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Reign of George III. (Continued.) page 5


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The subsidising of Austria continued up to 1797, in which year we find, in April, a vote of two millions to the emperor, one million two hundred thousand pounds having been sent to him only in November previous; and in the following October he made peace with Buonaparte at Campo Formio, and his states became subject to French levies, which our money went to pay. Again, encouraged by promises of money, the emperor Francis declared war in 1809, on Buonaparte. This was done in May, and in October of the same year, that is, in about five months, Buonaparte was in the emperor's capital, and levied three millions, English money, on him, for the expenses of the war.

Russia was subsidised at the rate of from two to three millions a year. In 1799 we were paying to the emperor Paul one hundred and twelve thousand pounds a month, with which money he built and repaired men-of-war, and, in the following year, swept with them our merchantmen out of the Baltic and Northern seas; and we find the king of England announcing to his parliament, in April, 1801, that his late subsidised ally "had already committed great outrages on the ships, persons, and property of his subjects," having made a league with our enemies of Sweden and Denmark, to do all possible mischief to our trade and people in the north, and to cut off from us all necessary supplies of corn thence!

This was madness enough on the part of our ministers, but was far from being the worst madness. We were not only subsidising all, even the smallest powers of Europe, such as Sardinia, at four hundred thousand pounds a year, but we were actually in league with all the most confirmed villains in it, and out of it, down to the very Dey of Algiers, who was, in fact, licensed by us to practise his corsair atrocities on Christian nations. At the very announcement of our coalition against France, who were our allies? Prussia, Russia, and Austria, the very powers that for years we had so vehemently taunted with the violent dismemberment of Poland. In 1793, when we had issued high-sounding manifestoes, that we and our allies were going to chastise the French for their crimes and their robberies, and our duke of York had advanced into the Netherlands to meet them, where were they? Busy in robbing and dividing Poland amongst themselves. "The arguments used by the spoilers," says Knight, "throws ridicule and discredit on our manifestoes, and made the French believe that the coalition meant only to plunder and partition France."

It was a melancholy farce. We were pretending to enforce justice on a great nation, in company with the most notorious robbers in all Europe. This unfortunately, however, was but one occasion of this kind; a still worse occurred in the present year, 1794. The allies were again preparing to make a great stand against the French in the Nether- lauds. The king of Prussia, who had, in reality, been tampering with the enemy for a separate peace, declared that, unless he had an immediate grant of two millions two hundred thousand pounds, he would march off. The money was granted, as money always was, if asked for, even under such suspicious or absurd circumstances as the present; and he did march off still, and to some purpose. He did not appear in the field at the time appointed with the allies, and it was found that he was gone into a still more disgraceful one. Kosciusko, the brave Polish patriot, had roused his countrymen for a last effort against their oppressors, and our dear allies, and with our money Frederick had marched off, joined the Russians, and, defeating Kosciusko, made the third and final partition of Poland! In the meantime, our army in the Netherlands, in consequence of this desertion of Prussia, suffered great slaughter and repulse. We had, indeed, not only paid our two millions two hundred thousand pounds for the extinction of Poland, but for the slaughter of our own troops! Few, when they lament the fate of Poland, and denounce in terms of deepest contempt both Russia and Prussia, its violators, are aware that we were the unremonstrating allies of these caitiff powers, and that our money (the troops being raised and paid by us, which, without this money, could not have stirred a foot) went to do this infamous work, making England an active and efficient partisan in it - nay, the most efficient of all - for, without our pay, the spoilers could not have effected it. Having effected it, the king of Prussia, who, as we have said, was at the very moment we paid him this two millions two hundred thousand pounds, tampering with the enemy, immediately made peace with him. Such was the manner in which our reckless ministers, with their eyes open, caused us to be duped out of our money for purposes most disgraceful to our name; and such were the men whom they were morally trying, from year to year, to bribe to the deliverance of themselves.

