« ZurückWeiter »
THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.
1. NAVAL WAR— ADMIRAL SIR JOHN DUCKWORTH AT CONSTANTI
NOPLE.-2. BRITISH EXPEDITION TO EGYPT.-3. CAPTURE OF RACOA.-4. BRITISH EXPEDITION TO MONTE VIDEO.-5. RUSSIAN AND TURKISH FLEETS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN.-6. AFFAIRS IN THE BALTIC.-7. WAR IN POLAND. - 8. BATTLE OF PREUSSISCHEYLAU - AFFAIR AT OSTROLENKA. - 9. SIEGE OF DANTZIG. 10. SIEGE OF STRALSUND.-11. CONVENTION OF BARTENSTEIN.12. RESUMPTION OF HOSTILITIES.-13. BATTLE OF HEILSBERG.14. BATTLE OF FRIEDLAND.-15. THE RAFT AT TILSIT.-16. REVOLUTIONS AT CONSTANTINOPLE.-17. WAR IN THE BALTIC.-18. BRITISH CONJUNCT EXPEDITION SENT AGAINST COPENHAGENDANISH FLEET CAPTURED. — 19. CAPTURE OF HELIGOLAND. — 20. NAPOLEON RETURNS TO FRANCE-SENDS AN ARMY INTO THE PENINSULA. - 21. A FRENCH ARMY, UNDER JUNOT, TAKES POSSESSION OF PORTUGAL-THE ROYAL FAMILY EMIGRATE TO RIO DE JANEIRO.-22. WAR IN ITALY. NAPOLEON REPAIRS THITHER ON A VISIT. — 23. COLONIAL WAR.-24. NAVAL WAR-RUSSIAN FLEET.-25. BRITISH SINGLE SHIP AND BOAT ACTIONS. - 26. NAVAL WAR IN THE INDIAN OCEAN.-27. SPAJN.
1. NAVAL WAR-ADMIRAL SIR JOHN DUCKWORTH AT
CONSTANTINOPLE. In anticipation of a rupture of the negotiations which had been going on with the Porte, the British Admiralty had directed ViceAdmiral Lord Collingwood, who commanded in the Mediterranean, to despatch a force to the Dardanelles, under the orders of Vice-Admiral Sir John Duckworth. Lord Collingwood was not pleased with the positive nomination from home of a junior officer to this service; nevertheless, with his characteristic patriotism, he determined to contribute, by every means in his power, to its success. Accordingly, on the 15th of January, Sir John parted company with the fleet in the “Royal George," 100, Captain Dalling Dunn, bearing his flag, having under him the “ Windsor Castle,” 98, Captain Boyles; “Repulse,” 74, Captain Hon. Arthur Legge; “ Ajax,” 74, Captain Hon. Henry Blackwood; “Pompée,” 77, Captain Dacres, VOL. II.
AFFAIRS AT CONSTANTINOPLE.
with the flag of the Rear-Admiral, Sir Sidney Smith ; and on the 10th of February these ships joined Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Louis's squadron off Tenedos, thus forming a force consisting of 8 sail of the line, 2 frigates, and 2 bomb vessels. The Russian Ad- i miral, Seniavin, had been at the same time directed to send 4 of his 1 line-of-battle ships to serve under Sir John Duckworth in the expedition, but they had not yet joined the fleet. On the 14th a melancholy accident befel the “ Ajax” while on this station. At 9 at night, just after the captain had retired to rest, the ship took fire, and, in defiance of every attempt to stifle it by the officers and men, it burned the whole night, and blew up with an awful explosion at 5 in the evening of the 15th. It is feared that 250 souls perished on board.
Mr. Arbuthnot, the British Ambassador, found himself in so cri. tical a situation at the Turkish capital after the departure of his Russian colleague, that, with the Seven Towers in his sight, he thought it best to quit his post, and seek greater safety by embarking secretly on board the “ Endymion," on the 29th of January, with all his embassy and the principal British merchants at Constanti. nople. No opposition was offered to the departure of the British frigate, which passed under the very stern of the Capudan-Pacha's flag-ship, and carried Mr. Arbuthnot to Tenedos, where he joined the British fleet. From this island he proposed to the Ministers of the Porte to continue negotiations, and Feyzi-Effendi was commissioned with full powers to proceed with the Capudan-Pacha to treat with the British Ambassador. While, however, the civilians were thus engaged, the British Vice-Admiral, with his fleet, having weighed on the 19th, steered for the entrance of the Dardanelles ; but when the leading ship, the “ Canopus," 80, bearing the flag of Sir T. Louis, arrived abreast of the outer castles, both of them opened fire. None of the British ships, however, returned a shot, until, reaching the inner castles, they opened fire at point blank with good effect. The fire was then continued by the ships of the fleet as they passed up in succession. A new missile was at this time employed against the shipping, viz. immense blocks of marble, 800 lbs. weight, which were fired from cavities hewn into the native rocks, and made such breaches in the ship's sides that, had they hit between wind and water, they must have sunk them. As it was, very little injury was effected, and the vessels passed on into the Sea of Marmora, and, singularly enough, in the midst of these hostilities, Mr. Arbuthnot, the British negotiator, and Italinski, the Russian, were on board the flag-ship of the British Admiral; the Capudan-Pacha was in Sestos, the castle of Europe; and Feyzi-Effendi was in Abydos, the castle of Asia. General Sebastiani, the French Ambassador, more advantageously for his interests, resided in the Turkish capital.
