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Reign of George III. (Continued.) page 22

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Lord Edward Fitzgerald and Mr. Arthur O'Connor, nephew of lord Longueville, went over to Paris to arrange the invasion. In London, Fitzgerald, his French wife who accompanied him, and O'Connor, were entertained by members of the opposition, and dined at the house of a peer in company with Fox, Sheridan, and several other leading whigs; and Thomas Moore, in his life of Fitzgerald, more than hints that he made no secret to these patriots of the object of his journey, for he was of a very free-talking and open Irish temperament. The friends of Fox have been inclined to doubt this discreditable fact, but no one was more likely than Moore to be well-informed about it; and when Fitzgerald and O'Connor were on their trial, not only Fox, but Sheridan, lord John Russell, the dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk, lords Thanet and Oxford came forward, and gave them both the highest character as excellent, honourable men, and of the same politics as themselves!

These emissaries reached Basle, by way of Hamburg, in the spring of 1797, and there, through Barthélémy, negotiated with the directory. The directors objected to receive lord Edward Fitzgerald at Paris, on account of his connection with the Orleans family through his wife, lest the people should imagine that it was with some design on the Orleans estate; he, therefore, returned again to Hamburg, and O'Connor proceeded to Paris and arranged for the expedition under general Hoche, whose disastrous voyage we have already related. Fitzgerald and O'Connor did not reach Ireland again without the English government being made fully aware of their: journey and its object, from a lady fellow-traveller with Fitzgerald to Hamburg, to whom, with a weak, and, as it concerned the fate of thousands, unpardonable garrulity, be had disclosed the whole.

Still, emissaries continued to pass to and fro, and, notwithstanding the promised armament had failed to reach Ireland, the impatient Irish were determined to rise. In February of the present year, 1798, they sent urgent appeals to the French to come over, assuring them that they had three hundred thousand men banded to receive them, who only wanted arms; and Talleyrand sent them word that a fresh armament was preparing. But on the 28th of that month, O'Connor, one O'Coigley, an Irish priest, and Burns, a leading member of the London corresponding society, were arrested at Margate as they were about to embark for France. Papers found on O'Coigley, or Quigley, proved his treason. One was a direct invitation to the French to send an army into England, as certain to prevent the sending of British forces into Ireland, and thus to make the descent there sure. He was condemned and executed, but Burns was acquitted, and O'Connor remanded for fresh evidence. That was soon forthcoming; for one Thomas Reynolds, who had been the treasurer for the insurgents in his county, and also a colonel in the intended revolutionary army, being pressed for money, betrayed his associates. In consequence of the information which he gave, a number of the conspirators were arrested at their place of meeting. The four chief leaders, however, were not there, as expected, namely, lord Edward Fitzgerald, Emmet, Sampson, and MacNevin, but they were afterwards secured. Lord Edward Fitzgerald was surprised as he lay in bed at one Murphy's, and made a desperate resistance. He attacked major Swan, who presented the warrant, with a dagger, and, being a powerful man, was very formidable. Major Swan discharged a pistol at him, but missed. Mr. Ryan, a magistrate, next entering, was stabbed mortally by lord Edward, and a bloody struggle ensued. Major Sirr, who had surrounded the house by soldiers, then rushed in and fired at Fitzgerald, and wounded him in the shoulder. He was then overpowered and secured by the soldiers, and conveyed to Newgate. This took place on the 19th of May, Mr. Ryan died of his wounds on the 28rd, the very day lord Fitzgerald had fixed for the rising of the insurgents. Lord Edward died of fever, the consequence of his wounds, and of mortification at the failure of the enterprise.

