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  • 租用的彩票平台怎么样

    These certainly were large concessions, but it was to be remembered that we had not received them for nothing; they had cost vast sums, and the national debt had been doubled by this war, and now amounted to one hundred and twenty-two million six hundred thousand pounds. These territories had, in fact, cost us upwards of sixty million pounds; and it is certain that Pitt would have exacted a more complete renunciation from France of the conquered countries. There was a clause inserted which Pitt would never have permittednamely, that any conquests that should be made after the signing of these articles, should be restored by all parties. Now, Bute and the Ministry knew that we had expeditions out against Cuba and the Philippines, and that the only conquests likely to be made were in those quarters. To throw away without equivalent the blood and money expended in these important enterprises was a most unpatriotic act. Still, there was opportunity for more rational terms, for Grimaldi, the Spanish ambassador at Paris, held back from signing, in hope that we should be defeated at Havana, and that then he could raise his terms. When the news of the loss of both Havana and Manila arrived, Grimaldi was in great haste to sign, and Mr. Grenville and Lord Egremont very properly insisted that we should demand an equivalent for the conquest in Cuba. Pitt would have stood firm for the retention of that conquest as by far the most important, and as justly secured to us by the refusal of the Spanish ambassador to sign at the proper time. But Bute would have signed without any equivalent at all. Fortunately, there was too strong an opposition to this in the Cabinet, and the Duke of Bedford was instructed to demand Florida or Porto Rico in lieu of Havana. Florida was yieldeda fatal, though at the moment it appeared a valuable concession, for it only added to the compactness of the American colonies, hastening the day of independence, whilst Cuba would have remained under the protection of the fleet, one of the most valuable possessions of the British empire.

