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public feeling, it would have wonderfully increased his popularity; and the abstraction of so many thousand well-tried veterans from the force opposed to his country would have been, though dishonourably obtained, a real and substantial good. All the ad captandum advantages were on the side, not of a treachery, but merely of the permitting one by others, and that, too, well disguised under diplomatic forms. All these considerations he resisted- he saved the French army, but at the same time he saved his country's honour, and advanced his own.
During these momentous concerns, in which Sir Sidney acted so conspicuous, and often the principal part, he found time to exercise his private benevolence. Having been apprized that a young man of the name of Thevenard was among the miserable captives held by the Turks, and knowing that his father was a person of the highest respectability at Toulon, he interested himself successfully for his release. Sir Sidney also provided for his safe conveyance from Rhodes; and, on his arrival, sent him the following characteristic note of invitation.
- On board the Tigre, June 15th, 1800. “ Mr. Thevenard is requested to come and dine with Sir Sidney Smith on board the Tigre,
this day at three o'clock. Sir Sidney takes the liberty to send some clothes, which he supposes a person just escaped from prison may require. The great-coat is not of the best; but, excepting English naval uniforms, it is the only one on board the Tigre, and the same Sir Sidney Smith wore during his journey from the Temple till he reached the sea. It will have done good service if it again serves a similar purpose, by restoring another son to the arms of his aged father dying with chagrin.”
Sir Sidney's kindness did not stop here. He generously completed the good work that he had begun, by supplying him with money and all kind of necessaries, together with a recommendation to his brother, the minister at Constantinople, and to several other persons of respectability in that city.
The conduct of Sir Sidney Smith considered respecting his
concurrence with the convention of El-Arisch-Parliamentary proceedings upon it—Short speech of his late Majesty William IV.
Having brought down our narrative of these transactions to this epoch, it becomes a duty to us to look at home, and see in what light these transactions were viewed by those who possessed the right and the ability to decide upon them. The question very naturally resolved itself into two distinct interrogatories. Firstly, had Sir Sidney Smith the power to do that which he did ? and, secondly, without reference to his authority, was that which he did done well?
It is notorious that the ministry and Mr. Pitt, with a great proportion of the nation, believed that the terms granted to General Kleber were altogether too lenient; and that he and his army
must, in the nature of events, have been shortly compelled to surrender at discretion. Men's minds were too rashly led to this conclusion, because, by an accident, a packet of letters, directed from Kleber's army to the French government, was, about this juncture, intercepted, which letters, purporting to describe the actual state of the French
army in Egypt and Syria, were of such a nature as to induce the persuasion that the enemy could by no means sustain his post, and that the troops were upon the eve of a complete disorganisation : and also because that Sir Sidney Smith having performed great deeds, impossibilities were expected at his hands, thus being made a martyr to his own superior merits.
Thus prepared to prejudge the question, it was angrily asked, had Sir Sidney the authority to conclude a convention, apparently so unwise, if not altogether treacherous to the best interests of his country?
This momentous subject led to the following proceedings in the House of Commons :
Mr. T. Jones begged the attention of the house to the subject of the evacuation of Egypt; a subject to which he had already called that attention last session, and which had now become, by the incapacity of his Majesty's ministers, the bone of contention between England and
France, and the stumbling-block of peace. From the correspondence on the table, it was evident that those counsels which opposed the evacuation of Egypt by the invading army, presented a very serious obstacle to the conclusion, and even to the negociation of a peace. Of the two points most insisted on by France, and which operated as impediments to peace, one was the demand of sending succours to Egypt; and it remained for the House to inquire, why that difficulty had not been precluded, by accepting the terms of the convention agreed on by General Kleber and the Grand Vizier, and guaranteed by the sanction of a general officer ? Mr. Jones, after six motions that he had made on the 23d of July, last session, on the subject of the evacuation of Egypt, were read by the clerk, said, that the object of his motion this day would be, the production of a letter, on the subject of which almost the whole of the voluminous correspondence which he held in his hand turned. Having read a number of extracts from the correspondence, and particularly Lord Grenville's instruction to Mr. Hammond, for holding a conference with Mr. Otto, on the subject of the proposed armistice between Great Britain and France, he asked if Sir Sidney Smith was not joined with his brother Mr. Spencer Smith, as joint plenipotentiary of Great