Europe 1796-1802 – part 3

Sat 29th Oct 1796

On the approach of Bonaparte’s Army of Italy, the Republic of Venice expelled Louis XVIII from Verona without notice and he spent 7 days travelling through frozen terrain over the St Gotthard Pass to the Prince of Condé’s émigré army at Riegel. He was accompanied by the Duc de Fleury, Comte d’Avary and Viscount d’Agoulte. On his arrival on 29th April, the Prince of Condé notified Wickham and Crawfurd, the two British envoys to the émigré army, who were surprised.

The King embraced his nephew the Duc de Berry. He presented the sword of Henri IV to the Prince of Condé. He published a note in General Orders extolling Condé and recognising the generous support of the Austrian and British Kings. The King then chatted with all the émigré officers who were delighted by his arrival.

Sat 12th Nov 1796

Citizen Derche of the Foreign Ministry has published a justification for France keeping her eastern frontier on the Rhine. He shows the need for a strong barrier against Austria (‘one of the despoilers of Poland,’ he says) and that France can claim the lands west of the Rhine as indemnity for the war we have been forced to wage against the autocrats. The people in the newly occupied lands are to be fellow citizens, not 2nd class subjects. Their rich lands have been a constant source of strength to those who attack us. This danger must be addressed.

We should all be constantly aware of what the autocrats have done to Poland. We must take care that peace negotiations with monarchies like Austria are not merely to let them refresh themselves. The French Republic should enforce a higher standard of international morality. We offer the people of Europe a real guarantee that our borders on the Rhine, Alps and Pyrenees are permanent and will never be extended.

If we return to our former limits, the benefits of the Netherlands alliance will be lost; that country will be exposed to subjection again; gold will again flow into France to finance anarchy.

Derche considers that without strong frontiers, France will be forever open to English conspiracies to foment civil war. The war itself is the work of émigrés and their guilty flight was no loss but the salvation of our body politic.

Sat 26th Nov 1796

Queen Donna Maria of Portugal, on the advice of her Board of Commerce, Agriculture, Industry and Navigation, has on 13th May offered to open Junqueira near Lisbon as a free port (except sugar and tobacco) effective 1st January 1797 for the trade of Eastern goods into her country or for export.

The sole duty on re-exports is 1%; on imports the usual rates. Meats, grain and other foods continue to be imported duty-free and may be re-exported duty-free as well. These regulations will apply even if Portugal is at war.

Sat 26th Nov 1796

On 7th July eight Chouan officers of the army of General de Sombrieul arrived at Dover. Without British support they cannot win the civil war in France. The Republican general who defeated them offered to reinstate them in their estates but these eight preferred to withdraw. The Chouan officers have exhorted their men to cease fighting and their army has dispersed. Peace is restored on both banks of the Loire and in Anjou.

Wed 30th Nov 1796 Extraordinary

A Dutch fleet arrived at the Cape in early August and surrendered to the British. It was supposed to meet-up with a French fleet and re-occupy Capetown but they did not meet and the British fleet opposed them at sea whilst a British army denied them to land. They anchored in Saldanha Bay and Elphinstone’s fleet approached which, it is said, they mistook for the French.

Rear Admiral Lucas manned the yards and saluted whereupon Elphinstone unfurled British colours. Lucas surrendered on 17th August without firing a shot. Admiral Lucas commanded the Dutch with 3 capital ships, 5 frigates, a sloop and a large storeship loaded with supplies and a battering train for the reduction of the Capetown fort. A large number of his sailors, who include many Swedes and Danes, then agreed to enter British service.

The strange thing is that Lucas supposedly expected to connect with the French Admiral Richery but that officer sailed from Cadiz and went cruising in the Mediterranean a few days before the Dutch were captured at the Cape. It seems he was unaware of the plan – Anglophile Hollanders in the Dutch navy?

This failed invasion appears to have been intended to be a major FrancoDutch attempt to recover the Cape and re-open the route to eastern seas for their navy and commerce. Now, they will have to find another way to the East.

Wed 30th Nov 1796 Extraordinary

News from Europe:

  • The initial AustroGerman successes on the Rhine have been reversed. The French right under General Moreau has reached Augsburg; the French left under General Jourdain has taken Frankfurt and arrived at Nuremberg.
  • The Duke of Wurtemburg has made peace with France. He has surrendered all his lands west of the Rhine and guaranteed not to assist the coalition of Kings. French troops will occupy all his military posts and may traverse his country on application.[115] The Swabians have withdrawn from the German Confederation and also made peace. They negotiated the terms at the Congress of Augsburg in early August.
  • Lord Bute, our ambassador to Madrid, has been recalled and it appears Spain will very soon declare war on England. The Spanish King has itemised 63 separate complaints against England. A combined fleet of French and Spanish warships has departed Cadiz.
  • In Italy, General Bonaparte has headquartered himself at Belzano in the Tyrol and General Wurmser has retreated out of the country with the Austrian army.
  • Louis XVIII was looking out of the window of an inn at Dellingen in the lands of the Elector of Treves at about 10pm on 19th July when a fellow in the opposite house shot at him with a carbine. The bullet hit the King on the head and fortunately caused no serious injury.
  • The India fleet from Bombay has arrived safely in London. Bombay merchants had 1½ million Rupees invested in it of which a million was insured with the Bombay Insurance Office.

Wed 30th Nov 1796 Extraordinary

The Spanish ambassador to St James, Marquis de las Casas, has presented Lord Grenville with the list of 63 Spanish complaints against Britain which have arisen since she made peace with France. The principal ones are:

  • The Santa Jago was illegally taken as prize;
  • At Toulon the Spanish commanders gave guarantees to the Toulonese on evacuating the town which British commanders declined to honour, specifically we took all the French prizes without sharing them;
  • A huge quantity of timber bought in the Baltic by British merchants on Spanish account was not delivered to buyers but kept in England and allowed to rot;[116]
  • When the French gained possession of the major Spanish foundries, Spain, with British agreement, brought its replacement arms and ammunition in England. Having paid for the order, the British government embargoed the export and repurchased the goods at its own cheap valuation;
  • The insulting behaviour of Grenville to the Marquis de las Casas on his first interview;
  • Spanish merchants bought silk at Cadiz from the prizes of French Admiral Richery and sent their purchases to England, as the British requested, where they were confiscated; and
  • The vexatious daily stopping and searching of Spanish merchant ships by British squadrons in the Mediterranean.

de las Casas has retired to Bath to await Grenville’s response. If unsuitable, he will leave for Spain from Bristol. The important officers of his suite have already obtained passports for their departure.

Wed 30th Nov 1796 Extraordinary

HMS Gratton (Trollope) encountered and engaged a fleet of six Dutch warships off Goeree. Eventually the Dutch veered off for Flushing. HMS Gratton was too heavily damaged to pursue.

In mid-August Trollope was fêted at Lloyd’s Coffee House in the City (the coffee house monopolised by marine insurance underwriters; other coffee houses are favoured by other commercial sectors, e.g. The India Company uses the Jerusalem Coffee House).

They gave him a present and three cheers and Trollope was quite overcome. He adjourned to another room and wrote out his acknowledgements as he doubted his ability to speak them.

Sat 3rd Dec 1796

The Portuguese Queen has been given a difficult choice – either leave the coalition of Kings or be invaded by 60,000 French troops.

Sat 3rd Dec 1796

The British election results are reproduced in full in this edition. Paul Benfield and W Boyd, the bankers of Paris and London trading as Boyd Benfield and Co, are MPs for Shaftesbury; Wm Pitt is again elected for Cambridge University; Lord Mornington (Wellesley) for Old Sarum; Palmerston for Winchester; Charles Grey gets in for Northumberland as usual, etc.

Sat 10th Dec 1796

French policy in Europe is becoming clear. They lost the war at sea but are winning on the land. The large number of troops they are able to call upon are supported by the resources of the countries they conquer. They are successively closing the ports of Europe against British trade. The Netherlands and Italy are already closed to us. Spain appears likely to be next and that will pressure Portugal to close as well. Then they will presumably focus on our access to the Baltic.

Portugal believes it will be attacked. The value of British property in Oporto equates with the amount France seized from us in Leghorn – we have a prodigious investment in port wine and cork. British wine importers have actually increased their stocks at Porto in view of the recent increase in British import duty on wines landed in England. They now bring in only as much as they can instantly sell. There is no bonding available for foreign wines landed at London. The involved wine merchants have interviewed Pitt and say he is considering permitting a bond.

Sat 27th Jan 1798

Éclair Gazette, 11th June – The foundation of the Federation of the Cisalpine Republic was celebrated at Milan on 9th June. The new Republic incorporates the western Po Valley and the Alpine foothills to the north. It is the buffer state created by General Bonaparte to protect the French S E frontier from Austrian possessions in North Italy. Deputies from all the departments of the new Republic attended and officials from Bologna, Ancona, Venice and most other Italian states observed the proceedings.

Bonaparte had first placed 6,000 French and 4,000 Lombard troops in the town to ensure good order. The new Republic is divided administratively into eleven departments. Mantua and Brescia are not included. The new legislative body is called the Consultenti. It has four committees – Constitution, Military, Finance and Justice. The organisation appears to have been Bonaparte’s own initiative.[117]

Sat 27th Jan 1798

The same edition of Éclair also reports a request from the Diet at Ratisbon to the Austrian Emperor which was forwarded to Paris. The German states demand the French Directory remove their troops from Imperial soil including Liege. The Directory replied that the integrity of the Empire was stipulated in the peace preliminaries but it could not include Liege which had been reunited with France unless the treaty now being negotiated with England should require it.

The Emperor contrarily says Liege is his and he will not make peace without it. Barthelemy is persuading his fellow Directors that the construction of the peace preliminaries permits an understanding that Liege is part of Austria. The Directors disagreed but on 27th June they voted 3/2 in the Emperor’s favour. Liege and Stavelto are accordingly to retain their ancient Constitutions.

Sat 17th Dec 1796

Bonaparte’s report to the Directory from Bologna, dated 23rd June:

I have taken the castle of Urbino at Modena (within the Papal States). It contained 50 good cannon and provisions for 600 men for two months. There was 25,000lbs of powder and 15,000 shot. The garrison comprised 300 men under one of the Knights Templar of Malta. As the Templars serve the Pope, they surrendered voluntarily.

We have also occupied Ferrera where another Templar commanded the garrison and had 114 cannon. This extra artillery will be useful for the siege of Mantua.[118]

A contribution will be levied on Bologna once we have estimated its worth. Twenty paintings, part of the indemnity from the Pope, have been sent from Parma to Paris including the celebrated picture of St Jerome although the locals offered us a million if we would allow them to keep it. Barthelemy is at Modena selecting paintings there. He intends to take 50, amongst which is Michael Angelo’s St Cecilia. Our botanists are at Pavia taking specimens of the exotic plants there for our National Botanical Garden. We found a huge collection of snakes there which is being sent to you too.

At Milan I interviewed the famous Oriani.[119] It was the first time he had been in the Archduke’s palace and he was overwhelmed by its opulence. As he appeared independent of the previous government I undertook to pay his salary and gave him every verbal encouragement. I will send you copies of my letters.

Sat 31st Dec 1796

By late June it was apparent that Bonaparte would enter Leghorn. He moves his army so quickly he repeatedly surprises us. William F Windham, the British Plenipotentiary now at Leghorn, has been obliged to remove on board HMS Inconstant in the harbour. The British Consul John Udny has advised British merchants to leave. There are 23 British merchant ships in harbour. Most moveable British property has been loaded on board the shipping, including 240 oxen, and will be taken to Corsica. A handful of Britons plan to remain.

Sat 19th Nov 1796

The Company’s cruiser Antelope arrived from Basra via Bushire yesterday with European news to 19th July:

War in Italy – Milan surrendered to the French on 20th June. In another action, Bonaparte took Leghorn at the same time. The Governor of Leghorn is sent a prisoner to the Grand Duke of Tuscany at Florence. He is accused by Bonaparte of violating the strict neutrality he had promised by allowing the English to carry off two French ships from Leghorn as prizes.

Spain has pleaded for the Pope. Bonaparte and his Civil Commissioners have conceded an armistice to him, which he desperately needed. The Pope has sent a Plenipotentiary to Paris for negotiations. The French are angry with the Vatican because of the murder of their national representative Basseville in the Papal States. They also object to the Pope’s routine imprisonment of democrats.

The terms France wants are:

  • to have Papal ports opened to French shipping and closed to the English;
  • to retain Bologna and Ferrera and occupy Faenza too;
  • the delivery of Ancona and all its defences.
  • 100 works of art (pictures, vases and statues) and 5 manuscripts from the Papal Collection as indemnity for their trouble. They will send a man to Rome to select them. The bronze bust of Junius Brutus and the marble bust of Marcus Brutus are on the list.
  • The Pope will also pay an indemnity of 21 millions livres – 15½ millions will be in specie and spices, the rest in horses and other goods – in addition to the contributions levied on Bologna, Ferrera and Faenza. All the horses and goods are to be delivered at Genoa or Leghorn within 3 months.
  • French armies will have right of passage through Papal lands.

The Pope has no conceivable alternative and is expected to concede all of this.

As of 2nd July Bonaparte’s HQ was at Bologna.

Bonaparte has ordered cannon and a battering train from Toulon for the siege of Mantua. Nelson on Agamemnon is trying to prevent its shipment. On 31st May the British Admiral saw six French ships and attacked them. He captured the two convoying warships and all five transports with cannon and provisions.

War on the Rhine – the French tactic has been to split their forces and penetrate along two lines to Strasbourg and Dusseldorf, then join-up and cut off the Emperor’s strong forts at Mannheim and Mentz. In this way they occupy a large part of Swabia.

War in Spain? – Britain is suspicious of Spanish tolerance of France. The Spanish navy is being strengthened and St Roc is being reinforced. Britain is reinforcing Gibraltar and may declare war on Spain if she suspects Spain is not strictly neutral.

The 3% consols dropped under 60 on 19th July. All bonds are down or untraded.

Sat 10th Dec 1796

Present State of the War by M Peltier addresses the European situation in early July 1796:

In ten weeks since the opening of this year’s campaign we have seen twelve great battles. The Austrians started with an advance on the Moselle and Saar intending to get General Jourdain to abandon Dusseldorf and withdraw to protect Alsace Lorraine. The French permitted this as the country they abandoned was destitute of resources. As the Austrians penetrated in the centre, the French armies moved north and south and encircled them. General Moreau was ordered over the Rhine at Strasburg to create a diversion. Astonishingly the Rhine had been left unguarded at that point. By the time the Austrians assembled in force the French had over 40,000 men across the river and were invincible.

Five countries have requested for peace with France. The Margrave of Baden, the Duke of Wurtemburg and the Prince of Furstemburg are amongst them. The Prince of Condé had to withdraw with his Royalist army as fast as he could. There are now 100,000 French Republican troops over the Rhine and the only opposition is 35,000 Austrians who will likely have to withdraw over the Neckar and Danube. All this destruction has been voluntarily sustained by the autocrats to re-establish monarchy in France.

In Italy, Milan capitulated on 29th June. Mantua must do so soon. Leghorn was entered on 27th June after the British fleet withdrew. The cabinet of Naples (the Two Sicilies) has made peace. The Pope has been obliged to accept hard terms and the principal works of art in Rome and Bologna are going to Paris.

Sat 17th Dec 1796

British news, 7th July:

16 new Scottish peers have been elevated at Holyrood. They are the Marquisate of Tweeddale, and the Earldoms of Aboyne, Breadalbane, Cassilis, Cathcart, Dalhousie, Dumfries, Elgin, Errol, Glasgow, Napier, North Esk, Somerville, Stair, Strathmore and Torphichen. This latest increase of the King’s influence in the Lords makes him overwhelming in that House.

Lord Lauderdale in the House of Lords has protested against the elevation of Earl of Errol. In 1666 the Earldom was given to Gilbert and his male heirs. In 1674 it was granted to John of Killour but the authorising Charter that was done at Edinburgh was not done by the King and thus does not comply with legal requirements. Nevertheless, Lauderdale supports the principle that all the Scottish peers should be permitted to vote at Westminster. He voted in favour of the other 15 new peers.

Sempill objected to the ‘unjust and ruinous’ war and thought the internal government of Britain was subversive of Liberty. If the centralisation of Power on George III continues, the Constitution will become worthless, he said. Sempill would not vote for a peer who supported the war. Accordingly he would support only one applicant – Lauderdale. He formally protested that he was one of the peers who was qualified to vote in the next session but had been excluded because he held liberal views.

Sat 17th Dec 1796

London Gazette, 20th August:

A force from the new British colony of Corsica has taken possession of Porte Ferraio, the port of Elba on 10th July, in accordance with instructions of Minto, Viceroy of Corsica.

Elba belongs to the Duke of Piombino while the town of Porto Ferraio belongs to the Grand Duke of Tuscany. With Bonaparte in possession of most of northern Italy, Minto felt this toehold of Italian soil on Elba had to be removed from his potential possession. Elba had earlier been intended by the French as the base for their invasion of Leghorn. Porto Ferraio is an excellent safe harbour protected by three forts – Cosmopoli, Stella and Falcone.

The failure of strict neutrality by the Grand Duke’s Governor at Porto Ferraio was Minto’s reason for his order. Porto Ferraio (named for some old iron mines nearby) is on an islet connected to Elba by a bridge and canal. The port is protected by 100 cannon and a garrison of 400 excluding the local militia. The Governor required a little time to consult with the leading citizens (Tuscans control the island’s economy). Nelson brought his warships into harbour to encourage the Governor to surrender peacefully. This was a good (but rare) example of combined operations working well.

Sat 17th Dec 1796

Le Courier du Bas Rhin has reviewed the qualities of the various army commanders fighting the war for and against the Kings. The Austrian armies against France are led by French émigrés:

  • General Wurmser comes from Alsace. He entered Austrian service after the Seven Year’s War and is now 80 years old. There is an Austrian regiment of hussars that bears his name.
  • General Bellegarde commands the Army of the Lower Rhine under the Archduke Charles. He is about 40 years old and has French parents. He has fought well and skilfully for the coalition. He was seriously wounded at Dunkirk in the last campaign.

The French commanders opposed to them are:

  • Moreau, who studied law at Rennes before the war. He is about 28 years old.
  • Jourdain who was a private in the French Guards before the Revolution. He is now about 36 years old and skilled in the new military tactics that the French have evolved.
  • Bonaparte comes from Corsica. He was educated in France and rose to Captain in the artillery. His recreation was always the study of politics and history. He is an ambitious and ‘giddy young man.’ He directed the siege of Toulon and over-ruled the arrangements made by the generals. They thought him presumptuous but his plan contributed greatly to the reduction of the town and forced the precipitant flight of the English. As a result they made him general of artillery in the Army of Italy. There, he found he was supporting an operational plan of which he could not approve. He produced his own proposal for the campaign and it was adopted. He is both successful and economic. The CPS transferred him to the infantry but he resented the appointment and visited Paris to ask to be instead sent to Constantinople apparently to serve against Austria from there. At that time Barras was CiC and he took Bonaparte as his aide from whence he rose to command the Army of the Interior. At that time he met and married a rich young widow. He then left Paris for the conquest of Italy. He is 27 years old, short and thin. He never despairs of success and is always cool and collected. He has few social graces but speaks precisely and gracefully. Usually he has little to say. He is above the intriguing factions and has the interests of his country at heart.

Sat 17th Dec 1796

The Price of Disinformation – An action has commenced in the Court of King’s Bench in which the London newspaper the Telegraph is suing the government-supported Morning Post newspaper:

On 10th Feb 1795 the French paper L’éclair published the articles of a peace treaty between the German Emperor and France. Unknown to any of the Editors it was actually British propaganda (evident from the English type faces) and part of our national campaign to misinform the people.

Edger, the Telegraph agent, employed Peters who brought the French newspaper from Boulogne. Peters told Edger he could find only one copy and it had cost him 5/- which Edger was unwilling to pay.

M/s Fuller and Stewart, proprietors of the Morning Post, learned of Edger’s interest and, knowing the article was misinformation, bought the copy from Peters and sent it gratis to the Telegraph which published its details as genuine.

The Court gave judgement to the Plaintiffs in £100 (c. 25 ounces of gold equivalent).

Sat 31st Dec 1796

The Archduke Charles was forced out of the lower Rhine on 19th July when the French occupied Frankfurt. The Archduke will try to connect with the other Austrian army under Wurmser.

The Frankfurters are surprised by the French. They had been schooled to expect barbarous violence but the occupiers are behaving better than the Austrian troops.

The French have permitted the Austrian garrison to leave with its artillery, arms & ammunition and baggage. The French have decreed they will not force Mandats on suppliers – all purchasing will be by agreement.

The only requisitions on Frankfurt will be by the Commissariat.


NB – all 1797 editions are missing from the British Library copy. Contemporary accounts of the British naval mutinies, the attempted coup d’Etat in France under cover of peace negotiations with Britain and the early parts of the insurrection in Ireland are all unavailable. However, since 2014, English-speakers are fortunate to have Andrew Roberts’ biography of “Napoleon the Great” and will find extensive detail of the take-over of the French government in the chapter titled ‘Brumaire.’

Tues 2nd Jan 1798

The Company’s ship Viper has arrived from Basra with European news to 15th September 1797. On this occasion no continental newspapers are available. The only news we have is from London:

The peace negotiations at Lille have stalled. The London editors are not explicit as to the reason but it seems to relate to the alleged involvement of our government in funding and organising a conspiracy lately discovered in Paris to overthrow the French government and restore monarchy.

The conspiracy involves several leading French politicians, most of whom are Jacobins – the people Pitt has repeatedly said he will not negotiate with.[120]

Tues 2nd Jan 1798

Vienna 6th August – One of the last acts of Director Barthelemy before the discovery of his involvement in the émigré conspiracy to recover the government of France, was to make application to the Austrian Imperial government on behalf of the French Republic to permit Lafayette to leave Europe for America.

The American consul to Lower Saxony (the area incorporating George III’s lands, called Hanover, across the river from Hamburg) will organise the details.

Tues 2nd Jan 1798

  • A peace treaty between France and Portugal is announced. The London papers ignore the terms but we suppose they duplicate the preliminary agreement which preceded the peace treaty. That document required Portugal to pay 10 millions, provide commercial advantages and close her ports to British prizes. There may be a cession of some Brazilian lands as well.
  • Apart from an incident on HMS St George (Peard), part of Admiral St Vincent’s squadron, there have been no further mutinies in the navy. Peard executed the four ringleaders on 9th July and that was sufficient to secure his crews’ submission.
  • In July the Earl of Mornington was said to have been appointed Governor of Madras to replace Lord Hobart who has turned-out to be unsuitable.[121]
  • England is tranquil; the Scots are irritated by the Militia Act;
  • 3% consols on 14th Sept were 52½ and continuing their descent trajectory.

Wed 31st Jan 1798 Extraordinary

Portugal has negotiated peace with France at Udina through its diplomat Chevalier d’Aranjo. Few details are available. The agreement required ratification within 60 days but no answer has yet been received from Lisbon. It is supposed the Portuguese Government has submitted the agreed terms to England for approval and this is the cause of the delay.

England has put 5,000 – 6,000 soldiers into Portugal supposedly for its defence against the French although some Portuguese sources say the soldiers are being used to restrain the government at Lisbon and delay ratification of the peace terms with France.

England cannot tolerate any restriction on the numbers of her ships permitted to enter Portuguese ports. Such restriction is one of the agreed terms in d’Aranjo’s treaty.

Sat 10th Feb 1798

Royal Naval mutiny – further information:

The three men sentenced to be hanged for mutiny were sent aboard HMS St George (Peard) for execution. Peard’s crew petitioned for mercy and he forwarded their petition to Admiral St Vincent for consideration. He rejected it.

Peard told his men who then resolved to seize the ship, depose the officers and liberate the condemned men. This further mutiny was set for the day prior to the proposed executions. Peard was informed of the plot and told the men he would punish the ringleaders if they persisted in it. The crew did not disperse and Peard ran in amongst them and seized the two ringleaders. He put them in irons whilst the rest of the crew looked on. The crew then submitted to discipline.

Next day the three ring-leaders in the original mutiny were hanged at the yardarm. The two new arrests were sent to their Courts Martial.

Sat 20th Jan 1798

Letters from a British merchant at Cadiz dated 4th – 8th July say Earl St Vincent (actually Nelson’s squadron in the Earl’s fleet) is blockading the port. Nelson has demanded a ransom equivalent to £1.2 millions ($5 millions) and is lobbing mortar bombs into Cadiz to encourage payment. Some civilians, including women and children, have been killed.

The cause of the dispute is commercial. Nelson’s squadron had earlier taken two Spanish frigates Helena and Nympha but after they struck their colours, they were run ashore and coastal residents removed all the valuables. The British officers were deprived of their anticipated profits and consider it both theft and a breach of honour.

It is also the case that Spain has threatened violence against Portugal, purportedly at the behest of France, whilst Britain has been spending money preparing Portugal’s defences and is her ally.

One London writer speculates that the ransom of Cadiz is a means of recovering the cost of war preparations we have incurred in Portugal.

The Spanish contrarily fought back and so damaged one of our bomb vessels that the English scuttled her for fear the enemy would capture her. The English then captured two Spanish gunboats and killed the commanders. They are now preparing a greater number of bomb vessels for tonight and we residents are making vigorous preparations to defend ourselves.

Sat 27th Jan 1798

The Queen has arrived at Madras from London and the Cape. She reports the seamen of the fleet at Capetown (Admiral Pringle’s fleet) mutinied for the same terms obtained by the mutineers in the home fleet. Many officers were confined by their crews and others were sent ashore.

The Admiral has told the mutineers that the terms of employment they desire have been made available to all British sailors (as a result of the mutinies in England). It was the first they knew of it.

Whilst the seamen considered the matter, a Danish ship arrived at the Cape having left London on 8th July and brought news of the end of the mutiny at the Nore and the execution of Parker and the other ring-leaders. This spread through the fleet instantly and the rebellious seamen returned to discipline. Admiral Pringle says there is no need to punish anyone.

Sat 27th Jan 1798

The Batavian (Netherlands) Constitution – Talleyrand Perigord, one of the new Directors of France, has written to Noel, the French ambassador at Amsterdam, on 2nd August:

The plan of the new Constitution will secure the prosperity of Holland. It should be approved as the basic law of the country and I approve your letter to the Councillors commending it.[122]

Talleyrand wrote that France encouraged the triumph of liberty in Netherlands and only our enemies will fault this law.

“Use every opportunity to let the Dutch know the lively interest we members of the Directory take in their acceptance of this Constitution. It is our wish that the Batavian Republic obtain that form of government that may enable her to resume her rightful place amongst the nations of Europe and blend liberty with a flourishing commerce.”

The Batavian National Assembly replied that they were equally convinced of the necessity for the Constitution and the Directory might rest assured that the subject will be decided by the will of the Dutch people.

However on 12th August, with the votes of the Primary Assemblies only half-counted, it appeared the Constitution would be rejected. Dordrecht, Shiedam, most of Friesland and the City of Groeningen supported it. Everywhere else the property owners repudiated it. The count of votes is about 65% against (in Amsterdam it is 85% against).

The most persuasive popular complaint is that the Constitution is a step from old to new systems, incorporating features of both, which causes it to have no decided character – it satisfied no-one. The Dutch administrators suppose that such Constitutions will always be rejected if the vote is free.

This induced the French Assembly to ‘suppose’ the acceptance of the old Constitution of 1791 which had formed the basis for General Bonaparte’s arrangements in Italy.

There were a few supporting reasons for rejection of the new Law:

  • The concentration of executive power in five people was generally disapproved.
  • The Orange party, who were expected to give support, withheld their votes.
  • The clergy of all denominations, who are excluded from public service by one of the Articles, mobilised their congregations to reject it.
  • The Roman Catholics were additionally displeased that the Protestant clergy got livings for life whilst the Protestants were displeased that they were not made the established state religion.
  • The vote also required each citizen to first acknowledge the sovereignty of the people and the abolition of all hereditary dignities before voting – this pre-condition kept a lot of otherwise supportive citizens, like the Orangemen, away.

Sat 27th Jan 1798

Message of the French Directory to the Council, 20th August:

The French government is bankrupt – 63,888,967 livres fall due for payment soon on existing warrants. 21,002,790 livres is already due to be paid. This latter figure is comprised of 3 million for the troops, 4 million for food, 1 million for pensions and dividends, 1 million for constitutional salaries, 5 million for general salaries and pensions and 7 million for sundries.

The National Treasury is in deficit to 3.8 million livres which has to be made good before anything else. The Directors calculate that the balances in the Departments together with those funds still in the Treasury may suffice to discharge the deficit and leave a balance of 0.8 million for the next ten days.

The indispensable amount we need now for the maintenance of government is 8.8 million livres. The National Treasury has 10% of this; the receipts expected in the next ten days are 1 million and the departments might conceivably obtain receipts of 7 million too, although it seems on the high side.

The laws we have enacted require that the wages and food for the armed forces are preferred payments to be met before every other consideration. These amount to 7 million livres and are already in arrears. Holders of government stock expect payment of 0.9 million in interest. There are other payments we are legally bound to pay. The National Treasury says it has no additional securities to pledge for loans. France has expended all its resources.

The Directory requests the Council of 500 to consider means of re-establishing public credit. We need funds to maintain order internally and fight our enemies on the frontiers. This is urgent.

Sgd Carnot President and La Garde Secy.

Wed 31st Jan 1798 Extraordinary

Admiral Adam Duncan has engaged Admiral de Winter’s Dutch fleet off the Texel on 12th October. He induced them to come out by appearing to depart but then circled back and got between the Dutch fleet and the port. He attacked with 16 capital ships.

Of the Dutch fleet, 7 capital ships, 6 frigates and some transports were captured together with the Dutch Admiral and Vice-Admiral. Some other vessels were burnt. It is a disaster for the Dutch and French. Dutch commerce will be unprotected for a long time. The Dutch Admiral de Fries did not fight hard and his squadron struck early. A considerable amount of tents, stores and field equipment has been found on the captured ships. The stores were apparently intended for the West Indies.

Editor – The Dutch navy is in crisis. A few days earlier the troops on board, who were supposed to be taken with the fleet to West Indies, mutinied. Their disaffection influenced the sailors. Their officers were told to obtain their obedience or resign their commissions. Two companies of infantry refused to submit and were sent ashore and two soldiers were publicly hanged. The loyalty of the whole military force on the ships was doubtful – this may explain why the Dutch had to put to sea and why they fought so poorly.

Sat 3rd Feb 1798

London news:

  • At a Directors’ meeting at India House on 2nd October, Lord Mornington (later Lord Wellesley) was appointed Governor-General of India and Lt General George Harris was made President of the Madras Council on the departure of Lord Hobart.[123]
  • Letter from Liverpool 21st August – the last of the French troops who landed near this city have been embarked on a transport.[124]

Sat 3rd Feb 1798

30th September – the new Tsar Paul of Russia appears to have concluded that Bourbon attempts to regain the French throne should be abandoned. He has offered to fund the self-styled Louis XVIII in 2 million Roubles to enable him to buy an estate in Russia or Germany.

The Tsar has simultaneously permitted Prince Kerikatch to receive all those troops in the army of the Prince of Condé who may wish to enter Russian service.

Sat 10th Feb 1798

A Treaty of Peace has been agreed between Charles de la Croix for the Republic of France and Sr D’Aranjo D’Azevedo for Portugal, signed at Paris, 10th August:

Peace commences in the European and North African lands of the signatories within 15 days of exchange of the ratified treaties; in American and South African lands in 40 days, and in the East after six months.

  • The ports and towns of each party in the possession of the other will be restored without compensation.
  • All prisoners will be exchanged.
  • Both countries engage to observe a strict neutrality.
  • Neither shall furnish the enemies of the other with succour.
  • Both countries will permit their warships and merchantmen to enter the ports of the other. Portugal will not admit more than six belligerent warships into her major ports (plus three in the minor ports) at any one time.
  • No privateers or prizes will be permitted to enter Portuguese ports.
  • All sales of captured goods are prohibited.
  • Portugal acknowledges the new frontiers of France.
  • The frontier between French and Portuguese Guyana is fixed on the River Calmeme and both parties have free navigation of that waterway.
  • An equitable treaty of commerce is to be agreed as soon as possible covering reciprocal MFN[125] status for both countries and making Customs duties reciprocal as well.
  • It is agreed France will not buy Portuguese wine and Portugal will not buy French cloth.
  • The terms of this agreement expressly extend to the benefit of the Batavian Republic (Netherlands).

Sat 17th Feb 1798

Letter from Bonaparte to the Directory, 1st August:

“Our fleet sailed from Venice to Corfu where we joined four Venetian warships. We were welcomed by the people and took possession of the fort which contained 600 cannon, mostly brass. The island’s leader told me I might better understand the people of Corfu by studying a book which he presented – Homer’s Odyssey.

“The tree of liberty has been planted in every village. Every community is governed by its own municipal authority.

“The people of Santa Maura, Cephalonia and Zante also wish to join with France. The people of the southern Peloponnese (formerly Sparta) have asked that some of our ships should visited their ports. I complimented them on their Republican history.”

Sat 17th Feb 1798

The Anglo Russian Treaty of Commerce and Navigation of February 1797, done by Charles Whitworth for England and Count Alexander de Besborodko, Count Alexander Borissovitch Kourakin and Peter Soimonow for Russia (to expire in 1801):

  • Free commerce and navigation between the possessions of each country in Europe.
  • The ships of either country can enter those ports of the other to which any other nation is permitted to enter.
  • All goods for sale or purchase to be at usual prices.
  • Everything that is not contraband may be traded (including Asian goods bought in England).
  • Both countries will adopt the same tariff for imports and exports. The tariff will not exceed the rates payable by other nations.
  • Domestic laws of each country are precedent.
  • Smuggled goods will be confiscated and the smuggler fined according to existing law.
  • No trade in ammunition.
  • No export of the new English gold coins from Britain.
  • No pressing of sailors or passengers in each others’ ships.
  • Russian ships meeting English ships on the high seas will not be harassed.
  • If we go to war, a year is allowed for commercial disengagement. British merchants may build, buy or rent houses where they like, except in St Petersburg, Moscow, Archangel, Riga, Neva and the ports of the Black Sea, and no Russian soldiers will be quartered on them.
  • Russian merchants may build, buy or rent houses in Britain.
  • Passports for departure will be issued on application, delayed only by the time necessary for publication in the Government Gazette.

Sun 11th March 1798 Extraordinary

HMS Alert (Skinner) arrived from Basra yesterday. She brings newspapers from England up to 10th and from Europe up to 23rd November. We find no suggestion in them of approaching peace:

  • The émigrés are again in disrepute in London and constant domestic calls for their proscription are made.
  • France for her part is winning the war on land and her demands at the peace negotiations remain unchanged. She is again threatening an invasion of England although she is thought unable to complete her preparations before Spring 1798. At that time she might do better than her previous attempt on the coast of Ireland.
    By an Order of 26th October, the Directory (La Reveillere Lepaux, President and La Garde, Secretary) required an Army of England be assembled on the coast with Bonaparte as CiC.

Sun 11th March 1798 Extraordinary

Peace between the French Republic and the Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary / Bohemia, was ratified on 3rd November (this is the treaty of Campo Formio). Effectively it is the partition of Venice that makes the terms tolerable to Austria. Venice becomes another Poland with two great European powers sharing the valuable bits. The agreement provides:

  • Austria cedes the Pays Bas to France. That is ½ million square miles containing 2.5 million people producing a revenue of 6¼ million German florins. About half the Belgian revenue pays interest on British loans to Austria secured on Belgium. The nett revenue that Austria has formerly received is 3¼ million German florins.
  • Austria cedes her part of Lombardy and the Duchy of Mantua comprising nearly 200,000 square miles containing over a million people producing a revenue of 3½ million florins.
  • Austria cedes the Breisgau to the Duke of Modena – 60 square miles containing 155,000 people producing 200,000 florins annually (in exchange for the lands of Modena which are now transferred to Austria).
  • Austria permits Corfu and the other Venetian islands extending down to Zante together with the southern part of Albania to be held by France.[126]
  • In return France gives to Austria two thirds of the Venetian state she has conquered – over ½ million sq. miles containing 1.8 million people producing 5 millions in revenue. Istria, Dalmatia, Venice, Verona and the Adriatic islands of Venice are ceded to Austria who becomes master of the Adriatic.
  • Lombardy, Milan and Mantua are united in the newly created Cisalpine Republic which both signatories recognise. This Republic will have 240 Deputies meeting at Milan. It has a population of over 3 millions making it potentially equivalent to Venice and unequivocally removes that old state from the ranks of European powers.
  • All requisitions on the peoples of the exchanged lands are to be ended;
  • Persons and property to be respected.
  • Present holders of land are responsible for all outstanding mortgages on the land (i.e. Austria remains liable for the Belgian debt to London).
  • Residents wishing to remove from the Cisalpine Republic or the lands newly made Austrian have three months to do so.
  • There will be free navigation of the rivers and canals forming the new frontier – no Customs collections or warships are permitted on those rivers.

Austria loses territorially and financially overall but this is mitigated by the partition of the Venetian Republic which permits a concentration of Austrian possessions in northern Italy and the savings flowing there from. Trade between the Po Valley and Hungary will improve. A further negotiation is being held at Rastadt to deal with the loose ends and Bonaparte expects to be one of the French representatives.

Sun 11th March 1798 Extraordinary

The peace treaty between France and Portugal was not ratified in time by Lisbon and Sr D’Aranjo d’Azevedo has been expelled from France. The failure became public when the Portuguese Queen assigned control of her seaports to England. The likelihood of resumed hostilities in Iberia is high.

Wherever French armies go they spread their ideas of democracy. They will embarrass the Spanish King through whose lands they must pass to get at Lisbon.

Sun 11th March 1798 Extraordinary

Admiral Duncan, who destroyed the Dutch fleet off the Texel, is elevated to the peerage. Part of his fleet was Russian and, for that, he is also enrolled in the Russian peerage.

The first couple of Dutch broadsides were terribly effective but after that, Duncan got his rate of fire up to three broadsides to every one of the Dutch. This was an early opportunity to use the telegraph we have built from Sheerness to London. On 20th October it reported the arrival of Duncan’s fleet at the Nore in minutes.

The 3% consols improved to 50 on the news.

Sat 17th March 1798

The Redacteur (the official Paris newspaper) on the proposed invasion of England:

Only the hideous English and insulting Portuguese remain to be conquered. The celebrated expedition of General Hoche has shown the British that we can plant the tricolor on their soil (part of Hoche’s force landed near Liverpool). The King of England will be shocked when Bonaparte arrives in the Thames.

George III and his ministerial advisers are hated by all France.

Sat 17th March 1798

Bonaparte sent Monge to the Directory to present the Austrian Treaty (Campo Formio) for their ratification. He addressed the Legislature on 31st October. Part of his speech was:

“…. The King of Macedonia, ‘a small and barbarous nation’, diminished the liberty of Greece. The tyrants of India do likewise and they have greater financial power than the Macedonian King. England wields the dishonourable weapon of corruption. France cannot co-exist with England whilst it asserts its commercial hegemony.”

The President of France, La Reveillere Lepaux, replied:

“The English are a generous people but their present government is odious. They have assumed control of the seas and spread their criminal activities globally. The British thirst for gold has brought death and destruction to Asia. In Europe and America we see the effects of their venal policies.

The British ministry debases every government with bribes and then assumes an insulting haughtiness towards them. All civil discord in the World is attributable to England. It authored a coalition against France and financed internal insurrection against our government, Frenchman against Frenchman, forcing us to take stronger measures against our own people. Thus they engendered our eternal hatred.”

Sun 11th March 1798 Extraordinary

The King’s speech on reconvening parliament on 2nd November was remarkable for the absence of the Whigs from the House. Fox and his liberal group will not come to parliament this session as they are unable to influence the ministry’s policies due to Pitt’s overwhelming majority in the House. It seems Sheridan and Charles Grey likewise have left as none of them attended the King’s speech or the subsequent debate.

Britain is now overtly an oligarchy.[127]

The King spoke of his taking ‘every step’ to conclude peace but the French were evasive, pretentious and ambitious and allowed nothing to be done. England ardently desires peace but is compelled to persevere in the struggle, so he said.

The King noted that, throughout the war so far, British industry has thrived, British commerce has increased and the national revenue as well:

“Our resources are completely adequate to the task although some temporary sacrifices are required. Our civil and religious establishments are blessings that can be preserved only by enforcing obedience to laws. You must maintain our Constitution.”

Sat 17th March 1798

Bootle MP has proposed thanks to the King for his Address:

We have destroyed the maritime strength of our enemies, annihilated their commerce, captured more prizes than ever before, assumed the control of the seas and dispersed the fear of invasion. The few remaining countries doing international trade do it under our direction and control. Its wonderful.

Drummond MP (and India Company Director) seconded Bootle:

Our resources are enormous; France’s resources are exhausted, he said. The moderation of the French government has ended and Directors and Legislators are now banished without trial.[128] France is again a tyranny. Their revolution has enslaved the people and dispelled all hope for peace. They have not only sought to establish secure frontiers at the expense of their neighbours but have demanded we relinquish all our conquests as a term of peace. Why should we co-operate – we have the money, they have none. They refuse to make peace reasonably – we will fight them to a standstill.

Brian Edwards (MP for Grampound) said he was an independent member. He was alarmed at the blood sacrifice and the money cost of war. The British people generally were discontented with the war. Ireland was in rebellion and was kept tranquil only by martial law and continuous oppression. The war had so far cost Britain £200 millions and 200,000 lives. The King talks of wanting peace but he is not conciliatory; he no longer mentions ‘indemnity for the past and security for the future’ which were our concerns in former years. This has become a war for the ultimate destruction of either France or England.

We have made two attempts at peace. When Malmesbury (Harris) was first sent to Paris he was a new MP and believed in Pitt’s sincerity (laughter). He had then discovered that the sine qua non in his instructions (the restitution of Flanders) was solely to preserve the income of the Austrian Emperor (who had hocked the province to British capitalists). In the circumstances it was morally ‘mean’ that Malmesbury should again be chosen for the second negotiation. Edwards thought it unsurprising that the French suspected us of bad faith when we sent the same unsatisfactory chap back. They produced their own sine qua non of secure frontiers and no progress could be made.[129]

Sir Francis Baring has told the House (last session) that all British conquests are not worth a single campaign – the Cape, Ceylon, etc., would all cost us more in security and administration costs than they would produce to us in commercial profit. Its the same with the West Indian islands – Grenada and St Vincent were ceded to us in 1763 and we never knew what to do with them. The old French landowners incited the slaves against us and our Governor Holmes was assassinated because we had no place in the peoples’ hearts. Santo Domingo is simply too big to occupy. General Simcoe offered to conquer this island with 7,000 men but it turned-out that his intended method meant the island would have needed repopulating afterwards.

In all the ex-French colonies we find the populations opposed to us and this makes them unprofitable, yet we continue to sacrifice our people to make conquests and the sole advantage is from prize-taking – the profit from the sales of seized goods and ships.

Edwards wished to know the precise grounds on which the peace negotiations were ended. The French said our man Wickham in Switzerland had organised and funded the Royalist coup d’etat. This charge had never been disavowed by Pitt or Dundas.

The weight of taxation on the British people is now affecting the middle class as well as the poor.

Parliament had been disgraced by the elevation to the peerage of men unqualified by ability or service.

The House is deserted by those who questioned and criticised the Minister. Edwards did not know Fox but he recognised that, had his advice been followed, we would not now be in this invidious position. It was Fox who had prevented war with Russia, he recalled.

Sir Horace Mann said that the absent liberals had formerly demanded peace negotiations and offered the ministry their wholehearted support if the French refused to treat. Now the French had done so and the liberals had seceded.

At the end of the American War of Independence, the House of Brunswick lost a large part of their European domains for having supported their relative, the King of England. Now a similar misplaced confidence on the part in the present Minister appeared likely to have the same effect. On that first occasion, Lord North lost all respect and authority and his India Bill was thrown out. The India Company is a commercial concern but it now had to administer the Cape and Ceylon where little revenue has been found. The interest on the national debt was now £16 millions a year (on a debt of about £400 million) and the extra colonies would cost £4 millions a year to maintain – how is this enormous charge to be paid?