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    But whilst England had been thus preparing for the augmentation of the navy, America had been aiming a blow at the efficiency of that navy, which must for years, if successful, have prostrated our whole maritime forces, and exposed our shores to the easiest invasion. This intended blow was nothing less than the destruction of our great naval dockyards and arsenals, and military storehouses, at Portsmouth and Plymouth. The chief agent in this infamous design, if the evidence of a miscreant can be believed, was Silas Deane. On the 7th of December the rope-house of the Royal Dockyard at Portsmouth was found to be on fire. By active exertions it was got under, after it had destroyed that building, and was imagined to be an accident. But on the 15th of January, 1777, one of the officers of the dockyard found a machine and combustibles concealed in the hemp in the hemp-house of the same dockyard. Suspicion now fell on a moody, silent artisan, who, on the day of the fire, had been looking about the dockyard, and who, by some chance, had got locked up in the rope-house the night before. His name was not known, but the[234] fact only that he was a painter, and had been called John the Painter. Government immediately offered a reward of fifty pounds for his apprehension; the same sum, with a strange simplicity, being offered to him if he would surrender himself for examination. Nothing, however, could be learned of him in Portsmouth or the country round; but fresh fires were now breaking out at Plymouth Dockyard and on the quays of Bristol. At Plymouth the fire was instantly checked, and the perpetrator was nearly seized. At Bristol the fire was laid near a narrow, deep creek, crowded with shipping, which was nearly dry at low water, so that it was impossible to get the shipping out. Six or seven warehouses were destroyed, but the shipping escaped. In another house at Bristol combustibles were discovered, and the alarm became general that the American incendiaries, having failed to burn New York, were come to England to burn our dockyards and maritime houses. Fortunately, in the beginning of February, a man was apprehended for the perpetration of a burglary at Odiham, in Hampshire; and, by the activity of Sir John Fielding, the London magistrate, he was identified as John the Painter. When brought before Sir John and other magistrates in town, the man conducted himself with tact and address. Though closely examined and cross-questioned by some of the members of the Privy Council, by Lords of the Admiralty, and other officers of the board, he maintained the scrutiny without betraying any embarrassment, or letting anything escape him that could in any degree incriminate him. A confession was, however, wormed out of him by another painter, named Baldwin. Silas Deane, John the Painter declared, according to Baldwin's evidence, had encouraged him to set fire to the dockyards of Plymouth and Portsmouth, Woolwich and Chatham, as the most effectual means of disabling Great Britain; that he gave him bills to the amount of three hundred pounds on a merchant in London, and promised to reward him according to the amount of service he should do to the American cause. Before his execution he freely admitted the truth of the charges against him. He confessed to having twice attempted to fire the dockyard at Plymouth, and to burning the warehouses at Bristol, having in vain endeavoured to deposit his combustibles on board the ships. He, moreover, stated that he had a recommendation from Silas Deane to Dr. Bancroft, in London, to whom he had declared that he would do all the harm he could to England; that the doctor did not approve of his conduct, but had, at his request, promised not to betray him.
    But Nelson had now tracked the French to their goal, and was preparing to annihilate their fleet. Admiral Brueys, unable to enter the harbour of Alexandria, had anchored his ships in the Bay of Aboukir, in a semicircular form, so close in shore that he deemed it impossible for ships of war to thrust themselves between him and the land. He had altogether thirteen ships of war, including his own flagship of one hundred and twenty guns, three of eighty, and nine of seventy-four, flanked by four frigates and a number of gunboats, with a battery of guns and mortars on an island in the van. Nelson had also thirteen men-of-war and one five-gun ship, but the French exceeded his by about forty-six guns, three thousand pounds' weight of metal, considerably more tonnage, and nearly five thousand men. No sooner did Nelson observe the position of the French fleet than he determined to push his ships between it and the shore. No sooner was this plan settled than Nelson ordered dinner to be served, and on rising from table said, "Before this time to-morrow I shall have gained a peerage, or Westminster Abbey." It was half-past five o'clock on the afternoon of the 1st of August, 1798, when this celebrated battle was commenced. As the British vessels rounded a shoal, to take up their position, the battery of the island played upon them; but this ceased as they came near the French line of vessels, lest they should damage their own countrymen. Unfortunately, Nelson lost the use of the Culloden, a seventy-four, commanded by Captain Trowbridge, which struck on a ledge of rocks, and could not be got off in time for the engagement. Nelson's own vessel was the first that anchored within half pistol-shot of the Spartiate, the third ship of the French line. The conflict immediately became murderous, and Nelson received a severe wound on the head, which compelled him to go below. The battle continued with a terrible fury till it was so dark that the only light the combatants had to direct their operations was the flashes of their own broadsides. At ten o'clock the Orient, Admiral Brueys' own great ship, was discovered to be on fire. He himself had fallen, killed by a cannon-shot. The stupendous ship continued to burn furiously, lighting up the whole scene of action. At eleven it blew up, with an explosion which shook the contending fleets like the shock of an earthquake, and with a stunning noise that caused the conflict instantly to cease. A profound silence and a pitchy darkness succeeded for about ten minutes. Nelson, wounded as he was, had rushed upon deck before the explosion, to order every possible succour to be given to the shrieking sufferers in the burning ship, and many of the crew had been got into boats and saved. The cannonade was slowly resumed, but when morning dawned two French ships and two frigates only had their colours flying and were able to get away, none[468] of the British vessels except the Zealous being in a condition to give chase. The two ships of the line and one of the frigates were afterwards intercepted by our Mediterranean fleet, so that of all this fine fleet only one frigate escaped. Had Nelson not been wounded, and had Captain Trowbridge been able to bring up his ship, probably not even that frigate would have got away. The British took eight vessels of the line; the rest were destroyed in one way or other. The loss of the British, in killed and wounded, was eight hundred and ninety-five; of the French, in killed, wounded, and prisoners, was nine thousand eight hundred and thirty. Brave Brueys, as has been stated already, was slain. Captain Westcott, of the Majestic, was the only commander of a ship who fell. Such was the victory of Aboukir; but "victory," said Nelson, "is not a name strong enough for such a sceneit is a conquest!" Fortunately for the French, Admiral Brueys had secured the transports and store-ships in shallow water in the port of Alexandria, where Nelson could not come at them for want of small craft. Half-a-dozen bomb ships would have destroyed them all, and have left Buonaparte totally dependent on the Egyptians for supplies. And these he must have collected by force, for now the news of the destruction of his fleet was spread over all Egypt by bonfires, kindled by the Arabs, along the coast and far inland. He was cut off from communication with France. On the 22nd of October the people of Cairo rose on the French, and endeavoured to massacre them; but the French took a bloody vengeance, sweeping them down with grape-shot, pursuing them into their very mosques, and slaughtering in one day five thousand of them.

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