Europe 1802-1804 – part 4

Sat 6th March 1802

A Danish fleet with troops and goods is about to sail from Copenhagen to West Indies to repossess the colonies we took from Denmark in the war. The British ministry has agreed to their restoration but details are unavailable.

Sat 6th March 1802

Cornwallis has received a flattering invitation from Napoleon to visit Paris before attending the peace talks at Amiens.

General Lauriston, Napoleon’s aide-de-camp, has been well received in London with testimonials of esteem from Addington’s ministry. Addington told Lauriston that this peace agreement was not any ordinary thing but an agreement between the two foremost powers in the World.

Wed 10th March 1802 Extraordinary

The euphoria induced by peace is subsiding in England and in its place is a uncomfortable feeling that we have made a bad deal with France. Lord Romney has told parliament that we gained the security of our lands, laws, Constitution and religion at the cost of everything else.

Napoleon is trying to improve the overall appearance from the British standpoint. He will respect our preferences for the integrity of Portugal which country had otherwise appeared likely to become a province of Spain. A new treaty done at Badajoz annuls the former Treaty of Madrid in this respect.

The French proposal to limit Portuguese Guyana to the line of the Amazon has upset many in London and Talleyrand has conceded that the old frontiers may continue as before.

Wed 10th March 1802 Extraordinary

Lord Bolton[191] has responded to the King’s Address in the Lords:

He said the French attempt to insist on a naval armistice; to insist on separate peace negotiations with each power in alliance against her, were tactics that deeply threatened British interests had they been acceded to.

Our allies inevitably did so and regret it but we declined those proposals and embarked on a glorious campaign of naval battles that induced Napoleon to offer better terms.

Lord Lisford concurred.

Fox told the Commons he was delighted. Only Windham, on behalf of the war-hawks, made gloomy predictions of the likely consequences of peace. His concerns were refuted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Wed 10th March 1802 Extraordinary

The House of Lords has debated the peace in a motion to consider its response to the King’s Address:

Grenville commended the peace preliminaries to parliament.

Pelham (Thomas Pelham, 2nd Earl of Chichester, MP for Sussex – he sits in both Houses) disagreed in detail.

Thurlow said opposition to the peace terms was based on hearsay and was unreliable.

Grenville asked for copies of the French treaties with Portugal and Spain but got no support.

Romney said France had now repudiated those principles of equality that we found objectionable. It was correct for the ministry, once abandoned by all its allies, to sue for peace. We did not enter the war for aggrandisement and we should return the territories we have conquered.

We have imitated Chatham in 1763 – once he attained the British objective of getting France out of North America, he willingly restored French colonies east and west.

Now France has repudiated the Revolutionary principles of equality and atheism, we are satisfied. The threat of democracy infecting our own country has receded. Our lands, laws, Constitution and religion are safe. All other things are secondary and may readily be sacrificed on the altar of peace.

Limerick deplored those politicians who categorised the peace as humiliating. It was better than the agreements made by our erstwhile continental partners. Our old friend the Prince of Orange, who for two centuries has been the champion of civil and religious liberty, may fade into history. His decline derived from the acts of the continental powers and was not due to England.

The great unspoken benefit for England is the pacifying effect the peace will have in Ireland. Many Irishmen supposed the concessions we made to them derived from weakness whereas we can now show them they were due to our magnanimity.

Spencer (a war-party insider) apprehended great danger in the peace terms. He did not trust Napoleon. He hoped the country would continue to maintain a strong military and naval establishment for the time being.

The Royal Duke of Clarence extolled British military and naval commanders. He thought Ceylon and Trinidad were sufficient retentions for our merchants. A great difficulty after the American War in 1783 had been populating our colonies in the West Indies. We could never properly exploit all the places we had taken simply because there was a lack of Britons willing to work as expatriates in the colonies, he recalled.

Lord Keith thought the retention of the Cape would have disadvantaged England so good riddance.

Pelham noted that when we had previously talked peace in 1796 / 97, France was in command of most of Europe (as she is now) and still promoted the Revolutionary ideals of equality, etc. The present terms were similar to those discussed by Malmesbury in 1796 but the great advantage is that France has abjured the promotion of equality.[192] The matter of Portugal was unclear as the terms of the new treaty at Badajoz were uncertain and would have to be discussed at the definitive talks.

Our stipulation for French evacuation of southern Italy was to protect the Porte’s domains in the Balkans. Pelham said there had never been the slightest intention in London to retain Egypt once the French had been removed. Our policy is to support the Porte not supplant him. As regards Malta, France had agreed to its restoration to the Knights Templar under a Russian guarantee. That is satisfactory to England. All the publicity about the importance of retaining colonies originated with the merchants and was irrelevant to the great national object of security at home.

Nelson said as long as Malta was not French there would be no difficulty in the Mediterranean. He thought the peace terms generally good.

A vote was then taken on the King’s Address announcing peace (i.e. a vote for or against peace on the terms revealed in the Address) and approved 114 / 10

Wed 10th March 1802 Extraordinary

The same debate was held in the Commons on 3rd Nov.

Hawkesbury (the promoter of national trade and exponent of City views) made a broad review of the situation to which Pitt added his opinion:

He said the war had taken 9 years. It had cost this country £200 millions and oceans of blood. The peace would make no change in the attitudes prevalent in France. French energy and resources are as great as they have ever been. Not one of the proposed terms of peace is entirely satisfactory to this country’s interests.

At the commencement of the Revolution, France professed policies that were most dangerous to us. It has now abandoned many of those ideas. The main concern is the continental situation – is it really expedient to change the boundaries so extensively?

After two coalitions had failed, I myself would have prevaricated at forming a third, but others may disagree.

We cannot alone influence French re-drawing of the frontiers. The only powers adequately strong for us to coalesce with are Austria, Prussia and Russia. Austria still has the resources and power but is reluctant; Prussia has not amended her policy of neutrality for several years; Russia is uninterested in alliances of this nature. It follows that we cannot bear the load alone and must make peace.

The problem is that France is a great land power whilst we are a great sea power. We can only injure France in her ports and trade (we have already occupied her colonies); she can only injure us by denying us access to her market. The invasion of these British islands is a difficult thing. It was never a serious concern in my belief.

French policy has been to invade the lesser powers and thus place herself on the frontiers of the bigger powers and bring her influence to bear in that way. What can England do about that? Its only when France needs to cross the sea that we can grapple with her.

There has been a tendency in England to advert to our financial difficulties and undervalue our resources whilst concurrently overvaluing those of France. These people place small value on the colonies we have occupied. The popular wish for peace overwhelms all thoughtful consideration. We have to accede to it and this is a unique situation for a British parliament.

As regards Britain’s duty to her allies, there was only one power which took a consistent position with us – Turkey. For her we have obtained peace and French recognition of her integrity. We have a French renunciation of dominion over the ex-Venetian Islands (to which France had a claim conceded by the Austrians under Campo Formio). If those islands had been ceded to France or Austria, that might have signalled the break-up of the Ottoman Empire.

Our other allies desired us to release them from their treaty obligations:

  • Naples agreed not to make a separate peace and then did so. She invited French warships into her ports and excluded ours. She allowed French troops in to attack ours. We were so incensed we could have declared war on Naples.
  • Portugal sought to abrogate her treaties with us and exclude our shipping from her ports whilst admitting the ships of France. The Treaty of Badajoz was made with France and Spain but only ratified by the latter. We required France to make no further demands on Portugal after Badajoz.
  • As regards the Stadtholder, we have no formal obligations. In 1787 we guaranteed (jointly with Prussia) the independence of the House of Orange. We made many efforts to assist the Stadtholder under that obligation while Prussia did nothing. It is true we assisted in the replacement of the House of Orange on the Dutch throne but the Stadtholder had by then been expelled. If Prussia had been prepared to perform its agreement we might have done more. We did not follow-up because the alternative of his indemnification came into agitation, the terms of which will be contained in the definitive treaty.
  • As regards Sardinia, that King abrogated his engagements to England when he made a treaty with France and surrendered his forts to her.

I next consider cession of territory. If a country is powerful, an unlimited accession of new lands is not advantageous. She can obtain access to the productions and markets of new lands by virtue of her existing power. France has gained power on the continent but it is not proportional to her increased extent. Both Dumouriez and Carnot are on record as opining that the extension of France to the Rhine actually weakens her. You should compare this with our loss of America which has resulted in a vastly increased trade with this country to our mutual benefit. The evil of aggrandisement is apparent in all those European colonies where little of the land is turned to productive use – where the size of the local economy depends on the quantity of our shipping serving the area.

The possession of the Cape is said by some to be the key to Asia – that is nonsense. We have a powerful navy which we can send anywhere and if France chooses to occupy the Cape we can disrupt her shipping in and out of that port whenever we wish to do so. The commercial advantages that France might derive from the Cape are presently inconsiderable – it is a garrison town, a stop on the way. She gets better value from Mauritius and Minorca.

The latter is the place that is lost first in every war. Its possession is supposed to support trade with the Levant but if one has an inadequate Mediterranean fleet it cannot be retained and if one has an adequate fleet, why pay for Minorca’s administration and protection? Britain’s entire trade with Minorca throughout this war totals £120,000. If one says Minorca provides a base from which to supply Southern Europe one ignores the established ability of the southern Europeans to supply themselves. Minorca naturally and geographically belongs to one or other of them.

As regards the supply trade of northern Europe, that is not in our possession but lies with the Dutch who have the inland waterways to make connections. England has always quarantined shipping from the Levant whereas Holland allows it in without health regulation. This makes Amsterdam more attractive to the Levant merchants than London. The Dutch get the benefits of scale and the lower prices.

Pitt said he and his colleagues had done their best and availed themselves of every opportunity that was presented to them to improve the British position. We should continue a plan of rational moderation, of prudence and conciliation, and this peace will last long.

Once the second coalition was dissolved there remained nothing for us to do but seek for peace for ourselves and our sole ally (Turkey) on the best terms available. A minister should try for the terms that his country is entitled to but he may accept lesser terms, consistent with honour and independence, rather than risk the resumption of fighting. That is what we did. We do not insist on increasing our Empire. Our insistence was on obtaining the best security for the future by maintaining our maritime strength and commercial activity. Our concerns lie in the West and East Indies and in the Mediterranean. In two out of three of these areas we have got all we want and in the Mediterranean we recognise that it is not a foremost area for our concerns.

Portugal’s loss of the province of Olivenza (south of Badajoz) to Spain is of no moment. The geography of that area shows Olivenza is naturally a part of Spain. The later treaty (which France did not ratify) gave more of Portugal (the Kingdom of the Algarve) to Spain. It was our interpositioning that relieved Portugal of greater loss.

As regards the Stadtholder our obligation to him derives from the Treaty discussions at Lille in which we agreed a pecuniary compensation for him. The King of Prussia is obtaining it for him. Such a matter can hardly be of moment in a treaty for the pacification of the entire world.

Some say we should have kept all our territorial acquisitions as a counter-balance to the increased extent and power of France. There is really no danger to Britain from France. We have great resources and great ability to compete successfully, both industrially and commercially. Those islands we have returned were valuable for our commerce and finance but hardly comparable to the integrity of Naples, Sardinia and Portugal. France no longer controls that immense line of European coast and the return of a few islands is a small price to pay for her removal. The commercial men put their faith in buying wealth but it is always a ruinous bargain. Those foreign colonies, whose peoples are inured to dislike us, would require years of conciliating to become productive in our interest.

All-in-all, Pitt concluded, it is a good deal and he recommends it to the House. He had personally hoped for the restoration of the French monarchy but that was not available and the Republican government had now settled down satisfactorily. Democracy has been contained and frustrated. France was indeed greater but he was confident that British spirit combined with our commercial reach and overwhelming navy would be an adequate match for France. In the interim we have given a lucid warning to Ireland and incorporated it into our home islands, we have consolidated and extended our hold on India and we have glorified our naval reputation. It is enough.

Wed 10th March 1802 Extraordinary

London papers, 10th – 12th November:

  • Thomas Jackson is appointed minister to Paris with Plenipotentiary powers and Francis Webb will assist him as Chargé d’Affaires. Jackson was previously at Turin. The couple will assist Cornwallis in the Amiens negotiations.
  • Sir Sidney Smith turned up at the Admiralty yesterday wearing Turkish dress. He had a brace of pistols in his belt. He’s a funny chap. He was very cheerful.
  • The new republic of the Seven Islands (Corfu to Zante down the Greek coast) has revealed that the people of Zante wish to secede. They have important trade with England that is threatened by the policy of the new Republic and they do not want to lose it. They ask for British protection. Elgin went there and had the English flag taken down from the citadel. We have refused their request.
  • In an astonishingly quick return to normality, 359 British merchant ships have now passed the Sound without convoy and entered the Baltic.
  • A most violent confrontation occurred at Porto Ferrajo on Elba between the English garrison and the French besiegers before the armistice was notified. We await details.

Wed 10th March 1802 Extraordinary

Cornwallis was well received at Calais when he landed. At the Silver Lion Hotel, where he is temporarily staying, he was honoured by a guard of 50 men from the 57th demi-brigade of grenadiers and a piquet of the 20th horse chasseurs. The hotel owner Durocq had decorated and illuminated the hotel beautifully. A poem was incorporated into a transparency over the entrance:

Pour montrer qu’il veut sincerement la Paix,

Albion fait un choix que plait a tous en France,

En vous voyant Milord, nous avons l’esperance

Que ce bien fait des dieu peut dure à jamais.

Cornwallis was too tired to see anyone that evening but a formal reception occurred the next day. He then left for Boulogne accompanied by his son Lord Brome, his son-in-law Mr Singleton, Lt Colonels Littlehailes & Nightingale, Mr Moore, three King’s Messengers and 16 servants. A part of his suite had earlier gone on to Paris.

Sat 20th March 1802

French military tactics are often unanswerable because of their superb use of artillery. Every foot battalion of 1,000 men is attended by a squadron of horse or light artillery sufficient for one battery (4 x 8-pounders and 2 x 6” howitzers). Each battalion also receives some pieces of light or heavy ordnance, depending on availability. The 8-pounders enable a French battalion to destroy whole lines of enemy infantry at great distance. The 6” howitzers throw a grenade a similar distance and are particularly effective against horses. The French horse artillery executes its movements so quickly it leaves all other armies behind. It is particularly effective in attacking batteries.

Sat 27th March 1802

Rose, Pitt’s patronage organiser at the Treasury, has written a book. One of the London papers has reviewed it:

Pitt is criticised for the unconstitutional acts of his ministry but Rose says the laws against sedition redeemed the country from the democrats and the Suspension of Habeas Corpus Act, which so excited the liberals, only incarcerated 4-5 profligate wretches under its terms. Mr Rose’s book is very forgiving of Pitt.

He explains Pitt’s financial policy. Rose was long at the Treasury and understood its functions. He is persuasive on financial matters but not on anything else.[193]

Sat 27th March 1802

Napoleon is an extraordinary man. From his first appearance at Toulon to his return from Egypt, he has consistently outperformed his opponents. The ease with which he dissolved the Republic of Venice, that oldest and most treacherous of governments, is indicative of his genius. His evasion of our fleets on his return from Egypt and avoidance of the Turkish forces sent against him, suggest he has some magical protection.

The English often say he is a usurper but that’s due to the influence of the émigrés on the opinions of our ruling class. In fact he came to power in a bloodless coup d’etat and has little to be ashamed of. The Directory had by that time become obnoxious to all France.

