东莞土拍为何迎来“开门红”?

The army of Lord Cornwallis, which had so triumphantly pursued Washington through the Jerseys, supposing the Americans now put beyond all possibility of action, if not wholly dispersed, lay carelessly in their cantonments on the left bank of the Delaware. The two main outposts, Trenton and Bordentown, were entrusted to bodies of Hessians. At Trenton lay Colonel Rahl, and at Bordentown Count Donop. As the Christmas of 1776 was approaching, they had abandoned all discipline. The British officers, too, had mostly quitted their regiments, and had gone to enjoy the Christmas at New York, where General Howe was keeping up great hospitality, imagining the war to be fast drawing to a close. But if the English paid no attention to Washington, he was paying every attention to them. His plans arranged, he set out on the evening of Christmas day, 1776, and crossed the river at Mackonkey's Ferry, nine miles above Trenton, to attack that fort. The river was so encumbered with ice that he found it a most arduous undertaking, but he accomplished it with the division immediately under his commandtwo thousand four hundred in number. He continued his march through the night on Trenton, and reached it at about eight o'clock in the morning. A trusted spy had informed him over night, that he had seen the soldiers, both British and Hessians, asleep, steeped in drink. When he arrived, the soldiers still lay sunk in their Christmas debauch; and it was only by the first crash of the cannon that they were roused. When they ran to arms Washington had already invested the town. The brave Colonel Rahl, in his endeavour to form his drunken troops, and lead them on, was mortally wounded by an American rifle, almost at the first discharge. The light horse and a portion of the infantry, who fled on the first alarm, escaped to Bordentown. The main body attempted to retreat by the Princeton Road, but found it already occupied by Colonel Hand and his regiment of Pennsylvanian riflemen. Thus cut off, ignorant of the force opposed to them, and without enthusiasm for the cause, they threw down their arms and surrendered. About a thousand prisoners and six cannon were taken. The Americans had two killed, two frozen to death, and a few wounded. As soon as Washington had refreshed his men, he re-crossed the Delaware, carrying with him his prisoners, the stores he had taken, and the six field-pieces that he brought with him.

There was grave discontent and suffering in France, and Marshal Saxe, through General Ligonier, made proposals for peace. The news of these overtures gave great delight in England, but the king and Cumberland were bent on continuing the war. Pelham and Chesterfield advocated acceptance of the terms, but Newcastle sided with the king, to gain favour with him. As the terms, however, could not with decency be bluntly rejected, Cumberland solicited and obtained the post of negotiator in the matter for England; but the Ministers, desirous of peace, foreseeing that the wishes or the hasty temper of Cumberland would[114] soon ruin every chance of accomplishing a treaty, the Earl of Sandwich was sent over to act as assistant to the duke; this meant that he was to overrule, if possible, the mischief Cumberland would be sure to make. Sandwich accordingly hastened over to Holland, and had a secret interview with the Marquis de Puisieulx, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, and, after much dodging on the part of the marquis, he managed to have the discussion removed from military negotiators to a congress at Aix-la-Chapelle.

They were now only one hundred and twenty-seven miles from the capital, both Wade and Cumberland behind them, and Charles, notwithstanding the conditions on which they had come on from Macclesfield, still confidently and enthusiastically dwelt on the onward march to London, and his certain success. In the morning a council was held, when Lord George Murray appealed to the prince whether they had received the least accession of strength, or the smallest sign of encouragement? Such being the case, what hope was there for them in proceeding? They had barely five thousand men to contend against three armies, amounting at least altogether to thirty thousand. If they got to London before Cumberland, and if they managed to elude the army at Finchley, they had scarcely numbers to take quiet possession of London. But were they forced to fight the king and his army under the walls of the metropolis, they could not do it without loss; and then, supposing Wade and Cumberland to unite behind them, as they certainly would do, how could they hope to contend against them? Assistance from France, as they had pointed out, was hopeless whilst the English had such a force in the Channel. Charles listened to these arguments with undisguised[102] impatience, and the probability is that, had his officers been willing to follow him, and live or die in the enterprise, he would have seized London, and accomplished one of the most brilliant exploits in history.

