Images de page
PDF
ePub

57

Proceedings of Parliament.

HOUSE OF LORDS.

Tuesday, December 1. 1812.

THE Duke of Gloucester, and Lord Gren

ville, in their official characters as Chancellors, presented petitions from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, against the Claims of the Catholics.

Thursday, December 3.

On the motion of Earl Bathurst, the thanks of the House were voted to the Marquis of Wellington for the battle of Salamanca.-Lord Liverpool said, that it was intended to erect a monument to Gen. Sir L. Brock, but not to vote thanks to the army in Canada.

Friday, December 4.

The Earl of Liverpool presented a message from the Prince Regent, stating that he was desirous of bestowing upon the Marquis of Wellington a signal mark of national munificence, for his eminent services, &c.: to be considered on Monday.

Monday, December 7.

The Earl of Liverpool, after a suitable speech, proposed, pursuant to the Prince Regent's message, for enabling the Marquis of Wellington to support the superior dignity of his rank, "That £.100,000 should be vested in the hands of trustees, to be laid out in the purchase of lands of that value, to be settled on Lord Wellington, his heirs and successors." The Address was agreed to nem. diss.

Thursday, December 10.

A new arrangement was made for dispatching appeals: it was agreed, that on the first day after next term, their Lordships sbould meet twice or thrice a week, at ten in the morning.

Friday, December 11.

In the three appeal causes, Sir W. Johnston E. Templer, the judgment of the Court of Session was affirmed, with £.200 costs.

Thursday, December 17.

The Earl of Liverpool presented to the House a Message from the Prince Regent, Jan. 1813.

expressing his Royal Highness's desire to render aid to the people of Russia, who were suffering the severest distress, in consequence of the unprovoked and atrocious invasion of France, praising the loyalty, magnanimity, and unconquerable spirit they had dis played, whereby results have been produced of the utmost importance to the interests of this kingdom, and to the general cause of Europe; the grant to be £.200,000; to be considered to-morrow.

Friday, December 18.

The Earl of Liverpool moved that £.200,000 be granted in aid of the Russian peasantry. The invasion of Russia had been attempted with 360,000 men, including 60,000 cavalry-no nation had ever made such exertions or sacrifices as Russia-a population of 200,000 souls had voluntarily devoted their habitations to the flames sooner than they should afford a shelter to the invaders. Besides Moscow, no fewer than 100 villages were left and consumed on the advance of the enemy, and their inmates retired for shelter and security to the woods and forests. Russia had been invaded because she refused to accede to the Continental System, and a deadly blow was intended Britain. to be struck, through her, against Great

Lord Holland thought this sum, if it could be spared, should have been afforded for the service of the war in the Peninsula. He hoped that the events in the North would facilitate a peace.

The address for £.200,000 was agreed to nem. diss.

Tuesday, December 22.

The Royal assent was given by commis after which the House adjourned till the 3d sion to a number of public and private bills, of February.

[blocks in formation]

Historical Affairs.

AMERICAN WAR.

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE TO CONGRESS, AND CORRESPONDENCE RELATIVE TO PEACE. THE Message of Mr Madison on the open

ing of Congress, was communicated to Mr Coles, his private Secretary, on the 4th November, and delivered at Washington with the usual forms. The Message commences, by congratulating on the "unusual degree of health dispensed to the inhabitants; the rich abundance with which the earth has rewarded the labours bestowed on it, and the successful cultivation of all branches of industry." It then adverts to "the state of war into which the United States (are said to) have been forced by the injustice and aggression of England;" notices the Expedition of Gen. Hull into Canada, and its disastrous termination by the surrender of that General and his army. This painful reverse is promised to be investigated by a military tribunal. A philippic is pronounced against England for accepting aid from the Indians. Van Renssalaer's defeat is but slightly touched on in the Speech, which declares that the attack was made in compliance with the ardour of the troops was executed with distinguished gallantry, but was lost for want of a seasonable reinforcement. These misfortunes are, however, pronounced to be not without consoling effects; for that the patriotic zeal which they had excited, had embodied an ample force from the States of Kentucky and Ohio, and from part of Pensylvania and Virginia: these, with the addition of a few regulars, had been placed under the command of General Harrison, who, with the greater portion of the force, was proceeding to the Michigan territory, having succeeded in relieving an important frontier post (Fort Wayne,) and in several incidental operations against hostile tribes of savages. The President likewise acknowledges, that the expectation of gaining the command of the Lakes, by the invasion of Canada from Detroit, had been disappointed, but that measures were taken to provide in them a naval force superior to that of the enemy, "Should (he says) the present season not admit of Complete success, the progress made will enforce for the next a naval ascendancy,

where it is essential to a permanent peace with, and a control over the savages.-The refusal of the Governors of Massachusetts and Connecticut to furnish the required detachments of Militia, towards the defence of the maritime frontier, on constitutional grounds, is the next topic introduced: these principles, if acquiesced in, it is observed, would render necessary those large and permanent establishments which are forbidden by the principles of a free Government.The following passages relative to the capture of the Guerriere, the state of the negociations between the two countries, are of sufficient importance to be presented at length:--

