湖南东安县:退休不褪色 城市添新色 离退休党建工作创新

As soon as five or six thousand of his troops were landed, Buonaparte commenced his march on Alexandria. The Turks manned the walls, and resisted furiously, incensed at this invasion by a Power with which they were nominally at peace. But the walls were ruinous; the French forced their way over several breaches, and commenced an indiscriminate massacre. The place was abandoned to pillage for four hours. As the Mamelukes were hated by the Arabs and the Copts, and were the military mercenaries of the country, chiefly recruited from Georgia and Circassia, Buonaparte determined to destroy them. He considered that he should thus rid himself of the only formidable power in Egypt, and at the same time conciliate the Bedouins and Fellahs. On the 7th of July he set out on his march for Cairo with his whole force. He marched up the bank of the Nile, but at such a distance as to prevent the soldiers from getting any water to quench their burning thirst. It was all that Buonaparte could do to keep his troops in subordination. For fourteen days this melancholy march was continued, when they came at once in sight of the Pyramids, not far distant from Cairo, and of the army of the Mamelukes, drawn up across their way, headed by Murad Bey. This force consisted of five thousand cavalryMamelukes, mounted on the finest Arabian horses in the world, trained to obey the slightest touch of the rein, to advance, wheel, or fly with wonderful rapidity. The riders were all fine men, armed with sabres, pistols, and blunderbusses of the best English workmanship. They were deemed invincible and were ruthlessly cruel. They presented in appearance the finest body of cavalry in the world, the plumes of their turbans waving in the air, and their arms glittering in the sun. There were, moreover, twenty thousand infantry lying in a slightly-entrenched camp on their right;[467] but these were a mere rabblefellaheen, or, in other words, peasantry, brought from their fields, and armed with matchlocks. They had forty pieces of cannon to defend the camp, but these had no carriages, being mounted on clumsy wooden frames. Buonaparte drew up his army so as to keep out of gunshot of the camp, and to deal only with the cavalry first. He formed his troops into squares to resist the onslaught of the cavalry; and as he saw the Mamelukes come on, he called to his men, "From yonder Pyramids twenty centuries behold your actions!" The Mamelukes came thundering on like a whirlwind, and sending before them the most horrible yells. Murad Bey said he would cut up the French like gourds. One of the French squares was thrown into confusion, but it recovered itself, and the battle was instantly a scene of the most desperate fury. The Mamelukes fought like demons; but, finding that they could not break the French ranks, whilst they and their horses were mown down by musketry and artillery, in despair they flung their pistols at their foes, backed their horses up to them to break them by kicking, and finding all unavailing, fled. Such as were left wounded on the ground crept forward to cut at the legs of the French soldiers. Both cavalry and infantry then, by swimming their horses, or in boats, attempted to cross the Nile, but the greater part were drowned in the attempt. Murad Bey, with the residue of his Mamelukes, escaped into Upper Egypt.