Bonaparte simply removed them before anyone else had the chance to do so. He derives his authority from within the French legal structure – he is not a usurper.

Sat 3rd April 1802

While the Convention of Hohenlinden was being agreed, General Lahorie and Field Marshal Lannes chided the Austrian Count Lehrbach at the loss of dignity that Austria sustains by making war financed by England.

Lehrbach was irritated – “the Austrian soldiers are not mercenaries, it is a loan,” he said. Lannes replied “and you pay the interest with arms and legs”.

Sat 3rd April 1802

London editorial promoting eternal war:

The French Revolution has altered the established forms of European society but has made relatively little change in the situations of England and France. Smollet’s History of England, published during the Seven Years War in 1760, notes at Vol 5, Page 374 that:

“War, which naturally impedes the traffic of other nations, has opened new sources to the merchants of Great Britain. The superiority of her naval power has crushed the navigation of France, her great rival in commerce, so that she now supplies, on her own terms, all those foreign markets in which, in time of peace, she was undersold by that dangerous competitor.”

Thus British trade was augmented to a surprising pitch and this augmentation alone enabled the country to maintain the war at such an enormous expense.

As this advantage will cease when the French are at liberty to re-establish their commerce, and prosecute it without molestation, it would be in the interest of Great Britain to be at war with that neighbour continually, provided the contest could be limited to the operation of a sea war in which England would always be invincible and victorious.

Sat 3rd April 1802

A London Editor’s comment on the new taxes:

In 1491, Henry VII, on the pretext of a French war, issued an arbitrary tax on his people called a ‘benevolence’. It had existed earlier and been abolished by Richard III but Henry re-introduced it. It was supposed to be voluntary but was collected with menaces and extortion. The victims were generally the merchants who were then beginning to accumulate surplus wealth.

Henry’s Chancellor of the Exchequer was Archbishop Morton. He instructed the collectors to employ a dilemma (now called ‘Morton’s Fork’) – if the target lived frugally, they were to say that parsimony had enriched him; if the target lived in luxury, they were to recognise his opulence and deal with him accordingly.

Sat 3rd April 1802

The young wild man found recently in the forests of Tarn in France is reportedly the fifteenth savage found in Europe since 1554.

Secard, the French instructor of deaf and dumb children, is teaching the boy but after 9 months he has only succeeded in three tasks – getting the boy to wear some light clothes; eating cooked instead of raw food and sitting in a chair instead of squatting.

Sat 3rd April 1802

The British merchant fleet (excluding boats under 20 tons) now amounts to over 7 million tons.

Sat 10th April 1802

Cornwallis has arrived at Amiens via Paris together with Joseph Bonaparte. The Congress has begun. It is not expected to take long. Jackson has been sent as Minister Extraordinary and Webb as Secretary of Legation, and they are instructed to also settle the commercial treaty that will likely follow.

Cornwallis is getting the special treatment from the French. Everywhere he is fêted with guards-of-honour and military parades very much like the First Consul gets. No such extent of courtesy has previously been extended to a foreign ambassador. He is also receiving congratulations and notices of respect from the French people.

Sat 10th April 1802

Spain has formally acceded to the AngloFrench peace agreement and Sweden and Denmark have acceded to the agreement made with the Russian Tsar. The French and Dutch are preparing ships to recover their former colonies in East and West Indies. They will depart once the definitive treaty has been concluded and ratified.

Admiral de Winter is rumoured to have been appointed Dutch Governor of Cape Province. Cornwallis is expected to get a Dukedom for his services at Amiens.

Sat 10th April 1802

Louis XVIII remains at Warsaw under the protection of the King of Prussia. He is living at the palace of the sister of the late King of Poland.

Sat 10th April 1802

The peacetime establishment of the British army has been fixed at 27 regiments of Light Dragoons, 1 regiment of Hussars, 101 regiments of infantry, 6 regiments of black troops and 60 companies of invalids.

Seventeen of the infantry regiments (each 1,200 men) are to be stationed in India. The others will be reduced to 750 men.

This is all independent of the Horse and Foot Guards, the artillery, the Wagon Corps and the Staff Corps which comprise some 20 battalions making the total establishment about 160 battalions, exclusive of the Marine Corps.

Sat 10th April 1802

England and Russia are said to have conferred the sovereignty of Malta on the Pope.

Sat 10th April 1802

Hanover was evacuated by Prussian troops in November. The home forces again garrison the towns of Brunswick, etc.

Sat 10th April 1802

Bonaparte has permitted the return of several exiled émigré nobles at the request of the Russian Tsar.

Sat 10th April 1802

The Prince of Orange has submitted a Memorial to the British ministry detailing the circumstances under which he came to England, his inability to return to Holland due to recent agreements, and his consequent reliance on the British King for his future employment.

He hopes his position will be settled in the coming discussions at Amiens. He then left England for Germany where it is supposed he will be provided for territorially.

Sat 10th April 1802

Amiens – the Plenipotentiaries met on 12th December but everything is surrounded in impenetrable fog. It is said the principal points are already settled although what they are and how they have been settled is unknown. It is a mystery.

The Dutch and Spanish Plenipotentiaries have now arrived. They will all join together for a dinner and entertainment on 14th December.

Sat 17th April 1802

Cornwallis is an unsophisticated straightforward chap. Generally the Parisians would be unimpressed by him but he is receiving every honour. He has dined with Bonaparte and has been to Mme Bonaparte’s estate several times. He is not a subtle negotiator. It is a pleasure to see an embassy bereft of cunning.

Sat 24th April 1802

On 22nd November 1801 Bonaparte published his State of the Republic address:

The south and west of France is still troubled by rebels. They infest the highways and devastate the farms. Our large armed force is unable to get good information on the rebels because they have put the people in fear. On the few occasions we have caught and tried some rebels, they have shocked the Court, the witnesses and the jurors by their violence and disrespect for the rule of law. We have created Special Tribunals to act more effectively against these people. In recent hearings the witnesses were no longer dumb, the Judges construed the law and society was avenged. The problem is diminishing. Between May 1800 and September 1801, 780 sentences have been passed by the Special Tribunals. Of these 19 were rejected as improper by the Court of Cassation.

The liberty of conscience was proclaimed by your Government at its inception. This act calmed many Frenchmen who had been outraged by prior acts. Religious dissension has ended and we have agreed with the Pope to reinstate Catholicism as the national religion. Our magistrates, who now have power in religious affairs, have attended to the rights of religious minorities – the Calvinists and Lutherans have been consulted and new regulations are being drafted. The liberty of conscience is granted to all Frenchmen.

The continental peace has appeased public apprehension. Our national security is the basis to our government’s strength. We have welcomed in Paris a Prince of the former ruling family. We honour and respect him. Even our traditional enemies acknowledge that Frenchmen have taken the Republic to their hearts.

Our soldiers have returned within our frontiers. We have celebrated their triumphs. These formidable conquerors are our brothers and friends. They observe the strictest discipline.

The war which we still sustain with England is an unequal contest of naval strength. Nevertheless, our navy recently displayed itself well in the Mediterranean although that sea is covered with English fleets.

In Egypt our army yielded to circumstances rather than the force of Turkey and England. Had the army remained united it should have prevailed. These men have exhibited the highest courage over four years. They have re-animated the arts of Egypt and introduced the arts of Europe – history will remember our involvement. 28,000 men undertook the conquest of Egypt. Others were sent later. 23,000 have returned to France excluding the foreigners. Our loss was 20%.

Now we are on the verge of peace, military expenses are being curtailed. An orderly reduction of the establishment is being achieved without preference or favour. To make up for these resignations, as they exceed the numbers we require, conscription will continue briefly but we will only enlist the numbers required for the protection of the homeland.

The burdens assumed in war will take time to discharge. We must reward the services of our soldiers; re-animate labour and commerce in our arsenals and ports; create a navy; repair all that was damaged and return our country to its exalted position amongst nations. All this requires an increase in the revenue which should automatically increase with peace. We will be economical but we will assess our minimum requirements and they must be met.

We are almost out of contact with our old colonies.

Guadaloupe retains some prosperity but it has been outraged by factionalism amongst the governing councils. We have sent a Captain-General to restore order and good government and he has selected and sent 13 individuals to France whose activities were inimical with good government. We consider these men dangerous and want them out of France as well. We may send them to some other colony.

Santo Domingo is irregularly governed and an army and navy are being sent to restore that valuable colony to France.[194]

In both the colonies of Guadaloupe and Santo Domingo slavery is abolished and will never be restored.

Martinique is governed on different principles. Our colonists have preserved slavery there and it will continue. France recognises the social costs of changing basic institutions and this is not the time to do so in Martinique.

Guyana has prospered and will prosper further with the grant of part of Brazil from Portugal.

Mauritius and Reunion have remained faithful to the Republic in spite of factionalism and feeble administrators whom we were unable to support or assist until now. The fear of these two colonies is that, having liberated the blacks, an enslavement of the whites might replace it.

The receipt of revenue and the distribution of expenses has been characterised by frauds and a rigorous examination of accounts is underway. Some guilty persons have been denounced to the Tribunals and the advent of peace will allow better supervision of the national Treasury. The great problem has been forgery. False documents evidenced all sorts of illusory expenses. All the liquidations of the old ministers are being examined by the Council of Administration whilst the Minister of Finance is producing new national plans. Another Minister has been made personally responsible for the public treasury and accountable for whatever is taken out.

A great national treasure is contained in our forests which are to be surveyed and controlled.

The system of public instruction in Paris is languishing and in some departments there is no provision for education at all. We must reverse this to avoid slipping towards barbarism. Primary schools are to be established for every commune or group of communes. Teachers will be paid by the commune(s) on rates agreed with parents. These teachers may also be employed by government when they are not required for teaching. The secondary schools will teach elements of ancient languages, history, geography and arithmetic. These schools will be formed by communes or public conscription. They will be given the use of public buildings. Students who distinguish themselves will receive gratuitous places in higher learning institutes. 30 higher learning institutes, called Lyceums, are to be established in the principal cities and funded by government. They will teach languages, geography, history, logic, physics, geometry, and mathematics and will accept up to 6,000 students from the secondary schools. 3,000 of these distinguished students will come from the meritorious families of the military or civil service. The other 3,000 will be selected solely on ability. Some students in the new territories along the Rhine (the United Departments) will be tutored in the Lyceums to acquire our culture and manners. Others will be accepted at the expense of their parents.

Last year we announced a new civil code. This is a huge job. The Legislature and the Tribunals are hard at work in perfecting it and it is incrementally being examined and approved by the Council of State.

The prisons are being modified to require prisoners to work. Indolence will no longer characterise a prison sentence. In many departments there are no more mendicants.

The hospitals are recovering from their heavy wartime workload and some benevolent citizens are supporting their efforts.

The road system is under repair and the main roads are already in a reasonable state. As they improve, the willingness of users to pay the road taxes increases and this permits the improvements to increase.

All the canals have been dredged at national expense and industry is taking advantage of this fast and inexpensive mode of transport.

Letters and arts have received as much support as we can presently provide. Some projects for the embellishment of Paris are proposed. A private company, motivated by national zeal more than reward, is designing new bridges over the Seine to improve our city’s communications and a clean and wholesome canal is being built. Collections of paintings are to be displayed in provincial cities and the establishment of museums is encouraged to inspire our youth and gratify tourists.

French foreign policy will be based on fidelity to our allies and respect for their independence, whilst we will show candour and good faith towards our enemies.

Batavia (the Netherlands) says her Constitution is inappropriate yet she was governed for several years under it. It is a guiding principle of France that nothing is more fatal to the happiness of the people than the instability of their institutions. The Batavian people want change and have created a new Constitution. France will never frustrate the will of the people. We recognise the new Constitution. It was planned to keep 25,000 troops in Batavia until the conclusion of definitive peace but the Batavians objected to the cost and we have reduced the force to 10,000 in response.

Helvetia was factionalised last year by groups opposed to France but we have nevertheless reduced our garrison to 4,000 men which is the level of policing that the Helvetians themselves say they require. The First Consul has the independence of Helvetia always in his mind, he has counselled the officials there to preserve liberty and equality and keep their Constitutional arrangements simple. Helvetia lacks a single leader. The French minister there conciliates the factions and the French General does not support any one of them.

The Cisalpine and Ligurian Republics have decreed their future political organisation. Both are apprehensive of awakening jealousies between local power centres by the appointment of a leader. It appears they prefer the First Consul to make their choices for them.

After the peace of Lunéville, France was able to punish Naples for her treaty violations. We took the port of Otranto (in the heel of Italy) to support our efforts in the East, since Malta was in England’s possession. (Otranto is sited to control access to / from the Adriatic)

Tsar Paul loved France and wished for peace, particularly at sea. We captured 8,000 Russians in the war but Pitt refused to exchange them for French prisoners and we returned them direct without further consulting Russia’s then allies. This brought our countries closer together. Then the Baltic states and Prussia united to guarantee the freedom of the seas. Hanover was occupied by Prussia and a grand plan was coming to fruition when Paul was assassinated. We are now at peace with Russia and see that Eastern power as fundamental to peace in east Europe.

Bavaria is an important ally to France. She has sustained great territorial losses on the left bank of the Rhine. France will ensure that Bavaria is properly compensated for her losses with lands on the right bank of the river.

A Congress is sitting at Ratisbon to organise performance of the commitments made in the Treaty of Lunéville but that is not a concern of France. We have what we want in the treaty of Lunéville (which has been ratified by the Diet) and how the Austrians perform their part of the agreement is a matter for them. The only French concern at Ratisbon is to guarantee the 7th article of the treaty and maintain a balance in Germany.

All our former differences with America have been settled.

The preliminaries to peace are ratified with England. The final negotiations may take a long time but England is now abandoned by her allies and Hanover is in the possession of Prussia.

The Porte, menaced by French positions in the Adriatic, has opened a separate negotiation for peace.

Portugal is still subject to the exclusive commerce of England and is effectively a British province. It is from Portuguese lands that Spain must find an indemnity for her loss of Trinidad to England. We placed an army on the Portuguese frontier to reinforce the Spanish negotiating position but Madrid then ratified the Treaty of Badajoz. That effectively ensured that no indemnity for Trinidad would be forthcoming.

England declined to restore Ceylon to the Batavian Republic but the Dutch get back most of their former possessions and they are re-establishing their commerce and power.

France believes she has obtained the best terms for her allies, commensurate with the overall intention of agreed peace. The retentions made by England are insufficiently important to justify renewed war.

Thus throughout the World, France has only friends and allies. Her commerce and industry are now returning to normal channels.

The negotiations with England suggest the new ministry there is candid in its wish for peace. The English people are all in favour of peace.

Sat 24th April 1802

London Chronicle of 10th December has published a Commentary on Bonaparte:

Bonaparte seems sincere in his wish for peace and British public opinion, although not loud, supports it. The French do not want to fight any more – they want a respite.

Bonaparte is no gourmet – he spends 30 minutes at dinner – but to satisfy visiting diplomats he hosts a public table at the Tuilleries. This was the Bourbon practice.

Bonaparte rises early each morning and immediately starts work. He personally handles all important business and generally only sees two men – Talleyrand and Fouché. He consults but always makes the final decisions himself – he’s a General, after all. Talleyrand and Fouché are bitter enemies and there is some suggestion that Bonaparte likes to keep them that way.

Talleyrand is a pure Jacobin and provides a channel to that group but he has invariably scotched all Jacobin plans against the government. He is a skilled diplomat and cultivates his friends in the aristocracy. This provides him (and perhaps Bonaparte) with another channel of information.

