ページの画像
PDF
ePub

merchants and consuls in the port of Syria. The commerce of tire Mediterranean had excited, for several years, uneasy sensations at Constantinople; and the merchants met with opposition in prosecuting their trade. The aversion of the Ottoman government to christians trading in the East, afforded the avaricious Pasha al Jezzar an opportunity of exposing their commerce to severe exactions.

It is not improbable, that after the revolution in France, the agents and merchants of that country might imprudently endeavour to propagate, in Syria, those sentiments of licentious liberty which had distracted their own nation, and which were hostile to the measures of sound government. But whatever were the combined, or immediate reasons for Jezzar's conduct, we know, that, in the year of our Lord 1791, he drove the French merchants from Acre, and from all the ports of the Levant. Only three days were allowed them to prepare for their departure, and they suffered essentially in the loss of fortune. From year to year applications were made, and remonstrances offered, to obtain redress; but every effort was in vain, for the court of Constantinople are not scrupulous about violence and extortion; and their authority, although interposed, might have had little influence with Ahmet Jezzar. He had not then threatened to withdraw his allegiance from the Ottoman court ; but he was too powerful to be forced into compliance with any command of the grand signior. To chastise this proud governor, and take vengeance for the injuries he had done to the merchants and honour of France, Buonaparte had constantly directed his eye toward Syria and Al Jezzar*.” pp. 168-171.

Dr. W. has given a very lucid and satisfactory account of the siege of St. Jean d'Acre.

The siege was renewed with vigour, and, in the evening of April the 25th, another attempt was made to enter the town. A lodgment was effected in the lower part of one of the towers; but the men were annoyed by combustible materials from above; and, by the vigorous exertions of the besieged, the whole attack proved abortive. Under the direction of the British engineres, ravelins, at great hazard, were formed withont the wall of the town, at each end of the enemy's nearest lines, and thus their operations were greatly disconcerted. A countermine was wrought, to destroy the effect of those preparations which the French had made to blow up the counterscarp at a new breach in the wall; but the greatest impediment to the progress of the French arose from the fire of the British vessels, which were so stationed, in the road of St. John d'Acre, that they held the besiegers in considerable check. The Tigre was moored on one side, and the Theseus on the other, so that the cross fire of both flanked the walls of the town, and spread desolation among the enemy's troops. The gun-boats, launches, and other vessels, which could be easily moved by oars, were also mounted with light pieces of artillery, which were employed to great advantage in disconcerting the French. An eighteen pounder in the Lighthouse

: * Volney, tom. i. ch 29, 30; Baldwin's Political Reflections, London; Svo, A. D. 1802 ; and Brownc's Travels, ch. 23.

castle castle, and one of greater caliber, upon the north ravelin, were wrought with considerable effect ; and the management of those guns, both by sea and land, was committed to Lieutenants Brody and Atkinson, Messrs. Joes, Scroder, Jones, and Bray, who all belonged to the Tigre and Th seus.

Upon the 7th of May a fleet of thirty sail made its appearance. They were the ships which Hassan Bey commanded, and which were appointed to have joined the squadron of Sir Sidney Smith off the coast of Alexandria ; but the circumstances of the war had altered their destination, and they were commanded to sail for Acre. If their appearance communicated fresh spirits to Al Jezzar and Sir Sidney Smith, it affected the French commander in chief with increased anxiety, and filled him with mad resolution. Time after time had he endeavoured to storm the town of St. John d'Acre, till the ninth, and last attempt completed the measure of the murderous exploits. The crews of the Turkish vessels were armed with pikes, and led by Sir Sidney Smith to the defence of the town. The troops of Hassan Bey were introduced within the walls, and in the height of the danger, Al Jezzar was persuaded, by the British commodore to vanquish so far the common prejudices of the East, as to throw open the garden gates of the seraglio, and introduce a Turkish regiment to assist the Albanian guards, whom the severities of the siege had greatly reduced in number.

