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Least of all did the ambitious designs of the Czarina Catherine against Turkey seem menacing to us; yet these designs speedily drew into their current the whole power of Austria, endangered our relations with the countries on the Baltic, and attracted the revolutionary torrent over the fertile plains of the Netherlands, opposite to our own shores, menacing the stability of our allies, the Dutch. Catherine had found the Turks not so easily to be overcome as she imagined, feeble and tottering as she considered their empire. The absorption of the Ottoman kingdom and the establishment of the Muscovite throne at Constantinople had been her confident dream. But the Turks, though in a condition of decline and disorganisation which promised an easy subjugation[350] of them, had still their spirit of fanatic fatalism, which could rouse them to deeds of impetuous valour. The whole organisation and regulations of their army were in the worst condition. The janissaries, which had been amongst the finest infantry in the world, were now thoroughly demoralised and in insolent insubordination towards their own government. Their cavalry was numerous, but wretchedly disciplined. The commissariat was in the worst state conceivable, and their artillery, though it had received the energetic attentions of the French Baron De Toff, was contemptible. It might have appeared that nothing was necessary but to enter Turkey and drive the army, as a disorganised rabble, before the foe. But Catherine had not found it so. Her favourite, Potemkin, had been repeatedly defeated in his attempts to advance into Turkey from the Crimea, and Catherine had been glad to engage Joseph II. of Austria in the enterprise by a promise of an ample share of the spoil. In fact, the pair contemplated something like a partition of Europe. In their meeting at Cherson in 1787, Joseph had engaged to send one hundred thousand men to the campaign against Turkey. He had no quarrel with the Sultan, and though a zealous advocate for national reforms, he paid very little regard to national or international justice. In all his reforms, Joseph, with true Austrian spirit, showed the despot still. He did not attempt to carry such reforms as his subjects desired, but such as he thought proper for them; and he was always ready to force what he deemed liberalism and improvement upon them at the point of the bayonet. In attacking Turkey, he did not wait to proclaim war, much less to have a pretence for it, but he suddenly made a rush upon the neighbouring city and frontier fortress of Belgrade. The Turks, though taken by surprise, defended the place victoriously; and Joseph's subsequent assault on the fortress of Gradiska was equally unsuccessful and equally disgraceful.

Letitia Elizabeth Landon, known as one of the most eminent female poets of her time, by the signature "L. E. L." which she appended to her numerous contributions in the magazines, was born at Hans Place, Chelsea, in 1802. Her "Poetical Sketches" were published first in the Literary Gazette. In 1824 appeared her "Improvisatrice." She was the author of two other volumes of poetry, and of a successful novel. A spirit of melancholy pervades her writings; but it is stated by Mr. L. Blanchard, in the "Life and Literary Remains," which he published, that she was remarkable for the vivacity and playfulness of her disposition. Her poetry ranked very high in public estimation for its lyric beauty and touching pathos; but the circumstances of her early death, which was the subject of much controversy, invested her name with a tragic and romantic interest. In 1838 she was married to Mr. George Maclean, Governor of Cape Coast Castle, but the marriage was unhappy, and she died, shortly afterwards, from an overdose of laudanum.