Fouché is resolute and straightforward – he operates a system of espionage that is even more extensive than the former system of the Bourbons.

Bonaparte seldom sees the other ministers and is seldom seen in public. His favourite General seems to be Lannes.

Bonaparte has a sallow, rather sickly, appearance and his eyes reveal nothing of his thoughts. He invites respect rather than love. Those who have met him admire the quickness of his perception and the decisiveness of his proposals but none suggest he is in any way affable.

Sat 24th April 1802

London – France says trade is resumed between our countries but we need the King’s signature on an enabling Bill before we can respond. The Bill has passed the Commons and is now in the Lords.

British visitors to Paris say the city is not as gay as it was pre-war. The anxieties of war and the all too frequent occurrence of sudden death have vanquished joy for the time being.

Religion is less respected in Paris now. The Day of Worship is Decadi but few Parisians (and no-one in the countryside) observes it. They all worship on Sunday in the old dating system and that is the day the churches are full.

No-one calls another ‘Citizen’ in Paris unless he is lower class – the poor like the appellation. If you call a shop-keeper ‘Citizen’ it is understood to indicate your social superiority.

Windham says a French marriage is like a lease on furnished lodgings. Neither arrangement is binding. These simple ceremonies are becoming widespread. The permission to divorce has progressed furiously this last ten years. Some marriages last only days. In Year 8 (1799 / 1800) 3,306 marriages were celebrated in Paris and 684 divorces (21%) were approved. In Year 9 the figures were 3,501 and 659 (19%)

Sat 1st May 1802

Paris newspapers, 26th November:

  • The French garrison of Strasburg is being reduced to six battalions. Two demi-brigades are sent off to Rochefort where they are to join the expedition to Mauritius.
  • Jerome Bonaparte is joining another expedition to Santo Domingo, also from Rochefort.
  • The French troops at Valladolid are preparing to leave, some for Cadiz and the rest for France.
  • The French postal service to England will be resumed on 22nd November. There will be a daily packet from Calais.

Sat 1st May 1802

France is considering the shape of her restored commerce. Chaptal, the minister of the Interior, has addressed the following queries to the merchants:

  • Does France want great companies like the old India, Africa and Senegal Companies or will she embrace other means of trade.
  • Does the freedom of the blacks in French West Indian colonies require a change in commercial ideas.
  • Is there anything in French Navigation Laws that impedes trade.
  • Does government need to stimulate ship-building by assisting in the purchase of ships and the training of sailors.
  • Is the Customs tariff of 1791 (still in force) appropriate for our trade.
  • Are there obstacles to trade in foreign countries that government can solve diplomatically.

Sat 1st May 1802

The new French civil code is being presented to the Legislature. The laws define the civil rights of all individuals. A criticism is that the new code is founded on Roman principles. An aim of the drafters has been to distinguish the relationships of man with God and man with man. This code addresses the latter. The law dealing with religious institutions is separate.

The first part of the code is circulated but a second part, dealing with property, is not yet completed.

Sat 1st May 1802

Definitive peace treaties historically take months to draft. In 1763 the Duke of Bedford went to Paris on 5th September and concluded the agreement on 10th February next year. In 1783 the preliminary peace was signed by Alleyn FitzHerbert at Versailles 20th January and the definitive agreement concluded on 3rd September. On these precedents, it seems 5-7 months is an average time period.

We should also recall that this last war continued for ten years and has more revolutionary consequences than all the previous wars together. This was total war, war against non-combatant citizens, against trade. It was a war of bribery and assassination.

The indemnities that England expects are easily defined but our interests are only a part of the whole. As we have a high opinion of our position in the World we expect to be consulted on the re-organisation of Europe.

Merely recognising the new French defensive frontiers and the consequential reorganisation of the German states is complex. There is also the creation of the new states in and around Switzerland. It is an upheaval.

This definitive treaty could take much longer than previous ones.

Sat 8th May 1802

Cornwallis and Joseph Bonaparte exchanged powers on 6th December and immediately prepared for business. On 9th they met, from 6 pm to midnight, for the first time. They will meet again on 10th and 11th and the Spanish and Dutch ministers, who have now arrived, are also partaking in the discussions.

A letter from Amiens dated 16th January says Lord Brome, Cornwallis’ son, has just gone to London with what is said to be a draft of the definitive treaty – that is surprisingly quick.

Bonaparte left Paris on 9th January for Lyon where the 500 delegates of the Cisalpine Republic are meeting to settle the terms of their Constitution.[195]

Sat 8th May 1802

European news:

  • The Dutch have also sent off their fleets, east and west. There are far less warships in the Channel and North Sea now.
  • Prussia has reduced her troops to the peace-time establishment. This suggests her endless dispute with Austria over the territorial indemnities required of the German states is over.

Sat 8th May 1802

News from Paris:

  • Paris is full of foreigners except the English who are represented only by a handful of army officers returning from the Egyptian campaign. Hotel lodgings are very expensive and the flow of returning money has permitted all sorts of extravagance and dissipation.
  • On 19th January the Spanish ambassador arrived in Paris and is awaiting Talleyrand Perigord to go together to Amiens. At that date Napoleon was expected to return to Paris.
  • Extensive flooding is reported in central France.
  • Barrere is still living in Paris. He is now a translator of English books for the French booksellers. Thomas Paine is also in Paris and has invented a new machine but what it does is still secret.

Sat 8th May 1802

The Porte was dissatisfied with the government of the Beys of Egypt due to their failure to prevent the French occupation. He instructed the General of his army, the Captain Pasha of English accounts, to kill them all, intending to assume the direct government of the province from Constantinople.

Once the French were removed, the Beys came under the protection of the British army but the Porte’s influence procured the death of five out of every six of them in one great massacre. They were tricked into boarding a boat which was then fired upon. The Beys of Cairo have reportedly been dispatched as well. General Hutchison, the British commander, was miffed.

Sat 8th May 1802

Liverpool experienced a dreadful storm on 21st January. The banks of the Mersey and the Cheshire coastline were littered with bodies. Many ships were lost.

Sat 8th May 1802

Thomas Grenville has sought to alert the House of Commons in a speech on 28th December:

He said the House had considered and approved the grounds on which the late preliminary peace treaty was based. He had now heard that a huge French force of 16 capital ships with transports containing 10,000 troops had departed Brest for Santo Domingo without any comment or protest from London.[196] This force is decidedly superior to what we have in West Indies and represents a threat to our own colonies. He did not know if the French were trying to wreck the peace or were acting under some imperative necessity with the tacit agreement of the British ministry. He asked the ministry to confirm or deny the reported sailing and tell the MPs of their policy concerning it.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer said the government had received no information on the sailing of a fleet from Brest but it had certainly occurred. He could not tell the House if the two governments were discussing it. Nothing had happened that might invalidate the reasoning of Lord Hawkesbury. Cornwallis is having no obstruction at Amiens.[197]

At a later House of Commons sitting on 19th January, Lord Pelham said the ministry was indeed aware of the sailing of this FrancoSpanish fleet and had taken appropriate undertakings from the French government concerning its purpose.

Sat 8th May 1802

London papers, 3rd January – Vienna is pressing the Duke of Modena to accept the Breisgau in exchange for his Italian lands.

It is now known that the terms of a commercial treaty with France will not be settled until the effects of a definitive peace treaty on all involved parties have been assessed. It is hinted that a year may be necessary. British officials expect an early signing of the peace however.

Sat 8th May 1802

The Navy is reducing the provision of fresh beef to sailors and increasing the ration of salt beef. It has a large stock of salt beef and the fresh meat is more expensive to buy. There is a huge decrease planned in the numbers of seamen once peace is concluded and the Navy does not want to be left with an oversupply of provisions.

In future seamen will receive fresh beef twice a week instead of four times as has been usual for the last several years. The upside in the Admiralty’s view is that English markets will be relieved of naval purchasing of fresh beef and prices may drop with the demand.

Sat 15th May 1802

Citizen Otto who was made French ambassador to USA has been told to delay his departure and remain French plenipotentiary at St James until the definitive treaty is concluded.

Sat 15th May 1802

A Frankfurt report says French troops will soon enter Moldavia, which people have hitherto indicated a wish to remain citizens of Austria.

Sat 15th May 1802

The recent mutiny on HMS Temeraire is said to have been due to the addition of seditious Irish marines in the Navy. In fact it was not a re-run of the Nore but due to a temporary disobedience to certain orders that excited the men. It only involved the one ship. The marines have written to several naval commanders assuring them of their patriotism and obedience.

Sat 15th May 1802

France is concerned about the commercial treaty that will form part of the peace settlement with us. She has established a Council of Commerce and Manufactures at Rouen which will advise the First Consul about foreign and domestic trade. This is bound to delay conclusion of the overall agreement.

Sat 15th May 1802

Bonaparte’s revival of the old French practice making an inseparable connection between the Catholic church and the state will be readily approved by the Legislature.

Sat 22nd May 1802

The King of Sardinia resigned his rights over Piedmont years ago. He has sent the Marquis St Marzan to Amiens but Sardinia no longer has any standing and will likely get a pecuniary compensation for her redistributed land.

There are two big questions currently under discussion at Amiens:

  • whether England should retain Madeira and
  • the cost of maintenance of French prisoners during the war.

Malta’s fate remains uncertain.

Sat 22nd May 1802

Bonaparte has recently declared that there is no reason to instantly negotiate a commercial treaty with England. Some City merchants say it suggests bad faith but the rumour is that Bonaparte and Addington have conceived of a greater scheme for global trade rules that might pre-empt the urgency of the bilateral agreement by leading to the tranquillity of the entire world.[198]

Addington has done well. When he started his ministry the country was in deep poverty. After a few months we are returned to a position of hopefulness. Addington is promoting peace; he is securing our coasts and he is arranging the education of our soldiers and sailors. He proposes to emulate Bonaparte’s system of rewarding common soldiers for merit with sabres and muskets. He has committed to reduce the duty on paper which is so depressing the sale of newspapers. He has released the state prisoners in Ireland which act was particularly well-received by the Irish people.

Sat 22nd May 1802

The Reverend Beeke has estimated the population of Great Britain this year at 11 millions. Mr Grellier says it is 7 millions. Howlett in 1781 computed the population of England and Wales at 8.69 millions.

Sat 22nd May 1802

Cornwallis’ Embassy to Amiens is more magnificent than the usual British embassy. His carriages and the luxuriance of his table are widely mentioned. He seems to have a greater spending allowance than the usual ambassador. When the topic was discussed at the time of his appointment, he declined to estimate his requirements, saying he needed to focus on the negotiations and wished someone else would care for the household. The ministry agreed and sent an extra man to handle the job. He draws his funds on the Foreign Office.

When Cornwallis arrived at Amiens all the officials for 40 miles around came to town to congratulate him and assure him of their wish for peace. The theatre delayed the start of its performances from 6 pm to 7 pm to permit the ambassador (who dines at 5 pm) to attend should he wish to do so.

Cornwallis is also being very well treated by Joseph Bonaparte.

Sat 22nd May 1802

London editorial – Sir Sidney Smith, who was involved in the defence of Acre against Bonaparte’s siege, has been given the freedom of the City of London. The defence of Acre was made with relatively few men and was a fortunate affair. Smith gets a sword. The City Aldermen say Smith foiled an attack on India and prevented the overthrow of Ottoman power.

The historian of Coeur de Lion, when considering that King’s acts in Acre, exclaimed ‘am I writing history or romance?’ – well, Smith’s exploit is the same.

Sat 29th May 1802

The recent convention at Lyon concerning the political shape of north Italy is interesting. On the one hand France gets a preponderant influence in Italy as a result of the redrawn map; on the other Bonaparte gets a safe asylum in one or other of the new Republics, should the French remove him from power. He is after all a Corsican not a Frenchman and some people resent that.

One of the things that France’s big neighbours want is the return of the Bourbons to France. If that wish became irresistible, Bonaparte would have to abdicate and go elsewhere. It seems Piedmont is a possibility.

What Bonaparte needs is a title to one or other of these Italian states. If that was recognised internationally it would be inheritable by his descendants.

How Bonaparte obtained control of north Italy is interesting – he created a King of Tuscany whilst leaving the fate of Piedmont undecided. He did not incorporate Piedmont into France but he is certainly in control of the country. He seems to be left with the disposal of Piedmont as he chooses – he might add it to one of the neighbouring states or set it up as an independent kingdom like Tuscany.

If these north Italian states – Parma, Modena, Mantua, the Valteline and Genoa – combined, they would comprise one of the most wealthy and populous countries of Europe.[199]

Sat 29th May 1802

On 19th January Pitt proposed the House of Commons adjourn to end February. There have been several adjournments recently, apparently to preclude public speculation on the peace terms being negotiated at Amiens. A preponderance of members (all the country members, the King’s friends or servants) invariably do as they are told by the ministry but the tiny opposition is suspicious and doubtful.

Elliot said it is a month since a huge French fleet sailed to West Indies and the House of Commons is yet to hear anything formally from the ministry about it. If the French sent it off unilaterally its a fraud; if ministers overlooked the preparations in the French ports and did not enquire the purpose, they were negligent. Even if France had said it needed a force in West Indies to restore order to its former colonies, it would have been diplomatic to await the conclusion of the peace negotiations. The problems in the former French colonies arose from the liberation of the slaves and the policies of those new black governments – it did not seem to require a naval force which could only be useful against some other naval power.

With this powerful fleet in the West Indies, should peace elude us at Amiens, the French will be able instantly to strike a blow against our own colonies. The sailing of this fleet accordingly pressures Cornwallis to concede points.

This peace has given France what she has sought for – a naval armistice and an ability to sail around the globe with impunity. She is the leading country to promote the Liberty of the Seas which all the neutrals are enamoured of. Is Britain being beguiled by France? Our policy should be to duplicate French naval and military movements wherever they occur.

Hawkesbury is the City’s man. He said it was essential to display a conciliatory policy towards France whilst peace negotiations were in train. Peace is what the British people imperatively demand. Britain had not stipulated in the Peace Preliminaries for the immobility of naval and military forces whilst discussions were in train. Had we done so we would be unable to bring home our army in Egypt. France has moved her forces around during previous peace negotiations. This occasion is no different. There is nothing to fear.

Hawkesbury said the government knew of the dispatch of the French fleet. A communication was received from France on the subject and answered. He could not discuss it but it is the ministry’s decided belief that no hostility to England is intended by the French West Indian fleet.

Dr Lawrence corrected Hawkesbury. The evacuation of Egypt was stipulated for in the Preliminaries; the sailing of a French fleet was not. The French say they need this huge force to subdue Santo Domingo when, in Lawrence’s opinion, it is far too large for just that job. Toussaint, the black President of Santo Domingo, is an admirer of France and would agree with her policies.

Lawrence suspects the French must have some other purpose in mind. England should have sent a comparable force, he thought, or stipulated for the retention of Malta and the Cape until the expedition returns to Europe. He feared the ministry had adopted French opinion that proposes France should have predominance in the West Indies to balance British predominance in the East Indies.[200]

He concluded that the adjournment proposed by Pitt was too long.

Ultimately it was agreed that parliament be adjourned to 2nd February.

Sat 29th May 1802

Bonaparte has been elected President of the Cisalpine Republic (now called the Italian Republic). This appears to address the First Consul’s self-interest rather than the needs of peace. It does not reassure the neighbours that Bonaparte is willing to restrain his powers. The Cisalpine Republic is superior in terms of resources to all the rest of Italy combined. We should watch him carefully.

