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Reign of George III. (Continued.) page 29

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Melas, dispirited by his defeat, but more by his age, gave up the struggle; and, on the 16th of June, concluded an armistice, giving up, not only Alessandria, where he might have stood a longer siege, but Genoa, which had just surrendered to the Austrians, and all the Genoese territory, agreeing to retire behind the line of Mantua and the Mincio, and leaving to the French all Lombardy as far as the Oglio. The French themselves could scarcely believe the reality of such a surrender. Buonaparte returned to Milan in the highest triumph, where he established a council with legislative powers, and placed a French president over it. At the same time, he professed great regard to the rights and interests of Italy, restored the university of Pavia, and drew around him the aristocratic families of the province, to strengthen his government, under the assurance that he meant to bestow on Italy, ere long, her full and ancient freedom. He now rigorously suppressed all private plunder, but continued the public pillage of money and works of art as unrestrainedly as ever. He established a provisional government, also, at Genoa and at Turin, and then set out for France. Leaving Massena commander-in-chief during his absence, and Jourdan president of the French republic of Piedmont, he quitted Milan on the 24th of June, and entered Paris on the 2nd of July, having achieved the re-conquest of a great part of the north of Italy in less than two months.

During this brilliant campaign in Italy, Moreau, in Germany, had beaten general Kray in several engagements, advanced to Ulm, and there, crossing the Danube, had overrun a great part of Bavaria, had made himself master of Munich, and menaced Vienna. On hearing of the armistice in Italy, the emperor demanded one for Austria, to continue till September; and Buonaparte, seeing that the czar Paul had ceased to support Austria, recommended the emperor to make peace with France. The emperor required that England should be included in it, and Buonaparte readily proposed an armistice by sea, as preliminary to a treaty with England. As the object of Buonaparte, in such an armistice, was clearly to enable him to relieve the garrison of Malta and the army in Egypt, both in imminent jeopardy of being compelled to surrender to England, the British government declined the proposal. No sooner was this answer received in Paris, than Buonaparte gave the word for renewed and vigorous action, both in Italy and Germany. Moreau advanced by Saltsburg towards Vienna, whilst Brune drove the Austrians from the Mincio, and over the Adige and the Brenta to the very vicinity of Venice, whilst Macdonald occupied the passes of the Tyrol, ready to march to the support of the army either in Italy or Germany. The archduke John met Moreau near Haag, and, for a moment, worsted him; but, on the 2nd of December, the two armies came to a general engagement at Hohenlinden, betwixt the rivers Iser and Inn, in which the Austrians were routed, with a loss of ten thousand men. Moreau advanced and occupied Saltsburg, and, trembling for the safety of Vienna itself, the emperor hastened to make peace. An armistice was signed on the 25th of December, and the treaty was concluded on the 9th of February, 1801. By this treaty all the conditions of the treaty of Campo Formio were renewed, and fresh ones, adverse to Austria, were added. The emperor was stripped of all the Italian provinces, except Venice, and a new line betwixt him and the Cisalpine and Ligurian republics was drawn along the Adige, from its issuing from the Tyrol to its debouchure in the Adriatic. Tuscany was taken from the grand duke Ferdinand and given to Louis, the son of the duke of Parma, who had married a Spanish princess; and Buonaparte had now his reasons for seeking the co-operation of Spain. Piedmont was, for the present, permitted a nominal independence; but, in reality, it was completely in the French hands. King Charles Emmanuel lived in Turin, rather as a prisoner than as a prince, all his fortresses being occupied by the French. "Never," says the Italian historian, Carlo Botta, " was any country more cruelly plundered, agitated, and torn to pieces than Piedmont at this moment. Massena demanded from the exhausted treasury one million livres per month, and food and clothing for all the French garrisons. Brune, who succeeded Massena, promised that the troops should be maintained out of the monthly million; but he got the livres, and did not maintain the troops. Piedmont was obliged to make up the deficiency, because, if the French did not get what they wanted, they took it by force. When money became scarce, they demanded the lead which covered the magnificent church of Superga."