Unless Pitt was willing to really consider peace, the middle class would be extinguished leaving only the rich as owners of property. If the war continues for 3-4 years more, the annual rental of land will have to rise to 50% of its production value. We have been fighting for 5 years without any realistic prospect of victory. If ministers cannot make peace, they should request the King to appoint others who can, Mann thought.

Sat 24th March 1798

House of Lords, 8th November – Admiral Duncan (the Bombay Governor’s relative) has made his first appearance at the Lords today in his new incarnation as Viscount Duncan.

He was introduced by Lords Hood and Newark and was thanked for defeating the Dutch and suppressing a mutiny.

Sat 7th April 1798

Lord Liverpool[130]has mentioned in a letter to his son that British commerce is immensely improved by war.

Sat 14th April 1798

Redacteur – Some negotiators have arrived from America. Their cause was defended in the French legislature by Emmanuel Pastoret in the 3rd year of the Republic but his oratory inflamed the legislators. We will consider facts:

The dispute concerns Jay’s Treaty of Commerce concluded in London on 1st November 1794. It was ratified by the US Senate, except one article, on 24th June 1795.

Briefly, there are two parties in America – the English party, comprised of the merchants and the bulk of the civil service and legislature; and the French party which comprises the farming population.

The farmers love French revolutionary principles and Liberty; the others recall they owe their existence to England.

France contributed to American independence and the Treaty of Paris of 1783 contains British acknowledgement of that independence within the territorial limits mentioned in the Treaty.

Before the current war there were disputes.

  • English troops crossed the frontiers indicated in the Treaty and carried off some negroes belonging to America.
  • Some American ships were seized and pillaged by the British on the pretence they traded with French islands in West Indies. The protests of American shipowners increased as this fleet of lost ships increased. American Legislators spoke of war unless their grievances were redressed but the Federal Government preferred talk and sent Jay to London.

La Chronique asserts that on Jay’s arrival he was surrounded by ministers, courtiers and nobles and assailed with British grievances and, wishing to show himself as reasonable, he sought for a Treaty of Peace with England to resolve all differences.

It is in this Treaty that we see the first re-appearance of American anti-European and pro-English terms since the War of Independence, some of which terms violate the Treaty of Alliance and Commerce that France made with Franklin, Deane and Lee on 6th February 1778.

At commencement of the present war we sought to renew the alliance with America but she eluded our proposal. Contrarily, America solicited closer commercial connections with England.

We therefore see France in 1778 spending blood and treasure on America’s behalf and obtaining victory in the Treaty of Paris; and America in 1794 making a most favourable treaty with England in London at the time that country was prosecuting one of its most violent and unjust wars against France and French access to London (to monitor the terms of the agreement) was constrained. The treaties appear intended to disaffect America from France. Here are the terms Jay accepted:

  • The first eight articles fix limits. The English posts within America have boundaries around them. The precise size is not addressed but each represents a focus of British influence and government within the United States. The English receive free navigation of all the rivers and lakes of America. The Americans do not have reciprocity here – English rivers can only be entered conditionally. England is given a share of the lands east of the Mississippi.
  • The 9th article says Americans and Britons owning lands straddling the frontier shall enjoy the privileges of the natives of either country. It follows that America will have Englishmen owning lands in American territory.
  • In 1778 France granted America everything they requested including exemption from escheat, to which all other foreigners dying in France are liable, and only reserved a right to control excessive emigration. In this new Treaty nothing is reserved. The children and grandchildren of these bi-national landowners may increase to infinity. 20 years ago the English were not much respected in America. They were distrusted. At that time they could not be kept far enough away from American ports and frontiers. Times have changed.
  • The 10th article addresses war between the parties. In that case, funds placed by individuals in the banks of the other cannot be sequestrated (there are extensive British shareholdings in American banks). The article says ‘confidence between individuals should not be weakened by either government.’ This is a philosophical statement. We should recall how the British recently ‘respected’ the funds that Dutch merchants had placed in British banks. The Dutch are good friends of America. How did America, which has neither armies nor navies, surrender this last means of control on the conduct of England. Do they deserve independence when they hazard it so easily?
  • The 12th article binds Americans to not export sugar, coffee, cocoa or cotton from any American port to any part of the World during the present war and for 2 years after, whether these items are the produce of the French, Spanish or English islands. Cocoa is only produced in Spanish islands, American itself produces cotton. Americans are limited to exporting to British lands in ships of less than 70 tons. This 12th article shows a predilection for England. How can America export any of her cumbrous produce – timber and the like – in 70 ton ships? Against whom are these trade restraints directed in general?
  • In the 9th article of the FrancoAmerican Treaty of Alliance of 1778, America guaranteed French possessions. It is well known that hitherto America has not been able to perform this undertaking and France has excused her but the Jay Treaty is directly opposed to France. The new arrangements facilitate supplies to the British West Indian islands and frustrate those of the French West Indian islands – will American ships not supply and provision the British occupiers of Martinique?
  • The 12th article also postpones decision whether ‘free ships make free goods’ for the duration of the war and two years after (i.e. does the neutrality of the ship’s flag protect the cargo as well). In three recent treaties (France/America, France/Holland and Prussia/Sweden) the ‘free ships’ doctrine is affirmed. Clearly this 9th article is prejudicial to France. The English may steal French goods in American ships, particularly the grain supply that prevents scarcity here, whilst the French, Dutch, Prussians and Swedes may not take English goods in American ships. It would have been an honourable act for the American Senate to disavow the treaty on this article alone.
  • The 13th article allows American ships to trade with British colonies in the East but all the cargo must be landed in American ports. No carrying trade is allowed. This is a surrender of that freedom of navigation that the Americans have formerly so vociferously claimed. Thus America rejects all the engagements previously made to her old friends.
  • The 14th – 17th articles regulate trade with their new friend.
  • The 18th article enumerates all types of contraband. This list includes several of the articles that were routinely considered free goods in earlier treaties – wood for ship-building, tar, pitch, copper plates, flax, cordage, and anything else that is used in the construction of ships. This means that America can only supply these articles to Britain and not to France, Holland, Prussia or Sweden.
  • The 21st article says Americans cannot serve in armies or navies hostile to England. Mr Jay might here have reasonably inserted a restraint on England pressing Americans to serve in her fleet but he did not do so.
  • The 24th and 25th articles are complete violations of the 17th article of the Treaty of 1778. The earlier treaty allowed the warships and privateers of both countries to convey wherever they like the ships and cargoes of an enemy without paying fees to the Admiralty or Judiciary i.e. prizes could not be seized or detained or inspected. This was a privilege shared between France and America and was the main evidence of the goodwill of America for France. This was a time when Americans wanted to keep the English as far from their coasts as possible.
  • In 1794 Grenville asked Jay for MFN status and the same article was inserted word for word in the new treaty. However Jay recognised that France would inevitably protest this infraction of the 1778 treaty and he introduced an ameliorating restriction – ‘nothing herein will operate contrary to existing treaties.’ This is an inadequate mechanism to paper-over the chasm – if the English bring a French prize into an American port and it is received, it is a breach of 1778; if it is not received, it is a breach of 1794. The particular French objection to this article is that it appears to be a free and voluntary concession by America – it looks like bad faith.

On this review Emmanuel Pastoret’s defence of the 1794 treaty in the Legislature is suspicious and the conduct of French negotiators towards the Americans should be made predictable.[131]

Sat 14th April 1798

The Turks have been misleading us. Citizen Beauchamp has discovered the Black Sea is smaller than we all hitherto thought. He fixed the principal points around the coast and ascertained the real dimensions with little effort. He is actually travelling via Constantinople and Baghdad to Muscat where he is appointed Consul but made this side trip out of curiosity.[132]

Sat 28th April 1798

Burke’s old letter of 29th September 1793 to Lord Portland is reproduced:

A general war against Jacobinism is the only chance of saving Europe from revolution. Lauderdale’s reaction to Lord George Gordon’s actions reveals these liberal Whigs, in the plausible name of peace, will deliver us to a confederation of Jacobins centred on France. Coke in Norfolk is deploying his massive property in spreading disaffection to the war.

A large part of the aristocracy is promoting democracy and undermining the property system to which we have hitherto ascribed.

These revolutionary doctrines are producing increasing mischief. We should regard this Jacobin War as simply just another war for trade and territory and a threat to the balance of political power between European countries.

Wed 2nd May 1798 Extraordinary

Stock report, late December – Bank stock 116 (the Bank of England and the India Company are both highly profitable, the former due to the increased issue of debt securities, Exchequer Bills and paper money in circulation, the latter due to its monopoly trade – tea, coffee, opium and many purges – increased territorial revenue and the new monopoly on the spice trade – cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, aniseed, angelica, etc.).

3% consols are at 49; 4% consols 59; 5% 73.

Wed 2nd May 1798 Extraordinary

The King has made several new elevations in the Irish peerage. Our former Governor-General of India Sir John Shore is now Baron Teignmouth.[133]

Wed 2nd May 1798 Extraordinary

A ship which left Leghorn on 14th January 1798 reports that one of the Pope’s troops killed General Defour, French commander of the forces occupying Tuscany, and this has occasioned a riot.[134] Bonaparte’s brother, who is French Consul here, has fled. The Pope died shortly afterwards and Cardinal Mattei was elected as replacement.

Wed 2nd May 1798 Extraordinary

The Knights Templar government of Malta has agreed to submit to British rule and an English fleet of 30 sail has taken possession of the island.[135]

Wed 2nd May 1798 Extraordinary

The situation at Genoa is unsettled. Many citizens wish the town be surrendered to the Austrian Emperor like Venice. Leghorn is tranquil. A plague is spreading across Corsica.

Two French frigates arrived at Malta reporting that Corfu is disturbed. The Republicans had stripped the Greek churches of their gold and jewel offerings to St Spiridion. This caused the residents to call in their Albanian neighbours and an insurrection is said to have resulted in the death of many of the French. The crews and passengers on the two frigates are the only French who survived.

Sat 5th May 1798

London, 8th December – the Austrian troops at Rastadt have been withdrawn three leagues from the town which was then declared neutral. The Congress expects France to maintain its insistence on sovereignty of the left bank of the Rhine and to divide those lands into Departments in the Republican style. The Congress was convened on 25th November to discuss all matters in contention between Austria, the German states and France.

Wed 2nd May 1798 Extraordinary

Letter from the Diet at Rastadt, 11th December 1797:

The Congress between the German states of the Austrian Empire and the French that is meeting to apply the terms of Campo Formio is in uproar. The French demanded the cession of Mayence (Mainz) and Ehrenbreitstein and some posts along the Rhine. The ambassadors were all shocked. Then they heard that a French army under General Lefevre is already outside Mayence and its surrender was required before 15th December. The Germans protested to no effect and have called upon the Emperor’s ministers Metternich and Lehrbach for help.

Sat 5th May 1798

Portugal has sent a shipment of Indian diamonds valued at £385,000 to Paris as an earnest that it is really does not want war with France (India was the only known source of diamonds at that time, mined in the Sultanate of Golconda and carried to Hyderabad for sale).

The Portuguese Queen is distressed by accusations from Paris that she delayed ratification of the peace treaty at the behest of the English.

Sat 5th May 1798

Secretary at War William Windham’s letter to all Colonels of Regiments, dated 20th November 1797, indicating a new ministerial policy of economy:

Officers of regiments who act as paymasters to their men have been detrimental to discipline and very expensive. All such appointments will cease on 24th December 1798.

By a special military commission, the King has approved properly qualified officers to act as paymasters commencing 25th December. The new paymasters will rank as Captains but will not be required to perform military duty and will not be eligible for promotion. They will get 15/- per day and the usual baggage allowance and forage money that Captains without companies receive, plus £20 a year for stationery. They will have an enlisted man as clerk who receives the rank and pay of a Sergeant. Please select your candidates from the half-pay list or from amongst the officers of reduced regiments.

If you recommend an existing paymaster he will have to sell his regimental commission to the officer succeeding him. The Secretary at War requires a personal security of the candidate in £2,000 and two sureties of £1,000 each. These sums will be forfeit if malversion or neglect of duty is established or if he is found to have paid for the job.

Paymasters will thereafter produce monthly Pay Lists for the regiment and authenticate them by signature. If the regiment is serving abroad the Paymaster is responsible for negotiating his own Bills at the best local rates.

Sat 5th May 1798

Proclamation of the Directory, 21st November 1797:

We have fought innumerable battles and obtained innumerable victories but it still remains for France to reduce its most cunning enemy.

We would prefer peace but during this year England has led astray all the cabinets of Europe. She has loudly proposed peace whilst secretly fomenting war. England is not fighting just France. She is conspiring against the whole world. Ask the Americans who are their real rulers; ask the unfortunate Indians who languish under the tyranny of the Honourable East India Company. But we Europeans are the most unfortunate.

Destructive war has been fought across this continent, a million of us have died, a fortune has been dissipated and misery and despair have spread across the land. The English government is immune to all this.

George III has just addressed parliament ‘Our revenues have continued highly productive, Our national industry has been extended and Our commerce has surpassed its former limits’ he says. We suppose the King of England tells the truth, in which case, this should be a lesson to us all. Can England be concerned with your problems when she gathers the fruits of them – she is nourished by your calamities, she prospers from your distress, she accumulates treasure from tears and blood and fattens on plunder. It is unsurprising that England promotes war – it is the means of her enrichment. Yet she dares to speak of French avarice. This is the country that devastated Santo Domingo and took the colonies of her ally Netherlands by trick (a term in the agreement for the Stadtholder’s sanctuary in England),[136] yet she speaks to Europe of the greed of France.

The principles of France to other nations are well enough known to not require recital. France takes her frontiers from nature. In this respect she has repaired the fault of monarchy. She disdains conquests that do not tend to immutable frontiers. She never oppresses weaker states. She does not despoil her allies. She is faithful to her friends and punishes her enemies. None of the French ministers hate England but every man remembers Toulon, Dunkirk, Quiberon Bay and La Vendée. They detest cruelty, perfidy and the Machiavellian Pitt and deplore English blindness to what they have become in the eyes of the World.

There are several options open to us to avenge humanity. The simplest is an invasion of England. The ability of our armies and the justice of our cause assure us of success. We have just seen a demonstration at Lille of how little the English ministry wants peace. If she ends the war she will be unable to continue the transfer of wealth from all the World, including her own people, to her ministers, her King, her aristocrats and her bankers.

The discovery of the British-financed attempt to overthrow our government on 18th Fructidor has united the Directory and the two Legislative Councils with all the French people to bring an end to this interference.

Our armies are irresistible – General Bender is a prisoner at Luxembourg, General Wurmser at Mantua – we cannot fail.[137]

This proclamation is to be read in every Commune and in all the divisions of the army and navy.

Sgd Reveilliere Lepeaux President and Lagarde Secretary.

Sat 19th May 1798

Paris, 9th December – Bonaparte has arrived. He refused an honour guard and requested every ceremonial be dispensed with. He insisted he wished to be known merely as a private citizen. The Directory however demanded a ceremony yesterday at the Luxembourg at which Bonaparte was as incognito as possible.

He arrived in simple clothes having walked to the venue via back streets accompanied by Generals Berthier, Joubert and Championnet. The hall of the Luxembourg was decorated with all the military trophies and standards of the enemies he had conquered in Italy. At noon the members of the Directory entered. The ministers for war and for foreign affairs introduced Bonaparte to Barras. Bonaparte presented the ratified copy of the peace treaty of Campo Formio concluded with the Austrian Emperor. He said:

“France had to fight Kings to obtain freedom. It had to overcome tradition and prejudice to preserve its Constitution. Religion, feudalism and royalty have controlled Europe for ages. The peace now concluded with the Holy Roman Empire commences the Age of Representative Government. You have succeeded in organising France on its natural limits.

“Now the two most beautiful parts of Europe (France and Austria), the celebrated birthplaces of most of the great men in the arts and sciences, will become the foundation of Liberty.

“I deliver to you the Treaty signed at Campo Formio. Peace secures liberty. Once our organic laws are perfected, all Europe will be free.”

Everyone was very enthusiastic and the President’s extravagant reply went on for ages. Bonaparte is idolised by the French people. Berthier and Angereau are obsequious to him.

Sat 26th May 1798

Seventeen wagons have arrived at Paris on 12th Thermidor bearing some of the objets d’art collected from the Italian towns. They include Raphael’s St Cecilia and his cartoon of the School of Athens; Corregio’s St Jerome, a great number of Guerchinos, a fine Parmegiano, 650 designs and medals and many books. They are all in perfect order. A third convoy departed Rome on 22nd Prairial and contains mainly statues (full list in the paper) and numerous chests of books. It has just passed through Leghorn.

Sat 2nd June 1798

The King of Prussia has died. He aligned his country close to Russia and the French distrusted him. They are reinforcing their armies on the left bank of the Rhine and in Holland.

The Russian and Hanoverian Electors of the German states are not invited to attend the Congress at Rastadt which is applying the terms of Campo Formio.[138]

Sat 2nd June 1798

West Indian news – The crew of HMS Marie Antoinette has mutinied and assumed the control of their ship.

Sat 9th June 1798

The crew of the frigate HMS Hermione has mutinied. Three days out of Cape Nichola Mole (in Santo Domingo), the Captain ordered a party aloft to tend to the mizzen topsail. Whilst ordering them to do something difficult, two of the men fell down to the deck. The Captain was unapologetic and scolded the survivors when they descended. The crew were discontented and become taciturn.

Next day the mutiny commenced.

The 1st Lieutenant boldly remonstrated with them. He was killed and thrown overboard. The Captain fled to his cabin and locked himself in but the crew broke in, killed him and threw him away too. They then killed many other officers and sailed the ship to La Guira under Spanish colours. They handed-over the ship to the port authorities and Spain has now sent it to sea with a Spanish crew.

Wed 6th June 1798 Extraordinary

London Editorial – French policy is professed to be moderate. They try to lead the neutral powers of Europe against England. France has asked all neutrals to close their ports to English ships. Merchants in the great centres of neutral trade at Hamburg and Copenhagen are threatened with commercial loss.

French policy is to deny the English any market for their goods – they cannot prevent us accumulating all the World’s goods in London but they will try to stop us selling them into continental Europe.

The Directory has issued a Proclamation declaring all British goods in neutral ships liable to seizure. All British goods found in France are also liable to confiscation.

Sealed orders have gone out to the municipalities detailing the procedure to be adopted for confiscation of English products. There is a considerable stock of British goods in warehouses at Rue Neuve de Luxembourg, the Palais Égalité, Rue St Honore and St Denis. The proscription applies to all kinds of cloth, metalwork, leather, glass, crockery and sugar.

Preparations for an invasion of England continue. France is constructing a huge number of flat-bottomed boats to carry the army across the Channel. The invasion flotilla is being assembled at Brest. In England voluntary public contributions to the defence of the islands are flowing-in which, with the resources provided to parliament, are sufficient to protect us.

The Directory has approved Monge’s plan for the invasion. This requires the flat-bottomed boats be rafted together with an external parapet on which will be artillery and furnaces for heating cannon balls. Each construction navigates by sails and oars and carries 10,000 men. 30 of these immense structures will carry the 300,000 men of the French Army of England across the channel.

The master of a neutral ship here says he was in St Malo recently and saw a transport vessel that was ¼ mile long with a citadel at the centre covered in hides. A second transport was under construction nearby which was ¾ mile long.

Wed 6th June 1798 Extraordinary

European news from the London papers:

  • The government of the 13 cantons of Switzerland is ended. So is the Helvetic Confederacy. In their place is the Helvetian Republic which will have 40 districts and a capital at Lucerne. A well-known Swiss businessman at Hamburg says General Menard arrived at Pays de Vau saying he had no means of providing for his troops and could not vouch for their good conduct. An immediate subscription of 800,000 livres was raised and given him. The officials of the Cantons declined to declare war and instead submitted to the creation of the Helvetian Republic. The French expect to receive 8 million livres from the officers of the new Republic. Some violence has occurred in Berne.
  • The Congress at Rastadt continues to sit. The French have taken Mainz to press their case for the new frontier.
  • The ratification of the Franco-Portuguese treaty may by now have occurred. If Portugal does not ratify it, she is threatened with invasion through Spain.
  • The Romans have been beguiled by a series of prophecies all predicting that Pius VI will be the last Pope. They expect a democracy will be erected on the Papal States.
  • The violation of the French ambassador’s jurisdiction and the assassination of the French General Duphot in Rome are the pretexts for the removal of the Pope from all traces of temporal authority. He permitted his assassins to pursue Republicans into the French embassy (Joseph Bonaparte is ambassador).
  • It is similar to the pretext used against Venice.
  • Foreign ambassadors at Rome have long employed assassins to effect their policies – the Spanish ambassador Bravi di Spagna employed a huge number who killed a hundred people.
  • France may oblige the Pope to resume the modesty and simplicity of the original Christians.

Sat 9th June 1798

The Directory has described the 80 million livre loan it is raising by public subscription for the invasion of England. It is comprised of 80,000 bearer bonds of 1,000 livres each. Bonaparte has bought 25 bonds.

Monge’s invasion rafts are enormous – one is 700 yards long and 350 yards wide. The floor is 6-7 balks deep. English prisoners are amongst the workers making these rafts. One escaped from Brest on a Danish ship and reports 16 warships are victualling for departure from that port. Over 300 gunboats have been fitted out.

Sat 9th June 1798

Dispatch No 18 from Joseph Bonaparte (Ambassador to the Pope) to Ch. Talleyrand Perigord (Foreign Minister), 31st December:

I have left Rome. On 26th December three people approached me to report a revolution that was to commence that night. The public was opposed and anything might have happened. They wanted to know if France would support them.

I told them I was accredited to the Papal court and could not foment revolution in Italy. I merely observe the passing scene and report to Paris. I told them that peace had been established and it would be unfortunate to disturb it. I told them not to visit me again. They then promised that no insurrection would occur just yet.

Later I heard from the Marchioness Massimi that four of the leaders of this insurrection were in fact Papal spies who purport to foment revolution as a means of identifying dissidents. The seduced people gathered at the Villa Medici and were immediately surrounded by the Pope’s troops. They had a sackful of French Republican cockades. I went to the Pope’s secretary of state (Cardinal Doria) and told him I did not oppose, indeed demanded, the arrest of the dissidents unless they were found amongst the French and Italian members of my embassy, of whom I had eight. I told him there were six revolutionaries who had taken refuge in my embassy and that, if he wanted them, I would arrange for their surrender. I then returned to my residence (Palais Corsini) where General Duphot, Adjutant General Sherlock and two French painters were to dine with me.

We awaited the arrival of the embassy secretaries who were engaged in making a list of those people entitled to wear the French cockade. I wished to provide this list to the Cardinal (Secretary of State) before dinner so he would know who was authorised to wear them. The porter then said there were 20 people outside who said they would force their way in if they were not welcomed. They had many cockades and were distributing them to passers-by requesting they make the calls ‘vive la Republique; vive le peuple Romain’. One of these people was an artist who had been recommended to me in Paris by your predecessor. He was one of the three who had first reported the proposed revolution to me. He said to me ‘we are free but we demand the support of France.’ I asked him to leave or he would be ejected. He was shocked.

By this time the crowd had forced its way into the embassy and amongst them were several known Papal government spies. They were the ones most loudly calling ‘vive la republique,’ etc. I decided to remonstrate with the mob. I put on my ambassadorial robes and went down to meet them. I heard a long discharge of muskets and saw a cavalry detachment had ridden into the embassy garden at full gallop and was firing through the three great porticos of the palace. A company of fusiliers followed the cavalry. All the rioters had assembled in the courtyard and many had been shot.

When the soldiers saw me they stopped and I asked to see their leader. I asked on whose authority they had entered French territory. They started to withdraw and concurrently the mob started to advance. The mob had stilettos and a few pistols. My companions and I drew our swords to oppose them. At this moment the Pope’s fusiliers fired a volley and some people on the edge of the crowd were injured. I advanced on the fusiliers with my companions, intent on stopping them firing again and getting them off French land. General Duphot walked amongst the bayonets of the fusiliers and directed then back to the Septiminiana Gate where one soldier shot him in the chest. He managed to rise and support himself with his sabre. Then a second shot put him down. The soldiers then fired some fifty rounds into his body.

I got a passport after midnight that night and left Rome at dawn. No Roman official visited the embassy or explained the course of events. These impious officials of Rome have assassinated Basseville and might have done the same to me. They have failed to protect our embassy and permitted the murder of a brave French general. I believe Rome should be punished. This government is absolute and rash; when caught it is cowardly and submissive.

Sat 9th June 1798

Letter from the Pope’s secretary of state (Cardinal J Doria Pamphilli) to the Papal ambassador at Paris (Marquis Massini), Rome, 28th December 1797:

The French ambassador has been insulted and a French General killed. You must explain that these events were entirely beyond our control or foresight. Offer no satisfaction but ask the Directory what they think is an appropriate response. Neither the Pope nor his Court can be consoled until they know how to satisfy the Directorate.

The Directorate will be concerned at the loss of a valuable citizen but they will also recognise our own distress at this occurrence. We have complete confidence in and rely upon the judgement of the Directory. If you are successful in this you will receive the Pope’s favour.

Sat 9th June 1798

Talleyrand to Joseph Bonaparte, 11th January – The Pope has offered a reparation worthy of French greatness. Whilst you have revealed nothing of your personal conduct on that infamous day, you have apparently supported French honour.

Sat 16th June 1798

Brief news from Europe:

  • The French have obtained a loan from the Hanse towns of £1.4 millions. They have also solicited 40,000 sacks of flour from the King of Naples.
  • The cause of the distrust between France and the Swiss cantons is still not apparent but may relate to the traitorous activities of Barthelemy which commenced in Switzerland.[139] The French have recently proposed the abolition of the Helvetic Federation and the abandonment of aristocratic principles in the Constitutions of some Cantons. The Swiss said they will undertake their own reform. This promising start ended in violence on 5th March and Berne was occupied by the French.
  • The death of General Duphot, that hero of the armies of the Pyrenees and Italy, has caused a French army to march on Rome. Whether the French grievance is adequate for an invasion is arguable but no-one in Europe will regret a revolution in Rome.
  • The Queen of Portugal is nervous. Her hopes for a bought peace (the gift of diamonds to Paris) have been shattered by a Spanish agreement with France to permit the passage of 50,000 French troops through their country.
  • Admiral Masseredo took the Spanish fleet of 22 capital ships and some frigates out of Cadiz on 6th March. His purpose was unknown but Admiral Lord St Vincent was at Lisbon and, on hearing of the move, took 14 ships-of-the-line out, sailed round to Cadiz and chased the Spanish back into port.
  • General Bonaparte has visited the French coast to review progress of the invasion fleet and army. This threat is uniting the English. The voluntary subscriptions of the city merchants and bankers to fund the war has reached £1.5 millions. 3% consols have concurrently risen to 51½.

Sat 16th June 1798

London report from Switzerland:

It seems the French are occupying the lands of Berne because Bernese troops under Colonel Gross first occupied the town of Arau and acted against the democrats there. France complains that 24 patriots have been imprisoned at Soleure concerning which the French minister at Basel, Mengaud, warned the officials of Berne to avoid outraging French opinion. France has an army of 30,000 in Switzerland which has now extended the area it occupies to Arlburg, Zossingen and Arau. A few Bernese representatives have gone to Basel to negotiate with the French minister there. They are determined to reach an amicable agreement which implies they are agreeable to altering their Constitution to accord with French wishes. They are said to have been allowed 12 months to complete the necessary changes.

Meanwhile, the officials of Zurich have declared that, whilst they will defend their independence with their lives, they are equally willing to introduce an equality of civil and political rights throughout their lands, i.e. they will forego their former aristocratic privileges. They have organised a commission to frame the terms of a Constitution based on French principles. Until that is complete, they propose that they should continue in office under the former system.

Comparing Zurich and Berne, it seems the Swiss will submit to the spirit of the times but will endeavour to maintain the Helvetic Confederacy by amendment. The French on the other hand are opposed to any partial revolution.

From London we hear that the Great and Little Councils of Basel have resigned and 60 representatives have formed a provisional government. Other Cantons have also formed provisional governments like Basel. The Prince Abbot of St Gallen has resisted the trend. He has accepted 10,000 florins – the price he paid to the Toggenburgers for the country – and sold his sovereignty. From Frankfurt we hear that Ambassador Mengaud has set the price of his agreement to the constitutional changes at 30 million livres. This is to be paid by Berne and Zurich.

By February the French army was withdrawing to the upper Rhine and it seems France is confident of Swiss agreement to substitute democracy for aristocracy. The Swiss are zealously endeavouring to both preserve their independence and avoid an invasion.

The hold-out is Lucerne which has taken a strong line. Its officials told Mengaud that the style of Swiss government requires that if one Canton is attacked, all are threatened and obliged to respond. All Swiss will fight to preserve their liberty, security and property. If France unilaterally forces change onto Switzerland, Lucerne says all Europe will recognise the injustice of her act. The Swiss people will not submit, even if the country is desolated for generations, and in the end they will prevail once their country is reduced to penury and no longer of interest to France. They note that would damage the achievement of the Batavian and Cisalpine Republics.

Sat 16th June 1798

Meanwhile between the Rhine and the Moselle, the provisional government of Creutnach is disbanded and required to reconstitute itself in the French style.

The citizens of Mainz have been assessed at 192,000 livres as their town’s share of the 8 millions required by France of the German states.

Sat 16th June 1798

The Directory has advised the Council of 500 concerning Rome. A long preamble records the crimes of the Popes for 1,400 years throughout which time a handful of Roman families have operated the religion and the temporal administration. It notes that assassination has been their invariable tool to achieve agreement, whether the Papal States were prosperous or not.

The French army under Berthier was camped outside Rome while the Roman people themselves assumed the sovereignty of their country and took-over the Legislative and Executive functions of government. Five Consuls were invested with power to replace the former State Assembly and a popular government was established on 15th February 1798. The declaration was signed by all literate Romans.

They then invited Berthier to enter the city and deliver a speech of congratulations. He entered at the head of 100 cavalrymen from each of his regiments. He acknowledged the provisional government, recognised the independence of the Roman Republic and declared French protection. Almost no blood was spilled. Berthier was presented with a crown of olive leaves. All churches played a Te Deum to celebrate the restoration of liberty. 14 Cardinals attended the celebrations at St Peter’s. Every commune has planted a Tree of Liberty. Monuments are to be erected in several places to remember the sacrifice of General Duphot and Ambassador Basseville.

The Pope departed on 20th February and an ambassador has been sent to Paris by the replacement government to give thanks. Berthier is to advise the provisional government on the organisation it should assume, based on Liberty and Equality. The French General Cervoni has assumed command of the Roman police. The new Republic governs all those ex-Papal lands that were recognised in the Treaty of Campo Formio.

English letters say it is rumoured that the Duke of Parma will be given the government of Rome in exchange for ceding his present possessions to the King of Sardinia. This will facilitate the transfer of the island of Sardinia to France.

An alternative English version refers to the King of Naples getting the Papal states in return for ceding Sicily to France.

Sat 16th June 1798

In the Netherlands a new Constitution was proclaimed on 23rd February and a means has been found to diminish the power that Amsterdam has over the country:

  • The new Constitution requires the debts of the seven provinces to be consolidated in one national account. It abolishes all provincial quotas.
  • Every type of public revenue will have to be paid into the national Treasury before it can be disbursed. The capital and income of every citizen is to be assessed and an entirely new system of public finances developed on this basis. Annual public accounting will be required.
  • Executive power will be held by five men appointed by the Legislature. The Legislature will consist of two Houses, one dealing with day-to-day practicalities subject to the approval of the other. The separation of executive, judicial and legislative power is to be maintained at the provincial level. The only communication between them will be at the top.
  • A national guard is to be created.
  • Feudalism is abolished and the Church is severed from the State which latter retains all political power.
  • All retainers of the House of Orange are disenfranchised for ten years (it is a qualification for government employment that one swears an Oath of Hatred to the House of Orange and to anarchy, aristocracy and federalism).
  • Dutch banks are made legally immune to the demands of foreign powers – they must pledge to support their government. The Batavian government has committed to make no political or commercial connections with the enemies of France.

Sat 16th June 1798

At about the same time that French frontiers in the north west and south east were being delineated in the above activities in the Netherlands and Switzerland, the Congress at Rastadt was dealing with the north east.

On 24th February the Congress offered to surrender some part of the German provinces along the left bank of the Rhine to France if that would procure peace. It invited France to select the lands it required. This concession seems due to the Austrian Emperor’s consensual ambassador at Paris, de Degelmann.

Sat 23rd June 1798

The homeward bound West India fleet caused great fear on 22nd February. It was seen off Portland and thought to be a French invasion fleet. The town of Weymouth put its military under arms. The Prince of Wales was at Critchill House in Dorset and heard of the matter. He wrote an express to the Duke of York and King in London. The messenger arrived before dawn yesterday and Nepean and Dundas (British Admiralty officials) were alerted. They went to the War Office where a similar invasion report was received from Dorchester. Pitt, Earl Spencer and Lord Grenville were called out and all the ‘usual suspects’ met when the true identity of the fleet was finally ascertained.

Sat 23rd June 1798

Courier du Bas Rhin – The Directory has advised the Legislature on French policy towards Rome:

Our ambassador to Rome is amongst us today. You have heard how his palace was invaded; how a hero of the Revolution was murdered within it.

The Bishops of Rome are audacious intriguers. They are supported by the incredulity of nations and the self-interest of monarchs. The Pope contradicts every principle of Christianity. He dishonours Christ, who asserts his kingdom is not of this world, and usurps a universal temporal monarchy.

The seal of Papal power has been his ability to assassinate opponents. Whether it is the proud oppression of Clement VI or the collection of crowns by Pius VI, they are the same. They murdered the Emperor of Bavaria and now they have murdered Hugo Basseville, the French Republican ambassador, and General Duphot.

This anti-social power that arose under Tiberius (Livia’s son, unrelated to Augustus) has survived for 1,400 years using the same duplicity, violence, debauchery and tyranny of that father of Nero. The Gospel speaks of humility, poverty and charity. Having shaken the throne of Rome under the garb of persecuted men, the first act that the Church took, on its achieving Roman acceptance, was to absolve the Emperor Constantine of the murder of his wife, father-in-law and son. It applauded the atrocities at Antioch and Thessalonica; it promoted incessant schisms to undermine Empires and showed itself under Charlemagne in all its sacred ferocity in the massacre of the Saxons. It is the enemy of all law. It makes deals with usurpers, manufactures false credentials, appoints masters to nations and consecrates or deposes monarchs as its interest dictates. It dissolves all Oaths, sells indulgences for both Heaven and Hell, controls infidelity and insinuates itself into all consciences to spy on the secrets of families. It invented excommunication for profit. It directed the Nicene Council to vindicate the worship of images. It inflamed Constantinople to civil war to avenge the Patriarchate; assassinated Henry IV in Rome; consecrated the massacre of the Albigeois; decreed in Basel the war of twenty nations in the interest of three priests; burnt John Hus and Jerome of Prague at Constanz for the honour of Heaven, and finally at Trent it amused the world for 18 years with the spectacle of idiocy (the Council of Trent).

China, Japan and the Incas of Cuzco have experienced the curse of the Popes. No place is safe from them.

But the people who have been most outraged by the Popes are the French. Look how they bent Louis the Debonair to their will. It was on French plains that they first introduced the Crusades – were they gratified with the treasure and punishment of the Templars? They conspired with Philip le Bel and transformed Paris into a scaffold. The Pope is like Hildebrand (who murdered many Popes). He is like Bertrand de Goth adjudicator of the Bishops of Bordeaux, like Doffa de Cahors the usurper of the Roman mitre, like Roger de Limoges a fraudulent bankrupt who under the names Gregory VII (Hildebrand), Clement V, John XXII and Clement VI instructed the tyrants of France in the arts of dividing the people and sharing their treasure with the Vatican. It is to Leo X that our ancestors owed that sacrilegious convention that cost uncounted millions.

But the wealth of France was inadequate for them. They needed blood too. Recollect the massacre of all the French in Sicily – it was Pope Nicholas III who ordered it. The history of Burgundy and Armagnac is bloodied by Boniface IX. The tyranny of Louis XI was approved by Sextus IV. The horrors of the League have Gregory XIII receiving on his throne the head of Admiral Colign. It was Pope Gregory XIV who directed armies against France to install Henry IV on the throne. During the Fronde it was Innocent X who protected Cardinal de Retz. When a ferocious minister ordered the assassination of Cevennes, it was Innocent VII who conferred benediction on the murderers. The puerile disputes of Jansenism concerned no-one until Clement XI took it up and inflamed the matter. All our internal dissensions can in part be attributed to the Pope.

Well, we have seen through his divisive and murderous policy. The light of philosophy underlays our Revolution and enables us to see clearly. Remember who was the General of the Vendenne in whose name those brigands rebelled. To whom did that pretender to the French throne fly for protection when he needed refuge; who supported him? Just remember that at Pillnitz, when the neighbouring autocrats were apportioning shares of France amongst themselves, they were counting less on their armies and more on the authority of the Vatican to bring us back within the herd (a reference to the Declaration of Pillnitz).

However, the Directory is mindful that many French people are conditioned to favour the Pope. For this reason alone, Rome is spared. We overlooked the outrage on Basseville. Our ambassador even signed the Treaty of Tollentino. This was indulgence. No sooner had our troops left the Papal states than the Pope resumed his assassinations. All Europe is convinced the Papal government chose to foment a semblance of revolt because they were then endeavouring to inflame France on the subjects of public worship and the use of church bells. It is the Pope’s conclusion that no Catholic can make an Oath of Hatred against monarchy. He has forgotten that the prophet Samuel threatened the people to ‘send them Kings in his wrath’ in the name of God. In short the Pope collected his soldiers, recruited his foreign Generals and distributed arms amongst his people (for want of soldiers) to create a faked insurrection.

We ordered the army of Italy to march on Rome and seek vengeance. The Pope’s soldiers did not oppose us but some misguided farmers were seduced by the priests into opposing our approach. Our General proclaimed to the Romans that those who disavowed the acts of the priesthood had nothing to fear. It was then that the Romans declared the sovereignty of the people, while Berthier was beneath the walls. They annihilated the political, economic and civil authority of the priests and constituted themselves a free and independent nation, founded on principles of justice, truth, liberty and equality. They have selected five consuls to replace the Pope and his cardinals. They then sent 8 deputies to the French army outside and implored protection. Berthier went to the Capitol, invoked the shades of Cato and Brutus and recognised the Roman Democratic Republic. Some Romans had been led to expect plunder and slavery from us but once the true nature of our cause became clear to them they were reassured. Only the few cardinals and their adherents who fomented the fake insurrection have fled Rome. The rest of the people go about their daily business as usual. It is a unique testimony to French greatness that we will shortly have an ambassador in Paris who is sent here by Roman consuls. Sgd Director Merlin

Sat 23rd June 1798

London, 6th March – The Congress at Rastadt:

France, Austria and Prussia have agreed on the detailed partition of the German states. Relations between Prussia and France seem to be particularly harmonious. The division is secret but the Prussian minister has given a hint in a Declaration he made at Rastadt on 19th February:

“My King wants peace and the relief of several parts of Germany from the expense of war by which they have been exhausted. The Austrian Emperor is persuaded that cession of the left bank of the Rhine to France will produce peace. We Prussians, as co-adjudicators of the Empire, will be hurt by the loss of so many faithful subjects. We will insure the happiness and security of the people whose nationality is transferred, on condition that we get an equivalent on this side of the river.”

Editor – it seems the Prussians have relinquished their former insistence on maintaining the integrity of the German Empire. They even seem agreeable to ceding their own lands on the left bank provided there is an equivalent on the right. As France has no possessions in that area the equivalent will come from someone else. Might this be Hanover?

Sat 7th July 1798

London, 8th March – the Walsingham packet (which, together with the King George packet, operates the Lisbon / Falmouth passenger route) has brought news of a Spanish fleet sailing from Cadiz. It is comprised of 22 capital ships and some escorting frigates.

Admiral Parker has 10 ships-of-the-line at Lisbon and, together with Lord St Vincent, who has a similarly sized fleet cruising off Spain, will try to engage the Spanish.

After a cruise of only five days the Spanish fleet returned to port without engaging our warships. Apparently, they had been motivated to come out by news of the several mutinies that have occurred on British warships and the belief that a similar event had spread through Parker’s fleet.

Sat 7th July 1798

The Portuguese merchants at Lisbon are cashing their investments and remitting their capital to England. They are concerned that France will soon invade. The exchange rate for Portuguese paper is seriously disturbed.[140]

Sat 14th July 1798

London newspapers have a report from Vienna:

On 13th April General Bernadotte, who was appointed French ambassador to the Austrian Empire on the ratification of Campo Formio, displayed a tricolor from his hotel window at Vienna.

A crowd soon gathered and the rabble concluded that the flag either represented an invitation to rebellion or a token of French superiority (Bernadotte has the reputation of a haughty man).

The crowd increased and eventually someone climbed up and removed the flag which was then publicly burned. The crowd then broke into the hotel and caused extensive damage. Bernadotte described it as a national outrage, demanded a passport and left together with his entire embassy.

It will be interesting to see how the Directory responds to this latest ‘outrage.’

Sat 14th July 1798

Berne has been burned. A desperate battle was fought throughout the 5th March 1798. The Swiss troops were resilient and audacious. Their line was broken five times but on each occasion they rallied. In a re-creation of Thermopylae, a small group defended a narrow defile through which the entire French army had to pass and held it to the last man. Their courage inspired all the Cantons. Lucerne and Zurich are in arms.

Switzerland is a country where every man is a soldier. Every hill and every valley contains places from which an invader can be inconvenienced. This Swiss spirit, their passion for their land, may be the thing that can defeat French military prowess.

Sat 14th July 1798

The British ministry has ordered a census by the Lords Lieutenant of counties to identify how many young men are available for the defence of the realm. Priests, teachers, civil servants, Judges and people already in the forces or who have already joined militias are exempt.

The King is empowered to manage the conscription through Orders-in-Council I popular form of legislation under the King’s Prerogative which largely by-passed the Commons). The Order authorises the army to requisition or destroy carriages, horses, cattle, grain and any other provisions that might be useful to the King’s enemies. Officers may disable watermills, destroy blacksmiths’ forges and do any other thing that the exigencies of the national emergency require.

Army officers are authorised to requisition land and buildings that may be useful for defence, the owner being indemnified from the Land Tax receipts.

Sat 21st July 1798

House of Lords, 22nd March – The Duke of Bedford moved the dismissal of Pitt’s ministry for mal-administration. The Duke reviewed the various opportunities for peace that had arisen (and been identified by the opposition) since the outbreak of war and the responses of Pitt’s group to each of them.

The ministry had boasted of its capacity and now the country was facing invasion, abandoned by every European state except Portugal. He reviewed Malmesbury’s negotiations to adduce the insincerity of the ministry.

He concluded that the Minister was determined on war to the end; the level of taxation had never been so high; the interest payment on the national debt incurred by Pitt had reached £9.5 millions a year (about £240 millions of debt – more than the combined total of all preceding Ministers since the funding system was begun after 1688).

A good part of the population was in a state of virtual or actual rebellion. In Ireland the garrison is allowed to act at its own discretion with the certainty of non-responsibility for the acts of its members. The atrocities our soldiers have committed in Ireland are condoned by the Ministry. He mentioned a solemn undertaking by the men of one of the regiments that any Irishman who asserted human rights was to be beaten before being delivered to the civil power.

Coercion in Ireland had bred distrust and it had spread to England where functionaries of the ministry have published all sorts of pamphlets containing malicious rumours to calumniate those who were not 100% supportive, including himself (Bedford). All opposition figures were accused of exposing the acts of the ministry in order to get bought-off with some office or other. Either that or they were closet-friends of the French. In fact, office-seekers were precisely those people who already supported the ministry, right or wrong.