His involvement in the settlement at Lyon (where the Cisalpine representatives settled their Constitutional terms) had always appeared mysterious. It was explicable in an acceptable way only if Bonaparte was assuring himself of a continued political life after relinquishing the government of France.

He can get his way in the Netherlands and the Helvetic Republic and his family dominate the proceedings of the Court at Madrid. Now he aspires to control the most desirable portion of Italy.

Many people had expected a change in French politics, driven by the Press which is as free as our own. There is certainly more relaxed discussion of political events in France these days. The Theatre Francois is rehearsing La Partie de Chasse de Henri Quatre and all the seats for the first six nights are sold out. Not long ago you might have been guillotined for mentioning the name of this play; now the First Consul himself will attend the opening night.

French funds are down – the Tiers Consolide was 57 Francs on 30th December.

Sat 29th May 1802

Bonaparte has withdrawn the revised Civil Code from the Legislature. He was irritated by the changes they wanted to make. He seems to resent contradiction. They objected to branding convicts amongst other things. Actually they resent their inability to originate new law (the raw material for which comes down to them from the Consuls as proposals) and seem to be displaying their irritation by frustrating Bonaparte’s policy.

The three Consuls (the Tribunate) will not accept this restraint. Francophiles in England praise the civic liberty of the French – what will they say now?

The ideological Deputies are displeased with Bonaparte’s rehabilitation of Catholicism. The opposition in the Legislature is headed by Boissy d’Anglas, Chenier and other Brissotines.

A Dutch fleet of 4 capital ships and a couple of smaller warships has joined a fleet dispatched last week (four frigates and some troops) sailing to West Indies. This build-up of French and Dutch fleets in the West Indies has galvanised our ministry into sending 7 capital ships as well.

Sat 5th June 1802

We have seen a translated copy of the definitive peace treaty for northern Italy in respect of the Cisalpine Republic. It was proclaimed at Leghorn:

The consulta of this Republic (President Mareschalchi and Secretary Sregelli) at Lyon was discussed in the Moniteur of 31st December 1801. It says the Italian officials asked Bonaparte to help and he selected 450 residents, representing all the major interests of the country (called the Consulta) to advise him of their concerns and enable him to propose measures. Lyon has substantial trade with northern Italy and seemed a mutually convenient place to meet. A committee of 30 was appointed by the Consulta to form a General Assembly and list the names of officials in whom the people might place their trust.

On 25th Jan the General Assembly gave a Resolution to Bonaparte:

“This Republic was assembled by you a few years ago from the lands of different nations. It lacks a common culture. We are divided by different laws, customs and manners. It is difficult for members of any one of the former countries to accept the administration of the Republic. None of us has experience of governing a Republic. We also note it is French troops that remain to garrison our country for our protection. We have yet to form a national army. Whilst our existence is guaranteed by the treaties of Tolentino and Lunéville, many of the other European states have yet to recognise us. These difficulties persuade us to look for an exceptional man to rule us. Our conclusion is to have the Consulta nominate legislators and other officials and to appoint Bonaparte as our Head of State, at least until we are internationally recognised and our different provinces have become closer. These proposals are unanimously agreed.“

The following day Bonaparte visited the Consulta. He was acclaimed on entry to the hall. He said:

“The Cisalpine Republic was recognised by the Treaty of Campo Formio. Its first Constitution was unworkable. It was then invaded by Austria until France expelled the invaders and restored peace. Several attempts have been made to dismember the Republic (mainly by Austria seeking for lands to indemnify dispossessed sovereigns along the left bank of the Rhine) but French protection has prevailed. Your Republic was again recognised at Lunéville and increased in size by 20%. Your lands were formerly the lands of six different nations. You have asked for my help as the man who is most associated with the formation of your country. I approve appointments that are devoid of partisan spirit. I see no-one amongst you who is capable of Presiding over your national affairs.

“I have received your process verbal and agree to be Ruler so long as it is necessary. Now you have specific laws but need a general Code; now you have local habits but need national habits; now you have no army but need protection. I will serve you.”

The delegates asked that the name be changed to the Italian Republic and Bonaparte seemed to agree.

He said the Catholic religion is the state religion; sovereignty resides in the people; the territory is divided into departments, districts and communes.

Everyone born in the Republic of a Cisalpine father has rights of citizenship on coming of age. It is possible to naturalise with certain qualifications.

There are three electoral colleges for landowners, intellectuals and merchants respectively. They meet at least every two years at invitation of the government. They appoint members to the Consulta, the Legislature, the Judiciary and the Treasury. Their meetings continue for two weeks. They deliberate, they do not discuss. They cast votes by secret ballot. One third of the members is a quorum. They can be removed for misbehaviour.

A page of other Constitutional provisions continues in the paper.[201]

Sat 5th June 1802

The Preliminary peace treaty gives Trinidad and Ceylon to England. It gives a corner of South America to France (from the mouths of the Orinoco south to the latitude of the northern bank of the mouths of the Amazon). South and west of that line is Portuguese. Portugal also gives a piece of land south of Badajoz to Spain. The lands of the Ottoman empire are maintained. The Republic of the Seven Islands (Corfu to Zante) is acknowledged.

Malta is restored to the Knights Templars. The provisions for its government are necessarily complicated to comply with the organisation of the Knights themselves. They will call a General Chapter to elect a Grand Master from amongst the nations (langues) of the original Knights of St John. The British and French agree that none of their nationals will be members of the Order but the languages of the others will become the languages of Malta.

The Knights are divided into eight language groups – Provence, Auvergne, formal French, English, Castilian, Aragonese, Italian and German but only the last four-named will continue to have effect. The Chief Knight of each of these language groups is a Grand Commander of the Order. The surviving languages appear likely to give Spain a predominate role in Malta’s future, particularly as only Knights of those four languages will be invited to return to Malta and form the General Chapter for the election of a new Grand Master.

England will evacuate the island within three months of the peace agreement being ratified. Half of the garrison will be Maltese. The Two Sicilies will provide 2,000 troops for the garrison. They will remain for a year until the Knights have organised their own garrison. The independence of the island will be guaranteed by France, Britain, Austria, Spain, Russia and Prussia. It will be a neutral state open to the trade of all nations at a uniform Customs tariff.

France will evacuate the Two Sicilies and the Papal States. Britain will evacuate Elba and the other Mediterranean islands she has occupied. The Newfoundland fisheries are restored to general use.

The House of Nassau,[202] having lost some lands in the former United Provinces, will get an indemnity elsewhere.

This treaty is to be ratified in 30 days. It is signed by Joseph Bonaparte, Cornwallis and the Spanish and Batavian (Dutch) envoys.

Sat 12th June 1802

England holds about 20,000 Frenchmen, mostly sailors, as Prisoners of War. French commerce and industry is so depressed there are no jobs for them in France. It is proposed to employ them on the Newfoundland fisheries for the time being.

The French Grand Banks fishing fleet always sails from France in February. We have missed the time for this year. If these people are really only employable on the Grand Banks, they will have to remain our prisoners until next year.

Sat 12th June 1802

An English review of Europe at the end of the 18th century:

After the Dutch occupation of 1688, England became politically split between Whigs and Tories, the former upholding the Revolutionary principles introduced by William of Orange, and the Tories opposing them. A third force, the Jacobites, were always a minority and derived what power they could from alliances with one or other of the first two parties. However neither of these major parties was able to preserve its principles when in office and this apostasy caused the people to become callous to whatever professions of principle that the political leadership asserted.

This continued for a century until the French introduced a new basis to political opinion. France set-up democracy against aristocracy, at least during the first three years of the Revolution, and this caused a flowering of new political ideas on the continent. The aristocrat was associated with arbitrary power while the democrat was associated with people power. This found expression as support for monarchy by the aristocrat and for liberty by the people. After three years of revolution the democrats had transmuted into Jacobins who mostly advocated the levelling principle and they retained political power for the two years after the execution of the King. Since then all sorts of ideas have contended for the hearts and minds of the French and the government has become difficult to categorise.

Britain has avoided most of the horrors of war and has come out of it with her commerce greatly extended, her Empire enlarged and her credit unshakable. For her the 18th century began with the Union with Scotland and ended with the Union with Ireland.

France at the beginning of the century was ruled by Louis XIV and no nation was more remarkable for its loyalty to its King. By the end of the century all respect for monarchical government had been exhausted. The country became a greater military power by mobilising its people in their own interests through conscription. At the same time her financial and economic organisation was destroyed and French merchants became mere distributors of British goods.[203]

Throughout the century Spain pursued a gradual decline. The Family Compact with France resisted the decline in peace but once war came, Spain had to join with France, and that exposed her colonies to our occupation, her country to British blockades and her trade to British prize-taking. She became insignificant due to impoverishment pursuant on war, once denied the precious metals of South America.

Portugal has likewise declined. Her principal support comes from her colonies and her trade with Britain. Merely maintaining her existence through the century has been an achievement for Portugal. Nature is bountiful to the Portuguese but the people are superstitious and bigoted and of all the western European nations it is the country least susceptible to change.

Russia has made immense progress through the century. At the beginning she was not equal to either Sweden or Denmark. Her development is mainly due to Catherine’s domestic promotion of the useful arts which has kept her people together although they live in grades of slavery.

Poland was formidable at the commencement of the century. At the end we have seen it removed from the map of Europe and its lands shared between Russia, Austria and Prussia.

Sweden is a small but warlike state and has been little changed in a century. She usually remains neutral in war to participate in the trade lost by belligerents. She derived no advantage from the Armed Neutrality.

Denmark was also formidable but as the century progressed she settled into a placid state of commercial interests. She is a professional Neutral and profits in war from trade with belligerents. Like Sweden, she cannot have made much money from the Armed Neutrality but overall her commerce and arts have progressed greatly whilst her military power has declined.

None of these countries has been much changed by the French Revolution but the following are different:

Prussia was a Dukedom at the beginning of the century but five very political sovereigns have increased her importance and she is now a leading European power. Her recent alliance with France has given her a status that would surprise even Frederick the Great. Prussia always profits from the difficulties of her neighbours and her policies during the Revolutionary War have revealed the cunning of her leaders.

The great unwieldy mass of Austria began the century as the leading European power and she remains an important state but is threatened by internal schism. She has been involved in continuous war in one domain or other throughout the century. Now she has lost Belgium and the peace terms require her removal from other territories. Joseph II’s policies contributed to the dissensions that disabled Austria from successfully competing with France.

The Netherlands was the principal commercial country at the beginning of the century and a good ally of other commercial states. She enjoyed a practical liberty and strict religion and was a refuge for the persecuted of all nations who were welcome so long as they could make business and contribute to the wealth of the state. By the end of the century she had lost the trade on which her power was built; had given up her old form of government and become little more than a province of France.

The Italian states have all been more or less unfortunate. At the beginning of the century Papal power was still great, both temporally and spiritually. By the end, the Pope’s temporal possessions had been taken and none of his vassals were prepared to help. Papal influence has declined before Protestantism and the onslaught of democracy. There is also an important disunion amongst the Italian states that does not enhance the Pope’s interests. The state of civil society in Papal states will continue to diminish the prestige of the Pope. Goldsmith’s description of Italians is just:

Though poor, luxurious; though submissive, vain;

Though grave, yet trifling; zealous yet untrue:

And even in penance, planning sins anew.

All evils here contaminate the mind

That opulence departed leaves behind.

The remaining small states – Savoy, the Swiss Cantons, Bavaria, etc. – have been occupied by France and brought to Revolution. French interference in Switzerland was a most regrettable matter. The country had been peaceful; it nursed liberty and provided a haven against the repression practised by the neighbours. It no longer provides a sanctuary for men of taste and literature. It has inevitably become involved in the wars of the neighbours. Dissension now appears in its Councils where formerly there was union and solidarity.

Turkey is tottering. The central authority operates an Asian policy of rule by honour and morality that does not mix with the pragmatic European neighbours. Ages will pass before the Ottoman populations can derive our blessing of liberty.

Sat 12th June 1802

The death of Lord Clare (John FitzGibbon) is announced in London. He was the Chief of the Orange Party in Ireland, a clever but violent man. His appearances in the House of Lords here were as much dreaded by his friends as his enemies.

He owes his prominence in politics to his steady support of England in the Irish parliament, particularly during the debates on the Regency. He was an avowed enemy of Cornwallis’ Irish government and even threatened to impeach Cornwallis for the leniency that characterised his administration.

Sat 12th June 1802

Prussia is proposing to build fortifications along the left bank of the Rhine. It sounds contentious. At 2 million Francs, it is also expensive.

Sat 19th June 1802

London news:

  • Addington has done well. Pitt’s government was beset by enemies and detractors but Addington has managed to bring all the power centres into agreement and restore political tranquillity. Besides concluding peace with France he has introduced important reforms for the security of our coasts and the education of our young army and navy entrants. He is known to favour and is likely to emulate Bonaparte’s idea of awarding swords and muskets to military achievers. Handing-out medals and awards should tend to diminish the incidence of mutinies. He has released all the State prisoners in Ireland which has pleased the general population and will tend to reduce discontent.
  • Sir Thomas Troubridge is appointed Commodore of our East Indies fleet. He will succeed Rainier.
  • Admiral de Winter is appointed Dutch Governor General in the East Indies, based at the Cape.
  • Sir Edward Hamilton, the naval officer, has been dismissed from British service. He alleged that Vice Admiral Sir A Mitchell and Rear Admiral Collingwood were incompetent. They in turn found grounds to demand his court-martial and both sat on the Board that dismissed him – touché.[204]

Sat 19th June 1802

House of Commons debate on Naval Expenses:

The Speaker left his chair and the House resolved itself into a Committee to consider the Navy debts. £2.5 millions had been granted in the previous year for Naval extraordinaries. £2 millions extra had been borrowed for costs of particular naval actions. H M has provided an account of the payments beyond those sums, which total a further £1,080.047. The ministerial explanations for over-spending are:

  • £260,000 was paid to John Wood, the Deputy Commissary General on the continent. This money was spent to discharge British treaty obligations to the Electors of Bavaria and Mentz and the Duke of Wurtemberg and to fund the Swiss Corps and the émigré Regiment of the Prince of Condé. All these payments are correct because our man in central Europe, Wickham, is an honest chap and he authorised and disbursed them. Bavaria had been lent £594,000 but needed an extra £100,000. Mentz and Wurtemberg contrarily spent less than estimated. Wickham handled the payments so well that all Princes with enforceable demands on England have been paid in full. The Lords of the Treasury have examined Wickham’s accounts and approved them.
  • A larger element of over-spending relates to Egypt in 1801 and totals £1.5 million. This was much more than anyone expected but the Egyptian campaign was arduous and, as it succeeded, should not be examined too closely. The accounts were in any event under the control of Abercromby and he is dead so there is no-one to blame. Abercromby’s Commissary General was Motz and he is a delightful chap, trusted by everyone.
  • In West Indies over-spending was £500,000 due to extra Navy Bills drawn on the Admiralty. The price of provisions in West Indies in 1801 became outrageous and our Commissary General there, General Trigge, could only do his best. H M has appointed a Committee to examine Trigge’s accounts, island by island, and the results will be notified to parliament as soon as they are available.

As a result Naval debt at 31st December 1801 was £9 millions.

Pitt rose to say that extra ships were added to the navy during the period. He wished to say he was surprised that over-spending was so little.

