Page images
PDF
EPUB

army, which, five years before, during the night. At Toulouse amid the menacing host of the Wellington learnt the abdication of enemy and the ill-boding omens Napoleon and the proclamation of of its friends, had maintained a Louis XVIII. precarious footing on the crags of This was the last victory of the Portugal, now bivouacked in un Peninsular war, which had been becontested triumph on the soil of gun with so much fear, and carried France;" and it may be added that on under the greatest difficulties, the same general, who, in 1809, with a force at all times numerihad chased a British army from cally inferior to the enemy, and Madrid to the western sea, now composed of troops of three nations, vielded the frontier provinces of in the greatest part of whom Welhis native land to the same na- lington placed little confidence, tion.

arraved against the flower of Great changes had come over the French army, commanded by Europe during the last year. Whilst its most celebrated marsbals. Wellington had broken into France, Against these Wellington had at Napoleon had been driven back first acted on the defensive, until, upon the Rhine with one-fifth of seeing the impossibility of the the great army he had advanced enemy concentrating, for any length upon the Elbe, and in conseqnence, of time, such large forces as they the whole of the princes of Europe had at their command, he with bis had entered into a grand alliance to compact army attacked their secrush him.

vered battalions. Victory followed Wellington opened the memo on victory, until he drove them rable campaign of 1814, by block- from the country in which he had ading Bayonne, and advancing with but six years before landed genehis whole force against Soult on the rał of “an expedition” in aid of Adour ; he defeated him with allies, and quitted the greatest commuch loss at Orthez, on the 27th mander, and with the highest hoof February, and crossed the Adour nours Europe could bestow upon on the 1st of March. On the 12th him. The Prince Regent made Bordeaux declared for the Bour- him a duke (3rd of May), Parbons. Wellington continued to liament voted him 400,0001., and press hard upon Soult, who con- each of the European sovereigns tested every available point, until bestowed upon him the insignia of arriving before Toulouse, on the their highest orders, and the great24th of March, having concentrated est military rank. his army, and with the Garonne But Wellington's duties were not between him and his enemy, he yet over. Although actively emdetermined to await the coming ployed in the Peninsula, be bad struggle.

not been unmindful of the general On the 27th Wellington came affairs of Europe; accordingly, up with him, but owing to the con- when Lord Castlereagh repaired to tinued rains, did not cross the river Paris, as representative of Great until the 9th of April; on the 10th Britain, at the Congress of the the battle was fought, and after the Great Alliance, he advised the most obstinate resistance, the French Prince Regent to appoint Welling. Marshal was forced to withdraw ton ambassador to the Court of into the town, which he evacuated France. He arrived at Paris on

the 4th of Mav; but he was thence at Vienna, to assist as representarecalled to Madrid to reconcile the tive of Great Britain, at the genecontending factions that already ral Congress which met in that threatened King Ferdinand, and to city to adjust the territorial arsettle the commercial interests of rangements of Europe. So far as Great Britain between Spain and England was concerned, her

repreher colonies in the west. On the sentative had an easy task ; she 10th of June, he returned to his had nothing to ask, nothing to forarmy at Bordeaux, and on the 14th give; England readily, far too reatook leave of them at Toulouse, dily, gave up hier superb colonial thanking them "for bringing the conquests, and surrendered enorwar to such an honourable termi mous claims for re-imbursement. nation, for their gallantry and spi- She asked, in return for all her rit in the field, and regularity and sacrifices, but freedom of commerce good conduct in the camp, and that and the suppression of the slavethey quitted the country with a trade-as great a boon to the reputation that would be lasting.” granters as to the askers. The The infantry embarked at Bor- former of these claims was grantdeaux, the cavalry marched through ed. The jealousies and contendFrance to embark at Calais for ing interests of the continental their own shores. Some of these States bad well-nigh broken out brave fellows he was yet to lead into a war, when, suddenly, on the again into the field; but the greater 7th of March, the members of the part were destined to perish from Congress received the stunning in. pestilence and fever on the other telligence of the escape of Buonaside of the Atlantic,

parte from Elba. In April the On the 23rd of June, the Duke Emperor was in full possession of of Wellington arrived in England, his imperial power, surrounded by and hastened to pay his respects his veterans and his tried Imperial to his Sovereign and the allied Guard. Princes then assembled at Ports The energy

of the English remouth. On the 28th he took his presentatives and of the Emperor place in the House of Peers for of Russia, imparted life to the the first time, when the patents for European sovereigns; it was rehis successive creations of viscount, solved that the contest was one of earl, marquess, and duke were read life or death ; all jealousies were together, à circumstance unparal- stilled before the storm; and it was leled in history, and all won in unanimously determined to march five years by achievements of the the whole forces of combined Europe greatest renown.

