L'univers t'abandonne"

Early in February he commenced his operations, and carried them forward with a vigour most extraordinary. He drove Soult from all his entrenchments before Bayonne, and again on the 27th he routed him at Orthez and pursued him to the banks of the Adour. This was a sharply contested field, the British having nearly three hundred killed and two thousand wounded; but the loss of the French was far heavier, for they flung down their arms and ran, and there was a great slaughter of the fugitives. The towns of Bayonne and Bordeaux being now left uncovered by the French, Wellington sent bodies of troops to invest them. Bordeaux opened its gates on March 8th, and proclaimed Louis XVIII. Lord Wellington had issued orders that the British should take no part in any political demonstrations, but should leave all such decisions to the Allies, who would settle by treaty what dynasty should reign. He himself followed Soult to Tarbes, where he expected that he would give battle; but Soult was anxious for the arrival and junction of Suchet, who was advancing from Spain with upwards of twenty thousand men. Soult, therefore, retreated to Toulouse, which he reached on the 24th of March.


Such was Massena's situation, so early as the commencement of Novemberhaving to maintain his army in a country reduced to a foodless desert by the art of his masterly antagonist, and, instead of being able to drive the British before him, finding them menacing him on all sides, so that he dispatched General Foy to make his way with a strong escort to Ciudad Rodrigo, and thence to proceed with all speed to Paris, to explain to the Emperor the real state of affairs. The state was that the whole of Portugal, except the very ground on which Massena was encamped, was in possession of the British and the Portuguese. There was no possibility of approaching Lisbon without forcing these lines at Torres Vedras, and that, if done at all, must be at the cost of as large an army as he possessed altogether. All the rest of PortugalOporto, Coimbra, Abrantesand all the forts except Almeida were in the hands of the enemy. As to the destitution of Massena's army, we have the description from his own statements in letters to Napoleon, which were intercepted. From this information, Lord Wellington wrote in his dispatches: "It is impossible to describe the pecuniary and other distresses of the French army in the Peninsula. All the troops are months in arrears of pay; they are, in general, very badly clothed; they want horses, carriages, and equipments of every description; their troops subsist solely upon plunder; they receive no money, or scarcely any, from France, and they realise but little from their pecuniary contributions from Spain. Indeed, I have lately discovered that the expense of the pay and the hospitals alone of the French army in the Peninsula amounts to more than the sum stated in the financial expos as the whole expense of the entire French army."

TALLEYRAND. (After the Portrait by Gerard.)

One of the first things which the Regent did was to re-appoint the Duke of York to the post of Commander-in-chief of the Forces. Old Sir David Dundas, as thoroughly aware of his unfitness for the office as the army itself was, had requested leave to retire, and on the 25th of May the appointment of the duke was gazetted. There was a considerable expression of disapproval in the House of Commons of this measure. Lord Milton moved that it was highly improper and indecorous, and he was supported by Lord Althorp, Mr. Wynn, Mr. Elliot, Mr. Whitbread, and others; but the facts which had come to light through Mrs. Clarke's trials, both regarding her and her champion, Colonel Wardle, had mitigated the public feeling towards the duke so far, that the motion was rejected by a majority of two hundred and ninety-six against forty-seven. It is certain that the change from the duke to Sir David Dundas, so far as the affairs of the army were concerned, was much for the worse. The duke was highly popular in that office with the soldiers, and he rendered himself more so by immediately establishing regimental schools for their children on Dr. Bell's system.

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The Marquis Wellesley was sent over to Ireland by Lord Liverpool in order to govern Ireland upon this principle; and he might have succeeded better if he had not been checked by Mr. Goulburn, the Chief Secretary, distinguished by his hostility to Catholic Emancipation, who was appointed "viceroy over him." In a letter which the Marquis wrote to the Duke of Buckingham (June 14th, 1824) he refers to some of the difficulties with which he had to contend in carrying out an impartial policy between the extreme parties, which were then very violent. His labours, however, in enforcing respect for the law and effecting improvements were not altogether in vain. "The situation of Ireland," he writes, "although very unsatisfactory, is certainly much improved, and foundations of greater improvement have been firmly laid. The committees of Parliament have done much good; and, if vigorously and fairly pursued, may effect a permanent settlement of this distracted country. The present violent collision of the two ultra parties, or rather factions, Orange and Papist, is a crisis of the disorder which was necessary to their mutual dissolution, an event which I think is fast approaching, and which must be the preliminary of any settlement of peace."

Sir Hercules Langrishe " " 45,000

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 spirit of Choiseul having departed from the French administration, and the king having so unequivocally expressed his intention not to go to war, the Spanish Court hastened to lower its tone and offer conciliatory terms. In December they had proposed, through Prince de Masserano, to disavow the expedition of Buccarelli, if the English Court would disown the menaces of Captain Hunt. This was promptly refused, and orders were sent to Mr. Harris to quit the capital of Spain. He set out in January, 1771, but was speedily recalled; the expedition of Buccarelli was disavowed; the settlement of Port Egmont was conceded, whilst the main question as to the right of either party to the Falklands at large was left to future discussion. So little value, however, did Britain attach to the Falkland Isles, that it abandoned them voluntarily two years afterwards. For many years they were forsaken by both nations; but in 1826 the Republic of Buenos Ayres adopted them as a penal colony, and in 1833 the British finally took possession of them.