中共中央政治局召开会议 中共中央总书记习近平主持会议

[520]

Their general, Lescure, was killed, and most of their other leaders were severely wounded. Kleber triumphed over them by his weight of artillery, and they now fled to the Loire. Amongst a number of royalist nobles who had joined them from the army of the Prince of Cond on the Rhine, was Prince de Talmont, a Breton noble, formerly of vast property in Brittany, and now of much influence there. He advised them, for the present, to abandon their country, and take refuge amongst his countrymen, the Bretons. The whole of this miserable and miscellaneous population, nearly a hundred thousand in number, crowded to the edge of the Loire, impatient, from terror and despair, to cross. Behind were the smoke of burning villages and the thunder of the hostile artillery; before, was the broad Loire, divided by a low long island, also crowded with fugitives. La Roche-Jaquelein had the command of the Vendans at this trying moment; but the enemy, not having good information of their situation, did not come up till the whole wretched and famished multitude was over. On their way to Laval they were attacked both by Westermann and Lchelle; but being now joined by nearly seven thousand Bretons, they beat both those generals; and Lchelle, from mortification and terror of the guillotinenow the certain punisher of defeated generalsdied. The Vendans for a time, aided by the Bretons, appeared victorious. They had two courses open before them: one, to retire into the farthest part of Brittany, where there was a population strongly inspired by their own sentiments, having a country hilly and easy of defence, with the advantage of being open to the coast, and the assistance of the British; the other, to advance into Normandy, where they might open up communication with the English through the port of Cherbourg. They took the latter route, though their commander, La Roche-Jaquelein, was strongly opposed to it. Stofflet commanded under Jaquelein. The army marched on in great confusion, having the women and children and the waggons in the centre. They were extremely ill-informed of the condition of the towns which they approached. They might have taken Rennes and St. Malo, which would have greatly encouraged the Bretons; but they were informed that the Republican troops were overpowering there. They did not approach Cherbourg for the same cause, being told that it was well defended on the land side; they therefore proceeded by Dol and Avranches to Granville, where they arrived on the 14th of November. This place would have given them open communication with the English, and at the worst an easy escape to the Channel Islands; but they failed in their attempts to take it; and great suspicion now having seized the people that their officers only wanted to get into a seaport to desert them and escape to England, they one and all protested that they would return to the Loire. In vain did La Roche-Jaquelein demonstrate to them the fatality of such a proceeding, and how much better it would be to make themselves strong in[425] Normandy and Brittany for the present; only about a thousand men remained with him; the rest retraced their long and weary way towards the Loire, though the Republicans had now accumulated very numerous forces to bar their way. Fighting every now and then on the road, and seeing their wives and children daily drop from hunger and fatigue, they returned through Dol and Pontorson to Angers: there they were repulsed by the Republicans. They then retreated to Mons, where they again were attacked and defeated, many of their women, who had concealed themselves in the houses, being dragged out and shot down by whole platoons. At Ancenis, Stofflet managed to cross the Loire; but the Republicans got between him and his army, which, wedged in at Savenay, between the Loire, the Vilaine, and the sea, was attacked by Kleber and Westermann, and, after maintaining a desperate fight against overwhelming numbers and a terrible artillery, was literally, with the exception of a few hundred who effected their escape, cut to pieces, and the women and children all massacred by the merciless Jacobins. Carrier then proceeded to purge Nantes in the same style as Collot d'Herbois had purged Lyons.

There was no difficulty in these negotiations as to the full and entire recognition of the independence of the States. The difficult points were but twoone regarding the fishery, and the other regarding the interests of the Royalists or Tories. The British Commissioners stood out strongly for the free permission of all who had been engaged in the war on the English side to return to their homes, and for the restitution of all property confiscated in consequence of such partisanship. The American Commissioners endeavoured to meet this demand by saying the recommendations of Congress would have all the effect that the English proposed. This the Commissioners regarded as so many words, and they insisted so determinedly on this head, that it appeared likely the negotiation would be broken off altogether. At last Franklin said they would consent to allow for all losses suffered by the Royalists, on condition that a debtor and a creditor account was opened, and recompense made for the damages done by the Royalists on the other side; commissioners to be appointed for the purpose of settling all those claims. The English envoys saw at once that this was a deception, that there would be no meeting, or no use in meeting, and they therefore abandoned the point; and the question of the fishing being in part conceded, the provisional articles were signed on the 30th of November, by the four American Commissioners on the one side, and by Mr. Oswald on the other. In the preamble it was stated[298] that these articles were to be inserted in, and to constitute, a treaty of peace, but that the treaty was not to be concluded until the terms of peace had also been settled with France and Spain.