Thus, in every point of view, criminal and odious was that war, whose monstrous cost, Fox well said, we paid, "because we had no real representation." There is yet one more argument that has been advanced in favour of it on mercantile grounds. It has been said that it was our duty and interest to put down the French, and to defend our continental customers. But it is now too well known that trade is not conducted on principles of preference, far less of gratitude, but of interest; and that, so long as our goods are best and cheapest, and no longer, will they continue to be bought in spite of all impediments. The commercial accounts of this period strikingly confirm this theory. At the commencement of 1792 our exports were £24,905,200 our imports, £19,659,358; or the total produce of our foreign commerce, £44,564,558; and this steadily advanced till the peace of 1815, spite of all Napoleon's continental or anti-English system, when our exports alone were £56,624,550! our imports, £32,987,390; the total of our foreign commerce, £91,611,926: thus exhibiting an increase of more than cent, per cent.! Nay, so imperative are the necessities of man, that British goods excluded from the ports of Hamburg, Antwerp, Rotterdam, &c., entered Europe through Turkey and Russia, and, traversing the whole continent, were sold and worn in those very ports!

On the other hand, where is the gratitude of the nations, especially of Germany, for all our subsidies, and our gigantic efforts in their behalf? Is it shown in a preference to us and our trade? Does it say, " Never let us forget what the English did for us during the war, and our days of calamity. Let us buy all we can from them; let us encourage their commerce; for we owe them a mighty obligation, and they have covered themselves with debt for our rescue, and their children for generations must groan ender it?"

We hear not a word of all this. We near only of "the proud English - the haughty nation of shopkeepers." That very Prussia whom we so shamefully subsidised, insults us, by its public officers, as a nation of blackguards; as guilty of "Anmassung, Unverschämtheit, und Lümmelei." We are hated by the whole continent for our greatness, and hated the mare, that we never were conquered, but were the witnesses of their humiliating subjection. Nay, we are not only hated and envied, but the very nation for which we did so much, and suffered so much, and must continue to suffer - Prussia - has long been zealously carrying out and enforcing the continental and anti-English system of Napoleon - that man that we put down and destroyed for them, at the cost of such legions of our men, and so many hundred millions of our money. Under the eager guidance of Prussia, Germany has established the Zollverein, or League Customs, to shut us out of the midst of Europe; and, not content with this, she hid laboured hard to bring America to the same mind. Prussia has made a Crusade against our trade in Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, the Hanse Towns, Russia, Brazil, and the United States, and with more or less success, to shut us out there; and, in a word, in return for the war which we carried on for them by men and millions of money, Prussia and Germany male upon us a war of tariffs, which threatened a far more practical annihilation of our commerce than ever entered into the fertile brain of Napoleon. Finally, the war which we are about to detail was carried on at a rate of one hundred millions a year, and by a property tax of ten per cent., yielding ten millions a year; was carried on to support regal and aristocratic despotism - not by the nation, but by a junto in our country of a hundred and fifty-six borough proprietors, who had usurped the house of commons, and sold it to the aristocracy. Such was the nature of that war; such, as we have demonstrated, is the gratitude of corrupt nations, numerous enough to defend themselves. It is necessary for us, when wading through twenty years of bloodshed, in which we bore the most conspicuous part, thus to bear in mind the principles on which our government proceeded; the merits of that conflict, so far as we were concerned, for which we are still loaded with Eight Hundred Millions of Debt, and Twenty-eight Millions of annual interest on it. Can there possibly be a more solemn homily on the nature of war - a more solemn warning against its future perpetration?

At the moment that we were now subsidising Prussia and Austria, their forces, even in their own country, were flying before the French. They had no unity amongst themselves, whilst the French advanced their outposts on the Rhine, and took from them, early in the year, Kaiserslautern and Speir. It was towards the end of May before marshal Möllendorf, the Prussian general, began the campaign. He then attacked the French, and drove them out of their entrenchments at Kaiserslautern with great slaughter. There, however, his activity seemed to cease; and, on the 12th of July, the French again fell upon him. He fought bravely for four whole days, supported by the Austrians; but both these powers were compelled to retreat down the Rhine, the Prussians retiring on Mayence, and the Austrians crossing the river for more safety. The French marched briskly after the Prussians, took Treves, and then sent strong detachments to help their countrymen to make a complete clearance of the Netherlands, and to invade Holland. Clairfayt, who was still hovering in Dutch Flanders, was attacked by overwhelming numbers, beaten repeatedly, and compelled to evacuate Juliers, Aix-la-Chapelle, and finally Cologne. The French were so close at his heels at Cologne, that they shouted after him, that "that was not the way to Paris." Coblentz, where the royalist emigrants had so long made their headquarters, though strongly fortified, soon after surrendered. The strong fortress of Venloo, on the Maes, and Boi-le-Duc, as promptly surrendered, and the French marched on Nimeguen, near which the duke of York lay, hoping, in vain, to Cover the frontiers of Holland. The people of Holland, like those of Belgium, were extensively jacobinised, the army was deeply infected by French principles, and to attempt to defend such a country with a mere handful of English, was literally to throw away the lives of our men. Yet the duke stood stoutly in this hopeless defence, where half Holland ought to have been collected to defend itself.