The increase in the peerage in late years had vastly inflated the influence of the King and his friends in the House of Lords (calls of ‘Order, Order’ from a stranger who turned out to be one of the new Lords) and the only remedy is a parliamentary reform. If the ministry continues to recommend wealthy men from the Commons for elevation to the peerage, the Lords would cease to be a representative body and become an adjunct of ministerial power. Bedford identified the country’s enemies as those who unthinkingly approved everything proposed by the minister. He requested the House to support a motion for Pitt’s dismissal.

Lord Bovington disagreed. Pitt had been beneficial to England. He had concluded a valuable treaty with France in 1786. He had managed the national finances and raised the 3% consols from 60 to 97 at one time. The war was not of Pitt’s making but had been forced on us by France. We were not fighting to restore French monarchy but to avoid French domination.

Lord Holland said the ministry was eloquent but incapable. They had alternately courted the French Royalists and then the French Republicans. It had induced uncertainty in the French attitude to us. The financial policy had been disastrous. They have emptied the Bank of England, hocked every national resource, and sent the money to Austria and Prussia which countries had been ruined, militarily and economically, by its receipt. As the Marquis Lansdowne has percipiently said, they have ‘raised a military Republic in the heart of Europe’.

The minister talks repeatedly of unforeseen developments, nearly all of which were predicted by the opposition. When the minister found that violence did not work, he resorted to concessions. When concessions follow violence it is a clear indication of weakness. In Malmesbury’s negotiations it was purported to be a British sine qua non that Belgium be restored when the Austrian Emperor was already known to consider that possession an encumbrance. He had more or less sold Belgium to George III who thought it would make a nice extension to Hanover.[141] It was for this illusory intention that a river of subsidies were poured into Vienna to the point that the Bank had to suspend payments. Lord Holland said that the same influence that had brought-on the American War was at work again and he would vote for any man who would oppose it.

The Marquis Lansdowne noted that Pitt had reduced England to a state that he (Pitt) had repeatedly sought to characterise as the state of France – the country needs a doctor not a minister. He recalled it had been considered libellous recently to compare British finances with French. We were told not to doubt the sincerity of Vienna. Now we have lost all our allies and are the only European power excluded from the Congress of Rastadt by agreement of the members.

In December 1796 we insisted Belgium be restored. In April 1797 the Emperor relinquished his claim on Belgium. We often heard in this House that France was awash with worthless assignats until the French government bought-up the entire issue with £6 millions.

Lansdowne asked the Peers to look matters in the face. He considered that Ireland is retained by Britain solely by military oppression. In the south of that country the farmers have this Spring refused to sow grain (which is all exported to England). He thought the British Empire was best restricted to England and Ireland – all the rest was a burden more than an asset. As foreign British colonies were held for commercial purposes, why was Ireland not treated the same? He concluded by saying he too would vote for anyone in preference to the present ministry.

Lord Grenville for the ministry said he dearly wished to explain things to the Lords in detail but could not do so because it was secret. He said the most important thing to preserve is individual character – that is the basis of the British system. The assertion of Bedford that we are fighting to restore Bourbon monarchy or subvert Republicanism is wrong. Others said we wished to foment disaffection amongst the French to counter their patriotism – they are equally wrong. He referred the House to the published records for a clear exposition of the reasons for the war.

He denied telling the House ‘our allies will never desert us’ – what he had said was ‘though our allies might desert us, their co-operation was desirable for a time.’ Should ministers decline the assistance of allies because they might later cease to be allies? He said the British effort in war was mainly at sea and in that we had been spectacularly successful. There had been no former occasion when British fleets blockaded Brest, Cadiz and the Texel at the same time.[142]

Grenville assumed the allusion to a missed opportunity for peace referred to the period of Robespierre’s conduct of the French government. This was the time when the parallel of Rome and Carthage was first adduced by Barrere in the Assembly. It was the time when government was effectively at an end in Paris; when the gang in power ordered the French armies to give no quarter, an order the Generals fortunately did not obey. This was the only occasion he could recall that might have ranked as an opportunity to make peace, however he feared that the minister he selected for the negotiations might have been guillotined. When the first negotiation opened, I (Grenville) framed the instructions to the Plenipotentiary. There was no question of a dismemberment of Europe by the big countries at the expense of the small. I was precise in my instructions. As regards the Cape and Ceylon, we offered to restore them to the Netherlands but to no-one else. We required France to allow Dutch independence and, once it was done, we would give her the means of restoring her commerce.

In respect of the last negotiation, critics failed to find fault in the instructions and have accordingly attacked the negotiator Malmesbury, who is present in this House, and was the best qualified man for the job.

Grenville wondered why no-one mentioned the Scheldt, or Dumouriez’s order to attack Holland or Genet’s attempt to agitate America against us, or any of the other aggressive acts of France. Why do they not mention recent events – Genoa, or that ‘oldest ally of France’, Switzerland. It appeared to Grenville that France was attacking every country.

Given such an implacable foe, we should not even hint at the suggestion that we are approaching the limit of our resources, even if it was true. But in fact we see the whole nation coming forward to make voluntary contributions.

As regards the Bank’s £200,000 contribution to the voluntary subscriptions, the shareholders had since obtained their Counsel’s opinion and it suggested the donation was legal.[143]

The next complaint against the ministry was of derogating from the Constitution. He said the Corresponding Societies were influencing radical opinion in Ireland; they were implicated in the mutinies of the navy. He reiterated that coercion was absolutely necessary for Ireland – we have tried conciliation. One of Pitt’s first measures was to give free trade to Ireland – it availed us nothing.

As regards parliamentary reform, it was inextricably linked to revolution, both here and in France. Condorcet had said it. If a new ministry was required that would take-up reform (avoiding any acts of treason) it would have to be modelled on the Dutch Republican system whereby ministers were compelled to take office. Once reform is effected, the problems in Ireland will continue. We will be obliged to apologise for ‘unprovoked aggression’ before we can continue our government in that island.

Lansdowne said France was driven by us to reorganise the small German states because we had refused her reasonable terms of peace and she was obliged to create buffer states along her eastern frontier. He had no doubt that France wanted peace. He had not particularly referred to the time of Robespierre as an opportunity for peace but he had no doubt it had been such, and that advantageous terms could have been had. He thought the war could have been satisfactorily and honourably concluded in 1792 and again in 1794 and it could still be done today.

The Lords then divided 13/113 and Bedford’s motion was defeated.

Sat 28th July 1798

We have tried to exchange the French Capt Bergeret, who was captured by Sir Edward Pellow in HMS Virginie, for Capt Sir Sidney Smith and Mr Wright, his ‘Prize Clerk’, who are held by France but M Gallois, the diplomat handling prisoner exchanges, was really angry at our suggestion and refused.[144]

Sat 4th Aug 1798

London – England is militarised. A regiment of militia is quartered in St Paul’s Cathedral; the merchant ships are all armed with cannon; the yeomanry are arming in all the counties; the Duke of York is made CiC of the army in Britain.

Sat 4th Aug 1798

The French and Cisalpine Republics are quarrelling. The Italians rejected the French Commercial Treaty that was appended to the treaty of offence and defence. The French have responded by reviving their claim for 18 million livres as the costs of the Army of Italy. They have requested the dismissal of the 21 dissenting aristocrats who voted against the treaty.

Sat 11th Aug 1798

Le Redacteur – letter from Desportes at Geneve to the Directory, dated 16th April:

Geneve declared its union with France yesterday. I accepted on your behalf. There was opposition to the measure but the final vote was 2204 in favour out of 3197 votes, about 70% approval. We will today negotiate the articles of union.

I have put 1,200 troops in the town at the request of the Genevans to deter violence from the minority. If it remains quiet, I will move half of them out and retain the rest in barracks here.

Sat 11th Aug 1798

A report from Milan (capital of the new Cisalpine Republic) of 15th March:

The main term of the treaty between France and the Cisalpine Republic is that the new Republic will actively assist in any war that France fights, as soon as it is asked. It hereby declares war on all French enemies. 35,000 French troops will remain in the Cisalpine Republic as garrison. These troops and the Cisalpine Republic’s own forces will be commanded by a French General. The Cisalpine Republic will maintain an army, a flotilla on Lake Garda, a reserve of 120 field pieces and more than 60 pontoons.

The commercial treaty requires that Cisalpine and French products be conveyed to the ports of the other in Cisalpine or French ships. All other flag ships are excluded from this trade.

The Milanese objected to part of the treaty. They gave a reasoned explanation to the Directory which told them that objections were unconstitutional. It is a package – they can either accept or reject it. They asked what would happen if they rejected it. The Directory declined to reply in writing and invited the Representatives to attend them in Paris.

They had indicated their fear that Berthier would besiege Milan if they rejected. In the absence of a definitive reply, they rejected. The Directory characterised this as the work of enemies.

It reasserted French rights to a contribution for military expenses that had previously been demanded but waived as a concession to achieve agreement. They also required the removal of the 21 dissenting representatives who had organised the rejection.

Berthier, who had left for Genoa, was recalled with his force to Milan.

Sat 18th August 1798

The Paris papers of 23rd March list the secret clauses in the Treaty of Campo Formio that Bonaparte made with Austria:

The Emperor will withdraw from both banks of the Rhine but leave garrisons in the right (east) bank forts. He recognises the French demand for her eastern frontier to be the left bank. The Emperor will decide to yield or defend.

If Prussia surrenders her left bank possessions, she gets an exact equivalent elsewhere. Her strength apropos the Empire will remain the same. If Prussia declines or is dissatisfied with a proper equivalent the details will be worked out at Rastadt.

Austria and France will make an offensive and defensive treaty. France undertakes to protect Austria from attacks by Russia or Prussia.

The boundary of the Cisalpine Republic will not be increased.

Editor – this seems to neglect Bavaria and the Elector of Cologne. The latter is the uncle of the Emperor. He risks his lands being incorporated in France.

Sat 18th August 1798

The Hague, 20th March – The new Dutch Constitution has been completed:

  • The representation is one member for every 20,000 people with a total of 90 members (i.e. the Netherlands electorate is about 1.8 millions).
  • The parliament is divided in two Houses – one plans and proposes; the other confirms and approves.
  • Taxpayers over 20 years old have the franchise.
  • Foreigners with 10 years residence may also vote.
  • Annual elections of one third of the representatives.
  • The Dutch church is continued as the national religion for three years certain.

Sat 18th August 1798

The Portuguese are trying to avoid further offending France. They want the peace treaty. This means they wish England would stop irritating France in Portuguese ports, specifically by bringing-in prizes. Our sea captains have avoided sending one prize to Lisbon to mollify the Queen – it was sent to Gibraltar.

Another prize (a really valuable one called Dragon full of silver from Mexico) is unseaworthy according to Lord St Vincent. It was brought to the Tagus by one of his captains and is deemed incapable of another voyage. St Vincent asked for special permission and was formally refused. He used the ships’ boats to tow her in anyway. The fort at Belem fired blanks as the flotilla passed. It is all a charade to satisfy French observers in Lisbon and preserve the fiction of Portuguese neutrality.

France is not preparing to send an army to Spain as feared earlier. There is a scarcity of food throughout Spain and all travellers carry their own requirements. A French army would need three months to amass sufficient stores for its passage and there is no evidence of preparations for that. We suppose the Directory is reserving its forces until the situation in Switzerland has clarified.

Sat 18th August 1798

London news of Rome:

General Massena has entered Rome and his troops have been allowed to loot the city. It is a reprisal for Papal conspiracies. Not only churches and palaces have been plundered. It is said private houses have also been searched although some French officers are said to have remonstrated with Massena. They also complained their pay was in arrears. They invited victims of looting to provide details of their grievances.

The dissenting French army officers were apparently then joined by some Romans and a battle occurred with the dissenters being beaten. Massena has withdrawn to Ancona. Both sides have sent protests to Paris and await a decision. For the time being, peace is restored.

Sat 18th August 1798

London report on the French army:

France now has 400,000 men under arms. The army for the invasion of England is 100,000; of the North (in Holland) 25,000; of the Rhine 65,000; of Switzerland 25,000, of Italy 66,000, of the South 40,000 and of the Interior 40,000. About 10% more are on leave or sick. This immense force is partly maintained by the compensation squeezed out of Switzerland and Italy.

Sat 18th August 1798

On 31st March the Directory appointed Bonaparte to command the army of England. He is to base himself at Brest and supervise preparations. The ministers of War and Marine are to co-operate with him. 500 gunboats are ready and 300 transports are at Dunkirk.

The invasion fleet is to be protected by the FrancoDutch fleet at the Scheldt.

Sat 25th Aug 1798

45 chests of art treasures have arrived at Toulon from Italy and are being forwarded to Paris. One contains 18 choice paintings from Venice with a bull and a basso-relievo. 10 chests from Verona contain Caracalla’s bust, two marble altars, an Etruscan vase, 8 bronze basso-relievos, 6 paintings by Andrea Mantegna, 5 Paul Veronese’s, 1 Tintoret, 1 Titian, etc.

Sat 25th Aug 1798

Pitt’s relative, Lt Lord Camelford was tried by Court Martial on 13th February 1797 for the murder of Lt Peterson.

Lt Camelford was commander of HMS Favorite in our West Indies fleet under a warrant of Admiral Harvey. Camelford does not have the Master & Commander certificate. Lt Peterson was a senior Lieutenant to Camelford but had been placed under Camelford’s command. He held an M&C certificate and at the time of the murder was No 1 on HMS Perdrix. Each considered he was the senior officer on the West Indies station.

Peterson sent an order to Camelford and Camelford sent an order to Peterson. Peterson refused Camelford’s order. Camelford sent a lieutentant with marines to arrest Peterson. Whilst in discussion, Camelford arrived and confronted Peterson – ‘will you obey my orders or not?’. Peterson declined and Camelford shot him dead.

Before the Court Martial could be held, Camelford was issued his M&C certificate. He was then found not guilty and acquitted.

Sat 1st Sept 1798

On 13th April 1796 the people of Vienna voluntarily offered their services to protect their city from the French who were then thought to be sending an army to influence the government of the Emperor.

On the anniversary of this event, the new French ambassador to the Austrian Empire, General Bernadotte, was seen to be displaying a tricolor flag from his hotel window.

This irritated some Viennese who saw it and a policeman was sent to remonstrate with the ambassador and explain the likely effects of his act.

The ambassador put his hand on his sword and said he would defend his national flag which he flew from his embassy on the orders of his government.

Whilst this was occurring the news of the flag spread and a great crowd assembled outside the hotel demanding it be removed. The crowd became increasingly disturbed the longer the flag remained on view, stone throwing commenced, and soon all the hotel windows had been broken. Concurrently there were loud expressions of loyalty to the Emperor and execration of the French. A picket of infantry and cavalry was sent to restore order but they were inadequate for the job. A boy climbed up the façade of the hotel and pulled down the flag which was then torn to pieces and burned by the mob.

The affair then became out-of-control. The crowd threatened the life of the ambassador and broke into the hotel. They demolished the ground floor. They discovered the ambassador’s two carriages, dragged them away and broke them to pieces. Whilst this was occurring, army reinforcements arrived. The mob had gone to an adjacent street to destroy the carriages and in their absence the soldiers took up defensive positions in and around the hotel and prevented the rioters from returning.

That evening Ambassador Bernadotte, wrote to the Imperial foreign minister, Baron Thugut, alleging an insult to himself and demanding protection. M de Deigmann was sent to formally express the concern of the government and assure Bernadotte that his protections were now completely adequate.

The ambassador had earlier written to those diplomats resident in Vienna whose countries were allied to France – Spain and Netherlands – inviting them to visit him but both declined to do so immediately and only arrived the next morning. Bernadotte then told them he would quit Vienna unless immediate reparations were on offer and M Godin was sent to the Emperor with the request. The crowd again returned next morning and Godin required the protection of a soldier. On arriving at the palace, the crowd was offended by Godin’s Republican cockade and became more insolent. The escorting soldier pressed Godin to seek refuge in the guardhouse and the guard commander recommended he not proceed further as the crowd between him and the entrance was angry. The commander then took the letter and had it delivered to the Emperor.

The letter contained Bernadotte’s conditions for staying:

  • dismissal of Minister Thugut,
  • punishment of the police chief and garrison commander,
  • establishment of a safe quarter in the city for diplomats (an old French request) and
  • repair of the flag, flagstaff and a picture of the French national arms.

All these requests were refused. Bernadotte then left Vienna.

Sat 1st Sept 1798

Extract from a report from America (original in the North America chapter):

Gifford (one of the Anglophile Senators) addressed the U S Congress:

I got this information direct from France. I believe it is genuine and not British deception. Brissot first sought to procure the removal of George III prior to making a federated Republic of Britain and Ireland. The CPS, responding to petitions from the Irish, learned that country would prefer independence. The Directory then concluded that England, Scotland and Ireland should become three separate Republics. This was the state of French thinking before the planned invasion, for which the prospects of French victory had appeared fair.

The English Directory is to comprise Paine, Tooke, Sharpe, Thelwell and Lord Lansdowne. The preferred membership of the cabinet is Easte (Foreign), Waithman (Finance), Cooper (Interior), Tierney (Justice), General Tarleton (War), Hardy (Police), Lord John Russell and James (Marine), Coombe (First Mayor) and Stanhope (Ambassador to France)

The Irish Directory is Napper Tandy, Roger O’Connor, Edward FitzGerald, Hamilton Rowan and A N Other (un-named for diplomatic reasons). A selection of 22 approved names are given for Irish cabinet posts but none is preferred above the others.

The Scottish Directory is Muir, Sinclair, Cameron, Lord Lauderdale and Semple. The Cabinet will include MacLeod (War), Ferguson (Foreign) and Campbell (Marine). I don’t know the other names but they have been listed.

The Directory did not want this information published to protect their favoured politicians from Pitt who will imprison them on suspicion of sedition or treason if he knows. The Directory asserts its selection is based on already published information on the selectees’ views, not on direct contact. Some of these people are unknown to the public, others will be shocked to find themselves named. The nominations may be an example of the egalitarian principles that guide French policy. Hamilton Rowan, Napper Tandy, Thomas Paine and Thomas Muir are in Paris and probably know of their nominations as three of them preside over the English, Scottish and Irish Committees now sitting in Paris, each of which communicates daily with the Directory.

One of the French plans involves the distribution of the naval force of Britain. Part will be allotted to France, Spain and Netherlands in restitution of all those ships that have been seized. The remainder will be distributed amongst the three British Republics.

The colonies in East and West Indies will likewise be distributed amongst the three countries.

Another plan deals with the British aristocracy, which is largely to be extinguished. Two nobles who have near relatives on the continent are spared. As a generalisation, opposers of war – the Dukes of Bedford, Norfolk, Marlborough and Bridgewater – are merely dunned for 400,000 guineas whilst supporters – the remainder of the nobility – have their assets confiscated and will be banished. All industrialists and merchants are preserved. In the capitalist list is Fox and Lord Moira. Fox is accused of insulting France in the debates of 1786 on the commercial treaty while Moira is extolled for protecting the two nations and the French émigrés.

I believe the Directory has relied on published information and the correspondence of the British and Irish rebels in Paris. This latter is handled via Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg and/or Altona to avoid British censorship.

The Directory anticipates that the crews of British warships will mutiny when they are called upon to prevent the invasion. After landing, the French expect the militias to act likewise. This will surprise some people but French experience has been that dissenters are important in procuring French victories – they must be considered as a factor in success.

Gifford concludes that if Britain is to be preserved, she will require American help.

Sat 8th Sept 1798

The delegates to the Congress at Rastadt have finally agreed that the Rhine is to be the new French frontier. The delegates have moved-on to the subject of free navigation along the river.

Sat 8th Sept 1798

Le Redacteur – Four members of the Directory are constitutionally required to resign periodically and other Legislators to replace them by election.

On 9th May an equitable process whereby this was to be achieved was discussed and an ‘unlucky dip’ was determined upon.

Eight identical hollow balls are used. The hemispheres may be screwed open or closed. The Secretary will write ‘1’ to ‘4’ on four papers, which are checked by each of the Directors, and one placed in each of four balls. The Secretary writes ‘member remaining’ on three more papers and ‘member retiring’ on a fourth and these were placed one in each of the other four balls. The balls with numbered tickets were placed in one urn whilst the other four were placed in another. The urns were vigorously shaken. Then the urn containing numbered balls was opened and the Directors each took a ball to determine the order in which they would draw balls from the second urn.

In this way Francois de Neufchatel retired from the Directory and Barras, Reubel and Reveilliere Lepaux continued. 332 Legislators then voted for a replacement. Treillard got 234 votes, Monge 201, Garat 191 and Brune 176.

The Assembly is also required to elect ten legislators from whom the upper council will select one as Director. It was expected that Talleyrand, Cambaceres, Camus and the three Generals – Berthier, Kleber and Bournonville – would be amongst the successfully elected. The 163 members of the upper house then selected Talleyrand who received 126 votes. He will start his new job on 20th May.

Francois de Neufchatel will be sent off to Celtz to settle the dispute with the Emperor that was started by the apparently popular response of the Viennese to Bernadotte’s flag-waving.

Sat 15th Sept 1798

The Hereford Journal of 12th May has disclosed a secret channel of communications. Magistrate Williams observed coaches travelling frequently to and from Newquay, an obscure coastal village in Carmarthenshire. The route was formerly rarely travelled and the horse relays for the coaches were kept in unusual places, far from nearby towns. He asked if it was a government initiative.

The Duke of Portland sent his men to intercept the next stagecoach and a man was captured and questioned who revealed the route was a new means of communication between Dublin and England. The principals were identified and arrested. The coachmen were uninvolved and only responding to high pay. They provided a delivery service from Newquay to London (200+ miles) in 16 hours.

Sat 9th June 1798

There is a speculator active in Paris named Wiscowich who insinuates himself with foreign ministers and offers to pay bribes and ‘smooth paths’ through the layers of officialdom to the power holders for reward.

He encouraged the Portuguese minister d’Aranjo to request an extra million from Lisbon with which, he said, he would obtain better treaty terms from the Directors.

He was previously involved in the ‘bite’ on Sr Quirini, the Spanish diplomat, which, from what is known of it, appears to have been similar.

Wiscowich has now been arrested in Paris for enquiries – his papers have been sealed and he himself is committed to the Temple.[145]

Sat 14th July 1798

Journal de Frankfurt in an article datelined Paris 2nd April:

About 50 learned men have been sent off to Egypt to survey the country with their instruments. It is supposed they will check if it can be used as a route to India for a French army.

The Porte has consented to the expedition provided France removes the turbulent Mamalukes from Egypt and guarantees his possession of the country.

Sat 18th August 1798

Another great French fleet of 29 capital ships and 15 – 18 frigates is fitting out at Toulon. We suppose these might occupy the Greek Islands (Corfu to Zante) which would provide useful bases for a descent on Egypt.

It is wondered in London whether the French will dig a canal to the Red Sea and restore Sesostris’ old route to India.

Sat 21st July 1798

Courier du Bas Rhin, 24th April:

Many French Mediterranean ports are busy preparing an expedition to Egypt. It is both scientific and military. An article in the Redacteur by Barbaul Noyer says:

‘it is only by destroying the power of England in India that she can be brought to negotiate peace. Whilst she continues to disburse the treasures of Bengal, she can seduce Kings and subsidise armies. India must be subjugated to prevent England repairing the wreck of its throne in Europe.’

Sat 1st Sept 1798

Bonaparte’s appointment to command the Army of England appears to have been withdrawn. It now seems that the expedition forming in the Mediterranean will go to Egypt and Bonaparte will command it.

At a recent sitting of the French Legislature, Eschasserieux spoke of the project. He said the connections that recent treaties had given France (in Switzerland, Italy and Corfu) allowed her to regenerate the South and pointed towards the old breadbasket of Europe – Egypt – which was now separated from France only by a narrow sea.

It is a natural place for France to do business:

  • It will become a new market for our arts and goods,
  • it will strengthen the Adriatic Isles,
  • it will give France command of the Mediterranean and of the ports of the Red Sea,
  • it will form a barrier to our enemies in the trade of the Levant,
  • it will become an entrepot for the trade of India via the Persian Gulf and the Arabian desert, and
  • it will unite the commerce of east and west.
  • It will restore the Mediterranean islands to the commercial activity they enjoyed in Roman times.

The new Egypt will not be founded on policies of slavery and tyranny but upon liberty and benevolence. We will create a social bond based on mutual needs and conveniences.

France will join the Mediterranean to the Red Sea at the isthmus of Suez. An alternative project is to open a canal like the canal of Sesostris which carried the goods of the Indies to the mouths of the Nile. Now is the time to occupy Egypt, before anyone can prevent us. We will require 50 scientists – astronomers, engineers, naturalists, mineralogists, chemists, mathematicians, botanists, zoologists, physicians and surveyors. Indeed we have already sent off their reference books and equipment from Paris.

Sat 29th Sept 1798

Courier du Bas Rhin 26th May:

Bonaparte arrived at Toulon early in May and addressed the French army there. “It is two years since I last commanded you. I found you at Genoa in poverty, selling your possessions for food. I took you to Italy and enriched you (‘oui, oui’). Your country needs you again. I will take you to a rich country.”

Bonaparte opened his orders when the fleet was passing Corsica. After reading them, he stopped and ordered all the women in the fleet ashore. Even the General’s wives were included.

An English fleet was detached from our blockade of Cadiz in pursuit and passed the southern tip of Sardinia about a day behind Bonaparte.

Sat 27th Oct 1798

Instructions to the French army of Egypt, 22nd June:

“The conquest you are about to undertake will influence the commerce of the world. It is preparatory to administering a mortal wound to England. The Mamalukes are our enemy – they favour British trade.

“The Egyptians are Muslims. They say “there is no God but God and Mohamed is His prophet.” Do not contradict them. Show respect for their Muftis and Imams, for the ceremonies of the Koran, for their mosques. Be tolerant like the Romans who protected all religion.

“The manners of Egypt differ from Europe but you will conform to them, particularly, note the violation of women is a monstrous act and that plunder will dishonour us. We do not wish to make enemies of these people. We are about to enter Alexandria – remember who built it.”

Sgd Alexander Berthier.

Sat 22nd Sept 1798

A French army of about 25,000 troops arrived in Egypt in June and occupied Alexandria, Cairo, Rosetta and other main towns. They were virtually unopposed except by the Turkish garrison of Alexandria.

The fleet was fitted out in Toulon mostly by using the naval stores seized from Venice by Bonaparte.

On taking the town, the French declared themselves ‘friends of Mahomet’ and the Porte and they had come only to destroy the tyrannous Mamalukes.

The French admiral was ordered to land the artillery and stores and make for Corfu, as he could not get his capital ships into Alexandria’s shallow port, but, contrary to advice, he remained to maintain communications with the army – that was how Nelson found him. In fact the Admiral’s communications were constantly disrupted by the Arabs who killed nearly all his messengers.

The Egyptians are suspicious of the French – there is no Turkish element in the French forces.

Outside Cairo, Bonaparte was confronted by 12,000 Mamaluke cavalry who attacked but were unable to penetrate or break the French squares. The Mamalukes were lavishly equipped – their excellent horses are covered in gold and silver; they wear the best Damascus steel sabres and they have the latest carbines and pistols from London. Bonaparte pinned them to the bank of the river and charged and they had to swim to safety. Bonaparte had expected this and some cannon on the riverbank did terrible execution. After that, all organised opposition ceased and the Arabs resorted to their usual sniping and guerrilla tactics. Any Frenchman taking a few steps out of camp was fired on.

The French proceeded to take Cairo where they got a submissive reception and the thanks of the Pasha’s court for removing the Mamalukes. The Arab nomads around the country are not so happy and are uniting their strength against France. How Bonaparte can provision his force now communications with the Admiral are severed is an interesting question but the Jewish businessmen of Cairo have contracted with the French consul to provide food.

The English fleet in the Mediterranean has joined with the Turkish fleet to attack the ships that carried the French to Egypt.

Tues 25th Sept 1798 Extraordinary

The Company’s cruiser Drake has arrived from Basra with news from Europe to the end of June. Manesty, the British Resident at Basra, confirms the successful French invasion of Egypt. The French fleet from Toulon captured Malta on the way. A good part of Lord St Vincent’s fleet, which was blockading Cadiz, is in pursuit.

Sat 10th Nov 1798

The Directory has written to the Legislature on 3rd July:

The Maltese government is administered by the Knights Templar of St John of Jerusalem – it is a theocracy.

Malta has long been friendly to the émigrés and hostile to the Republic. Some émigrés on Malta joined the army of Condé. Malta asserts a specious neutrality. When Spain was at war with France, Malta permitted her to recruit Maltese sailors into her navy. More recently she gave the same indulgence to England. Those Frenchmen resident in Malta and who promoted the Republican cause have been persecuted and imprisoned.

The Maltese government published a manifesto on 10th October saying the King of Naples had notified them he was at war with France. The Grand Master of the Templars consequently closed Maltese ports to the French. He indicated in the same manifesto that he deemed the French Government Agent in Malta to be the agent of Louis XVIII. When that Agent was replaced, the Grand Master would not admit the new man except as an Agent of the King.

This year the French fleet to Alexandria was effectively denied water at Malta. Grand Master Hompesch said only two transports could enter at one time and the fleet had 400 transports – it would have taken several months to water at Malta. It was an insult to France and to Bonaparte, the commander of the expedition, who responded by occupying the island the following day. He replaced the government. Bonaparte seized two capital ships, one frigate and four galleys from the harbours. He took all 200 cannon and the powder and ammunition from the fortress. We await further details.

The Chevaliers of the Order of St John then renounced the Templars’ sovereignty over all three islands – Malta, Gozo and Cumino.

Sgd Reubel, President.

Sat 10th Nov 1798

From private letters we learn the Grand Master of the Templars, Hompesch, has retired on a pension of 300,000 francs a year and expects some compensatory fief from the Congress at Rastadt. He is offered an indemnity of 600,000 francs.[146]

The French chevaliers of the Order in Malta are to be considered as French residents and may come home whenever they like. The French government will seek the agreement of the Cisalpine, Helvetic, Ligurian and Roman Republics for the same privilege for their nationals. French chevaliers will receive a pension of 700 francs.

The Maltese troops are to remain in barracks until further notice. Chevaliers owning property in Malta will continue to do so. Bonaparte left 12,000 men to garrison Malta and wrote to the Viceroy of Sicily that he should prevent the English from entering Malta.[147] If he did not do so, Bonaparte would consider it a hostile act of the Viceroy’s master, the King (of the Two Sicilies) at Naples.

Sat 1st Dec 1798

Paris, 30th July – the French frigate Sensible, whilst en route from Malta to France, was taken off Corsica by the English on 9th July. Our captain did not recognise the English ship until it was already alongside. We had enlisted a crew of Maltese for this voyage but they all refused to fight. The Sensible carried Bonaparte’s dispatches for the Directory. The messenger threw them all overboard before he was captured.

Wed 21st Nov 1798 Extraordinary

We have a copy of Bonaparte’s Proclamation to the Egyptians. The original was in Arabic and this version is from the French translation. The original affects the Turkish style:

“The government of Egypt has insulted France. French merchants are oppressed and extorted. Now the Mamalukes from the Georgian mountains are to be punished. I have not come to overturn Islam. I am here to rescue you from oppression. I reverence God and honour his prophet Mohamed and the Koran.

“All men are equal and are only distinguished by knowledge. How can the Mamalukes monopolise the wealth, the slaves and the beauty of Egypt? France will remove them and free all Egyptians to govern their own country. Law and science will be elevated. Formerly there were vast cities, abundant water and many canals. It was all destroyed by the Mamalukes.

“The French are realists. They attacked Rome and overthrew the Christian Pope. He was the man who continually incited Europe to attack Islam. We went to Malta and expelled the Christian government from there. France is the friend of the Sultan and the enemy of his enemies. Join us and Egypt will regain its former glory. If you side with the Mamalukes you will be destroyed.”

Sat 10th Nov 1798

Paris, 5th July – Since the beginning of the Revolution all things that appeared impossible have been achieved. Our ability to forecast the future is laughable. Even the return of the Jews to Jerusalem is a possibility. The journal Philosophical & Literary Decade says if the homeland of the Jews was restored, they would rush to it from the four quarters. They will take their money there and prosper. In return, they will willingly underwrite the costs of revolution in Syria and Egypt.

The Jews of Paris are partial to Bonaparte.

The Parisien journal Universal Chronicle has just printed a letter from a Jew to his brother hoping Bonaparte will master the Holy Land and permit the 6 million Jews scattered over the three parts of the ancient world to assemble there. He says:

We are a persecuted people everywhere. We prefer our own government to any other. It is only by appearing humble and miserable that we Jews have been able to preserve ourselves. The Romans gave our land to robbers. They profaned our sacred city.

Now France has shown us what patriotism can do, let us ask them for help. Their philosophy must recognise the justice of our cause. They need money and we need a homeland. Our people are immensely rich. We should talk to the Directory.

We must form a Council representative of all of us in Asia, Africa and Europe. It should be based here in Paris and its decisions be binding on all our people. It will then nominate an Agent to talk with the Directory.

We should seek for frontiers that allow access to the Red Sea – then we can involve ourselves in the commerce of India, Arabia and east and south Africa. Abyssinia and Ethiopia, which furnished Solomon with so much gold, ivory and jewels, will readily connect with us through commerce. Most of those people still practice the Law of Moses.

To the north we need a route to Persia; to the west a part of the Mediterranean coast will give us access to Europe.

We will be occupying the centre of the world. If the French are willing to help, we will give them all the money they need and a share of the trade.

Sat 29th Sept 1798

This year’s Haj from Egypt to Mecca has been recalled. The Egyptians are assembling as large a force as possible to confront the French and the Haj is a good source for recruiting. Over 300,000 men are collecting in and around Cairo. It will cause the confrontation to assume the appearance of a religious war.

The French have made their descent on Egypt too late for an attack on India this year – the winter monsoon is about to commence and sailing from Suez to the east will become impossible.

The last time the French attempted to conquer Egypt under Louis IX in 13th century they were completely beaten and Louis had to surrender everything he owned merely to secure his own liberty and that of a few of his friends. The rest of his French army was executed.

Sat 13th Oct 1798

The naval action off Alexandria (Nelson’s Battle of the Nile) has relieved British India of the prospect of invasion and will for long remove France from contention for control of the Mediterranean. That sea is now English. A collection is commenced at Bombay for widows and orphans of the men killed. All the high officers in Company’s service have contributed 50 – 1,000 rupees each.

On 19th August Lt Duval of HMS Zealous arrived at Aleppo en route to India via Baghdad / Basra with dispatches from Sir H Nelson, Rear Admiral of the Blue.

He says the French fleet was lying off Bequir in crescent formation in 4-5 fathoms when the British squadron arrived and a part of it managed to pass to windward of the French thus putting British ships on either side of the French. All the French ships to leeward could not join the action and merely observed the destruction of their van. By attacking the van on the landward side, Nelson was exposed to that side of the French warships that had not been prepared for battle. On completing the destruction of the van, Nelson then turned his fleet and fell on the ships to leeward. The battle continued for 18 hours (Nelson contrarily says from sunset to 3 am).

The overall result was 9 French capital ships captured; 2 ships-of-the-line and 2 frigates destroyed; and four escaped.

The British fleet was badly knocked about but no ship sank. Nelson’s fleet comprised 14 capital ships and a brig; the French 13 capital ships and 4 frigates; the British mounted 1,026 cannon, the French 1,190; The crews were 8,168 British and 10,810 French. It is an astonishingly lopsided victory for relatively equal forces. The French expeditionary force in Egypt is consequently isolated until another fleet from Toulon can be sent to succour them.

At the time of the action Bonaparte was in Cairo. Nelson has sent Duval to the Governor of Bombay as Baldwin, the British Agent at Alexandria, left when the French arrived and there is no Consul to deal with the matter. Nelson found Bonaparte’s dispatches on 8th August. They contained a plan for a landing at Bombay. Nelson has no information of any French transports at Suez (necessary to travel the Red Sea to Bombay)

Nelson landed 3,500 prisoners at Alexandria. They are the residue of the French crews from the sunken and captured ships. Totally those ships had 8,300 men before the battle but the officers and artificers are retained by Nelson. The actual French loss was about 5,000 men. The French commissary at Alexandria admits these prisoners for exchange whenever we wish to do so.

Wed 24th Oct 1798 Extraordinary

Further Report – Lt Duval of HMS Zealous has arrived at Bombay with the dispatches concerning the destruction of the French fleet at Alexandria. He came overland from Aleppo to Baghdad to Basra and received friendly treatment from the Turks all the way.

The British relationship with Egypt is commercial – we support the Mamalukes who manage our trade. Duval says the Turks are in accord with us on this occasion. At Baghdad he saw a letter from Damascus saying the French army, deprived of its stores and surrounded by a hostile populace, was leaving Cairo for Alexandria and the Turks have burned French transports there to prevent their escape.

There were so many French prisoners taken from the naval captures that Nelson had to land them in Egypt. The French transports are lying under the guns of Alexandria and Nelson was unable to get at them. Amongst the information Nelson obtained from the battle were the dispatches of Bonaparte to France, recording his present progress and future plans.

The ship-of-the-line HMS Leopard (50) and the frigates Daedalus (32), Albatross (18) and Orestes (18) left England at end June for the Red Sea and East Indies. A fleet is hastily being prepared to bring 6,000 of our troops in Portugal and Gibraltar to India.

Wed 21st Nov 1798 Extraordinary

The French have given-up at Rastadt, they are defeated by the delaying tactics of the Austrians. The allies have used the delay well. The Baltic states have made an alliance for free trade in their sea and Austria and England support it.

The Porte has likewise been disconcerted by French activity in his Egyptian colony. He dismissed his Grand Vizier, who was the main French supporter, for failing to prevent the Egyptian invasion and appointed Yusuf Pasha in his place. He is irritated because he was always strictly neutral towards the Republic and had thought he deserved French goodwill.

He sent an emissary to Paris to complain and was told that France was merely punishing pirates and distressing British trade. The pirates are the Beys who are under the Porte’s sovereignty and would be punished by him, if by anyone.

The Porte notes his Pasha of Egypt protects the Holy cities of Medina and Mecca and a ferengi presence in the province is intolerable. He has declared a Jihad against France.

On 2nd September he confined all French officials and advisers at Pera. He ordered the arrest of all French consuls and merchants throughout the Levant. Their goods are to be seized as security for the Egyptian merchants who have been distressed by French demands. He invites the European powers to join him against France.

He has made a treaty with Russia which is aimed at France. This has produced a Russian fleet at the Bosphorus with Russian troops on the way. It is quite likely he may be persuaded to permit the Russians access to the Mediterranean. The accession of Turkey to the alliance against France will involve the Barbary pirates, who compose part of his domain (they operate along the north coast of Africa – the Barbary Coast). They will harass and inconvenience French trade in the Mediterranean.

The French identify the Austrian Emperor as the prime mover in the coalition forming against them. Their response has been to send 80,000 troops to Italy where they will join with 120,000 Cisalpine troops and administer a serious rebuke to Austria. Nevertheless, it seems the tide has turned against France.

Wed 21st Nov 1798 Extraordinary

Bonaparte’s army in Egypt appears to have been duped by the Arabs. In return for bribes they joined him in an attack on the Mamalukes in Upper Egypt. Then the Arabs learned that the Pasha of Acre was sending a Turkish army against the French. The Arabs then turned on their French ally and out of the 8,000 that left Cairo only 500 have returned. French losses in other parts of the country have also been heavy. Worse for France, the relief fleet was intercepted at sea by the English and ninety transports were sunk. The English have taken Alexandria and Bonaparte has disappeared. The remnant of his army is left behind, temporarily unsupported, in Cairo.

Sat 29th Sept 1798

House of Commons, 24th May:

Pitt is rushing his bill for 10,000 new seamen through parliament. He wishes to resurrect the recruiting powers voted to government in 1779 (the ability to press men under training).

Tierney objected and was categorised by Pitt as an enemy of England. Tierney asked the Speaker to protect him (the cause of their duel, see below).

Jolliffe said the proposed powers restricted the rights of Ship Masters and apprentices and needed discussion. Why should ship masters take on apprentices and train them if they were to be taken away before they could be made productive – it would discourage the instruction of sea skills on which British maritime advantage is partly founded.

Nicholls said Pitt’s reasoning was that whenever a war commences it displaces popular rights in importance and the Constitution can be infringed.

Lushington said he would support a temporary suspension of apprentices’ rights. Curwen agreed.

Sat 22nd Sept 1798

Pitt has fought a duel with Tierney MP on Putney Heath. Pitt’s second was Ryder; Tierney’s was George Walpole. Both first shots missed at 12 paces. Tierney’s 2nd shot also missed and Pitt fired in the air. Then they all went home.

Sat 22nd Sept 1798

News arrived at New York from Cayenne at end March that Pichegru, Barthelemy and other former high-ranking French officials, who were banished for their roles in the émigré-inspired coup de Etat, had arrived in America. The report that Barthelemy had died en route is incorrect – he’s fine.

Sat 22nd Sept 1798

The Committee on the Aliens Bill reported to the Commons on 27th April. Windham, Secretary at War, recently told the House that he would be responsible for the conduct of the émigrés resident in England.

In view of the doubtful Constitution position, Johns MP suggested ministers should protect themselves by obtaining legislative protection for licensing the acts of émigrés and some form of security for their good behaviour.

Secretary Windham said he relied on the honour of the émigrés and required no other protection. Very many of them are priests of integrity. The émigrés have never done anything of which we did not approve. All their acts are in conformity with the civil and religious Constitution of their country. They had been driven out of state after state and the only safe haven for them now is in England. They have been in England for over four years and never caused any trouble.

Johns said the émigré establishment cost England £168,000 a year. We now have 10,000 English servants unemployed whilst there are 10,000 French servants, hair-dressers and cooks, enjoying full employment in émigré service.

Pitt admitted that some émigrés had acted imprudently but those had entered England before the enactment of the Aliens Act. There were only a few bad people and we should not punish the good in trying to get at the bad. He said the evidence of their harmlessness to England was given recently when they volunteered to organise themselves into a military unit under the command of their own leaders to fight France in the defence of England. Pitt said we had declined their help as it was unnecessary but it was a generous offer.

Sat 22nd Sept 1798

General Dumouriez has published a pamphlet ‘Tableau speculatif de l’Europe’. He says the Directory has successfully united the French behind the proposed invasion of England and combined this with an appeal to military greed (the French aver all the gold of Europe is collected in London). The temptation of extraordinary prize-money has elicited a huge national investment for the invasion and Dumouriez concludes it will certainly be attempted.

Bonaparte is charged with the destruction of modern Carthage. Every French person expects him to succeed and they see it as the decisive stroke. They are tired of seven years of war. England is the last centre of opposition to the Republic. It is the place where all opponents have gathered. It must be the scene of the final conflict. England’s destruction is essential to the success of democracy.

But if the invasion is unsuccessful; if the combined French, Spanish and Dutch fleet is defeated by the English, which would prevent a French army landing; or if the French land but their communications by sea are interdicted and the army isolated in England, then France may be beaten. The other European powers, if they see that result, will desert her and she will be fighting for her homeland on every frontier while the flower of her army is stuck in England.

Ultimately, the sole support of the Directory is the army which it needs to keep motivated and loyal. If the army feels it is being deployed for purposes other than the establishment of Republican philosophy, or if the rewards of pillage in England are inadequate, it may turn against the Directory and seek for rewards in Paris from the Estates of the rulers.

Dumouriez believes there is another risk – if the army of invasion is delayed in suppressing the English or if the funds expected to be obtained to pay for the army are not quickly available.

The Directory has responded to this risk by re-establishing the National Guard as a precaution against the army (in the same Decree that declared the émigrés as traitors).

He says the Revolution was achieved by violence and will be destroyed by violence. The army’s loyalty was bought with the lands of the émigrés – that billion livres of real property that underwrites the annuities promised to the armies – but the distribution of the proceeds is arbitrary; the pensions are paid slowly in arrears and in paper money of fluctuating value. Instead of occupying the army in cultivation, the pensions maintain the soldiery in idleness. The cost is insupportable in the long term.