"On the coasts and on the ocean, the war has been as successful as circumstances inseparable from its early stages could promise. Our public ships and private cruizers, by their activity, and where there was occasion, by their intrepidity, have made the enemy sensible of the difference between reciprocity of captures, and the long confinement of them to their side. Our trade, with little exception, has safely reached our ports, having been much favoured in it by the course pursued by a squadron of our frigates under the command of Commodore Rogers; and in the instance in which skill and bravery were more particularly tried with those of the enemy, the American flag had an auspicious triumph. The frigate Constitution, commanded by Captain Hull, after a close and short engagement, completely disabled and captured a British frigate; gaining for that officer, and all on board, a praise which cannot be too liberally bestowed-not merely for the victory actually atchieved, but for that prompt and cool exertion of commanding talents, which, giving to courage its highest character, and to the force applied its full effect, proved that more could have been done in a contest requiring more.

"Anxious to abridge the evils from which a state of war cannot be exempt, I lost no time after it was declared, in conveying to the British Government the terms on which its progress might be arrested, without waiting the delays of a formal and final pacification: and our Charge d'Affairs at London was at the same time authorised to agree to an armistice, founded upon them. These terms required, that the Orders in Council

shou

should be repealed, as they affected the United States, without a revival of the blockades violating acknowledged rules; that there should be an immediate discharge of American seamen from British ships, and a stop to impressments from American ships, with an understanding that an exclusion of the seamen of each nation from the ships of the other should be stipulated, and that the armistice should be improved into a definitive and comprehensive adjustment of depending controversies.

"Although a repeal of the orders susceptible of explanations meeting the views of this Government, had taken place before this pacific advance was communicated to that of Great Britain, the advance was deelined from an avowed repugnance to a suspension of the practice of impressment during the armistice, and without any intimation that the arrangement proposed with respect to seainen would be accepted. Whether the subsequent communications from this Government, affording an occasion for reconsidering the subject on the part of Great Britain will be viewed in a more favourable light, or received in a more accommodating spirit, remains to be known. It would be unwise to relax our measures, in any respect, on a presumption of such a result.

"The documents from the department of State, which relate to this subject, will give a view also of the propositions for an armistice, which have been received here one of them from the authorities at Halifax and in Canada, the other from the British Government itself, thro' Admiral Warren; and of the grounds upon which neither of them could be accepted.

"Our affairs with France retain the posture which they held at my last communication to you.

"Notwithstanding the authorised expectation of an early as well as favourable issue of the discussions on foot, these have been procrastinated to the latest date. The only intervening occurrence meriting attention is the promulgation of a French decree, purporting to be a definitive repeal of the Berin and Milan decrees. This proceeding, antho' made the ground of the repeal of the British Orders in Council, is rendered, by the time and manner of it, liable to many objections.

"The final communications from our special Minister to Denmark, afford further proofs of the good effects of his mission, and of the amicable disposition of the Danish Government. From Russia we have the satisfaction to receive assurances of continued friendship, and that it will not be affected by the rupture between the United States

and Great Britain. Sweden also professes sentiments favourable to subsisting harmony. With the Barbary Powers, excepting that of Algiers, our affairs remain on the ordinary footing. The Consul-General residing with that Regency, has suddenly, and without cause, been banished, together with all the American citizens found there. Whe ther this was the transitory effect of capricious despotism, or the first act of predetermined hostility, is not ascertained."