General Schuyler was hastening to support Ticonderoga, when, on reaching Saratoga, he was met by the news of this succession of defeats. He had, when joined by St. Clair and Long, who had been left to defend St. John's in vain, about five thousand men, the whole now of the northern army; but many of these were militia hastily called togethermany of them without armsmore, destitute of ammunition, and still more, of discipline. But Schuyler depended much more on the nature of the country which the British would have to traverse from this point than on his men. The whole region between Skenesborough and the Hudson was an almost unbroken wilderness. Wood Creek was navigable as far as Fort Anne; from Fort Anne to the Hudson, over an exceedingly rough country, covered with thick woods, and intersected by numerous streams and morasses, extended a single military road. Whilst Burgoyne halted a few days at Skenesborough to bring up the necessary supplies, Schuyler seized the opportunity to destroy the navigation of Wood Creek, by sinking impediments in its channel, and breaking up the bridges and causeways, of which there were fifty or more on the road from Fort Anne to Fort Edward. Had[241] Burgoyne been well informed, he would have fallen back on Ticonderoga, have embarked on Lake George, and proceeded to Fort George, whence there was a waggon-road to Fort Edward, the place he was aiming at. Instead of this, he determined on separating himself from his baggage and artillery, sending these, under General Philips, to Fort George, and proceeding with the main portion of the army across the rugged country that lay between himself and Fort Edward. On this route they had not only to contend with swamps swarming with mosquitoes, deep gullies, ravines, and rivulets, but to make temporary bridges to supply the place of those destroyed by Schuyler, and remove the trees felled by him. The weather, to add to their stupendous labour, was intensely hot; yet, surmounting everything, on the 30th of July Burgoyne and his army hailed with enthusiasm the sight of the Hudson, which they had thus reached through a series of brilliant successes. But a very different spirit displayed itself in America on the arrival of the news of the passing of the Act. Franklin's friend, Thompson, replied to him, that, instead of lighting candles, there would be works of darkness. The rage of the American public burst forth in unequivocal vigour. At New York, the odious Stamp Act was represented surmounted with a death's head instead of the royal arms, and was hawked through the streets with the title of "the folly of England and the ruin of America." At Boston the colours of the shipping were lowered half-mast high, and the bells of the city were muffled and tolled funeral knells. Everywhere there was a frenzied excitement, and the provincial Assemblies resounded with the clamour of indignant patriotism. It was the fortune of that of Virginia to give the leading idea of union and co-operative resistance, which led to the grand conflict, and to eventual victory over the infatuated mother country. There Patrick Henry, a very different man to Franklin, started up, and kindled by his fiery breath the torch of confederate resistance. But it was at once seen that, to acquire their full weight, the colonies must unite. Speeches, pamphlets, articles in newspapers, all called for co-operation. A print was published exhibiting a snake cut into a number of pieces, each piece inscribed with the name of a colony, and with the motto, "Join or die." In consequence, several of the states sent representatives to a general congress, to be held at New York in the month of October, to take measures for a general resistance to the Stamp Act.

During the whole of these scenes the attitude of Government was not merely indifferent, but absolutely repulsive. At no time had so cold and narrow-spirited a Ministry existed. The names of Castlereagh, Liverpool, Sidmouth, and Lord Eldon as Lord Chancellor, recall the memory of a callous Cabinet. They were still dreaming of additional taxation when, on the 17th of March, they were thunderstruck by seeing the property-tax repealed by a majority of forty. The Prince Regent had become utterly odious by his reckless extravagance and sensual life. The abolition of the property-tax was immediately followed by other resistance. On the 20th of March a motion of disapprobation of the advance of the salary of the Secretary to the Admiralty, at such a time, from three to four thousand pounds a-year was made, but lost. On this occasion Henry Brougham pronounced a most terrible philippic against the Prince Regent, describing him as devoted, in the secret recesses of his palace, to the most vicious pleasures, and callous to the distresses and sufferings of others! Mr. Wellesley Pole described it as "language such as he had never heard in that House before."

