H́nh ảnh trang

excited them to take up arms; unwillingly to act aggreffively, in fo dubious a cafe, he propofed a negotiation for peace; but his offers were rejected. He now faw himfelf conftrained either to make a retreat, or to engage an enemy, whofe ftrength was double to his own: confiding, however, in the bravery and experience of his people, he refolved not only to ftand his ground, but to proceed to an immediate attack. The pofition of the Indians, and their auxiliaries, was ftrong and well chofen, and they did not imagine that he would venture to affail them with an inferior force: this he did, however, with fuch impetuofity, and fo much julgement, that they were entirely defeated, and forced to difperfe in

feveral directions.

So complete a fuccefs, obtained under the guns of a British fort, occafioned its commanding-officer to expoftulate with the American ge neral, for having made fo near an approach, and to warn him against any act of hoftility; as no war exifted between Great Britain and the United States. The general replied that he had of right expelled an enemy from the territory of the ftates; but that an act of hoftility had been committed by the British troops, in re-occupying the fort of which they were in poffeffion, as it food confeffedly on ground belonging to the ftates; he required him,

for that reafon, to evacuate it, and retire within the British boundaries. The anfwer to this, which was no other than a fummons to furrender the fort, purported, that being commiffioned to occupy it, by fuperior authority, he could not deliver it up; expreffing, at the fame time,, his hope of an amicable fettlement of the matter, by their respective governments.

Such was the fubftance of the letters that paffed, on this occafion, be tween major Campbell, commander in the fort, and general Wayne. The latter was too prudent to infift on a compliance with his requifition from the British officer, which might have produced confequences of a very fatal nature; he therefore withdrew, leaving the,

termination of this difference to a more friendly mode of decifion. It was, however, fhrewdly fufpected, from a variety of circumstances, that inimical defigns were in agitation; if not by the immediate direction of the British administration, still through the interference of its agents among the Indian tribes. Much was faid and written on this fubject, by the American miniftry, and the British refident; but it was not finally fettled till the next year, when a formal embafly was fent, from America to Great Britain, for that purpofe, as well as others of equal importance.





Succeffes of the Arms of France in every Part of Europe.-Moft of the Powers, engaged in the Coalition, alarmed at the Backwardness of their People to push the War for the Restoration of the French Monarchy.-General Partiality of the inferior Ranks, in all Nations, to the French Republic.— Different Sentiments entertained of the French Republic, by different Powers of Europe. And of the necessary political Balance.—Treaties between the French Republic and feveral Members of the Confederacy.-Meeting of the British Parliament.Speech from the Throne, recommending a vigourous Profecution of the War.-Addreffes, in Anficer, from both Houfes.Debates thereon-Motion, by Mr. Sheridan, tending to the Repeal of the Sufpenfion of the Habeas Corpus.-Negatived.-Motion, by Mr. Wilberforce, for negotiating a Peace with France.--Negatived.-Motion for a Repeal of the Act fufpending that of Habeas Corpus.-Negatived.-Motion for continuing the Sufpenfion-Act.-Carried in both Houses.

HE conclufion of the year 1794,

year 1795, were marked by the fplendour attending the arms of France, in every part of Europe, and the dejection with which their fuc ceffes had imprefled most of the powers engaged in the coalition. Exclufively of their continual defeats in the field, they had other motives to grieve them, of a nature diftreffing in proportion to their unwillingness to avow them; thefe were the backwardnefs of their own people in feconding their views, and the manifeft averfion they openly exprefled to a war, which they confidered as undertaken merely to compel France to revert to a monarchical government. Herein the multitude could not perceive in what manner they were interested; their feelings led them to condemn an attempt from which they had

hitherto derived nothing but loffes

at home. Hence, in the anguish of their hearts, they were not fparing of cenfure on the conduct of their rulers; and looked upon themselves as victims devoted to their ambition, which could not brook that any portion of mankind fhould live under any other government than that of fellow-monarchs. Full of this idea, the inferior ranks, throughout all Europe, reprobated the coalition against the French republic, and flyled it the war of kings against the people.

