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The Reign of George III. - (Continued.) page 4

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There was little for our fleets in various quarters to do but to watch the coasts of Europe where France had dominions for any fugitive French vessel, for the ships of France rarely dared to show themselves out of port. In March, however, captain Willian Hoste fell in with five French frigates, with six smaller vessel s, carrying five hundred troops up the Adriatic, near the coast of Dalmatia, and with only four frigates he encountered and beat them. Captain Schomberg fell in with three French frigates and a sloop, off Madagascar, seized one of them, and followed the rest to the settlement of Tamatava, in the Mozambique Channel, of which they had managed to recover possession. Schomberg boldly entered the port, captured all the vessels there, and again expelled the French from Tamatava. On the American coast our ships were compelled to watch for the protection of our merchantmen and our interests, in consequence of the French mania which was prevailing amongst the North Americans, and which was very soon to lead to open conflict with us.

Such were the circumstances of "France in every quarter of the globe, except on the continent of Europe; and there already, notwithstanding the vast space over which Buonaparte ruled by the terror of his arms, there were many symptoms of the Coming disruption of this empire of arms, which sprung up like a tempest, and dispersed like one. Spain and Portugal, at one end of the continent, were draining the very life's blood from France, and turning all eyes in liveliest interest to the spectacle of a successful resistance, by a small British army, to this power so long deemed invincible. In the north lowered a dark storm, the force and fate of which were yet unsuspected, but which was gathering into its incubus the elements of a ruin to the Napoleonic ambition as sublime as it was to be decisive. In France itself never had the despotic power and glory of Buonaparte appeared more transcendent. Everything seemed to live but by his beck: a magnificent court, parliament the slave of his will, made up of the sham representatives of subjected nations, the country literally covered with armies, and nearly all surrounding nations governed by kings and princes who were but the satraps of his footstool. Such was the outward aspect of things; and now came the long-desired event, which was to cement his throne with the blood of kindred kings, and link it fast to posterity - the birth of a son.

On the 20th of March it was announced that the empress Maria Louisa was delivered of a son, who was named Napoleon Francis Charles Joseph, prince of the French Empire, and king of Rome. From all the cities and departments of France, from Belgium, Holland, and the Hanse Towns - now constituting parts of the empire - from the confederate states of the Rhine - Buonaparte's submissive allies - and from Italy; poured in addresses of congratulation, conceived in the most adulatory terms. Yet Italy must have seen in the title of the infant prince a confirming proof that Napoleon never meant to establish Italian independence. The flattery of the legislative, judicial, and municipal bodies in Paris was still more extravagant. A few days after the birth of this infant the whole body of the officers of state, the senate, the imperial council, &c., presented themselves to pay him homage. They read addresses to the poor baby, as if he could already understand them, and the head nurses replied for him. These sycophantic courtiers then defiled before the imperial cradle, making the most profound obeisances. Nothing could be more thoroughly ridiculous or contemptible. The unconscious king was baptised by the abbé Maury, so well known in the révolution, afterwards archbishop of Paris. As Wellington in Spain was briskly pursuing the legions of Massena, his troops heard the firing of a feu de joie, which was found to be in honour of the birth of this heir to the Napoleonic throne, who was never destined to sit upon it, but whose name still takes its place in the list of emperors as Napoleon II. Buonaparte summoned the corps legislatif, in order to announce this great event to it. Amongst the members appeared Dutchmen, Swiss, Germans, and Italians, as representatives of those French departments which once bore the names of Holland, the Hanse Towns, and the Valais. They, as well as the other members, had all been named by the Senate; for the people had no voice, either in old France or in its annexations, in choosing them; they were simply so many imperial puppets. To them the great Corsican, now deeming his throne, which was about to last three years, to be established for ever, made a pompous announcement of the birth of an heir, and reminded these political slaves of the honours and happiness they and their posterity would enjoy under the dynasty that he had created. This being done, the submissive body presented the most extravagant congratulations, and passed the great amount of war taxes demanded of them. The minister announced that his imperial majesty h ad augmented France by the addition of three hundred miles of coast, by sixteen new departments, containing five millions of population, producing one hundred millions of francs in revenue; that the army of France consisted of eight hundred thousand men, of which three hundred and fifty-five thousand were in Spain. The session, which commenced on the 16th of June, was closed on the 25th of July, and France was taught to believe that the new empire was in a highly prosperous condition.

