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Reign of George III. (Continued.) page 21

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A still more signal victory was won by admiral Duncan in the autumn. On the 11th of October, the admiral, who had been watching the Dutch fleet in the Texel, found that during a storm it had stolen out, and was on its way to join the French fleet at Brest. There were eleven sail of the line, and four fifty-six gun ships, commanded by admiral de Winter. Duncan had sixteen sail of the line. Notwithstanding our superiority of numbers, the Dutch fought with their accustomed valour, but Duncan ran his ships between them and the dangerous coast, to prevent their regaining the Texel, and so battered them that they were compelled to strike. Eight sail of the line, two fifty-six gun ships, and two frigates remained in our hands; but the Dutch had stood it out so stoutly, that the vessels were few of them capable of being again made serviceable. The loss in killed and wounded on both sides was great. Duncan was elevated to the peerage for this victory of Camperdown.

Nelson, after the victory of Cape St. Vincent, was dispatched to make an attack on Vera Cruz, in the island of Teneriffe. The attempt was made in July, but was one of the most unfortunate affairs in which he ever was engaged. His force was wholly unequal to the enterprise, and resulted in the loss of two hundred men, and of his own arm. In the West Indies our troops still continued to perish in great numbers, from the unhealthy posts which they had to occupy. Some attempts were made on the Spanish islands, and Trinidad was taken by admiral Harvey, supported by general Abercromby; but in a similar attempt on Porto Rico, they were not successful.

On the 10th of February of this year, a descent of French was made on the Welsh coast, which created much alarm at the time, and no less speculation as to its meaning. Four armed vessels, containing about fourteen hundred men, had appeared in the British channel, off Ilfracombe, in north Devon. They did not attempt to land there, but stood over to the Welsh coast, and landed in a bay near Fishguard. They were commanded by a general Tate, and commenced marching inland, and the whole country was in alarm. Lord Cawdor marched against them with three thousand men, including a considerable body of militia, and they at once laid down their arms, and surrendered without a shot. Many were the conjectures as to the object of this descent, and historians have much puzzled themselves about a matter which appears plain enough. The men looked ragged and wild, more like felons than soldiers, and were apparently not unwilling to be made prisoners. They were, no doubt, a part of the great Brest fleet meant for Ireland, which had been driven about by the tempests ever since they quitted that port on the 17th of December, and were only too glad to set foot on any land at all, and probably were by this time so famished and bewildered, that they did not know whether they were in England or Ireland. Many of their comrades of the same unfortunate expedition never did see land again.

The opening of the campaign on the Rhine in 1797 restored the positions of the French. On the lower part of the river, Hoche, who now commanded them, defeated general Krey; on the upper Rhine, Moreau retook the fortress of Kehl, opposite to Strasburg; and such was the alarm of Austria, that she began to make overtures of peace. The fortunes of her army in Italy made these overtures more zealous; Alvinzi was defeated at Rivoli on the 14th of January, and Provera soon after surrendered with four thousand men, and Wurmser capitulated at Mantua. The archduke Charles was now sent into Italy with another army, but it was an army composed of the ruins of those of Beaulieu, Alvinzi, Wurmser, and Davidowich, whilst it was opposed by the victorious troops of Buonaparte, now supported by a reinforcement of twenty thousand men under Bernadotte. The archduke, hampered by the orders of the Aulic council in Vienna, suffered some severe defeats on the Tagliamento in March, and retreated into Styria, whither he was followed by Buonaparte. But the danger of a rising in his rear, where the Austrian general Laudon was again collecting numerous forces, induced Buonaparte to listen to the Austrian terms for peace. The preliminaries were signed on the 18th of April at Leoben, and Buonaparte, to bind the emperor to the French cause, and completely to break his alliance with England, proposed to hand over to the Austrians the territory of Venice. This admirable ally of ours, on whom we had expended so much good cash, eagerly snatched at the offer, and a secret article to that effect was included in the treaty. This being effected, Buonaparte hurried back to seize and bind the promised victim. He took a severe vengeance on the people of Verona, who had risen against the French in his absence, and then marched to Venice, where, under pretence of supporting the people in their demands for a republic, he put down the doge and senate, set up a democratical provisional government, seized on all the ships, docks, arsenal, and stores - in fact, took full possession. The deluded democrats, untaught by Belgium and Holland, were mad with joy at what they called their liberation; sung Ca ira, and danced the carmagnole with the French soldiers round the tree of liberty, little dreaming that they were already sold to Austria.

Matters in Italy now moved on at a rapid rate. All further pretence of regard for the neutrality of Genoa was abandoned. Buonaparte took possession of that city and its fortifications. French troops swarmed over the state; four millions of livres were levied on the aristocracy, and all who resisted were shot. He then scattered the troops of the pope, on the plea that he had not paid up the stipulated sums and fifteen millions of livres were ordered to be paid in a month, and thirty more millions in three months. There was a vast seizure of horses and cattle, and the Vatican was again ransacked of its most valuable statues, paintings, and manuscripts. No bandit had appeared on so large a scale as Buonaparte since Timour the Tartar or Gengis Khan.

