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The Reign of George III. - (Continued.) page 2


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The audacity of Buonaparte still further excited the indignation of the English government. Under the name of consuls, he sent over to England and Ireland a number of military officers, whose real business was to act as privileged spies; to prepare plans of all the chief ports, with soundings, and an exact account of the winds with which vessels could go out or come in with most ease, and also at what draught of water the harbours might be entered by large vessels. These agents had been instructed to maintain the utmost secrecy as to their real objects, but they became known, and the ministers announced that any person coming in such a character to this country should be ordered instantly to quit it. Neither was the temper of the nation at all improved by the irritating proceedings of the French authorities on the coasts of France. A law had been passed by the jacobins, in the most rabid time of the revolution, condemning any vessel, under a hundred tons burthen, found within four leagues of the French shores, having on board British merchandise. It was taken for granted that this decree was virtually annulled by the peace of Amiens; but repeated seizures were now made of English merchant vessels driven, by stress of weather, on the French coasts; and the mere fact of having plates, knives, and forks for the crew of British make, was used as a plea for confiscation of vessels. It was in vain that remonstrances were made to the French consul, they passed without notice. Such a peace, it was evident, could not last long. Napoleon was in a mood to brook no control from any quarter; he at this time showed how completely he would crush any creature who offended him, when lie had the power.

The negroes and mulattoes in St. Domingo, availing them- selves of the principles of the French revolution, had thrown off the yoke of slavery, and proclaimed liberty and equality in that island. Terrible scenes of retribution on their masters and oppressors had taken place. The island had been a frightful scene of massacres and burnings of plantations. The few planters who had escaped called in the English, who put down the black population, and restored order. But the climate destroyed the troops so fast, that, in 1798, the English abandoned the island, and the blacks again became the m asters. For a time, various parties amongst them prevailed; but at length one of them, Toussaint L'Ouverture, became the conqueror of the rest, and, with his second in command, Henri Christophe, ruled supreme. Toussaint had ideas of generosity and of sound policy superior to his race. He protected the whites, because they were more educated and industrious, and would, therefore, set a better example to the blacks. He decreed that the plantations should still be cultivated by the negroes, but that there should be a more equal division of the proceeds betwixt blacks and whites; but he gave great offence to Buonaparte by modelling his black republic after that of France. During the reign of the directory, he established also a directory in St. Domingo; but, when Buonaparte became first consul of France, he nominated himself first consul of Hayti, or St. Domingo. This parody of France - which was done in admiration of it, and, in a wise man, would have only excited a smile - was offensive in the highest degree to Napoleon. He said, "This comedy of government must cease. We must not permit military honours to be worn by apes and monkeys! " And, as the peace of Amiens threw back the French West India Islands to France, he dispatched general Leclerc, with an army of twenty-four thousand men, to put the blacks down. We have it on the authority of Fouché, that he seized the opportunity of this expédition, which he knew would be most fatal to the troops, to send those who had fought under Moreau in Germany, and of whom he was suspicious, as being attached to that general. His favourite sister, Pauline, afterwards the princess Borghese, was married to general Leclerc; and, though she did not wish to accompany her husband, Napoleon compelled her, lest it should be thought that he excused her, because he knew the expédition to be of a most fatal character.

The armament, consisting of thirty-four men-of-war, twenty frigates and smaller armed vessels, sailed on the 14th of December, 1801, watched and followed by an English fleet, uncertain of its purpose. It appeared before Cape François on the 29th of January, 1802. Leclerc summoned Toussaint to surrender, and, for some time, he appeared inclined to do so; but his suspicions, only too well founded, ultimately decided him to stand on the defensive. Various actions were fought, in which the French were naturally predominant. They made themselves masters of Fort Dauphin, Cape François, Port-au-Prince, and the chief seaports and military positions on the coasts; but when they followed the negroes into the interior of the island, the climate, aiding the blacks, began to cut off the French rapidly by yellow fever, and they saw that a prolonged campaign must leave only the negroes alive. Under these circumstances, Leclerc made great offers, by instructions from Buonaparte, to Toussaint, acknowledging him as chief of the island, under the title of lieutenant-governor. Toussaint was beguiled into compliance; but scarcely was the treaty made, when Leclerc pretended that there was treachery amongst the negroes, in order to enact real treachery on his part. Toussaint, with all his family, was seized, loaded with chains, and shipped off to France.