Naples, terrified into perfect abjectness by the battle of Marengo, also concluded a most ignominious peace, agreeing to shut its ports against the English, withdraw the troops sent to Rome, surrender Piombino and some other possessions, and pardon all the revolutionists of 1799. All Italy lay at the feet of Buonaparte. The closing of the ports of Sicily against us deprived us of the corn we drew thence for our Mediterranean fleet, and caused much suffering to our forces blockading La Valetta, in Malta. But this fortress, and with it the island of Malta, was surrendered to general Pigott on the 15th of September.

Our fleet this year did nothing worthy of note besides the assistance rendered by admiral lord Keith, at Genoa, and the taking of the small island of Goree, on the coast of Africa, from the French, and the Dutch island of Curaçoa. There were several absurd and imbecile attempts to commit depredations on the French coast, and to burn the Spanish fleet in the harbour of Cadiz, which utterly failed; and, whilst general Pulteney was sent with six battalions of troops to Lisbon, to assist the Portuguese against a threatened Spanish invasion, general Abercrombie was floating about the straits of Gibraltar, and in the Mediterranean, with fifteen thousand troops on board, constantly expecting orders to proceed on some important expedition. This, at last, turned out to be against the French in Egypt; but so much time had been lost, for which no one could conceive the object, that it was the middle of December before the armament reached Malta. All grasp and activity of mind seemed to have deserted ministers, and, whilst their policy abroad was the most imbecile imaginable, at home there were terrible outcries, in consequence of the scarcity of bread. There were rioting and plundering of corn-factors' and bakers' shops, and government passed a number of acts giving premiums on the importation of grain, and forbidding the making of any but mixed and coarse breads. Had not great subscriptions been raised, and private benevolence been called forth to an immense extent for the relief of the distress, the consequences would have been more terrible. In parliament, Sheridan, on the 1st of December, moved for an address to his majesty, imploring him to make peace; and this being rejected by one hundred and fifty-six against thirty-five, Mr. T. Jones moved, on the 4th, that his majesty should be addressed to request him to dismiss the ministers who, by their incapacity and weakness, had conducted the war so disgracefully - had loaded the country with unexampled debt, and reduced it to misery; but this also was negatived by sixty-six to thirteen. Supplies being voted for three months, the king, on the last day of the year, dismissed the parliament, announcing that, in consequence of the union with Ireland, the Imperial Parliament would assemble on the 22nd of January, 1801.

On the 1st of January, 1801, a proclamation was issued announcing the new style, titles, and armorial insignia henceforward to be borne by the crown of Great Britain and Ireland. The absurd title of " king of France," which had been retained from the time of Henry V., was properly abandoned, and the king was now designated George III., by the grace of God, king of Great Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith. A new great seal was engraved, displaying the imperial arms quarterly - England first and fourth, Scotland second, Ireland third. In honour of the union, besides the commoners made Irish peers for their purchased services in voting the union, some Irish peers were created peers of the United Kingdom.

On the 22nd of January the first imperial parliament met, and Addington was re-elected speaker. The king did not meet this parliament till the whole of its members had been sworn 5 his opening of it for business took place on the 2nd of February, and his speech had no cheering topics to give spirit to its first proceedings; on the continent there had been nothing but defeat on the part of the allies, of triumph on that of France. Austria, to whom we had paid so much of our children's money to fight her own battles, had been compelled to make peace, and, what was worse, our late ally, Paul of Russia, had employed the subsidy money - what we had paid him in building and equipping ships - to seize our merchantmen in the Baltic. Never was there a finer commentary on the folly of subsidising foreign nations, to induce them to defend themselves, than was now given in the king's speech. Paul had not only seized our merchant vessels in the ports of the Baltic, and the property of our merchants in the Russian towns, but he had entered into a league with Sweden and Denmark to close the Baltic altogether to us, and to compel us to relinquish the right of search. This confederacy, by stopping the supplies of corn from the north, threatened us with great aggravation of the distresses at home; and some members advocated the surrender of the right of search, or the acceptance of the principles of an armed neutrality, such as Catherine of Russia had endeavoured to establish. But Pitt plainly showed, that to allow neutral vessels to carry arms, ammunition, and commodities of life into the ports of our enemies, would render all blockades of their forts useless, and enormously increase our difficulties during war. Orders were immediately issued to send a powerful fleet into the Baltic to chastise the insane czar, which we shall soon see was very rapid in its effect.

