复工复产,国企冲在前

Sir John Moore entered Spain under the impression that several brave and victorious Spanish armies were to co-operate with him; but he looked in vain for any such armies. Nay, on the very day of his arrival at Salamanca he heard of the defeat of the Count de Belvedere, near Burgos; and only two days afterwards that general had also been defeated at Espinosa, on the frontiers of the province of Biscay. He demanded from the Junta to know with whom he was to co-operate for the conduct of the campaign, and he was referred to Casta?os. But Casta?os had already lost the confidence of the proud and ignorant Junta, and had little information to give. On the 15th of November the governor of the province announced to him that the French had taken possession of Valladolid, only twenty leagues from Salamanca; from the dormant Mr. Frere he heard nothing. This was startling intelligence; for he had only a small portion of his army yet with him. Sir David Baird was still struggling with the obstructive junta at Corunna, and Sir John Hope was wandering near Madrid with the artillery. Moore began to have a very gloomy idea of the situation, not only of Spain, but of his situation in it. He wrote that there was no unity of action; no care of the juntas to promote it, or to furnish arms and clothing to the soldiers; that he was in no correspondence with the generals of the other armies, and knew neither their plans nor those of the Government. He declared that the provinces around him were not armed; and as for the national enthusiasm of which so much had been said, that he saw not a trace of it; that, in short, the British had no business there; but he would still try to do something, if possible, for the country, since he was there. William Stanhope was rewarded for his accomplishment of this treaty with the title of Lord Harrington, and was soon after made Secretary of State. But whilst the English were delighted by the completion of the treaty, the Emperor was enraged by it, and his mortification was doubled by the fact that, when he sought to raise four hundred thousand pounds by a loan in London to supply the want of his Spanish subsidies, the Ministry brought in and rapidly passed a Bill prohibiting loans to foreign Powers, except by a licence from the king under the Privy Seal. The Opposition raised a loud outcry, calling it "a Bill of Terrors," an "eternal yoke on our fellow-subjects," and a "magnificent boon to the Dutch." But Walpole very justly answered, "Shall British merchants be permitted to lend their money against the British nation? Shall they arm an enemy with strength and assist him with supplies?"

The king had a stormy and rather perilous passage across the Channel. Mr. Freemantle sarcastically alludes to the feelings of the royal passenger in connection with this voyage:"The king in his journey home overtook Lord and Lady Harcourt, now the bosom friends of Lady Conyngham, stopped them, got out of his carriage, and sat with them for a quarter of an hour on the public road, recounting all his perilous adventures at sea, and flattering reception in Ireland. Lady Harcourt told me his pious acknowledgment for his great escape of being shipwrecked was quite edifying, and the very great change in his moral habits and religious feelings was quite astonishing, and all owing to Lady Conyngham." On his return to London, after a visit to Hanover, the king devoted himself to a life of seclusion for a considerable time, during which it appears that the Marchioness of Conyngham maintained an ascendency over him most damaging to his character and Government. She had not only made the royal favour tributary to the advancement of her own family, but she meddled in political affairs with mischievous effect. "Had it been confined to mere family connections," writes Robert Huish, "no voice, perhaps, would have been raised against it; but when the highest offices in the Church were bestowed on persons scarcely previously heard ofwhen political parties rose and fell, and Ministers were created and deposed to gratify the ambition of a femalethen the palace of the king appeared as if surrounded by some pestilential air. The old hereditary counsellors of the king avoided the Court, as alike fatal to private probity and public honour. The entrance to Windsor Castle was, as it were, hermetically sealed by the enchantress within to all but the favoured few. The privilege of the entre was curtailed to the very old friends of the king, and even the commonest domestics in the castle were constrained to submit to the control of the marchioness. The Court of George IV. certainly differed widely from that of Charles II., although the number and[221] reputation of their several mistresses were nearly the same in favour and character; but George IV. had no confiscations to confer on the instruments of his pleasures." NAPOLEON AND HIS SUITE AT BOULOGNE. (See p. 490.)