Austria having submitted, and all Pitt's puppet allies thus having disappeared, he sent lord Malmesbury again to be insulted and dragged through the diplomatic dirt at Lisle. He arrived there early in July, and found the French commissioners most insolent in their tone, demanding the immediate restoration of every French, Dutch, and Spanish settlement that we had taken. The result was precisely as before - Malmesbury was ordered, in September, to quit Lisle in four-and-twenty hours.

On the 17th of October the peace betwixt France and Austria was definitively signed at Campo Formio. Austria ceded to France, Belgium, the left bank of the Rhine, including Mayence, the Ionian islands, and the Venetian possessions in Albania, both of which really belonged to Venice. Venice itself, and its territory as far as the Adige, with Istria and Venetian Dalmatia on the other side of the Adriatic, were made over to Austria without ceremony. The Milan and Mantuan states were given up by Austria, with Modena, Massa, Carrara; and the papal provinces of Bologna, Ferrara, Ravenna, and the rest of them, as far as the Rubicon, were included in a new so-called Cisalpine Republic belonging to France. Tuscany, Parma, Rome, and Naples were still called Italian, but were as much, Naples excepted, in the power of France as the rest. In fact, except Venetia, which Austria secured, all Italy except Naples was subjected to the French, and the regular process of democratising was going on, in the latter kingdom, for an early seizure.

Before giving up Venice, however, to Austria, the French took care to strip it enormously of its works of art. Buonaparte then marching out, the Austrians marched in the next day. As the successful Corsican had also bargained with Austria to put her in possession of some of the territories of her German neighbours, he proceeded to Rastadt in November, where a congress was held, and where he dictated the cession of a portion of Bavaria to his new ally; and that the duke of Tuscany, ejected from his own state, should have the Breisgau. He was then summoned to Paris to be congratulated on his brilliant successes in Italy, and to take the command of a large army, called the army of England, which was collected for the easy subjugation of that kingdom, and the plunder of London.

Whilst Buonaparte was conquering Italy, and sending to Paris its money, its pictures, statues, and other inestimable treasures, the directory, thus supported by him with funds, had, nevertheless, no enviable post. The jacobins made a desperate attempt, in the summer of 1796, to recover their power. Their leaders, amongst whom were Drouet, the famous post-master of Varennes, Gracchus Babœuf, Rosignol, the commissioner, who had been called the Devil in Vendée, and many others were arrested. Their partisans then, to the number of seven hundred, flew to arms, and turned out to rescue them. They rushed to the Luxembourg by night to seize the five directors, but finding the place well guarded, they hastened to the camp at Grenoble, where they had seduced a battalion of the soldiers. But this battalion had been removed thence by the vigilant authorities, and they were fallen on by the rest of the troops, many of them were killed, and the rest at once tried by a military commission, and thirty or them put to death, and as many more condemned to transportation to Guiana. Amongst those condemned to death were Babœuf and Darthé, who attempted to imitate Romme and his companions, and stab themselves. They Struck, however, too tenderly, and were dragged to the guillotine and executed. This took place in March, 1797.

This conspiracy was immediately succeeded by one on the part of the royalists. In March was the time for the election of the one-third of the legislature, and they not only got in a considerable number of their party, but succeeded in making general Pichegru président of the council of five hundred. Barthelemy was also elected a director in place of Letourneur: and Carnot, who hated the other three, Rewbell, Barras, and Lepeaux, conspired with the royalists against the direction, and the Thermidorien party in the councils. The three directors who were aimed at applied to Buonaparte for support, and he dispatched general Augereau to take the command of the troops in Paris, and defend the three directors and the councils. The royalist party, on the suggestion of Pichegru, procured an order for the calling out the national guards, and the removal of the regular troops from Paris; that the three directors should be seized, the sections called out, and their positions be secured. But Augereau was too active for them; he was already in command of the regular troops, and in execution of the Orders of the three directors, had drawn twelve thousand men, with forty pieces of artillery, toward the Tuileries; seized generals Pichegru, Willot, and Ramel, with sixty other members of the legislature. Carnot managed to escape, and fled to Switzerland; but Barthélémy was seized, and the three directors, Rewbell, Barras, and Lepeaux, were triumphant. A new committee of public welfare was appointed, of five members, with Sièyes as président; and, furnished with absolute powers, this committee sent to trial, and had sentenced to transportation for life, Barthélémy and the rest of the prisoners, to Guiana, Cayenne, and other deadly regions. The committee then ordered the arrest of a great number of the editors, proprietors, and writers of the opposition journals, and sent them after them. It was decreed that the directory should be empowered to arrest and transport any such journalists, or obnoxious priests, without any trial, and break up all clubs and political meeting-places. All these measures were confirmed by the two Chambers of legislature; Merlin de Douai and François de Neufchateau were elected directors in the place of Carnot and Barthélémy, and then what was called the coup d'état of the 18th Fructidor, or 4th of September, was complete. The government was as despotic as that of Robespierre; and it already rested for support on the bayonets of Buonaparte. It was on the eve of a military dictatorship.

