不同的战场 同样的“检阅”

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Sir John landed in Calabria on the 1st of July, in the Gulf of Santa Euphemia, not far from Nicastro, and advanced to seek Regnier. He had not quite five thousand troops with him, all infantry, and a third of these Corsicans, Sicilians, and other foreigners in British pay. Regnier had started for Naples with ten thousand men, but some of these were lost, and others stationed to occupy different posts. On the 3rd of July Sir John Stuart learned that Regnier was near Maida, about ten miles from Sir John's landing-place. Leaving a detachment to guard the stores, Sir John, on the 4th, marched forward, under a burning sun, to come up with him. He found Regnier drawn up in a strong position on a woody slope below the village of Maida, flanked by a thick, scrubby wood on each hand, and having in front the river Amato, at this season of the year perfectly fordable. The position was formidable, and, had Regnier kept it, it must have tried the British severely to dislodge him, especially as they had no cavalry; but Regnier, probably honestly of opinion that the British need only be encountered to be beaten, descended from his vantage ground into the plain. One reason might be, that his cavalry could better avail him there; another, that, after his boasts, Lebrun, the Commissioner of Buonaparte, who always, in the old Jacobin style, had such a person in the field to watch the conduct of his generals, would be ready to condemn him if he showed any delay when engaged with so despised an enemy. The two armies approached each other about nine o'clock in the morning. They fired two or three rounds at each other, and then advanced with fixed bayonets. The officer commanding the British advance column, seeing that the men were oppressed by the blankets which they carried at their backs in that sultry weather, commanded a halt a little before they closed, and ordered them to let their blankets go. The French, seeing this momentary halt, were confirmed in their general's opinion of the cowardice of the British, and rushed on with loud cheers. They were bronzed and bearded veterans; the British, who composed the advance column, were chiefly young and beardless youths; and an officer present informed Sir Walter Scott, that, as he glanced first on the grim-looking French, and then at the smooth, young faces of the British, he could not help feeling a momentary anxiety. But no sooner were the British freed from their blankets than they dashed forward with loud hurrahs; and the French, who, since the battle of Austerlitz, had boasted that no soldiers in Europe could stand against them in a charge of bayonets, were, in their turn, staggered. Some few stood firmly to cross bayonets with the foe, but the greater part fell back. The French officers rushed along their lines to encourage their men, but in vain; nothing could urge them to the points of the British bayonets. The hills around were crowded with the Calabrians, anxious spectators of the fight. When the British halted, they raised loud exclamations of dismay, believing they were about to fly, but the next moment they saw them springing forward with shouts and the French waver, turn, and fly. The First Light Infantrya crack French regimentwere the first to break and run for the hills. But it was too late; the British were at their backs, and pursued them with a terrible slaughter. Regnier's left thus routed by our right, he rode furiously about, bringing all the force he could muster on our left, but there the result was just the same: the French scarcely stayed to feel the bayonets, but fled in headlong confusion. The British took all the forts along the coasts, and drove the French into Upper Calabria, where they were joined, near Cassano, by Massena, with a powerful army. But the British force was not strong enough to do more than it had done. Malaria also began to decimate his troops, and Sir John Stuart returned, in August, to Sicily, carrying with him a great quantity of stores and artillery, which the French had prepared for the reduction of Calabria. The chief benefit of the battle of Maida was to show that the British troops, in proper quantities, were able to drive the French before them, but that, in the small numbers usually sent on expeditions, they were merely wasted. The battle of Alexandria, and now that of Maida, demonstrated that, if Britain would continue to fight on the Continent, she must prepare to do it with a sufficient force; and the after campaigns of Portugal and Spain, and the conclusive battle of Waterloo, were the results of this public conviction. At the same time, the brilliant episode of Maida had wonderfully encouraged the Neapolitans and Calabrians. Joseph Buonaparte, the French intruded king, was once or twice on the very point of flying to the army in Upper Calabria, and many of his counsellors strongly advised it. Massena advised Joseph to remain, and assured him that he would soon reduce the whole kingdom to obedience to him. But, in fact, it took Massena and his successors five years to accomplish the subjugation, with the sacrifice of one hundred thousand men.