On the 23rd, the day appointed for rising, the insurgents turned out in many places, notwithstanding the arrest of their leaders. They did not succeed at Carlow, Naas, and Kilcullen. But, on the 25th, fourteen thousand of them, under one father Murphy, attacked Wexford, defeated the garrison which came out to meet them, took a considerable number of prisoners, whom they put to death, and frightened the town into a surrender on the 80th. They treated such protestants as remained in the place with the utmost barbarity. They took Enniscorthy, and, seizing some cannon, encamped on Vinegar Hill. On the 31st they were attacked by general Lake, who drove them from their camp, made a great slaughter of them, and then re-took Wexford and Enniscorthy. General Johnson attacked another party which was plundering the town of New Ross, killing and wounding two thousand six hundred of them. Oil this news reaching Scullabogue, the insurgents there massacred about one hundred protestant prisoners in cold blood. These massacres of the protestants, and the presbyterians in the north having been too cautious to rise, after the betrayal of the plot, caused the whole to assume the old character of a popish rebellion. Against this the leading Catholics protested, and promptly offered their aid to government to suppress it. Of the leaders, MacCann, Byrne, two brothers named Sheares, the sons of a banker at Cork, were executed. Arthur O'Connor, Emmet, MacNevin, Sampson, and a number of others, were banished. Lord Cornwallis was appointed lord-lieutenant in place of lord Camden, who bad succeeded earl Fitzwilliam, and pardons were assured to those who made their submission. All now seemed over, when in August there appeared at Killala three French frigates, which landed nine hundred men, who were commanded by general Hombert. Why the French should send such a mere handful of men into Ireland, who must inevitably be sacrificed or made prisoners, can perhaps only be accounted for by the assurances of the disaffected Irish, that the whole mass of the people, at least of the Catholics, were ready to rise and join them. But if that were true - if, as Wolfe Tone assured them, there were three hundred thousand men already disciplined, and only in need of arms, it would have been sufficient to have sent them over arms. But then Tone, who had grown as utterly reckless as any sans-culotte Frenchman, described the riches of Ireland, which were to repay the invaders, as something prodigious. In his memorial to the directory, he declared that the French were to go shares with the nation whom they went to liberate in all the church, college, and chapter lands, in the property of the absentee landlords, which he estimated at one million pounds per annum, in that of all Englishmen, and in the income of government, which he calculated at two millions of pounds per annum. General Hombert, who had been in the late expedition, and nearly lost his life in the Droits de l'Homme, no doubt expected to see all the catholic population flocking around him, eager to put down their oppressors; but, so far from this, all classes avoided him, except a few of the most wretched catholic peasants. At Castlebar he was met by general Lake, with a force much superior in numbers, but chiefly yeomanry and militia. Hombert readily dispersed these, and marched on through Connaught, calling on the people to rise, but calling in vain. He had made this fruitless advance for about seventeen days, when he was met by lord Cornwallis, with a body of regular troops, and defeated. Finding his retreat cut off, he surrendered on the 8th of September, and he and his followers became prisoners of war. But the madness or delusion of the French government had not yet reached its acme; a month after this surrender, Sir John Warren fell in with a French line-of-battle ship, and eight frigates, bearing troops and ammunition to Ireland. He captured the ship of the line and three of the frigates, and on board of the man-of-war was discovered the notorious Wolfe Tone, the chief instigator of these insane incursions, and who, before sailing, had recorded in his diary, as a matter of boast, that every day his heart was growing harder, that he would take a most dreadful vengeance on the Irish aristocracy. He was condemned to be hanged, but he managed to cut his own throat in prison. And thus terminated these worse than foolish attempts of France on Ireland, for they were productive of great miseries, both at sea and on land, and never were conducted on a scale or with a force capable of producing any permanent result.

Meantime, Buonaparte, summoned by the directory to take the command of the army of England, had arrived in Paris on the 5th of December, 1797, and had taken up his abode in his former residence, in the Rue Chantereine, which the commune immediately changed, in honour of the conquest of Italy, into the Rue de la Victoire. All the distinguished men and women flocked to pay their court to the wonderful young man who had humbled and made peace with Austria, who had disposed of the old and haughty republics of Venice and Genoa, and made the pope tremble at his presence. The precious art-treasures of those conquered capitals had preceded him, and all Paris was in an excitement of flattery and homage. The strange young conqueror seemed to receive these adulations with a proud indifference. He appeared to live in a life of his own, as if inwardly pondering on his own plans. He was stiff and reserved. The celebrated Madame de Stäel put forth all her powers of flattery and pleasing to win his confidence, but failed. From this moment a deep- rooted dislike took place in Buonaparte towards the author of " Corinne." No one was more quick than Buonaparte in discovering the characters of people, and ascertaining, as by instinct, such as would be useful to him. He probably saw that the spirit of the daughter of Necker was not of the kind that would pliantly work under him, and he resolved to keep her at a distance.

