Alberoni despatched Don Joseph Pati?o to Barcelona to hasten the military preparations. Twelve ships of war and eight thousand six hundred men were speedily assembled there, and an instant alarm was excited throughout Europe as to the destination of this not very formidable force. The Emperor, whose treacherous conduct justly rendered him suspicious, imagined the blow destined for his Italian territories; the English anticipated a fresh movement in favour of the Pretender; but Alberoni, an astute Italian, who was on the point of receiving the cardinal's hat from the Pope led Charles (VI.) to believe that the armament was directed against the Infidels in the Levant. The Pope, therefore, hastened the favour of the Roman purple, and then Alberoni no longer concealed the real destination of his troops. The Marquis de Lede was ordered to set out with the squadron for the Italian shores; but when Naples was trembling in apprehension of a visit, the fleet drew up, on the 20th of August, in the bay of Cagliari, the capital of the island of Sardinia. That a force which might have taken Naples should content itself with an attack on the barren, rocky, and swampy Sardinia, surprised many; but Alberoni knew very well that, though he could take, he had not yet an army sufficient to hold Naples, and he was satisfied to strike a blow which should alarm Europe, whilst it gratified the impatience of the Spanish monarch for revenge. There was, moreover, an ulterior object. It had lately been proposed by England and Holland to the Emperor, in order to induce him[40] to come into the Triple Alliance and convert it into a quadruple one, to obtain an exchange of this island for Sicily with the Duke of Savoy. It was, therefore, an object to prevent this arrangement by first seizing Sardinia. The Spanish general summoned the governor of Cagliari to surrender; but he stood out, and the Spaniards had to wait for the complete arrival of their ships before they could land and invest the place. The governor was ere long compelled to capitulate; but the Aragonese and the Catalans, who had followed the Austrians from the embittered contest in their own country, defended the island with furious tenacity, and it was not till November, and after severe losses through fighting and malaria, that the Spaniards made themselves masters of the island. The Powers of the Triple Alliance then intervened with the proposal that Austria should renounce all claim on the Spanish monarchy, and Spain all claim on Italy. Enraged at this proposal, Alberoni embarked on extensive military preparations, and put in practice the most extensive diplomatic schemes to paralyse his enemies abroad. He won the goodwill of Victor Amadeus by holding out the promise of the Milanese in exchange for Sicily; he encouraged the Turks to continue the war against the Emperor, and entered into negotiations with Ragotsky to renew the insurrection in Hungary; he adopted the views of Gortz for uniting the Czar and Charles of Sweden in peace, so that he might be able to turn their united power against the Emperor, and still more against the Electorate of Hanover, thus diverting the attention and the energies of George of England. Still further to occupy England, which he dreaded more than all the rest, he opened a direct correspondence with the Pretender, who was now driven across the Alps by the Triple Alliance, and promised him aid in a new expedition against Britain under the direction of the Duke of Ormonde, or of James himself. In France the same skilful pressure was directed against all the tender places of the body politic. He endeavoured to rouse anew the insurrection of the Cevennes and the discontents of Brittany. The Jesuits, the Protestants, the Duke and Duchess of Maine, were all called into action, and the demands for the assembling of the States-General, for the instant reformation of abuses, for reduction of the national debts, and for other reforms, were the cries by which the Government was attempted to be embarrassed. [See larger version]

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge (b. 1772; d. 1834) published his earliest poems in association with his friends, Wordsworth, Charles Lloyd, and Charles Lamb. But his contributions, especially of the "Ancient Mariner," soon pointed them out as belonging to a genius very different. In his compositions there is a wide variety, some of them being striking from their wild and mysterious nature, some for their elevation of both spirit and language, and others for their deep tone of feeling. His "Genevive," his "Christabel," his "Ancient Mariner," and his "Hymn in the Vale of Chamouni," are themselves the sufficient testimonies of a great master. In some of his blank verse compositions the tone is as independently bold as the sentiments are philosophical and humane. Besides his own poetry, Coleridge translated part of Schiller's "Wallenstein," and[187] was the author of several prose works of a high philosophical character. Southey was as different from Coleridge in the nature of his poetical productions as Coleridge was from Wordsworth. In his earliest poems he displayed a strong resentment against the abuses of society; he condemned war in his poem on "Blenheim," and expressed himself unsparingly on the treatment of the poor. His "Botany Bay Eclogues" are particularly in this vein. But he changed all that, and became one of the most zealous defenders of things as they are. His smaller poems are, after all, the best things which he wrote; his great epics of "Madoc," "Roderick, the Last of the Goths," "The Curse of Kehama," and "Thalaba," now finding few readers. Yet there are parts of them that must always charm.