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responsibility. He marched against the enemy, and lost the decisive battle of Moncontour, where his lower jaw was shattered by a pistol ball; but he continued to display the talent of a general and the courage of a soldier, till he was overpowered by numbers. The victory was complete—the carnage terrific. The field of battle, cannon, banners, and baggage, all fell into the hands of the royalists; and out of an army of twenty-five thousand men, only six thousand reached St. Jean D'Angely.
The cause of freedom now seemed hopeless, but it was saved from an unexpected quarter. Catherine and the Cardinal of Lorraine had again become distrustful of each other. The former really commanded the army by placing the Duke of Anjou at its head, and nominating the general on whom the responsibility devolved; and from that important post she took care to exclude the Guises and their allies. The Cardinal soon perceived these tactics, and determined to retaliate with similar weapons of deceit. He therefore poisoned the mind of the king against his brother, rendering him jealous of the laurels gathered by the Duke of Anjou, and advised his removal, proposing a foreign general and naming the Duke of Alva. Nor was Charles the only person dissatisfied. The old military men deemed themselves neglected, and Damsille, a son of Montmorency, and now governor of Languedoc, allowed the Calvinists to escape, to show the Court the importance of his services. These dissensions paralysed the vigorous action of the royalist troops, for orders were constantly forwarded from Paris which embarrassed Marshal Tavannes, who knew not whether to advance or retire. The indefatigable Coligny took advantage of these vacillations, recruited his army, and assailing Marshal Corré Gonnor who had been ordered to oppose him in Burgundy, gained a complete victory, though the Calvinists only opposed six thousand to thirteen thousand royalists.
This unexpected blow alarmed all the court intriguers; for they justly dreaded a party, so lately reduced to the last gasp, and now flushed by success. Tavannes openly quarrelled with the Cardinal of Lorraine, who flatly contradicted the Marshal on a point of military tactics. “Each to his trade, Sir Cardinal,” said the blunt soldier; “no man can be a good priest and a good warrior.” He complained that Coligny had recovered all he had lost at Moncontour, which would not have happened, had he not been thwarted. Then he tendered his resignation, which was accepted, but the difficulty was to replace him. Both the Guises and the Montmorencies had equal pretensions. The queen disliked the former as related to the cardinal, and the cardinal persuaded the king not to employ the latter, as they were connected by marriage with the admiral and the young Prince of Condé. Thus the rigour of the government was paralysed, while the Calvinists, perfectly united, and rendered desperate by threats of extermination, were making prodigious efforts to conquer their endangered liberties. Nothing was left to Charles the Ninth but to propose terms of reconciliation; and on the 2nd of August 1570 peace was concluded at St. Germain en Laye. The preceding edicts were ratified; a general amnesty was granted ; excepting in the royal palaces, the free exercise of the reformed religion was conceded ; all confiscated property was restored, and, what was most important, all Calvinists were declared eligible to all offices of State. They obtained two other valuable privileges ; they were allowed to challenge six judges on all trials, and nominate the governors of four towns. They selected Rochelle, Montauban, Cognac, and La Charité; but this was a temporary arrangement, as the Princes of Bearn and Condé, and twenty other leaders of the party, bound themselves on oath to surrender them to the king at the end of two years.
THE WALCHEREN EXPEDITION. It was in the year made memorable by the battle of Wagram, so nearly lost and dearly won by the first Napoleon—the year of “the Douro,” “Talavera,” and “Saragossa”—that the ill-fated “Walcheren Expedition " was undertaken, a campaign which, until recently, occupied the most prominent place among the disastrous enterprises of this country. In the year 1809, all the most powerful continental states were either in alliance with France, were crouching at her feet, or were so paralyzed, as to be unable to strike a blow in defence of their own liberties. Russia and Denmark were with the French; the French flag floated on the ramparts of Vienna and the principal strongholds of Northern Germany : Prussia, though inclined to resist, was so crippled that she found her only safety to lie in inaction ; Spain was kept down by an invading army; and Holland and Flanders were occupied by French troops destined for the invasion and conquest of Great Britain.
Such was the state of Europe when the English ministry resolved to make a diversion in favour of Austria, by sending out a powerful armament to the Scheldt, and attacking the fortress of Antwerp. The scheme no doubt was a happy one, for Antwerp, though defended by extensive and formidable works, was not in a condition to sustain a vigorous siege; the fortifications being out of order, and the garrison insignificant. Nor was it capable of being relieved ; for the regular armies of France were absorbed by the war on the Danube and that in the Peninsula, and there was every reason to believe that it might be carried by a coup-de-main almost before the intelligence of its danger could reach the Emperor. The effects of such a capture would be very great. It would check the encroachments of Bonaparte, open the French empire to the terrors of invasion, restore the sinking courage of Northern Germany, destroy the most cherished naval establishment of the enemy, and thwart for a time, if not entirely prevent, his favourite project of invading England.
But the English government, though forewarned by the experience of a sixteen years' war, had not learnt the efficacy of a blow dealt at the time when, and the place where, it is least expected. Had the expedition reached its destination previously to the battle of Aspern (May 22nd)—nay, had it but landed before the 5th of July—not only must it have succeeded, but it is far from improbable that the day of Wagram (which bears that date) would have had a different issue.