A little above the castle of Abydos the Turkish fleet, consisting of 1 64-gun ship with a Rear-Admiral's flag, i 40-gun frigate with the flag of the Capudan-Pacha, and 3 other frigates, with 4 corvettes, became visible, and Duckworth sailed forward to attack
TURKEY COALESCES WITH FRANCE.
it. On observing the approach of the British, one of the corvettes was seen to cut her cables and make instant sail for Constantinople with the intelligence. The British van, consisting of “ Canopus," “Repulse," “ Royal George,” and “ Windsor Castle," stood on and anchored 3 miles forward, between the Castles and Point Pesquies or Nagara-Burun, on which stood a formidable battery of 30 guns, but too distant to do them injury. Rear-Admiral Sir Sidney Smith, with “ Pompée," “ Thunderer," “ Standard,” and frigates, dashed into the midst of the Turkish squadron, and at once opened fire upon them with such effect that, after half-an-hour's cannonading, the 64 ran on shore on the Asiatic side of the straits, and in about four hours the rest of the ships were driven off the coast and blown up, with the exception of one small corvette and a gun-boat, which it was thought proper to preserve. As the redoubt on Nagara still maintained its fire on the van, and a considerable body of Asiatic troops, both horse and foot, now appeared upon the hills, the Royal Marines and boats' crews were landed, who immediately assailed the battery, set fire to the gabions, and spiked the guns; while another portion advanced against and dispersed the troops, from whom Lieutenant Oates, of the Marines, captured their great green standard. The Admiral, having thus cleared the bay of every obstacle, weighed, and entering the Sea of Marmora with his whole fleet, anchored off the Prince's islands at 10 at night of the 20th.
At noon of the 20th Ysak Bey, a minister of the Porte, came off to the flag-ship to see the British Ambassador; but the consternation in the city had, during the day, arisen to such a height that the Capudan-Pacha and Feyzi-Effendi were both sacrificed; and a high officer was sent to General Sebastiani to apprise him that the capital was defenceless against such a force as had been brought against it, and that the Porte had no alternative but to concede all the demands addressed by the English Ambassador and Admiral. The French General received the officer in full state, surrounded by all his embassy, and, with great dignity and courage, returned for answer : “ Je ne quitterai point Constantinople, et j'attends avec confiance une décision plus digne de Sultan Selim et de la nation Turque ; dites à votre puissant monarque qu'il ne voudra pas descendre du haut-rang où l'ont placé ses glorieux ancêtres en livrant à quelques vaisseaux Anglais une ville de 900,000 âmes, qui a des armes, des munitions, et des vivres qui peut les foudroyer." The Divan assembled at night in the Seraglio was electrified hy this energetic reply, and, taking courage from despair, sent a new message to invite Sebastiani to their conference. The Ambassador offered his own services and those of all the officers of his nation to render the city defensible, if Selim would reject the propositions of England, and the Turkish monarch accepted them. In the early morning the whole city was already in motion, and every exertion made to render the immense resources of the capital available for its defence. The Sultan himself, on foot, encouraged the Mussulmans with his presence ; his ministers scattered money and rewards amongst them. Latour-Mauburg, Lablanche, and Pontecoulant, of the French
PREPARATIONS TO RESIST THE ENGLISH.
Embassy, exerted themselves with their hands and with their counsel; and even the Spanish Ambassador, Almenara, gave his countenance to the work.