Dumouriez identified two routes to French success:

One is to embark the army on merchantmen and convoy it to the English coast. It must repel the English navy on the way, then the English army at the beachheads and it must find the means of self-support soon after it has landed. The main gamble is at sea where the English are infinitely superior. None of the French channel ports are big enough to assemble the entire invasion force. Wherever it is assembled, the English navy will be waiting off the port to attack.

The other approach is to concurrently land small forces at many different places. We should remember that a superior Austrian army was held-up at Koln by earthworks for two months. By tying down the English army in sieges of numerous French beachheads, we reduce opposition to additional landings at other places and force the English into a responsive posture of our choice. France has the transports to carry 10,000 men and a few hundred cavalry to England at one time. If the transports are preserved we can do it again and again. If the first attack is not complete – what is the loss of 10,000 men in achieving the great ends we seek.

Suppose a French success, British control of maritime trade will be ended. The specie of Europe will instead accumulate in Paris and France will become irresistible.

Tues 25th Sept 1798 Extraordinary

67 English officers and 1,394 soldiers, who landed at Ostend and were captured when we evacuated, have been sent to the citadel in Lille. They report confidence in their captors, who have fed and housed them and not plundered them.

Sat 29th Sept 1798

The situation in Europe from London newspapers:

  • The Congress at Rastadt continues to sit. Every little change is being vigorously debated. Prussian policy has always been to oppose Austria and raise itself as the protector of the German states which has been very damaging for the allied Kings. Fortunately, the new Prussian King seems to recognise the impolicy of this and is concerting more thoughtfully with Vienna.
    France is responding. It seems the invasion of England is postponed and the army of England is being sent to the Rhine to support French policy at Rastadt. France has demanded the demilitarisation of the river Rhine. Prussia is unwilling to demolish the fortress of Ehrenbreistein on the right (East) bank unless France also destroys the forts on the left bank. There are many minor points still under discussion. This may be why the army is on the march.
  • A similar mutuality of interest to Prussia / Austria seems to have caused Russia and Turkey to improve their relationship. Russia has indicated its hostility to France by sending a fleet from the Baltic to England. The fleets from Archangel and Kronstadt are each of 5 capital ships. Both have sailed to England. Where the Baltic trade protection fleet is to come from is anyone’s guess. Another Russian fleet from the Black Sea has been sent into the Mediterranean. It is comprised of 12 capital ships, 14 frigates, 60 galleys and a contingent of troops. It is supposed the Porte approved their passage into the Mediterranean.
  • The Dutch Directory has tried to extend its term of office beyond the Constitutional maximum and three members (with the legislators who support them) were ordered to be arrested. Director Etienne Jean van Lagen has been caught, two others – Pierre Vreede and Wybo Jynje – have fled and the other two legislators – I P Fokker and B Wildrick – were arrested. They were not implicated in any other impropriety but felt it proper to resign. The French minister to the Dutch, Charles de la Croix, may have some questions to answer. He seems to be close to the arrested men.
    The Dutch Directors’ plan on 13th June was to declare themselves a provisional government and obtain the support of the primary assemblies to provide a semblance of legality to their administration.
  • Spain is following a contradictory policy. Her greatest danger is from French arms yet she maintains peace with Paris. The King has offered asylum to the Pope, another contradictory step.
  • Switzerland has been beaten into submission by the French General Schauenbourg and accepted the constitution of the Helvetic Republic.
  • The Cisalpine Republic is tranquil, at least while a French garrison remains there.

Sat 29th Sept 1798

The Directory has issued a decree making any ship carrying English goods that passes the Sound (the entry point to the Baltic) an enemy ship and the country of its nationality would find itself at odds with France.

Tsar Paul I of Russia has responded at St Petersburg on 3rd May with an order to send 22 capital ships and 250 galleys into the Sound for the protection of his maritime trade.

Sat 6th Oct 1798

Rome – the French occupiers of the Papal States have directed that anyone owning gold or silver is to bring half to the National Treasury and exchange it for paper money. Rome is charged with the costs of maintaining the occupying force. Opponents to French directions will be arrested and tried under army law.

Sat 6th Oct 1798

Three French commissioners Rapinat, Rouchier and Pommiere have arrived at Zurich to audit the national Treasury. The Zurich Treasurer Theiler refused to give them the keys. They called for locksmiths. The Zurich stadtholder Pfenninger arrived and protested. So did the President of the Assembly.

Rapinat simply said he had more bayonets than they did. On 8th June the contents of the Treasury was loaded onto wagons and taken away.

Sat 6th Oct 1798

Lord Camelford is acting strangely again. He ordered a huge quantity of special cordage from the store at English Harbour, St Kitts for the use of his command HMS Favorite. The Master Attendant Kittoe said he had already supplied the Lord with more than the other ships and could not give any more unless ordered by the Admiral to do so. He is the brother of Capt Kittoe of HMS Bittern.

Camelford then tricked Kittoe into entering his house in the dockyard where he restrained the officer and had his servant administer 12 lashes. A protest has been sent to Admiral Harvey at Martinique.

Sat 13th Oct 1798

A government newspaper in London has published a list of the contributions in Livres that France has received from European countries in her recent expansion. It says the information comes from French sources:

Pay Bas and Liege 192,000,000
Dutch loan (200 million @ 65%) 130,000,000
Dutch garrison (25,000 men) 14,000,000 a year wef 1794
Prussia (for Cleves) 3,600,000
States between Rhine/Moselle

and between Moselle/Meuse

Franconia 12,000,000
Wurtemburg 4,000,000
Baden 3,225,000
Swabia 27,500,000
Bavaria 16,990,000
Parma 3,650,000
Modena 10,000,000
The Pope 30,000,000
Genoa 4,000,000
Tuscany 8,000,000
The Milanese 62,000,000

This excludes the costs of maintaining French garrisons and all private plundering.

Sat 20th Oct 1798

Treilhard was installed as a Director on 25th May. He swore hatred to royalty and anarchy, and took his seat.

Sat 27th Oct 1798

News from Paris on 29th June:

While Bonaparte is off in Egypt there have been many arrests in Paris. One is Beauregard who is accused of corresponding with the enemy. The anarchists have elected to maintain silence, at least until the next 19th Fructidor, and are focused on repealing the law against the freedom of the press.

A 21st June newspaper reports Barras is sick. He wanted to take the waters at Bourbonnois but the other Directors sent two doctors to him who both concluded he did not need the treatment and ordered him back to work.

Sat 27th Oct 1798

Le Redacteur, 21st June:

We are experiencing difficulties with our allies in the new Republics. Oligarchy has raised its head in the Netherlands where the merchants are opposed to Constitutional equality. It is the same in the Helvetic Republic. Piedmont is revolting against our leadership. Misunderstandings abound at Rome where the priests are being subtlely obfuscatory.

The Congress at Rastadt is stalled and a great diplomatic attempt to create a northern alliance threatens to draw Prussia from us, render Denmark neutral and press Russia into the arms of the British. Behind all these developments is the same unspoken hand – England.

Sat 27th Oct 1798

At Naples, the King of the Two Sicilies has declined the French ambassador’s request that all political prisoners (largely French supporters) be released. Both sides have written to Paris and the ambassador indicated he would leave Naples. The King of the Two Sicilies expects war and is fortifying his capital and augmenting the frontier forces.

War was concurrently declared by the Ligurian Republic (Genoa and its hinterland – a Napoleonic creation) on Sardinia, which troops had entered Ligurian lands. It will be interesting to see if France joins in as a principal – the Two Sicilies is a French ally. That will be one less King in Europe.

Sat 3rd Nov 1798

Paris, 25th June – The cost of war is diminishing civil society. Beggars are increasing. The hospital at Grenoble has debts of 100,000 livres and is unable to pay its creditors. The hospitals of Paris are indebted collectively in 4 million livres. A credit of 5 millions was voted to them but only 800,000 livres could be paid. It is the same everywhere else. We need money. The Directory must prioritise our expenditure.

Sat 3rd Nov 1798

Paris, 28th June – The English make daily landings along the French coast from Dunkirk to Brest. They rob, burn and kill and retire to their boats. They did the same in America when warring with us there. The government directs that any landings of numerous people on the coast must be assumed to be British and should be attacked.

Sat 3rd Nov 1798

Paris, 1st July – Sabatier has identified the French problem. It is not a shortage of money – its a shortage of credit. England borrows to fight; France tries to pay her way. France has plenty of money but its not circulating. Sabatier notes that ‘where there is no private credit, there is no public credit’.

Sat 3rd Nov 1798

Rapinat‘s violent proceedings at Basle have been repudiated by the Directory. The Baslors learned of it on 25th June and were ecstatic:

Schauenbourg, the French CiC of the army of Switzerland, based in Zurich, wrote to the councillors of the Helvetic Republic on 24th June to say the Directory disapproved the summons of Rapinat inviting the Council to replace two members of the Swiss Directory – Pfyffer and Bay – who had been dismissed by Rapinat and replaced by his own nominees Ochs and Dolder. The Directory has annulled the appointments of Ochs and Dolder. The Directory has asked the Baslors to proceed in accordance with Constitutional requirements. Schauenbourg said this was new evidence of French attachment to the Swiss. The council reinstated Pfyffer and Bay, published the event throughout Switzerland and sent thanks to Paris.

A couple of days latter their ecstasy was reduced when they learned that Rapinat would continue as French Commissary in Switzerland.

Sat 17th Nov 1798

The French minister at Madrid, Perinon, has presented the Spanish government with a paper from the Directory concerning the defeat of the Spanish fleet off Cape St Vincent by the English.

It says the Spanish naval officers misled government to hide their incompetence. The Spanish fleet did not fight and the cause appears to have been treachery. The result is that Spanish commerce is diminished to the detriment of the King’s well-being and comfort. Perinon asks that the naval commanders be punished.

Spanish minister Godoy replied:

“I have reluctantly shown your insulting letter to the King. He will not tolerate your interference in his internal affairs. He has already held an enquiry into the defeat. He believes that a single defeat in war is not unexpected and does not signify in the overall picture. He refers to numerous French defeats to establish the fact.

“He recalls French commissioners representing the Directory attended on board the French fleet for three days 30th May – 1st June. They sent a frigate around the fleet with their instructions to sink every British warship except the flagship Royal Charlotte which was to be taken into Brest together with the British Admiral as an evidence of French superiority. He recalls that in the subsequent engagement France was roundly defeated and lost 9 capital ships. He wonders if it is these commissioners who advise the Directory on naval matters.

“He thinks it inappropriate for France to question Spanish naval expertise when one half of her national fleet is in the possession of the English. He has not yet heard of the punishments meted out to the French naval commanders after the battle of 1st June. He notes a regular pattern of French naval defeats in most of her engagements with the English. He thinks the Directory should balance the disgrace of the two nations – the single defeat of the Spanish on the one hand with the multiple defeats of the French on the other.”

Wed 21st Nov 1798 Extraordinary

The Hague, 27th July – the decree of 5th December 1796 limiting the importation of British goods has been abused. The selective permission to import such goods is repealed. No British products or manufactures may be now imported without a specific licence.[148]

Sat 1st Dec 1798

London report from the Levant:

A remnant of the French fleet is at Acre. They sent a deputation ashore with gifts for the Pasha. He accepted the gifts but would not permit the French to land. They did not know that the Porte has declared war on them. The Geezer Pasha of Acre has instead welcomed an English frigate in his port. He gave the Captain 5,000 piastres and sent a boatload of provisions to Admiral Nelson. Another English frigate has captured one of Bonaparte’s escaped transports and sunk four others.

The French have sent a boat to Lattakia, Cyprus for wine and brandy for their men at Cairo. On 18th September the governor of Lattakia boarded the boat and took away the rudder and sails. On 21st September the boat itself was seized and Capt Vailken and his crew were abused.

French stragglers are being found all along the Levant coast. A good many of them are being killed. Bonaparte is there somewhere. He is said to be accompanied by Count Sulkiasky.

In the Porte’s manifesto and declaration of war on France, he says he complained of Bonaparte to the Directory and they said they disapproved of his conduct, would reprimand him and reiterated their profound friendship for the Turkish Empire. Talleyrand expressly denied any intention to invade Egypt. He said Bonaparte was ordered to occupy Malta and remove the government of the Knights Templar, something the Porte should welcome.

The Porte assumed this reprimand would influence Bonaparte’s actions but he became more hardened than before. Talleyrand’s explanations differed materially from the French ambassador’s explanations at Constantinople. The Porte did not know who to believe. Bonaparte’s invasion of Egypt was seen as an intolerable threat on the Holy cities of Medina and Mecca. He unhesitatingly called upon his people for a jihad against France.

The English have taken Alexandria and the remnants of the French army has retired up-country to Cairo. Bonaparte’s attack on Egypt now appears to have been a strategic mistake. It has alienated the whole Muslim world. Now they prefer the English. He will never get to India via the Red Sea or Persian Gulf.[149]

Sat 1st Dec 1798

Lecointe Puyraveau has addressed the Legislature, July 1798:

The French Revolution is only alive in London. In Paris the streets are full of Royalists and émigrés, no-one calls a person ‘Citizen’, the national cockade is not worn, the revolutionary songs are unsung or sung with their words altered and maligned, the courage of our armies is denigrated, the inside and outside of carriages show the livery of nobility (with a flower replacing a coat-of-arms).

Our revolution is so debased we now have open and public requests to end the system of vengeance and account for the Law of 19th Fructador. We must halt these intrigues of the émigrés. The British government sends them here to foment trouble knowing we have become forgiving.

I propose we request the Directory to consider if the powers of the Police are adequate to deal with the émigrés, the English and any other enemies of the Revolution in Paris.

The Directory replied that it agreed intriguing enemies were numerous in Paris and the English were initiating all sorts of action to avoid the coming invasion. It invited the Legislators to frame a law to identify all strangers, inspect their places of concealment and arrest any delinquents.

The Legislature immediately chose to enforce Article 359 of the Constitution authorising house to house searches to discover hidden émigrés and trouble-makers and anyone else not possessing a passport.

Sat 1st Dec 1798

For three years the English have been occupying the Isles of Marcou in the Seine estuary. They are basically sandbanks and the largest island is less than one acre. There is only one channel of approach to that island which is well fortified. It is so close to France that Le Havre is visible.

This tiny base supports the British frigates that blockade the river. The Governor is Charles Papps-Price, a 20-year Lieutenant, and he has repulsed two French attempts to recover the islands. He has been there since we first occupied the islands in 1795. He maintains a weekly communication with Portsmouth by cutter. He has just been promoted to Post Captain in recognition of his services.

Sat 1st Dec 1798

The King of Sardinia is in difficulty with his Republican neighbours. He has made an agreement with the French General Brune at Milan:

“Turin has been occupied on 3rd July by the French. A list of the galley slaves found by the French in the citadel is being prepared. The French agree their garrison will not pass through the streets armed; neither may soldiers be lodged in the town. They hold the citadel as guests and all the property in it remains the property of Turin. The duration of the permission is two months.

“An officer of H M’s Piedmontese army shall liaise with the French to maintain tranquillity. They are here solely to placate the hostility of the Ligurian Republic.

“The King has been obliged to pay France 3 million livres. The states of Piedmont are convoked to decide how the State debts are to be paid. The assets of the Catholic church in Piedmont are to be employed to underwrite an issue of paper money.[150]

All trace of aristocracy is expunged in Piedmont and the Sardinian army is reduced to 5,000 men.”

Sat 1st Dec 1798

The Dutch legislators are belatedly disputing the authority of the Directory they have appointed over themselves. A protest with 40,000 signatures against the Directory and particularly General Daendels has been made.

The Dutch Directory responds that it will prosecute troublemakers.

Mon 31st Dec 1798 Extraordinary

General Berthier has led a large part of the army of Egypt into Syria. Bonaparte has not been heard of.

70 French women, travelling to Cairo to join their husbands, were murdered in an Egyptian village. A French force of 400 subsequently attended at the scene and executed all 1,200 villagers.

Mon 31st Dec 1798 Extraordinary

M Necker, the Swiss financier, has returned to Paris.

Mon 31st Dec 1798 Extraordinary

In Paris the Jacobins are still trying to overturn the Directory. They continue to hold their public meetings.

Mon 31st Dec 1798 Extraordinary

London press summary:

  • The failure of the Congress of Rastadt is becoming more apparent although the diplomats continue to talk. No-one is concerned for the future value of secure frontiers – they just worry about revenue today.
  • The peoples of the new Republics in the Pay Bas and north Italy are becoming aware of the possibility of choice – whether to accept or oppose French principles. They like the stated Republican intentions but hate the violence and plunder.
  • The Emperor has refused to accredit the ambassador of the Cisalpine Republic who consequently lives in Vienna as a private citizen.
  • Prussian friendship towards France in the wrangling has matured into a likely neutrality should things fall apart.
  • Russia has thrown in her lot with England and sent another 5 capital ships and some frigates to the North Sea.

Mon 31st Dec 1798 Extraordinary

The French Directory, 22nd August:

Major General Cootes and Major England, both prisoners-of-war, have petitioned that they be allowed to return to England for their health. They are permitted to go for three months. This is not an offer to exchange them. They are required to report back here after three months and continue their detention.

Mon 31st Dec 1798 Extraordinary

The French minister to Naples has protested that English warships are allowed into Sicilian ports. A French army has returned to Rome to extinguish a revolt stirred up by the priests. It appears likely it will continue on to Naples.

Mon 31st Dec 1798 Extraordinary

London Chronicle, 18th and 21st Aug – The ministry has met to consider a Russian proposal that she joins an alliance against France.

Pitt, Dundas, Lord Grenville, Duke of Portland and Earl Spencer attended.

Mon 31st Dec 1798 Extraordinary

The Austrian Emperor is irritated by the request of the small German states to settle with France. His policy is to delay whilst they are in the path of any French military advance should negotiations fail. He, on the other hand, has already lost more lands and revenue than he can get from his new Polish acquisitions. For example, the Cisalpine Republic is largely ex-Imperial. He calls it a soi disant Republic.

On 24th July two battalions of French émigrés, in Austrian service at Innsbruck, moved towards Riva, north of Lake Garda. A third will follow on 26th. These movements are to counter the Emperor’s suspicion that the French army in Switzerland will attack him.

He characterises French occupation of the citadels in Piedmont as also indicative of the threat. The Archduke Charles is expected to command the Austrian forces. They will assembled at Trieste, Verona, Padua, Venice and elsewhere.

The problem is that the French require a decision from the Diet at Rastadt or they will fight. They insist on their natural frontiers. However, if France gets her natural frontiers, her military expenses will reduce, her immense domestic wealth will increase and she will become stronger. That’s the problem.

Mon 31st Dec 1798 Extraordinary

The Bourbon King of the Two Sicilies at Naples has thrown himself on the help of Austria and England. He has concluded a treaty of offence and defence with Austria. A conscription of 13 men in every 100 is declared to reinforce the Neapolitan army.

The democrats, who were recently freed at the request of France, have again been imprisoned.

Mon 31st Dec 1798 Extraordinary

Basel, 10th August – Zeltner, the ambassador of Basel in Paris has complained to Talleyrand for the French Directory:

“The activities of your army in Switzerland has given you a bad name. We do not respond well to threats and violence – we must be persuaded and convinced. You seem not to know us at all. We are not apathetic Bavarians or pliant Italians – all oppression earns our resentment. We cling to our religion, our democracy and our customs. If you threaten these institutions there is no telling what desperate excesses may follow.

“The Grisons of the Tyrol (now the Canton of Graubunden) have been observing us. They were formerly appalled at their misfortune at being annexed by Austria; now they prefer it. Swabia, which had been on the point of embracing your principles, now recoils in disdain. All our neighbours suspect your chalice is poisoned.

“The English are protected from your resentment. They observe you destroying the states of Europe and avail themselves of the consequent commercial opportunities. Our geographical location, our history and our experience all show this area is important to France. What are you doing?

“All the money you took should be restored so we can fund the completion of our Revolution and raise an army worthy of our alliance. We accept payment in grain and salt which are both desperately needed. All the demands for contributions should be withdrawn. All our arms and ammunition should be restored. The number of French troops here should be reduced, particularly the cavalry who require so much resources. We want help for our Constitutional government. Your agents here should concert with our Directory and take action only in the Directory’s name. That would be respectful. We want that part of your army that remains to co-operate with us and not frustrate us. The advantages conceded to Berne should be extended to all Helvetia.”

Mon 31st Dec 1798 Extraordinary

The Abbe Sieyès has succeeded in weaning Prussia away from the other monarchies. She has declared her neutrality and the Austrian envoy Count Ludwig von Cobenzl and the Russian Prince Nikolai Repnin have left Berlin.

The Dutch are pleased as they were exposed to a Prussian attack. Prussian neutrality is all France has got out of Rastadt. How one maintains neutrality in the face of French and English implacability will be interesting to see.

Mon 31st Dec 1798 Extraordinary

France is supposed to be the home of diplomacy but it is the failure of French diplomacy to build on French military supremacy that has got all Paris talking. It seems to originate in a lack of funds at home which they necessarily take from the neighbours.

The Directory is concerned by the freedom of the press. They are organising a festival for 18th Fructador to take peoples’ minds off the political situation.

Mon 31st Dec 1798 Extraordinary

The Directory has been considering the depressed state of national finances. Only half of last year’s expected revenue had been paid. They think there is little point in creating new taxes until they discover why the old ones are unpaid. The suggestion is to capitalise the public debt as bearer bonds. France needs 600 million this year for domestic expenses. The French army will apparently fund itself.

Sat 12th Jan 1799

Congress of Rastadt, 29th August:

Numerous small German states including Swabia, Hesse Darmstadt, Baden, Westphalia and several others have petitioned the Austrian Emperor for peace with France. They say they have suffered enough. On 26th August they told the French what they have done and said it was as much as they could do to influence the Emperor.

The French had earlier raised seven points with the Emperor on 19th July; the Emperor replied in detail on 10th August.

Specifically, he agreed to forego his Customs receipts from the Rhine and permit the demolition of the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein. He asked France to surrender all the forts on the right bank of the river and to settle all debts due to Austria from the ceded lands. He wants France to respect the property of French émigrés in the ceded lands.

The French response does not mention any of the Emperor’s points and reverts to an earlier French communication. In fact the French are determined to fortify the right bank of the river for their own protection – this does not appear to be negotiable. The Emperor’s request for money will frustrate the French – that’s one thing they do not have much of, as he well knows.

Sat 19th Jan 1799

General Pichegru and some of the other banishees at Cayenne have escaped. They rowed out in a dinghy and were picked-up off the port by the English merchant ship John Bull which arrived London on 25th September.

Sat 19th Jan 1799

The Porte has sent five ships carrying three regiments of Janissaries to Acre. They have landed and will oppose the remnant of Bonaparte’s army under Berthier which is moving up the Levant towards the Porte’s Syrian Province.[151]

The people of Cairo, under the leadership of the man the French had made Governor, revolted against the French. It was a French requisition on each house in the town for 15 piastres that changed discontent into opposition.

This caused the French to abandon Cairo and march north.

Sat 19th Jan 1799

A combined fleet of Portuguese and English warships recaptured the town of Malta in mid-October. It landed 12,000 English, Portuguese and Neapolitan troops who secured the minor forts and commenced a siege of the citadel where the French garrison is holding-out in expectation of relief.

Sat 19th Jan 1799

The Russian Black Sea fleet has joined with the Turks. The Porte asked for help and Russia is providing it gratis – the Tsar told the Porte he only wants free water and provisions for his task force. Strangely the Tsar did not mention it to the British minister at St Petersburg (Whitworth) although the Russian fleet is supposed to liaise with the British Mediterranean fleet. The British would be reluctant to have the fleet of another great power enter the Mediterranean – their own newly-won influence in that Sea would be diminished.

The RussoTurkish fleet has recovered the Adriatic Islands (formerly the property of Venice before being ceded to France) from their French garrisons who have themselves been shipped off to Corfu where about 4,000 French troops are now assembled. A French column on the Albanian mainland has been repulsed by the Porte’s troops with 200 killed.

A large Turkish army has arrived at Basra from Baghdad. They are charged with enforcing Islam on the Bedouin tribes thereabouts.

The Porte is disappointed with his Vizier. The resolutions taken in the Divan were to oppose France vigorously but the Vizier’s instructions to the Viceroys was merely to defend themselves against the French. It transpired that the Vizier had been rendered hors de combat by an immense bribe from the French ambassador. His property has been confiscated.

Sat 26th Jan 1799

The French are alarmed at their diminished diplomatic influence at Constantinople and have sent Descorches to patch-up things. Descorches was posted there before and has many friends amongst the Turkish officials.

Sat 26th Jan 1799

A dispute has erupted between the Directory and Legislature of the Ligurian Republic and the latter propose to remove from Genoa to Savona to avoid, as far as possible, any application of military force against them.

The Foreign Minister Massone ordered the War Minister Frederici to shut the Ligurian ports to the English in September 1796. This did not occur. On reminding his colleague, he got a furious response that, to shut ports, Frederici needed men and money, cannons and batteries, not letters.

Sat 26th Jan 1799

The French Directory is concerned at the influence of émigrés on the Spanish Court. Several Frenchmen have been arrested at Barcelona for inciting Republicanism but whether they are Republicans or émigrés is a nice question.

It is clear that a body of French Royalists are at work in Spain assiduously diminishing whatever trust still exists between Madrid and Paris.

Sat 2nd Feb 1799

London news report – On the approach of the TurcoRussian fleet, the French evacuated the Venetian islands and withdrew their garrisons to Corfu. Neither the Turks nor the Russians put garrisons on the islands. The people spontaneously raised Russian flags after the French withdrew.

Hassan Bey, the Governor of Rhodes, has assembled a force of 2,000 men to attack the French in Egypt. He is ordered to do so by the Porte. He has been joined by 8,000 Barbary pirates (now called troops). We hear that lone Frenchmen and small groups are being cut down wherever they are found in Egypt.

Sat 2nd Feb 1799

On 23rd September the Directory requested the Legislature to raise 200,000 new troops of Frenchmen of the 1st class (over the age of 20 years). If there are insufficient men, the draft will be extended to 2nd class (under 20 years). It seems the Directory has detected a need to fight again.

Sat 2nd Feb 1799

King George was at Weymouth with the Duke of York when he received the dispatch detailing Nelson’s victory at Alexandria. He read it aloud to several passers-by whilst strolling on the esplanade. Everyone is illuminating their houses and lighting bonfires. Some squires are distributing beef and strong beer to their tenants. Nelson has been created Baron Nelson of the Nile and of Barnham Thorpe in Norfolk. He is the fourth Admiral in five years to be elevated for obtaining an important victory.

London is illuminated and a flood of martial poetry is appearing on stage and in the press, for example:

…… Fleets led to battle by men such as these

Shall fix in Brunswick’s hand the Trident of the Seas.

The national joy extends to every town and port in the land. Yesterday we were in expectation of invasion, Ireland was in turmoil and our future appeared doubtful. Today we have destroyed a French fleet, saved India and concurrently the Russians, Turks, the Emperor and all the benighted citizens of the new Republics are in arms against France.

Austrian bank paper at Vienna has risen 5% which is in part due to the Emperor’s decision to declare war on France. The Porte has done likewise and issued a copy of his declaration to the diplomatic corps at Constantinople.

The Parisians are considering a rumour that the Directory wanted Bonaparte dead and that was why they so quickly approved his Egyptian campaign.

Sat 9th Feb 1799

One of Bonaparte’s letters that Nelson intercepted was to his brother Joseph who is a member of the legislature and formerly French ambassador to Rome.

He says the Directorate misled him as to the likely response of the Egyptians to his arrival. He expected to be welcomed as their liberator from the Mamalukes. He says his army is reduced by disease and constant attack. He has to maintain garrisons at Alexandria, Rosetta and Cairo to preserve communications.

He says he can neither advance nor retreat.

Sat 2nd Feb 1799

The Court of Naples has opposed French wishes and expects attack. The King has placed the island of Sicily and its ports at the disposal of the English.

Sat 9th Feb 1799

The King of Naples has been amassing his savings. The national revenue was formerly 6 million ducats a year; now it is 12 millions, exclusive of the order on all citizens to surrender their gold and silver (which produced another 7 millions). A further 2 millions is expected from Sicily as their normal annual contribution.

The King demanded 13 ducats from every 100 people as a contribution to the national effort. The Two Sicilies contain 7 million people and this initiative will produce another 2 millions if fully subscribed.

Finally the mint undertook to deliver 500,000 ducats every month and has (initially) exceeded its undertaking.

The British General Stewart is expected to receive the Governorship of Sicily from the Neapolitan King. This could be sufficient for the British to reassert their naval supremacy in the Mediterranean. Sicily provisions Malta.

Sat 9th Feb 1799

The Russian Black Sea fleet of 12 capital ships has arrived at the Dardanelles and awaits the Turkish fleet. The British have got Sir Sidney Smith appointed to the command of the Porte’s part of this naval force.

He is the man who escaped from France using émigré channels but his popularity at Constantinople derives from his acts at Acre in denying the port facilities to Napoleon’s army. The two fleets are to act in concert.

Sat 23rd Feb 1799

Nelson’s victory over the French fleet at Egypt has reinvigorated the allied cause at the Congress of Rastadt. The Austrians have been more peremptory with France and have amassed 180,000 infantry and 30,000 cavalry in Italy to oppose French democracy in the new Republics.

Swiss resistance is centring on the Grisons who have re-established their ancient style of government. They have the French on one frontier and the Austrians on the other. The Grisons declined to unite with the Helvetic Republic and obliged the French emissary to withdraw threatening vengeance.

The Emperor responded that he was the protector of the Grison League. This stopped an approaching French army.

Sat 9th March 1799

The Grisons have decided their policy. The Federal Assembly annulled all the resolutions of the Ordinary Assembly including the one acknowledging Citizen Florent Guyot as French minister. It then dissolved the Ordinary Assembly and itself ordered a corps of 6,000 men be raised for the defence of the country. The army will be commanded by the émigré Salis Marschlins, formerly a Lieutenant General in the late French King’s service.

On this occurrence becoming known, a French army marched to the border and the Austrian army retired to somewhat more defensible positions.

Sat 23rd Feb 1799

The French Directory is irritated by the King of Naples. They accuse the King of insulting them and agitating trouble in Rome. They say the watering and provisioning of Nelson’s fleet at Naples was fundamental to his ability to get to Alexandria and defeat the French fleet there.

For the King to have sailed two miles out to sea to intercept Nelson on his return and congratulate him was provocative. So was his sending emissaries to concert anti-French activities

The Prussians see some chance for their own advantage. They have warned France that an attack on Naples risks a confrontation with Berlin.

The Portuguese ambassador Noronha has left Paris. The French say his powers are inadequate. When the envoy arrived in Paris, Talleyrand requested to see his powers and the envoy replied he had none. Talleyrand concluded that no negotiation was possible. Actually, Portuguese propositions to date have come via Madrid (France says that, as the July 1797 treaty was not ratified by Portugal, some different basis to agreement is necessary.)

In fact, France wants more from Portugal:

  • Firstly a slice of Brazil adjacent to the French possessions at Guiana;
  • Secondly, that the number of ships trading to Portuguese ports be reduced from that agreed under the previous (unratified) treaty;
  • Thirdly, that the import of French cloth to Portugal should be encouraged and
  • Finally, that the Queen of Portugal should contribute more to French war expenses.

Lisbon will be thinking they should have accepted the first agreement but the Portuguese cannot extricate themselves from the English grasp.

General Charles Stewart has left Lisbon with 4,000 troops reportedly to occupy and garrison Sicily.

Sat 23rd Feb 1799

The loss of capital ships (ships-of-the-line with 70+ cannon) by the two sides to date is incomparable.

France has lost 65 captured, 30 destroyed and 14 sunk; The Netherlands 23 captured; the Spanish 8 captured and 9 destroyed while England has had 6 captured, 1 destroyed and 25 sunk.[152]

Sat 23rd Feb 1799

A letter from Constantinople of 22nd October says the French army in Egypt is reduced to 17,000 men. Of these 6,000 under General Desaix have been sent to Thebes to access the Red Sea from there and send emissaries into Abyssinia.

Sat 23rd Feb 1799

The British are provisioning Malta from Naples and the French garrison is confined to the citadel of Valletta. The Guillaume Tell, one of the two capital ships to escape Alexandria, is in port (actually it may be the other ship-of-the-line Genereux as the Guillaume Tell is said to have sunk at Corfu). Its crew is also in the citadel and the ship itself is under regular fire from the other Maltese batteries – it is unlikely to remain seaworthy or afloat for long. The Maltese are withholding provisions from the French garrison.

The two French frigates Justice and Diana that escaped from Alexandria have been captured near Malta by HMS Colossus (74). The entire Toulon fleet has been lost to France.

The Maltese commenced their insurrection against the force left by Bonaparte on 6th September, initially due to French soldiers removing the church plate. After the brief visit of Admiral Stewart’s squadron from Lisbon – the one which is expected to occupy Sicily – the Maltese became better motivated.

Sat 2nd March 1799

The publication of the spat with America and the attack on Switzerland has cost the Directory much of its popular support.

Le Surveillant newspaper characterises these acts as tyrannous. It will be interesting to see what means they employ to maintain their authority.

The approaching elections should reveal whether a conscript army still strengthens or now weakens them.

Sat 2nd March 1799

When news of Nelson’s victory reached Madrid, the British ambassador illuminated his embassy three nights running and stood on the balcony throwing money to passers-by. That earned him repeated shouts of ‘long live Great Britain’.

Sat 2nd March 1799

Vienna, 17th September 1798 – the Ottoman squadron is expected to sail for Egypt carrying the Russian troops. This will excite the Company’s jealousy. The Directors already suspect Russian complicity via Persia and Afghanistan in their northwest frontier problem with Zemaun Shah.[153]

Sat 2nd March 1799

Paris, 8th October – The Directory has written to the Legislature:

Those Kings still left on their thrones have shown aggression to us. We stopped the progress of our military victories because we prefer peace. Now those Kings (athletes couronés in the original article) are refreshed and they want to fight again. Perhaps they are tired of reigning. We should remember that these Kings conspired to destroy our Republic. They entered our lands; they fomented and financed civil war; they spread ruin in place of prosperity. This was the work of England and its stable of royal pensioners.

When we were first attacked, the Stadtholder allied with England; the theocracy at Rome inveigled everyone who would listen; the Helvetic Confederacy protected French banishees. Five years later the Stadtholder is overthrown; Rome is humbled and the Helvetic Oligarchy is ended.

Those governments that are prepared to tempt fate again, that accept English gold to fight, should know we despise their homicidal tendencies.

Sat 2nd March 1799

Decree of the French Legislature, 9th October:

The number of young men in La Vendée, in the departments of Maine and Loire, has been depleted by the civil war. Those departments are exempted from the national conscription in order that they may sustain their trade and agriculture.

Sat 2nd March 1799

18th & 20th October – The Directory is grappling with the problem of national finances but the Legislature is disinclined to enact new taxes. What to do?

Sat 2nd March 1799

The Queen of Naples is the mother of the Empress of Austria. She maintains a continuous correspondence with her daughter. She owns the whole city, the largest in Europe, and exerts influence over both her husband and Thuget the Austrian minister. She is the connection between the two courts. Whatever Austria does, she will want to do too.

The Two Sicilies also has considerable influence over Malta. The refusal to give Neapolitan provisions to the French has pleased the Templars’ government-in-exile of Malta.

Sat 9th March 1799

The late Neapolitan Viceroy of Sicily has been sacked. He is pro-French and does not co-operate with the new British military administration of General Stewart. His replacement is Prince de Lozi who will be more amenable.

Sat 9th March 1799

On receiving the news of Nelson’s victory at the Nile, the Porte sent him a superb diamond aigrette (worth £18,000) from one of his turbans and a pelice of fine black sable fur with broad sleeves (worth £7,000). The aigrette is shaped like the palm of a hand with five silver fingers protruding from it. It is quite thin and is set with diamonds. Nelson is supposed to wear it attached to his hat as the Sultan himself does.

The Porte says the victory removes the French navy from the Mediterranean and lays his Empire under a debt of gratitude to Nelson. He has sent 2,000 Sequins to be distributed amongst wounded British seamen.

The French force at Malta is besieged; the garrison at Corfu is blockaded by the TurcoRussian fleet. France is in trouble in the Mediterranean.

The Porte has appointed the Pasha of Acre to be Pasha of Damascus whilst continuing his command of the Ottoman army in Egypt.

Sat 9th March 1799

The people of Turin have become anti-French. A group of 200 peasants found a few French soldiers in a field and killed them. France has demanded and received the possession of two gates to the city. It is thought that once General Stewart gets to Messina and puts Sicily in shape, the hot war will begin. On his way there he took the fort of Minorca and left a small garrison.

French forces in Italy are dispersed. General Brune is trying to assemble them at Bologna. France has about 9,000 men in Mantua. On the other hand, there are 14,000 Austrians garrisoning Venice; 30,000 at Verona and 18,000 at Padua.

On 18th November a combined English, Neapolitan and Portuguese fleet delivered 3,000 Neapolitan troops to Leghorn and will take a similar number to Malta.

The King of the Two Sicilies entered Rome on 26th November and the French army has retired to the north. Another column of the Neapolitan army under General Mack is attacking Ancona.

Sat 9th March 1799

Austria has made up its mind. After months of prevarication at Rastadt, the Emperor has rejected French demands that he not fortify any place on the right bank of the Rhine except at a distance from the river.

Austria has also rejected the French proposal that the right bank inhabitants (remaining in the Empire) pay the debts of the left bank inhabitants (transferred to France).

He declines to amend the Constitutions of the imperial cities of Hamburg, Bremen and Frankfurt. He proposes the River Waal be the French frontier on the lower Rhine.

Prussia has said something similar – they appear to have concerted their replies.

These intentions are fundamentally different to French demands, based on the reality of their military victories, and presage renewed war.

Sat 9th March 1799

Everyone at Leghorn expects war at any moment. The Russian fleet has brought troops into the Mediterranean which will likely be landed in Italy. The chap most forward in repudiating the French has been the King of Naples and he appears prepared to attack to the north. That will require the Emperor to act in concert. The French Army of Italy will again be called into existence.

Sat 9th March 1799

Opinion on the state of play in Europe by an Englishman:

The Swiss Royalist, J Mallet du Pan, is living in London writing a fortnightly journal on English prospects in the present war. Its called The British Mercury, historical and critical views of the present times. It started publication in August 1798 and usually comprises four pages. Mallet du Pan says he wishes to provide a reliable history of the times to counter the widespread use of press misinformation and manipulation that governments are now practising, so he says.[154]

He formerly published the Mercure de France but the establishment of a government of butchers (Robespierre) and the abolition of free speech closed it down. Excerpts of the new journal have been published in the French newspapers at end October. Mallet du Pan says:

France has required the Dutch, Spanish, Italians and Swiss to close their ports and borders to the English and to embargo British trade. They cannot defeat the British navy or prevent England from monopolising all the world’s maritime trade but they can control the major markets for British goods.

The other European powers are unprotected by sea. They groan, protest, petition and pursue all sorts of diplomatic nonsense. England alone prospers and makes whatever financial sacrifices are necessary to maintain her advantage. English lives are not trammelled or limited by the justice of the Directory or the faith of French treaties.

In England the visitor carrying the Directory’s passport is received. The Jacobin is detested and subjected to inquisition but he is allowed in. Its not an offence to criticise Bonaparte or Treilhard. One says what one thinks.

When I left the continent I thought England was on the verge of ruin. People bewailed the loss of her commerce and the ruin of her finances. The uselessness of her heroism was admired but lamented.

I arrived here to find 800 warships, 150,000 seamen, 300,000 soldiers and £50 millions of annual funds. England achieves her objectives at sea. The trade of the planet goes to London to be taxed before being sold elsewhere. The people are fully supporting the government and the merchants are all getting richer.

Europe is suspended between the guillotine (France, or conceivably law) and the cannon (the Kings and the use of force).

Sat 9th March 1799

Nelson has landed at Naples to shouts of viva bravi Inglesi. The Queen of Naples has written to Lady Spencer saying Nelson’s victory has relieved all Italy and it now depends on others to secure that relief.

The new French ambassador La Combe St Michael says France can be warlike or peaceful – its the choice of the Neapolitans.

Sat 9th March 1799

The French garrison on Malta is confined to the citadels of Valletta and St Elmo. The commandant has twice asked to capitulate and has been twice refused. We require unconditional surrender.

Sat 9th March 1799

Prussia has written to the French commissioners at Rastadt to express satisfaction that France has abandoned its claims to Koln (Cologne) and Cassel on the right bank of the Rhine and restricted herself to the left bank.

Mon 11th March 1799 Extraordinary

The French army entered the land of the Grisons who instantly invited the Austrians in. The French retired north to Lake Constanz and the Austrians took possession of the capital.

Mon 11th March 1799 Extraordinary

  • The Grand Priory of Russia in St Petersburg, to which the Knights Templar of Malta retired when their island of Malta was taken by Bonaparte, has protested the terms of the treaty that their Grand Master Hompesch made with Bonaparte.
  • The Priory accuses the Grand Master of misconduct by colluding with traitors who sold Malta to the French. The remaining Templars say they have thrown themselves upon the mercy of their sovereign protector, Paul I, Tsar of all the Russias, and he has engaged to maintain the institutions of the Templars.
  • The Russian and Turkish force at the Dardanelles is intended to invade southern France. They expect an Austrian army to join them via Switzerland. They then intend to march up the Rhone valley to Lyon, where support is expected, whilst another force marches west to secure Marseilles.

Mon 11th March 1799 Extraordinary

The Emperor has dismissed 4,000 officers from the Austrian army. They are said to have acted treacherously in the last campaign in Italy.

He has divided his forces into two armies – the army of Italy will be commanded by the Archduke Charles himself; the army of the Empire will be commanded by the Prince of Orange.

Mon 11th March 1799 Extraordinary

The British King has reopened parliament with an upbeat speech. He says Nelson’s victory at the Nile has removed France from the Mediterranean and allows the allies to concentrate their force in that sea and attack southern France. It is a turning point in the war, he says.

If Austria, etc., exert themselves in following-up, we can deliver Europe from France. The wisdom of Russia and Turkey in joining the allies to remove the yoke of France from those struggling countries will encourage everyone, he says.

Our vigilance and efforts have prevented a French invasion of England. The rebellion in Ireland that they instigated has been suppressed. Those traitors who sought to undermine our Constitution have been caught.

I am pleased that the revenue has been maintained and has been adequate to support our credit. The redemption of the Land Tax has been spectacularly successful.[155] Commerce and industry flourish as never before. We still have much fighting to do but I now anticipate an honourable conclusion.

Mon 11th March 1799 Extraordinary

London newspapers, 13th November:

On 31st October the French Directory told the Legislature that a serious rebellion has commenced in Brabant and Flanders. Conscription for military service is merely the pretext for this uprising.

The authors of the rebellion are ministers formerly attached to the old Belgian government and to the Stadtholder. The rebel leaders acting on their behalf are all priests and foreigners. Several Trees of Liberty have been uprooted and replaced with Christian crosses.

Many rebels wear the orange cockade (indicating submission to the Stadtholder) or the imperial eagle (the icon of the former hegemon, Austria).

The Directory has ordered strict reprisals. It will require 1.5 million Tournois livres (£62,500) to buy information.

Sgd Treilhard and Lagarde.

Sat 16th March 1799

Dublin, 2nd November 1798 – an East Indiaman with a cargo of Asian plants and seeds for King George’s botanical garden at Kew has been taken by the French. She was later recaptured and has just put into Dungarven Bay.

Sat 16th March 1799

Mallet du Pan’s British Mercury for October 1798 has new information on the Egyptian expedition. He says the Mamalukes were expected to be a soft target. A French invasion of Egypt has been endlessly proposed in Paris, not particularly as a route to India, but simply as a convenient source of the grain that France needs.

The Directory expected an additional advantage – that Egypt and the Porte’s other provinces would be made a barrier to British overland communications with India – but that was a side-issue. French policy was mainly concerned for control of the Mediterranean.