Succeed, however, it did not-not because it was a false step, nor that it was ill-arranged, nor that it was too weak to execute the work assigned to it—but because it was too late in the field. By the end of June, and not before, thirty-five sail of the line, and transports innumerable, were ready to convey an armament of a hundred thousand men; but no orders having been given to prepare battering trains till the 19th June, the whole armament was delayed until the end of July.
This armament, the largest and best equipped that had put to sea in modern times, arrived on the coast of Holland on the 29th of July. On the following day twenty thousand men were disembarked in the isle of Walcheren, and speedily took possession of Middleburgh, its chief town, besides driving the French troops inside the walls of Flushing. At the same time another division landed in Cadsand, and, expelling the enemy from that island, opened the way for the passage of the fleet up the western or principal branch of the Scheldt.
Some days afterwards, Sir Richard Strachan, who commanded the naval force, disregarding the distant and ineffectual fire of the Flushing batteries, passed the straits with eighteen ships of the line, and soon both branches of the Scheldt were crowded with the British pendants. Nor was the progress of the land forces less rapid. Ter Vere, Goes, aud Batz, were in a few days occupied by British troops ; the British standards were only five leagues from Antwerp, and, in a few days more, thirty thousand men might be assembled beneath its walls.
The French military writers are all of opinion, that had the English commander-in-chief, Lord Chatham, advanced at once against the citadel, the capture of which was the grand object of the expedition, it might have been carried by a coup-de-main. The enemy's fleet was not in a position to present any obstacle, though it might have easily been cut off and empowered ; the defences of the city on the left bank of the river were most imperfect, and the garrison amounted to only three thousand men. Lord Chatham, however, neglecting these advantages, deferred his opportunity, and lost it. By the 26th of August, twenty-six thousand of the enemy had assembled in the Scheldt, the fleet was moved to a position of safety, and the citadel was placed in a thorough state of defence. Meanwhile, twenty thousand British troops were kept inactive in South Beveland, almost within sight of the towers of Antwerp, three thousand of the army were in hospital, and the remainder were suffering grievously from the pestilential exhalations rising from the marshy land on which they were encamped. The interval had been employed by Lord Chatham in reducing Flushing, which, after three days bombardment, surrendered with five thousand eight hundred prisonersa miserable recompence for the failure of the leading object of the expedition and the valuable lives which were afterwards to be sacrificed
To undertake the siege of Antwerp was now hopeless—it was too late ; a council of war was accordingly held, and it was unanimously resolved that further advance being impossible the whole of the troops should be withdrawn into the island of Walcheren. It was now the beginning of September, and it remained to be decided whether this position, which commanded the Scheldt, should be retained or abandoned. It was at first thought practicable to retain it, and fifteen thousand men were left as a garrison in the island, the remainder of the troops being sent back to England. But the malaria distemper of the country, since too well known under the name of the Walcheren fever, proved so fatal in its ravages, that the resolution was
abandoned ; not, however, till it was too late to avoid the serious consequences. Towards the middle of September, the average number of deaths was from two to three hundred a-week, and nearly half the garrison was in hospital. Orders were therefore given to abandon the island : in the middle of November the works and naval basins of Flushing were destroyed, and before Christmas the whole was evacuated by the British troops; but it appeared that seven thousand men had been lost in the enterprise, and that nearly half the troops (upwards of twelve thousand) brought home with them the seeds of a distemper, which few were able entirely to shake off during the remainder of their lives.
The unfortunate issue of this expedition became in the next session the subject of Parliamentary inquiry. After a lengthened investigation and debate, in which the opposition endeavoured to throw the whole blame upon ministers, rather than on a commander who, whether competent or not, had certainly failed in acting according to his instructions, ministers were declared not blamable upon the general policy of the expedition, by a majority of 48 (275 to 227): a majority which, on the subordinate question of whether the protracted retention of Walcheren was blamable, fell to 23.
This narrow majority and the obloquy which it brought upon government led to important changes in the Cabinet. But there is so strong a resemblance between some of the circumstances which then transpired, and events of recent occurrence, that instead of continuing to condense the narrative from Alison, as we have hitherto done, we prefer to conclude by quoting his own words:
“Mr. Canning, who, since the formation of Mr. Perceval's administration, had held the seals of the Foreign Office, had long conceived that Lord Castlereagh, who was Secretary-at-War, was unfit to be intrusted with the important and hourly increasing duties of that department. Early in April, he had intimated to the Duke of Portland, the nominal head of the administration, that he conceived the public service required that either he or Lord Castlereagh should resign ; and offered to remove all difficulties by his own retirement. Anxious to prevent any schism in the cabinet at such a crisis, the Duke consulted Lord Camden, and prevailed on Mr. Canning meanwhile to suspend his resignation ; the King was afterwards spoken to on the subject, but he also postponed any definite opinion.
“A long negotiation subsequently ensued, which, against Mr. Canning's strongest remonstrances, was protracted till the issue of the Scheldt expedition became known: and although some of Lord Castlereagh's friends were made aware of what was going on, yet they did not deem it