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The Reign of George III. - (Continued.) page 3


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Whilst these events were passing, a fierce conflict was raging at Toulon; but, before Coming to that striking passage in the war, we must notice some other maritime actions. The French not being able to persuade Vittorio Amadeo to make war on the island of Sardinia, were deter- mined to take it by force. A war was resolved on with England, and, as Corsica was showing strong symptoms of rebellion, it was deemed necessary to possess and fortify Sardinia, to enable them to retain Corsica, and to defend themselves in the Mediterranean against England. Consequently, admiral Truguet entered the Bay of Cagliari on the 2Itli of January, with nineteen ships of the line and some frigates, having on board six thousand men for the con- quest of the island. But the Sardi, a brave mountain race, wholly uncorrupted by the vices of the French révolution, descended in thousands from their hills, armed with long guns, which they knew well how to use. They would not even suffer a party, sent off in a boat to inform them of the proposed union with France, to land, but fired on them, and killed the officer and fourteen of his men, besides wounding most of the rest. Truguet then began to bombard the town, but his fire was returned with interest from the lofty cliffs on which the town stands. Red-hot balls were showered into his ships, which soon received such damage, that he was compelled to draw off, having had three of his vessels sunk or burnt by the red-hot balls, and the remainder having been greatly shattered. He had lost, too, six hundred men in a vain attempt to. land, and he there- fore bore away for Toulon. At the same time, a republican force from Corsica had passed over the narrow straits from that island to the small one of La Madalina, belonging to Sardinia; but it had been repulsed. In this last expédition Napoleon Buonaparte had been engaged - one of the earliest events of his marvellous military career.

Though war had long been foreseen with France, it does not speak much for Pitt's management that, when it took place, we had no fleet in a proper condition to put to sea. It was not till the 11th of July that lord Howe, who had taken the command of the Channel fleet, sailed from Spit- head with fifteen ships of the line, three of which were first-rates, but none of them of that speed and equipment which they ought to have been. He soon obtained intelligence of a French fleet of seventeen sail-of-the-line, seen westward of Belleisle. He sent into Plymouth, and had two third-rate vessels added to his squadron. On the 3Ist of July he caught sight of the French fleet, but never came up with them, the French ships being better sailers. After beating about in vain, he returned to port, anchoring in Torbay on the 4th of September. At the end of October Howe put to sea again with twenty-four sail of the line and several frigates, and several times came near the French fleet, but could never get to engage. He, however, protected our merchant vessels, and disciplined his sailors. One French ship was taken off Barfleur by captain Saumarez, of the Crescent, and that was all.

In the West Indies a small squadron and some land troops took the islands of Tobago, St. Pierre, and Miguelon. At the invitation of the planters, we also took possession of the western or French portion of St. Domingo; but in Martinique, where we had had the same invitation, the royalist French did not support our efforts according to promise, and the enterprise failed from the smallness of the force employed. Besides these transactions, there occurred a severe fight betwixt captain Courteney, of the frigate Boston, with only thirty-two guns and two hundred men, and the Ambuscade, a French frigate of thirty-six guns and four hundred picked men, in which both received much damage, and in which captain Courteney was killed, but in which the Frenchman was compelled to haul off. In the East Indies we again seized Pondicherry, and all the small factories of the French.