While the conflict was dreadful in the breach, a sortie was made from the town, and on all sides the French were exposed to violent attacks and obstinate resistance. The division of Kleber, which had been recalled from the banks of the Jordan, was not able to triumph with its usual success ; General Lannes was wounded, and several officers were killed. Caffarelli had lately died of his wounds; and now the French had also to lament the similar fate of General Bon. In the mingled multitude of combatants the newly arrived Turks did not accurately distinguish between the uniform of the French and the naval dress of the British : many a sturdy stroke was to be parried by the friends of Al Jezzar ; and the valuable life of Colonel Douglas, as well as several other British officers, was frequently exposed to danger. So hopeless had the attempts of the French now become, that the persevering efforts of their commander in chief were - rather the effects of frantic disappointment than rational zeal. But at length discontentment was visible in his army; the best troops refused to march into certain destruction, and after a siege of sixty days he was forced to abandon his views upon St. John d'Acre.* pp. 191-195.

The causes of the failure of Buonaparte and the consequences of that failure, at Acre, are ably estimated though at too great a length for our insertion.

But we shall present our readers with an account of the last - successfulattack of the British on Alexandria, which expelled the

French froin Egypt.

* Berth. Mem. p. 113, &c. New Ann. Reg. A. D. 1799. Principal Occur.; letter of Sir Sidney Smith, May 9.

The

• The main body of the army was strongly posted upon an abrupt ridge of rocky bills, which ran across the peninsula, from the lake Mareotis to the sea-shore. General Xazonches was placed in the centre: Epler upon the right, protected by the sea and several pieces of cannon; and General Delgorgues had the direction of the left, which was defended by the lake, and two small batteries well mounted. Besides these, the interstices and front were completely supplied with flying artillery. The whole presented a formidable appearance; and an attack upon a place of such strength was deemed hazardous in the extreme; but the lines of the enemy must be forced, or no progress could be made toward taking the town. By dawn of day, therefore, upon the 22d of August, the British troops were under arms, and began to move forward in separate columns. The guards, under the command of Major-general Lord Cavan, marched in two bodies, on the side toward the inundation, and Major. general Ludlow's brigade moved in column near the sea-shore. General Finch's troops were appointed to act as a reserve, and in advance there were cavalry, riflemen, sharp shooters, and artillery. Upon the right, on the lake Mareotis, were four gun-boats, and on the left, in the old harbour of Alexandria, were six sloops of war.

Thus did the army of Major-general Coote march toward the position of the enemy, while the vessels on either side kept rather in advance. When arrived at a proper distance from the lines, a tremendous, and continued roar of musketry and cannon threw the French into consternation. Never, perhaps, was such a scene exhibited, among all the striking displays of military arrangements. Scarcely could such a chain of remarkable circumstances ever be combined, as those which rendered this movement of General Coote's army, grand and awful. They marched in hostile array along a narrow slip of land, bounded upon both sides by an expanse of water; and while the troops fired incessant vollies upon the lines of the enemy, which were directly in front, the cross fire of the gun-boats, and sloops increased the destruction, and made terrible the appearance and effects of that day. Can we be astonished that the French retired from such multiplied messengers of death and does it divest them of a claim to genuine courage, when we venture to assert, on undoubted authority, that they retired, till they found shelter under the walls of Alexandria ? To enjoy such advantages, as the British did, was derived from the circumstances and situation of the peninsula of Marabu ; to seize upon these advantages, and turn them to the best account, was owing to the judgment and foresight of General Coote; and to retreat from such numerous and certain agents of destruction, was rather wişe than timid in the French*. : Seeing himself in imminent danger, General Menou requested to have the space of three days for preparing terms of surrender. pp. 370

374.

[ocr errors]

The work concludes with an account of the natron formed on the lakes of Egypt; of the phænomenon which the French term the mirage; and an estimate of the improvements, which a skilful and vigorous culture might make in the productions of

[ocr errors]

* Captain Walsh, p. 200, &c.; and maps, plate 36 & 37.

the To'p. 401. We perceive that Dr. W. has not sunk the Christian divine in the historian.

Throughout the history our author wisely disdains the meanness of denying all skill or courage to our enemies; for how can this redound to the glory of our country? Or where is the praise of yanquishing mere imbecility and cowardice? Indeed, the historian discovers an almost equal solicitude to emblazon the vanquished French and the victorious Britons. · In recondite information these volumes are deficient, considering the ample stores which former writers had collected; and we must characterize them in general, as popular rather than profound. As it evidently was in the power of the author to give them an inviting form, we regret that he did not enter more into the antiquities of Egypt; that the scholar might in future have recurred to this work as to the focus in which centered the information of preceding writers. This need not have swelled the size or number of the volumes; for it should have occupied the space which is now filled with details remotely, if at all, relative to Egypt.

In point of style, Dr. W. has aimed at the brilliant periods · of Gibbon; but without his native ease, or sovereign command of the language in which he writes. He always labours to be eloquent, and sometimes succeeds. Instances of incorrect and inelegant English are obvious to the eye of criticism, Mistakes in the use of will and shall we expect in a North Britain ; but some false concords which occur indicate haste or carelessness. The repeated use of whither instead of whether, and of suit for suite, together with some unauthorised words and idioms, induce us to recommend to the worthy author an attention to correctness and purity, as an essential prerequisite to elegance.

A map of Egypt accompanies the first volume, but it is not free from errors of spelling, and other negligences. .

ART. XII. Obsolete Ideas. In Six Letters, addressed to Maria, by a

Friend. 12mo. pp. 194. price 36. Seeley. 1805. U NDER this singular title, are comprised some shrewd and

useful observations on the relative conduct of parents and children; the fashionable dissipation of young men, who have been piously educated; the respect due to aged persons; chaste women, and women of character; on the poor in general; and on single women. To the latter two classes, the fair author, though apparently allied to neither, is in every respect very charitably disposed. In proof that a deserving person may be reduced even to beg in the streets, she relates a very pleasing and pathetic story; which we should gladly extract as a specimen of her manner, if our limits admitted. No part of the short table

of contents, probably, may excite the curiosity of our readers, so much as the distinction between chaste women and women of character. When in company with one of the latter description, says this lively writer,

· The housekeeper came into the room to tell her lady that Betty was going : “ And what then?” said the lady,“ you have paid her her wages I suppose.” “ I have, Madam; but I thought, perhaps, you would please to give her something, as I fear she will be greatly distressed.” “ Not a six. pence; and I beg I may never hear of her any more.” The good woman dropped a tear, and withdrew. “What a plague are these servants,” addressing herself to me; “ this Betty is a country girl, a tenant's daughter, that I brought to town about a year since, and the foolish slut has suffered my footman to seduce her, and she is no longer in a situation to keep her place; and this is the third country girl I have had the same trouble with.” “ You must have been very unfortunate * in your footmen, for, of course, you parted with them all on such an occasion." " Parted with them? why it is the same man; he has been with me these seven years, and I would not part with him for all the maids in the kingdom ; he is the cleverest servant I ever had; and he is a fine handsome fellow that sets off his livery. I think a smart servant behind a carriage is as of much consequence to figure as a fine pair of horses.” “But don't you think that a time will come, when you shall be called to an account for your conduct, as mistress of a family?” “I was in hopes your sermon was done. I declare if I was not convinced by every object around me that I am in my own house, I should suppose that I was in the family vault, and that my great-grandmother was reading me a lecture from her sepulchre ; you will preach me into such a humour that I shall but half enjoy the play to night." “ But,” said I, « what is to become of poor Betty?” Let her go down to her friends, if she likes it.” “ But, perhaps, fear or shame may prevent her doing that; what is to become of her then ?" The reply was, “ Now I dare say you would wish me to provide a nursery, and bring up all these brats in my own house.” “ And if you are in the habit of bringing simple country girls into your family, while you keep such a footman, it is the very least you could do, and when done would be an inadequate compensation for the evil you produce.” “ I produce! why you are going to make me accountable for the sins of my footman." " And so you are for all but the first.” “ I think I have heard quite enough; I shall take care of my own reputation, and leave all the Mrs. Bettys to do the same; I must now dress for dinner; will you go to the play with me tonight?" '

By way of contrast, we quote an anecdote connected with the preceding.

"I know a chaste woman who moves in an exalted sphere, to whom I some years ago recommended a young person as nursery-maid ; this lady had a footman, a very clever servant, that her ladyship very much wished to keep for his usefulness; but some little time after the girl had been in the family she wrote to her mother to say that her lady's footman

had taken a very rude liberty with her; this made her mother very un“ easy, and she informed me of the circumstance; I wrote directly to the - VOL. II. '

lady

« 前へ次へ »