This idea was propagated by the French, with indefatigable induftry, in every kingdom, and had, at this period, gained them prodigions numbers of well-withers; nor were the lower claffes alone under its influence: a large proportion of the more decent and reputable people


were not averse to those maxims of liberty, both in political and religious matters, which the French inculcated with fo much zeal, and fupported with fo much valour and fuccefs: they were fecretly pleafed at the ineffectual efforts of the coalefced powers to overturn the republic, and acknowledged their good wifhes to it as far as they durft.

This partial difpofition to France was too visible, in moft of the European monarchies, to remain concealed from the heads of the ftate; but it was a difcovery which prudence forbade them to promulgate: they were confcious that this partiality was produced by the fenfe that men entertained of the wrongs and oppreffions they endured, through the mifconduct and iniquis tous government of their rulers; but they carefully abftained from the manifestation of fuch confcioufnefs, and, in their addreffes to the public, always expreffed themselves as if perfectly fatisfied of its attachment and entire approbation of their meafures. By thus diffembling their own fentiments, they prevented, in a great meafure, thofe of others from being propagated through thofe extenfive communications that always take place between individuals, whenever complaints and proclamations are iffued by government, against those who are obnoxious to


From caufes of this nature proceeded, at this time, much of the difcouragement that appeared in the enemies of the French republic. But, without adverting to fuch motives, there was a fufficiency of realons to be alarmed at the continual victories and conquefts of the French, and the rapid progrefs of their opinions. Their fituation,

though agitated at home, was triumphant abroad. Notwithstanding that they were profeffedly foes to kings, yet, in the opinion of found politicians, they were esteemed too judicious to carry this enmity beyond mere fpeculation, whenever their evident interest should require them to contradict that theory by a contrary practice. Thus it was, that a mutual good understanding first took place between them and Pruffia, as it already fubfifted between them and the two northern courts of Sweden and Denmark; which, inftead of joining the coalition against them, obftinately perfifted in a friendly neutrality, and even united together to maintain it, and to require a compenfation for the damages done to their commerce, in violation of the treaties on which their commercial rights were founded.

These transactions evinced, at the fame time, that all the European powers did not coincide in their ideas of the French government. Their nearest neighbours were, doubtlefs, fo deeply interested in the diminution of their over-grown power, that it was not furprising they fhould ftrain every nerve to effect it; but thofe at a diftance were no lefs interefted in preventing the depreffion of France, without the weight of which, the political balance of Europe was no lefs in danger of being deftroyed, than by its retention of the im moderate power it had now at tained.

Ideas of this kind operated more effectually in favour of France, than many have feemed to perceive, or thought proper to acknowledge; they prepared the way to thofe treaties which the French found [L2]


means to conclude, in the course of 1795, with fome of the moft confiderable members of the confederacy; whofe dereliction of it, at the beginning of the preceding year, was not even fufpected, and the apprehenfion of which would have appeared chimerical.

It was in the midft of the triumphs of France over all its enemies, and while the potentates of Europe were beginning to hefitate concerning the meatures proper to be pursued, that the parliament of Great Britain, refumed its annual feffions: they were opened by the king on the thirteenth day of December; the royal fpeech infifted on the neceflity of a vigorous continuation of the war, and on the rapid decline of the refources of France. Holland, terrified at the dangers that threatened it, had fought to obviate them by negotiation for peace with the French government; but this was not to be confided in, and its enmity to Great Britain, in particular, rendered every attempt at a reconciliation difgraceful and impracticable: the most effectual means had, therefore, been ufed for the augmenta tion of the national force; and the operations of the next campaigus would be concerted with due care, in conjunction with thofe powers that were convinced of the neceffity of acting with the utmoft vigour. The acceptance of the crown of Corfica was mentioned, together with the treaty of amity and commerce with America, and the marriage of the prince of Wales with the princels of Brunfwic. The commons were exhorted to make An ample and timely provifion for the public fervice; the flourishing fate of commerce, credit, and pub He refources, was ftrongly alierted;

and the profpeft held out, that, by relation and perfeverance, fecu rity would be obtained at home, and Europe delivered from the dangers to which it was exposed.

