« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Whether they will be deterred from this by the communications since made to them, and by the knowledge of our force being actually at their doors, remains to be seen.
I did not send you the account of the failure of all our hopes, from Lord Howe. I was not in town; and if I had been, I do not know whether I was not too much vexed to write. He is still off Ushant; so that the idea of sending out the second fleet is, for the moment, at least, out of the question. Some of those ships are, as you know, destined for other services; and the whole, without Lord Howe, would not be strong enough to meet the Brest fleet; and with him, would be much too strong.
The business of St. Domingo is highly important. The possession of the Mole, though not beyond what we had looked to, is much beyond my hopes. Dansey's letter to Williamson expresses much confidence of maintaining himself there, with such a force, as I trust, by this time, and long before, he actually has there.
Ever most affectionately yours,
At the close of the year France was stronger than at the commencement. The destruction of her navy at Toulon was the principal reverse she suffered. On the other side the allies had encountered defeat at almost every point ; the Prussians compelled to retreat to Mentz, the Imperialists driven beyond the Rhine, and the English forced to raise the siege of Dunkirk. The enthusiasm of the masses, sustained by these successes, and acted upon by the popular appeals of the Jacobins, placed at the disposal of the Republic an enormous physical force, which the whole winter was occupied in augmenting and organizing for the campaigns of the ensuing year.
PREPARATIONS IN ENGLAND FOR THE PROSECUTION OF THE WAR--INACTIVITY
OF THE AUSTRIANŞ—LORD SPENCER AND MR. THOMAS GRENVILLE SENT ON A MISSION TO VIENNA-HOSTILE RESOLUTIONS OF THE OPPOSITIONSEVERAL OF THE LEADING WHIGS JOIN THE ADMINISTRATION-LORD CORNWALLIS APPOINTED TO THE COMMAND ON THE CONTINENT-PROGRESS OF THE NEGOTIATIONS-LORD FITZWILLIAM NOMINATED TO THE LORD-LIEUTENANCY OF IRELAND--HIS CONDUCT ON THAT OCCASION.
PARLIAMENT was convened on the 21st of January, 1794 ; and the Speech from the Throne expressed a sanguine hope on the part of His Majesty that the resources of France would be speedily exhausted. There was certainly little in the operations of the last year upon which the country could be congratulated; and the only remaining encouragement that could be held out was in reference to the future. The prodigious exertions of the Republic undoubtedly justified the expectation, that she could not long continue to meet the increasing demands which the extension of the war was making upon her means and energies ; but it was difficult, in the heat and excitement of the conflict, to form an adequate estimate of the devotion with which the French
were prepared to follow up their successes. A series of fortunate incidents and some brilliant achievements had inflamed the national vanity to such a height of exultation as to produce a perfect military mania in all parts of the country; and when Mr. Pitt, in the course of the opening debate, declared that “France had been converted into an armed nation,”—an expression that elicited much criticism at the time—he described accurately the exact state of the people, and the lengths they were prepared to go in the assertion of the principles they had baptized in the blood of the Sovereign.
There were not wanting persons in England who sympathized with the republicans of France, and regarded their martial spirit with something of the admiration which the impassioned and the thoughtless bestow upon gallantry and heroism. But the bulk of the nation entertained a different opinion, and viewed with alarm and detestation the sanguinary excesses by which the war was initiated and sustained. While the former class, few in number, and confined chiefly to the lowest dregs of the population, continued to give occupation to the Government at home, the latter were ready to make any sacrifices the exigency of circumstances required to support the policy of the Government abroad.
Parliament unanimously voted an augmentation of eighty-five thousand men to the navy, and sixty thousand to the army. Ample preparations in other respects were made for the approaching operations ; and, amongst the extraordinary measures resorted to, arrangements were made for augmenting the Militia, and raising voluntary subscriptions for the maintenance of the war. The spirit of the country was awakened to the defence of those constitutional principles which presented the surest safeguard for the public liberties; and the delusions which at first had seized upon the factious and discontented rapidly vanished as the war advanced. Success alone was wanted to confirm the confidence of the people; but as yet the genius and headlong valour of France was in the ascendant, and the solid endurance of England was doomed to a long and harassing term of fluctuating fortunes.
The Correspondence traces some of the principal events of the year; and maps out in advance the plans and difficulties of Ministers, by which we are admitted, so to speak, to the deliberations of the Cabinet upon nearly every fresh exigency that arose in the course of the campaigns.
MR. T. GRENVILLE TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
Charles Street, Jan. 1st, 1794. MY DEAR BROTHER,
I had no sooner received your letter, than I communicated it to Lord Grenville; and desired him to write to you as soon as he could. It gives me great pain to see, by the language of it, how very much your mind is oppressed and disturbed in the impression under which you write. Of the proposition which you suggest, it certainly does not in any shape become me to offer any opinion ; I am precluded from doing so, both by the magnitude of the question, and by its being of a nature upon which I cannot have either the pretence or the means of exercising any judgment; and I so expressed myself to Lord
Grenville, when I read your letter to him ; all that, on my part, can be for me to do is, what I am sure you will believe is the honest feeling of my mind, to express to you the anxious and earnest wish of my heart, that all disquietude and uneasiness may vanish from your mind; and that you may heartily and happily continue to co-operate with Lord Grenville and Pitt, at a time when the greatest interests which this country ever knew seem to me to be at stake. For myself, you know that I am but a private man, and have no other concern in these great public questions, than that sense of common danger and common interest, which ought, I think, to produce but one common voice in the country. Mr. Wilberforce, you see, thinks otherwise, but does not change my opinion by having changed his.
I am much obliged to you for the naval letter, which the post of to-day brings me from Stowe; I will make the use of it which you allow me to do, and will then return it to you. I hope Dr. Pegge will find Lady B. better. I take for granted we shall soon meet here. I hear no news.
God bless you, my dear brother.
P.S.-As soon as I heard from you to-day (which was very late, as I had gone out before the post came in), I sent to Lord G., to tell him that if he wrote to-day, he must direct to Stowe.
LORD GRENVILLE TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
St. James's Square, Jan. 30th, 1794. MY DEAREST BROTHER,
I believe Pitt's budget is finished, as it is to be opened on Wednesday. I have, however, sent him your project ; though I do not conceive favourably of it, as the object appears so