Robson MP enquired for what purpose England had paid the Duc de Choiseul and the Prince of Hesse-Cassel. Why had public money been sent to the banker Thornton MP in Hamburg in Bills drawn by the British Ambassador to Vienna. Why do all these three payments appear in the military accounts.

Martin (MP for Tewkesbury) said the House should minutely examine the accounts. The people will be disgusted by these scandalous payments and a general election is foreseeable.

Both Robson and Martin were scorned and derided by the ministry’s MPs.

Addington denied either his or Pitt’s ministry had mis-spent public money and invited the MPs to examine the accounts on the table. He said the task before the House was to settle last year’s excess expenditure and then discover how much it could borrow for this year before it could then address the important issue – the extent of taxation required from the public.[205]

The payment to the Prince of Hesse was an approved payment and should have been paid sooner. The £100,000 debt of the King of Sardinia was due to the misfortune that befell that monarch in 1796. Prior to that year England was contracted to pay Sardinia £200,000 a year. Once the Sardinian King was divested of his country the payments became superfluous but Pitt still paid the King £4,000 a month after he had become strategically useless as he is a friend.

The Secretary at War said £1,500 was given to the Duke of Choiseul because he was ship-wrecked on the French coast, caught and imprisoned by the French government and his property confiscated.

The payment distributed to the 9,000 men of the Corps of Blacks was for help in taking the Danish islands in West Indies.

Jones agreed with Robson. He hoped none of the MPs who so readily gave away public money would be re-elected in the next session. He was appalled to hear the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Addington) praise Pitt’s ministry for its financial management. There is not a man in the country who believes Pitt was economical. On the contrary everyone thinks his expenditure was unprecedentedly lavish and shameful. Jones declined to pursue this line as he said a colleague would shortly bring a motion aimed precisely at Pitt’s profligacy. He asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to make two accounts showing the expenses of both the old and new ministries so the big spenders could be clearly identified.

Vansittart mentioned items that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Secretary at War had omitted – part of the payments to Malta represented corn bought in Sicily for £20,000 and £47,000 at a time when England was experiencing famine.

One MP enquired as to the identity of Captain d’Auvergne. He was described by the ministry as the Duc de Bouillon, an émigré nobleman who stood high in the list of British naval officers and had distinguished himself whilst in command of the island of Jersey.[206]

Finally, Lord Balcarras’ great expenses on Jamaica, where he was Lieutenant Governor, were due to the high price of provisions which in turn was attributed to the disordered state of Santo Domingo.

Jones asked if there was any further expense that the ministry should disclose to the House. Addington said there were as the country still maintained foreign troops in its service, particularly in Egypt, from which country no returns had been received.

Jones asked what happened to the premiums on the Exchequer Bills that were often used for miscellaneous payments. Vansittart said these rebates were invariably applied to reduce interest on those Bills.

A report of the committee’s deliberations was ordered for Monday.

Sat 19th June 1802

The Duke of Bedford has died. He had a rupture which suddenly extended and the truss became inadequate. A length of gut became trapped and turned gangrenous before his truss could be adjusted.[207] He was 57 years old. He is succeeded by his brother, Lord John Russell, who is a widower with four sons. There is another brother (Lord William) but he is a wastrel and the Duke left him only £30,000 to pay-off his debts together with the Estate at Streatham, which will produce about £4,000 a year for Lord William’s maintenance. Everything else went to Lord John.

He is the 51st Bedford to be buried at Woburn Abbey. The funeral was marred by some poor people who stole the escutcheons off the hearse and by a large gang of London pickpockets who came down in post-chaises and made a killing. Some of the abbey windows were broken by people trying to get into the service.

He was the landlord of the Drury Lane Theatre which shut for the day.

Bedford’s greatest single triumph was at the peace negotiations with France in 1763. He had signed the preliminary treaty when he was reminded by a Dutch Jew that the East India Company’s great acquisitions in Bengal were all subsequent to the date on which France fixed her claim of sovereignty. As such the revenue of Bengal (£500,000 annually) would be lost to the Company on the agreed terms.

Bedford went to Choiseul, the French Plenipotentiary, and admitted his mistake. Choiseul said ‘you’ve already signed!’ Bedford concurred but said he would not add treachery to negligence. Unless the Indian conquests were added to the Company’s domains in the Treaty, he would leave instanter. On that basis, Choiseul agreed a revision. The Dutch Jew got a Company pension of £500 a year for his help.

Sat 19th June 1802

Fox has given a speech to the Whig Club. He is overjoyed at peace. He rejoiced that the country had abandoned its intention of restoring the Bourbons to the French throne against the wishes of the French people. He did not consider the terms of peace in detail saying only that peace is always preferable to war:

“Britain has been humiliated at the peace and reduced in the eyes of all the Courts of Europe – I do not rejoice for that. But our humiliation results from the war not the peace. The war was fought on unjustifiable principles for unattainable objects. Peace is infinitely preferable.

“It is widely hoped that the present ministry will alleviate the hardships caused by Pitt; that unconstitutional laws will be repealed; that the expensive parts of the army and navy will be retrenched and that Ireland will be properly conciliated to Union.

“The new ministry appears agreed to devolve power and liberty on Ireland – they go together. Power is the only security for liberty. They are inseparable.

“All these nice things are being talked about by the ministry but no actual action has commenced. At least we can celebrate the removal of Pitt’s pernicious ministry which set the country at defiance and ruled in opposition to our Constitution. I have no strong feelings for members of the present ministry but, in comparison with what went before, they are angels. I only deplore those politicians who are faithless to their declared principles.

There is even a possibility that a liberal or two will be offered office. We have the Dukes of Norfolk and Bedford in the House of Lords; Grey and Sheridan in the House of Commons, all of whom are principled men who can honourably represent this country. I myself wish to continue in retirement but I will exert myself on behalf of the Whig party.”

Sat 10th July 1802

The definitive treaty of peace with France was signed at Amiens on 27th March by Joseph Bonaparte, Cornwallis and the plenipotentiaries of Spain and the Netherlands. It was delivered to the cabinet in London on 29th March 1802

Sat 7th Aug 1802

London newspapers:

  • The odious Income Tax was repealed at end March 1802 once the definitive peace treaty was received and ratified. That is a true blessing of peace.[208] Cornwallis returned from Amiens on 31st March and saw Lords Brome, Addington and Hawkesbury. The definitive treaty will take many days to ratify and it will be mid-April before we know if we can continue to export the produce of those enemy colonies we have occupied.[209]
  • With peace settled, Addington has been given a peerage (as Sidmouth) and sent-off to the House of Lords. Pitt has resumed the national government as Minister. Dundas also gets a peerage and becomes Lord Melville.
  • Fox has delivered a eulogy on the late Duke of Bedford and has moved the House of Commons to issue a new Writ for Tavistock. Lord John Russell represented Tavistock but is now elevated to the Lords.
  • The King-in-Council (a law-making forum under the King’s Prerogative) has ordered that an embargo be placed on the export of saltpetre, gunpowder, arms & ammunition, copper bars and sheeting and lignum vitae.[210] These are all fundamentally important naval and military stores.

Sat 7th Aug 1802

By the peace treaty the French army is reduced to 387,000 men. That is 250,000 infantry, 60,000 light infantry, 30,000 Hussars, 22,000 cavalry dragoons, 19,000 artillery and 6,000 consular guards. The figures exclude gendarmes, three demi-brigades of Swiss Guards in Paris and the Polish exiles.

By means of conscription, the French can recruit 200,000 men in two months. A general conscription would produce 1.2 million men.

Sat 7th Aug 1802

Bonaparte’s Concordat with the Pope provides France with ten archbishoprics and fifty bishoprics.

The clergy is to be celibate and those priests who married during the Revolution will each receive a small pension but will not be allowed to preach.

Catholicism is declared the state religion of France.

Sunday (and other religious holidays) will again be days of worship for those who wish it.

Only those priests with jobs will receive the legal protection of their office.

At the cost of a handful of enemies (the married and unemployed priests), Bonaparte has won the entire Catholic church to his side.

The cost of government control of religion (in maintenance of the clergy) will be about 4 million Livres a year.

Sat 7th Aug 1802

A group of nobles have conferred with Sir Joseph Banks and agreed to commission him to create and erect a statue to the Duke of Bedford. It will be placed in one of those elegant squares which have been constructed on his London Estate as a memorial of his virtue (in Russell Square facing his friend Charles James Fox at the other end of Bedford Place).

Sat 14th Aug 1802

Whitbread, the famous brewer and liberal politician, objected to the tax on beer. The workers must have their beer. Many cannot afford the new tax and would patronise the unlicensed brewers and distilleries or brew their own. This new tax will be honoured in the breach. After a long war the people find themselves in a worse position that when we started. None of our national war aims have been achieved – Bourbons do not rule France, the house of Orange does not rule the Netherlands, the Swiss government remains changed and France is extended in both territory and resources.

He said Pitt had talked of fifteen years of peace when he produced his budget in 1792 but instead had introduced 9 years of war. Now he is saying it again. Who can believe him.

Pitt defended himself. He entered the war to defend British independence and honour. It was now concluded with our Constitution free and unimpaired. He had introduced his reformed collection of revenue at a time when the Bank of England had stopped payment, 3% consols were at 47, our seamen were mutinous and the Whigs had seceded from parliament. We were threatened with destruction. “I saved the country with my solid system of finance. This year I have negotiated a loan of £25 millions at the same cost of funds as in 1793. Obviously, my system of finance enjoys the support of the bankers.”

On the beer tax, Pitt said a quarter of malt yields 3½ barrels of beer. The increase in retail prices reflects not only increased price of raw materials but increased wages and rents.

Grey recalled that Pitt had laid down a principle that should be made legally binding on all future Chancellors – the generation raising the loan should pay-off the loan.[211] Now he is reneging on that principle by consolidating the loans with the rest of the national debt and only applying the Sinking Fund to their reduction.

Pitt has extolled the negative successes of war. Effectively he says ‘we have gained what we have not lost’ – but we have spent everything we have and more in a contest with French principles and it is France that has gained more in war than the most insatiable Bourbon could have hoped for.

Another Pitt war aim was opposition to Jacobinism. Well, the present government of France is founded on Jacobin principles.[212] Those principles were already clearly in evidence in 1792 when Pitt was talking of 15 years of peace. Pitt expected France to become more powerful after the revolution but less obnoxious to her neighbours. It was the Revolution that caused Pitt to foresee 15 years of peace. What changed his mind later was the ability to form a coalition (a project of George III who has just had £900,000 voted to pay-off the arrears on the Civil List) and the general expectation it would be successful. The evidence of this volte face is readily apparent in the correspondence between Chauvelin and Grenville at the time.

Pitt also lists the Whig secession from parliament amongst his difficulties. We Whigs seceded because our focused criticism could not influence the ministry, because we could not bring Pitt to consider the alternatives. Pitt is satisfied with his conduct; I am satisfied with mine. It is for the public to judge.

Grey concluded that Britain was not forced into war with France – we declared with the expectation of winning and getting some national advantages out of it. We have failed in our war aims and it follows that we must have lost the war.

Jones said a Chancellor of the Exchequer who burdened the country with an extra £250 millions of debt, and who had granted 583 new pensions to get his way, should expose himself to the bar of public opinion. He asked if parliament would be told about the reported £2.7 millions borrowed from the East India Company. Pitt said the accounts between the government and the Company were complete and did not reveal a debt of £2.7 millions due to the Company.[213]

Sat 14th Aug 1802

Addington has made a remarkable promise to the House of Commons. He says his ministry undertakes to not again interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. It is effectively an apology to France. If he really means it, it could herald a long period of peace.

Sat 14th Aug 1802

One of the unforeseen effects of the French descent on Egypt has been the general breakdown of law and order in the Ottoman Empire. All the Turkish merchants lately arrived at Vienna say that civil society is dissolved and one Pasha wages war on another whilst bandits infest the highways making all commerce unsafe.

It is a strange reversal of effects – the Turks have anarchy whilst, for the French, the failure in Egypt was the single most important factor in their decision to make peace.[214]

Sat 14th Aug 1802

The French dramatist Duval has staged a play in the Theatre Francais at Paris called Edward in Scotland. Its actually about James in Scotland in 1745 with Duval playing the role of the ex-King. On opening night the First Consul attended and complimented Duval handsomely. On the second night the audience set-up a chorus of ‘Pretender’ until Duval came out and took a bow. On the third night the play was suppressed by the authorities on the order of the First Consul and Duval was arrested and banished to Rennes.

Another play was shown called the Antechamber – Valet turned Master (Valet Maitre) which also could be said to caricature Bonaparte. The author Dupaty was arrested, loaded with chains and banished to Santo Domingo. He is the son of the famous magistrate. It is risky in Paris to stage plays on claimants to thrones.

A private letter of 8th March says Bonaparte is suspicious of these disrespectful plays and has had several aristocrats questioned. More than 60 former nobles have been implicated and fled the city.

Bonaparte is also embarrassed by an ‘itch’, an aristocratic malady, which symptoms recently re-appeared. It has given rise to many popular jokes.

The First Consul has responded:

The clergy and émigrés are neither grateful nor submissive to the new government. They still plan to usurp power as before. Some of the bishops whose resignations were sought to complete the pact with the Pope have been told not to come to Paris – they are not trusted. It is the same with all those émigrés whose names have been erased from the list of nobles. Dividends from their investments in the funds are sequestrated and they will get no income from that part of the timber on their Estates which remains uncut – dividends and timber were their only resources.

Bonaparte still has many enemies whose expectations were kept alive by England for so long they have become unwilling to abandon them.

Their opponent, and Bonaparte’s friend, is Fouché who keeps the security of the entire country on a tight rein. He is the real master of French domestic politics, pulling the strings of alleged plots and conspiracies to keep the dissenters and government off balance. He has threatened with imprisonment any noble who resumes the use of his title.

It is a murky scene in Paris. The Pope’s Legate Cardinal Capraro spends every night at the soirées of Mrs Grant. She is Talleyrand’s mistress. Everyone is pursuing some agenda or another.

Sat 21st Aug 1802

France has enacted that only French ships may carry the trade of Senegal, a French colony. Neutral ships at Senegal have 20 days to complete their lading and depart.

Sat 21st Aug 1802

The Transport Board has chartered 50 ships to carry the 15,000 French prisoners back across the channel to France.

Sat 28th August 1802

The constitution of the Helvetic Republic is published. The capital city is Berne. Christianity of all types is the established religion. Each sect must consult the state on religious regulation. The Swiss have a bicameral parliament with a Diet and a Senate. The Diet is peopled with representatives of the 21 Cantons and will assemble annually. The President has a casting vote.

The senate needs the approval of two thirds of the Cantons to its proposals. When it fails, it may present proposals to the Diet for vote. The senate has 30 members. It observes the national scene and proposes legislation to the Diet as it sees fit.

Sat 28th August 1802

Of all the countries in Europe, Prussia was least involved in the past war. She has nevertheless made territorial acquisitions. Had France not been in Revolution, Prussia could never have seized so much of Poland as she did.

The difficulty for the Prussians derive from geography. Friendship with the gorilla in the East means she must consider Russian interests in her policies; jealousy of Austria will ensure she is constantly suspicious of that Empire. Amongst the major powers, only France now appears to be a natural Prussian ally.

Sat 28th August 1802

Austria is a power in decline. Its slide from greatness started with the peace of Westphalia in 1648 but that was nothing compared to the shock administered by Republican France.

Belgium is taken from her; a huge extent of her German states is gone; Italy has become independent under French protection. Greater than these losses of territory and wealth is her inability to contend militarily with France.