This basest of all base acts of treachery was, however, justly and awfully punished. The blacks, incensed to fury by the treatment of their chief, continued the war, under Christophe, and two assistant black chiefs, Clervaux and Dessalines, with desperation. They were victoriously seconded by the yellow fever and the pestilence, and the exasperated negroes pursued the infected French from plantation to plantation, from port to port, massacring, burning, laying waste; for now there was no more tolerance of the deceitful whites. The French revenged these inflictions when they could; and, betwixt the Africans and them, the island resembled more a burning pandemonium than any human territory. By the autumn of 1802, that army of fine soldiers, who had followed Moreau to victory on the Rhine, was reduced to a few hundred sickly creatures; they were driven back and cooped up in the town of Cape François, and there Leclerc died of the fever.

On the 2nd of November, however, a fresh army of fifteen thousand men arrived under general Rochambeau, the son of the old marshal who had commanded the French in the American war with La Fayette. But he brought his troops only to see them cut off by the same terrible climate; and, on the 3rd of December, he found it necessary to capitulate to Dessalines, the black general, on condition of being allowed to retire with the remains of his army, and of the whites, who could not remain, except to be murdered. War having again broken out with England, Rochambeau and all his squadron were captured, and carried prisoners to England. Such was the termination of this expédition, as disastrous as it was wicked, not less than forty thousand French being supposed to perish in it within less than two years.

This dismal failure seems to have embittered Buonaparte against the unfortunate Toussaint to a perfectly demoniac degree. On reaching France he was thrown into the Temple, where the equally unfortunate Louis XVI. had been confined. His wife and children were sent to another prison; and, as the fatal progress of affairs in St. Domingo added ferocity to the vengeance of Napoleon, he seems to have planned what would be the most horrible fate to a man accustomed to the torrid glow of St. Domingo. He sent Toussaint to the castle of Joux, in the highest and coldest regions of the Jura Alps. There he was thrown into a dungeon, where, according to the personal inspection of Miss Martineau, who visited it in 1839, the water continually dropped from above, and stood in a pool below; whilst in winter, not mere snow, but flakes of ice, penetrated between the bars of the window. As the winter there continues for more than half the year, we may imagine the tortures of the captive. So secret were the proceedings of Buonaparte in this matter, that nothing is known positively of the particulars of his confinement; but it is said that he was furnished only with a litter of straw for his bed, was allowed a very meagre amount of food, and was found frozen to death in his cell during the winter of 1803. On no act of the life of Buonaparte has more unanimous abhorrence been pronounced than on this. It rivals all that has been recorded or feigned of the tyrannic atrocities of the most despotic monsters.