The President, in calling the attention of Congress to the insufficiency of the exist» ing provision for filling up the Military Establishment; admits, that the recruiting service had failed; that the augmented bounties are inadequate; that the regulars are deficient; and the militia inconvenient and expensive; that, on account of the high wages for labour, there is no attraction for volunteers; that it will be necessary to raise corps for local and occasional service; to increase the pay of the General Officers; to re-organise the Staff Establishment; in short, to introduce improvements and reforms of all kinds before the army can be rendered efficient, either for purposes of attack or defence. Against the use of British licenses it is recommended to make further enactments, and likewise against cases of corrupt and perfidious intercourse with the enemy, not amounting to treason, nor yet embraced by any statutary provisions. To Congress is also submitted the cases of those vessels laden with British manufactures, which arrived from England when the revocation of the Orders in Council took place, under an erroneous impression that the Non-importation Act would immediately cease to ope rate. In their decision, the President says, they will doubtless consult what is due to equitable considerations and to the public interest.

"The receipts in the Treasury, during the year ending on the 30th of September last, have exceeded 16 millions and a half of dollars; which have been sufficient to defray all the demands on the Treasury to that day, including a necessary reimbursement of near three millions of the principal of the public debt. In these receipts are included a sum of near 8,850,000, received on account of the loans authorised by the acts of last Session. The whole sum actually obtained on loan, amounts to 11 millions of dollars, the residue of which being receivable subsequent to the 30th of September, will, together with the current revenue, enable us to defray all the expences of this year."

[The Speech concludes with stating, that the unexpected importations of British manufactures will render the revenue of the

en

ensuing year more productive than could have been anticipated; that war was not declared until every hope of averting it was extinguished by the transfer of the British sceptre into new hands, clinging to former counsels. To have shrunk, under such circumstances, from manly resistance, it is observed, would have been a degradation of their best and proudest hopes.] "It would have struck us from the high rank where the virtuous struggles of our forefathers had placed us, and have betrayed the magnificent legacy which we hold in trust for future generations."

DOCUMENTS ACCOMPANYING THE ABOVE MESSAGE.

The first is a letter from Mr Russel to Lord Castlereagh, dated 24th Aug. last, proposing an armistice on two conditions: first, that the Orders in Council should be repealed, and no illegal blockades substituted in their place: secondly, that all impressments from American vessels should be discontinued ; and all American citizens who had been impressed should be restored: as an inducement to Great Britain to discontinue the impressments from American vessels, Mr Russell says, he is authorised to give an assurance, that a law should be passed (to be reciprocal) to prohibit the employment of British seamen in the public or commercial service of the United States. Lord Castlereagh, in a reply, dated the 25th of August, to the above letter, says, "that the overture made by Mr Russell had been determined upon by the Government of the United States, in ignorance of the Order of the 23d June last-that it had been submitted to the Prince Regent, whose commands he had received to decline it-that as soon as it was apprehended that Mr Foster would withdraw from the United States, in consequence of the Declaration of War, measures had been taken to authorise the Admiral on the American station, to propose a revocation of hostilities.

"His Lordship expresses hss surprise, that, as a preliminary, the American Go'vernment should demand that we should desist from our ancient practice of impresing our own seamen from the merchant ships of foreign States, on the mere assurance that a law shall be hereafter passed by the American Government."

To the above correspondence is added a letter from Mr Russell to Lord Castlereagh, dated 1st Sept. expressing his surprise that his proposal of the 25th of August has been declined, and requesting passports for him. self, and informing his Lordship he is authorized to leave Mr Beasly as Agent for price of war.

A letter is subjoined from Lord Castle

reagh, inclosing the passports, and allowing Mr Beasly to reside as Agent.

The remainder of the correspondence is between Sir J. B. Warren and the American Secretary of State, Mr Monroe. Admiral Warren, in his letter dated Halifax, Sept. 30. refers to a copy of the revocation of the Orders in Council, which, he observes, ceased to exist nearly at the same time that the Government of the United States declared war against his Majesty. He incloses the copy of another Order for the detention of all American ships, issued on the receipt of the hostile declaration. He then proposes the immediate cessation of hostilities between the two countries, and states that he is authorised to enter into arrangements as to the admission of British ships and commerce into the American harbours; that being the necessary and reasonable condition on which the Orders in Council were repealed. Mr Monroe's answer to this letter is dated Oct. 27. after the attempts upon Canada had failed. He commences by an insinuation against the bad faith of the British Government, throws the Orders in Council into the back ground, and lays the whole stress of the question on the practice of impressment. It is required by the President, that pending an armistice that practice shall be suspended; and that an arrangement shall be entered into, the very basis of which shall be the abolition of impressment altogether, upon the adoption of some suitable regulations by the United States, to prevent the employment of British seamen in American ships.

[Another message from Mr Madison, transmitting to Congress some further correspondence between the two governments, relative to an armistice :-and also a fong British State paper, containing the grounds on which that government maintains the contest are necessarily deferred.]