Austrian wealth comes from her internal trade. She has little international trade. Her recovery will likely take longer than her neighbours.

Sat 11th Sept 1802

Latest French news:

  • Bonaparte has been elected First Consul for life. His supporters propose he be given the power of nominating his successor. They even want him declared Emperor. This should help Bonaparte to disabuse the Bourbons of their pretensions to resumed sovereignty. The poor people however are not so keen as the price of bread has increased.
  • The ideological rejection of slavery that has caused the liberation of so many blacks in the French West Indies, is now itself rejected in Paris as destabilising. France can never recover its former income of £8 millions a year from Santo Domingo without slavery. A Slave Trade Bill was passed 211 / 63 by the legislature which returns the law to the pre-1789 situation.
  • Piedmont is incorporated into the Italian (Cisalpine) Republic not into France as English warhawks have been suggesting.
  • General Menou has been congratulated by Bonaparte for maintaining his position in Egypt long enough to improve the terms of peace.

Sat 11th Sept 1802

Latest British news:

  • The definitive peace treaty with France, Spain and Netherlands has been approved by parliament. The House of Lords voted 122 / 16 in favour and House of Commons 276 / 20.
  • The prohibition on trade in British goods to France and vice versa has been withdrawn and a treaty of commerce is being drafted.
  • A huge fire at Woolwich Arsenal has caused £500,000 damage. Two Frenchmen found near the scene have been arrested on suspicion of arson.
  • Lloyd’s has opened a subscription to erect a statue to Pitt. Many bishops, lords, military officers and merchants (the church, landowners, armed forces and merchants have all profited from his ministry) have subscribed.

Sat 11th Sept 1802

An attempt to abolish bull-baiting in England has been defeated in the House of Commons 51 / 64 and a proposal for its better regulation replaces it. The motion to abolish was made when it was learned that the people of Bury cut the bull’s hooves off to infuriate it. Reports that the people of Totnes were similarly barbaric were also received. Traditionally only bull-dogs are used to bait bulls. The Irish parliament has passed a Bill for prevention of bull-baiting.

Windham was in favour of bull-baiting – it inculcates a bold and martial spirit amongst the people, he said. The counties of Staffordshire and Lancashire, where it is common, produce fine soldiers.

Others said the example of Spain did not support Windham’s hypothesis.

Courtney said dancing bears should be outlawed as well (they ‘dance’ on heated plates of iron).

Sat 11th Sept 1802

The retrenchment of the British army involves disbanding all 2nd and 3rd battalions of regiments except the 9th and the King’s Own which will keep their 2nd battalions for another year. The seven foreign battalions of the 6th regiment, commanded by the Duke of York, are retained. The regiments of the line, up to the 92nd, are retained.

Baron Hompesch, Commander of the Knights Templars and formerly Governor of Malta, gets a brevet promotion to staff officer in the British army.

Sat 11th Sept 1802

British merchants are dissatisfied with business in France. The temporary prohibition on trade makes them lose money. They need to continuously recycle their capital to maximise profit. There is considerable resentment.

Citizen Otto has received instructions from Paris to settle the terms of a commercial treaty as soon as possible and a Commercial Commissioner is expected in London in a couple of weeks. It is said the French proposals for the treaty are very fair. This has pressured the British ministry to make progress.

Sat 18th Sept 1802

The senior officers of the French army in Egypt have been quarrelling since their return. General Regnier shot D’Estaing in a duel and then challenged Menou, for which presumption he is ordered to Brest, presumably as first stop on a one-way passage to Santo Domingo. General Augereau is ordered to retire to his estate. Fournier is also in disgrace. Moreau is sent to Prussia ostensibly to join the King of Prussia at one of his Potsdam reviews. Many other officers of the etat-major of the army are arrested. Altogether 20 French generals are confined or exiled. Augereau and Massena have since been detained in Vincennes Castle.

Bonaparte may be removing competitors for the people’s affections.

The guard at the Tuilleries, where Bonaparte lives, has been changed. It is now the Corps des Guides that protects the First Consul. These are the men who accompanied Bonaparte to Italy and Egypt and have accumulated the most reasons to support him. Formerly it was the Grenadiers of the Consular Guard that protected the Tuilleries. They are now in barracks outside Paris.

There is an Honour Guard of 1,500 men from the Italian Republic who are expected in Paris soon. They are to guard the President of their Republic (Bonaparte)

Sat 18th Sept 1802

Now that the prospects of trade across the Channel are brightened, the merchants of Dunkirk have petitioned Bonaparte and received his permission to make the port a free city, as it was before the war.

Sat 18th Sept 1802

A new project to finally satisfy and settle the remaining members of the Bourbon family is underway. The Poles have unwittingly facilitated the deal. Once the governments of Austria, Prussia or Russia have identified what they want from Poland, parts of the residue will be offered as Estates to the Bourbons.

Sat 18th Sept 1802

The British fencible regiments are being paid-off. Each officer gets one or two month’s pay.

Sat 18th Sept 1802

French plans for her peacetime army are becoming clear. Citizen Lacueye has proposed to the legislature an annual conscription of 60,000 young men to replace a similar number discharged. Soon the whole male population will have received military training. Lacueye appeared to fear that war may be renewed. A reserve force of 60,000 is established to be called upon in the event of need.

Sat 18th Sept 1802

The votes for Bonaparte’s elevation to Consul for Life were hugely in his favour but the overall numbers are quite small. The middle class did not vote, reportedly out of fear their opinions would be used to produce new lists of proscribed citizens. The poor did not vote either because bread is 18 sous the loaf and likely to get dearer.[215] All these people concluded its better not to vote than risk offending powerful people.

There is not much popular support for the Consul just now but you would not readily know it unless you lived in Paris because Fouché has such tight control on the Press. Carnot was one of the few who opposed the Consul’s elevation. He knows what he does is dangerous but cannot resist tweaking Bonaparte’s Corsican pride. The rest of the legislature think Bonaparte is the only man able to bring an end to political factionalism.

A handbill distributed in Paris by a soldier named Bonneyville says:

“the whole World has been brought to a recognition of Bonaparte’s sovereign power in France. I (Bonneyville) assure him that it will continue. It is best revealed by confirming him in his function for life. He has extended France to her ancient limits. He should be made Emperor of the Gauls.”

Outside Paris the provinces are disturbed. At Aix, Dijon and Vannes (in La Vendée) riots have occurred over the Papal Concordat. At Aix a crowd pelted the new government Bishop and burned the Concordat. They were not restrained by the army.

Sat 18th Sept 1802

Counsellor of State Dupaty has addressed the French Legislature on slavery:

Martinique, St Lucia and Tobago are restored to France along with our factories in India. We must instil confidence in the planters. The distinctions in capacity of the different races of the World have shown that abolishing slavery cannot be done by fiat. Our humanity has led us into error.

Our attempt to impose equality on the slaves has simply caused anarchy from which no-one benefits. We must first restore social order and the rule of law.

Sat 18th Sept 1802

House of Lords, 13th May:

Earl Stanhope called for the removal of strangers from the House before commencing a debate on the peace terms. Earl Moira disagreed, saying the matter to be discussed was of general interest. Stanhope insisted and the journalists and visitors were removed from the gallery.

When they were re-admitted they learned that Grenville had talked about those Lords who disapproved of the peace terms and wanted to fight longer. He was willing to submit to the treaty which had been ratified by King and parliament. It was the King who made war and peace and he had now made peace. He recognised that some clauses were unsatisfactory and might damage our national interests. He thought the best course was to ensure in future that people who are given Plenipotentiary powers (Cornwallis) know how to use them and might not be cajoled into agreements that injured our political and commercial interests.

Grenville had then reviewed the treaty clause by clause. Pelham the new Secretary of State recognised that France increased territorially and financially during the period between the preliminary and definitive treaties whilst England had not. There were the following grounds to ask the King to repudiate the treaty:

  • The first objection was the situation of the Stadtholder. He had lost everything to France and had come to us for assistance. Under the preliminary agreement he was assured compensation but under the definitive treaty he was left to the generosity of France without a specific indemnity.
  • The second objection was the surrender of Malta. In the preliminary treaty it was to be neutral, guaranteed by Russia, a neutral power. Under the definitive treaty Russian protection evaporated and the island is surrendered to a garrison from Naples, a country now barely independent and with a French client (the Pope) on her borders. Not only that but the domestic revenues of Malta are a few thousand Pounds a year whilst its expenditure is £140,000. The island relies on donations from the Templars’ priories all over Europe for the maintenance of its government. Provence pays £58,000 a year, Spain pays £27,000. Lombardy, Piedmont and the Italian Republic are also donors. Some of these places are in the French camp and French and English support has now been ended. France has new acquisitions in Italy and the Island of Elba. Effectively, Malta can hardly be provisioned without French agreement and we will be again excluded from the Mediterranean. Can we still protect India from invasion via the Middle East?[216]
  • The return of the French West Indian islands and the recently announced Spanish surrender of Louisiana to France gives Napoleon virtual possession of the Floridas and a direct if long road to Mexico. France encircles our West Indian colonies in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean in the same way she encircled us in the Mediterranean before the Battle of Aboukir. That may be considered as pragmatic recognition that she is powerful on land and leaves the seas to us.
  • The enormous piece of South America that France obtained in Guiana would enable her to threaten Portuguese Brazil and close that country’s ports to us. That is worrying when we consider that our East India fleet routinely takes the wind to Brazilian ports where they water and provision before the left-turn to the Cape and India. On present arrangements, the only place not directly susceptible to French influence on the route, that the Company can use, is Madagascar.
  • In Asia we returned the Cape to the Netherlands which is effectively the same as surrendering it to France. That will provide a base in war to disrupt our eastern trade. The preliminary treaty stipulated that the Cape was to be neutral and open to up to 6 capital ships of either side. This means six British ships-of-the line might meet 18 French, Dutch and Spanish capital ships there. The India Company’s commerce with Asia is brought home in three fleets. Our exports and the supplying of our colonies in Asia require two outbound fleets a year. Each fleet must be convoyed in war, and prudence requires the convoy warships be equal to the enemy that may conceivably be encountered i.e. up to 18 capital ships around the Cape. Also when we send our troops to India they routinely stop at the Cape for rest and recreation. If they are unable to land, they will be in a sorry state by the time they reach India. In the late confrontation with Tippoo we sent troops from the Cape to Madras and they were present at the siege of Seringapatam. It will not be possible to do that again under this treaty.
  • The restoration of the French factories in India (and the Dutch port and town of Cochin will effectively be under French control), provides France with many bases from which to foment insurrection at Mysore should she wish to do so.

Our spirit seems to have totally collapsed. Even the dispatch of a French fleet to the West Indies while we were still negotiating the final terms did not provoke a diplomatic response from ministers. They instead sent 36 capital ships to the West Indies, an immensely expensive expedition, no doubt to show our national good faith in the instant negotiations!

Given the enhanced power of France, England must maintain a substantial military force to be able to confront her should the need arise. This definitive peace is merely an armed truce and is only slightly less expensive than continuing a hot war.

Grenville had then moved an Address to the King to renegotiate.

Norfolk opposed. So did Mulgrave, Clifton (Earl Darnley) and Camden.

Auckland said our commercial interests were not threatened. He reviewed the Treaty of Breda to demonstrate that, in spite of all the changes in that agreement, our trade had actually increased. He called for recognition of the sincerity of France.

Carnaervon said it was a disgraceful treaty and he completely supported Grenville.

Pelham (the incumbent minister) rose and mumbled something but few could hear him. He was then heard to say that France and Spain and the Netherlands were separate sovereign countries and their interests should not be mingled together.

Ellenborough (Edward Law has been elevated) supported the treaty.

Roselyn noted Dutch warships no longer lowered their colours as they had hitherto done when encountering British warships on the high seas – its insulting, he thought. Britain has commanded the seas for over a century. Nevertheless, we have made an agreement and are bound by it.

Richmond said public money had been lavishly squandered on every German prince. He approved of subsidies only when they were given on wise terms and the troops provided came under our command. He opposed Grenville’s motion. The debate continued all night. House of Lords finally adjourned at 8 am without a decision and will reconvene on Monday.

Sat 25th Sept 1802

British news:

  • The latest letters from Europe dated June say we have not surrendered Malta. It was supposed to be handed-over to the Grand Master of the Templars but that position has not yet been filled by election.
  • The British part of the army in Egypt was still there on 27th June (the Indian Army contingent has returned to Bombay). General Stuart has gone to Constantinople for discussions and the army will not move until he returns. Apparently he is negotiating for the Mamalukes. A subscription has been started by the army officers in Egypt. £2,000 has been raised. They propose to ship an obelisk to London.[217]
  • The whaling trade in the southern Pacific is to be legislatively brought under the India Company (which has complained its use as a covert means for British traders to get into Asia). Licences for whaling will in future be issued by the Company.
  • The King of Naples solicited the Prince of Wales to send historians to examine the manuscripts at Herculaneum. He fears his cultural artefacts will end up in Paris. Mr Haiter has since found the treatise of Epicurus de Natura Rerum. Haiter has ten men searching the archive. He agrees to publish anything important.
  • Our trade with France and Holland has dramatically increased since the peace. Sugar, coffee and indigo are in high demand. Rotterdam and Amsterdam are the main beneficiaries. Trade with Hamburg, which became so extensive during the war, will now decline with the re-opening of direct routes.

The high prices we have been paying for raw and thrown silk should now reduce with the availability of French and Italian silks direct. In the war they were land-carried to Hamburg for export and the cost was immense. Genoa, Leghorn and Venice have now reportedly shipped great quantities of silk. The other change to our silk import industry is Ireland. That island can now import Italian silks direct without coming through London.

The British import duty on all types of animal hides has been repealed. Our leather exports are popular in international markets. Mr Desmond’s new tanning process makes our leather superior to our competitors. Black Spanish is now the preferred leather for ladies shoes although it was unknown 20 years ago. English Morocco leathers have improved to a quality and colour better than the Moroccan supply.

  • The Hull Dock Company has done a deal whereby it will build an additional dock for 50 sail, capable of receiving ships up to 50-gun warship size. The cost will be shared between the Dock Company and the people of Hull.
  • The improvements in London’s docks are also well advanced. £72,000 has been expended on the new canal and £50,000 more is needed for completion. The site for the new docks at Wapping has been cleared of houses and excavations have begun.

Sat 25th Sept 1802

A London commentary on matters in the French news:

  • The French merchants of Paris who trade to Mauritius and Pondicherry have petitioned that the trade be made free and all monopoly removed.
  • The Chief Consul is raising a loan in America. He asks for half in silver and the rest in stores for his forces in West Indies.
  • The French have done a good job with their embassy to St Petersburg. The Ambassador has a suite of 100 persons and gets regular interviews with the Tsar.
  • That celebrated Polish patriot Thaddeus Kosciusko is living in Paris. He supposes that Bonaparte is the only European statesman who might conceivably be willing to recover his country for him.
  • In Switzerland the farmers and their labourers are in rebellion against the French. The French General in charge of the garrison replaces the legal authorities in Valais and has chosen not to interfere. Eventually the land-owners and businessmen will throw themselves upon French protection and that will be the end of Swiss independence. That seems to be Bonaparte’s intention but whether he or a family member will become President of the Swiss Republic or whether the Cantons will be partitioned and incorporated in the neighbouring states is unclear.