The Directory is always uneasy when successful Generals return home. The hero of Italy was a potential competitor and Bonaparte was then overwhelmingly popular. That required he be removed from the country and hopefully have his reputation ruined. Fortunately Bonaparte himself was excited by the prospects of the Egyptian campaign and, when he lost naval protection for the invasion of England, he willingly took the left wing of that army to Alexandria. On the way Malta produced some satisfactory plunder for his officers, sufficient for him to require them to behave themselves in Egypt and respect Muslim customs.[156]

Sat 16th March 1799

A patriotic sonnet is recited from the London Chronicle extolling the ‘wooden walls of England’ as ‘Brunswick’s Floating Towers’.

Sat 23rd March 1799

Mallet du Pan has written again on French fortunes, this time in Switzerland. They have failed mainly because the Swiss object to French ideas about religion. The Swiss are not willing to give up their God. The Directory’s response has been to empower the Alsatian General Schwartzenberg to impress French ideas on the Swiss. He has attacked the farming communities of lower Underwalden around Lake Lucerne. At first the people repulsed him on 8th September but after the winter when he tried again on 9th May he penetrated the valley of Stans, while concurrently cannonading the town from gunships on the Lake. This killed 1,500 Swiss and injured over 2,000 more. An organised and well-equipped army has defeated farmers armed with pitchforks and sickles.

The cattle of the farmers has been taken away. Schwartzenberg has destroyed the statue of William Tell in the name of bringing Republican freedom to Switzerland. French violence has temporarily secured the submission of Underwalden and the neighbouring Cantons of Schwyz and Zug, indeed Underwalden is temporarily deserted. All the remaining people are disarmed.

This opens the St Gotthard Pass to French armies and allows direct French communication with Milan. It will facilitate the occupation of Grison lands from the rear. The Grisons always relied on Austrian protection and never joined the Swiss. It seems that policy will now require rethinking. This French activity is directed against Austria and her access to the unprotected southeast frontiers of France. The Directory will want Switzerland to make an offensive alliance and join-in the fight against Austria on French behalf.

Sat 23rd March 1799

The Directory has decreed that two roads be built across the Alps. One will be aligned up the Rhine and around the west and southern banks of Lake Constanz; the other will be aligned from Geneva through Le Valais to the Cisalpine Republic. Each state through which the roads pass is expected to finance its own section.

Sat 30th March 1799

Ferdinand Hompesch, the former Governor of Malta and Grand Master of the Knights of the Temple, is accused of numerous failures of duty whilst on Malta. He got a majority of the Knights to agree to an armistice and then monopolised the negotiations in a way they would never have agreed. Principally he handed over the strongest fort in the Mediterranean without firing a shot. He is accused of preserving his own position and advantages at the expense of the Order as a whole. He is now in Trieste.

The Knights have voted to depose him. They invite their brothers in all the other Grand Priories to ratify their act. In response the Tsar has taken the Order under his protection.

Malta was known as Melita in the time of the Romans. The old town is still apparent on the hillside and is now called Cité Notable. It is ruined and features many Roman and Arabic inscriptions, all attesting to its ancient grandeur. It has belonged successively to Carthage, Rome, the Muslims (Saracens) and most recently the King of Naples. Whilst it was under the control of the Turks, Charles V ceded the island to the Chevaliers of Rhodes (former Knights of St John who had been driven out of Jerusalem and had nowhere to live). They built Valletta on the spit of land between the two great ports. It was considered a strong fort and protected both harbours, one of which is the finest port in the whole sea. The Chevaliers successfully completed their fortifications and defended the island from Suliman and an army of 200,000 Turks. Malta is perfectly sited to interdict the trade from the Levant to France and Spain. It is an important acquisition for any power intent on controlling the Mediterranean.

The soil is poor and the Maltese send ships to Mount Etna to mine the fertile volcanic loam and bring it to the island. They incorporate this in their fields and produce grains and fruits for the 160,000 population. Even so, the island relies on provisions from Sicily which sends grain, oranges and sugar-cane. If Sicily cannot supply, there is an alternative food source on the Barbary coast.

In consideration of their semi-dependent status on the Porte’s north African states, the Maltese have permitted a mosque to be built and maintain an overtly friendly attitude to the Turks. There is no manufacturing but the womenfolk spin some Levantine cotton.

Sat 30th March 1799

Bonaparte is in no position to guarantee the Treaty of Campo Formio, his first venture into formal diplomacy. The Austrian Plenipotentiary Cobenzl with whom he negotiated thought otherwise. He seems to have assumed he was a leader of the French Revolution when he was not even the leader of a political faction.

Now several of the principal articles in Bonaparte’s Treaty have been avoided or evaded by the French Directory. This political failure to honour his agreement and the generally palsied state of the Directory and Legislature, are good reasons for Bonaparte to reprehend the conduct of the French government.

Sat 30th March 1799

One of the small things that became a big thing in the negotiations at Rastadt is Metternich’s personal fief on the left bank of the Rhine where he is known as the Lord of Vinnenberg (sometimes rendered as Winnenberg). To his chagrin, the family estate has now been sold by the French.

Vinnenberg had formerly been a member of the council of the Counts of Westphalia, a unit of the Empire representing 32 owning families.

Sat 6th April 1799

An unattributed but persuasive English review of the state of Europe:

In 1798 the French Directory dissipated all the popularity their Revolution has gained for France by employing incompetent Commissioners at Rastadt and uncouth Generals in the Southeast with the Swiss and Italians.

Schwartzenberg in Switzerland and Bernadotte in Austria have been more effective in destroying the French reputation than allied armies. Even the Americans, who thought they had a ‘special relationship’, have been disabused of the notion. A journal called ‘Cannibal’s Progress’ is being published in USA to itemise all the offences of France.[157]

The Provinces of Holland and Zeeland were formerly the wealthiest states of Europe. Alliance with France and the consequent war with England that was forced on the Netherlands have destroyed their naval and merchant fleets. The warehouses of Amsterdam are empty and the English Company has assumed the immensely valuable Dutch spice trade. The VOC is bankrupt.[158] Dutch West Indian colonies are the same. The loss of wealth in the Netherlands is the result of embracing French principles which the English repudiate.

England puts the protection of property at the top of her system – she empowers the individual – whereas France puts society first and devalues individual enterprise.

The French procedure has been to tax her neighbours repeatedly until social order breaks down and Revolutionary principles gain ground. The policy is forced on the Directory by national poverty and the lack of government credit. Amsterdam, Genoa and Geneva are clear examples of the result but the same process has commenced at Hamburg, Bremen and Lubeck. Each has paid several millions to keep French arms at bay. Venice thought to make peace with France but it was not like previous peaces – she was plundered of her specie and arts, her navy was confiscated and the ancient city placed under the sovereignty of a King who, astonishingly, is one of the great enemies of Republicanism.

Switzerland, like the United States, is a Federated Republic. She swallowed the murder of the Swiss Guards in Paris on 10th August and acknowledged the French Republic in an endeavour to embrace a strict neutrality. The British agent Wickham was then performing his insidious work there and earned for Switzerland the undying enmity of the French Directory. He left just before the order for his expulsion arrived.

The Directory next ordered the banishment of the émigrés with whom Wickham conspired. When the Swiss complied that should have been the end of it, but an insurrection was stimulated by oppression and French armies then arrived to quell it. The Swiss were not allowed their own Constitution – they had to adopt one drafted in Paris. The Swiss assembled an army merely as an indication of their outrage. They kept it in cantonments. Then a French army arrived that was ten times larger and attacked this little army and dispersed it. Men and women fought side by side but were annihilated by French artillery. 800 Swiss women were cut down. That was the end of Swiss liberty.

The only European country to survive is England. France cannot get at her. Britain has increased her presence in West Indies by occupying Dutch and French colonies. Her Eastern empire has been almost entirely peaceful. Gibraltar defies Spain; the Cape protects the route to India; British fleets blockade Brest, Cadiz and the Texel.

Sat 20th April 1799

European news:

  • The Austrians have used 18 months of peace with France well. They are now able to field 350,000 men. The loss of the Pay Bas was a painful but slight wound to Austrian fortunes. French activities have caused the ramshackle peoples of the Austrian Empire to unite as never before. Now France has targeted Naples and the Grisons and both are on Austria’s doorstep.
  • An insurrection broke out in the Low Countries in November 1798, apparently caused by the Directory’s conscription of 200,000 people for the army. The rebels are led by men of the Prince of Orange’s party. They call themselves the Imperial Catholic Army. The Dutch Republican Government has declared martial law. Over 2,000 people have been killed and fighting continues. The French are drawing forces from the left bank of the Rhine to meet the insurgency. General Jourdain is in command.
  • Nelson has sent a joint English, Portuguese and Neapolitan fleet to Leghorn to demand possession of the town. He is co-operating with the Neapolitan General Nassili whose army is outside the city. To avoid a bombardment, the inhabitants surrendered the town to Nelson and Nassili.
  • Pitt has asked the Commons for money to subsidise the Two Sicilies.
  • The Porte has reminded Denmark and Sweden of a clause in their treaties with Turkey. Now he is at war with France, they are supposed to join him.
  • Minorca surrendered to England on 12th November. General Stewart left a few companies of troops to garrison the fort and continued on his way to Sicily. This is the expedition that was fitted-out in Lisbon. It carries the British forces formerly in Portugal.
  • A resurgence of monarchism at Marseilles has led to many executions. The Marquis who led the rebellion was caught and said he had more than 30 Departments under Royalist control.[159] He said he is aided by several of the constituted authorities.
  • The French have made an agreement with the King of Sardinia. He normally lives at Turin but has agreed to go to the island of Sardinia leaving his minister at Turin. We suppose he is a hostage to the French.

Sat 27th April 1799

300 French troops arrived at Suez in November with about 100 Arab mercenaries. Bedouins were assembling to attack them. The French have seized some boats in the Red Sea and appear capable of making a voyage. It is feared they might try to link-up with Tippoo.

Sat 27th April 1799

Ferdinand IV, King of the Two Sicilies, Duke of Parma, hereditary Duke of Tuscany, etc., says Malta is also his fief. It has been invaded by France. He has now (29th November) sent his army into Rome to re-establish religion and restore peace and the Pope.

The French, according to the terms of Campo Formio, cannot occupy Rome. The Directory has nevertheless declared war on the Kings of Naples and Sardinia.

Sun 5th May 1799 Extraordinary

Britain seems about to take to the field again. Several regiments of light horse are under orders to embark for foreign service. The destination is secret but is rumoured to relate to General Tarleton’s recent appointment to command our cavalry which remained in Portugal after General Stewart took the infantry away.[160]

Ireland is quiet and several regiments have been recalled to England. The union of Great Britain and Ireland is still under discussion in London.

England has been involved in a tit-for-tat operation in Belgium where a popular insurrection has been fomented for the restoration of the old system and the Prince of Orange.

Pitt remains popular with the politicians and the people. The small opposition is very active and vocal but has no effect on his majority.

Sun 5th May 1799 Extraordinary

Austria is still nominally neutral but has long been preparing for a new war. Prussia is likely to join and Denmark is re-assessing the joys of neutrality. France requires the Sound Toll be abolished.[161] Prussia disagrees for no good reason – that King wants to invade the Netherlands in the guise of liberator and take some territory from the Prince of Orange. Thomas Grenville has been to Berlin to discuss the matter.

Now everyone is disenchanted with France, Britain wants to sign Sweden up to a new coalition. Spain is also looking friendlier to the monarchical cause. A couple of French émigrés attached to the Court at Madrid (Duc d’Havres and Marquis de Mortemar) have come to London via Lisbon on HMS Orion to liaise.

Naples has acted decisively in British favour (the King called publicly for the new Republics in Switzerland and Rome to be abolished) but he may not yet have the support of Austria, whose armies seem to be holding back.

King Victor Emmanuel of Sardinia has made a treaty with France on 9th December 1798. He has sent Chevalier Damlan to Turin as hostage to the French and has instructed the people of Turin to obey the French General. Sardinian property is to be respected and no French pilferage of the banks and museums is permitted. No ships of France’s enemies will be permitted in Sardinian ports.

Sun 5th May 1799 Extraordinary

British news:

  • Captain Coffin is appointed British Commissioner at Port Mahon, the main port on Minorca, which we recently occupied. We landed 800 men although the Spanish garrison numbers 2,000 men, but they did not attack us. Soon afterwards 220 Swiss troops deserted to us.
  • After occupying Mahon, General Stewart attacked Cidadella which fell after a brief resistance. Cidadella was garrisoned largely with Swiss troops.
  • Lord Elgin is appointed our Man at Constantinople. He gets a magnificent suite in the Oriental style.
  • In a move that has surprised many observers, the India Company has given an annuity of £1,500 to Lord Hobart for his services at Madras.

Sat 11th May 1799

The Neapolitan army has been drubbed by an inferior French force at end January / early February and the King of the Two Sicilies has been obliged to abandon the mainland part of his Kingdom and take passage with Nelson to Palermo.

The King says his troops were disaffected by French principles and failed to fight properly. The Naples fleet has also crossed the strait to Palermo.

Sat 11th May 1799

  • A letter from Lattakia of 14th March says a British fleet is bombarding Alexandria and hardly a house is left undamaged.
  • From Constantinople we hear only 12,000 French troops remain in Egypt and the Porte’s forces are advancing down the Levant to confront them.

Sat 11th May 1799

The Dutch were able to get a small fleet of 4 capital ships and some transports passed Lord Duncan’s blockade of the Texel in early December 1798. Duncan has gone after them.

Sat 11th May 1799

The great financier Haller has offered the King of Sardinia 12 million livres in 3 months and 800,000 livres monthly thereafter for the farm of the tax revenues of Piedmont (the continental part of the King’s domains and the richest province in Italy). He requires a complete cession of the revenues from the King.

The Piedmont Directory is considering recommending his offer to the King. Most of Piedmont belongs to various Catholic orders.

Sat 11th May 1799

  • The French Directory says England is assisting the émigrés and priests to devalue French lands being sold for national income. People who attend at the provincial Land Offices to buy land from the Directory are being threatened with murder by an army of thugs. This deters purchasers and keeps sale prices low.The Directory requires the Legislature to enact law to discourage the formation of gangs of brigands in the communes. They are considering offering amnesty to whistle-blowers.
  • Pitt is willing to negotiate peace with France once he has got the supplies for 1799 through parliament. French financial difficulty and the pliant policy of the new Directory has persuaded him that attractive compromises are possible.

Sat 11th May 1799

Reports from Milan say the French soldiers of the Army of Italy have obtained so much plunder they are exchanging their silver dollars at half-price for gold.

Sat 11th May 1799

The Emperor of Russia paraded his 6,000 Cossack troops at Brunn at the end of December. They use very small but strong horses. They wear loose breeches and a globular helmet. Each Cossack has 3-4 horses. Their lances are painted grey. There is a brigade of Kalmucks amongst them who are mainly armed with bows and arrows. They have small eyes. They all seem very disciplined. The soldiers sing as they march.

The Austrian Emperor observed their manoeuvres.

The French say Russian troops moving through Prussia and Austria is a breach of neutrality. The Directory has asked the Diet at Ratisbon to oppose the movements. If not, France will break off negotiations at Rastadt. A majority of the council members at Rastadt petitioned the Austrian Emperor to refuse passage to the Russians. The Austrian representative Comte de Lehrbach has sent an express to Vienna for instructions.

Austria has notified France, as required by its treaties, that it is sending 36,000 troops to the defence of Naples.

Sat 11th May 1799

All the Sardinian King’s palaces and estates at Turin have been seized by the French General and their contents are to be sold for the benefit of the people. A contribution of 2 million livres is also required of the city. Clergymen are to cease wearing their uniform. The King of Naples tried to intercede with General Championnet, the French commander, but was rejected.

Sat 11th May 1799

At end December the remains of Bonaparte’s garrison of Malta continued to hold-out in the fort of Valletta. They are besieged by 12,000 Maltese peasants under British and Neapolitan officers.

Sat 18th May 1799

Paris, 24th December – Meyer has reported to the Legislature on recent disturbances in the new Republics. He says they are fomented by foreigners who create rumours. Many Republicans have been told and believe that Bonaparte is dead, his army is destroyed, there is fighting in Italy and Germany in which the French are everywhere beaten, etc., etc. The overall thrust of the rumours is that France is exhausted and cannot continue.

General Bournonville, in command of the army of the west, bitterly complains about the English who, he says, continually drop émigrés and priests on the French coasts and supply arms and ammunition to the disaffected. They give pieces of gold to any local chiefs they meet. The French agents sent from London have each been promised a personal Estate in France once the Republic is no more. The émigré Bebague, who is involved in the rebellion in Belgium, is one who has received such an offer but the English rely more on the department of Morbihan and the Cotes du Nord for their most effective insurgency – that is where they can provide naval support.

General Bournonville complains he himself was nearly kidnapped by Chouans at Port Brieux on 2nd December. Their information on the activities of the French army and government is perfect.

A group of Chouans arrested at Grenoble have been executed. Many Republicans in the department of Sarthe had earlier been killed by Chouans.

Sat 18th May 1799

The French, who have been intercepting mails in Italy for many months, have got two useful letters – one from Prince Pignatelli (the King of Sardinia’s man in Naples) to Chevalier Priocca (the minister of the King of the Two Sicilies at Turin) and another from Baron d’Averweck (George III’s roving ambassador) to the Governor of Turin, both dated early October. They are shown below:

  • Pignatelli says Nelson has told the Sardinian King that a revolution is like a river flood which goes everywhere but eventually recedes within its ancient banks. He thinks France has had enough of revolution – they have lost their maritime and colonial power and their commerce is damaged. Prussia is moving closer to the allies and just needs some undertakings from Vienna before declaring her support. Russia, Turkey and England are already united. The Russian ambassador at Naples has told Acton that if Naples will declare herself, and ‘dig a grave for the French in Piedmont,’ Russia will overthrow the revolutionary system throughout Europe.
    Resulting from these exchanges we all had a meeting in the Queen’s Library where Acton, with characteristic didactic eloquence, listed all the factors that suggest our likely future success:

    • He said the triple alliance in the North allowed us to move onto the offensive;
    • he was desperate to dissolve the Congress at Rastadt (from which England has excluded herself);
    • he noted the Imperial armies in Italy and Germany were marching;
    • he thought that even if Prussia remained neutral she will charge France dearly for it, but mainly,
    • it is the military preparedness of Lombardy, Rome and Piedmont that Acton relies on.
    • He says this is a chance to deliver Italy if Sardinia unites with the English. But he fears the Sardinian King’s counsellors are overly timid and only try to preserve the treaty with France. ‘Your King is a prisoner in his own capital. If he would only stimulate Piedmontese nationalism and fight a guerrilla war against the French there, he might be recorded in the history books as the liberator of Italy,’ he said. George III’s private Agent, the Baron Averweck, has just arrived from Berlin, Pignatelli continues. He is the most active diplomat in Europe. Wherever there is discussion about uniting the monarchs against France, there he is in the midst of it. He had a conference with Comte de ….. at Karlsruhe (the émigré leader, presumably Comte de Lille) then immediately set off for Berlin to discuss with Prince Repnin, the Tsar’s man there. Now he is here in Naples. He has asked me to reiterate the points I made in my previous letter and to impress their importance on you. He will himself write to that silly émigré (Mr N, the Governor of Turin) and will make a copy for you. Repnin has concerted everything with London. Our brave Neapolitan soldiers will be the first to attack. The Piedmontese will follow. Then the Republics of Liguria and Cisalpine, erected as defences for France, will become the battle ground for her defeat. Those peoples have been exasperated beyond endurance. Fortunately the French general has destroyed all vestiges of goodwill for France.
  • Averweck’s letter of 6th October from Naples to Mr N, the Governor of Turin (abridged): Berlin is obstinately neutral; Vienna is indecisive. Repnin is uniting all the other Kings against France. Britain and Russia will have the glory of restoring peace to Europe. England may be criticised for allying with Turkey and Russia but she is fighting for the maintenance of her political system. France is so powerful it needs heavyweights like the eastern powers to balance her. Piedmont should support England. Sir Sidney Smith, now the British ambassador to Berlin, has agreed with Repnin on a bold stroke to end the indecision in Vienna. They intend Naples to commence hostilities under the able command of General Mack. Then the treaty of offence and defence with Vienna can be called upon to bring-in the Austrian forces. That will get things going. Already civil war has commenced in Brabant; the Grisons are keeping the Helvetic Republic in check; Cisalpine is nominally Republican but there is dissent that we can exploit. Repnin has sent instructions to influential people in Lombardy who oppose Republicanism – we have noted the misunderstandings between the French General and ambassador at Milan. All this is Repnin’s plan. Please assure your Court that Britain allies with Russia only because she guarantees existence to every prince threatened by democracy.

Sat 23rd May 1799

The Commons have been debating the army estimates in early December. The main point of interest was the opposition’s interminable demand to know the object of war.[162] Pitt said he was not attacking the Republican system although, given French attitudes to us and their recent descent into Egypt to ‘free the Egyptians from slavery’, it would be reasonable for us to do so.

He says he is actually at war on behalf of the French people as an act of benevolence and to prevent their government spreading abroad the ruin that has ravaged its own country. It is not national rivalry, he said. He did not intend to rescue France but if there was a chance of rescuing the formerly independent neighbours, he would take it. He was not proposing aggression – French resources to achieve their policies were reduced – but he would maintain defensive preparedness.

On 3rd December he told the Commons that payment of the ‘assessed taxes’ in 1798 had been fraudulently and shamelessly evaded and some method was essential to compel the peoples’ obedience. He thought every well-disposed man should be willing to pay 10% of his income.[163] Commissioners will be appointed in every city throughout the country to collect data. They will obtain statements from each resident on the percentage of income he is willing to pay. Incomes under £60 a year are exempted. A sliding scale acts on incomes up to £200 a year. Above that the minimum is 10% but patriotic Englishmen are welcome to pay more.

On the commencement of this system, the abused ‘assessed taxes’ will cease. This will bring the absentee landlords of Irish estates and the West Indian farmers into contribution. They have not paid the ‘assessed taxes’ but they will have to pay this 10% charge on income. Pitt hopes to start the new system on 5th April. He particularly asked the MPs to note that unless we pay our way, we have to borrow and our loans will have to be repaid by our children.

Only Tierney spoke against Pitt. He was concerned for businessmen if they revealed their income. Hobhouse thought a tax on expenditure or property might be as equally suitable as an income tax but he foresaw difficulties with all of them and commended taxing all three. He characterised Pitt’s intentions in war (to free Europe) as ‘quixotic and absurd’.

Sir John Sinclair distinguished landed, commercial and professional income and thought they should all be treated differently. He said the Irish absentee landlords were already taxed by the Irish parliament and taxing them again would drive them away from England.

W Smith objected that the tax would apply to the industrious and the indolent alike – the man who gets his income in dividends is taxed like the man who works for his money. Parliament should encourage industry. He hoped the people would reject the tax (hear, hear) and said those who supinely accepted it were incapable of resisting any oppression.

Sir G P Turner told the House he was the originator of the proposed Income Tax.[164] The House then voted its overwhelming approval of income tax.

Sat 23rd May 1799

The Austrians have an arguable point with the French at Rastadt. They say it is contrary to International Law to permit a state to appropriate another’s lands. They also raise the question of emigration from the ceded lands – can the German-speaking population simply move out contrary to French emigration law. France needs to state publicly that the respect and inviolability she demands at home are things she also extends to the neighbours. She should distance herself from the revolutionary projects of some of her people.

Sat 1st June 1799

The Pearl arrived from Basra on 27th May bring continental papers to 24th January but the Bombay government has only released those up to 14th January. From these we (the Bombay Courier Editor) have extracted the following:

  • The combination of fomented disorder in the French-occupied lands, the intransigence of the Emperor in the talks at Rastadt and the support offered by Russia, have given France a great problem.
  • The French have no money. What they have to do requires money. Russia is sending troops. They are marching through Austria which shows that the Emperor’s position has hardened. He is at peace with France but is allowing a French enemy to march through. The French have demanded an explanation and given him 15 days to reply or they will deem him hostile. The ball is in the Emperor’s court.
  • His last broadside was to forward the demands of several Landgraves and Electors (e.g. Hesse Darmstadt) for compensation for lost revenue in their occupied lands – something he knows France cannot accept. He is upset at the French levying taxes on Westphalia which is still occupied by French troops.
  • The King of the Two Sicilies fled Naples for Palermo leaving the Austrian General Mack as his representative at Naples. That officer then inexplicably threw-in his lot with the French.
  • Redacteur – The Directory is irritated by the increasing numbers of Frenchmen who espouse the views of unelected power centres like the Jacobins, anarchists and émigrés. Fouché, a Deputy of Nantes, was sent with an army to Milan where he is supporting the Jacobins. When the Directory expostulated, he threatened them with his army. The Directory believes the Legislature should try to vet candidates for election but acknowledges there are so many of them it might seem overwhelming.
  • The Directory suspects Nelson’s victory at the Nile was not solely due to superior seamanship and discipline. They have learned that when the British fleet arrived at Alexandria, it was met by a small boat of French émigré officers who held positions in Bonaparte’s army. They told Nelson where the French fleet was anchored. Sieyès, now French consul at Naples, knows their names. These émigrés advised Nelson of the gap between the fleet and the shore which Nelson exploited in his victory.

The following items of British news were also reported on the continent:

  • A force of Hessian mercenaries that was sent to Ireland at the beginning of the insurrection is now coming to England.
  • The Suspension of Habeas Corpus is continued for another 6 months to May 1799. The liberal Whigs in opposition no longer refer to the Constitutional derogation, they just enquire into the conditions of the political prisoners in preventive detention.
  • Dundas told the Commons that the lands occupied by France have a long coastline which England could harass with impunity. 15,000 – 20,000 men could create havoc and tie down a French force of 100,000 along the coast, he thought.[165]

Sat 8th June 1799

The French ambassador to the Dutch has pardoned named individuals for their role in the recent dissent. France works in the Netherlands through the Batavian Assembly which has Constitutional authority – they cannot just send an army in but if the amnesty does not work they will have grounds to do so.

Sat 8th June 1799

Law & Order in France is declining. Murders in the streets have become commonplace. The Legislature proposes constituting a corps of 50,000 Rural Veterans to patrol the roads.

Sat 8th June 1799

Meyer, the third minister of the Dutch to Paris since the establishment of the Batavian Republic (i.e. in three years), has been ordered out of France.

Sat 8th June 1799

A French army under Championnet has re-occupied Rome. They found the museums and art houses sealed. Championnet has ordered that any works of art that are found under seal of the Neapolitan King are lawful prize of the French.

A representative of the army with the citizens’ Commissar and Joubert of M/s Joubert Freres, the bankers, are to break the seals and jointly inventory the contents. They will then be stored in the castle of St Angelo and M. Joubert will arrange for their removal to Paris.

800 medals were found in the Vatican along with the celebrated cameo of Augustus Caesar.

Sat 8th June 1799

Paris, 12th January – the general conscription of soldiers continues nationwide but evasions and desertions are high and the Directory proposes stiff penalties. The matter is important and we can no longer act with mildness, they say.

Bossi, the King of Sardinia’s man in Holland, has defected to France with the departure of his King to Palermo. He will become one of the provisional governors of Turin once the army settles Piedmont.

The Directory requires French armies in Italy to diligently seek out and expel any Frenchmen they find who provide no assistance to them (invariably émigrés and priests). If they resist they are to be investigated as spies. General Joubert has arrested many French agents at Milan and has warned the Cisalpine legislators to take care.

When Championnet was at Rome he arrested the Neapolitan Chevalier Valentini and some of the Roman nobles for inciting insurrection against France and shot them all. At Veterba, where the émigrés incited the people to massacre the French garrison, a large group of inhabitants has been also shot. France is restoring order.

Neapolitan troops have evacuated Leghorn on 4th January by agreement with the Duke of Tuscany (who was at Pisa until 1st January and then moved to Florence) in order to preserve a semblance of neutrality towards the French. General Nassilli will take his men to Elba, which belongs to the King of Naples. The French General Serrurier is approaching to remove the English and Neapolitans from Tuscany – they have been promoting their own interests.

Resulting from these developments, the Neapolitan King has become conciliatory. He has revoked his former order to evict all French, Ligurian and Cisalpine citizens from Leghorn. He has also paid a small deposit on the 2 millions Scudi he was previously asked to pay to France but had refused. He will pay the balance in three months and supply clothing and ammunition to the French army.

Windham, the English minister at Leghorn, has circulated all the British merchants there to reassure them that Tuscany’s existence is guaranteed by both the Austrian Emperor and the French Directory.

The Russians have sent 25,000 men to Brunn on the River Maine. The Austrian Emperor has given all the officers rich presents – he paid 2 florins to every junior officer and 1 florin to each soldier.

Sat 8th June 1799

The Russians are removing the French garrisons from the old Venetian islands, Zante and Cephalonia, and are moving on to Corfu. They require undertakings from the French soldiers not to serve against Russia or Turkey and, upon receipt, release them.


Editions of the Bombay Courier for the second half of 1799 and all 1800 are missing from the British Library collection. This embraces the period of Napoleon’s Coup d’Etat and the end of the previous administration’s assignat and mandat printing scam.

The French government was bankrupt, the army was unpaid, taxes were not collectible and it appeared Pitt’s expectation of bringing France to her knees financially was about to be realised.

Napoleon contrarily instituted a cash basis to government expenditure and advised his ministers that he would never return to a policy based on irredeemable paper.[166]

Saturday 3rd Jan 1801

Latest news from France:

  • The First Consul Napoleon appeared likely to fail before the Jacobin supporters of the old Directory in the legislature, but he managed a last minute victory at Marengo and saved himself. It was a close thing – the first two couriers off the field reported an Austrian victory and only the third, who left after 6 pm, reported Bonaparte’s victory. The First Consul then went straight back to Paris.
  • French aristocrats and clergymen may apply for their removal from the list of proscribed émigrés and priests but they are reluctant to do so in view of the legal requirement of an Oath of fidelity to the Republic.
  • Bonaparte has removed Josephine from Paris to Spa as, whilst he was away, she has been favouring émigrés and receiving agents of Louis XVIII and members of the English Committee. Joseph has been keeping his brother informed. He says she’s a slut. Her acts have weakened Bonaparte but his friends have supported him. He really needs peace to consolidate his control. He is the first non-French ruler of France since the Romans and many émigrés are describing his elevation as a national disgrace.

Tues 20th Jan 1801 Extraordinary

The Duke of Portland has ordered that every alien living within ten miles of the British coast is to be removed inland, regardless of the length of his residence. It is feared that France may be getting pre-advice of our expeditions fitting-out in the ports.

Tues 20th Jan 1801 Extraordinary

Lt General Sir James Pulteney has arrived at Tenerife on HMS Renown with his army. The naval force is under Admiral John Borlase Warren. The Spanish are thought to off-load their South American treasure here and only bring it to Cadiz for Madrid when it is safe to do so. We need to check.

Tues 20th Jan 1801 Extraordinary

Earl St Vincent has 46 capital ships in the Channel, many of them blockading Brest.

Sat 31st Jan 1801

French army report from Egypt:

  • General Kleber of the French army in Egypt was assassinated on 14th June 1800 by a Muslim from Aleppo named Suliman. He was instructed to commit the murder by the Aga of the Janissaries of the Ottoman army. Suliman crossed the desert on a dromedary and resided at Cairo in the Grand El Akzar Mosque. He confided his instructions to four muftis of the mosque who, having not revealed his plan, are accused as accomplices.
    We have tried them and awarded punishments on the local tariff. Suliman is to be impaled after having his right hand burned off. His body will remain impaled until devoured by wild animals and birds. Sentence to be carried out immediately after the burial of Kleber. Three of the muftis are to be beheaded and their bodies burnt; their heads to be exposed on poles as a warning. The fourth has been found not guilty. (Editor’s Note – This proceeding produced an admiring report from the Egyptian historian Jabarti. French willingness to submit to judicial rules, as opposed to the arbitrary and capricious despotisms that were more familiar to him, caused him to record the matter in detail. The acquitted man was Mustafa Efendi al-Bursali, a calligrapher)
  • The people of Cairo were stirred to revolt by the Osmanlis. We have fined them 10 million livres. We are supported by a few thousand Greeks and a few hundred Copts and Syrians. 70 Turkish and Greek ships that arrived at Alexandria after us have been arrested and the hulls and cargoes sold to maintain our army. Our finances are so restored that all our arrears are paid-off.

Sat 31st Jan 1801

A report is circulating in London that King George III is to be crowned Emperor of the United Kingdom (Britain and Ireland) this winter.

Sat 7th Feb 1801

General Vaubois, French commander of the fortress of Malta, has indicated the garrison’s provisions and wines are exhausted and there is only a week’s bread left. He is unable to break through the blockade and, after enduring it for two years, has agreed to capitulate unconditionally to the English on 4th September.

Sat 14th Feb 1801

The following are the agreed terms of the peace preliminaries between France and Austria, 28th July 1800:

  • The Treaty of Campo Formio is acknowledged except as amended by this agreement.
  • The armies in Italy and Germany will remain where they are.
  • The Emperor will assemble his forces at Ancona in the Papal states. He will discontinue the levy he is raising in Tuscany. He will prevent French enemies from using Leghorn or any other port on the Italian coast.
  • Austria agrees France may hold the left bank of the Rhine from Switzerland to the Netherlands. The Emperor will cede all Austrian property between Zurich and Basel to France.
  • The fortifications at Cassel, Kohl, Ehrenbreitstein and Dusseldorf will be razed. Any Austrian fortifications in this area will be built at least 3 miles east of the river.
  • The Emperor’s indemnities in Germany due under ‘Campo Formio’ shall be taken instead from Italy, details to be fixed later, but the Emperor certainly gets Salzburg and Wasserbourg in the Tyrol and cedes Frickthal to France.

This preliminary agreement will be ratified and exchanged on 15th August in Vienna. This agreement is secret until ratified.

Sgd Talleyrand and Comte de St Julien

Bonaparte has proclaimed to his army that Austria, having made this above agreement, declines to ratify it. When France said the alternative was war, Austria asked for another negotiation. It appears France’s enemies are again using delay to refresh their finances and armies preparatory to resuming the armed contest. “I have written to the CiC Austrian forces. The preliminary Treaty and related documents are to be printed in General Orders to the Army in both French and German.”

The First Consul has appointed Joseph Bonaparte as his minister plenipotentiary to Vienna to conclude the peace terms. La Forest will be his Secretary.

Another agreement has been made at Castiglione on 29th September between Lt General Hohenzollern for the Emperor and Marmont, artillery commander of the French. An armistice will commence 20th September for 45 days + 15 days. Neither army will make new trenches. The only dispute between the armies is the possession of Polesine in Ferrarois, on which the Austrian commander is taking instructions from Vienna. France believes it should be occupied by her and war will recommence if Austria disagrees. For the meantime the two armies will both continue to draw their provisions from Mantua and Brescia.

Sat 14th Feb 1801

Vienna has appointed the Count de Cobenzl as Austrian minister at conferences. He is made a deputy foreign minister. Thugut has resigned and has been sent to administer the ex-Venetian lands. Collaredo will have the foreign ministry.

Sat 14th Feb 1801

France has extended its telegraph to Lunéville to respond more quickly to developments in the negotiations there.

Sat 21st Feb 1801

Our re-occupation of Malta is confirmed from London on 12th October. The Russian Tsar Paul set-up himself as Grand Master of the Temple of Jerusalem and sent Hompesch to again command the Knights Templar on his behalf.

We hope that will not overturn our feat of arms. We need Malta to deprive France of it. It also gives us weight in southern Europe and north Africa.

Russia would like to be a Mediterranean power but she will have to overcome the Turks first. As a matter of general policy, England will not welcome a Russian naval presence in the Mediterranean.

Sat 21st Feb 1801

Austria is making peace with France at Lunéville. Britain is not involved.[167] The Austrian Emperor has called on Hungary under its agreements to provide a huge conscription of troops (a General Insurrection, its called) to stiffen his arm if the talking does not work.

Sat 28th Feb 1801

Russia belatedly joined our fight with France in Switzerland. She received a severe defeat in September 1799 and completely lost her appetite for military adventures. Since then the Emperor Paul has been unsupportive of the Austrian Emperor, indeed he often seems hostile (he forbad the Austrian envoy de Cobenzl to attend his Court and stayed incommunicado in his palace for a time).

Whitworth, the British envoy, thought it all silly and withdrew from the Russian court. He is the man who negotiated our 1795 and 1799 treaties with Russia and is our expert on that country.

The consequence of Whitworth’s lese majesty is that all British shipping in Russian ports has been embargoed. Britain ordered a tit-for-tat embargo on Russian ships in British ports on 14th January. The Tsar responded with a sequestration of all British property in Russia and directed it be applied to settlement of British debts to Russians. Many British seamen were taken from their ships and removed to the interior of the country. On 16th January, England ordered that no Bills in favour of Russian subjects or residents be honoured. Thus the spat has grown and London says it is due to the Tsar personally.

The Tsar has breached the express terms in our treaty requiring ships, cargo and merchants be neither stopped nor confiscated. The root of his anger seems to be Malta. He had thought his protection of the Templars entitled him to sovereignty of the island and our unilateral occupation has disabused him.

As a result, the Tsar has asked all the European powers to assemble and agree peace. He says the war has been going on for 11 years and should be stopped. In explanation he good-naturedly proposed for the ministers of all the Kings to bring their best generals and hold a tournament with each General fighting for his country; the results to determine every remaining quarrel – then peace is to be arranged on the basis of these ‘trials by battle’. This proposal cannot have been seriously made. It certainly cannot be faced by the autocrats and oligarchs in Vienna, Berlin and London – they would never take a chance on something as important as their national income.

They say they are pragmatic and find the Tsar’s proposal childishly absurd. In fact they are all on their knees financially and desperately need rest but they are determined to expend their final citizen before they make peace. Its difficult to say whether the Tsar or the Kings are the more demented. The only certainty is that they are all gambling their peoples’ lives and treasure for commercial advantage and the consequent greater political power that victory will bring.

The Danish minister purported to misunderstand the Tsar’s levity and reported it as actual Russian policy. The Tsar intercepted his dispatch, expelled the Danish minister and had the matter published to explain his actions. Its in the Petersburg Gazette of 30th December. The British ministry supposes the Tsar is mentally deranged by his drinking – an opinion that has been leaked to and published in London newspapers.

The London papers say the late Empress recognised this risk and had intended to remove Paul from the succession but she died before she could effect the change.

Russian Tsars only rule until assassinated – Paul should not last long. The City merchants in London expect the Tsar’s apparently precarious mental state to break-up the Baltic Armed Neutrality. They suppose a Russian revolution is conceivable.

Cobenzl, Austria’s man at St Petersburg, has left and the Russian envoy at Vienna has gone home too. Later Paul took advice from his more commercially-minded courtiers and a new ambassador was sent to Vienna and one received back. On 3rd August 1800 Paul removed the embargo on British ships.

The Russian troops who served with the British in 1799 were taken back to Kronstadt in British transports but on arrival all the escorting British naval officers were arrested and the ships embargoed until a Russian allegation that their troops had been starved en voyage had been clarified. The Tsar appointed a commission of investigation which dismissed the charges.

Soon afterwards another embargo was placed on British shipping in Russian ports (The Convention of St Petersburg dated 16th December 1800). Whitworth, who was in Denmark (which country controls access to the Baltic), informed British ships passing through the Sound not to enter Russian ports.

As regards Russian representation in London, Woronzow left a while back and his replacement Lisakewitz has now also hurriedly left, but without taking leave (he used a passport issued to one of the Russian couriers). He is transferred to Copenhagen and gets £4,000 from the Tsar for new clothes to replace those abandoned in London.

The British ministry is incensed by the Tsar. It has sent a fleet of 35 sail to the North Sea. Lord Hyde Parker has command and Nelson is his 2ic.

The London Chronicle on 22nd – 24th January published details of the comparative strengths of European navies. We hope the Tsar saw it – it should cause his advisers to caution him against insulting us. Britain has 70 ships-of-the-line in the Channel and North Sea; 11 in the Mediterranean; another 32 capital ships are available but under repair. This excludes, guardships, hospital ships and prison ships. The FrancoSpanish fleet at Brest is 44 capital ships. Russia has 37 capital ships in the Baltic and 14 in the Black Sea.

Sat 14th March 1801

Yarmouth, 14th September 1800 – Vice Admiral Dickson has returned from Copenhagen bringing Ambassador Whitworth who is returning from St Petersburg after his expulsion for insulting the Tsar. On their way, they instructed the Danes on British policy towards neutral shipping and obtained Danish agreement to provide satisfaction for the past and security for the future. This should prevent the formation of an Armed Neutrality that the Baltic states were trying to construct.

Sir Home Popham in HMS Romney took the opportunity of Whitworth’s visit to Copenhagen to reconnoitre the Sound and assess the defences. He found three Danish 74s moored across the narrowest part of the Sound with springs on their cables; a 40-gun frigate was guardship. A British war-fleet had sailed to Elsinore to give weight to the ambassador’s discussions. It anchored there on 19th August. Whitworth told the Danes on 12th August that he would leave in a week unless he got his way. This elicited a Danish suggestion of Russian arbitration. It was declined.[168]

The Danish fleet commander Leiken invited Dickson’s fleet into Elsinore Roads. We anchored above the Danish fort and line. HMS Romney went into Copenhagen for reconnaissance and four bomb ships and two gun ships took up positions between Romney and the shore, in order to establish telegraphic contact with the ambassador, it was said. When the Danes saw we had bomb ships positioned to strike Copenhagen, they started talking seriously. The Danish fleet moved to cover us, saying they had been on bad holding grounds. We used the same excuse to position ourselves better in respect to them. They eventually ran up to Copenhagen harbour and moored across its mouth but by that time the Danish Court was persuaded that we meant business and the diplomatic negotiation was concluded satisfactorily. In the Commons Sheridan told MPs we have asserted the right of ‘stop and search’ for two centuries and its too late for the Baltic states to complain now. It is the reason we have become so powerful at sea.

Sat 20th June 1801

Our man at Copenhagen is Drummond. He has written to the Danish Foreign Minister on 27th December 1800 about the Armed Neutrality:

London considers your negotiations hostile. You are said to be assembling a Confederacy of Baltic nations to oppose by force our ‘stop and search’ of your merchant ships sailing to the ports of our enemies. Our power rests on this right. The right has been acknowledged in the legal tribunals of every maritime country. Indeed we have engaged with you in good faith on this very point. Now Russia is promoting this Confederacy in an undiplomatic way. We cannot remain silent. We demand to know the extent of the obligations you have incurred in your negotiations. We prefer to be friends but you worry us.

Count de Bernstorff replied on 31st December:

You are misinformed. We are your friends. The negotiation that concerns you at St Petersburg between Russia, Prussia, Sweden and Denmark is just about the renewal of our previous treaties of 1780 and 1781 concerning the safety of our navigation. There is no secret about it. All the Courts of Europe were informed of the old treaty terms at that time. Russia has proposed to refresh those treaties whilst we ourselves never abandoned those principles. We do not intend to interrupt your war – we merely intend to defend our trade. We will continue our strict neutrality. You have nothing to complain about.

The terms of our Convention of 29th August 1799 with you will not be altered by this later negotiation. Both agreements are compatible. We merely attempt to strengthen our neutrality.

Editor – The Baltic states are taking advantage of our failure to protest the treaty in 1780. We were busy suppressing our American colonists then. We also recall the Spanish note to Sweden requiring action over our prize-taking in Barcelona roads last year.[169] It seems all the maritime states are conspiring to concoct a means to deny us the remedy of ‘stop and search’. Even Prussia, who has no ships to speak of, is involved – that’s a give-away.

This Armed Neutrality is an alliance against us and no-one else. Bonaparte understands. That’s why he tried that armistice deal on us, based on the generally fair basis of reciprocity. If he had got our fleets back into port we would have regretted it. The funny thing is these neutrals can have a surfeit of peaceful trade with us but they repudiate our generosity and allow themselves to be beguiled by France. Well, they are courting their own ruin.