[See larger version] The platform for the chairman and speakers consisted of a couple of waggons boarded over, and Hunt and his friends had some difficulty in reaching it through the dense crowd, the attendant bands continuing to play "God Save the King," and "Rule Britannia," till they were safely placed on the platform, when the music ceased, and Hunt, having been called to the chair, took off his white hat, and was commencing his address, when there was a strange movement in the throng, and a cry, "The soldiers are upon us!" and this was the fact. The magistrates had met in great numbers on the previous Saturday, and had determined to seize the ringleaders; but instead of doing this as they might have done, at their several localities when drilling, or on their way to the town, they left this to be done after these vast numbers were assembled, and by the aid of the soldiers, which was certain to produce serious consequences. We have the statements of these magistrates themselves, as laid before Parliament, and of Sir William Jolliffe, M.P., lieutenant of the 15th Hussars, and personally engaged on the occasion. The reason assigned by them was, that they waited to see "what the complexion of the meeting might be;" but, if this was the case, they might as well have waited till some disorder took place, which they did not, but sent the soldiers into the crowd, whilst peacefully and in an orderly manner standing to listen to the chairman. Had they waited to the end, they would undoubtedly have seen the immense crowd disappear as quietly as it had come. But the magistrates were clearly excited by their fears. They had assembled a great constabulary and military force. Two hundred special constables had been sworn in; six troops of the 15th Hussars lying in the barracks were held in readiness; a troop of Horse Artillery with two guns; the greater part of the 31st Regiment of Infantry; several companies of the 88th Regiment; the Cheshire Yeomanry, nearly four hundred men, who had ridden in that very morning; and about forty Manchester Yeomanry, chiefly master manufacturers. These were troops enough to storm a town, much more to defend it from an unarmed multitude. The whole of this force, except the Manchester Yeomanry, was put under the command of Colonel L'Estrange, of the 31st Regiment, in the absence of Sir John Byng, the general of the district, but who had his headquarters at Pontefract, and who, it appeared, had received no information of these military preparations, or of the imagined need of them. On the reassembling of Parliament on the 3rd of February, 1842, Sir Robert Peel was confronted by a rapidly increasing demand for freedom of trade. Among the earliest of the Parliamentary champions of the people's right to cheap food was Mr. Villiers, afterwards President of the Poor Law Board. He became a pupil of Mr. M'Culloch, the author of the "Commercial Dictionary," who was also one of the soundest and most consistent advocates of commercial and fiscal reforms. The bold attacks of Mr. Huskisson and Mr. Canning upon commercial monopolies naturally excited his admiration, and as a supporter of those statesmen he offered himself as a candidate for Hull at the general election in 1826. The election was lost by a small majority, and Mr. Villiers was afterwards called to the bar, became Secretary to the Master of the Rolls, and subsequently one of the Examiners in Chancery. At the general election in 1835 he presented himself as a candidate for Wolverhampton, avowing the same Free Trade principles which he had professed nine years before at Hull. It is said to have been at a meeting at Sir William Molesworth's, in 1837, that Mr. Villiers was strongly urged to take the opposition to the Corn Laws as his peculiar field of Parliamentary duty; and in that year he pledged himself at the hustings to move for their total repeal, an object at that time generally regarded as too wild and hopeless to be undertaken seriously by a practical statesman. On the 15th of March, 1838, Mr. Villiers rose in Parliament to make the first of those motions on the Corn Laws with which he afterwards became associated in the public mind. Scarcely any excitement was caused by this discussion. It seems, indeed, to have been regarded rather as an exercise in political speaking by some who viewed the matter in a philosophic, rather than in a practical light, and who had no real expectation of success. Only one of the ministers[480] was present during a debate which was destined, in its annual reappearance, to become so formidable to the party of monopoly; and this Minister, it was remarked by one speaker, appeared to be taking "his evening siesta," doubtless "owing to weariness induced by his close attention to official duties"a remark which elicited loud laughter. It must be confessed, however, that the slumber of the Minister was no unfit representation of the want of faith in Corn Law Repeal which existed out of doors. It was certain that nothing but pressure from without could obtain even a modification of those laws in the teeth of the all-powerful aristocracy and their representatives in the Commons; but as yet the country took little part in the great question of the final emancipation of British industry. For a repeal of the Poor Laws there had been presented to the House not less than 235 petitions, with 190,000 signatures. The agitationchiefly supported by the Times newspaper and a few Socialistic reformers, like Mr. Fielden, against the law which, harsh as it seemed, was at bottom a really wise and humane measure for raising the people from that condition of acquiescence in misery and degradation to which the bad legislation of past years had so powerfully contributed to reduce themhad assumed formidable dimensions, and stirred the country in every part; but for a repeal of the law which in every way depressed the energies of the people, only a few petitions, bearing at most about 24,000 signatures, had been presented.