Sat 25th Sept 1802

The House of Commons has debated the Treaty of Amiens. The document received Wm Windham’s decided disapproval:

He said the reciprocity clause whereby each signatory may place ‘n’ ships in Malta (it was the Cape in the House of Lords debate) means an English frigate might arrive there to find three erstwhile enemy ships (French, Dutch & Spanish) in port as we signed the agreement on behalf of Portugal whereas French allies each signed on their own behalf. Even if Malta is neutral this will be intimidating.

The new arrangements for the government of Malta are repudiated by the Templars themselves who consider they have been forced out by the Chevaliers as Naples has been given the duty to garrison Malta. Naples is effectively in the hands of France, ergo Malta is controlled by the French, Windham says. This part of the treaty makes England look ridiculous. The Preliminary treaty made Malta a free port; the definitive treaty puts that development at the option of France.

The Cape is given to our rival and there is nothing to prevent the Dutch permitting a French garrison being placed there. The Cape is sometimes the only stop on the way to India. It is more convenient than Brazil. In any future war we will have to convoy everything we send to / from India.

The Treaty of Madrid, signed two days before the Preliminary peace articles, extends French Guyana to the Amazon. The Portuguese surrendered this vast tract of land to preserve their homeland under the Treaty of Badajoz. French access to the Amazon gives them influence in that river’s hinterland.

The Treaty of Madrid gives Louisiana and Florida to France in return for Bonaparte placing the son of the Spanish King on the throne of Etruria. Louisiana is an immense territory stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada and its owner can threaten the entire western land frontier of USA. It contains the Mississippi River which provides access to all the terra incognita in the centre of continental north America. Florida provides a base to get at the Bahamas chain and Cuba and link-up with the French colony at Santo Domingo.

British sovereignty in India was partly conceded by France in the Treaties of 1763 and 1783 and finally settled by the Convention of 1787. We got that last agreement at a time that France was incapable of resisting our claims. Why was this treaty not renewed in the instant agreement? It will now again be open to discussion. Ministers say that non-renewal puts us in a better position to settle things and they assert the justice of our position represents protection against encroachments. Now France is confirmed in her possession of Cochin she has a valuable base from which to destabilise our Indian empire.

If you say we should trust to the good faith of France, I (Windham) say look at those other states that trusted:

  • The Archduke was driven out of Tuscany and his land given to Spain while the Prince of Parma was raised on the new throne.
  • France wanted Elba which belongs to the King of Etruria, so she took Piombino from the King of Naples and gave it to the Etrurian King in exchange for Porto Ferrajo (the principal settlement on Elba) which effectively gives France the whole island.

The increase in French lands under this Treaty is immense.

What France can do, England can also do. We merely emulate this new incarnation of ancient Rome.

In the whole of continental Europe there are now only two powers apart from France – Austria and Russia. Russia is distant and slow to move. Austria has lost all those great forts and strongholds she used to possess. She will be hobbled in her ability to project force over any distance. It is doubtful whether either of these powers could successfully confront France.

We made a present of Santo Domingo to France in the interval between the preliminary and definitive treaties. Ministers say the ex-slave government there alarmed all our expatriate planters on the other islands but without a slave navy to reach our islands the threat was containable. If Santo Domingo remained in black hands its productiveness would diminish; but in French hands its trade will increase (before the war its sugar exports were valued at £8 millions annually) and not only be lost entirely to this country but the trade proceeds will finance the construction of a safe port for France to use as a naval base. In this event, as America trades extensively in West Indies, French influence over the USA will increase.

Supporters of the Treaty say it secures peace and allows us to grow our economy through commerce but this does not appear to be the French opinion. Bonaparte appears intent on a global empire and that necessarily infers the removal of Britain from competition. Formerly we were fighting a war of armies and navies; now France has led us into a commercial war that will be fought in the Customs Houses. It is our trade revenue that France wishes to end.

Some people never really knew why we were at war with France to begin with. I (Windham) will tell them – we were fighting for our security; we had no other choice but to fight.

This peace agreement reveals we lost, whatever one may say about our great military and naval victories. The fact that we have lost does not mean that we were wrong to fight. Had we clearly foreseen the danger to our way of life, our exertions would not have fallen short. Our exertions were the historical sort of effort by battles of armies and navies whereas what we should have fought was commercial war to secure all global trade to us and deny it to France.

We have been humbled by France. We permitted the Royalist cockades to be taken from our hats in Portugal; we allowed our ambassador to kick his heels in Paris while Bonaparte went off to Lyon. We can expect these insults to increase.

Our job now is to investigate the troubles that this peace treaty will foreseeably bring and to correct them.

In India we should expect France to recite her old pre-1783 claims. While our rights are disputed we should not agree to the cession of Malta, the Cape and Cochin. We know of French designs on India from the Frenchmen and documents taken at Seringapatam. We obtained confirmation of it from the expedition to Egypt. We should really be in Paris asking Bonaparte exactly what he plans in India. We should ask the same question in respect of the southern shore of the Caribbean (the Portuguese cession). We need to recognise the extent of our danger. Unless we display a little foresight we will be in trouble. We have relinquished many sources of prosperity and bulwarks of defence and have renounced the customary security of renewing all former treaties. We must take care. The example of Spain is before us. Not long ago she was a leading state of Europe; now she is a vassal of France. We should observe matters closely and resent any further encroachment on our maritime, commercial or colonial rights.

Windham also noted that the predictions at the end of the American War have been realised. Had England to concern herself for the welfare of America, this peace would be impossible. But America has been helping France in this war. Her convoy, that entered France at the time of Lord Howe’s great naval victory, was a compensation to France for our destruction of her fleet.

Lord Folkestone seconded.

Hawkesbury said Windham should have confined himself to the matter under debate – the merits of the Treaty. He (Hawkesbury) had signed it and he thought it was the best agreement available. Members should recall that Austria had been rendered hors de combat at Hohenlinden. That left us to fight on with Naples and Portugal whilst the rest of Europe had determined on peace. Under the circumstances of Austrian defeat, and considering the terms of Lunéville, there was no real prospect of an advantageous peace for us. All we could do was trade our conquests for an indemnity and preserve the integrity of our Empire as best we could. It should never be British policy to nurture all the states of Europe.

Some people would like us to abandon Hanover and isolate ourselves from European politics. That is unwise. Many European treaties have been advantageous to us and we could never be indifferent to what was occurring on the continent. Hawkesbury thought the question before the House was simple – we had formerly gone to war for the Netherlands; should we now renew the war for the Italian Republic?

The matter of Louisiana was misunderstood, Hawkesbury thought. Spain had obtained that country in 1763 in much the same way as France had now got it back (it was originally a French colony). It contains no port that might become a threat to our West Indian colonies. The Americans want a balance of British and French influence on their doorstep and Louisiana becoming French again deranges that balance. That should put our two greatest commercial competitors at odds with each other and tend to bring America back into the British camp.[218]

Windham has disapproved the absence of any renewals of former treaties in this treaty but this war has disrupted Europe in a way never previously achieved. Did Windham expect the treaty to guarantee Savoy to the King of Sardinia, or the Dutch provinces to the Stadtholder, or the Low Countries to Austria? The territorial basis to our former treaties has been irrevocably changed and there was no point in refreshing them.

Windham has objected to the absence of a commercial treaty. They are not immediately done upon peace. After the Treaty of Versailles we did not renew the commercial treaty with the Netherlands because she then asserted the ‘free ships make free goods’ argument that we would never grant to a great maritime power. In fact our exports into Europe during the course of this war have been nearly the same as in the peace, in spite of all the tariffs against us.

We accordingly know we can export into any market with or without treaties.

Our trade will certainly increase with the peace but it is independent of treaties. If France tries to protect her market from our goods it will be the French who suffer – they will lose a part of their existing market here in wine and brandy whilst our manufactures are so competitively priced they will be smuggled into the continent in the same quantities as hitherto.

The matter of not renewing the treaties concerning India was discussed last night (by Dundas, but regrettably not reported in this Bombay paper).

The matter of Dutch salutes to our flag was settled in war. We long asserted the right to have other European countries respect our flag when passing through the Channel. The Dutch disputed that and we fought them until they submitted to our demand. No other country has disputed our claim and we would not press it on any of them unless they did.

There are five points in the definitive treaty that are materially different from the preliminary treaty. They relate to the costs of taking prisoners, Portugal, Newfoundland, the Cape and Malta.

  • International law requires a country to maintain its own prisoners whilst captive in enemy territory. This has been admitted by France only once – in the treaty of 1763. The terms of that treaty were dictated by us and, in the present return of her strength, France no longer feels bound by them. She did not claim indemnity from Austria for the great numbers of Austrian troops she held, or indeed from anyone else. The Russian prisoners taken in Holland were in our pay and under our command. We should be responsible to settle the costs of their board and lodging in France but we have not been asked to do so.
  • As concerns Portugal, we could not have landed a part of the Egyptian expedition for her assistance as it was barely adequate for Egypt. What we did was offer a capable officer to command the Portuguese forces. Portugal decided to retain the old man then in charge of her army. She told us if we sent her 25,000 men we might have command but we could not supply so many troops. It was necessary to leave Portugal to slowly recognise her fate and we merely gave her money. When our prospects improved we again offered her support and assistance in the peace negotiations. Portugal was willing to cede the north bank of the Amazon to France. Our influence got the boundary shifted to the banks of Ariwari, 50 miles to the north.
  • As for Newfoundland, our situation is now precisely the pre-war situation.
  • As for the Cape, in the preliminary articles it was to be a free port whereas in the definitive treaty it is free only to the four contracting parties.
  • As regards Malta, when we blockaded that island we said it must be restored to the Templars. We did not intend to keep it ourselves. Of all the languages spoken by the Knights (on which the funding authority of the various nations over the Templars derives) French was overwhelmingly the most popular. There are also Russian, German and Maltese Knights. The last-named had mounted a splendid defence of the island against the French. The Tsar had since declined to manage Malta and the only other power remotely interested is Naples from whose Sicilian province most of the island’s foods are supplied. There is a valid guarantee of all the great European powers for its integrity. It was the ministry’s opinion that a port in the Mediterranean was no great object of British policy.

In India our power has increased exponentially whilst France has been diminished.

Our West Indian colonies have increased their trade 30% in the course of war and we have gained Trinidad with its capacious port. France gets back Santo Domingo which pre-war produced annually £7-8 millions of sugar for the Baltic states but is now in anarchy and its plantations are barren. It will constitute a hole in the French pocket for many years.

Turning to the navigation of France, she now has hardly a merchant marine whilst England has immense war and merchant fleets. Our sources of seamen and ships are improved whilst France’s have to be rebuilt. Only her Levant and Mediterranean trade is unimpaired and that does not produce hardy seamen for ocean voyages. France merely looks splendid whilst our country is settled on solid grounds.

A final reason for making peace is the present state of France under Bonaparte. He has reinstated religion, he has abandoned revolutionary principles, he has established strong government. We may not completely approve, but it appears sound.

Dundas said we should not have abandoned both Egypt and Malta but now we have made an agreement we are bound by it. We should merely observe the French closely to confirm they have forsaken their expansionist ways.

Bond (a Treasury Lord) said in consideration of our ability to repay our debts, peace was essential so we may nurture our resources.

Pitt said everything had been fully reviewed. France had extended herself to defensible frontiers. The power of France in Europe had increased and if there was any indication by the French of an intention to abuse that power, England would act. For the present we will maintain confidence at home and prudent precaution abroad.

Sheridan said there are thirteen liberal Whigs present who had consistently criticised Pitt’s ministry to no effect. Now the successor ministry had made peace on the best available terms. We have no money left to improve them and the bankers are reluctant to loan any more. He recalled that at the outset the ministry had identified several war aims – Holland, Brabant, Religion, Social Order, ‘indemnity for the past and security for the future’ – and none had been achieved. This had cost £300 millions and 200,000 British lives.

Sheridan particularly objected to Addington’s passage of an Indemnity Bill shielding the members of Pitt’s ministry from investigation and criticism – he seemed to be the tool of the previous ministry. He constantly and publicly defers to Pitt’s opinion, Sheridan said. He scoffed at the published reason (that Pitt’s group had resigned over Catholic Emancipation – which the King would never agree. British state historians have adopted this reason but Sheridan’s suspicion relates to the struggle Pitt had with the King. This was the time that he Commons began to assert itself over the monarchy by whittling down the Civil List). He thought the rejection of Bonaparte’s peace overtures in January 1800 had been wrong and our subsequent excessive expenditure had now forced this peace upon us.

The House then voted with 187 in favour of an Address to the King approving peace. At a further debate on the treaty, another vote in favour of it was 276 / 20

Sat 2nd October 1802

It has been decided in London that the office of CiC, which usually ceases with the war, will be continued for the foreseeable future. The Duke of York is confirmed as CiC. He will get a Lt General in Scotland and another in Ireland. Three other Lt Generals and four Major Generals will lead his staff.

Sat 2nd October 1802

The opening of the Scheldt, which was agreed in the late treaty, has encouraged several American families to emigrate to Antwerp and reside there. One of the big City merchants is sending his son there to handle the firm’s Bills business between England and the north of Germany. The river is busier than before and Antwerp likewise. Later this year it is proposed to dredge the river and clear a channel through the bar at the river mouth.

Sat 2nd October 1802

The Palace of St Cloud is to become the new residence of the Chief Consul. The refurbishments will cost 853,000 Francs (£40,000). After Bonaparte moves in, it is expected he will give Malmaison to General Berthier.

Sat 2nd October 1802

Bonaparte published an amnesty for the émigrés on 26th April 1802. It requires their return to France before Sept 1803. Nine towns have been named as entry points where Commissioners will receive their declarations. Émigrés must make an Oath of Fidelity to the French Republic to qualify for residence. They must agree not to correspond in any way with enemies of the state. If they have jobs, awards or pensions from any foreign power they must declare and renounce them. Those who do not accept this offer will remain on the list of proscribed émigrés. There is a loophole if they can prove it is impossible for them to return within the 16 months allotted. Those already in France must make Oath within a month of the publication of this Decree.

The following classifications of émigré are not amnestied. They will remain on the list of excluded persons:

  • Those who have led armed groups against the French Republic.
  • Those who have been officers in enemy armies.
  • Those employed in the households of the Bourbon family.
  • Those who have fomented war, civil or foreign.
  • Those popular representatives who have acted treasonously.
  • Those archbishops and bishops appointed by the Pope who have refused to resign their jobs.

Those accepting this amnesty must agree to a probation of ten years. The government may require them to remove from their former places of residence. After ten years of good behaviour, they regain their full citizenship. Such of their former property as remains in the possession of the state will be returned to them with the exception of their ownership of woods and forests, real property appropriated by the government, canals and debts due from the nation, all of which were previously confiscated perpetually.

Sat 2nd October 1802

London has been conducting a census based on parish registers. According to these sources, the population of Scotland is nearly 1.7 millions; Ireland is over 4 millions, and there are nearly 10 millions in England and Wales. The entire United Kingdom population exceeds 15 millions. The increase in our numbers has greatly accelerated in recent years.