But this prosperity lay only on the surface, and scarcely even there or anywhere but in the proud and lying assertions of Buonaparte. If we contemplate merely the map of Europe, the mighty expanse of the French empire seemed to occupy nearly the whole of it, and to offer an awful spectacle of one man's power. This empire, so rapidly erected, had absorbed Holland, Belgium, part of Switzer- land - for the "Valais was united to France - a considerable part of Germany, with Austria and Prussia diminished and trembling at the haughty usurper. Italy was also made part of the great French realm, and a fierce struggle was going on for the incorporation of Spain and Portugal. From Travemunde, on the Baltic, to the foot of the Pyrenees, from the port of Brest to Terracina, on the confines of the Neapolitan territory, north and south, east and west, extended this gigantic empire. Eight hundred thousand square miles, containing eighty-five millions of people, were either the direct subjects or the vassals of France. The survey was enough to inflate the pride of the conqueror, who had begun his wonderful career as a lieutenant of artillery. But this vast dominion had been compacted by too much violence, and in outrage to too many human interests, to remain united, or to possess real strength, even for the present. The elements of dissolution were already actively at work in it. The enormous drafts of men to supply the wars by which the empire had been created had terribly exhausted France. This drain, still kept up by the obstinate résistance of Spain and Portugal, necessitated conscription on conscription, and these on the most enormous scale. The young men were annually dragged from the towns, villages, and fields, from amid their weeping and despairing relatives, to recruit the profuse destruction in the armies, and there scarcely remained, ail over France, any but mere boys to continue the trade and agriculture of the country, assisted by old men and women. Beyond the boundaries of France, the populations of subdued and insulted nations were watching for the opportunity to rise and resume their rights. In Germany they were encouraging each other to prepare for the day of retribution; and, in numerous places along the coasts, bands of smugglers kept up a continual warfare with the French officers of the customs to introduce British manufactures. The contributions which had been levied in Holland and the Hanse Towns before they were incorporated in the Gallic empire, were now not readily collected in the shape of taxes. Beyond the continent ceased the power of Napoleon; over ail seas and colonies reigned his invincible enemy, Great Britain. There was scarcely a spot the wide world over where the French flag, or those of the nations whom he had crushed into an odious alliance, waved on which England had not now planted her colours. She eut off all colonial supplies, except what she secretly sold to his subjects in defiance of his great system. She was now victoriously bearing up his enemies in Spain, Portugal, and Sicily against him, and encouraging Russia, Sweden, Prussia, and Austria to expect the day of his final overthrow. There was scarcely a man of any penetration who expected that this vast and un- wieldy government could continue to exist a single day after him who had compelled it into union, rather than life; but, perhaps, none suspected how suddenly it would collapse. Yet the very birth of a son was rather calculated to undermine than to perpetuate it. His great generals, who had risen as he had risen, were suspected of looking forward, like those of Alexander of Macedon, to each seizing a kingdom for himself when the chief marauder should fall. It was certain that they had long been at enmity amongst themselves - a cause of great weakness to his military operations; and this was especially the fact in Spain.

On the other hand, the kings whom he had set up amongst his brothers and brothers-in-law added nothing to his power. Joseph proved a mere lay figure of a king in Spain; Louis had rejected his domination in Holland, and abdicated; Lucien had refused to be kinged at ail; Murat managed to control Naples, but not to conciliate the brave mountaineers of the country to French rule. The many outrages that Buonaparte had committed on the brave defenders of their countries and their rights were still remembered to be avenged. Prussia brooded resentfully over the injuries of its queen; the Tyrol over the murder of Hofer and his compatriots. Contemptible as was the royal family of Spain - the head of which, the old king Charles, with his queen, made a long journey to offer their congratulations on the birth of the king of Rome - the Spaniards did not forget the kidnapping of its royal race, nor the monstrous treatment of the queen of Etruria, the daughter of Charles IX., and the sister of Ferdinand. We have seen how Buonaparte first conferred on her the kingdom of Etruria, and then took it away again, in order to settle Ferdinand in it instead of in Spain; but, as he managed to reduce Ferdinand to a prisoner, he reserved Etruria to himself, and kept the queen of Etruria also a prisoner at Nice. Indignant at her restraint, she endeavoured to get away to England, as her oppressor's brother, Lucien, had done. But her two agents were betrayed, and one of them was shot on the plain of Grenelle, and the other only reprieved when the fear of death had done its work on him, and he only survived a few days. She herself was then shut up, with her daughter, in a convent.