There were rumours of negotiations going on for a return of Pitt to power; but as Mr. Addington showed no disposition to resign altogether in favour of Pitt, these came to nothing. Already in the previous November Canning and Lord Malmesbury, two of Pitt's most zealous supporters, had set on foot an address to Addington begging him to resign. But this plan was abruptly stopped by Pitt himself, who felt that he was to a certain extent the creator of the Ministry. Now Addington made overtures to Pitt through Dundas, become Lord Melville. But his propositions were absurd. He stipulated that Greville and Windham, who had opposed the Peace of Amiens, should be excluded from the arrangements. He also wished that Pitt's brother, Lord Chatham, should be the nominal Prime Minister, while he and Pitt should be equal secretaries. At this, Pitt put a stop to the envoy's conversation. "Upon my word," he said afterwards, "I had not the curiosity to ask what I was to be." So England engaged in war, with her greatest statesman excluded from office. The strong sense, lively fancy, and smart style of his satires, distinguished also Pope's prose, as in his "Treatise of the Bathos; or, the Art of Sinking in Poetry;" his "Memoirs of P. P., Clerk of this Parish"in ridicule of Burnet's "Own Times"his Letters, etc. In some of the last he describes the country and country seats, and the life there of his friends; which shows that, in an age more percipient of the charm of such things, he would have probably approached nearer to the heart of Nature, and given us something more genial and delightful than anything that he has left us.

At this juncture, while daily desertions thinned Mar's army at Perth, arrived the Pretender. He landed at Peterhead on the 22nd of December. On the 6th of January, 1716, he made his public entry into Dundee, at the head of his cavalcade, the Earl of Mar riding on his right hand, and the Earl Marshal on his left, and about three hundred gentlemen following. His reception was enthusiastic. The people flocked round him to kiss his hands; and to gratify this loyal desire he remained an hour in the market-place. On the 8th he arrived at Scone, and took up his residence in the ancient palace of his ancestors. There he was only two miles from the army, and having established a council, and issued six proclamations, ordering a public thanksgiving for the "miraculous providence" of his safe arrival, for prayers in the church, for the currency of foreign coin, for a meeting of the Convention of Estates, for all fencible men from sixteen to sixty to repair to his standard, and for his coronation on the 23rd of January, he presented himself before the army. But here the scene was changed. Instead of enthusiasm there was disappointmentdisappointment on both sides. The soldiers, who expected to see a royal-looking, active-looking man, likely to encourage them and lead them on their career, beheld a tall, thin, pale, and dejected sort of person, who evidently took no great interest in them. That the Pretender should not exhibit much vivacity was no wonder. He had been assured by Mar that his army had swelled to sixteen thousand men; that the whole North was in his favour; and that he had only to appear to carry everything before him. On inquiring into the force, it turned out to be so miserably small, that the only desire was to keep it out of sight. The spirits of the Pretender fell, and though not destitute of ability, as is manifest by his letters, he had by no means that strength of resolution demanded by such an enterprise. In fact, the chief scene of the war during this year continued to be south. In September, D'Estaing arrived off Savannah, to co-operate with the American forces in recovering that important place. He brought with him twenty-four ships of the line and fourteen frigates, and was moreover attended by a numerous squadron of French and American privateers, besides carrying a considerable body of troops. On learning D'Estaing's approach, General Lincoln and Governor Rutledge began to march their troops towards Savannah, and sent a number of small vessels to enable the French to carry their troops up the river, and land them near the town. General Prevost, commander of the English garrison, made the most active preparations to receive them. D'Estaing had agreed to wait for the arrival of General Lincoln, with the South Carolina force, but, with the want of faith characteristic of the man, on the 12th of September he landed three thousand men, and summoned General Prevost to surrender in the name of the French king. Prevost claimed twenty-four hours to decide, and this time he employed in strengthening his defences. Before the expiration of this time Colonel Maitland, who was on the march for Beaufort with eight hundred veterans, came in, and Prevost returned for answer that he would defend the place to the utmost. On the 16th, General Lincoln arrived, and was greatly incensed to find that D'Estaing had broken the agreement to wait for him, and still worse, had summoned the place in the name of France instead of the Congress. In vain did Poniatowski remonstrate; he had no means of resistance. The Turks could no longer defend themselves from Russian invasion, much less assist Poland. They applied to Frederick to intercede with Catherine for peace for them. Nothing could so entirely suit Frederick's plans. He sent Prince Henry of Prussia to negotiate with Catherine, who took the opportunity to represent to her the advantages to the three great powers, Russia, Prussia, and Austria, strengthening themselves by appropriating portions of Poland. The Russians, relieved from contention with the Poles, now pushed on their victories against the Turks; drove them over the Danube, and seized some of their most fertile provinces. To complete their ruin, they, aided by England, attacked and destroyed their fleet in the Mediterranean.

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