Sat 11th July 1801

On 15th January Grenville presented a Note at Copenhagen to the ministers of Denmark (Count von Wedel Jarlsberg) and Sweden (Baron von Ehrensward) concerning the Armed Neutrality:

Britain considers the Armed Neutrality to be another attempt, like the Russian-led attempt of 1780, to introduce new law that is prejudicial to England. The British King had thought these attempts had been abandoned. England has an alliance with Russia that postdates the 1780 proceedings and is completely contrary to the novel legal principle now asserted. Britain intends to hold Russia to its treaty agreement.

One of the objects of your Armed Neutrality is to confirm the stipulations in the 1780 and 1781 treaties that gave apparent effect to the new law. It is therefore H M’s unavoidable conclusion that your countries propose to enforce the new law by violence.

He noted that those powers that assert the new law whilst neutral are amongst the first to repudiate them when at war. If the principle becomes established it will overthrow the means Britain uses to maintain its security. We will therefore adopt measures to oppose this hostile design and our first step is to embargo all Danish and Swedish ships in British ports. If you abandon your designs we will restore amicable relations.

The Danish minister immediately Protested the injustice of the British Note:

The Russian Tsar has made a public declaration of his motives in promoting neutral trade with which Denmark is in complete agreement. We will protect our trade. Your Note, for all its professions of friendship, is a premeditated provocation.

The undersigned has for years represented the Danish King and knows the good understanding between our monarchs. This matter can be easily resolved in discussions. We hope you will consider that course.

Sat 1st Aug 1801

Russia has discovered that its goods are being re-exported by Prussia to England. The Tsar Paul says its strictly prohibited by his Ukase of 15th December 1800.

He has ordered that all commercial contracts, foreign or Russian, include a clause forbidding any Russian goods to be sent to Prussia. It will be endorsed on the contract as an over-riding legislative requirement when it is submitted for stamping. The new instruction was issued at Riga on 12th February 1801. This will demand a response from the British ministry. They rely on Russian firs, tar, pitch and hemp for naval supplies.

Wed 29th July 1801 Extraordinary

Britain is at war with Russia. The cause on the documents is the arrest and imprisonment of British ships and seamen pursuant on Whitworth’s lese majesty and the Northern Alliance that Tsar Paul erected on the ‘free ships make free goods’ principle (except war materiel).

Britain refutes this principle as illegal and instead upholds its Orders-in-Council. The Baltic states have previously raised the ‘free ships’ argument in their treaties of 1780 and 1781. Britain says all the judiciaries of Europe have repudiated the ‘free ships’ doctrine and upheld the British position. Britain has treaties subsequent to 1780 with both Denmark and Sweden that reveal each country has adopted the British position. She concludes that the Baltic states are trying to capitalise on the increased carrying trade that results from the British Navigation Acts (the maritime blockade of France and French allies). They seek to change British policy in that respect and she declines to do so. Britain notes, in any event, that Russia is no longer a neutral as Britain declared war against her before the Tsar agreed to make peace with France.

(A slight British difficulty is that she cannot get a copy of the treaty binding Denmark, Sweden, Russia and Prussia as all the parties say it is not yet available although they agree they have signed it.) Britain suspects they are all conspiring to catch the carrying trade of Europe and obtain a share of the profits of war.

That is objectionable in two ways:

  • firstly, it will allow France and her allies to receive the goods of the Baltic from those countries’ own ships and
  • secondly, it denies British shipping the trade that it has won by capturing the colonies and ships of the maritime countries, at least to the extent that the Armed Neutrality succeeds.

A letter from Haugwitz of the Prussian Court disputes the British legal opinion on prize-taking. He says Britain has assumed the sovereignty of the seas unilaterally and has arbitrarily imposed her own maritime code which is repugnant to international law. The Neutrals allege British jurisdiction on the High Seas is a usurped jurisdiction based on power not law. Haugwitz says Britain has never permitted its subjects to be made amenable to the true Law of Nations in this respect. He says Neutrals have repeatedly objected without effect. The purpose of the Baltic maritime alliance is to uphold the Law and place Neutrals in their proper relationship with belligerents. So far as Prussia is concerned Britain can make amends by ending her embargo on Baltic ports.

Sat 13th June 1801

The British North Sea fleet is enormous. There are many Dutch warships (prizes) in it bringing the total of capital ships to over 30. The rest of the fleet is also impressive. Sir Hyde Parker is in charge with Gambier 2 i/c and Nelson 3 i/c.

Sat 4th July 1801

Sir Hyde Parker is commanding the North Sea fleet of 50 sail. He arrived at the Kattegut (between Denmark and Sweden) on 20th March with 3,500 troops and a corps of riflemen on board.

Sat 27th June 1801

London newspapers – Tsar Paul discovered an intrigue between his advisers and generals and a foreign ambassador to St Petersburg.

He proposed to banish every conspirator to Siberia but, before he could give effect to his plan, he was killed on 24th March. He is succeeded by his son Alexander.

Sat 8th Aug 1801

We have previously reported that Admiral Sir Hyde Parker and his Baltic expeditionary fleet arrived at the Kattegut on 26th March (the report above says 20th March). The Governor of Kronburg Castle, north of Elsinore wherein the main battery protecting access to the Baltic is located, refused Parker permission to enter the sea but he just sailed in anyway on 30th March.

A few days later Nelson advanced with his squadron and attacked the batteries and warships at Copenhagen. He captured 11 warships and some floating batteries, sunk a frigate and blew-up a floating battery. The Danes lost about 2,000 men before they put up a white flag. Nelson then landed and met the Prince Royal who has been administering the government for the King ever since the Queen Dowager was stripped of her authority. The result of the meeting is that peace is restored.

The new Tsar Alexander has indicated his approval by re-appointing Waronzow to the ambassadorship at London.

War has also started with Sweden. HMS Dryad captured a Swedish frigate en route to West Indies and brought her into Cork. The Swedish King is determined to oppose ‘stop & search’. His Count Wrangel, who permitted a Swedish convoy to be searched by us at Gibraltar, was initially dismissed from the Swedish navy but the King intervened to request the Count’s execution. Sweden is bound to Russia by treaty and is probably required to act in concert with its big neighbour. The new Tsar Alexander has personal influence over the young Swedish King. Hopefully he will be induced to abandon his plans.

The fourth partner in the Baltic ‘free trade’ coalition against England is Prussia but we have not seen the response of Lord Carysfort to the intemperate note from Berlin (published above). The British consul at Hamburg has prudently advised all British shipping in the Elbe to remove.

Wed 26th Aug 1801 Extraordinary

London Gazette, 15th April – We have received Admiral Hyde Parker’s dispatches dated Copenhagen Roads 6th April:

Since my last of 23rd March we sat-out a storm and finally got north winds on 30th March. The Danes had indicated their opposition to our passage of the Sound. They had earlier expelled Vansittart our Plenipotentiary and Drummond the Chargé (the Danes say Drummond requested a passport and left of his own accord). The commander of Kronenburg Castle (which protects access to the Sound) told me he could not tolerate my powerful force so close to his castle until he knew my intentions. This was my evidence of their determination to resist.

(Later we found an order of Prince Frederick of Denmark “Denmark’s honour is now at stake. We are all soldiers and Danes. This entitles us to expect everything from our brave fellow soldiers.” which improved the British excuse for violence)

Nelson, Graves and myself reconnoitred the Danish fleet as it lay under the protection of two large batteries, one of which had over 50 cannon. Nelson proposed an attack and we planned the details. The following day we buoyed the outer channel and Nelson entered with 12 capital ships and all the frigates, bomb ships and fire boats etc. He anchored off Draco Point that night and awaited a southerly wind. The remainder of my force was sent against the batteries and those four Danish capital ships off the arsenal. This enabled me to draw some fire and protect any of our ships that might have become disabled and needed to leave. Nelson’s reports are attached. I merely note the intrepidity of his action. Two of my captains were killed. Sir Thomas B Thompson lost a leg. A full list of casualties is also attached.

Parker’s further dispatch, 9th April – Lt Col Stewart will bring these dispatches to you overland which is quicker than by sea. It was a hard fight. Nelson’s and several other ships were reduced to firing single shots by the end. It took 4½ hours. Three British capital ships grounded (Bellona, Russell & Agamemnon) and were constantly hit by the shore batteries. Nelson proposed a truce to relieve them. He said the wounded Danish prisoners he had taken could not be attended to while the battle continued (it was a peculiarity of this battle that none of the Danish ships had medical facilities – their commanders had expected to send their sick and injured into town). At that time, two of the British line struck but were restocked with ammunition and rehoisted their flags. The key was the flagship of the Danes, Provestein, which fought incomparably until most of her guns had been dismounted. When she struck everyone else did right down the Danish line. At 4 pm the Prince Royal ordered a ceasefire.

Parker had become unwell and allowed Nelson to agree the terms. Nelson told the Danes he had been in 105 engagements but this was the most terrible. He said the French could not have withstood such a pounding for as long as the Danes had done. He asked for all resistance to cease or he would fire the floating batteries. He told the Prince Royal’s aide-de-camp that the greatest victory he sought was the reconciliation of the two countries. He first asked for a defensive treaty and joint policing of the Baltic trade. The Prince initially rejected that as he was reluctant to detach himself from the Armed Neutrality but he soon changed his mind. The final agreement was Danish withdrawal from the Armed Neutrality and neutrality to Britain. An armistice was concluded on these terms. The Danes will freely provision the British force. We will not attack Copenhagen or interfere in their coastal trade.[170] Parker has converted a Danish capital ship to a hospital ship and as soon as all our wounded are transferred there (they have been temporarily on Huin Island), I will attend to the other part of my instructions.

Wed 26th Aug 1801 Extraordinary

Resulting from events at Copenhagen, the Prince of Hesse, who is occupying Hamburg on the Prussian King’s instructions, instructed his men to be more polite. Fewer Danish soldiers were seen on patrol. The Prince is no longer requisitioning on the citizens either.

Pitcairn, the American minister at Hamburg, has protested that the removal of the buoys in the Elbe will cause accidents. He has given notice his government will claim for any losses. We hear the Prussians are putting the buoys back.

The sequestration of British property in Hamburg, which had already started, has been postponed pending for new instructions.

Editor – this would have been a heavy blow to British commerce had the Danes pulled it off. Everything is going into Western Europe via Hamburg, it is a Free City and the lifeline for our traders. Its trade boosts Hanover and Brunswick too.

Wed 26th Aug 1801 Extraordinary

Tsar Paul’s sudden death has caused much gossip:

Count Kutusow, the Master of the Tsar’s Horse, says on 23rd March the Tsar was in fine form. He retired at about 9.30 pm but an hour later he rang and was very agitated. He ordered his Lord-in-Waiting to bring Kutusow, who had attended the Tsar when he retired, but by the time he arrived at about 11 pm the Tsar was already dead.

It is said that that one of the banished nobles named Zoubow (one of the commercial aristocrats exiled for plotting against the Tsar) went to the King’s apartments that evening and remonstrated. He reported the discontent of the Tsar’s merchants at the Armed Neutrality and demanded Paul’s abdication in favour of his son Alexander. The Tsar was incensed and lost control. A scuffle ensued which the guards outside heard and came in. They likewise became angry and bludgeoned the Tsar’s head with their musket butts. Zoubow said the guards then administered the coup de grace by strangling him with his own scarf. The Empress was told that Zoubow and the guards had all tried to reason with Paul but in vain.

Another version says the Tsar also intended the deportation of the Empress Dowager and her children to Siberia. That would have completely devalued the commercial party who were already opposed to him and they decided to strike first. They confronted him in the Senate where he was endeavouring to have the necessary laws of banishment passed, and requested his abdication. He became deranged and was restrained but accidentally suffocated (the scarf again).

The late Tsar exhibited a level of unpredictability in his decisions that lost him the confidence of his ministers who, in a feudal system, are also his merchants.

Wed 26th Aug 1801 Extraordinary

Parker left Copenhagen in order to perform the second part of his instructions which was for a similar job on the Russian Baltic fleet.

The new Tsar was quicker off the mark however. He got a message off to his man in London (Lisakewitz) offering to talk through the problem. A fast boat has been sent off after Parker to let him know. Apparently the Russian fleet is also at sea but it is said they have also been sent new instructions.

Wed 26th Aug 1801 Extraordinary

Letters from Carysfort in Berlin and Sir James Crawford in Copenhagen report that both Prussia and Denmark have re-opened the rivers of North Germany to trade and the ships of all nations are welcome.

On 29th April Hawkesbury asked Addington to send the advice to the City.

Sat 14th March 1801

Highlights of Bonaparte’s address to the clergy of Milan, 2nd August 1800:

I believe Catholicism can consolidate the basis of good government and help to regulate society. I will protect and defend Catholicism. I will not permit your religion to be defamed nor your persons to be abused.

On my previous visit to Italy I was a functionary of the Directory. Now I am First Consul I can express my true feelings.

A few years ago, modern philosophers persuaded France that religion was the enemy of democracy and Republicanism. Many differing opinions flourished during the Revolution.

Experience has convinced me that Catholicism is well suited to co-exist with Republican government – it is socialist in flavour. Reason is unable to penetrate where we come from or where we go. Without that understanding we wander in darkness forever.

Society needs morality and religion sustains it. A society denied religion has no sense of direction, it reacts unpredictably to every event. In France the churches are now well attended and we merely await the return of the clergy.

Pope Pius IV was misled by the cabal of cardinals but French policy also contributed to his mistakes. I will soon meet the new Pope and remove all uncertainties and doubts.

I know you have suffered. I shall respect your persons. I shall give the necessary orders for restoring your property as far as is still possible. I will try to ensure you receive sufficient income. Please tell your friends.[171]

Sat 14th March 1801

Mr Colquhoun’s denunciation of the Thames Police:

There are about 100 crimps active on the river. Crimps procure crews for outward-bound merchant ships. They get seamen drunk and provide overnight board and lodging. The seamen often cannot pay the bill for wine and lodging and the crimps use the debt to secure the seaman’s services.

On the other hand, when a master is about to sail and finds his crew inadequate, the crimp will sell seamen to him at inflated prices, presently about 2 guineas a man. The captains pays the charge to the crimp, supposing the major part of it will reach the seaman, which in fact seldom happens.

On occasions, with the lowest sort of crimp, the seaman, having apparently received his money, never boards ship. It is suspected that some of these instances are conspiracies between crimp and seaman to obtain money by false pretences. The only redress for the captain is an action at law, which is slow, expensive and uncertain. The few crimps who have been investigated have often turned-out to have criminal records for theft and the like.

Even the India Company uses crimps from time to time – they are a fact of life and their service is occasionally useful but always expensive.

The second class of trouble-makers on the river are Dealers in seamen’s wages and purchasers of entitlements to prize-money. Seamen as a class of humanity usually have a frivolous attitude to money and life generally. They are trusting and readily defrauded in the hard-headed British property system.

The business is two-fold. It involves the Dealer advancing money against the seaman’s assignment of his wages, charging usually 1/6d (7½%) in the Pound and / or it involves the Dealer purchasing the seaman’s share in prize-money. Having valued that share and made the agreed payment, the dealers also offer clothes, gifts for girlfriends and other purchases at inflated prices. The seaman’s possession of his prize-money may be quite brief.

These Dealers can be found in multitudes at Gravesend and the Nore when fleets arrive. They have boats with which they bring men ashore. The bait is invariably the provision of alcohol. They charge high fees for landing the seamen’s chests and bedding, for entertainment, for board and lodging and quite soon the seaman is in debt to the Dealer. He may then be threatened with arrest and detention until he gives a Power of Attorney to the Dealer for receipt of his future wages and prize-money. The document appoints the Dealer as Executor of the seaman’s Estate in case he should die. The Dealer then procures another ship for the seaman and receives all his wealth while he is away.

About half of this predatory activity is practised on seamen on the West Indian trade. The other half affects seamen trading to the rest of the world.

Sat 21st March 1801

General Charles O’Hara, Governor of Gibraltar, has written to the Duke of Portland concerning the recent epidemic at Cadiz which killed many thousands of people. The Spanish say the British intentionally infected them. His investigation suggests the infection arrived from Tangiers where an outbreak had occurred earlier.

At that time, some members of the British garrison were smuggling tobacco into Spain. They were chased by Spanish armed boats and fled to the Barbary coast. When they returned they did not report their landing in Tangiers and were consequently not quarantined but returned to the garrison.

Once the plague appeared in the garrison, we investigated and discovered their prior activities. O’Hara had them isolated together with 17 residents with whom they had been in contact. “I burned the boat they returned in and the tenement they had lodged in.” Before they returned to Gibraltar they landed their Spanish accomplices at St Petri, near Cadiz. O’Hara supposes it was those people, who were likely infected as well, that spread the disease.[172]

Tobacco smuggling is persistent at Gibraltar. British merchants import the goods in huge quantities for smuggling to Spain. It is a lucrative and well-established trade.[173]

7th April 1801 Extraordinary

The armistice in Italy expired at end November and was not renewed. The French occupied Tuscany and beat the Austrians decisively at Hohenlinden east of Munich on 1st and 2nd December. The Austrians lost 10,000 men including many officers and 80 cannon. Wurtzburg capitulated to the French on 30th November. The Austrian army under Archduke John has retired to Harensberg.

The French army is mainly composed of Frenchmen but the gold and provisions to operate it come from the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Spain is to attack Portugal to divert English forces from Italy. A residue of French forces in Egypt has tied down the Turkish army and navy and denied the Porte’s support to Austria.

Sat 18th April 1801

The latest British dispute with Prussia involves a British warship which brought a Prussian prize, the Triton, from the Texel into Hamburg, alleging its cargo was contraband. The King of Prussia asserts a duty to his co-estates of Germany to protect their neutrality. George III is well aware of the German situation – throughout much of this war he has benefited financially from the neutrality of Hanover which trades through Hamburg and Bremen (it is inter alia the King’s Hanoverian possessions that are threatened by the Prussian move).

The Prussian military descent on Cuxhaven under the Duke of Brunswick (George III’s relative) in November 1800 was portrayed in England as a threat to Hamburg to obtain the release of the Triton. Cuxhaven is at the mouth of the Elbe estuary and controls access to Hamburg. Prussia says Cuxhaven is the point where British ships communicate with northern Germany. By occupying it, Prussia asserts it is better able to preserve the neutrality of the ports.

Lord Carysfort has now written on the matter (November 1800). Cuxhaven protects access to the Elbe and has always belonged to Hamburg. If shipping is denied access to Hamburg by the Prussians at Cuxhaven, all the German states are more or less affected including Prussia, he said. The Republic of Hamburg is neutral. It has old connections with the House of Brunswick. The Prussian act attempts to preserve one ship but threatens Germany with far greater loss. Nevertheless Carysfort has ordered the prize to be released.

Prussia responded through minister Haugwitz. Prussia will guarantee the neutrality of Hamburg by controlling what shipping can reach it. Prussia will also guarantee British communications through Cuxhaven with northern Germany. ‘My King is the author and defender of that system of neutrality whereby commerce is separated from war – all Europe is in accord with his policy. If George III needs further advice he may ask for it’ he wrote.

Sat 18th April 1801

The Elector of Mentz has lost part of his territory, and thus income, to France. He says he has spent all his money on the war. He applied to the Elector of Hanover as King of England for relief. George III affirmed his friendship for the Elector and appointed Wm Wickham as his Minister Plenipotentiary to the court of Mentz. The Elector appointed his Privy Councillor Count Spaur to negotiate with Wickham.

As a result of the negotiation, Mentz will be able to sell its people and restore its finances. The following terms were agreed:

  • The Elector will raise 3,464 men, of which 300 are cavalry, for the disposal and account of George III. England has command of these troops. England will pay $30 Banco per soldier and $80 Banco per cavalryman. (the Banco dollar now exchanges at 4/9¼d – a little over 4 to the Pound Sterling) Payment of the troops begins 28th January 1801. The same terms as the mercenary contract with Hesse Cassel of 18th April 1793 will apply, i.e. George III pays $30 for replacements and pays for all the provisions and stores of the mercenary battalion.
  • In return the Elector undertakes not to negotiate peace with France. If this alliance causes Mentz to be attacked, the English King with his allies will procure an indemnification for the Elector. George III also undertakes to recover for Mentz those lands that have been occupied by the enemy and to restore Mentz to its former extent at the peace.

Done at Psora near Donau Eschingen, 30th April 1800.

Signed Wickham / Spaur.

Sat 25th April 1801

To assuage the new Tsar’s sensibilities, London has agreed to permit Hompesch to return to Malta as Head of the Templars but his government will act under the protection of England. Hompesch may have no military role.

Sat 25th April 1801

European news:

  • On 13th – 14th December the French defeated the Austrians near Salzburg and three more times thereafter pushing the Emperor’s army over the Danube. Salzburg and Ratisbon have surrendered to the French. The Archduke Charles has asked for peace and General Moreau seems inclined to permit it. Since then (21st December) there has been another armistice.
  • The Venetian Islands (four big and three small – from Corfu down to Zante) have been constituted a Republic tributary to the Porte and guaranteed by Russia. The agreement is dated 21st March 1800.
  • Wickham, the late British minister to Vienna and recently at Mentz, was an observer at the recent battle of Hohenlinden. He saw our Colonel Williams, who commands the Austrian regiment of dragoons, save Archduke John from capture by the French. Williams also saved all the Archduke’s papers and equipment. On a former occasion Williams commanded the Austrian flotilla on Lake Constance.

Sat 25th April 1801

On 22nd December 1800 the new Parliament of the British Empire commenced sitting. Addington (formerly Sidmouth) was made Speaker. The United Kingdom has a new Union flag since the establishment of the United Kingdom with Ireland. It adds the Irish cross to those of St Andrew and St George.

Sat 25th April 1801

On 23rd December the Austrian Emperor guaranteed the security of Naples. France acceded to the agreement provided the King of the Two Sicilies closed his ports to the English. We have occupied Sicily and there is nothing Naples or France can do about that but the agreement limits our access to Neapolitan possessions on mainland Italy.

Sat 25th April 1801

Austrian forces in Germany and Italy have generally been beaten by the French whenever they have met. Another armistice was declared on 25th December, this time for 45 days, supposedly to facilitate peace negotiations.

The Archduke Charles has agreed with General Moreau in Germany and Count Bellegarde has agreed with General Brune in Italy to suspend hostilities for several weeks – the terms of the armistice in Germany look like a serious Austrian reversal, its all Austrian concessions.

The German agreement concludes with a requirement both sides recommend an armistice to the generals in Italy. It is apparently likely to lead to a separate peace between France and Austria on both fronts. That will leave Napoleon free to deal with England again.

Lord Minto seems to have recognised the serious effect on Vienna – he has formally advised the Emperor that England will not hold him to his engagements with us.

Sat 2nd May 1801

On his return from Egypt, Napoleon asked Talleyrand to commend his enrolment in the National Institute. He trained as an engineer and has a good understanding of mathematics and physics. He was soon thereafter made President of the Institute and has now sent a fine set of scientific books to the Royal Society in London under cover of a pleasant and friendly letter.

The books contain the detailed findings of the corps of scientists that Napoleon took with him to Egypt.

The covering letter has a pretty scallop shell sailing on the sea over the words ‘Liberté de Mer’ – a reminder of the policy difference separating our countries. Sir Joseph Banks read the letter to the Royal Society membership and received their agreement to send a letter of thanks back. That was as far as it went.

It seems Napoleon is trying to break down the wall of hatred that separates the English ministry from France.

Sat 2nd May 1801

One of the advantages from the Union with Ireland is the new Union Jack on which the crosses of St George, St Andrew and St Patrick are conjoined. By changing our national flag on 1st January 1801 we assure for a time that all users of the flag are bona fide users. The red ensign (naval) will have the new flag in a canton in the upper right corner next the flagpole. No ship may use the new flag without a warrant from the High Admiral. Only HM warships and privateers are permitted to use it. They are to seize any ships seen flying the old flag and send their officers to the Admiralty Court for punishment.

The Company introduced the Union Flag at Bombay on 4th June 1801.[174]

Sat 2nd May 1801

Prudhomme, Editor of Les Revolutions de Paris and numerous books on the crimes of Kings and Queens, has just published six volumes detailing massacres in France since the Revolution until the end of 1795.

Lloyd’s Evening Post has published a review of the work from which the following tables are abstracted. The first three legislatures of France after the demise of monarchy were:

1/ Constituent Assembly 17th June 1789 – 1st October 1791;

2/ Legislative Assembly 1st October 1791 – 20th September 1792 and

3/ National Convention 21st September 1792 – 25th October 1795:

Constituent Assembly Legislative Assembly National Convention
Persons executed 3,540 8,044 18,613*
Seats burned 123 62
Conspiracies 66 41
Insurrections 71 28
Laws enacted 2,577 1,227 11,210

* including 1,278 noblemen, 750 noblewomen, 360 nuns, 1,135 priests and 1,467 wives of mechanics.[175]

During the expulsion of the Brissotines from the Legislature in 1793, 31,200 Lyonnais were killed, 1,674 of their houses were demolished and 729 Marseillais were executed. At Toulon 9,000 were killed in the siege, about 4,000 were killed in the British evacuation and 1,265 drowned at the same time. At Bedoin the population was dispersed and their 1,600 houses demolished.

The approximate number of people guillotined at Lyon, Marseilles, Toulon and Bedoin was 18,613. Another 1,200+ were also killed at various places in the South.

In La Vendée the émigré war cost 900,000+ lives.

In the colonies about 114,000 Frenchmen and 60,000 coloured men were killed.

French losses in battle equalled about 800,000. It is apparent that the civil war with the émigrés and the priests was more bloody than all the foreign war.

The total number of emigrants during the period was 123,789 of whom 33,500 were aristocrats, 29,000 priests, 4,000 nuns, 9,000 landowners, 3,000 lawyers, 8,000 merchants and 23,000 mechanics (scientists).

Sat 2nd May 1801

On the day that the latest armistice between Austria and France came into effect in Germany, there was a battle in Italy between the same protagonists (25th December). The following day the Austrian army under General Hohenzollern retired behind the River Adige leaving General Bellegarde in command of the field.

Sat 9th May 1801

France has advanced into the Austrian Empire on all fronts. Moreau is five days march from Vienna. In these circumstances the Archduke Charles has asked for an armistice and his Plenipotentiary de Cobenzl presented a note at Lunéville indicating that the Emperor is now ready to make peace separately from his allies.

Austria has lost 25,000 square miles of territory, 15,000 killed, 25,000 taken prisoner, 140 cannon and most of its ammunition and provisions. It will take several months to restore the Austrian army – Archduke Charles had no choice.

The policy of France has not been changed by martial success. She insists on the left bank of the Rhine as her eastern frontier. The Emperor will not advance his armies beyond the River Adige. He will guarantee the Batavian and Helvetic Republics. These have been immutable French aims and have not increased despite repeated victories. The French say they have restored calm to Italy and Germany and removed the avaricious and destructive British.

To ensure good faith, they will garrison Prague, Vienna and Venice.

Sat 30th May 1801

22nd January 1801 – The members of the House of Lords took the Oath of Loyalty to the new United Kingdom today. The chamber is enlarged to accommodate the increased membership but speeches were still audible without difficulty. The old tapestry of the Spanish Armada and the English fleet has been cleaned and looks good against the dark wood panelling. The ventilation is awful and everyone was sweating but the builders should sort that out soon.

Henry Addington, the Speaker of the Commons in the last three parliaments (he has been a member for 12 years), appeared on behalf of the MPs and claimed the ancient rights and privileges of the popular representatives – freedom from arrest and molestation, liberty of speech, access to the King when required and His reasonable responses to such access.

Sat 30th May 1801

Ripaud, Librarian of the French Institute of Egypt, has presented a long report to Bonaparte from the Commission of Arts in respect of the investigations made in Egypt during the occupation:

This was the first occasion since the Romans that Europeans have been able with security to examine the antiquities of Egypt. The course of the Nile is now as well known as the Rhine; the positions of the principal monuments have been fixed by astronomical observation. The earlier reports of Norden and Paul Lucas were found to be exaggerated and incorrect whilst Sicard and d’Anville were better and Grainger and Pocock were most useful. Now our scientists have provided precisely accurate information.

We found stone columns which had no other purpose than to carry the cup of a lotus upon them. The columns themselves were decorated with carved stems of lotuses. We suppose this plant provided important sustenance to the early Egyptians. It appears that Egyptian architecture was the model for Greece.

The Egyptians in battle removed the genitals of their slain enemies and presented them to their King. They immolated prisoners as religious sacrifices. They believed in reincarnation and preserved their own bodies after death.

(The whole report is reproduced over many editions)

Sat 6th June 1801

The Danes are smarting from their imprudence in opposing our Navigation Laws and supporting the late Tsar Paul.

Tranquebar was occupied by Lt Col Campbell and H M’s 74th regiment on 13th May. Serampore was occupied by men from our garrison at Fort William under Col Dickson on 8th May.

Sat 6th June 1801

An article ridiculing the late Tsar Paul has appeared in the Hampshire Chronicle of 5th January 1801. It says he is bald and ugly with a snub nose but if you fail to overlook his many physical defects you will be in trouble.

One of his soldiers who mentioned his baldness was knouted until he died. Men attending Court balls must rotate themselves whilst dancing so as not to show their backs to him. He had a horse whipped publicly in Petersburg for stumbling. He was a funny fellow.

Sat 13th June 1801

George III has asked Henry Addington to be his minister. Addington is the member for Devizes. He has resigned the Speakership and become Chancellor of the Exchequer. Sir John Mitford is the new Speaker. Edward Law (later Ellenborough) is to be Attorney General. Hawkesbury (Robert Banks Jenkinson, the great trade promoter, son of the Earl of Liverpool) gets the Foreign Office and the Duke of Portland stays on at the Home Office. Lord Lewisham gets the Board of Control.

However, Pitt has told the House it is essential that he remain one of H M ministers. A majority of the Commons agree with him, at least until some other arrangements can be set-up.

Pitt seems to have seceded from parliament. The change of ministry should involve no change in policy. Pitt is smart – the addition of Irish members will bring new faces to the debates.[176]

On 5th March English merchants trading to Portugal waited on Pitt at Downing Street and said he had not then resigned his powers.

Mr Horne Tooke has taken his seat in the Commons as a member for Old Sarum. (one of the commercially available seats).

Sat 13th June 1801

The army units assigned to Sir Ralph Abercromby number 15,000 men. He landed at Aboukir and attacked General Menou. He succeeded after 3 days fighting and marched on Alexandria and occupied it. The Grand Vizier is marching from Jaffa to unite his Turkish army with Abercromby.

(The British cut the fresh water canal to Alexandria and let in sea water. This water shortage together with limited food stock in the town induced the French surrender. The sea blockade of Alexandria comprised 40 warships off the port and 120 sloops on Lake Mareotis. Menou is entirely surrounded and his Arab suppliers are prevented from provisioning him. He is totally reliant on support from France but that risks encountering British frigates in the Mediterranean. Menou concludes he might have succeeded if Cairo had held-out 70-80 days longer as the extra time might have allowed supplies to arrive from France.)

Sat 13th June 1801

The ministry sought to blame Sir Sidney Smith for the relevance of his Convention of El Arich to a recent debacle (the escape of the French army from Egypt). It has since been obliged to pay the officer a £1,000 life annuity at the insistence of the King. (It was Admiral Keith who acted badly, not Smith)

Sat 13th June 1801

The Austrian Emperor has approved the peace agreement with France at Lunéville. It was signed by the Plenipotentiaries on 1st February.

Sat 13th June 1801

Part of the great French fleet in Brest got passed our blockade but was pursued to the Mediterranean and is now again blockaded in Toulon by Sir John Warren. It is feared that some part of this fleet separated from the rest and is at large on the high seas.[177]

Sat 20th June 1801

We have news from Mocha on the Egyptian campaign. Sir Ralph Abercromby, our former CiC, landed at Aboukir on 8th March after considerable opposition from the French. He besieged the fort at Aboukir which surrendered on 18th March. General Menou denuded his garrisons throughout Egypt to assemble 12,000 men to oppose Abercromby. Britain has fielded mainly British troops with some émigrés, Corsicans and Austrians. Abercromby was pushing Menou back on Alexandria when on 28th March the French General took a gamble and threw his whole force at us. Our infantry withstood the shock and repulsed Menou who lost 3,000 men. We also had heavy casualties and regrettably lost Abercromby that day. Command has devolved on Major General Hutchinson. He has taken Rosetta and is besieging Alexandria.

The effect of the battle has been to reduce the French force to a size inadequate to hold Egypt. The Beys who supported France are also in disorder. Moorad Bey died of disease in Cairo, it is said, while Osman Bey and Mahomet Elsi Bey, his assistants, have sent an emissary to the Grand Vizier asking for peace.

Our Bombay contingent under Col Beresford arrived at Jeddah on 19th April. The rest of our transports under Major General Baird had arrived there 18th April. Sir Home Popham in HMS Romney and the sloop HMS Victor arrived 21st April and the rest of his squadron should come in soon. Admiral Blankett’s squadron arrived on 25th April at Suez, which he has occupied. He is negotiating with the Arabs for provisions. The latest news on 8th May says an English force together with the Turkish army is within 8 miles of Cairo. A plague is affecting that city and our armies are unwilling to enter. All the various parts of the British force are in communication with each other.

Sat 27th June 1801

The terms of Lunéville were signed on 9th February and have been published in Paris. The agreement was reached by Louis de Cobenzl, minister for the Emperor and Joseph Bonaparte, Consul of France. The Emperor pledges to obtain ratification from the myriad German states.

Austria cedes the Austrian Netherlands and everything west of the Rhine to France (Austria ceded Belgium at Campo Formio and this merely confirms that cession). She recognises the Cisalpine, Helvetian, Ligurian and Batavian Republics.

Istria, Dalmatia, Venice and the Venetian Islands are confirmed to Austria.

All the dispossessed German princes on the left of the Rhine are compensated with land from the right. The land-trading in Germany will be complex but the leading changes are at the Breisgau which the Grand Duke of Tuscany surrenders to the Duke of Modena. He surrenders the rest of his lands (including his part of Elba) to the Duke of Parma (the Grand Duke supported the English at Leghorn). All the lands to be given as indemnity are to come from the Emperor’s constituents elsewhere in Germany. The principles established previously at Rastadt will guide the apportionment of lands.

Spain gets Tuscany on an undertaking they will close its roads and ports (chiefly Leghorn) to French enemies.

It is a disaster for the Austrian Empire and might even induce its collapse. The many shareholders of the Bank of Vienna who become French as a result of this division of lands (those rulers of the states west of the Rhine and in north Italy) will dilute the Emperor’s control of his finances. Many of those shareholders did not pay the demands which the Emperor placed on the bank – they are expressly absolved in this treaty. The personal landholdings of members of the Austrian Royal House in the lands ceded to France are restored to them on condition that they sell them within three years.

We now know why the Emperor could not ratify the first agreement.

England now stands alone and we have became the target of Parisian virulence. We should make peace.

Sat 27th June 1801

The Three Consuls have proclaimed the peace of Lunéville at Paris on 13th February:

We have restored the frontiers of ancient Gaul. We have secured the freedom and liberty of those countries that are united with us by ties of interest and culture. The King of Spain has been faithful to us and has suffered for it. He is rewarded with a family member assuming the crown of Tuscany.

The result is that Austria is geographically separated from France by the new Republics in between – this should diminish the ancient rivalry between our countries which has caused so much distress to the people of Europe. This agreement is a genuine treaty of peace – there are no ambiguous terms that might cause renewed war.

We tried to make Lunéville a general treaty of peace but Britain is opposed to peace at all costs. They tried to prevent this agreement being made at Lunéville and they rejected our Agent’s peace terms which he notified to them in October.

The British pretext for continuing the war was that she could not abandon her ally. Now her ally has made a separate peace the true disposition of the British ministry is revealed. Her latest exploit has been to violate the Convention on fishing.[178] All the wealth of Asia has fallen to England but it is insufficient for her ambition. She seeks to rule the high seas. This has caused a dispute with the Baltic states whom France will support as a matter of justice.

Napoleon later told the legislators that the British ministry had become delirious and was unable to recognise what was sacred. Its conduct was unjust to all Europe. It will require a sustained joint effort to bring Britain back to the path of moderation, equity and reason, he said.

Sat 13th June 1801

In February / March 1801 there was a dispute between the Duke of York (George III’s second son) and Pitt which is feared could precipitate a change of ministry. The spat relates to Ireland. Pitt wanted to relieve the Catholics who have been led to expect something of the sort from their representatives now sitting at Westminster. The Duke adopted the traditional view of his father.

Pitt’s recommendations to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland were so diluted before transmission that that officer said they would not satisfy the people nor promote tranquillity in the island. Regrettably, there is a particularly strong Royal objection to the repeal of the Test & Corporation Acts.[179]

In the cabinet Pitt was initially a lone voice but he is a persevering sort of chap and ultimately he won over a majority to liberal measures – it is the Royals who are against it.

Sat 4th July 1801

Pitt has spoken in the House of his resignation. He had proposed a legislative measure that he thought essential for the country but had been prevented from bringing it to the House. He thought the appropriate response was to resign the ministry. Some of his colleagues agreed and did likewise.

The ‘legislative measure’ turned out on enquiry by Sheridan, to have been Pitt’s proposals for Ireland. Pitt felt union required concessions to ensure tranquillity in Ireland. He was convinced of the case and felt he could not abandon the opinion without sacrificing his integrity. His only concern has been to promote the interest, honour and welfare of the Kingdom, he said.

One of the London papers has noted that Pitt’s resignation was expected. Letters from our ministers in both Vienna and Berlin spoke of the event well before it occurred.

Another paper alludes to something told to the Prince of Wales on 25th February after the King became unwell. The Prince called Pitt in that Wednesday for a long meeting at Carlton House. He was concerned to elucidate his own position (he is ‘heir apparent’) in light of the King’s illness.

At that time Pitt had met the King, the meeting had been acrimonious and he had tendered his resignation which was accepted. He had remained at the Exchequer to handle the day-to-day work until a successor relieved him or the King recovered. Until a new ministry was formed, he supposed he remained de facto in office and it is true he had not completed many of the formalities necessary for his actual resignation of the ministry (the London press assumes the King became irrational due to the Austrian peace terms, specifically his loss of Hanover, and Pitt was unable to reason with him, so he resigned. He said privately that the King had acted against the advice of his ministers). Although the King had appointed another man as minister, the formalities for Pitt’s removal remained to be done. On this basis Pitt concluded that he was still minister. The King is reported to have told the Queen and Prince of Wales, in a chat at the Queen’s House, that he is satisfied to have Addington as minister although he regrets the circumstances which necessitated Pitt’s replacement.

Sat 4th July 1801

Pitt has also spoken of the Armed Neutrality. He has reassured the Commons that England is a match for the combined fleets of the Baltic states and nothing is to be feared for our ‘stop and search’ policy on that account.

British manufactures were indispensable to Europe and the political attempt to close the market to us would fail, he predicted.

The Europeans will rely on America to undertake their carrying trade in neutral vessels. Our trade will continue in American bottoms. We have obtained a monopoly of colonial production by battle – tea, coffee, sugar, spices – which Europe needed. These conquests had opened new markets which will compensate our merchants for any loss of market in Europe.

Sat 4th July 1801

Dundas wanted an attack on Ferrol (the Spanish naval port in the North West of the country near Corunna which, at the time, contained a squadron of 5 capital ships in the harbour, 5 more in the basin, one on the stocks with 8 frigates afloat and 2 building excluding some 80 merchant ships).

He appointed Pulteney to the task. Sir James Pulteney was a member of parliament and one of those cautiously professional Scottish officers who are generally unsuited for an audacious attempt like the one Dundas proposed for Ferrol.

Not only that but the Ferrol raid formed a part of a general scheme for destroying the entire Spanish navy at its moorings, so as to do away with the necessity of blockading it and free-up more warships for other duties. An army was to land and take Ferrol, remove or burn the squadron there, re-embark, and then proceed to do the same at Vigo (further down the North West coast near the Portuguese border) and at Cadiz in the south. Three separate raids were combined in a single audacious operation.

The expedition was to rendezvous at Quiberon Bay where Pellew had been attempting to invade and capture Belle Isle as an encouragement to the Chouans who needed an English garrison on the island to supply them and reinforce their determination. Pellow had been there three months awaiting the reinforcements necessary for the assault. The Royalists in Brittany were known to be a spent force but it was hoped the Chouans could replace them. Pellow’s assault never took place as the size of the French garrison on Belle Isle was uncertain and the General commanding the British troops was reluctant to take chances.

Neither did Pulteney’s attack on Ferrol succeed. It was countermanded by Pulteney himself whose heart had never been in it from the outset. He called a council of his senior officers and told them he did not want to proceed and they tactfully agreed. Thus the British landed, cleared the way for an attack from the unprotected land side and then re-embarked, all in a day and a half. Officers leading the assault could get no authorisation to continue. During that time the town council had met and agreed to capitulate but then learned of the re-embarkation.

A soldier (one of the Irish Brigade attached to the Spanish army – his English commander Colonel Brickdale was the liaison man between the Governor of Ferrol and Pulteney for provisioning the British ships) had actually polished the keys of the town in preparation for a victorious entry but Pulteney was implacable. On the other hand the army’s share of the loot would have been tiny. Ferrol was a poor town with a poor hinterland and the army would get little reward for their efforts while the navy would have had the valuable French warships as prizes. From a commercial view of military affairs, the two services had differing levels of motivation.

St Vincent received the reports of his naval officers, Warren and Pellew, with dismay. He wrote to Lord Spencer ‘Lord deliver us from all conjunct expeditions, unless commanded by Sir Charles Grey or Sir Charles Stuart.’ The fleet and its military force then proceeded to Vigo and anchored off for the best part of two weeks before departing. Pulteney took a prize but thought a landing served no purpose. He continued to Cadiz where he asked the garrison to surrender and only left when they refused. He finally returned to London himself whilst the rest of the expedition sailed to Egypt to join the campaign there. The naval component has been deprived of its prizes and the men feel aggrieved.

In the ensuing Commons debate Pulteney defended himself by saying his assessment was that each attack was too dangerous. There was little chance of success and the losses would have been unacceptable. He denigrated the opinions of naval officers contrary to his.

Dundas said Marengo had changed ministers’ minds. The Austrian defeat had convinced them to abandon the attack on Belle Isle, but Spain was threatening Portugal and the Armed Neutrality in the Baltic was threatening us directly. The best way of delaying Spain was to attack her coasts and eliminate those ships that might have aided the Baltic states. It looked like a good stroke but we had to leave the matter to the man-on-the-spot as our intelligence was limited. Ministers are not like judges – we cannot enquire minutely into every facet of each matter, we make-do with the available information. The motion to criticise Pulteney was then voted 79 in favour, 144 against.

Sat 25th July 1801

Paris, 21st March – the Consuls have proclaimed a glorious peace to the people:

The natural frontiers of France are restored. Our population, lands and strength are increased by one sixth. You are all indebted to the courage of our armies and to the return of concord in our national policies. This is not the first time that a union of our principles with our interests has saved France from ruin.

While varied principles were asserted and our people divided, the enemies of France had prospects of subduing us. Effectively, the people of France were contributing to their own national defeat. We hope discord and anarchy will never be revived amongst us.

Our commerce will no longer follow hazardous and fugitive speculations. We will reintroduce mercantile fidelity to ensure confidence. Commerce will soon resume the extent that may be expected of a nation of our size and inventiveness.

Even England may abjure her pretensions and recognise that there is no real happiness to be derived from her individual prosperity except as a part of the whole. Signed Bonaparte

Sat 25th July 1801

Armistice between France and the Two Sicilies, 18th February 1801.

With the assurance of support from Russia, General Murat of the French Army of Occupation and Chevalier Micheroux representing the Two Sicilies have agreed the following terms:

  • The Neapolitan army will vacate and quit the Ecclesiastical lands in ten days. The French army will maintain its present positions.
  • The ports of Naples and Sicily will be closed to all English and Turkish ships which ships will depart within 24 hours of notice of this agreement. French warships and merchant vessels will enjoy MFN status in Neapolitan ports.
  • All Neapolitan ships may enter French ports but may export no grain or military stores to the English, particularly those occupying Malta.
  • The French Generals Dumas and Monsecoul and Citizen Dolomieu, who were captured and imprisoned on their return from Egypt, are to be released. So are all Neapolitan prisoners.