England had seen her continental allies fall away one by one, after being well supplied by English millions, and after having employed them to secure as much as possible of the territories of their neighbours. The time was now approaching when some good allies might have been very useful to herself, if such people were ever to be found. But it has always been the lot or the policy of England to help and pay others, and to receive neither help nor pay herself. We have seen that, during the American revolution, the rebellious colonists found admirable allies in the Irish. They had no difficulty in exciting disturbances amongst that ardent Celtic race, and thus greatly to augment our difficulties. No sooner did the French commence the work of revolution, than the Irish became transported with admiration of their doings. Not all the blood-shed and horrors of that wild drama could abate their delight in them, and their desire to invite them over to liberate Ireland, as they had liberated Belgium. It is true that Ireland had her grievances, but they were in a fair way of being redressed. Ever since the American revolt, the necessity of conciliating the Irish had been impressed on the English government, and many important concessions had been granted them. They had not yet obtained catholic emancipation, but the public mind was ripening for it; their blind and reckless Gallic mania threw it back for many years. Whatever were the evils which England had inflicted on Ireland, they were nothing compared with those which French fraternity would have perpetrated. But they could see nothing of this, not even after all the world had witnessed the French mode of liberating Belgium; and French wagons, guarded by soldiers, were day after day, and month after month, bearing over the Alps the priceless chefs-d'œuvre of the arts from ravaged Italy. In the spring of 1798 the preparations of the French directory for the invasion of Ireland were too open and notorious to be overlooked by any- body.

The English government had employed the best portion of the session of parliament betwixt the commencement of November and Christmas, 1797, in receiving the report of the insults of the French commissioners at Lisle to our ambassador, and his summary dismissal from the place of meeting without any chance of peace, and in voting money to carry on the war at our own doors. Where were Prussia and Austria, for whom we had so bravely fought, and whom we had so amply paid to fight for themselves? Preparing to fight for and to raise soldiers for us? No: quietly resting on the remains of our money-bags, and on the countries they had purloined by our pecuniary aid. Pitt called for the grant of twenty-five million five hundred thousand pounds, and for trebling all the assexed taxes, on the plea of defending our own shores. All this was readily granted. In April, 1798, he called for three millions, and that was as the freely conceded. In fact, by that time, the Irish were on the very verge of appearing in arms to cast off the yoke of England, and accept the boasted fraternity of France. Lord Edward Fitzgerald, brother of the duke of Leinster, one of the leading members of the society of united Irishmen, had spent some time in France during the revolution. We have seen him figuring at the jacobin clubs, and at a public dinner along with Thomas Paine, and others of the same school of politics, giving and responding to toasts of a most revolutionary character. For these proceeding-s he bad very properly been dismissed from his commission in the English army. He had married Pamela, the daughter of Madame de Genlis, as reputed, by the notorious Philip Egalité. To him, on his return to Ireland, French emissaries of revolution were secretly sent over, and he introduced them to the leading members of the projected revolt. In 1794 a jacobinised Irishman, Rev. William Jackson, came over from Paris, at the time of the fiercest raging of the reign of terror, to concert with Wolfe Tone, and his fellow-conspirators, the plans of insurrection. At the very time that some of these - Bond, Simon Butler, and Hamilton Rowan - were tried as accomplices of the Scotch reformers, Muir and the rest, and acquitted as men only seeking reform of parliament, they were deep in this scheme of French invasion. Jackson was arrested in Dublin, was tried and convicted of high treason, but anticipated his sentence by suicide. The most public display of sympathy with his views and mission was made by a vast attendance of carriages at his funeral, and the features of rebellion became so undisguised that a stop was put to all questions of political concession and amelioration. Lord Fitzwilliam was recalled from his lord-lieutenancy for permitting Grattan, in 1795, to bring a bill into the Irish parliament for Catholic emancipation. A vigilant eye was kept on the agents of sedition, and the democratic clubs, which swarmed all over Ireland, as much in the Presbyterian north as in the catholic south. Wolfe Tone and Hamilton Rowan had escaped to the United States; but there they fell in with Dr. Reynolds, Napper Tandy, and other enthusiastic Irish revolutionists. Tone was supplied with money, and dispatched to France to stimulate the directory to the Irish invasion. He arrived at Havre in February, 1796, and, on reaching Paris, he presented letters from M. Adet, the French minister to the United States, and was warmly received by Carnot, general Clarke, acting as minister of war, and the duke de Feltre. He was assured that general Hoche should be sent over with a resistless army as soon as it could be got ready, but the directors desired to see some other of the leading members of the united Irishmen before engaging in the enterprise. Tone promised general Clarke one thousand pounds a-year for life, and similar acknowledgments to all the other officers, on the liberation of Ireland; and be solicited for himself the rank of brigadier- general, and immediate pay, and obtained it.

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