In the houfe of lords, the addre's was moved by lord Camden, and feconded by lord Befborough: they warmly infifted on the profecution of the war, and that the illfuccefs of the laft campaign rendered negotiations for peace unfeafonable, as the enemy would require conceffions too difhonourable to he granted. The fituation of France, compared to that of England, was far more critical, from its deftitution of the many refources remaining to this country. Never had the ftrength of Great Britain been fo powerfully exerted; the revenue was particularly flourishing, and the forces by land and fea had at no period displayed a more formi dable appearance.

They were oppofed by the earl of Guildford, who, in ftrong terms, reprobated the continuance of the war, and alleged its impolicy, from the inceffant difafters it produced to the country, which was in a much worfe fituation than when it commenced. The object, proposed by minifters, was as diftant as at that time; and the allies, who were to affift in its accomplishment, acted as if they rather permitted than wanted the aid of this country. Our engagements tied us to them more than them to us, and were framed for the purposes of their ambition. Holland had been facrificed to it, and, without a peace, was utterly undone; France, it was clear, could neither be conquered nor dictated to by the confederacy; to reprefent that country as labouring under heavier calamities than England,


was no encouragement to proceed in a war that had proved fo ruinous. The miniftry had been equally improvident and unfkilful in the directing of military operations, and is the framing of treaties. Their reign politics were marked by in confiderate prodigality, and their domeftic proceedings by unconftitational rigour. Immenfe fubfidies. had been trufted, for inftance, to the king of Pruffia, which he applied to the deftruction of the liberty and independence of Poland, And alarms had been raised at home, in confequence of which, perfonal freedom was at an end. The earl concluded by recommending peace, without fuffering the French fyftem of government to ftand as an obftacle, and made a motion to that purpose, as an amendment to the addrefs

He was fupported by the earl of Derby, who, in anfwer to the earls of Morton and Kinnoul, who fpoke against the earl of Guildford, went over a variety of thofe arguments fo frequently adduced against the minifterial measures. He touched particularly upon the bufinefs of Corfica; the poffeffion of which, he faid, would be productive of more expence than utility. He complained of the enormous bounties given to recruits, amounting to twenty-five guineas a man, a price far beyond the competency of the country's finances at the prefent day, when, if not entirely exhaufted, they were alarmingly diminished. The navy, he allo complained, was facrificed to the army; the fupplies of men for wich, prevented the manuing of the navy with its fual proportion of ne-third of landfmen. He ended ading a change of minifters, as

[ocr errors]

France would not treat with the prefent.

mended a fpirited profecution of the Lord Spencer, in reply, recomwar; ftating that the navy would, in the following fpring, affume the moft formidable appearance ever known. He maintained the great ufe of Corfica, were it only for the reception it afforded to the British fleet, in the proximity of the many harbours occupied by the enemies to this country.

won, towns taken, and the other A recapitulation of the victories advantages obtained, by the French, marquis of Lanfdowne, with his was laid before the houfe, by the ufual accuracy.

veighed against the continuance of He warmly inthe war; cfpecially fince the ap proach of the French to Holland, their hands, now that the rivers which would inevitably fall into were, through the intensenefs of the froft, become paffable every where. He noticed that Germany was inclinable to peace; Pruffia, in particular, could not be deemed a real enemy to France, while Auftria, the great rival to both, had an exiftence. National credit, the marquis obferved, had long food its ground; fo it had in France, under at laft. This was an admonition the former government, but failed not to be flighted. It was, in the petency of the French government mean time, abfurd to deny the comto form treaties. In the fluctuation and uncertainty of its internal fituation, it had not violated its engagements with foreign flates. Advert ing to Corfica, he cited Volney and Neckar in proof of its little value. His opinion was, that the French government would refute to treat [L3]



« TrướcTiếp tục »