The directory, five days after his arrival, gave him a public reception at the Luxembourg. He was received by the whole circle of officers of state, and with a splendour never before used by the revolutionists. Buonaparte arrived, dressed very simply, followed by his aides-de-camp, all taller than himself, but nearly overwhelmed by the respect that was paid to him. He was introduced by Talleyrand, who announced him as "the liberator of Italy, and pacificator of the Continent." He was led to the altar of the country - the only altar much respected in France - and, delivering to the directory the treaty of Campo Formio, made a speech, in which he complimented them on having triumphed over the prejudices of eighteen centuries by establishing the constitution of the year Three. In the year Eight he himself swept away this triumph of a constitution, and restored the " prejudices of eighteen centuries " in his own absolute person!

A banquet was then given to him by the two councils of the legislature. The institute elected him a member, and Chenier, the poet, chanted his triumphs as the conqueror of Italy, and soon to be of England. The leaders of all parties crowded to call upon him. The streets and squares through which he was expected to pass were constantly crowded, but Napoleon never showed himself. He confined himself to the society of a few men of science, as Monge, Berthollet, Borda, Laplace, Prouy, and Lagrange; and of generals, as Berthier, Desaix, Lefebvre, Caffarelli, and Klèber.

But it was necessary that Buonaparte should prepare for the invasion of England, for which purpose he had been called home. All France was in transports of joy at the thought of seeing England at last overrun by their new Attila. The directory had raised their cry of " Delenda est Carthago!'''' "It is at London," they said, "that all the misfortunes of Europe are forged and manufactured; it is in London that they must be terminated." All France glowed at the idea of London, with its exhaustless wealth, being submitted to those ravages at which Buonaparte had shown himself so prompt in Italy. Monge, who had been one of the commissioners of pillage there, on addressing the directory on the subject, said: - " The government of England and the French republic cannot both continue to exist. You have given the word which shall fall. Already your victorious troops brandish their arms, and Scipio is at their head! "

On the 8th of February this virtuous " Scipio" left Paris to examine the coasts of the British channel, preparatory to the sailing of the armament. He was accompanied by general Lannes, Salkowski, his aide-de-camp, and Bourrienne, his private secretary. He visited Etaples, Ambleteuse, Boulogne, Calais, Dunkirk, Furnes, Newport, Ostend, and Walcheren, making at these different ports the necessary surveys, and holding long and earnest conversations with sailors, pilots, smugglers, and fishermen. He returned to Paris on the 22nd, having, in a fortnight, quite satisfied himself that the attempt had better be abandoned.

But though the abandonment, for the present, of this enterprise, so fondly cherished by France, was calculated to cast a damp on the country, Buonaparte had another project ready which flattered the French pride of conquest. This was to seize on Egypt, as the preliminary to the fall of England. He had for some time entertained this idea, and had written from Italy to the directory on the subject the previous September. To insure the real destruction of England, he said, they must make themselves masters of Egypt. Malta and Corfu must be seized first, and for this purpose be conceived eight or ten sail of the line and twenty-five thousand men would suffice. The possession of Egypt, he contended, would draw all the commerce of the east thither, instead of taking the circuitous route by the Cape of Good Hope. He had thoroughly inspired Talleyrand with his scheme. Egypt was imagined to be much more wealthy than it was, and there were monuments of ancient art for Buonaparte and his right-hand bandit, Monge, to lay hands on. The directory, which was extremely unpopular, uneasy at the presence of so popular and daring a person, were glad to be rid of him anywhere, the farther off the better. There were not wanting counsellors who already advised him to perpetrate a coup-d'état, and place himself at the head of affairs; but Buonaparte, by no means averse to the prospect, replied, " The pear is not ripe." He knew that, however popular with his own army, lie was looked on with jealousy by the army of the Rhine, which served under, and prided themselves in, Moreau. He knew that the middle classes hated him for sweeping them away with grape-shot in the affair of the sections. He hoped to make himself yet more popular and more necessary, and that, in the interim, the directory would have completed their full measure of odium.

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