The British Admiral had openly threatened violence against the city, and Mr. Arbuthnot, as a last act of vigour, had sent in a demand, which was to be replied to in half-an-hour ; but, falling sick, he could attend to no more business, and left all to be carried out by Sir John Duckworth. Thus, this singular state of things had arisen — that to a French General and a British Admiral were committed the independence or fall of the Turkish Empire. Duckworth was no match with the Frenchman in diplomacy, for Sebastiani dictated a reply to the summons, cleverly prolonging the discussion, while he urged forward the preparations for defence. The officers on board the fleet could see with their glasses that the Turks were warping ships of war towards the city, and constructing batteries along the coast ; and the Admiral accordingly put new terms to his pen, but waiting as he writes for “a commanding breeze,” he still delayed to open his guns, which would have blown up all the French Ambassador's schemes, and sent him to the Seven Towers. On the 24th a proposal was made from the Turks that the Admiral should land at Kadekoi, in Asia, and proceed with the negotiation there. On the 27th it was discovered that the Turks were actually raising a battery on Proti, one of the Prince's islands, and the nearest to the anchorage of the British squadron ; then the Marines of the squadron were landed under Captain Kent, and had some sharp fighting with the Turks, in which they lost 2 officers and 5 men killed, and 2 officers and 17 men wounded ; but while they were astonished at the vigour of the opposition made to their attack, they were not at the moment aware that General Sebastiani himself was on the island, directing its defence, with the Chief Aga of the Janissaries at his side.
To the apathy of the modern Mussulman all the excitement of the Mahometan of former times had succeeded, so that, in four days, upwards of 400 pieces were taken from the well-supplied arsenals of Constantinople, and placed in battery. The Tower of Leander was armed with artillery of great calibre, and prepared for throwing hot shot. A hundred gun-boats defended the Golden Horn between Pera and the Seraglio. Ismail Pacha, a former vizier, was sent to the Dardanelles, to see to the condition of the castles, in case the British fleet should endeavour to retreat; many of the new forts had been completed, and many were in a forward state; and the whole line of the coast now presented a linked chain of batteries. Twelve Turkish line-of-battle ships, two of them 3-deckers, now appeared on the scene with their sails bent, and filled with troops.
The astonished British Admiral, waiting for the "commanding wind” to bombard the town, all of a sudden awoke to the danger of his own situation and of the squadron under his command, and resolved to lose no more precious time in getting clear of the Dardanelles. On the 1st of March he weighed anchor with his whole fleet, but, with that rather hectoring spirit which somewhat foolishly influ1807.] INFLUENCE OF SEBASTIANI WITH THE DIVAN.
ences brave commanders often when they had better be more discreet, he stood on and off during the day to afford the Turks an opportunity of attacking him. The wily diplomatist chuckled at this wanton defiance of the British tar, but made such use of the twelve additional hours thus afforded him, as should make the Admiral stagger in his retreat. It now appeared that the presence of the fleet in the Turkish waters had ceased to influence the submission of the Porte, and, since it was necessary to abandon the hope of making an amicable arrangement, it was deemed useless to make any further hostile demonstrations; therefore the Admiral ordered all sail to be made, but that the ships should maintain the order of battle, and clear for action. The fleet reached Nagara towards the evening of the 2nd, and, deeming daylight preferable for passing the castles, anchored there for the night. On the 3rd, in the morning, the fleet weighed again, but, somewhat absurdly, thinking to propitiate the Turks, whom he had first bullied and was now flying from, Sir John Duckworth fired a salute of 13 guns. This produced an immediate return fire of a very different kind from all the castles and batteries, which, with one accord, poured marble, granite, iron, balls, and shell on the devoted squadron. The ships smartly returned the fire, and with a rapidity and precision that astonished and disconcerted the Turkish bombadiers. But the stone shot crushed the shipping: one struck the “ Repulse," on which it caused a loss of 20 men to one shot, and also wounded the main-mast, broke the wheel, and did other serious damage. Another struck the "Canopus,” carried away her wheel, and wounded 3 men. The “ Royal George” had one of these missiles stuck fast in her catwater. A stone shot weighing 800 lbs. struck the main-mast of the “ Windsor Castle," and cut it nearly through ; another, measuring 6 feet 8 inches in circumference, entered the lower deck of the “Standard," and set on fire the salt boxes, causing an explosion that badly wounded more than 50 persons; the “ Active” received a granite shot through her side, which lodged close to the magazine, but did not injure a man ; the “ Meteor” bomb-vessel, being cast off by her tow-ship, was exposed for a long time to the fire of the batteries, and everyone expected to see her blown into the air, because her magazines were situated above water; but, although the stone shot flew about her in all directions, and often struck her hull, she got past the castles with the loss of 1 officer and 7 men wounded. The total loss sustained by the fleet in its passage through the Dardanelles was 46 killed and 235 wounded, and it was about noon when the British fleet anchored off Cape Janizary, out of the reach of further molestation; here Sir John Duckworth was joined by Admiral Siniavin with 8 Russian sail of the line.
After the departure of the English fleet the influence of General Sebastiani with the Divan became unbounded ; and Napoleon was so delighted at his chivalrous conduct, by means of which he had escaped from a very serious political dilemma, that he despatched without delay orders to Marmont, in Illyria, to accede to any demands made upon him for assistance by Sebastiani, even to the