[blocks in formation]

TWENTY-NINTH BULLETIN OF THE

GRAND ARMY.

Molodetschno, Dec. 3, 1812.

"To the 6th November, the weather was fine, and the movements of the army exeented with the greatest success. The cold weather began on the 7th, from that moment we every night lost several hundred horses, that died in consequence of bivouacking. Arrived at Smolensko, we had already lost many cavalry and artillery horses.

"The Russian army from Volhynia was opposed to our right. Our right left the Minsk line of operations and took for the pivot of its operations the Warsaw line.On the 9th, the Emperor was informed, at Smolensko, of this change in the line of operations, and conceived what the enemy would do. However hard it appeared to him to put himself in motion during so cruel a season, the new state of things demarded it. He expected to arrive at Minsk, or at least upon the Beresina, before the enemy. On the 13th he quitted Smolensko, on the 16th he slept at Krasnoi.

"The cold, which began on the 7th, suddenly increased, and on the 14th, 15th, and 16th, the thermometer was 16 and 18'degrees below the freezing point. The roads were covered with ice, the cavalry, artillery, and baggage horses, perished every night, not only by hundreds, but by thousands, particularly the German and French horses.

** In a few days more than 30,000 horses perished; our cavalry were on foot, our artillery and our baggage were without conveyance. It was necessary to abandon and destroy a good part of our cannon, ammu. nition, and provisions.

"This army, so fine on the 6th, was very different on the 14th, almost without cavalry, without artillery, without transports. Without cavalry we could not reconnoitre a quarter of a league's distance; without artillery we could not risk a battle, and firmly await it; it was requisite to march in order not to be constrained to a battle, which the want of ammunition prevented us from desiring; it was requisite to occupy a certain space not to be turned, and that too without cavalry, which led and connected the columns. This difficulty, joined to a cold, which suddenly came on, rendered our situation miserable.

"Those men whom nature had not sufficiently fortified to be above all the chances of fate and fortune, appeared shook, lost their gaiety, their good humour, and dreamed but of misfortunes, snd catastrophes: those whom she had created superior to every thing, preserved their gaiety and their ordinary manners, and saw fresh glory in the

'different difficulties that were to be surmounted.

"The enemy, who saw upon the roads traces of that frightful calamity which had overtaken the French army, endeavoured to take advantage of it. He surrounded all the columns with his Cossacks, who carried off, like the Arabs in the deserts, the trains and carriages which separated. This contemptible cavalry, which only makes noise, and is not capable of penetrating through a company of voltigeurs, rendered themselves formidable, by favour of certain circumstances. Nevertheless, the enemy had to repent of all the serious attempts which he wished to undertake; they were overthrown by the Viceroy, before whom they were placed, and lost many men.

"The Duke of Elchingen with 3000 men had blown up the ramparts of Smolensko. He was surrounded, and found himself in a critical position, but he extricated himself from it with that intrepidity for which he is distinguished. After having kept the enemy at a distance from him during the whole day of the 18th, and constantly repulsed him, at night he made a movement on the right, passed the Borysthenes, and deceived all the calculations of the enemy. On the 19th the army passed the Borysthenes at Orza, and the Russian army being fatigued, and having lost a great number of men, ceased from its attempts.

"The army of Volhynia had inclined, on the 16th, upon Minsk, and marched upon Borisow. General Dombrowski defended the bridge head of Borisow with 3000 men. On the 23d he was forced and obliged to evacuate this position. The enemy then passed the Beresina, marching upon Bobr; the division Lambert formed the advanced guard. The 2d corps, commanded by the Duke of Reggio, which was at Tocherein, had received orders to march upon Borisow, to secure the passage of the Beresina. On the 24th, the Duke of Reggio met the division Lambert four leagues from Borisow, attacked and defeated it, took 2000 prisoners, six pieces of cannon, 500 baggage waggons of the army of Volhynia, and threw the enemy on the right bank of the BeresiGeneral Berkeim, with the 4th cuirassiers, distinguished himself by a fine charge. The enemy could only secure his safety by burning the bridge, which is more than 300 toises in length. Nevertheless, the enemy occupied all the passages of the Beresina; this river is 40 toises wide; it had much floating ice on it, but its banks are covered with marshes, three hundred toises long, which present obstacles in clearing it.

na.

The enemy's General had placed his four divisions at the different debouches, where

he

« PrécédentContinuer »