On this occa

on Paris, and to put a final end to sion the House of Lords presented the restless ambition of the French. to him their thanks and congratu The Duke of Wellington was lations. On the 1st of July he appointed to the command of the received the public thanks of the British forces on the Continent, Commons of England, by the and joined the army at Brussels, mouth of their Speaker.

on the 11th of April. But of all His anxiety to resume his duties the national armaments which were as ambassador, forced him to leave to take part in the contest, the London in August.

Prussians alone were ready for acIn February, 1815, he arrived tion, when, on the 14th of Junc,

was

on

Napoleon, with 150.000 men, tier. This was the most critical,

the frontier of Bel. the most hard-fought, and the most gium, threatening Wellington with decisive of the battles of the great 74,000, of whom 33,000 alone were Revolutionary War; and it was the British, and few of them those who last. The results secured the great had fought under bim in the Pe. object of the renewal of the war, ninsula, and Blucher who had a general and permanent peace. about the same number at Ligny. Of the conduct of either army in Napoleon's plan of the campaign this terrible battle much has been was boldly conceived; it was to said ; unquestionably both exbibited throw himself on the right wing of the most heroic courage. The Blucher's army, and having de- French, the veterans of a hundred feated him and separated his army battles, fought with the impetuosity from the English, to throw himself of their nation, under a leader who with his full force on Wellington. had conquered nearly all Europe, He conceived that the Prussians and who had but two days before would be easily defeated, and would wiped out the stain on the French never rally; and that, Wellington arms by a splendid victory; and once disposed of, he had little more with desperation, for they knew that to fear.

the fortunes of France and their own He accordingly attacked Blucher safety depended on that one day. on the 16th, at Ligny, occupying The English stood their attacks the British by a fierce attack, con with unflinching resolution. The ducted by Ney, at Quatre Bras. knowledge of six years of victory The English were victorious and over their antagonists gave security kept their ground; the Prussians to every bosum ; their general had were beaten and retreated; on which been invincible in every field ; they Wellington so retired his army to stood rooted to the ground, nothing the memorable field of Waterloo, could shake that astonishing infanthat the allies, far from being se try; at length the moment for parated, were in better communi- action arrived, the men closed their cation than before.

ranks, and with firm step and flashOn the 18th of June, at Water- ing eyes swept over the field and loo, Napoleon measured himself rested not until the last living 'with Wellington, for the first, and, Frenchman was driven from the happily for the peace of Europe, ground. To the general the vicfor tlie last time. England's com tory must have seemed-as it mander and England's troops did seemed to the world—the crown of their duty. The conflict was long fame. For six years he bad enand stern; the glory dearly bought. countered in succession the most By eight o'clock in the after- 'famous champions of France, and noon the French. were repulsed, had overthrown or foiled them. and broken in every part of the Finally, he encountered in a pitched line; and Blucher having come up field the greatest conqueror that and gained the right flank of the modern times have known— the French, Wellington advanced his victor of victors—and had given whole army

and swept the broken him an overthrow so decisive that French from the field. The Prus- neither he nor his people attempted sians took up the pursuit, and further resistance. chased the fugitives across the fron. Of all Wellington's victories none

army.

were so decisive on the field as this attempted in Paris, but providenat Waterloo. At Salamanca, al. tially preserved. though the French were dispersed, In November, 1818, he quitted yet they rapidly re-organised.

re organised. Paris to represent England at the At Vittoria, although all the ma Congress at Aix-la-Chapelle. Upon tériel and artillery fell into the this occasion, he took a final leave hands of the English, yet the of the armies in a manly Order of flower of the army escaped to re the Day. After thanking the troops new the contest in the Pyrenees. for their good conduct, bis Grace At Waterloo, the whole of the proceeds :-—“ It is with regret that artillery was abandoned, the ca. The General has seen the moment valry was totally dispersed, and the arrive when the dissolution of this redoubtable Guard broken, de army is to put an end to his feated, and well-nigh cut to pieces. public connections and his private As a military power, the empire of relations with the commanders and Napoleon was destroyed on that other officers of the corps of the field,