English cookery, even in the greatest houses, had not yet been much affected by French art. The dinners were remarkably solid, hot, and stimulating. Mulligatawny and turtle soups came first, then at one end of the table was uncovered the familiar salmon, and at the other the turbot surrounded by smelts. Next came a saddle of mutton, or a joint of roast beef, and for the fourth course came fowls, tongue, and ham. French dishes were placed on the sideboard, but for a long time such weak culinary preparations were treated with contemptuous neglect. The boiled potato was then very popular, and vegetables generally were unaccompanied with sauce. The dessert, which was ordered from the confectioner's, was often very costly. The wines used at dinner were chiefly port, sherry, and hock. "A perpetual thirst seemed to come over people, both men and women," says Captain Gronow, "as soon as they had tasted their soup, as from that moment everybody was taking wine with everybody else till the close of the dinner, and such wine as produced that class of cordiality which frequently wanders into stupefaction. How this sort of eating and drinking ended was obvious from the prevalence of gout; and the necessity of every one making the pill-box a constant bedroom companion."

Meanwhile, the British and Prussian armies advanced, and on the 1st of July Wellington was within a few miles of Paris, with his right on the heights of Richebourg, and his left on the forest of Bondy; and Blucher, at the same time, crossing the Seine on the 2nd, posted his army, with its right at Plessis-Piquet, his left at St. Cloud, and his reserve at Versailles. In this position, Commissioners were sent by the Provisional Government to Wellington, desiring a suspension of hostilities, informing him that Buonaparte had abdicated and retired from Paris. The Duke replied, that so long as the army remained in Paris there could be no suspension of hostilities, and that he had no authority to treat on any question of government. The Commissioners demanded whether the Allies would stop if Napoleon II. was proclaimed? Wellington said "No." Whether they would stop provided they chose another prince of a royal house?probably meaning the Duke of Orleans. As the Duke said he had no orders to accept any such proposals, they were useless, and he handed to them the proclamation of Louis XVIII., offering to grant constitutional liberties, and to pardon all offenders, excepting a few who had committed the most recent and aggravated treason. These were supposed to mean Ney, Labdoyre, and some others. Wellington offered, however, to remain where he was on condition that the regular troops should be sent beyond the Loire, and the town be held by the National Guard till the king's arrival. The Commissioners did not comply with this demand; and the necessity of such compliance was sufficiently shown by this army disputing the advance of the Prussians on the 2nd of July. They had resisted Blucher at St. Cloud, Meudon, and in the village of Issy. Blucher succeeded, but with considerable loss; and the next day the French made another attack to recover Issy, but without effect.

During this year Buonaparte made another attempt to recover the mastery of St. Domingo. Dessalines was now emperor, having a court full of black nobles and marshals, an exact parody of Napoleon's. A French squadron, under Admiral Lessigues, consisting of five ships of the line, two frigates, and a corvette, managed to escape the British fleets, and, on the 20th of January, to anchor in the road of St. Domingo. They had just landed a body of troops, when Sir John Duckworth made his appearance with seven sail-of-the-line and four frigates. Lessigues slipped his cables, and endeavoured to get out to sea, but the wind did not favour him; Sir John Duckworth came up with him, and, on the 6th of February, attacked and defeated him. Though Sir John had the superiority in number of vessels, the French vessels were, some of them, much larger ones; and one, the Imperial, was reckoned the largest and finest ship of their navya huge three-decker, of three thousand three hundred tons, and a hundred and thirty guns. Yet, in three hours, Sir John had captured three of the French line of battle ships; the other two ran on the rocks, and were wrecked. One of these was the gigantic Imperial. Nearly the whole of her crew perished, five hundred being killed and wounded before she struck. One of these frigates which escaped was afterwards captured by a British sloop of war in a very battered condition from a storm, in addition to the fight.