The great maritime struggle of the year was at Toulon. The south of France was then in active combination against the Convention and the jacobin faction. There was a determination in Toulon, Marseilles, and other places on the coast to support the royalist party in Aix, Lyons, and other cities. For this purpose, they invited the English to cooperate with them. Lord Hood, having obtained from the people of Toulon an engagement to surrender the fleet and town to him, to be held for Louis XVII., arrived before that port in July, with, however, only seven ships of the line, four frigates, and some smaller vessels. Nearly all the old royalist naval officers were collected in Toulon, and were so eager for revenge on the jacobin officers and sailors - who had not only superseded them, but had persecuted them with all the savage cruelty of their faction - that they were all for surrendering their fleet to lord Hood, and putting him in possession of the forts and batteries. There was a firm opposition to this on the part of the republicans, both in the fleet and the town, but it was carried against them. Besides the royalist townsmen, there were ten thousand Provençals in arms in the town and vicinity. As general Cartaux had defeated the royalists at Marseilles, taken possession of the town, and, after executing severe measures on the royalists there, was now in full march for Toulon, there was no time to be lost. Lord Hood landed a body of men under captain Elphinstone, to whom the forts commanding the port were quietly surrendered. Truguet, who had lain in the port since his return from Sardinia, had resigned, and the fleet was now commanded by admiral Trogoff, a foreigner, who had been one of the negotiators with the English. He now hoisted the white flag, and all the French ships, except seven, commanded by admiral St. Julien, followed his example. St. Julien and his sailors, however, were soon glad to get to shore, where they agreed with the town authorities that they should be permitted to go on board of four ships of the line, unarmed, to ports on the Atlantic, and landed there. Lord Hood agreed to the arrangement, and gave them passes to protect them, in case they fell in with English ships of war. Lord Hood was thus at once put into possession of the best French port in the Mediterranean, and a great fleet, with all the stores and ammunition. But he knew very well that the place itself could not long be maintained against the whole force of republican France. He resolved, however, to defend the inhabitants, who had placed themselve3 in so terrible a position with their merciless countrymen, to the utmost of his power. He therefore urged the Spaniards to come to his assistance, and they sent several vessels, and three thousand men. He received reinforcements of ships and men from Naples - the queen of which was sister to Marie Antoinette - and from Sardinia. Fresh vessels and men also arrived from England. Lord Mulgrave arrived from Italy, and, at lord Hood's request, took the command, for the time, of the land forces.

General Cartaux arrived, and took up his position in the villages around Toulon. His advanced post was the village of Ollioules, in a strong position. Captain Elphinstone, with about six hundred English and Spanish marines, attacked and carried the post, bringing away all its cannon, ammunition, and standards. On the arrival of general O'Hara from Gibraltar, with two regiments of foot and some artillery- men, he took the commando the land forces. But to defend the place, with altogether about eleven or twelve thousand men, against forty thousand, who were posted, many of them, in situations commanding both town and harbour, was not practicable. Cartaux was reinforced by general Doppet, from the Rhone, and general Dugommier, from the Var; and the latter had in his corps-d'armée a young lieutenant of artillery, who contained in his yet unknown person the very genius of war - namely, Napoleon Buonaparte. Cartaux was a man who had risen from the ranks; Doppet had been a physician in Savoy; and Dugommier was acting on a plan sent from the convention. Buonaparte suggested what he thought a much superior plan. " All you need," he said, " is to send away the English; and to do that, you have only to sweep the harbour and the roadstead with your batteries. Drive away the ships, and the troops will not remain. Take the promontory of La Grasse, which commands both the inner and outer harbour, and Toulon will be yours in a couple of days."

On this promontory stood two forts, L'Aiguillette and Balaquier, which had been much strengthened by the English. It was resolved to assault these forts, and batteries opposite to them were erected by the French under Buonaparte's direction. The firing between these forts and the batteries, and others at Malbousquet, on the opposite side of the inner harbour, became very hot. This contest lasted from the 15th of November to the 30th, the French having suffered severe loss. On the 30th, general O'Hara made a sortie, drove the French from their works at Malbousquet, and was spiking the guns, when the quick eye of Napoleon, observing that the English were chasing the. French down the hill, laid an ambush for them, and, intercepting them, threw them into disorder. A terrible slaughter took place. O'Hara was woundedand made prisoner. Buonaparte, too, was wounded by a bayonet thrust, and carried off the field. But the stratagem succeeded; the English did not regain their forts without heavy loss, especially that of their general.