Sat 25th July 1801

House of Lords, 23rd and 25th February:

Lord Darnley is endeavouring to initiate a debate on the State of the Nation but a group of peers has frustrated him, saying the new Addington administration is not yet formed. The enquiry he wishes to make relates to the present state of the country. He says this topic cannot be repeatedly delayed. The good of the country is involved and the hereditary aristocracy should address the danger.

The Duke of Bedford agreed and did not know why those new ministers, such as had accepted office, were not in their places. The embarrassment of the Cabinet was insufficient reason to delay the House week after week.

The Earl of Derby agreed and asked Lord Auckland why he continually postponed debate.

The Duke of Norfold suspected that there was some other reason why Auckland postponed.[180]

Lords Hardwicke and Cathcart then supported an adjournment and Darnley fixed 3rd March as the next date for his motion.

Sat 25th July 1801

The King’s annuity of £1,000 for Sir Sidney Smith has been approved by the Commons. It is back-dated to 21st May 1799.

Sat 1st Aug 1801

London Evening Post, 21st March:

The Bourbon Prince of Condé received a note from Wickham replying to earlier émigré notes sent in January. Wickham told the Prince that his Corps of Condé is being sent to Egypt and will be commanded, after arrival, by General Abercromby. The sick and wounded will be left behind in Europe.

Wickham wishes to inform Abercromby of the number of effective troops he can expect and asks Condé to have each noble émigré declare before 20th February whether he will accompany his troops and then let him know the numbers.

He says those who do not go will no longer receive a gratuity from George III and more, if the numbers are too small, George III may lose interest in financing Condé.

The Prince himself made no comment beyond saying he would not himself be going to Egypt. The thrust of Wickham’s note has deeply irritated all the émigrés in Condé’s service.[181]

Sat 1st Aug 1801

Darnley was finally able to make his State of the Nation speech in the House of Lords on 20th March:

The King has recovered his strength. His character forms our national reputation. The ministry has changed but a change in our foreign policy is unlikely as the principal actors in the former ministry are still in power behind the scenes. He thought the army had been repeatedly misdirected whilst the navy had won great honour for Britain and the new First Lord of the Admiralty (John Jervis, 1st Earl St Vincent, replacing the 2nd Earl Spencer) was a man capable of continuing the process.

Darnley thought some parts of the war had been well conducted by Pitt but he could never approve of the waste of lives and money at Santo Domingo. He particularly resented the enlargement of the army which had never been used effectively but kept in camps or sent on useless expeditions. A great part of the land forces had been intended to assist Austria in Italy but they did not arrive until Genoa had been taken and the Austrian army in Italy was already defeated. All the expeditions of 1800 had been fruitless and had made the British army a laughing-stock. The planners of those expeditions remained unknown and unpunished, and he produced a long list of failed initiatives, each one of which required an enquiry, he thought.

Another subject for enquiry was the obstacles Pitt had created to obstruct Napoleon’s peace overtures of 1800.

Darnley also called for an enquiry into the way the national resources had been diverted in subsidies to Austria et al which had no apparent effect in improving the fighting abilities of that Empire.

Another subject for parliamentary enquiry was the resentment of the Neutrals to British maritime hegemony. He disliked the way Denmark, a secondary power, had been attacked whilst Russia, a first-rate power, had not, although the Russian offence was more egregious. He thought the dispute with Denmark and Sweden should have been settled by diplomacy whilst the Russian offence should have been met with armed force.

He approved of the expedition to Holland.

He noted that Britain could not continue at war to the same extent as previously. Our resources are not capable of sustaining that high level of effort. We had given away vast sums whilst our revenue has diminished. Customs and Excise receipts for 1800 were £2 million less (later said by Lord Chancellor to correctly be £0.3 million less than Darnley’s figure – reportedly a drop of £0.7 and £1.0 million respectively for Customs and Excise) due to evasion and the great popularity of smuggling. A particular difficulty for the mass of the people was the high price of every necessary – it exhausted their disposable income. The scarcity had been acknowledged by Pitt’s ministry at the time and plans were laid to alleviate hardship, but prices of necessaries continued to climb, both at home and in foreign markets. It seemed that every thing the political leadership did to resolve the matter was ineffective but all proposals originating outside the ministerial cabal were dismissed with contempt. When Darnley proposed that oats, given to horses in Ireland and Scotland, be reserved for the people he was rejected on the grounds that it was better to give them nothing than let the French say we give horse-food to our people.

He thought Pitt’s ministry was most culpable of misgovernment in its handling of Ireland. This subject alone was sufficient to require an enquiry. He thought the recent change of ministry was a ploy to leave the country in the lurch and permit a return to power later with even greater oligarchic authority. And he moved that the House resolve itself into a Committee to enquire into the state of the nation.

The Duke of Montrose said an enquiry into military operations would require all those army and navy officers who represented constituencies to attend the House when they were required to fight the war – it would be inconvenient. He saw no profit in examining old decisions. If an enquiry starts now, people will think we suspect ministers had some ulterior agenda that was never disclosed and the people will become doubtful and uncertain of the political leadership. The dispute with Neutrals had already been debated and the Law Lord Eldon had expounded the law which, as he said, exonerated our policy. There was nothing more to say except that prize-taking was and is fundamental to our chance for victory. He would never surrender the right of capture.

The decline of Rome was characterised by a series of bought truces and ended with the loss of the whole western empire. Britain must heed the historical warning and ‘stick to her guns.’ Montrose was shocked to hear, after warring with most of the states of Europe, that ministers were faulted for not warring with Russia. He noted that at the appropriate time for such an assault, ice had blocked the Sound and a squadron could not have reached St Petersburg. He however agreed that the ministry had failed to foresee and prevent the scarcity that now distressed the people.

He agreed that large sums had been paid to secure German troops to maintain an eastern front to the war and spread French forces. He believed that it had always been British policy to act thus. He preferred to see French armies in central Europe rather than at Dunkirk and Boulogne. Our subsidies had effectively kept the war away from our country. He recalled that at the time Britain was meditating another invasion of Holland, a French army was diverted from Germany to meet the supposed threat together with conscripts from within France itself. Our naval presence along the French coast and blockades of French ports had ensured many enemy troops were tied down on coastal defence, as we had confirmed in the attempted raid on Ferrol (this contradicts the report above). The ‘grand campaign of 1800’ was from start to finish a diversion and it did not require a parliamentary enquiry to establish the fact.

Lord Holland agreed that scarcity in the country was disturbing. He agreed that concealment of true intentions was fatal policy for any ministry. He agreed that at one time all our present enemies had been our allies and they had been turned from us by our system of raising confederacies.

He believed the only solution in Ireland was an unqualified equality of rights based on religion. The Union was weakened by failure to enact that reform. The present disposition to grant rights to Catholics was not due to the merits of the Irish claim but to Napoleon’s victory at Marengo. It was Napoleon not Pitt who had revised our Irish policy. He objected to the new ministry’s proposal to continue the policies of the old – that simply persuaded the public that the war would go on and on. If the new ministry was inclined to peace and to restoring stability in this country he would support it.

The Earl of Westmoreland thought the old ministry had done well to keep the war away from English shores. Even when France was at the height of her power in Europe, her ports had continued to be blockaded and her maritime trade distressed. That was precisely the reason that Neutrals had become so vociferous – they had goods, France required them and only our fleets stood between their merchants and their commercial profits. The expedition to the Ferrol and the Spanish coast had alarmed France and diverted forces she needed elsewhere. Spain, which was then contemplating the occupation of Portugal, was obliged to delay those plans due to the expedition.[182]

The Earl of Carlisle wondered how a strong administration had broken down. There was no objective cause attributed to their fall. One rumour is that Austrian defeat at Marengo and the Emperor’s subsequent unilateral peace persuaded Pitt to propose peace to George III who was so overwhelmed by his loss of Hanover he preferred to change ministers. Marengo may have facilitated the return of his old illness which seems to surface whenever he is stressed by an irreconcilable conundrum.

Lord Fife feared he had been deceived and would withhold his trust from those who had deceived him. He did not want a place or pension, he wanted an enquiry to clarify what had been done.

Earl of Suffolk regretted that none of the former ministry who were present, had chosen to speak in the debate. He asked Grenville how much secret service money he had spent in the war. He had heard it was £800,000 yet the information on which the Ferrol raid was based was apparently defective. He demanded answers to preserve the concept of ministerial responsibility. It was England who had pressed the Emperor to continue the fight – now he was defeated and Vienna occupied. He thought the abilities of the Pitt ministry were small compared with those of Napoleon and drifted off into a speech from Shakespeare, eulogising the Corsican – ‘he doth bestride the narrow world like a colossus.”[183]

Earl of Moira said ‘forget the past’. That system continued for many years and we never seriously criticised it whilst it appeared to be working. Now, we have overwhelming problems that need attending to. What is it that has caused our allies to fall away from us one after the other. No-one in this House knows and we are the legislature of this country. The mutinies in the fleets, the cessation of payments by Bank of England, the rebellion in Ireland – these were difficulties we successfully surmounted. Why do we not continue that procedure?

We have been kept ignorant of the circumstances whereby the new ministry has come into power. Is it because they are unknown to Napoleon? The only thing the new ministry has in common with the old is its confidence in violence to achieve victory. When the Baltic states complain of ‘stop and search’ we send a fleet to attack them. We seem to dispense with diplomacy very early in our quarrels. Is not the greatest threat today the scarcity at home rather than the enemy abroad; the contraction of our commerce and the depression of our credit-worthiness?

Our first task is to reassure the people that we share in their difficulties and will ameliorate them.

Our second task is to make peace in a straightforward way without sending out our fleets and giving conflicting signals of our intentions. Whenever peace is discussed the ministry has routinely thwarted it. Moira believed it was our inability to continue to finance the fight that caused their resignation – they were opposed to peace but could not afford to fight and there was no third way.

Grenville (the former foreign minister) said the perception of increased danger that motivated the peers was not a concern of the public. He deplored the use of reduced Customs & Excise receipts to suggest the country was failing. The reduced Excise revenue flowed from the prohibition on making malt, beer and spirits so the grain might be used directly for food.

Grenville proposed that the King be asked the questions that concerned peers. It was undoubtedly within the King’s prerogative to change his minister. He assured the peers that Pitt’s ministry had not resigned to avoid the difficulties pressing on the country – the problems were not that serious – and in any event, after eight years in power, the ministry well knew what it was doing. Right to the last moment that they had been in office they had maintained the right to search neutral shipping and to confiscate enemy property so found. Grenville particularly objected to the inference that the Pitt ministry had been carrying-out the policy of shadowy unelected people. He personally would never have promoted a policy for which he was not responsible. He believed the new ministry likewise was not the puppet of others. He expressly denied a connection between the resignation of the ministry and the battle of Marengo. He hinted that it was over Irish policy that Pitt had resigned.

The failure of the previous peace negotiations at Lille (Malmesbury’s negotiations) had been due to a concurrent revolution in Paris and nothing to do with a lack of good faith on our part. That revolution caused the French negotiators to be replaced and the new men took a different line.

As for ‘stop and search’ on the high seas, there had been numerically few complaints, and most of those had been scandalous calumnies by neutrals whereas our Admiralty court had upheld the law with skill and consistency. He agreed that some privateers may have been confrontational but the wild acts of a few were not grounds to abandon the entire concept. Prize-taking was one of the most important factors contributing to British naval superiority – we could not do without it.

The dispute with Russia would have been worsened if the ministry had instantly responded with a punitive naval expedition. Ministers judged that the Tsar would soon come to his senses and that turned out to be correct. Grenville personally highly approved of the embargo laid on the fleets of Denmark and Sweden. It crippled their navies by denying them seamen.

As regards French peace proposals he characterised those as made on grounds that Napoleon himself knew we could never accede to. The First Consul knew we were in alliance but proposed separate peace talks; he knew our navy was fearsome and requested a naval armistice. The pre-conditions for talks with Napoleon were impossible to meet but they left the impression that we had been the warlike party and he the peaceful one – that was his intention.

People holding the contrary view rest their case entirely on Napoleon’s faithfulness and unquestioned honour. The argument that our published views on France were intolerable to that country is unsustainable for France publishes similar libels on us and they hardly influence us at all.

Lord Caernarvon thought, as Britain had exempted a few nations from ‘stop and search’ at sea by treaty, it was appropriate for us to apply the exemption systematically. We should not tell the Danes ‘you may carry commerce to France’ and tell the Swedes ‘you shall not’. The right rested on a state of war and it appeared to have alienated every nation who might have been our ally. When Russia had been provoked to hostility by our occupation of Malta, France excited the neutral carrying trade argument. Napoleon sought to have us condone ‘free ships make free trade’ and he seems to have made progress. Had Pitt acknowledged Napoleon’s desires, England would have lost its edge in the conflict. No thinking man believes Pitt resigned over Catholic Emancipation. We cannot go on in the dark. Almost every act of the Pitt ministry required enquiry.

The Marquis Lansdowne thought Pitt’s ministry had been vigorous but unwise. They had rushed into war and found they could not withdraw. Now we had paper instead of gold for our subsistence and non-convertible paper at that. It was this rapid increase in the money supply (due to the Bank extending its printing to lower denomination notes) that inflated the currency and caused apparently higher prices. The enormous rise in the cost of domestic agricultural production disabled our traders and manufacturers from competing internationally.

He acknowledged that the new maritime law proposed by the Baltic states was opposed to existing law, but England had acknowledged neutrals’ carrying trade in its 1782 treaty with France. In that treaty we asserted the principle that ‘free ships make free goods’; now we dispute its legality. We also acknowledged it before the English Revolution in a treaty with the Dutch of 1674. It seemed to be a principle we were both familiar with and willing to adopt from time to time. Our policy was likely to suppress Europe’s trade to the benefit of the Americans. How would our construction of maritime law be applied to a huge country like America with its endless coastline, he asked? This is a principle that cannot be uniformly applied – it should therefore be abandoned.

The Lord Chancellor said all nations know our law on prize-taking. He referred to the letter of the American Secretary of State to the French Legislative Council to show even the ‘new country’ understood it.[184]

Lord Spencer said he had resigned over Catholic emancipation. The ministry wanted it but the King denied them, so they resigned.

The eventual vote rejected Darnley’s motion 115 / 28.

Sat 8th Aug 1801

The Sun of 30th March contains a valediction of Henry Dundas as Treasurer of the Navy written by an officer at the Navy Pay Office on 17th Nov 1800:

His work for the navy is even more glorious than his efforts to improve the internal defences of the country; even more than his efforts to help the residents of our Eastern empire.

His first Act was introduced in 1786 to protect seamen from the rascals who make loans to them and in return take Powers of Attorney over their entire Estates. Dundas defeated this by the simple expedient of requiring an officer to witness all seamen’s’ contracts.

A second Act prevented taking a Will from a seaman to secure control of his Estate after death and deny his widow and orphans their inheritance. It is widely believed in the Navy that half the Estates of seamen who died in the last (American) war were deflected from the proper beneficiaries by means of such Wills. Those few who were caught were hanged but most of them escaped.

In August 1792 he send an abstract of his several Acts to the clergy of every parish so they could explain the purport of every Regulation to interested citizens (the King controls the church and uses it as his voice). A further Act extended these arrangements to Marines and, in the same parliamentary session, to dependants living in Ireland.

In 1795 he procured the passage of the Act whereby seamen were enabled to make allotments of wages to their dependants – 29,937 families now take advantage of this procedure.

He obtained an Act permitting officers to send home Bills of Exchange against future earnings. This relieved naval officers of the imposts of Agents in foreign ports who charged 8% for life assurance, 5% interest and 2½% agency commission on all such advances.[185]

Dundas’ accounts for his period as Treasurer of the Navy are up to date. Since 1785 he has been responsible for the allocation of £90 millions. There are no arrears on his account in the department although there are still arrears in respect of several of his predecessors. His accounts to 31st December 1796 are already audited.

Sat 8th Aug 1801

On 30th June the French garrison of Cairo surrendered to the combined AngloTurkish army and agreed to evacuate Egypt. This ends the war in Egypt.

Sat 8th Aug 1801

The fighting people of Egypt have divided into two camps. The Turks and Mamalukes support England whilst about 30,000 Greeks and Copts are helping the French. France has about 12,000 troops left in the country.

Sat 5th Sept 1801

The Swedish minister Baron d’Ehrensward wrote to Hawkesbury on 4th March to complain of British coercion in the matter of neutral rights at sea:

He says he is solely guided by the Law of Nations and his treaty commitments. He is aware that every European country has, from time to time, acknowledged the principle ‘free ships make free goods.’ England is aware of these treaties but has made no prior protest (he diplomatically makes no mention of British treaties upholding the doctrine). Britain permitted the Convention of 1780 and 1781 to pass without comment. Indeed Pitt himself was in power in 1794 when the 1780 arrangements were partially renewed between Denmark and Sweden and armed protection was provided for the following four years.

Now these commercial arrangements are characterised by Britain as hostile. There is no change in the principle on which they are based. It seems the doctrine has been set aside in London because it is incompatible with British war aims. Does the fact that so many European countries assert the same opinion have any effect on the British view, he wonders? The British minister simply says Britain has made engagements with her allies that are hostile to neutrals and that is why she acts as she does.

Sweden expects its flag to be respected internationally. Britain has stopped Swedish convoys, interfered at Barcelona and embargoed all Swedish shipping. Britain asserts a rule of power over a rule of law. He hopes British policy will return to law and justice. Until then he has also embargoed British shipping in Swedish ports.

Hawkesbury replied on 7th March that Britain considers the Armed Neutrality hostile because it resurrects the principles of the Convention of 1780 at a time of war in which Britain has destroyed the navies of other powers and has become the sole victim of the neutral powers. The embargo on Swedish ships will be continued as long as Sweden remains part of the Armed Neutrality.

Sat 5th Sept 1801

After his invasion and occupation of Hanover, the Prussian King made a complaint to the Royal and Electoral Council of Hanover on 30th March. He protests the oppression of neutral shipping by England. As a result the Baltic states have made a Convention on 16th December 1800 asserting the just principles previously followed by the British. The Baltic states had been about to notify their new agreement to Britain when that power unilaterally embargoed all their ships in her ports – this was a hostile act.

The Prussian King resented the injustice and on 10th February acceded to the Convention himself. He proposed measures to the ambassador to Berlin (Carysfort) whereby the disputants might be reconciled but Pitt ignored them. He particularly resented Hawkesbury’s note of 7th March to the Swedish minister (above) characterising ‘free ships make free goods’ as new and questionable law. The threats against Denmark (a fleet off Copenhagen whilst negotiations were in hand) was not conformable with the amicable resolution of disputes.

The Prussian King therefore reciprocated by closing the Rivers Elbe, Weser and Ems to British shipping. He occupied the estate in Germany of George III as Elector of Braunschweig Lunenburg (Brunswick or Hanover in English histories). He requests the submission of the Electoral College of Hanover to his action. He demands that the Hanoverian Corps which polices the northern boundary of the German states be disbanded. He requires the officers of this Corps to publicly stipulate they will not serve against Prussia. The fortress of Hamelin is to be surrendered to Prussia. The expenses of his occupation will be met by Hanover. He demands that all connection between the Electoral College and the English King cease and that the government and treasury of Hanover come under Prussian control.

A Convention was then concluded between Hanover and Prussia on 3rd April which was reported by the Electorate:

“As Prussia has directed us to agree terms and offers force against us if we decline, we permit the entrance of Prussian troops into the Electorate and submit to all Prussia’s directions. We rely on the Prussian King’s promise to guarantee the safety and Constitution of Hanover and the protection of our property.”

Sgd Counts de Kelmannsegge, de Arnswaldt, de Steenberg, de Docken, de Walmoden and Field Marshall Simborn for the government of Hanover.

Sat 5th Sept 1801

There was a concurrent occupation of the Free City of Hamburg by troops sent by the King of Denmark and Norway, under the orders of Prince Charles of Hesse, who issued this Proclamation on 28th March:

“Illegal English attacks on the trade and navigation of the Baltic states have caused those states to retaliate by excluding British merchant ships from the Elbe. The people of Hamburg should not resist. In return I will keep strict discipline over my men.”

Wed 26th Aug 1801 Extraordinary

The Tsar Alexander has written a friendly letter to George III and it appears peace and friendship are restored between our countries. He has released the British property sequestrated in Russia and recalled his father’s ambassador from Paris, replacing him with a new man with new instructions. His man in Copenhagen Count Lisakewitz has received instructions to express a friendly disposition to England.

All this followed Nelson’s decisive intervention at Copenhagen after which Admiral Sir Hyde Parker continued into the Baltic to attempt the other part of his instructions. An urgent message has been sent after him to appraise him of developments. This Baltic expedition was the last initiative of Pitt’s old ministry.

There is an expectation that the new Russian Tsar will mediate between England and France in the peace talks. Our most recent successes in Egypt and the Baltic should improve our negotiating position. Lord St Helens is our new man to St Petersburg. A frigate was standing-by for him at Yarmouth in May. We have previously mentioned the appointment of Count Waronzow as the Tsar’s new ambassador to London. A final good sign is the re-opening of all those rivers in Northern Germany that drain into the Baltic. They are declared free trade zones for all nations by the courts of Prussia and Denmark.

It appears that when Denmark first intended to prevent the passage of Parker’s British fleet into the Baltic, they called on Sweden to fortify Helsingborg, opposite Kronburg, to close the mouth of the sea but the Swedes had allowed this fort to sink into decay and it contained only a small saluting battery. They felt it was not worth the expense unless they got a pay-off similar to the Sound Dues and Denmark was treaty-bound not to offer it. She instead offered to pay most of the costs of reinstating Helsingborg’s defences, reserving only a right to dismantle the fortifications once peace was declared, but Sweden bridled at that. In the result Parker steered his course for the Swedish shore of the Sound and sailed straight through. It appears the present situation is that Russia has become friendly, Sweden is not actively hostile and Count Bernstorf has a job of work to convince his Court that they have got it wrong.

Wed 26th Aug 1801 Extraordinary

The Danish King promulgated a new law at Copenhagen on 29th March prior to our naval action at Copenhagen:

To stop British navigation and trade on the Elbe, I have sent Prince Charles, Landgrave of Hesse, to take possession of Hamburg using Danish troops.

From 1st April an embargo on all British property will commence. Every resident of Hamburg is required to detain such property.

Wed 26th Aug 1801 Extraordinary

The revised Russian policies of the new Tsar Alexander are:

  • Russia does not want the sovereignty of Malta but it wants the Grand Master of the Templars to live there. Alexander offers the Knights of St John of Jerusalem his protection. He has appointed Count Soltikow as his liaison officer with the Grand Master until an election can be held by the langues (the Templars are organised by the languages – langues – they speak) to confirm the Grand Master’s fitness for the job.
  • Russia has recalled her ambassador from Paris and a replacement is being sent with new instructions.
  • The new Tsar offers to mediate between England and France. He has lifted the sequestration on British assets in Russia and we are invited to resume trading.

The Russian merchants had a hand in Paul’s assassination – they have had a thin time for many months.

This reversal of Russian policy has stopped the City speculators in their tracks. Wheat at London has dropped 7/- or 8/- per bushel. Exeter is the same. Ten gallons of potatoes were 8/- or more a month ago, now they are 4/-. Good hams are now 6d per lb. Beef, mutton and lamb are selling in Bristol at as little as 7d per lb. At Downton Fair (near Salisbury) nearly half the cattle brought to market went unsold as the prices asked have become unsustainable.

Potato prices may have fallen due to the increased use of marginal land under cultivation but all the other changes appear due to the improved trading situation for Britain in the Baltic.

Wed 26th Aug 1801 Extraordinary

The Swedish fleet is at Karlskrona. They have 3 x 74s, 6 x 64s, 2 x 60s, six frigates of 40 guns each and six cutters. The Swedes rely on Danish pilots for their manoeuvrability and those chaps are no longer allowed to serve under foreign colours – its a term in our new agreement with Denmark. The Swedish Admiral may be reluctant to put to sea without pilots.

Parker’s fleet arrived at Stockholm on 19th April. He asked the Swedes to renounce the Armed Neutrality. The King was on tour at Malmo but returned and said his advices from the Russians indicate we are now friends and he would not have it any other way. He has issued instructions to his Admiral to ensure there is no interruption of navigation through the Kattegut.

Wed 26th Aug 1801 Extraordinary

Meanwhile the fourth member of the Armed Neutrality, the one that has hardly any shipping of its own (Prussia), has completed the occupation of Hanover and the Elbe ports. The Prince of Hesse at Hamburg is actually acting for Prussia although his soldiers are Danes. The only institution in Hanover that is not occupied by Prussian soldiers is the University at Gottingen.

The events at Copenhagen, the new Tsar’s changed policies and the uncertainty of Swedish intentions will give the Prussians pause. The French minister at Berlin will now have to work very hard, particularly as the secret clauses of Lunéville have been disclosed to the Prussian King.

On 4th May Lord St Helens set off from Yarmouth to negotiate terms with the Baltic powers. He will start at St Petersburg.

All the Baltic powers have agreed a four month armistice during which they concede our right to ‘stop and search’ but only by our warships and, if the merchant ship is convoyed, an officer of the convoying frigate should be in attendance.

Sat 8th Aug 1801

In London the Solicitor General has given a long speech to the Commons outlining the history of the right to ‘stop & search’ on the high seas that we have been asserting to the Baltic powers without obtaining their agreement. He characterised the dissent of the liberal Whigs as disloyal and unpatriotic. They were incensed.

He said the lower orders of society had accepted the misfortunes of war but their rich representatives resented them. The people are unwilling to submit to France but their representatives try to do so in the name of the people. We cannot win the war without maintaining our command of the high seas and we cannot maintain that command without removing all our competitors’ navies from trade. This is the way England fights. We should never do what France wants us to do. We should only do what we ourselves chose to do.[186]

Sat 8th Aug 1801

The Austrian Emperor has written to all the German Electors on 21st February 1801 advising his reasons for peace with France and demanding their co-operation:

The French plenipotentiary to Lunéville demands I treat on behalf of the whole Empire. This will involve all you Electors, Princes and States of the Empire. My authority is restricted by the Imperial Constitution unless you all give me full powers. The precedent that France has adduced for this is the recent peace negotiations at Rastadt and the earlier peace negotiations at Baden in 1714. On these precedents the French demanded my involvement or they would discontinue the negotiations.

The agreement will impact the rights and duties of many member states of the Empire. I have to remind you that a large part of Germany is in distressed conditions and imperatively needs peace. We have no option but to agree.

I have ratified my Plenipotentiary’s acceptance of the French demand.

I now need to fulfil the duty France has placed on me – to expedite a conclusion of Imperial deliberations at a Diet and procure the agreement of all the member states.

You should each irrevocably authorise me to conclude peace on such terms as are available.

Sat 8th Aug 1801

Charles Grey in the Commons has duplicated Darnley’s motion in the House of Lords for a debate on the State of the Nation. It has irritated Dundas.

Dundas says the principle that the ministry has ever acted upon is to destroy the enemy’s trade and occupy the enemy’s colonies. This is a war for resources. We minimise the enemy’s to inculcate a willingness to compromise. This has always been our way in war. We cannot contend with France in Europe. She is a bigger country with a bigger population, bigger armies and bigger potential revenue. She is able to control most of our European markets and deny our trade there. Our response has been to take her colonies so, in so far as international trade is concerned, we have the monopoly of production and she must buy from us.

Dundas lists joint operations that each resulted in the acquisition of enemy colonies:

In 1793 we took Tobago, St Pierre, Miquelon, part of Santo Domingo, the Newfoundland fisheries, the Toulon fleet and Pondicherry in India.

In 1794 we took Martinique, Guadaloupe, St Lucia, the Saints, Corsica and Marie-Galante.

In 1795 Trincomalee and the Cape.

In 1796 Amboinya, Berbice, Demerara.

In 1797 Trinidad and four ships-of-the-line.

In 1798 Minorca

In 1799 Surinam

In 1800 Goree, Malta, Curaçao

Each year of war to date has an example of the English way in war. Dundas has excluded all purely naval engagements from this list but they have resulted in the capture of 70+ capital ships, 181 frigates, 224 brigs, sloops and schooners, totally 483 war ships without considering the capture or sinking of privateers – 743 French, 15 Dutch and 76 Spanish. Compared with these results our losses appear acceptable. We have lost 3 capital ships (one of which since re-taken) and one frigate (HMS Ambuscade)

As a result of the colonial captures, the markets we have lost in Europe have been somewhat offset by the demand in ex-Dutch and French colonies. In 1793 our export of British manufactures to West Indies was £1.8 millions and East Indies less than £1 million. Both have since increased and last year our exports to India were £1.6 million. In 1799 our exports to Hamburg were nearly £2 millions. The fact is that regardless of political will, trade always finds a way. We have not lost our markets in Europe; on the contrary we have won new markets under a changed distribution system.

As regards our land forces, our entire force in 1796 (after Malmesbury’s abortive peace talks) totalled 58,000 men. We now have in England 21,500 cavalry (regular and fencible) 84,000 infantry (regular and fencible) and 20,000 volunteer cavalry with 107,000 volunteer infantry. In Ireland there are 52,000 infantry and cavalry. From 58,000 men we have advanced to over 300,000 for the defence of the United Kingdom.

It has been said that some of the fencible regiments were reluctant to fire on compatriots rioting in London for more food. Those chaps were a small minority and do not reflect the demeanour of the defence forces generally. We are well defended against the people and should the French show their faces here our men will fight even harder against them and what they represent for our future. But in fact a French invasion is hardly in prospect as they require an incredible string of lucky coincidences to bring it about – get out of their ports, across the Channel, disembarked on our coast – when the sea is an element entirely under our control.

As regards our difficulties in Europe, the British government has not been in control of those events. It regrets the turn of events but was not involved in guiding Europe to that end. Our difficulties arose from disputes between our allies and were not of our making.

Finally the opposition allude to the change of ministry and aver a mystery. The cabinet believed emancipation for Ireland was essential in the national interest. The King did not. We resigned. There is no mystery, says Dundas.

As regards military expeditions, the dissident Whigs protest the results of operations in 1800 in Holland, on the coast of Brittany and along the Spanish coast.

The Dutch expedition had three objects:

  • firstly to effect a diversion and draw some of the French force off Germany;
  • secondly to help our friends in Holland by giving them a means of helping themselves against France;
  • thirdly, if the Dutch did not rise to the opportunity we sought to make for them, to reduce the ability of France to dictate to them.

Had Sir Ralph Abercromby’s expedition reached the Dutch coast by mid August, it would very likely have taken Amsterdam and facilitated a Dutch revolt. The expedition was delayed by heavy weather and had to lay-off the Dutch coast until it was possible to land men from the transports. The delay enabled the French to discover our intent and prepare defences. Our attempts to occupy Amsterdam were accordingly frustrated but we still brought-off ten capital ships and thirteen frigates. The ministry believes two of our objects were well met and the third was frustrated by the weather. There was no administrative failure that can be laid at the door of ministers.

The expedition to Ferrol and Cadiz is criticised for ministerial delay in applying the great force that had been assembled in Spring 1800. The army returned from Holland in Nov 1799. We had sent it there at a moment’s notice without many of the routine supplies that an army requires. By the time of its return, its requirements had greatly increased and it took a long time to equip it. The officers particularly wanted to train in landings and combined operations before the army was re-assigned. These exercises could not be commenced until the advent of Spring weather in mid-March.

Meanwhile, on 23rd February the cabinet advised the King to send 20,000 men to the Mediterranean to co-operate with our allies there. On 28th February we asked the Royal Duke of York, the CiC, for the necessary troops. He said he needed two months to train the force before he could provide it. That delayed dispatch of the expedition to the end of April at the earliest. We then asked the CiC for a smaller force of 5,000 – 6,000 men in order to take Minorca, where they might continue to receive instruction until the rest of the expedition was ready. He instantly provided 6,000 men. The expedition was to be led by General Stewart but he declined as he disapproved of Russian troops being introduced on Malta, something we had promised to the Tsar. Stewart had no qualms about the aims of the expedition itself and the rumour that the Minister at War and the General were in dispute as to the aims of the expedition is erroneous – it was solely about Malta and a Russian garrison.

Stewart resigned 22nd April and Sir Robert Abercromby was then appointed. He sailed on 13th May but encountered adverse winds and only arrived at Minorca on 22nd June. There is no connection between the delay of the expedition’s arrival and the loss of Genoa which had never been the expedition’s objective. At that time, Austria was reluctant to allow us into Italy but when the battle went against them, General Melas called for General Abercromby’s help. He sailed to Italy but by the time he arrived, Marengo had occurred and he was cut-off from the Austrians.

People say the great difference in the results of the navy and the army reveal some incapacity of the ministry. Operations by land and sea are both directed by the same council which is composed of the same men. It is illogical to say they are good at one and incompetent at the other[187]

Dundas concluded he would oppose the motion for an Enquiry.

Pitt addressed the allusion that his ministry had resigned improperly. He noted that the replacement ministry had publicly adopted the policies of those who had resigned. The House has put its confidence in the old ministry for nine years and there was no difficulty in transferring it to the new ministry. The only difference was the matter of ability which he trusted no-one seriously questioned. He knew Hawkesbury would be admirable as Foreign Secretary. He knew Earl St Vincent would be equally as good as Earl Spencer at the Admiralty. He reiterated that there was a difference of opinion between the cabinet and the King which necessarily required the ministers to resign and there was absolutely no mystery. Pitt said if France really desired peace the two countries would very soon cease fighting. The vote was 291 / 105 against Grey’s motion.[188]

Sat 22nd Aug 1801

Fox’s response at end March to the speeches of Dundas and Pitt above is worth publication:

The question about neutral trade was actually five questions:

  • free ships do not make free goods;
  • what is contraband;
  • what constitutes a blockade of ports;
  • the legality of preventing neutrals from carrying the colonial or coasting trade of belligerents and
  • ‘stop & search’.

It had been Fox himself, in his brief ministerial empowerment in 1782, who had offered to concede that ‘free ships made free goods’ to Russia in order to get that power into alliance with England and press France towards peace. Russia did not accept and Pitt says it was a lucky thing she did not, for today we would have to countenance her maritime freedom and that would preclude our controlling the foreign trade of France. Fox said this was irrelevant.

What ministers are concerned for is finding a new cause of war now that shouts of Jacobinism no longer excited people and a wish for peace was making ground throughout the country – that new cause was our right to ‘stop & search’ – it had become the rationale to continued war.

He referred to Spain, which fights a constant low-intensity war with Algerian pirates, and invited MPs to envisage Spain requiring all shipping entering the Mediterranean to be searched in case they carried goods to Algiers. Obviously England would never concede that to Spain but it was indistinguishable from the ministry’s own position on ‘stop & search’ in the Baltic.

He referred to Dundas’ list of victories. He congratulated the navy and Earl Spencer handsomely. He distinguished naval success from army failure and attributed the former to the men themselves and the latter to the imbecility of the ministry. He said British war aims were not to capture French colonies but to protect Europe against French expansion.

The British national debt had grown astronomically. It requires £38 millions a year in taxes and £10 millions in poor rates to pay the interest at a time when the entire land rent of the United Kingdom is £25 millions. When a country is paying double its land rents in taxes, something is fundamentally wrong and an Inquiry is essential.

Grenville sent the Duke of York with 30,000 men to the only neck of land in the World where 6,000 men were adequate defence against us. They sat around for 7 months because the weather was too cold at a time when Bonaparte had taken entire armies across the Alps. Why had England not directly assisted Austria, he wondered rhetorically; because the Emperor would not have our troops in his lands. All he wanted was our money.

He thought the new ministry might be thought by some to be the puppets of the old ministry. He understood that a political pledge had been given to Catholic leaders that emancipation was coming.[189] It was a poor reflection on the authority of the Commons for a minister to say he could not propose a motion of which he approved. The case for the Catholics was distinct from the legal prerogatives of the King. The Irish began their fatal correspondence with the French only after Lord Fitzwilliam had been appointed Lord Lieutenant. They simply despaired of any mild or conciliatory government by us.

Pitt may wish to take a sabbatical if he supposes that peace could more easily be obtained by his absence. In the interim we should have an enquiry.

Wed 26th Aug 1801 Extraordinary

The main part of the French army in Egypt, the garrison of Cairo, has been escorted down the Nile to Rosetta and embarked there for France. General Menou remains in possession of Alexandria with the remnant of his army. General Hutchison is said to have offered him terms similar to those accepted at Cairo but Menou has not responded.

Wed 26th Aug 1801 Extraordinary

The King’s illness returned in April or May 1801 and a form of limited Regency has been declared. The Lord Chancellor, Pitt and the Earl of Moira will comprise a Commission to advise the Prince of Wales.

Wed 26th Aug 1801 Extraordinary

Abercromby’s personal sacrifice in Egypt is marked by the grant of a patent making his widow Countess Abercromby of Aboukir with £2,000 a year and a title and pension for their son and successive descendants.

It transpires that the army had difficulty landing and after 5,000 men were got ashore their communications with the fleet were cut by the French and they had to mount a defensive action for many days with just the provisions and ammunition they carried with them. As a result this part of the expedition sustained 20% fatalities.

Later the rest of the army was landed and a further reinforcement of 3,000 men has since arrived at Rosetta.

Wed 26th Aug 1801 Extraordinary

The French are beaten in Egypt. Menou has surrendered. Locke, late British Honorary Consul in Naples, went to Paris and dined with the Prussian ambassador Lucchesini who told him the news.

It has since been confirmed by the East India Company’s Resident at Constantinople and by Elgin, our minister there.[190]

Sat 29th Aug 1801

The Prince of Hesse is evacuating Hamburg. His formal announcement says Hamburg is too small for him to exercise his troops so he’s going to Itzehoe.

Sat 29th Aug 1801

Prussia has granted Parker’s emissary to Berlin (Capt Doyle) the right to water and provisions on the Prussian and Pomeranian coast. Carysfort has told his consuls at Rostock, Memel, Konigsberg and Danzig that, if they see Parker, to tell him to go no further.

Hamburg is relieved of a daily payment of 6,000 Banco Marks for the maintenance of Danish troops in their land (commanded by the Prince of Hesse). Their presence had been deeply resented. Payments ceased 29th April. Most of those ships that had been detained by order of the Prussians are about to sail. The late Danish order to sequestrate British property that was published in the Exchange has been withdrawn.

A great change has come over Prussian policy. Haugwitz has fallen and the new plan is to reconcile with Britain and Russia and evacuate Hanover. This will be good news to the House of Brunswick.

On 7th May a convention was agreed at Hamburg to open the Elbe. It was made between General de Schultz, the Prussian minister, and Sir James Crawford, the British minister. The merchants of Altona and Glackstadt will receive English passports permitting multiple use. Crawford will issue British passports to all Danish vessels wishing to trade on the Elbe. It is a British river once more.

Sat 29th Aug 1801

London has a report from Admiral Duckworth notifying the reduction of the Danish and Swedish colonies in West Indies – St Martin, St Croix, St Thomas and St Bartholomew. It will not be gazetted as we are friends again.

Sat 12th Sept 1801

General Murat has addressed his troops before they enter the Two Sicilies:

The Neapolitans have surrendered. They give you what you would have taken. Occupy their cities in peace. Protect them against the English. Uphold our national reputation for respect. Teach them to love you. Woe to them if they spill one drop of French blood.

He also addressed the Roman and Neapolitan refugees in Tuscany:

Tuscany can no longer supply your wants. Her resources are nearly exhausted and the French army has a prior call on Tuscan productions. You must go home. None of you will be subjected to unjust prosecution. Our protection is your guarantee.

To the Neapolitans, the 7th article in the French treaty with Naples provides that all those who were banished or persecuted are free to return. Their property will be restored. All political prisoners are released.

To the Romans, the Pope has already issued passports to many of you. He welcomes you back.

Romans and Neapolitans are assured there is no danger in returning provided you do not allow thoughts of revenge to arise in you.

Sat 12th Sept 1801

Florence, 2nd May – The French treaty with Naples cedes Elba to France. The 60th demi-brigade at Leghorn was deputed to garrison the island. They refused to go (they have been wined and dined by the merchants of Leghorn. Ultimately the gifts became money from the hired agents of the English, so Murat said).

On 29th April two companies of grenadiers were disarmed and sent to the citadel of Turin. The remaining companies showed contrition and have been pardoned. The ring-leaders will be court-martialled.

Sat 12th Sept 1801

General Jourdain, CIC of the French army in Piedmont, has proclaimed:

You Piedmontese have shown you are worthy of Republicanism and may raise six brigades, each commanded by a General. Your army will be provisioned by the contractor to the French army. The government is reorganised along French lines (details given). The route of appeal from judgments of Piedmontese Courts will be to the French Cassation Tribunal. I will be your new national leader.

On publication of the Proclamation the Piedmont government ceased its functions. Several outgoing officials were nominated to the new Council of Government. Numerous feasts were organised for that night.

Sat 26th Sept 1801

Letter from Jersey, 27th April 1801, suggesting another invasion of the British Isles is imminent:

General Humbert, who commanded one of the French expeditions to Ireland, is now at St Malo. His previous employment suggests he may have been appointed commander of another invasion force. We hear no information on where the expedition will go – perhaps England, perhaps Ireland.

Several frigates have come down from Brest. There are also 75-gun ships in St Malo and a huge fleet of flat-bottomed boats capable of carrying 20,000 men.

An English Captain who was lately at Brest for prisoner exchange says there are 150,000 troops policing the northwest coast of France and another 100,000 troops will be free for redeployment once the problems on France’s eastern frontier are resolved.

Sat 26th Sept 1801

Government has alerted the yeomanry along the coast. In the event of invasion, all the cattle are to be driven inland. An invasion force will have great difficulty bringing horses and cattle and we should not assist them.

The Duke of York has instructed General Simcoe of the Western District to teach his militia the use of the bayonet. The Duke says the best response to an invasion from the sea is to attack the enemy on the beaches the instant he lands and to prefer the bayonet to the gun.

The Navy Board has sent men to Portsmouth to get our flotilla of gun ships ready. They are to go to Jersey.

Sat 26th Sept 1801

Admiral Villaret Joyeuse has command of the Brest fleet of 26 capital ships. Cornwallis opposes him with 22 ships but 13 are three-deckers and the fighting power of the English fleet is greater. Sir Robert Calder’s division is expected to join Cornwallis. The Dutch have assembled a fleet of 17 capital ships. They are blockaded in the Texel by Admiral Dickson. It is expected his force will be reinforced and command given to Nelson if he can get back from the Baltic soon.

Sir Hyde Parker has returned from the Baltic with a grievance against Nelson. Nelson was made a Viscount for Copenhagen but Parker, the senior officer, got nothing (indeed there is talk of court martialling him for dawdling on the way there).

The spat formally relates to the signals given on 2nd April but no details are available. Parker demanded an enquiry but the Board of Admiralty declined to entertain him.

Sat 26th Sept 1801

Copenhagen, 16th June – the merchants are deliriously happy. England’s embargo on Danish ships and Danish money transactions has ended. Passports for trade to the Mediterranean have already been issued by our Chamber of Commerce. The Danish 3% funds are rising. The current armistice lasts for eight weeks. Negotiations for a permanent settlement will be concluded in that time. Nelson has been recalled to England.

Sat 26th Sept 1801

Prince Charles of Hesse has been ordered by the Prussian King to open the Elbe to English trade. The occupation of Hamburg is ended. The Danish troops are withdrawn into Pienneberg. The chasseurs remain at Altona temporarily.

Sat 3rd October 1801

Brussels, 18th June – the supposed order of the French invasion of the British Isles has been published here. 25,000 troops will sail from Brest convoyed by 30 French and Spanish capital ships. 10,000 troops will sail from Normandy convoyed by 4 capital ships and 3 frigates. 12,000 men will sail from Flanders and Picardy convoyed by 1 capital ship and 8 frigates.

Sat 10th Oct 1801

Minto is still British minister at Vienna.