But of ail the parties which remembered their wrongs and indignities, the Roman catholic clergy were the most uncomplying and formidable. They had seen the pope seized in his own palace at Rome, and forced away out of Italy, and brought to Fontainebleau. But there the resolute old man disdained to comply with what he deemed the sacrilegious demands of the tyrant. Numbers of bishoprics had fallen vacant, and the pontiff refused, whilst he was held captive, to institute successors. None but the most abandoned priests would fill the vacant sees without the papal institution. At length Buonaparte declared that he would separate France altogether from the holy see, and would set the protestants up as a rival church to the papal one, " Sire," said the count of Narbonne, who had now become one of Buonaparte's chamberlains, " I fear there is not religion enough in all France to stand a division." But in the month of June Buonaparte deter- mined to carry into execution his scheme of instituting bishops by the sanction of an ecclesiastical council. He summoned together more than a hundred prelates and dignitaries at Paris, and they went in procession to Notre Dame, with the archbishop Maury at their head. They took an oath of obedience to the emperor, and then Buonaparte's minister of public worship proposed to them, in a message from the emperor, to pass an ordinance enabling the archbishop to institute prelates without reference to the pope. A committee of bishops was found complying enough to recommend such an ordinance, but the council at large declared that it could not have tbe slightest value. Enraged at this defiance of his authority, Buonaparte immediately ordered the dismissal of the council and the arrest of the bishops of Tournay, Troyes, and Ghent, who had been extremely determined in their conduct. He shut them up in the Castle of Vincennes, and summoned a smaller assembly of bishops as a commission to determine the same question. But they were equally uncomplying, in defiance of the violent menaces of the man who had prostrated so many kings, but could not bend a few bishops to his will. The old pope encouraged the clergy, from his cell in Fontainebleau, to maintain the rights of the church against his and its oppressor, and Buonaparte found himself completely foiled.

Had Ferdinand of Spain had a tenth of the sense or the spirit of the old pope, he might long ago have given Napoleon the slip, and have added a wonderful fire to the enthusiasm of his subjects, by appearing amongst them and animating them to expel the invaders. This was the opinion of the British government, and they resolved to make the attempt to release him and place him at the head of his people, in order, not only to encourage, but to unite them against their common enemy. But the British government did not yet know what a hopeless subject was this son of the Bourbons. A baron Kolli, or Kelly - for he was of Irish origin, though a Piedmontese by birth - was engaged to carry out this enterprise. He was furnished with some diamonds, which he was to pretend that he wished to offer to Ferdinand, and by this means to obtain access to him at the Castle of Valençay, where the poor, miserable prince employed his time in embroidering a gown and petticoat for the Virgin Mary, seeming to pay no attention to anything else. Kolli was put ashore in Quiberon Bay, and arrived in Paris in March, 1810. There, how- ever, he drew suspicion on himself by appearing at a table- d'hôte in mean apparel, and yet drinking a bottle of the best and most expensive wine. He was arrested at the moment of his setting out for Valençay, and his papers betrayed his commission. He was clapped into the Castle of Vincennes, and another person sent on to Valençay to represent him, and to see if he could draw Ferdinand into the snare. But whether the prince was clever enough to suspect the trick, or whether, as is more probable, he had no desire for the enterprise, he would not listen to the temptation, but informed the governor of the Castle of it, and the false Kolli withdrew.. Ferdinand was not so dull as not to endeavour to make capital out of his refusal. He wrote to the emperor, exposing the endeavour of the British government to seduce him, and expressed his great indignation at England having abused his name in Spain to stir up the people to resistance against France, and to cause much bloodshed. On the strength of this meritorious conduct, he again intreated an alliance with the family of Napoleon, in which, however, lie was not indulged.

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