The treaty of Amiens did not for a moment, even in appearance, interrupt the unlimited plans of aggression which Buonaparte had formed. Whether these plans tended to alarm England or not, seemed to give him no concern what- ever. The encroachments on Italy never paused. Before the signing of the peace of Amiens, Buonaparte had made himself président of the Cisalpine republic; and, though he had pledged himself to Alexander of Russia that he would not interfere further with Piedmont, because Alexander would not entertain the scheme of co-operating with France in the march to India, as his father had done, Buonaparte seized on all Piedmont in September of this year, annexed it to France, and divided it into six departments - those of Po, Dora, Stura, Marengo, and Tanaro. Carlo Emmanuel, the king of Piedmont, retired to his island of Sardinia, and then abdicated in favour of his brother, Victor Emmanuel. But Victor Emmanuel would not have been left long king, even of that small territory, had it not been for the protection of England. Buonaparte said it was necessary to France, because it produced the finest bread in the world, and because it was only a continuation of Corsica. He sent over his propagandists to seduce the people, and persuade them to declare for France. He next made an agreement with the king of Naples for Elba, and took possession of it. Every movement of this restless being showed his intention to drive England out of the Mediterranean, and convert it into a French lake. But on the main land he was equally active. There was no country on the continent in which Buonaparte did not presume to dictate, as if he already were universal monarch. In the Diet of Germany his influence was prominently conspicuous; and he prevailed to have towns and districts transferred as he pleased. To have all the territory on the left bank of the Rhine secured to France, Prussia received valuable compensation at the expense of the German empire for the cession of the duchy of Cleves and other provinces transferred to France. Bavaria and other minor states were benefited in the same way, because Napoleon already meant to use these states against Austria and Russia, as lie after- wards did. Every endeavour was made, contrary to the articles of the peace of Amiens, to shut out the trade of England, not only with France, but with Holland, Belgium, Germany, &c. It was in vain that England remonstrated. Buonaparte, through his official organ, the Moniteur, declared that " England should have the treaty of Amiens, the whole treaty of Amiens, and nothing but the treaty of Amiens; " but he interpreted this treaty to give every advantage to France to the exclusion of England. He complained that Great Britain had not, according to that treaty, restored Malta and the Cape of Good Hope, and this was true, but the Cape was soon after surrendered to the Dutch. Not so Malta; for the British ministers justly remarked that the aggressions made by Buonaparte on Piedmont, his avowed designs on Sardinia, and his seizure of Elba by collusion with the king of Naples, had entirely altered the state of affaire at the signing of the treaty of Amiens; and that, by another arrangement with Naples, the Neapolitan troops, which were stipulated to hold Malta, might any day be removed, and French troops substituted. This was but too obvious, and the further proceedings of Buonaparte still more confirmed this persuasion. It was a condition of the treaty of Luneville, that the independence of Switzerland should be respected; and this was guaranteed by the Batavian, Cisalpine, and Ligurian republics, as well as by France and Austria. But Buonaparte had already absorbed all these republics into France, and Austria lie set at defiance. He had never withdrawn the French troops from Switzerland; but, whilst they remained, French emissaries had continued to foment the feuds betwixt the people and the nobles, betwixt one canton and another. He now declared this state of things must end; and lie assumed the office of umpire, to settle the affaire of the Swiss for them. He had no right to assume this office - if needed, it belonged to the other powers of Europe as well as France; but he knew that he had the might - and he used it.

At the end of September he sent general Rapp to issue a manifesto announcing that Napoleon was determined to put an end to all their differences. He told them, in this extra- ordinary document, that they had been disputing and killing one another for three years, and, if left to themselves, would go on disputing and killing one another for three years more; that their history showed that their wars could not be terminated except by France; that he would now mediate, and his mediation should be effectual. He there fore ordered them to send a deputation to Paris to consult with him, and to declare that he would allow no city, Community, or public body to contradict the measures that it might please him to adopt. This manifesto was immediately folio wed by the appearance of general Ney at the head of forty thousand men, in addition to those already in the country. At the sight of this overwhelming force, Aloys Reding, who had headed the patriotic party, and was prepared to put down the jacobin incendiaries, saw it was useless any longer to contend; he therefore, with a touching address, dismissed his forces, and the Diet of Schweitz also dissolved itself, stating that it was in consequence of an armed force of foreigners, whom it was impossible to oppose.

Thus Switzerland was invaded, and its constitution trodden out by an armed occupation. Buonaparte assumed the title of " Mediator of the Helvetic League," and dictated his own terms to the deputies of the French party, who were sent to Paris. To these he talked in the most insulting tone, telling them that they need not fear incorporation with France - their country was too poor to bear the necessary burthens of a member of the great French republic. He ordered them, however, to furnish a subsidiary army of sixteen thousand men, to be maintained at the expense of the French government, or rather of the nations which France should invade; for, as Fouché candidly admits, in his Memoirs, " France maintains no armies; they are fed and clothed by the countries they occupy." He dictated the condition, that no country but France should march troops through Switzerland; he retained the district of the Valais, for the purpose of constructing a great military road over the Simplon, which would thus not only open up all Switzerland to France, but make Italy easily accessible; he retained also Geneva and the bishopric of Basle, which the directory had seized. Aloys Reding was arrested and imprisoned in the castle of Aarsbourg, and thus was Switzerland submitted audaciously to his military yoke, to the indignation of the whole world, which, in the most distant countries, read the pathetic complaints of its brave and outraged inhabitants with a feeling that did more damage to the character of Buonaparte than almost any other of his wholesale usurpations.

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Pictures for The Reign of George III. - (Continued.) page 2

Island of Malta
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Napoleon Buonaparte
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Battle of Assaye
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