On the 19th of October the French attacked the duke with sixty thousand men, and, though his little army fought with its usual dogged bravery, it was compelled to give way. It did this, however, only to assume a fresh position, still covering Nimeguen, where, on the 27th, the French again attacked him, and compelled him to retire from the hopeless contest. He led the wreck of his army across the Waal and the Rhine, and posted himself at Arnheim, in Guelderland, to throw some impediment in the path of Pichegru, who was advancing, at the command of the convention, to reduce Holland. Nimeguen, full of Dutch traitors, soon opened its gates; Maestricht did the same to Kléber; and, at the end of the campaign, the gloomiest prospects hung over Holland.

In the South, the two Spanish armies fought bravely, but on unequal terms against the numerous republican forces. In Roussillon, the gallant Ricardos was dead, and the army was now commanded by the count de la Union. On the 1st of May he was attacked in his headquarters - a fortified camp at Boulon - and compelled to retire to Figueras. The Spaniards, in the different forts of St. Elme, Portvendre, and fort Colliouvre, in Roussillon, were also, after determined resistance, taken Dugommier, the French general, then invested Bellegarde; and, though La Union made repeated attacks on him to compel him to raise the siege, he forced the place to surrender on the 18th of September, after a close blockade of nearly five months. Dugommier then poured his swarming troops into Catalonia, and, about the middle of October, made a general attack on the Spanish forts. He was killed in this attempt, and was succeeded by general Perignon, who, supported by Augereau, succeeded in driving La Union from all his lines. The French then pushed on to Figueiras, and, though this place was naturally strong - had two hundred cannon on its walls, and a garrison of ten thousand - either through treason or panic, it surrendered, after a very few days, leaving all Catalonia open to invasion, and furnishing the French, not only with admirable winter quarters, but with an abundance of military stores.

In the Western Pyrenees, defending the Biscayan provinces, the Spaniards fought bravely against shoals of French rabid republicans, under general Muller, who, attended by Pinet, as commissioner of the convention, had burst into the Valley of Bastan, conquered Fuenterabia, and advanced against the powerful fortress of San Sebastian. The Spaniards might have made a successful stand there, but Pinet managed to communicate with the disaffected within the walls, and Michelena, the alcalde, threw open the gates to the French, who rewarded him by hanging him and the colleagues as rebels. The inhabitants of Tolosa, the capital of Guipuscoa, seized with panic, abandoned the place, and fled to unite themselves with the people in Biscay and Navarre, where they made a desperate resistance. Muller, being now succeeded by general Moncey, who was reinforced by troops and artillery which had been engaged in La Vendée, and, amongst these forces, those called the " infernal columns," which had shown themselves worthy of their name in that country, the convention ordered Moncey to invade Navarre, seize Pampeluna, and advance his head- quarters to the banks of the Ebro. Moncey saw the imprudence of the order; but the commissioners insisted, and the guillotine would have been the result of independent action, and the army set forward and entered the celebrated defile of Roncesvalles, between St. Jean-Pié-de-Port and Pampeluna, where Charlemagne suffered so terrible a defeat. On the 16th and 17th of October the French troops maintained a desperate fight against general Colomera, and obtained a momentary advantage. Upon this the French commissioners, Baudot and Garant, wrote, in their usual fustian style, that they had avenged the losses of Charlemagne, knocked down the pyramid which had perpetuated the dishonour of France, and set up, amid triumphant music, the tree of liberty in its place. But, on the 26th of November, in resuming the attack on Colomera, they were thoroughly routed, and poured down the pass of Roncesvalles under cover of night, leaving behind their sick and wounded. Nor did the Spaniards leave them at rest there; they followed them briskly and drove them from all their newly- gained posts, and compelled them to winter, not on the banks of the Ebro, but near St. Jean Pie-de-Port.

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