But meanwhile in Italy the French had been completely successful. Buonaparte reached the French headquarters at Nice on the 26th of March, and immediately set himself to organise and inspirit the forces, which were in great disorder; he found the commissariat also in a deplorable condition. The troops amounted to fifty thousand; the Austrians, under the veteran General Beaulieu, to considerably more. The united army of the Sardinians and Austrians, Beaulieu on the left, d'Argenteau in the centre, and Colli with the Piedmontese division on the right, hastened to descend from the Apennines, to which they had retreated at the end of the last campaign. Beaulieu met the French advanced guard at Voltri, near Genoa, on the 11th of April, and drove it back. But d'Argenteau had been stopped in the mountains by the resistance of a body of French, who occupied the old redoubt of Montenotte. Buonaparte, apprised of this, hurried up additional forces to that point, and defeated d'Argenteau before Beaulieu or Colli could succour him. Having now divided the army of the Allies, Buonaparte defeated a strong body of Austrians under General Wukassowich; and having left Colli and the Piedmontese isolated from their Allies, debouched by the valley of Bormida into the plains of Piedmont. Beaulieu retreated to the Po, to stop the way to Milan; and Buonaparte, relieved of his presence, turned against Colli, who was compelled to retreat to Carignano, near Turin. Trembling for his capital, and with his means exhausted, Victor Amadeus made overtures for peace, which were accepted; the terms being the surrender of all the Piedmontese fortresses and the passes of the Alps into the hands of the French, and the perpetual alienation of Nice and Savoy. This humiliation broke the heart of the poor old king, who died on the 16th of October. Buonaparte, however, did not wait for the conclusion of this peace; the truce being signed, he hastened on after Beaulieu whom he defeated and drove across the Po. Beaulieu next posted himself at Lodi, on the Adda; but Buonaparte, after a fierce contest, drove him from the bridge over the Adda on the 10th of May, and with little further opposition pursued him to Milan. Beaulieu still retreated, and threw himself into the fastnesses of the Tyrol. On the 15th Buonaparte made a triumphal entry into Milan, and immediately sent troops to blockade Mantua. Buonaparte then advanced into the Papal States, rifling the Monti de Piet at Bologna and Ferrara. Everywhere contributions were demanded at the point of the bayonet, and French authorities superseded the native ones. Pius VI. made haste to sue for peace, and it was granted on the most exorbitant terms. Fifteen millions of francs must be paid down in cash, six millions in horses and other requisites for the army. A great number of paintings and statues were to be selected from the galleries of art, and five hundred manuscripts from the library of the Vatican. The provinces of Ferrara and Bologna must be ceded; the port and citadel of Ancona, and all the Papal ports, must be closed against the British. This most costly peace was signed on the 23rd of June, and Buonaparte hastened northward to stop the advance of the army of Wurmser, which had been sent through the Tyrol to compete with the rising Corsican. Wolfe then held a council with his two next in command, the Brigadiers Monckton and Townshend, and they resolved, as a desperate attempt, to move up the river, and thus endeavour to draw Montcalm from his unassailable position. Accordingly, leaving detachments to defend the Isle of Orleans and Point Levi, the rest of the army ascended the St. Lawrence for some miles, and pitched their camp on the right bank. To attract still more attention, Admiral Holmes was ordered to put his vessels in active motion for some days, as if seeking a landing-place higher up the river.[135] This stratagem, however, produced no other result than that of Montcalm sending a detachment of one thousand five hundred men to watch their proceedings. He himself maintained his old ground. But whilst his political efforts did their work in his lifetime, his literary labours are the basis of his present fame. These were almost all produced after his sixtieth year; "Robinson Crusoe," by far the most popular of all his writings and one of the most popular in all the world's literature, "The Dumb Philosopher," "Captain Singleton," "Duncan Campbell," "Moll Flanders," "Colonel Jacque," "The Journal of the Plague," "The Memoirs of a Cavalier," "The Fortunate Mistress; or, Roxana," "The New Voyage round the World," and "Captain Carleton." The life and fidelity to human nature with which these are written have continually led readers to believe them altogether real narratives. The "Journal of the Plague" was quoted as a relation of facts by Dr. Mead; Chatham used to recommend "The Memoirs of a Cavalier" as the best account of the Civil War; Dr. Johnson read the life of "Captain Carleton" as genuine, and we continually see the story of "Mrs. Veal's Ghost," written by Defoe to puff Drelincourt's heavy "Essay on Death," included in collections as a matter-of-fact account of an apparition. This quality of verisimilitude is one of the greatest charms of his inimitable "Crusoe," which is the delight of the young from age to age.