CHAPTER XXII. REIGN OF VICTORIA (continued).

Mr. Canning had been offered the Governor-Generalship of India. Before his departure, he was resolved, if possible, to make a breach in the system of Parliamentary exclusiveness. On the 29th of March he gave notice of a motion to bring in a Bill for the admission of Roman Catholic peers to seats in Parliament, and on the following day supported it by a speech of great power of argument and brilliant eloquence, illustrating his position very happily from the case of the Duke of Norfolk, and his official connection with the ceremonial of the coronation. He asked, "Did it ever occur to the representatives of Europe, when contemplating this animating spectacledid it occur to the ambassadors of Catholic Austria, of Catholic France, or of states more bigoted in matters of religionthat the moment this ceremony was over the Duke of Norfolk would become disseized of the exercise of his privileges amongst his fellow peers?that his robes of ceremony were to be laid aside and hung up until the distant (be it a very distant!) day when the coronation of a successor to his present most gracious Sovereign might again call him forth to assist at a similar solemnisation?that, after being thus exhibited to the eyes of the peers and people of England, and to the representatives of the princes and nations of the world, the Duke of Norfolkhighest in rank amongst the peersthe Lord Clifford, and others like him, representing a long line of illustrious ancestry, as if called forth and furnished for the occasion, like the lustres and banners that flamed and glittered in the scene, were to be, like them, thrown by as useless and trumpery formalities?that they might bend the knee and kiss the hand, that they might bear the train or rear the canopy, might discharge the offices assigned by Roman pride to their barbarian ancestors

[See larger version]

AGRICULTURAL LABOURERS AT THE PERIOD OF THE FIRST REFORM PARLIAMENT.

The slowness with which the Government became aware of these proceedings is something astonishing in these days of telegraphs and railroads. Though Charles sailed on the 2nd of July, it was not till the 30th of the same month that Lord Tweeddale, the Scottish Secretary of State in London, was informed even that he had left Nantes. Sir John Cope was the commander of the forces in Scotland, and he immediately gave orders for drawing[94] together such troops as he had to Stirling. These were extraordinarily few. There were two regiments of dragoons, Gardiner's and Hamilton's, but both recent in the service; and the whole force at his disposal, exclusive of garrisons, did not amount to three thousand men. Cope was eager enough to march into the Highlands, even with such forces as he had, and crush the insurrection at once. He proposed this apparently active and judicious scheme to the Lords Justices in England, George II. himself being at Hanover, and they warmly approved of it, and issued their positive orders for its execution. It was, in truth, however, the most fatal scheme which could be conceived. The spirit of rebellion was fermenting in every glen and on every hill, and to march regular troops into these rugged fastnesses was only to have them shot down by invisible marksmen on all hands, and reduced to the extremity of the two companies already captured. The plan was to have secured all the passes into the Lowlands, to have drawn his forces to the foot of the mountains wherever a descent could be made, and blockade the rebels in their own hills till they should be reduced by gradual approaches and overwhelming numbers. Famine, indeed, would soon have tamed any large body of men in those sterile regions.

[See larger version]

When the French saw that Ormonde could not induce the mercenary troops to move, they refused to surrender Dunkirk, and an English detachment which arrived there to take possession found the gates shut in their faces. At this insult the British troops burst out into a fury of indignation. The officers as well as the men were beside themselves with shame, and shed tears of mortification, remembering the glorious times under Marlborough. Ormonde himself, thus disgraced, thus helplessfor he had not the satisfaction, even, of being able to avenge himself on the French,thus deserted by the auxiliaries, and made a laughing-stock to all Europe by the crooked and base policy of his Government, retired from before the walls of Dunkirk, and directed his course towards Douay. The Dutch shut their gates against him, and he finally retired in ignominy to England.