determined to stand. He was located on a range of rocky hills, the ravines between which were thickly grown with underwood and briars. Up these the British must force their way, if they attacked, and must suffer severely from the riflemen placed in the thickets and on the brows of the hills. But Wellesley knew that Loison with his detachment was hourly expected, and he determined to beat Laborde before he came up. He therefore placed his Portuguese division on his right to meet Laborde, and ordered his left to ascend the steep hills, and be prepared for the appearance of Loison's force, which was coming in that direction. His middle column had to make its way up the steepest heights, in front of Laborde's centre. All three columns executed their movements, however, with equal valour and spirit. The centre suffered most of all, both from the nature of the ground, and from a rifle ambuscade placed in a copse of myrtle and arbutus, which mowed our soldiers down in heaps, with their gallant colonel, the son of Lord Lake, of Indian fame, at their head. Notwithstanding all difficulties, our soldiers scaled the heights, formed there, and the centre charged Laborde's centre with the bayonet and drove them back. As the French had been taught that the British soldiers were of no account, and their general only a "Sepoy general," they returned several times to the attack, but on every occasion found themselves repulsed as by an immovable wall. Then, seeing the right and left wings bearing down upon them, they gave way, and ran for it. They were equally astonished at the terrible charges with the bayonet, at the rapidity and precision of the firing, and the general arrangement of the battle, and the exactitude with which it was carried out.


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