Sat 10th Oct 1801

Frankfurt Journal, 12th June – The Cisalpine Republic has been reorganised. It is now divided administratively into 12 provinces. The population is 3.7 millions.

The new French S E frontier is at the right bank of the River Adige (the river flowing through Verona to the Adriatic south of the Venetian Lagoons i.e. this article deems the Italian Republics as French). The various sovereigns of Germany and Italy are sorting out their new frontiers. They should be more secure than formerly. Its not just the terms of Lunéville that apply. There are the Treaties of Tarentino with the Pope and of Florence with Naples.

The Dutch are making some minor amendments to their Constitution. Switzerland is settling its internal administration. Napoleon has told his officials that the Swiss are peculiar and will evolve their own forms. The French are willing for these states to administer themselves but reserve their rights in respect of defence and foreign policy. Liguria is still discussing basic matters and has a way to go. Piedmont remains in anarchy. Half the French forces have been withdrawn and power is being progressively transferred to civil administrations.

The indemnities claimed by the ex Duke of Tuscany, the Stadtholder and the dispossessed holders of states on the Rhine are being discussed at Ratisbon and an agreed statement has recently been sent to Vienna.

Even the Portuguese have British permission to make peace. A Portuguese frigate with d’Aranjo on board has arrived at L’Orient to settled all differences that his Queen has with Spain and France. French troops are already in Portugal where it is feared Napoleon will want lands for the restitutions that his Spanish and Dutch allies will require – Portugal might shrink in the near future – but all-in-all things are looking brighter than they have for many years. It all depends on the British response to the renewed threat of French invasion – will they sign-up for peace or continue the war.

Sat 10th Oct 1801

Frankfurt Journal, 26th June:

Napoleon has published a conciliatory article in the Moniteur and Addington, the very next day, referred to peace in the same terms. It seems peace in Europe is really obtainable.

The True Briton, a most favourable rag to the ministry, talks of peace with France even if war recommences in Germany or Italy.

The French view is that English principles have been supported for 8 years by successive coalitions but the present organisation of Europe will scarcely allow her to form another for a long time. England has the high seas and the colonial production; France has the friendship of a tired Europe. England has the products; Europe has the customers. We should talk. Peace relies on a balance of power.

Sat 10th Oct 1801

A plot to replace Napoleon is reported from Paris. It was led by General Massena and Reubell of the Directory. Massena has been arrested. It is said in London that support for the conspiracy derived from their willingness to meet British terms for peace.

Sat 10th Oct 1801

Paris, 20th June – letters from France to England were stopped for the last two weeks. It is supposed that the censors were checking everything. Now a large post has been received in London with all the delayed letters.

The attempted coup d’etat of Massena and Reubell is confirmed and Carnot is also mentioned. Reubell is not personally well-supported but he has identified a line of policy that is popular – he says Napoleon is not genuine in his peace initiatives. He refers to the protracted negotiations as evidence. He says the planned invasion of England was never feasible. He says the land-swaps in Germany are deeply resented and a new French army has crossed the Rhine to occupy the supposedly demolished forts on the right (East) bank.

Napoleon is protected by Fouché, the ex-Jacobin minister of police, who is vigilant and knows all the conspirators. He has an army of well-paid spies and gets to know most everything that happens in Paris. Because of this good information, Napoleon can deter his enemies with articles in the press.

The recent fall in French funds was also due to political considerations in Paris and was not provoked by the military movements on the Rhine. It was for the same reason that the government published its review of French foreign policy in the Moniteur last week (see below). In that review the invasion of England was officially abandoned and instead we see the French government asserting confidence in the new British ministry. That advice has diminished Reubell’s chances of toppling Napoleon.

Sat 10th Oct 1801

The King of Prussia’s dislike of Napoleon stems from the arrangements at Lunéville for compensating the Grand Duke of Tuscany for his lost Italian possessions with lands in Germany. The Russian Tsar is also unconvinced of the wisdom of the new frontiers. To meet the Prussian/Russian objection, the Austrians and French are considering dispossessing the Pope of temporal lands and giving those Papal States to the Grand Duke. As King of the Two Sicilies, the Grand Duke will then have sovereignty over all southern Italy. The negative Prussian response to this FrancoRussian initiative caused Napoleon to re-occupy the frontier forts on the right bank of the Rhine. Napoleon is doubtful about Prussia since the King’s opening of the Baltic rivers to British trade.

The Frankfurt Journal of 28th June says the French returned to the frontier forts (Dusseldorf, Cassel, etc.) because they had not been properly dismantled and demolished as required under the terms of Lunéville.

Sat 10th Oct 1801

Russia has made peace with England by a Convention at St Petersburg done on 5th June. The agreement extends the armistice with the states involved in the old Armed Neutrality for 3 months. It seems the main reason that Britain acquiesced in this Convention was to ensure this year’s supplies of Russian timber, hemp and tar which the Navy prefers to other suppliers. The terms allow Neutral shipping to enter the open ports of Belligerents and only war materiel and enemy property will be confiscated. A list of goods of a Belligerent that may be exported by a Neutral is attached to the Convention. It is the same list as in earlier British treaties with Russia. There is an express clause making this concession strictly a bi-lateral matter that may not be extended to others – its just to get supply of Russian hemp, tar, pitch and masts and expressly not a statement of policy.

Ships under convoy may be searched by HM ships but not by privateers. All convoyed merchantmen need passports. When a Belligerent’s frigate meets a convoy it is to send a boat to the convoying frigate and check her authority to convoy. The convoying frigate will check that the Belligerent’s warship is a real national ship. If there are no grounds for suspicion, the matter ends there. If the Belligerent has grounds to search the merchant ships, the convoying frigate will detain the relative ship(s) to permit a joint-survey of the papers and cargo. Confirmation of the presence of contraband requires the merchant ship be taken to the nearest port of the Belligerent for a complete search, stem to stern.

The Belligerent’s warship is responsible for all loss and damage caused by the detention and search. The convoying frigate may not use force to oppose.

Only ships whose Master and half the crew are of one particular nationality may claim the ship is of that nationality.

The terms of this Convention will regulate conduct in all maritime wars in which one or other of the signatories is engaged. It is intended to be permanent.

The Danish and Swedish vessels detained previously by Britain and their occupied colonies will be returned should those countries also accede to this agreement.

The sequestration of British property in Russia is ended. The British embargo on Swedish and Danish ships will not be enforced for a further three months.

Sat 10th Oct 1801

One of the London papers says Henry Dundas is about to retire from public life. His seat for the City of Edinburgh will be transferred to David Scott Jr., son of the India Company Director.

Sat 10th Oct 1801

Nelson, as CiC Baltic fleet, requested the Swedes to reciprocate his agreement to not interfere with Swedish ships in the Baltic. The Swedes agreed on 24th May.

Sat 10th Oct 1801

The Danes are disenchanted by the collapse of the Armed Neutrality. A letter from Copenhagen, which has been published in Paris, says Russia has been conciliatory to England and Prussia has opened the Baltic rivers to British trade. Prussia and Russia were both supposed to be asserting the rights of Neutrals. Prussia has also said the occupation of Hamburg is no longer a matter of consequence to her.

These powers are protecting their own interests bi-laterally. Why should Denmark remain a victim of its good faith when our allies are making deals for their own benefit. It seems the Armed Neutrality is ended.

Sat 24th Oct 1801

The Ratisbon newspapers of 24th June report a disposition by Russia and Prussia to oppose the land deals required by Lunéville. Prussia says if the ecclesiastical Princes of Germany consent to secularisations to indemnify Princes dispossessed in Italy, she will strongly resist. Russia says she supports Prussia.

Bonaparte is in complete command of France and will resent this – the land swaps are fundamental to his policy of separating the great powers by viable buffer states.

The Emperor’s position is unknown. Austria’s hereditary lands are undisturbed and the only change she faces is the transfer of German lands to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, who is the Emperor’s relative in any event and thus no real loss accrues to the Hapsburg family. Nevertheless, the Emperor has not reduced his Austrian army. He lost his Hungarian armies at Hohenlinden and Marengo and his volunteer regiments have been disbanded but the main part of the Austrian army is still intact.

Sat 24th Oct 1801

Alexandria fell on 1st September. The French garrison surrendered and all French ships in port are ours. Britain takes possession on 12th September. The French take away nothing but their personal property. General Menou is depressed. His army of 30,000 of the finest French troops is destroyed. 10,000 died of disease or guerrilla attacks and almost half of the rest died in battle with us and the Turks. Only 11,500 men, women and children will require repatriation to France.

The naval commander, Sir Sidney Smith, has sailed for London with General Sir John Hutchinson’s dispatches. Lord Keith is expected to sail for Malta.

Sat 31st Oct 1801

Russia and Prussia have presented a peace projet to the First Consul that is totally different from the FrancoAustrian agreement reached at Lunéville. It meets Russian and Prussian interests at the expense of other parties. This could be the cause of renewed war.

Sat 31st Oct 1801

In April 1801 Prussia, with French agreement, occupied the lands of the Elector of Braunschweig Lunenberg (George III) and closed the Rivers Elbe, Weser and Ems as a defensive measure. The reason related to the Neutral trade of the Baltic states and was in pursuit of Tsar Paul’s St Petersburg Convention of 16th December 1800 that was held to oppose British hegemony in that sea. George III’s ministers in Hanover were forced to accede to the Prussian occupation by a treaty dated 3rd April whereby they agreed that the state be occupied and to pay the costs of it.

Since then hostilities between the Baltic states and England have ceased and friendly relations are being restored. Commerce in the Baltic is being freed. Prussia has re-opened the rivers and will now withdraw from Hanover.

Sat 7th Nov 1801

The Austrian Emperor has become unwilling to be bound by Lunéville. He says he cannot get it approved by the German states, particularly Prussia (Prussia will not allow the Grand Duke of Tuscany any lands in Germany whilst the Duke is expecting to get Bavaria). It now appears that Austria is organising an alliance with Russia and Prussia in order to confront the First Consul and avoid the Lunéville terms.

The Courier du Bas Rhin says “politicians now believe the current peace to be temporary. They are calling it an armistice. All Austrian forces are standing-by to fight again. Pensioned officers have been recalled. Regiments are mostly complete and draft horses are kept in readiness.” Some other continental papers say the same.

France herself keeps 120,000 troops in Italy, a reflection of the unease she feels in enforcing Napoleon’s geopolitics on the Italian Princes. Whilst it keeps the Italians in check, it is clearly unsettling for Austria to have such a large force on her doorstep. Indeed there have been no public celebrations of peace in Austria.

Russia has formally told France she considers a Europe-wide peace depends on securing the integrity and possessions of the King of Naples and the restoration of the King of Sardinia. The Tsar declines to recognise the Treaty of Foligno whereby the King of Naples agreed his concessions with the French.

Sat 7th Nov 1801

Prussia has permitted the Courier du Bas Rhin to publish the notes from Russia to France, since they had earlier been published in Vienna:

26th April – The Tsar recognises the First Consul’s love of justice. He believes the First Consul has put an end to the system of rapine adopted by the Directory. He believes the harsh conditions agreed by the King of Naples (at Foligno) are too onerous. Russia insists on five articles as pre-conditions to peace negotiations.

Briefly, these are for the King of the Two Sicilies and the King of Sardinia to have their lands returned to them in the same condition as when they lost them. Talleyrand agreed to this but recent acts of the French government suggest he has been over-ruled. Neither the Treaty of Foligno nor the subsequent negotiations are recognised by Russia. They appear to abrogate the First Consul’s previous promise. Russia expects the First Consul to perform his promise and re-establish a general peace.

This message from Kalitcheff to Talleyrand was unanswered for days and a reminder was sent but no reply is shown.

Sat 7th Nov 1801

Napoleon’s troops in Egypt have complained to him that some commentators are saying they did not fight well at Aboukir. They resent and deny the charge. Napoleon replied “Soldiers, you are still the glorious children of the invincible 61st. I will seize the first opportunity of placing you in a situation to retrieve your characters … you will again be conquerors before you die.”

Sat 7th Nov 1801

The Diet of Ratisbon (the parliament of the German states of the Austrian Empire) has received an Imperial Commission from Vienna dated 26th June:

Your powers are limited and France is unlikely to accept them as a basis for negotiating with you. The proceedings at Rastadt a few years ago provide an example of what we expect to be the French attitude. You will recall France declined to commence talks until the Imperial delegation had Plenipotentiary powers. The Austrian Emperor must preserve his dignity. He will not delegate such powers to you.

On the contrary, you must delegate full powers to the Emperor or send a delegation with extraordinary powers provided by yourselves. You may choose to negotiate with France in the Diet yourselves, but I recommend that you adopt one of the first two choices. In any event, I expect you to resolve the differences with France and send up an agreement for my ratification.

Napoleon told Austria that the Diet must reach a conclusion about the territorial indemnities in forty days or risk 45,000 men entering the heart of Germany to enforce compliance of the Lunéville terms.

Sat 5th Dec 1801

Bonaparte’s redistribution of European territory is very complex. More than 500 ecclesiastical dignitaries in Germany will be dispossessed. The Electors of Mentz, Treves and Cologne are the largest losers. With the French taking the left bank of the Rhine, Treves became part of France in toto whilst Mentz and Cologne lose the best parts of their lands to France. These three Electors are all High Chancellors of the Empire. They have formerly obtained a good living levying tolls on the navigation of the Rhine through their lands. The French have so far suppressed forty toll stations on the river. The Elector of Mentz will lose £6,000 a year in toll fees.

There are also numerous small states owned by arch-bishops, bishops, abbeys and chapters. There used to be a myriad ecclesiastical states but, by the Treaty of Westphalia 1648, a good many were secularised. Nevertheless, there are still a large number of these land-owning priests who will all more or less resist the loss of their income.

On top of the natural difficulties, there are a few big predators complicating settlement. The King of Prussia wants Munster which presently belongs to the Elector of Cologne. The Austrian Emperor wants to bring Salzburg within his own dominions. But these desired acquisitions, if fulfilled, are insufficient for either of them to agree to all the other necessary changes. Russia and England will certainly want something too (George III sought for a piece of Belgium to enlarge Hanover at commencement of hostilities and the Tsar has property at Oldenburg and elsewhere). All four powers will have to be in agreement with France before the Papal lands can be re-distributed.

Napoleon would like to give the Breisgau to the Duke of Modena but Modena, whilst only 1,200 square miles in extent, is quite a little money-earner and the Duke will be devalued by the exchange. Its the same problem in Tuscany where, behind the Grand Duke, are numerous religious orders who own most Tuscan lands and resent being denied their rents. He is offered the kingdom of Franconia in exchange but becoming ‘His Majesty’ is small return for the loss of Florence.

The other two Princes who will be aggrieved are the King of Sardinia and the Prince of Orange. France will never allow the Sardinian King to return to Piedmont – its retention by France is vital to the underlying concept of buffer states securing frontiers – but Austria opposes giving Papal lands to the King of Sardinia, which would otherwise be the obvious quid pro quo. It is a problem.

The Prince of Orange is certain to receive a good exchange as he has Prussian and British support.

The key to settling the new land holdings is the Pope. If he could be divorced from his temporal power and refocused on Christ’s work, progress can be made. There is also the possibility of recovering Ottoman lands in S E Europe, which would be very helpful in appeasing the involved parties. No-one wants the Turks in Europe but unless there is a sufficient incentive for all the parties to agree, war will likely resume.

The Kings of Naples and Sardinia are visiting Vienna for help. If they cannot be satisfied by France, a third coalition is conceivable. Austria appears to be preparing for war. Many officers have been ordered to rejoin their regiments and the armies of Moravia and Bohemia are being reinforced.

At the Diet of Ratisbon it is said that, as a result of the French proposals, the German States of the Austrian Empire will lose 9% of their territorial area and 4,764,000 florins in annual revenue.

The Austrian negotiator at Paris, Count Cobenzl, has become frustrated with the many plans and counter-plans that Napoleon introduces. The Corsican is actually too clever at negotiations for Cobenzl to manage. He has already exposed Austria’s unwillingness to dispossess the Pope – that’s a major difficulty. Austria is also wary of the new throne in Tuscany that is offered to the Prince of Parma.

Austria will be pleased now Russia is requesting France to do justice to the Kings of Sardinia and Naples – that might simplify the difficulty in Vienna.

Tues 22nd Dec 1801 Extraordinary

The Elector of Bavaria has formally made peace with France and the Austrian Emperor is annoyed. He had expressly told the Electors to concert the negotiations under his own direction although they have a Constitutional right to make peace individually.

England and France continue to fight and negotiate at the same time. The threat of French invasion has caused the British to blockade the entire French and Dutch coast. Admiral Nelson commands in the Channel and Admirals Dixon and Graves cruise along the coast of Holland.

A powerful British flotilla of 12 capital ships and a frigate is preparing to sail on a secret mission.

Tues 22nd Dec 1801 Extraordinary

By August 1801 the French had assiduously collected a flotilla of small ships for the invasion of England. They come from all along the coast between La Havre and Dunkirk. Nelson has opposed them and cut out some boats from Boulogne. The French have been practising landing troops from boats at Brest.

Tues 22nd Dec 1801 Extraordinary

The French blockade and siege of Porto Ferrajo on Elba is disrupted. The three frigates conducting the blockade sailed away on 30th July on the arrival of a British squadron off Leghorn. The French ships took refuge under the batteries at Orbetello. The British fleet under Admiral Warren seized numerous ships near Piombino which were preparing to carry a French army across the straits to Elba. All Elba is in British hands and the French force at Longone is in trouble. The small British garrison at Porto Ferrajo has been able to hold-out against the French. If the British remain in this area, the French expedition for the recovery of Elba will exhaust its supplies and be forced to surrender.

Sat 2nd Jan 1802

London, 26th July – a renewed fear of invasion is stirring the country. The Lords Lieutenant of the maritime counties have removed all cattle and provisions from the coast to the interior. The principal landing places along the East coast have been reinforced. Many of the seized Dutch warships have been converted into floating batteries and placed strategically along the coast. No one is allowed to leave England for France or vice versa. The possibility of war on home soil is being brought into focus in England.

Sat 2nd Jan 1802

In the Netherlands the Batavian government has banned the entry of all English ships and people to Holland or Zeeland in order to shield the progress of their invasion plans from the enemy. English frigates blockading the mouth of the Scheldt have been stopping fishing vessels off the coast of Walcheren for information.

Sat 9th Jan 1802

The French have concentrated their forces in Italy at the Adige (except for the garrison at Naples). Vienna hopes they are to attack the Turkish lands to obtain possession of places that can be used in the re-organisation of Germany. To do so, they would have to cross Austrian lands and that is worrying the Emperor. Bonaparte has sought to avoid stirring-up a third coalition. If he enters Bosnia or Dalmatia or any other place inhabited by Slavs it will attract the Tsar’s criticism. He has to take care.

His major problem is the same as England’s – money. Some of the troops are not being paid timely – the mutiny at Turin on 12th July was caused by non-payment of wages. General Jourdain was put in charge of the Turin troops and he raised a loan of 300,000 livres on the Turin merchants, another on the Turin freeholders to twice their usual annual assessment and a third on the Receivers of the 17 old Provinces of Piedmont for 170,000 livres. He has also taken the balances held by the University, the Mint and the Tax Office. That seems to have met his needs and defused the problem for the time being. His future problem is that if the Turin people won’t pay or lend the money, he will have to give up the city to plunder, which will make the locals sullen and resentful. Not long ago he bestowed Liberty and Independence on Turin and to now loot the city is something he would rather avoid.

Sat 9th Jan 1802

In mid-July the French sent Beauvais and Garnerin as their first aeronauts to see if the transmission of dispatches by hydrogen balloon is workable. Beauvais is the man who offered to fly dispatches to Egypt after the debacle at Aboukir.

The intrepid men propose to drop letters whenever they pass over towns, requesting the receivers to put them in the post. In this way the French government expects to be kept appraised of their progress.

Sat 9th Jan 1802

London newspapers of 28th July have become jingoistic:

This threatened invasion by Bonaparte never seems to start. Is it a negotiating tactic? They have been celebrating peace in Paris throughout July but the invasion force is still being assembled on the coast. Napoleon’s attempt to enforce peace on the English is hopeless – we have never been able to tolerate the dictation of others. Even if he succeeds in landing a respectable force and obtaining some victories, who is there to talk with? Any Englishman who negotiated with an invader would be struck-down by the people. England cannot be defeated – we either win or we are extinguished.

Sat 23rd Jan 1802

Letter from Talleyrand to Bacher, his Charge d’Affaires at the German Diet:

Consequent to the 5th and 7th articles of Lunéville, Prussia opposes the appointment of a new Elector of Cologne (an Arch-bishopric) and Bishop of Munster and any other ecclesiastical appointment to fill vacancies made by death of the incumbent. France entirely agrees.

The secular states are ceding lands to France and indemnity is to be found in the ecclesiastical states. You will demand, in consequence of the Prussian note, that all elections to ecclesiastical positions in the Empire be deferred until the indemnities for the hereditary Princes have been settled.

This was agreed by the Diet at Ratisbon but Cologne protested on the grounds that the Bishop of Munster is not just any Elector, he is a Directorial Prince of the Circle. His position is fundamental and guaranteed in the Imperial Constitution. The validity of his claim is recited in Campo Formio. It has been recognised at Rastadt by former French Plenipotentiaries. He is a signatory to Lunéville and he says he cannot be dispossessed.

France disagrees. We have declared the election void in late September and will not recognise the new Archbishop.

Sat 30th Jan 1802

The Bavarian parliament reached the following conclusions in its sitting of 31st August 1801:

The 6th article of Lunéville cedes the left bank of the Rhine to France, same as the term settled by the Congress at Rastadt previously. The 7th article guarantees to indemnify secular princes for their territorial losses due to the 6th article. The process of indemnification relies on the secularisation of ecclesiastical lands in Germany. Indemnification involves measuring the land involved, its population and revenue and identifying some quid pro quo of similar proportions. The problem is the proportions – we do not want to end up with new states having discontiguous frontiers, a bit here and a bit there.

As regards the other points in dispute, Bavaria follows Brandenburg (Prussia).

Sat 30th Jan 1802

Russia and Sweden have made a 12-year treaty of trade and friendship that includes ‘free ships make free goods’ in its terms. Neutral ships may sail to the ports of belligerents. The goods of belligerents, when carried in neutral ships, are free (except contraband). Contraband is defined as arms and ammunition, saddles and bridles. A blockaded port is defined as a port that is dangerous to enter due to proximity of warships. Convoys may not be searched if the commander of the convoying warship certifies the convoy carries no contraband.

Sat 30th Jan 1802

Paris, 16th July – the National Council has expressed its sentiments concerning religion. They acknowledge and revere the divine right of the Pope; religion teaches a general respect for the world; they abhor principles that subvert social order and diminish faith in the evangelical precept; the church tends to promote peace amongst states and families.

Ministers of religion must give their fidelity to the national government and not to the Pope in Rome. They must actively and passively support the national Constitution.

The Minister of Police Fouché has instructed all departments on 9th November that priests may practice their profession freely provided they obey national laws. Some priests are in rebellion against the Republican government. They create discord and quarrels. You must all take care and isolate any priests who decline to obey the law.

Sat 30th Jan 1802

Pope Pius VII has written on 15th August 1801 to the French Catholic bishops (Royalists) resident in London. He says they must all resign their sees to accommodate the French Republican government.

“Your resignations will silence our critics and restore religion to France. Please send your answers to my man in London, Charles Erskine.”

Sat 13th Feb 1802

26th August, Edict of Prince Max Joseph – Bavaria has formerly been a Roman Catholic country. However, I can find no authority in the Constitution to limit religion to the Roman church. I now open the country to all religions. All magistrates are advised to permit the practice of any religion provided it complies with Bavarian law.

Sat 20th Feb 1802

Napoleon has disbanded his 1st regiment of artillery. It is the regiment that attacked the fort of Turin and killed its commander.

He has told the citizens of the new lands, west of the Rhine, that, under French administration, they will no longer be subjected to corvée labour or payment of tithes. All feudal obligations are abolished.

The priest and the landowner will for the first time also pay taxes and, as a result, taxes for the majority are reduced. Free commerce is opened to all. The tolls on river passage are cancelled.

These are some of the benefits of joining France. Instead of being a citizen of a small state you have become citizens of a leading state of Europe. You just have to learn our laws and forget the past.

Sat 20th Feb 1802

Prussia is unhappy with the peace treaty between France and England. The Prussian King expected Hanover would be added to his domains under the general peace terms, and has consistently told Paris of his expectation for the last three months – he does not want to wait for the detailed agreements. If he does not get his way, he says he will object to the cession of Dutch colonies in the Indies.

The French ambassador to Berlin has received instructions to solicit the Prussian military evacuation of Hanover but the Prussians seem intent on remaining there, at least until all the detailed negotiations are complete. This subject is reportedly left to Russia to settle.

There is also a question over navigation of the Scheldt. Britain and the Netherlands will wish to stop this alternative route into N W Europe but Belgium has come to depend on it. Many of the English and German merchants at Hamburg expect the opening of the Scheldt to change trade patterns. They are buying houses in Antwerp.

The Prince of Orange is to surrender his claims in the Netherlands and is likely to get Westphalia as indemnity. The Batavian Republic, House of Orange and the Prussian cabinet are the parties to this negotiation.

The French agreement with the Pope is that Roman Catholicism will be declared the state religion of France; public processions will require approval by the civil government; the Chief Consul is head of the French church; all the old Bishoprics are vacated and will be refilled by government; those new appointees are to promise fidelity to the state; three bishops are never to return to France – Cardinals Rohan and Montmorency and the Bishop of Arras. Catholics will be registered at their local church and pay 10% of their tax liability as a tithe to the church; France gets to appoint three Cardinals to the Vatican.

Sat 20th Feb 1802

The new Batavian Constitution has been accepted by the Dutch. Out of 416,419 voters, 52,219 opposed it. The French garrison at the Hague is being withdrawn to France.

Sat 20th Feb 1802

France has made an agreement with Russia on 8th October that is intended to prevent dissidents of one country from basing their seditious operations in the other.

Sat 6th March 1802

Talleyrand has been given plenipotentiary powers to settle peace terms with the Porte whose representative is Esseyd Ali. They have published their preliminary agreement on 9th October:

  • France evacuates Egypt and restores it to the Porte.
  • Any concessions that the Porte may make to other powers in respect of Egypt will be made available to France as well.
  • France recognises and guarantees the Republican Constitution of the ex-Venetian Islands and their lands on the mainland of Europe (in Albania).
  • Russia likewise gives its guarantee to the Islands.
  • Confiscations and sequestration of private property in war will be adjusted.
  • All political, commercial or military prisoners are to be freed by both sides.
  • The old treaties of friendship, commerce and navigation are renewed.

Sat 6th March 1802

Russia has evacuated its forces from the Venetian islands (mainly at Corfu). The Turks evacuated a few weeks ago. Once the island was given-up the inhabitants took over the government themselves.

On 22nd July a Turkish squadron arrived and the admiral asked to land but was told to come unarmed with very few colleagues. At the same time he was offered plentiful supplies of local produce to avoid offence.

Sat 6th March 1802

London editorial:

The ability of France to restore its former extensive commerce will be restrained by the need for capital and credit, neither of which are much available in France. In time capital will amass; if peace matures, credit will also become available. Recovery will take time.

The Dutch likewise will seek to restore their former prosperity and will doubtless compete in their former markets but we should not be anxious. At the outset of war, they managed to transfer a good part of their capital into British and American funds and their ability to raise credit on those investments is better than France’s.

Sat 6th March 1802

Nine ferry boats have been fitted-out at Brighton for the re-commencement of the Brighton / Dieppe route to Paris. The numbers of passengers expected is very great. London / Paris via Brighton / Dieppe is the fastest connection due to having the best roads and coaches.

Sat 6th March 1802

France and Russia have agreed peace terms, it was announced in Paris on 12th October.

Sat 6th March 1802

The Archduke Anthony is still proceeding with the Munster elections which he will overwhelmingly win. Count Schlick is going to Ahrenburg to act as Imperial Invigilator at the elections of 9th October.

On 20th October a Te Deum was sung in Munster Cathedral to commemorate Anthony’s victory. He is now Prince Bishop of Munster.

Berlin and Vienna are deeply interested in the matter which affects the overall settlement with France. It is said that Prussia has secured Archduke Anthony’s agreement to resign the Bishopric he has just won and postpone the election of a new Elector of Cologne. If true, this reveals that Prussia and Austria have overcome their differences. It seems to be confirmed by Prince Anthony’s abrupt departure from Schoenbrunn once Prince Charles had put his weight behind the vacation of office and postponement.

Sat 6th March 1802

Thirteen of the French Bishops resident in London (of Arras, Avranches, Montpelier, Moulins, Nantes, Narbonne, Nayon, Periguence, Rhodes, St Pol de Leon, Usez and Vannes) have written to the Pope in October replying to his demand for their resignations, dated 15th August.

They Protest the sacrifice of their Bishoprics. They aver that removing all the Bishops and Cardinals at the same time will cause chaos.

The Bishop of Aix, the senior French Bishop living in England, has not signed the Protest but has resigned in accordance with the Pope’s directive and others are expected to emulate him.

Citizen Gregoire, the Constitutional Bishop of Blois and one of the regicides, is at the head of a movement to confront the Pope over the resignations. He is one of the Bishops who could never expect reinstatement. There are only three Constitutional Bishops in France who have resigned as requested. The figures are better amongst the Catholic Bishops.

The Pope’s conditions for the admission of Constitutional Bishops to communion with the Roman Church are a written submission to the Pope, constant and complete agreement to Vatican policy in France, whatever it may be, and a written resignation of those positions they hold that were given without the Pope’s blessing.

The Pope has to get the agreement of the Bishops because France will not permit the re-entry of the priests until it has been done.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. One of Barthelemy’s Basel agreements.
  2. Spain has little domestic timber and has to import the requirements of her navy.
  3. This was an early indication of Napoleon’s ability to organise a government and, no doubt, put the legislators in Paris on their guard.
  4. These estates in the best bits of Italy were the source of great wealth to the Templars.
  5. The priest Barnaba Oriani had just calculated the orbit of Uranus. He was one of the most distinguished scientists of the period.
  6. See the Peace chapter for details of this astonishing plot.
  7. See the Asia chapter for Hobart’s exposé of loan-sharking at Madras.
  8. Many Dutchmen have publicly supposed it was not an Ambassador’s business to publish an opinion on their Constitutional arrangements.
  9. See the Asia chapter for the Company’s devious response to Hobart’s unwelcome disclosures. Harris’ appointment represents a brief triumph for the Indian army which is in dispute with the civil government over the extent of its political power.
  10. See the Ireland chapter for the abortive French invasion of that country
  11. Most Favoured Nation. A contractual term whereby a country allowing the MFN clause in a treaty agrees to give the recipient the same commercial advantages, in market access, Customs tariff and the like, as its ‘most favoured’ trading partner. It was intended to deny a country its preference amongst trading partners to counteract selectivity – an imperial device. Effectively the British were saying ‘if you trade with anyone you must also trade with us.’ Commercial treaties in Asia, Africa and South America with the MFN clause followed our military interventions.
  12. Formally to protect the Levant trade as the Venetians have hitherto done but actually in consideration of a French descent on British India via Egypt and the Red Sea consequent on FrancoDutch failure to recover the Cape. If that fails, the possessions will still be useful to France in policing the sea route to Alexandria and to the Black Sea and protecting the grain cargoes of Egypt, the Levant and the productions of southern Poland which can be river-carried to the Black Sea.
  13. A preponderance of MPs place their confidence in the minister and attend the House for the cut and thrust of debates – its an entertainment. There are some ten MPs who are genuinely independent and they continue to attend. They have not interested historians much. Edwards is one who appears briefly in the next article. Joseph Hume, who came along a little later, is another who achieved political effect merely by publishing the ministry’s activities. Astonishingly, his biography “The Peoples’ MP” came out only in 1985! It is the result of diligent research by its American authors, Ronald Huch and Paul Ziegler. John Nicholls MP is another whose Recollections have just emerged from an archive, courtesy of Google Books.
  14. The fate of the Royalist conspirators that England financed to win elections in the Primary Assemblies and replace the Republican government.
  15. See the Peace chapter for full details of the amusing negotiations at Lille.
  16. Formerly Lord Hawkesbury and father of Robert Banks Jenkinson, the great proponent of City interests.
  17. In the French view, Jay’s Treaty leaves America with the costs and work of administering the Federal and State governments while giving England the profits of their productions. Its an improved form of colonisation such as became popular in China and elsewhere in the 19th and 20th centuries.
  18. This results in part from anomalies in map-making using the 16th century Mercator projection that makes lines of longitude parallel. North America, Europe and Russia are smaller than projected. Conversely Africa, straddling the Equator, really is as big as it looks.
  19. Shortly before his departure, Shore sold a huge amount of India Company receivables to the Calcutta Agency Houses to meet London’s requirement for specie. These receivables were mainly the annual payments squeezed out of Oudh. It was the proximate cause of the recent cash-flow difficulties in British India. The Agencies later had difficulty collecting payment from Oudh – see the Asia chapter.
  20. This appears to be a confused account of the murder of General Davout in Rome.
  21. The British colony of Corsica has become disorderly and an alternative naval base in the western Mediterranean is requisite.
  22. Another reference to the Stadtholder’s letter written at Kew to Dutch colonial Governors to hand-over their colonies to British forces.
  23. The reference to Lille and a coup d’Etat concerns the attempt of the Bourbons, fronted by the British diplomat Malmesbury (Harris), to obtain a congenial treaty of peace by deception. The sting is mentioned in detail in the Peace chapter below.
  24. It appears the participants at the Congress voted not to press England as that country had declined to attend, not wishing to have her territorial conquests thrown into the pot. The cause of Russian absence is not apparent.
  25. With hindsight, it seems Barthelemy’s wonderful facility in effecting peace with the German states, Prussia and Austria was merely a prelude to the bad faith negotiations with Britain which intended the removal of the Republican government. His defection to the Royalists seems to support this.
  26. Irritating for the Portuguese. They have annoyed France at British behest; now they are devalued by the commercial people they helped.
  27. Britain has loaned £3 millions to Vienna secured on the revenues of Belgium. Belgium is worth £6 millions a year totally. Lansdowne assumes that the loan is a step in the transfer of sovereignty of Belgium to the House of Brunswick.
  28. Blockade is the big naval money-spinner. The frigates wait outside a port until a merchant ship comes in or out. British smugglers are not inconvenienced; all others are arrested. The sale of arrested ships and cargoes contributes to national income through the prize system, hence Grenville’s promotion of it – win, win.
  29. See the Economy chapter for the national financial difficulties of this period – the government’s bonds have sunk below 50 and City bankers require additional security whilst other City merchants are promoting voluntary subscriptions to supplement the national revenue.
  30. Shortly after this failure Smith, Wright and an émigré held with them were transferred from the Temple to another gaol. Their carriage was stopped in the street, apparently by a coincidental commotion, and they escaped. Smith is fluent in French. They were guided to Le Havre by Royalist sympathisers and arrived there after 8 days. They boarded a fishing boat, were picked up by HMS Argo (Bowen) and all three brought to Portsmouth. On arrival an express was sent to Earl Spencer who met them in London. Smith is a ministry insider. Later, in the Mediterranean, a colleague says Smith told him he has Dundas’ licence to ‘do anything’.
  31. Wiscowich is a Venetian and is described in Barras’ memoirs as a scoundrel
  32. The Franc was legislatively defined in 1795 as 5 grams of an alloy containing 90% silver. Up to 5 Franc coins were minted in this silver alloy; larger denominations were in gold with the ratio of value being set at 15:1, silver to gold. The Louis d’Or was a 25 Franc gold coin.
  33. Malta is not self-sufficient in food and relies on imports, mostly from Sicily.
  34. A licensed trade with the enemy continued throughout the war, although it is normally associated only with the final years when it ballooned under Perceval and was managed on daily basis by Canning who personally assumed control of British foreign trade. The licences were made transferrable to create a market in them. About 18,000 a year were issued.
  35. This appears to be the root of Napoleon’s subsequent coup d’Etat. The politicians in Paris briefed him that the Porte welcomed French assistance in removing the Mamalukes and restoring his Egyptian income. It fitted perfectly with Napoleon’s own ideas – access to Egyptian agricultural surpluses which would then flow to France and, in the course of doing so, he was halfway to India to end the Company’s financial support to England and deny George III a refuge. He also soon learned of the Directory’s failure to honour Campo Formio which represented his thoughtful formula of buffer states to end repeated European wars.
  36. Most of Piedmont belongs to the Church.
  37. Napoleon had to deal with a two-pronged Turkish attack – one coming down the coast from Syria and Palestine and this one in English transports from Rhodes which he defeated at Aboukir.
  38. The clearest indication that British ship commanders fight harder.
  39. See the Asia and Afghanistan chapters for better particulars of Zemaun’s attempt to reinstate the Mughal Raj.
  40. In the French newspapers he is called ‘that despicable hireling of the Bourbons.’
  41. See the Economy chapter for this matter, forced on Pitt by his creditors, the City stock-brokers and bankers.
  42. A good part of the Egyptian antiquities that were sent back to France in the frigate Sensible in 1798 under the care of General Baraguay d’Hilliers were captured by HMS Seahorse and the artefacts came into the possession of Britain. The French frigate was later purchased by the Navy Board.
  43. One of Cobbett’s monarchical rants.
  44. VOC = Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, the Dutch East India Company.
  45. France is divided administratively into 80 Departments.
  46. Tarleton has been increasingly critical of the ministry in the Commons. His acceptance of this overseas posting will please cabinet members.
  47. Denmark has an ancient right to the toll collected at Elsinore on shipping passing the Sound in / out of the Baltic, however the Bombay Courier Editor later says this matter does not involve the Sound Dues, as they are called, but taxes on cargo ships entering Baltic Rivers that connect with the Rhine. They are levied by the House of Holstein (and recognised in the German Constitution) which declines to surrender them. They are also collected by the Circle of Lower Saxony which is directed by the combined Courts of Denmark and Prussia. The place of collection is the confluence of the Rivers Stor and Elbe. The principal beneficiary is the Count of Oldenburg who is presently the King of Denmark. He shares the revenues of the Duchy of Holstein with the Grand Duke of Russia – they are both Electors of the Austrian Empire. There were then four Grand Dukes of Russia – Alexander Pavlovich later Tsar Alexader I, Nikolai later Nicholas I, and the infants Constantin and Mikhail. I do not know which one was the beneficiary of this Baltic trade tax but it was probably Alexander or in his gift.
  48. The liberal Whigs have resumed their seats in the new Parliament.
  49. The national creditors require the ministry to increase its revenue to better secure their loans now the 3% consols have dropped to half their face value.
  50. His name should be better known – Sir G P Turner of Battlesden, Bedford. This tax is actually an Assets Tax requiring 10% of the notional income available from all one’s assets – house, horses, carriages, jewellery, shares, etc.
  51. Something Sir Home Popham has long been saying – see the chapter dedicated to that officer.
  52. See ‘Fiat Money Inflation in France’, A D White 1914 and ‘Monarchy or Money Power’, R McNair Wilson 1933 for accounts of Napoleon’s sustainable financial policy. It was inevitably feared by the British who had opted for debt finance.
  53. George III as Elector Hanover is a party to the proceedings, but the ministry has declined to attend to preserve its territorial acquisitions from trading.
  54. The Tsar seems to be pursuing Catherine’s policy to procure Russian occupation of Greece as a route of access to the Mediterranean. The Tsar already has a long coastline on the Black Sea and is getting close to effecting Catherine’s vision. He says British occupation of Malta is a breach of the 1798 Convention between the two countries.
  55. See the Prize-taking chapter.
  56. The disposal of the Danish fleet, most of which is prize to Parker’s force, is unmentioned
  57. Napoleon has recognised the power that the clergy have over many of the people and invited Cardinal Spina to Paris to agree the means of rehabilitating French Catholicism under state rather than Papal control.
  58. Spanish state papers allege the British infected Cadiz early in August to make their intended invasion easier. The invasion is a joint operation led by Admiral Keith’s squadron and General Abercromby with 20,000 men. The Spanish say they have inadequate men for defence due to the epidemic. They say the English are heartless. Admiral Keith demanded the surrender of all warships in Cadiz harbour. He will allow the crews and officers to remain but will take the ships in prize. He is preventing fishermen from obtaining seafood for Cadiz. He left a frigate outside Cadiz for communications.
  59. Interestingly, it is the British Army that even today operates the Customs service between Gibraltar and Spain.
  60. The Company’s own flag is white with seven red horizontal bars and the British Union flag in a canton in the upper right corner.
  61. That is what it says. It seems to have been a term for an immoral woman.
  62. Pitt’s dispute with the King is overtly over Catholic emancipation although H M must be appalled at the murder of Tsar Paul (by the Hanoverian Bennigsen) and his minister’s prior knowledge of it – George is fighting for monarchy not against it.
    Pitt actually resigned several days before Tsar Paul’s murder. The Tsar had become Francophil since January. This loss of monarchical confidence may have precipitated a recurrence of the King’s illness. He seems obsessive about his power.
  63. Later located by HMS Concorde in the southern approaches to the Channel.
  64. The British say French prisoners, returned to France on their parole, have been inducted into the French fishing fleet on the Great Banks – they thus characterised the fishing fleet as a military fleet.
  65. Acts disabling Catholics and dissenters. The 1661 Corporation Act required all members of incorporated towns to be Anglicans and pay tithes; the 1673 Test Act required all government and military posts to be filled by Anglicans; This was extended to include parliamentarians in 1678. The Acts were repealed only after George III’s death. Its interesting to note that Britain’s new industrial towns were formed where the Test and Corporations Acts did not apply – Manchester, Birmingham, etc., – presumably because there was no religious discrimination nor tithe (tenth) due to the church in such places.
  66. This may be a reference to George III’s indisposition or, less conceivably, Minister Pitt over-ruled his Master. There can be no doubt that Privy Councillors found George III too powerful and intransigent to work with as their subsequent emasculation of the monarchy by withholding its money attests to. The institution instantly declined after George’s sickness and death.
  67. This reveals the full import of the King’s illness. He has been the linchpin between the Royalist French and the British and the linchpin between Austria and England through his role in both Empires. His Hanoverian diplomats are said to be the most diligent and peripatetic in Europe. No wonder his sickness and / or disagreement with Pitt has had such a dramatic effect
  68. The European opposition to making prize of Neutral ships was the social one – preventing the supply of necessaries to a country caused distress to the people more than to the enemy’s forces. It was an extension of war into the home and against non-combatants, a move towards total war.
  69. A more appropriate comparison than the usual British one – with the Duke of Wellington!
  70. France had accused America of submitting to illegality in permitting US merchant ships to be searched; the Secretary replied that America must submit to the rights of belligerents.
  71. They also discount the Bills. At least a quarter of face value is lost in transit.
  72. Sir William Grant, the Solicitor-General, left office with Pitt – this uncompromising speech must be by his replacement Spencer Perceval.
    The ‘Stop & Search’ operations and prizetaking continue and Napoleon chooses to continue the former government’s policy of shutting England out of European trade. UK may have all the world’s production but France controls the markets – England will be denied her European buyers to elicit a willingness to compromise. It is similar to the Canton Viceroy’s solution in 1840 (see the China chapter) to end English China trade until they recognise that the interests of both seller and buyer should be consulted. Both French and Chinese initiatives failed in the same way – bypassed by bribery and smuggling. It is a perennial truism that trade always finds a way.
  73. Dundas was himself directing the land forces in the council but the navy fights harder because the incentive of personal reward implicit in prize-taking is more readily realised at sea than on land. The troops have to capture enemy soldiers and public goods in towns for their prizes.
  74. The result reveals a doubling of opposition support due to some floor-crossing and the introduction of the Irish MPs.
  75. To obtain Irish agreement to close their parliament and endorse the United Kingdom project.
  76. The Company’s representation throughout Ottoman and Persian lands derive from its partial assumption of the political functions of the defunct Levant Company which was only finally dissolved in 1825. The King appointed the ambassador at Constantinople and the Company appointed consuls in the trading ports.

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