After much more desperate fighting, vast numbers of troops being pressed against the forts, that of La Balaquier was taken. This gave the French such command of the inner harbour, that lord Hood called a council of war, and showed the necessity of retiring with the fleet, and thus enabling the royalists to escape, who would otherwise be exterminated by their merciless countrymen. This was agreed to, and it was resolved to maintain the different forts till the ships had cleared out. The Neapolitans behaved very ill, showing no regard for anything but their own safety. They held two forts - one at Cape Lebrun, and the other at Cape Lesset; these, they said, they would surrender as soon as the enemy approached. They made all haste to get their ships and men out of harbour, leaving all else to take care of themselves. The Spaniards and Piedmontese behaved in a much nobler manner. They assisted willingly all day in getting on board the royalists - men, women, and children. All night the troops began to defile through a narrow sallyport to the boats under the guns of the fort La Malaga. This was happily effected; and then Sir Sidney Smith, who had recently arrived at Toulon, and had volunteered the perilous office of blowing up ail the powder- magazines, stores, arsenals, and ail the ships that could not be removed, began his operations. He had a flotilla under his command for the purpose, consisting of the Vulcan, a fire-ship, the sloop Alert, the Swallow tender, three gun-boats, and a Spanish mortar-boat. With these he entered the larger basin, and found six hundred convicts, on board a great galley, busy knocking off their irons, and ready to join the workmen about the fort, who had already thrown away the white cockade, and mounted the tricolor one. He allowed the convicts to remain, endeavouring to make their escape, but he pointed the guns of the Swallow, so as to prevent them landing and attacking him from the quay. The batteries from the forts and hills around kept up a tierce fire upon him; but he went on distributing his combustibles, so as to blow up the powder-magazines, the arsenals, and ail the ships that he could not bring away. The explosions and glare of light were tremendous, and by the flame the enemies on the hills saw how to aim at them. A great powder-ship, in the inner harbour, which the Spaniards had been ordered to sink, they exploded, causing the utmost danger to the flotilla. One of the gun-boats and a ship's boat were destroyed by the falling timbers; but only one officer and three men were killed by this maladroit transaction. When Sir Sidney Smith had almost completed his part of the work, he found that the Spanish admiral, Langara, who had been employed to burn the ships in the other basin, reported that he had not been able to do it, because there was a boom across the entrance. It was suspected that the Spaniard was in no disposition to perform this service, for he had been heard to say that the English were only too glad to destroy the French fleet. It was now too late; for the jacobins of the town had seized a battery commanding that basin. But Sir Sidney did not retire without effecting something more. In the inner harbour lay two seventy- four-gun ships, one of which had been filled with the convicts. These were jacobins; and now, having got clear of their irons, Sir Sidney landed them, and then see; fire to the ships. This done, he was besieged by crowds of wretched people who were Aying down to the quay to escape from the sans culottes of the town, who had risen, and were massacring every decent person from whom they had any hope of plunder. He brought off the hunted people as fast as he could. When all was done, nearly fifteen thousand men, women, and children, were saved from the merciless hands of the republicans. The English destroyed eleven ships of war, some of them of vast size; they carried away from fifteen to twenty vessels, great and small, and left fourteen sail of the line, and five frigates that the Spanish admiral should have destroyed. The Spaniards, Sardinians, and Neapolitans carried away each a large ship of war. They then steered to the charming little French island of Hieres, on the coast of Provence. Meantime, the jacobin troops, townsmen, and galley convicts, were perpetrating the most horrible scenes on the unfortunate Toulonese. Even the poor workmen who had been employed by the English to strengthen the defences, were collected in hundreds, and cut down by discharges of grapeshot. Three jacobin commissioners, the brother of Robespierre, Barras, and Freron, were sent to purge the place, and, besides the grape-shot, the guillotine was in daily activity exterminating the people. The very mention of the name of Toulon was forbidden, and it was henceforth to be called Port de la Montagne.

The French republicans were very active in establishing their influence in the northern states of Italy. The grand duke of Tuscany, professing neutrality, supplied the French army in Nice with provisions and stores, but refused the same privilege to the English ships. He had even seized two Toulon merchants, sent to Leghorn for corn for the allies at that place, and put them in prison. Lord Hervey the English ambassador,. remonstrated in vain 5 but the sight of some English men-of-war altered the grand duke's behaviour, and Lord Hervey's peremptory condition that the two Toulon merchants should be immediately liberated, and the French agents, Chauvelin and La Flotte, ordered to quit the dukedom, produced a full execution of his demands, the duke soon feeling it best for him to unite with the grand European coalition. Genoa, though similarly threatened,: was more under the protection of the French in Nice and j Savoy, and was allowed to make promises of neutrality I without keeping them. Chauvelin, and his colleagues of the jacobin faction, flocked to Venice, where they continued to exercise a republican influence, and counteract that of England and the allies. The pope, and the grand master of the kinglets of Malta, on the contrary, expelled the republican French from their states, and closed their ports against them.

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Pictures for The Reign of George III. - (Continued.) page 3

Sir Sidney Smith
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Nice
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Siege of Toulon
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Marie Antoinette
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Charlotte Corday
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Burial of Marat
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Feast of Nature
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M. David.
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Marie Antoinette going to execution
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Marie Antoinette summoned to execution
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