陆军:昼夜狙击 锤炼“一击毙敌”制胜本领

In Ireland, the influence of the free notions of France was already become broadly manifest, and though it resulted in no unconstitutional act, it wonderfully invigorated the resentment of the Irish against corruptions of Government. These truly demanded reprehension and reform; but the Government of Pitt was strong, and set both Ireland and reform at defiance. The Marquis of Buckingham, the Lord-Lieutenant, was recalled, because he had not been able to repress the movement in the Irish Parliament on the Regency question. The Earl of Westmoreland was sent in his place; but the Parliament still showed its resentment as strongly as ever, and proceeded to delve vigorously into the sink of Government corruption, and demand numerous corrections of abuses. Direct motions on the subject were made in both Houses; in the Peers by Lord Portarlington, in the Commons by Grattan, and, in truth, the ministerial abuses of the Irish Government were disgraceful. Grattan, on the 1st of February, pointed out the increased number of commissioners of revenue, and moved that his Majesty be addressed to inquire by whose advice this had been done. Next the increase of the Pension List came under discussion; then the granting of no less than fourteen Government offices to members of the Irish Commons. Lastly was noticed the paltry withdrawal of Lord Strangford's pension of four hundred pounds, which had been granted him at the request of the Irish House of Lords, in consequence of his small income, because he had voted against Ministers on the Regency Bill, at the same time that numbers of men who were[373] not Irishmen, and had never done anything for Ireland or any other country, were saddled on the Irish revenue in a variety of sinecure posts and pensions. All these motions, however, were rejected by large Ministerial majorities. [See larger version]

On the 5th of June, the day after the king's birthday, Pitt introduced his plan of military defence. It was to leave the militia what it was, but to increase the regular army by making it compulsory on parishes to furnish each a certain number of men to what was called the Army of Reservea body called out for five years, and only to be employed within the United Kingdom. He desired to break down the distinctions between this and the regular army by attaching the Reserve to the Regulars as second battalions, and encouraging volunteering thence into the Regulars. This was known as the Additional Force Bill, which was denounced by the Opposition as veiled conscription. In other ways, notably by the erection of his martello towers, Pitt set himself to rouse the spirit of the nation, in face of the very real danger of invasion.

Meanwhile, Colonel Thornton, though delayed, and with only a handful of men, still pushed on towards the battery, surprised the Americans, who expected no attack in that quarter, and carried it against overwhelming numbers. When about to turn the captured guns against the enemy, a messenger came in haste to say that Pakenham had fallen, and the attacking force had retired. But Thornton would not retrace his steps without carrying off a good quantity of the artillery, amongst which was a howitzer, inscribed, "Taken at the surrender of Yorktown, 1781." On his return to the main body, which he did without any pursuitfor even so small a band the Americans did not venture to pursueit was found that he had had but three men killed and forty wounded, he himself being amongst the latter.

The Ministry of Addington was felt to be utterly inadequate to the difficulties of the times. The country felt that Pitt or Fox must soon be called to the helm. Addington had shown a desire to strengthen his administration by bringing into it George Tierney, whom he had appointed Treasurer of the Navy and a Privy Councillor. Pitt, who had an intense dislike to Tierneywith whom he had, in 1798, fought a duelshowed increasing determination, from the introduction of Tierney to the Cabinet, to oppose the Ministry of Addington with all his vigour. An opportunity was given him on the 27th of February. The Hon. Sir Charles Yorke, the Secretary-at-War, had introduced a Bill for consolidating all the existing laws respecting the volunteers. In the debate on the second reading of this Bill on this day, a question was incidentally introduced by Sir Robert Lawley as to the exact state of the king's health, which, he said, concerned the safety of the country as much as the affairs of the volunteers. Fox followed up this idea, and demanded more perfect information on this subject from Ministers. He declared that the House had no information on this important subject, and he asked whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer really had any. He supported the motion for an adjournment which Sir Robert Lawley had made, in order that the House might be put in possession of the truth. Fox made it felt that he was looking forward to the fact of a regency. Addington, on this, declared that there was no necessity for any serious measures, that he was persuaded that the king's indisposition would be of short duration. Pitt made some strong observations on the conduct[495] of Ministers in keeping Parliament in the dark on this head, though he opposed the adjournment.

A Commission had been appointed to inquire into the Department of Naval Affairs. The Commissioners, at whose head was Mr. Whitbread, had extended their researches so far back as to include the time when Lord Melville, as Mr. Dundas, had presided over that Department. They there discovered some very startling transactions. Large sums of money had been drawn out of the Bank of England on the plea of paying accounts due from the Naval Department; these sums had been paid into Coutts's Bank in the name of the Treasurer of the Navy, Mr. Trotter, who, for long periods together, used these sums for his own benefit. Other large sums had been drawn in the name of Dundas, and had been employed for his profit. Other sums had disappeared, and there was no account showing how they had vanished; but these were scored under the name of Secret Service Money, and Melville declared that the money paid into his account had gone in the same way. As much as forty-eight thousand pounds had been paid over to Pitt at once, and no account given of its expenditure. Indeed, as Pitt had nothing to do with that Department, the payment to him was altogether irregular. These discoveries created a great sensation. George Rose, who had begun life without a sixpence, but who, after attracting the attention of Pitt, had rapidly thriven and become extremely wealthy, had confessed to Wilberforce that some strange jobs had come under his notice as a member of that Department. There was a loud outcry for the impeachment of Melville. Melville appears to have been a jovial, hard-drinking Scotsman, of a somewhat infidel turn, according to Scottish philosophy of that period. Amongst Melville's faults, however, it does not appear that he was of an avaricious character, but rather of a loose morale, and ready to fall in with the licence practised by the officers of all departments of Government in the duties entrusted to them.