The Field Marshal deeply The Anglo-Prussian army, hav- feels how agreeable these relations ing driven the French from Flan- have been to him. He begs the ders, marched with little resistance Generals commanding in chief to to Paris. On the 3rd of July Paris receive and make known to the capitulated, and on the 7th the troops under their orders, the assuBritish and Prussian troops occu

rance that he shall never cease to pied it; and on the 8th Louis take the most lively interest in XVIII. returned.

everything that may concern them ; The following year was occupied and that the remembrance of the by arranging the conditions for the three years, during which he lias general settlement of Europe, in had the honour to be at their head, which the Duke of Wellington, will be always dear to bim." who, on the 22nd of October, had With the withdrawal of the army been made commander-in-chief of of occupation from France, the the army of occupation, was the Duke's military career, at least as most prominent actor. It was a a commander in the field, finally critical position for him to occupy;

closed. Henceforward we enter for, against the voice of all the upon an entirely new phase of his other allies, he insisted and pre- prolonged and illustrious life. To vailed that the occupation of Paris science of government, his should only be temporary : that no Grace, as we have already seen, military contribution should be le was no stranger.

His able admivied, nor the monuments of the nistration of the Mysore territory, empire be destroyed.

his subsequent experience of home After the execution of Marshal affairs as Chief Secretary for IreNey, Wellington was bitterly as land, and his clear-sighted and sailed as having been instrumental energetic views of national policy to his death, because he did not in the civil transactions of Spain intrude in his behalf: but tlie Duke and Portugal, lad denoted him a had no power by the convention, man no less fitted to play an imas is admitted by his assailants portant part in government in themselves, to interfere. A short times of peace, than his unintertime after this his life was twice rupted success in arms had prored

his military genius. His conduct measures he opposed have passed of the interests of Great Britain into institutions of the land, that in the congresses of the Sovereigns, many to which he gave a most rehad now placed him on an equality luctant consent, are now acknowwith the most celebrated statesmen ledged to be the land-marks of our of Europe in respect of the grand progress ; but to these, not less principles which regulate the co than 10 those to which he was a mity of nations. Henceforward direct party, it seems bevond doubt we have to consider him as a poli- that his clear mind and firmness of tician and statesman. And if in purpose, and, above all, the weight the long course of thirty-five years, of his character, bare given a during wbich he took a prominent marked impress and direction ; and frequently a leading part in the that whether in office or in oppoaffairs of the British Empire, there sition, he was a power in the State, are no such brilliant successes as whose influence was always felt marked his military service, it is and acknowledged. rather because the nature of poli His Grace became a member of tical measures and combinations do Lord Liverpool's Administration not admit of the same unmistake as Master General of the Ordnance, able marks of progress, or the same to which office he was appointed on appropriation to the individual, the 1st of January, 1819. When, than that large intelligence, clear on the death of George the Third, views, and rapid action were want the Prince Regent became King, ing to the man. Napoleon has no change was made in the compopointed out that the civil capaci- sition of the Cabinet. The first reties are more important elements markable occurrence of tlie new of success in a great commander reign was the absurd but atrocious than those which are merely mili- plot called “ The Cato-street Coiitary; and of this his own marvel- spiracy.” The design of this gang lous career is a most prominent was to commence their revolutionary example. In estimating the civil proceedings by the massacre of all services of the Duke of Welling- the Ministers, at a dinner at Lord ton, we shall form the most just Harrowby's, at which the Duke of appreciation of his influence upon Wellington was to have been prethe affairs of this country, if we sent. This desperate plan was beconsider the numerous

trayed almost at the moment of which he proposed or sanctioned explosion. At this period disconor withstood, the general result of tent largely prevailed among the Parliamentary action on our con lower classes, which manifested dition and progress, and itself in numerous outrages and pare the actual state of the Bri- meetings under various pretexts. tish dominions at the commence An unhappy dissension which prement of that chequered period, vailed in the Royal Family, and with its condition and prospects which necessarily came to a crisis when his Grace sank into the grave by the accession of the King to the oppressed with the weight of years, throne, gave a general direction to but undimmed in clearness of in this effervescence, divided the tellect, and undiminished in the whole country into two hostile faclove and veneration of his country. tions, gave a new watchiword to men. It is true that many of the political parties; and by engaging

measures

com

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »