Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

very, beyond what ever disgraced and insulted any nation! Is it possible, then, that any heart nurtured in the blessed air of Ireland can look to French protection for happiness? Is it possible there can be one head so organized as not to see from the evidence of facts for the last few years, that the liberty, which the French offer, is but another term for abjection and slavery? I am not sounding the trumpet of war-There is no man who more sincerely deprecates its calamities than I do, soldier as I am, and ready to serve my country-Yet if necessity should force us to the conflict, I trust we shall prove to the audacious foe, that British veins still glow with the same blood which vivified the spirit of our ancestors ; and that British bosoms still burn with the same patriotic ardor which actuated them in every former period of their annals.”

After some farther observations of a similar tendency, his Lordship said, “ Whatever may await us, let us meet the peril with intrepid firmness. Danger is a giant to those who fear, but a pigmy to those who know not what fear is; and confident I am, that the spirit of the country will be roused to dreadful vengeance against those who shall dare to provoke it.—The spirit of Englishmen and of Irishmen will manifest, will teach the enemy, that he has mistaken their character, and from their disposition to peace falsely inferred their aversion to war. Let the views of France be what they may, she will find herself greatly deceived in her expectations with regard to assistance or co-operation in any part of the United Kingdom: her views will never be seconded by any but a desperate and impotent rabble.”

His Lordship then adverted to the stability acquired by the Union of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland; and enlarged in the most impressive manner on the valor of those several branches of the empire, on the identity of interests which knit them together, and the impossibility of any enemy prevailing against them, while they

continued firmly united to each other. He trusted that every man in the country would exert himself for the maintenance of the national fame, and observed, “ That there was no man so humble as not to be called upon to vindicate in his own person the honor, the interest, the character, and the glory of the British empire.”

MILITARY HARANGUES.

The ancient Historians seldom give an account of any important battle, to which they do not prefix some strong persuasive to heroic exertion, from the commander, whose eloquence may thus be supposed to contribute to his victory. In modern times, these incentives to military ardor are commonly conveyed to the troops in the form of “ GENERAL ORDERS,” the only way indeed, in which they can be well communicated to very numerous armies. But whatever animation, whatever degree of electrical fire may be infused into such orders, the stroke is never so impressive as when it immediately issues from the lips of a favourite general. I shall subjoin a few examples of both, and need make no apology for giving the first place to the celebrated Speech, which SHAKESPEARE ascribes to

HENRY V.

AT THE

SIEGE OF HARFLEUR,

AISTORICAL ILLUSTRATIONS.

It was the dying injunction of the late king (Henry IV.] to his son, not to allow the English to remain long in peace, which was apt to breed intestine commotions ; but to employ them in foreign expeditions, by which the prince might acquire honor; the nobility, in sharing his danger, might attach themselves to his person ; and all the restless spirits find occupation for their inquietude. The natural disposition of the young king sufficiently inclined him to follow this advice; and the civil disorders of France in 1415 opened a full career to his ambition. Having invited all the nobility and military mcn in the kingdom to attend him, he put to sea with a large force, and landed near Harfleur, on the 14th of August, at the head of 6,000 men at arms, and 24,000 foot, mostly archers. He immediately began the siege of that place, which was valiantly defended by several of the French nobility; but as the garrison was weak, and the fortifications in bad repair, they were at last obliged to offer terms of capitulation, in which they engaged to surrender, if they should not receive any succour before the eighteenth of September. The day came, and there was no appearance of a French army to relieve them. Yet they still delayed, upon various pretences, to open their gates; till HENRY, incensed at their breach of faith, ordered a general assault, took the town by storm, and put most of the garrison to the sword. It was upon this occasion, that he is supposed to have addressed his men thus :

“ Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
“ Or close the wall up with the English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility :
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
« Then imitate the action of the tiger ;
“ Stiffen the sinews; summon up the blood ;
“ Disguise fair nature with hard-favor'd rage ;
“ Then lend the eye a terrible aspect :
" Let it pry through the portage of the head,
“ Like the brass cannon ; let the brow o'erwhelm it,
“ As fearfully as doth a galled rock,
“ O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
“ Swill’d with the wide and wasteful ocean.

Now set the teeth, and stretch the nostril wide ;
“ Hold hard the breath, and bend up every spirit
To his full height. Now on, you noblest English!
~ Whose blood is fetch'd from fathers of war-proof-
" Fathers, that, like so many ALEXANDERS,
“ Have in these parts from morn till even fought,
“ And sheath'd their swords, for lack of argument :
“ Dishonor not your mothers; now attest,
“ That those, whom you call fathers, did beget you.
“ Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
" And teach them how to war; and you, good yeomen,
“ Whose limbs were made in England, shew us here
" The mettle of your pasture : let us swear
“ That you are worth your breeding, which I doubt not ;
“For there is none of you so mean and base,
" That hath not noble lustre in your eye.
“ I see you stand like greyhounds on the slips,
“ Straining upon the start. The game's a-foot :
“ Follow your spirit; and upon this charge,
“ Cry, God for Harry, England, and St. George !"

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

It was with the remains of this brave army, wasted by the fatigues of the siege, and the unusual heat of the season, harassed on their march towards Calais by flying parties of the enemy, and languishing with sickness as well for want of proper provisions, that the gallant HENRY obtained in about three weeks after, the memorable victory in the plains of Agincourt over a French army four times more numerous, headed by the Dauphin and all the princes of the blood, and plentifully supplied with every requisite. This battle is well described by Mr. Hume in the nineteenth Chapter, and third Volume of his History of England.

GENERAL WOLFE's SPEECH

TO HIS

ARMY BEFORE QUEBEC.

HISTORICAL ILLUSTRATIONS.

On the twenty-sixth of June 1759, the armament destined for the invasion of Canada, under the command of general Wolfe, arrived at the island of Orleans, formed by the branches of the river St. Lawrence, and extending to the bason of Quebec. The situation of this city along the base, and the summit of a lofty rock; was supposed to render it on one side inaccessible. It was protected, on the other, by the river St. Charles, the channel of which is rough, and broken, and its borders intersected with ravines. On the left bank of this river the French army, amounting to about 10,000 men, commanded by M. de MontCALM, were posted; the encampment extending to the river of Montmorenci to the east, and their rear covered with impenetrable woods. Wolfe perfectly sensible that, unless the enemy could be brought to a decisive engagement, his enterprise must prove abortive, resolved, after some feints in vain made to induce his able and cautious antagonist to relinquish this advantageous post, to attack the French in their entrenchments on the last day of July. The plan of the assault, however judicious, was effectually disconcerted by the irregular impetuosity of the English grenadiers; and WOLFE was compelled to retreat with considerable loss. This disaster made a deep impression on his lofty and susceptible mind. He was observed often to sigh; and to his intimate friends, he declared his determination to die rather than to endure the

« ПредишнаНапред »