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    For a short time quiet prevailed, as if the nation, and Europe, too, were stunned by the news of the execution of the king. In spite of the loud talk of the Jacobins and sansculottes throughout France, there was a startled sense of terrora foreboding of calamity. In La Vende there was intense horror and indignation. Abroad, every monarchy seemed thrown into a new attitude by the death of Louis. Spain and England, which had maintained a careful neutrality, assumed a threatening aspect. Germany, which had not yet federally allied itself with the movements of Austria and Prussia, became agitated with resentment; and Holland, by the fear of suffering the fate of Belgium. The axe which severed the head of Louis from his body seemed to sever every international sympathy with France. In England, the sensation on the news of the execution was profound. People in general had not believed that the French would proceed to such an extremity with a monarch of so inoffensive a character. The crime seemed to verify all the predictions and the denunciations of Burke. There was, except amongst a certain class of almost frantic Republicans, a universal feeling of abhorrence and execration. There was a gloomy sense of approaching war; a gloomy sense, as if the catastrophe was a national rather than a foreign one. Pitt had hitherto maintained a position of neutrality. He had contrived to avoid giving any support to the royal family of France, which must have produced immediately hostile consequences, but he had not failed, from time to time, to point out in Parliament the atrocious conduct of the French revolutionists, which justified all the prophecies of Burke, and threw shame on the laudatory language of Fox.

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    Buonaparte's army now occupied the city and the right bank of the Danube. The archduke arrived, and posted himself on the left bank. The river was swollen with the spring rains and the melting of the snow in the mountains. All the bridges had been broken down by which Buonaparte might cross to attack the Austrians before they were joined by their other armies. Buonaparte endeavoured to throw one over at Nussdorf, about a league above Vienna, but the Austrians drove away his men. He therefore made a fresh attempt at Ebersdorf, opposite to which the Danube was divided into five channels, flowing amongst islands, the largest of which was one called Lobau. Here he succeeded, the Archduke Charles seeming unaware of what he was doing, or taking no care to prevent it. On the 20th of May the French began to cross, and deployed on a plain between the villages of Aspern and Esslingen. Thirty thousand infantry had crossed before the next morning, and six thousand horse, and they were attacked by the Austrians, near the village of Aspern, about four in the afternoon. The battle was desperately contested on both sides. The villages of Aspern and Esslingen were taken and retaken several times. The struggle went on with great fury, amid farm-yards, gardens, and enclosures, and waggons, carts, harrows, and ploughs were collected and used as barricades. Night closed upon the scene, leaving the combatants on both sides in possession of some part or other of these villages. On the following morning, the 22nd, the fight was renewed, and, after a terrible carnage, the French were driven back on the river. At this moment news came that the bridge connecting the right bank with the islands was broken down, and the communication of the French army was in danger of being altogether cut off. Buonaparte, to prevent this, retreated into the island of Lobau with the whole of the combating force, and broke down the bridge which connected the islands with the left bank behind them. The Austrians followed keenly upon them in their retreat, and inflicted a dreadful slaughter upon them. Marshal Lannes had both his legs shattered by a cannon-ball, and was carried into the island in the midst of the mle; General St. Hilaire also was killed. The loss in killed and wounded on both sides amounted to upwards of forty thousand. For two days Napoleon remained on the island, with his defeated troops, without provisions, and expecting hourly to be cut to pieces. General Hiller earnestly pressed the Archduke Charles to allow him to pass the Danube, by open force, opposite to the isle of Enzersdorf, where it might be done under cover of cannon, pledging himself to compel the surrender of Buonaparte and his army. But the archduke appeared under a spell from the moment that the fighting was over. Having his enemy thus cooped up, it was in his power to cut off all his supplies. By crossing the river higher or lower, he could have kept possession of both banks, and at once have cut off Buonaparte's magazines at Ebersdorf, under Davoust, from which he was separated by the inundation. By any other general, the other armies under his brother would have been ordered up by express; every soldier and every cannon that Austria could muster within any tolerable distance would have been summoned to surround and secure the enemy, taken at such disadvantage. In no other country but Austria could Napoleon have ever left that island but as a prisoner with a surrendered army.

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    On the 8th of July an extraordinary Privy Council was summoned. All the members, of whatever party, were desired to attend, and many were the speculations as to the object of their meeting. The general notion was that it involved the continuing or the ending of the war. It turned out to be for the announcement of the king's intended marriage. The lady selected was Charlotte, the second sister of the Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Apart from the narrowness of her education, the young princess had a considerable amount of amiability, good sense, and domestic taste. These she shared with her intended husband, and whilst they made the royal couple always retiring, at the same time they caused them to give, during their lives, a moral air to their court. On the 8th of September Charlotte arrived at St. James's, and that afternoon the marriage took place, the ceremony being performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. On the 22nd the coronation took place with the greatest splendour.

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    But this was not the only chastisement which the Americans had received. On the 27th Captain Gordon, of the Seahorse, accompanied by other vessels, attacked Alexandria, situated lower on the Potomac. They found no resistance from Fort Washington, built to protect the river at that point; and the authorities of Alexandria delivered up all public property, on condition that the private property should be spared. The British carried off the naval and ordnance stores, as well as twenty-one vessels, of different freights. On the 12th of September General Ross made an[111] assault on the city of Baltimore. This was a strongly fortified place, and the Americans can always fight well under cover; and, on that account, the attempt should have been made with due military approaches. But General Ross had so readily dispersed the army that defended Washington, and another which had been drawn up in front of Baltimore, that he made a rash endeavour to carry the place at once, but was killed in the attempt, as well as a considerable number of his men. He had inflicted a loss of six or eight hundred men, in killed and wounded, on the Americans; but this was little satisfaction for his own loss.

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