One of the pioneers of the science of political economy at this time was Dr. Davenant, the son of Sir William Davenant, the poet. He had no genius for drawing principles and theories from accumulated facts, but he was a diligent collector of them, and his porings amongst State documents and accounts have served essentially the historians and political economists of our day. The foreign relations of England at this period were, on the whole, satisfactoryas might be expected from the fact that our foreign policy was committed to the able management of Lord Palmerston, who, while sympathising with oppressed nationalities, acted steadily upon the principle of non-intervention. Considering, however, the comparative smallness o our naval and military forces, the formidable military powers of Russia and France created a good deal of uneasiness, which the king expressed in one of his odd impromptu speeches at Windsor. On the 19th of February there was a debate in the House of Commons on Eastern affairs, in which the vast resources and aggressive policy Of Russia were placed in a strong light. On that occasion Lord Dudley Stuart said, "Russia has 50,000,000 subjects in Europe alone, exclusive of Asia; an army of 700,000 men, and a navy of eighty line-of-battle ships and frigates, guided by the energy of a Government of unmitigated despotism, at whose absolute and unlimited disposal stand persons and property of every description. These formidable means are constantly applied to purposes of territorial aggrandisement, and every new acquisition becomes the means of gaining others. Who can tell that the Hellespont may not be subject to Russia at any moment? She has a large fleet in the Black Sea, full command of the mouths of the Danube, and of the commercial marine cities of Odessa and Trebizond. In three days she may be at Constantinople from Sebastopol; and if once there, the Dardanelles will be so fortified by Russian engineers that she can never be expelled except by a general war. She could be in entire possession of these important straits before any expedition could be sent from this country, even if such a thing could be thought of against the enormous military force at the command of Russia. That Russia is determined to have the Dardanelles is evident from the treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi, by which she began by excluding the ships of all other nations. The effect of this treaty was to exclude any ship of war from these straits, except with the permission of Russia. Russia might at any moment insist on the exclusion of our ships of war from the Dardanellesnay, she has already done so; for when Lord Durham, going on his late embassy to the Court of St. Petersburg, arrived at the Dardanelles in a frigate, he was obliged to go on board the Pluto, an armed vessel without her guns, before he could pass the straits; and when he arrived at Sebastopol no salute was fired, and the excuse given was that they did not know the Pluto from a merchant vessel. But both before and since Lord Durham went, Russian ships of war, with their guns out and their streamers flying, passed through the Black Sea to the Dardanelles, and again through[412] the Dardanelles to the Black Sea. Russia has now fifteen ships of the line and seven frigates in the Black Sea. Sebastopol is only three days' sail from the Hellespont. Turkey has no force capable of resisting such an armament; the forts of the Hellespont are incapable of defence against a land force, for they are open in the rear. Russia might any day have 100,000 men in Constantinople before England or France could even fit out expeditions to defend it." [See larger version]

At this juncture Sir Henry Pottinger succeeded Captain Elliot, with orders to bring the war to a satisfactory conclusion. His measures were prompt; Amoy fell on the 26th of August, Chusan, which had been abandoned, was recaptured in September, and the Chinese experienced further reverses in 1842. At length the Chinese saw that resistance was vain, and that they must come to terms, as the "barbarians" could not be exterminated. Full powers had been given to three Commissioners to negotiate a treaty of peace, which, after various conferences, was concluded on the 26th of August, 1842. It embraced the following stipulations:The payment by the Chinese of an indemnity of 4,375,000 in addition to the ransom of 1,250,000 already surrendered; the opening of the new ports of Canton, Amoy, Fou-chow-fou, Ning-po, and Shang-hai to British merchants, with permission to consular officers to reside there; the cession of the island of Hong Kong to the British in perpetuity; correspondence to be conducted on terms of perfect equality between the officers of both Governments; and the islands of Chusan and Ku-lang-su to be held by the British until the money payments were made, and arrangements for opening the ports were completed.

Fox had now to attempt that accommodation with Buonaparte which, he had so long contended, was by no means difficult. An opportunity was immediately offered him for opening communications with the French Government. A Frenchman, calling himself Guillet de la Gevrillire, made his way secretly into England, and solicited an interview with Fox on a matter of high importance. Fox granted it, and was indignant at discovering that it was a proposal to assassinate Napoleon. Fox ordered the man to be detained, and wrote at once to Talleyrand, informing him of the fact, and expressing his abhorrence of it. Talleyrand replied, complimenting Fox on the[517] nobleness of his principles, and expressing the admiration of the Emperor of it. "Tell him," said Buonaparte, as reported by Talleyrand, "that in this act I recognise the principles of honour and virtue in Mr. Fox;" and he added that the Emperor desired him to say, that whatever turn affairs might now take, whether this useless war, as he termed it, might be put an end to or not, he was perfectly confident that there was a new spirit in the British Cabinet, and that Fox would alone follow principles of beauty and true greatness. These empty compliments made no way towards such a negotiation as a real burst of gratitude might have introduced, especially when accompanied by such confidence as Buonaparte avowed in Fox's sentiments; and shrewd men suspected that Gevrillire had most likely been dispatched by Napoleon himself, through Fouch, to test the reality of Fox's formerly asserted indignation that Pitt, or any British Minister, could be suspected of plans of assassination against the French Emperor.