But there was another topic started in this first imperial parliament, which was as odious to George III. as the perfidious conduct of his late Russian ally. As one means of bringing about the union with Ireland, Pitt had been weak enough to hold out to the Irish Catholics the argument that, by having Irishmen in the united parliament, they would be most likely to obtain a repeal of the catholic disabilities. Both he and lord Cornwallis had sent circulars to this effect, anonymous, it is true, but with a secret avowal of their authorship, amongst the leading Catholics, which were supposed to have had a great effect in procuring their assent to the union. Lord Castlereagh, who had, as secretary of state for Ireland, so liberally distributed the corruption-money for effecting the union, had been elected as a member of the imperial parliament, and immediately claimed the redemption of this pledge. Pitt - who ought to have known the steadfast prejudice of the king on this head, who deemed catholic emancipation a violation of his coronation oath to maintain the supremacy of the church, before he promised this enfranchisement - introduced the subject, about the middle of January, in the privy council. George was indignant, and almost furious. At the levee on the 28th of January, when lord Castlereagh was presented, he said to Dundas, " What is this which this young lord (Castlereagh) has brought over to fling at my head?" He alluded to a plan for catholic emancipation, and added, " I shall reckon every man my personal enemy who proposes any such measure! This is the most jacobinical thing I ever heard of.'' Dundas replied that his majesty would find amongst those friendly to the measure some whom he had never supposed to be his enemies.

On the 31st of January Pitt wrote to the king, assuring him that the union with Ireland would render it absolutely necessary that important questions regarding the catholics and dissenters should be discussed; but, as he found how extremely such topics were disliked by his majesty, and yet how just it was that catholics should be admitted to parliament as well as protestant dissenters, who were already admitted, he begged to be permitted to resign. At the same time, not to inconvenience his majesty, he was willing to hold office till his majesty had reconstructed a cabinet wholly to his mind. George replied, the very next day, that Mr. Pitt's letter had occasioned him the liveliest concern; that, so far from exposing him to the agitation of this question, he had flattered himself that the union, by uniting the protestants of both kingdoms, would for ever have excluded the question of catholic emancipation. He expressed his ardent wish that Pitt should continue to be his minister as long as he lived; and he only required, as a condition, that he should stave off this question. Pitt replied, on the 3rd of February, that his majesty's determined tone on the subject of catholic emancipation left him no alternative but to resign, in compliance with his duty; and that, as his majesty's resolve was taken, it would certainly be best for the country that his retirement should be as early as possible. On the 5th the king wrote, accepting Pitt's resignation, though with expressions of deep regret.

Five days after this. February 10th, the matter was made public, by lord Darnley rising in the upper house, and moving for an inquiry into the conduct of the ministry. This roused up lord Grenville, who candidly avowed that, in consequence of their failure to introduce the question of catholic emancipation, the ministers had resigned, and only held office till a new cabinet was formed. On this, lord Darnley postponed his motion. On the same day, in the commons, a letter from Addington, the speaker, was read, announcing his resignation of the speakership in consequence of the king's proposal to nominate him to a situation incompatible with that post. Pitt then rose, and confirmed this, and proposed an adjournment till the next day, in order to prepare for the nomination of the new speaker. Sir William Pulteney seconded the motion, and used these true and very striking words: - " I am now an old man, and have seen many changes without a change of' principle. I wish to see that kind of change which I never yet saw - a change in which public men of all descriptions shall act from no other motive than the good of the public, without any view to their own personal interests."

The house, adjourning accordingly, the next day, the 11th of February, elected Sir John Mitford, the attorney- general, as speaker. Before the house could resume business, it was announced that the king was ill - confined to the house by a severe cold; but it was soon known that it was a return of the king's old malady, lunacy, in consequence of his extreme agitation on the proposal of the catholic question and the resignation of Pitt. The report was soon augmented into the starting rumour that the king was dangerously ill, and that a regency must take place - if not superseded by his death. At this news, Fox, who had for some time absented himself from parliament, on the plea that all endeavours to carry sound and prudent measures were hopeless with Pitt's great, martial majority, hastened up to town from St. Anne's Hill; and the whig body was in a flutter of expectation that he would soon be the minister of the prince regent or of George IV. But all these hopes were speedily overthrown by the news of the rapid improvement of the king, and, on the 12th of March, the royal physicians pronounced him perfectly recovered.

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