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The Reign of George III. - (Continued.) page 31

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But a fresh war had broken out with us in India. Tippoo Sahib had resumed hostilities. He conceived the idea of obtaining the aid of an army from France, and of thus driving us, according to his vow, entirely out of India. He opened communications with M. du Fresne, the governor of Pondicherry, which England had very imprudently restored to France at the peace after the American war. M. Leger, civil administrator in England, brought Tippoo's proposals to Paris; but France was still less in a condition to send six thousand men to India than to aid the patriots of the Netherlands. As for Louis, he replied to the proposal, that the matter too keenly reminded him of the endeavour to destroy the power of England in America, in which advantage had been taken of his youth, and which he should never cease to regret. He had learned too deeply the severe retribution which the propagation of republicanism had brought upon him.

But, without waiting for the arrival of the hoped-for French troops, Tippoo had broken into the territories of the British ally, the rajah of Travancore, and, by the end of 1789, had nearly overrun them. Lieutenant-colonel Floyd, suddenly attacked by Tippoo by an overwhelming force, had been compelled to retire before him, with severe losses amongst his sepoys. But general Medows advanced with an army from Trichinopoly of fifteen thousand, and following nearly the route so splendidly opened up by colonel Fullarton, took several fortresses. Tippoo retreated to his capital, Seringapatam; but there he again threatened Madras; and general Medows was compelled to make a hasty countermarch, to prevent that catastrophe. In the meantime, general Abercrombie landed at Telicherry with seven thousand five hundred men from the presidency of Bombay; took from the Mysoreans all the places which they had gained on the Malabar coast; restored the nairs and other petty Hindoo rajahs, who, in turn, helped him to expel the forces of Tippoo from the territories of the rajah of Travancore, who was completely re-established. This was the result of the war up to the end of the year 1790; but Tippoo still menaced fresh aggressions.

The new British parliament met on November 26, and ministers were seen to have a powerful majority. The king announced, in his speech from the throne, that hostilities had broken out in India with Tippoo; a peace had been effected between Austria and Turkey, another between Russia and Sweden, and he mentioned the endeavours progressing for restoring amity between the emperor of Austria and his subjects in the Netherlands. In the debate on the address in the commons, Fox appeared inclined still to laud France, and to condemn our interference in the Netherlands. His eyes were not yet opened to the real danger from France, which, whilst professing a sublime philosophy of love to mankind, was already exciting those popular disturbances in the Netherlands and in Poland, which were but the prelude to that crusade of pretended philanthropy amongst nations, which was to dethrone all tyrants, and which ended in establishing for a time the almost universal tyranny of France, under a race of parvenu monarchs. Already the doctrines of liberty and equality had reached the ears of the negroes in St. Domingo, who had risen to claim the rights of man so amiably proclaimed by France, and the troops of France were on their way thither "to endeavour to put them down, in direct contradiction to their own boasted political philosophy. In the lords, earl Grey, on the 13th of December, called for the production of papers relating to Nootka Sound. The motion was negatived by two hundred and fifty-eight against one hundred and thirty-four votes. But the marquis of Lansdowne contended that Spain had an unquestionable right to the whole of the North American coast on which Nootka Sound is situated, and had had since the reign of our queen Elizabeth. He asserted that we had insulted the weakness of Spain; and that Mr. Mears, and the other projectors of the trading settlement of Nootka Sound, were a set of young men of letters, desirous of seeking novelties. So little can statesmen, especially in opposition, foresee the real importance of certain movements; and, in so doing, he completely overlooked the provocations which Spain had lately given us, and her endeavours to enter into a conjunction with France against us. He condemned ministers for having alienated France, Spain, Russia, Denmark, and Sweden, overlooking the fact that they had made alliances with Prussia, Austria, Holland, and the Netherlands. Pitt's cousin, baron Grenville, replied to this one-sided view of things, and proudly contrasted the position of England at this moment to what it was at the conclusion of the American war, when lord Lansdowne himself, as lord Shelburne, had been in the ministry. Pitt, on the 15th of December, stated that the expenses of the late armament, and the sums necessary to keep up the increased number of soldiers and sailors for another year, before which they could not be well disbanded, owing to oertain aspects of things abroad, would amount to something more than three millions, which he proposed to raise by increasing the taxes on sugar, on British and foreign spirits, malt, and game licences, as well as raising the assessed taxes, except the commutation and land taxes. He stated that there was a standing balance of six hundred thousand pounds to the credit of the government in the Bank of England, which he proposed to appropriate to the discharge of part of the amount. He, moreover, introduced a variety of regulations to check the frauds practised in the taxes upon receipts and bills of exchange, which he calculated at three hundred thousand pounds per annum. With this, parliament adjourned for the Christmas recess, and thus closed the eventful year of 1790.

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