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During this momentous struggle, Russia was munificently supported by Great Britain. The peace which Mr. Canning, afterwards Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, our ambassador at Constantinople, had been the means of effecting between Turkey and Russia, released Admiral Tchitchagoff and his army of thirty thousand men to march against Buonaparte; and had not that stupid personage suffered himself to be so grossly deceived by the French Emperor at the Beresina, neither Buonaparte nor a man of his army had ever got across that river. At the same time peace was made with Russia by Great Britain, and Russia sent her fleet, for security, to an English port during the invasion. Peace also was ratified between Great Britain and Sweden; and Bernadotte was at liberty to pursue his plans for aiding in the general movement of the North for the final extinction of the Buonaparte rule. Great Britain also bountifully supplied the Russians with money and arms, and other necessaries, so that a French officer who accompanied General Lauriston to the headquarters of the Russian army was astonished to find abundance of British money circulating and in the highest esteem, though Buonaparte had represented Great Britain as on the verge of bankruptcy. "When I saw British bank-notes passing," he said, "as if they were gold, I trembled for our daring enterprise."

On the return of Wellington to the north, Beresford strictly blockaded Badajoz, and made all the preparations that he could for taking it by storm. But he was almost wholly destitute of tools for throwing up entrenchments, and of men who understood the business of sapping and mining. He was equally short of artillery, and the breaching-guns which he had, had no proper balls. The howitzers were too small for his shells, and he had few, if any, well-skilled officers of artillery. Besides this, the ground was very rocky, and the enemy, owing to their slow progress in the works, were able to make repeated sorties, so that they had killed four or five hundred of our men. In this situation, on the 12th of May, Beresford received the intelligence that Soult was advancing against him with nearly thirty thousand infantry and four thousand horse. Soult had been set at liberty to leave Seville by the conclusion of Graham's and Lape?a's expedition, and he had received reinforcements both from Sebastiani and from Madrid. Beresford immediately raised the siege, but instead of retiring he advanced against Soult to give him battle. Beresford had about twenty-five thousand infantry and two thousand cavalry, but unfortunately ten thousand of these were Spaniards, for Casta?os had joined him. Casta?os was one of the best and most intelligent generals of Spain, and had a mind so far free from the absurd pride of his countrymen that he was willing to serve under Beresford. Blake was also in his army with a body of Spanish troops; but Blake was not so compliant as Casta?os, and their troops were just as undisciplined as ever.

The gulf between the Minister and the landowners was widening. The debates on the Budget, and on Mr. Cobden's motion for inquiry into the alleged agricultural distress, had drawn out more bitter speeches from Mr. Disraeli, and served still further to mark the distinction between the Minister and a large section of his old followers. But one of the most significant signs of the time was the increasing tendency to recognise the talents and singleness of purpose of the Anti-Corn-Law Leaguers. It became almost fashionable to compliment the ability of Mr. Cobden. It was almost forgotten that the Minister had once carried with him the whole House in making an excited charge against that gentleman of marking him out for assassination. The bitterness of the ultra-Protectionists was certainly unabated; but neither the Quarterly nor any other review now classed the Manchester men with rick-burners and assassins, or called upon the Government to indict them for sedition. Burke proceeded amidst constant interruption to review the many scenes and debates in which Fox and himself had acted, as well as those on which they had differed, especially their difference of opinion on the Royal Marriage Act; but no difference of opinion had ever before affected their friendship. He alluded to his own long services and his grey hairs, and said that it was certainly an indiscretion, at his time of life, to provoke enemies, or induce his friends to desert him; but that, if his firm and steady adherence to the British Constitution placed him in that dilemma, he would risk all, and, as public duty required, with his last breath exclaim, "Fly from the French Constitution!" Here Fox whispered that there was no loss of friends; that there could be no loss of friendship between them; but Burke said"Yes, there was a loss of friends: he knew the penalty of his conduct; he had done his duty at the price of his friendsthere was an end of their friendship." It was some time before Fox could answer; he was completely overcome by his emotion; and it was only after a free flow of tears that he could proceed. He then said: "Painful as it was to listen to such sentiments as those just delivered by one to whom he owed so many obligations, he could never forget that, when little more than a boy, he had been in the habit of receiving instructions and favours from his right honourable friend. Their friendship had grown with their life; it had continued for upwards of five-and-twenty years; and he hoped, notwithstanding what had happened that day, that his right honourable friend would think on past times, and would give him credit for not intending anything unkind. It was quite true that they had before now differed on many subjects, without lessening their friendship, and why should they not now differ on the French Revolution without a severance of friendship? He could not help feeling that the conduct of his right honourable friend tended to fix upon him the charge of Republican principles, whereas he was far from entertaining such principles. His friend had heaped very ignominious terms upon him that day." Here Burke said aloud, he did not recollect having used such terms; and Fox promptly observed that "if his friend did not recollect those epithetsif they are out of his mind, then they were for ever out of his mind, too; they were obliterated and forgotten." He then denied that there was any marshalling of a party on this subject; that not one gentleman who had risen to call his right honourable friend to order had done it by his desire; on the contrary, he had entreated his friends not to interrupt him. After again dwelling for some time on the merits of the French Revolution, he once more lamented the breach in the unanimity of his friend and[380] himself, and said he would keep out of the way of his right honourable friend till he had time to reflect and think differently, and that their common friends might bring them together again; that he would endeavour to discuss the question on some future day, with all calmness, if his friend wished, but for the present he had said all that he desired to say.

But, in spite of the importance of these measures, there was one question which engrossed the attention of both parliament and the public far more than any other. This was the demand by Burke for the impeachment of Warren Hastings, late Governor-General of Bengal, for high crimes and misdemeanours there alleged to have been by him committed. It therefore becomes necessary at this point to resume our narrative of Indian affairs from the year 1760, which our connected view of the events of the American war necessarily suspended. On the 15th of March he took a more decided position of hostility to the Cabinet, by moving for an inquiry into the state of the navy. The Earl St. Vincent was now First Lord of the Admiralty, and he proved quite incompetent. Many gunboats had been broken up from motives of economy, and naval stores sold, for the most part, to the French. Pitt declared that only twenty-three gunboats had been built since January, 1803, and that the whole management of the navy was inert. CHAPTER VIII. REIGN OF GEORGE III. (continued).

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.