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The Napoleonic War (1803-1815). page 3

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The territory of Europe was now rearranged under the Peace of Paris of November 20th, 1815, and by the "Act of the Congress of Vienna." France received the boundaries of 1790, generally speaking, by surrendering fortresses and territory to the Netherlands and to Germany, and Savoy to Sardinia, A payment of 700,000,000 francs (28,000,000 pounds sterling) as war-indemnity was enforced by the occupation, for some years, of fortresses on the northern and eastern borders by allied troops at the French charges. Works of art taken from Germany and Italy were reclaimed. Austria received the Milanese and Venice as the "Lombardo-Venetian kingdom," and recovered Illyria, Dalmatia, Salzburg, the Tyrol, and Gallicia. Prussia now had Posen (a part of the "grand-duchy of Warsaw") with Danzig, also Swedish Pomerania with Rugen; the old possessions in Westphalia, the lower Rhine duchy, and most of Saxony in return for the loss of territory to Bavaria, Hanover, and Russia. Holland and Austrian Belgium became a new "kingdom of the Netherlands," under the former hereditary stadtholder of Holland, as "King William I." A new "German Confederation" was formed, under the emperor of Austria as president, and comprised 39 sovereign states, including the "free cities" of Lubeck, Bremen, Hamburg, and Frankfurt-on-the-Main. The Diet, sitting at Frankfurt, was to decide on affairs common to all German states, and to settle disputes between the members of the Confederation. Each state was independent in regard to matters affecting itself alone. War was not to be declared by any state against any other in the Confederation, nor any alliance be formed with a foreign power which could be injurious to any German state. The Confederate army, composed of contingents furnished by every state in proportion to population, was to be commanded by men appointed by the Diet, and its troops were to garrison the fortresses of Luxemburg, Mainz (Mayence), and Landau, which were the property of the Confederation. Members of all Christian sects were to have equal civil and political rights, and constitutional government was to be established in every state. In the division of territory Russia received most of the grand-duchy of Warsaw as "the kingdom of Poland." The 19 cantons of Switzerland became 22 by the addition of Geneva, Valais, and Neuchatel, which had all been annexed to France under the Directory, and the whole Swiss territory was declared by the Congress to be perpetually neutral in. European wars and inviolable. The Swiss Confederation was thus established, with a Diet, in which each state was represented, meeting alternately at Bern, Zurich, and Lucerne. In Italy, Sardinia received Genoa, and petty sovereignties were set up, in dependence on Austria, as the duchies of Tuscany, Lucca, Modena, and Parma. Finally, Great Britain retained, as her return for an expenditure of over 600,000,000 pounds sterling, raising the National Debt to nearly 900,000,000 pounds, the islands of Malta and Heligoland; some French and Dutch colonies, in the West Indies, South America, the East, and South Africa; and a protectorate of the "Republic of the Seven Ionian Islands." Of these, the Ionian Islands were given up to Greece in 1864, and Heligoland to Germany (the Empire) in July, 1890, in return for certain concessions in East Africa. We note that, in Germany, Bavaria, Wurtemberg, and Saxony remained as monarchies, the latter losing territory, as above, in punishment for adherence to Napoleon, and that Hanover, reverting to the possession of the British sovereign, became a kingdom. In Italy the Pope received again the central territory as the "States of the Church," and the Bourbons ruled in Naples and Sicily, the latter having been always retained, as an island made secure by British maritime supremacy.

In British affairs during this period we may record, for 1809, the great exploit of Lord Cochrane (afterwards earl of Dundonald) with fireships in the Aix (or Basque) Roads, on the south-west coast of France, where that great naval hero destroyed four line-of-battle ships, and could have done much more save for the imbecility of his superior in command, Lord Gambier. In the same year the unfortunate Walcheren expedition, dispatched to the Scheldt for the purpose of assailing Napoleon's great naval arsenal at Antwerp, was an utter failure from the incompetence of the military commander, the earl of Chatham (Pitt's eldest brother), and of Admiral Sir Richard Strachan. Flushing was taken, and Walcheren occupied; both were perfectly useless achievements. Antwerp was not approached until it was made safe by French reinforcements. Many millions of pounds were thus utterly wasted. Thousands of men died of the marsh-fevers, and the health of thousands more was wrecked for life. At the end of 1810, after a previous attack in 1788, George III. became permanently insane, and his eldest son, George Prince of Wales, assumed power as Prince Regent. It is more satisfactory to note that, a little before this period opens, the exertions of the benevolent Granville Sharp obtained from the 12 judges, in 1772, in the famous case of the negro James Somerset, a confirmation of Lord Chief-Justice Mansfield's judgment that "the power claimed [of making a slave in England] never was in use here, or acknowledged by the law." It was thus decided that "a slave becomes free as soon as he sets foot on British ground." This victory of the early "abolitionists" was quickly followed up. In 1787 Sharp formed the Association for the Abolition of Negro Slavery, and was strongly supported by Thomas Clarkson and by William Wilberforce, the able, pious, and eloquent M.P. for the county of York. The merchants of Bristol and Liverpool resisted abolition, and the House of Commons for some years threw out all Bills. That noble-minded lover of freedom, Charles James Fox, lent his powerful aid, and in 1792 a Bill abolishing the slave-trade was passed in the Commons, but rejected in the Lords. At last, in 1807, the British slave-trade was assailed by the Abolition Act, inflicting pecuniary penalties. British subjects continued to carry on the wicked traffic under cover of the Spanish and Portuguese flags, and in 1811 a Bill was unanimously carried making the slave-trade a felony liable to 14 years' transportation, or from three to five years' imprisonment with hard labour. An Act of 1824 made it "piracy," then a capital crime, and the statute of 1837, after the Act of 1833, emancipating all the slaves in British colonies, left trading in slaves punishable with transportation for life.

In Russia, apart from her share in the Napoleonic wars, we find Alexander I. (1801-1825) as a man brought up, under the direction of the empress Catharine, his grandmother, in the most advanced ideas of the 18th century. On succeeding his murdered father, Paul I., in 1801, he did much to promote education, alleviate serfdom, and introduce a milder legal and administrative system. After the Peace of Tilsit, which made his policy hostile to Great Britain, Alexander attacked her ally, Sweden, and deprived her in war of the province of Finland. In war with Turkey, the Russian frontier was pushed farther to the south, and the Peace of Bucharest, in 1812, conceding Bessarabia to Russia, made the river Pruth the boundary between the countries. When we look to the Scandinavian kingdoms, we find the French marshal Bernadotte, in the reign of Charles XIII. of Sweden (1809-1818), adopted in 1810 as heir to the throne. In 1814 Denmark ceded Norway to Sweden, and Norway thus, after a long period of subservience to the Danes, had a revival of life and spirit in the recovery of rights, a liberal constitution, and a sense of national unity.

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