The population of London approaches one million and represents more than a tenth of the population of England and Wales. The most populous counties are Middlesex 820,000, Lancashire 670,000, the West Riding 560,000 and Devon 440,000.[219]

Sat 9th Oct 1802

London reports of French news:

  • In early May, the French senate sought to extend Bonaparte’s consulship for ten more years. Bonaparte said he would need the agreement of the Parisians before he could accept such an offer. The suffrage was small (mostly civil servants). They voted unanimously that he be Consul for Life and this has now been decreed.[220] He operates a Dictatorship of the People. Whilst he appears popular, there was another attempt on his life a few days ago. At the same time Generals Augereau, Massena and Bernadotte, who each resents the increasing power of Bonaparte, have been ordered to reside at least 100 leagues from Paris.
  • Meanwhile twelve Mayors of Paris have proposed Bonaparte be empowered to name his own successor. Paris is the hub of France. Whoever controls Paris controls the whole country – we saw that when the Lyonnais tried to dispute the implementation of Revolutionary principles. Bonaparte is a private person. He never declares his own wishes as the future is unpredictable and to make a mistaken forecast is inevitable although the people expect him to be omniscient. He always waits for others to reveal their proposals and selects those that accord with his own views. He is politically astute.
  • Our expectation that Piedmont would be absorbed within France appears incorrect. It now seems likely that the province will be incorporated in the Italian Republic.
  • Switzerland is in ferment. There is discord all over the country. The Canton of Vaud is in insurrection and 2,000 farmers have threatened Lausanne and Morges. They have already occupied six local castles.
  • Lucien Bonaparte has proposed the creation of a Légion d’Honneur to the membership of which all meritorious citizens might aspire. It is a distinction that will be worn publicly so all may see who is meritorious. The award has a cash value and 3 million Francs of national property backs it. We have two questions – whether it is for military achievements alone or civil as well and whether it creates a privileged class. Argument in the legislature was inconclusive but the vote was 56 / 38 in favour.[221]

Sat 9th Oct 1802

The annual round of European trade fairs commenced in May. The Frankfurt Easter Fair was well-attended by British and German merchants but there were few buyers owing to scarcity of money. English goods sold fairly well. Everyone has now gone to Leipzig where the next trade fair will be held. The sellers at these fairs tend to be the same faces; it is the buyers that change.

Sat 9th Oct 1802

A large deputation of British merchants is in Madrid to request the refund of their investments in Spanish funds that were sequestrated at commencement of the war. Mainly they are wool manufacturers from Yorkshire and Devon with a goodly number of London commission agents. Their claims total £300,000 and repayment is vouchsafed by a term in the peace treaty.

The claimants know a treasure ship from Vera Cruz recently arrived at Cadiz and others are coming. The total import of silver to Spain recently is $8 million. They want payment. The Spanish have created a requirement for many documents and seem to be playing for time. We may have to await the arrival of a British ambassador to get these claims settled.

Sat 9th Oct 1802

House of Commons:

John Nicholls, MP for Tregony, wants to impeach Pitt and perhaps some of his group.

At the outset of war Pitt’s intent was to wrest Belgium from France and protect the Netherlands. At conclusion of the war Belgium was French and so was the Netherlands.

Pitt’s second aim was to obtain ‘indemnity for the past and security for the future’ – he has not achieved that either.

Finally, Pitt fought to oppose French principles; to restore the Bourbons and remove a discordant Republic from monarchical Europe, all of which aims have been frustrated.

Nicholls believes Pitt violated three cardinal rules of Machiavelli:

  • never believe émigrés, who are likely to deceive others and themselves be deceived;
  • never trust to internal dissensions when invading a country as an external threat will remove internal dissensions and provoke union; and
  • never base your invasion plans on the state of the finances of the country to be invaded.

According to Nicholls, Pitt’s crimes were:

  • To starve France, he bought up grain in foreign markets. As a result the grain merchants of England were unable to compete with government and their trade languished. When foreign supplies became inadequate in 1793 / 94 the domestic famine of 1795 was induced which in turn caused the ministry to solicit the grain merchants to resume their trade. We then drained the Treasury of great amounts to spend on foreign grain in 1795 et seq. This, combined with the huge subsidies paid to European allies, led to the stoppage of payments by the Bank of England. Thus the bankruptcy of our own country was in part due to the political aim of starving the French.
  • The ambiguity of Pitt’s declarations allowed the belief that we were not acting in concert with our allies but alone in the conquest of French colonies. This alienated the French Royalists and the King of Prussia.
  • The subsidies to allies.
  • The expedition to Santo Domingo which was unsure whether to conquer the island in the name of the Bourbons or ourselves. Had we occupied Santo Domingo in the name of Louis XVIII the inhabitants would have submitted. If contrarily we intended the occupation of the island for our own use, an expedition of initially 750 men was manifestly inadequate. In fact on that island we lost 25,000 men and spent £22 millions.
  • The expedition to La Vendée was disgraceful.
  • The expedition to Holland was expected to recruit Dutchmen but our troops were allowed to resort to plunder and lost the support of the Dutch people.
  • The failure to take advantage of Bonaparte’s peace offer in 1800 when he led the Brissotine faction (who always preferred peace)
  • Inciting Austria to renew war when Pitt should have been well aware that Austria was in no condition to continue the fight.
  • The quarrel with the Baltic states which could have been avoided by giving Malta to the Tsar thus pre-empting his leadership of the neutrals.

Nicholls acknowledged that the orders to Egypt to destroy the Convention that country had made with the French was ultimately successful.

Pitt had shown innovative financial abilities (for a politician) but were they that good? Pitt’s financial achievements have been the introduction of Income Tax, the redemption of the Land Tax, the increase of our national debt by £248 millions and the introduction of paper money.

The Income Tax has introduced unique and unprecedented inquisitorial powers for the Tax Commissioners that were universally resented; the sale of the Land Tax had put all landed property in a state of requisition to creditors. Its primary purpose had been to better secure the bankers and support the funds but its unpublished effect was to increase the price of produce, resulting from which thousands more died in the Poor-Houses than had formerly died. Through the intermediary of the Funds, some part of the Land Tax was sold to foreigners who thus acquired an interest in our country.

Pitt had not taken a salary for his services. He is not a greedy man, simply an ambitious one, but he had stimulated corruption of government by approving the grant of 100 new peerages and 580 new pensions. He had led the Irish Catholics to expect emancipation as a boon from him personally when it could only come from the King.

The debts on the Civil List were due to the way Pitt distributed those funds. It was dangerous to render the King’s sons dependent on the King’s minister for their upkeep. The grant of funds from the Civil List was constitutionally within the responsibility of parliament not the ministry. His occasional ad hoc payments to the Prince of Wales were consequently illegal.

Nicholls finally proposed an Address of thanks to the King for removing Pitt from office.[222]

Lord Belgrave said Pitt resigned, he was not sacked.

Erskine wanted to know why Pitt et al had resigned when they did, leaving the country leaderless at an important moment. He deplored Pitt’s response to Bonaparte’s first peace feelers. At that time Bonaparte had just assumed the government of France, he had no armies in Italy, but we sent him a scandalous answer. We MPs were then carried by a vote approving that answer which has consequently disbarred us from re-investigating the matter.

Grey said France now controls the European coast from the Texel to the Straits of Messena. She has excluded England from north Africa, she has opened up our Asian trade, she has Louisiana to threaten America. He thought our campaign in the West Indies could have produced no change in the policy of the French government at home. We had endorsed the selfish policy of Austria and earned the resentment of Prussia as a result and this had undermined the concept of a confederation of allies. The cessions we are required to make in the peace are cessions we are too weak to refuse.

Grey indicated several flaws in Pitt’s financial policy. Although he was imaginative and bold, he deserves censure, he concluded.

Hawkesbury for the ministry said it was the French who started the war. Their revolutionary principles were subversive of all the neighbours. Now the objectionable principles have been renounced, it is appropriate to make peace. Hawkesbury thought the French were in no mood to make peace until 1800 and after. Had we made peace in 1800, Malta, Genoa and Egypt would all still be in French possession. At that time, Russia and Austria were still willing to fight on.

Hawkesbury believes this is a good peace. Our commercial, colonial and maritime strength has never been so much greater than France’s. This is possibly the first war in which no important possession has been wrested from us.

The House voted 224 / 52 and a vote of thanks was given to Pitt.[223]

Sat 16th Oct 1802

A Bill has been introduced repealing the various Aliens Acts and substituting regulations for visiting aliens. Every foreigner will in future have to attend the magistrate of the port of entry and explain his purpose in visiting. He will then receive a passport noting his purposes at the declared places he wishes to visit.

Sat 16th Oct 1802

Lawrence addressed the House of Commons on India. He has seen a copy of the treaty of 1795 between France and the Batavian Republic and suspects our empire is under threat. The French and Dutch are about to return to their old factories and national competition will resume.

In the treaty of 1763 the French agreed with us to build no forts nor keep any troops in Coromandel. Soon afterwards they again wished to militarise their bases. They claimed an equal right to exploit India with England, although our rights are better founded than theirs – ours devolve from agreements we have made with the Grand Mughal, the de jure sovereign.

This claim of equality was maintained to the end of the American War in 1783 when we once again insisted on no military development in India. Thereafter we observed their colonies closely and remonstrated if we saw anything potentially defensive being built. The problem was the local French administrators were scarcely under the control of the home government. In 1785 we sank a French ship in pursuit of our insistence that the French colonies in India be kept open. After that event, the Governor-General wrote to London requesting negotiations to settle rules to avoid all disputes.

This resulted in the Convention of 1787. Now the peace of Amiens has failed to reaffirm all these old agreements, we should expect France to revive her claims to equality in Asia.

As regards the Dutch, our free navigation and the superiority of our flag in Eastern seas was recognised by them in the treaty of 1784. That treaty has also not been renewed and the Netherlands has become the close ally of France. The Dutch always envied our China trade. They held Malacca to control the straits and provide a possible point of disruption on our route to China. If they closed the Malacca Straits it would restrict us to the Sunda Straits which are not navigable all year round and are in any event within the ability of Dutch warships at Batavia to control. This gives the Dutch a negotiating point on which to base a demand for a greater share of the China trade.

On the basis of these speculations, Lawrence believes Amiens has shifted the balance of power in Europe in favour of France and it is in her homeland, not in India, that we must always confront her if we are to maintain our pre-eminence in Asia. To talk of our army in India or our sovereignty of that country is meaningless without this basic insight, he says.

When the Portuguese lost their sovereignty in India they declined as a European power. It would be the same for any other country in the same situation.

Dundas said Lawrence’s fears are nonsensical. We have a powerful army in India and we occupy much of the sub-continent by a relationship with the Grand Mughal. We had taken this Indian empire by force and we will retain it by force. France has nothing in India except what the definitive treaty gives her. He admitted that when he first heard the Convention of 1787 was to be abandoned he was shocked but, on a careful review, he concluded we were better served by non-renewal. He frankly wondered whether France would be restrained by treaty obligations if she actually thought she had a chance of success in India.[224] If France starts to fortify her factories we will stop her. If France wants to trade in India she must act through British institutions. Nevertheless, Dundas was agreeable to packaging French access to India in a non-confrontational way for appearances. He thought the best basis to neighbourliness in India was reciprocity. He thought the danger was a creeping growth of French authority and support in India that would ultimately, if unchecked, become a competitor for our sovereignty. It had been a principle of Pitt’s ministry that the sovereignty of India resides in London.

As regards Dutch claims they had been recited ad nauseum since they first arrived in India and had never been accepted by any British ministry. England has conquered India and our success is publicly confirmed by grants from the Mughal who is effectively our prisoner.

Lords Grenville and Hawkesbury also disagreed with Lawrence whose motion was then negatived.

Wed 20th Oct 1802 Extraordinary

General Andreossi, a Corsican friend of Bonaparte and another military engineer, is appointed Ambassador to London. He is about 35 years old. The French have awaited receipt of approval from St James before announcing the appointment – that’s respectful. Several of Andreossi’s officers will accompany him. He is a frequent companion of Bonaparte, a clear-thinking man with good judgment. He first came to attention at the famous passage of the River Po in 1796. He was later in Egypt and has recently been Chief of Staff to General Augereau. In 1798 the Directory appointed him as one of the four Commissioners to arrange the invasion of England.

The British ministry expect him to bring the first payment on the debt incurred by Britain for maintaining French prisoners during the war.

Lord Whitworth is the British ambassador to Paris. He left England the same day Andreossi left France. Talbot accompanies him as Secretary of Legation. Pierrepoint is Private Secretary on the recommendation of Lord St Helens.

Otto is reassigned as French ambassador to America but will assist in the arrangement of the commercial treaty with England first.

German sources report that Prince Adolphus, 7th son of George III and newly made Duke of Cambridge, will become sovereign of Brunswick-Lunenburg and Elector of Hanover. George III will cede all his German possessions to Adolphus. The people of Hanover are delighted. No change will occur until all the other indemnities in Germany have been arranged.

Wed 20th Oct 1802 Extraordinary

A large number of the people appointed to positions of power in the Netherlands on the peace are supporters of the old Orange party. Many of them held office before the Revolution. The next Dutch parliament is likely to have more merchants that previously.

Wed 20th Oct 1802 Extraordinary

The King dissolved parliament on 17th August 1802 and called for a general election.

Sat 23rd Oct 1802

The Hague, 16th June – The Dutch government is to distribute land in Guinea and the Cape on condition that those accepting the grants will clear and cultivate the land. This is expected to bring a German population to the Cape.

Sat 23rd Oct 1802

The distribution of indemnities in the German states continues. It is said the deputies have agreed that the Bishopric of Osnaburg (the Duke of York’s perk) be connected with the Electorate of Hanover in perpetuity.

Sat 23rd Oct 1802

Canning has written the lyrics to a song to be sung on Pitt’s birthday. There are many verses and here are two. It is called The Pilot:

If hushed the loud whirlwind that ruffled the deep

The sky now no longer dark tempests deform;

When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep?

No – here’s to the Pilot who weathered the storm.

At the footpost of power, let flattery fawn;

Let faction her idols extol to the skies;

To virtue in humble retirement withdrawn,

Unblam’d may the accents of gratitude rise.

This became quite popular and ‘the pilot who weathered the storm’ became a synonym for Pitt.

Sat 23rd Oct 1802

Bordeaux, the great centre of claret production, which is a principal French export to England, is considering the prospects of its future export trade. The wine merchants complain the export duty is so high that wines can only be drunk by the rich. They want the new commercial treaty with England to include an MFN clause and a fixed rate of exchange at 24 Livres per Pound Sterling.

France has appointed Coquebert-Monbret as Commissary General for Commercial Relations with England. He was recently in similar employment in respect of French trade with the Netherlands. Just before the war he was French consul at Dublin. He is assisted by Peuchel who is also expert on the commerce of France. Otto is to stay in London temporarily to assist as well.

It appears the French government is trying to get the best men to solve this imbalance in commerce between England and France. British merchants hope that the basis to any new agreement will be Pitt’s treaty of 1786.

Sat 23rd Oct 1802

Paris, 20th June – The French government is expected to permit free trade to India. It recognises that the merchants are the best judges of commerce and they are, to a man, in favour of free trade. Its not just the merchants of the ports. The people of Lyon deplore the granting of exclusive privileges too. They say all the national monopoly companies of the last century lost money and failed and the English only sustain theirs by mingling the profits of territory with the profits of commerce. The most extensive trade France ever did in Asia was through private merchants at L’Orient during 1775 – 79.

The monopoly companies inevitably sacrifice the national interest to their corporate interest. So far as colonial manufacturing is concerned the monopoly companies only buy best quality and ignore the inferior stuff but the private merchants find buyers for everything. They also import Indian produce at cheaper prices than monopoly companies.

Sat 23rd Oct 1802

Amsterdam has restored the credit of its bank. The amount of specie in its vaults now equals the value of Bills in circulation. No-one gets credit until they deposit the amount they require in specie. As a result Amsterdam Bills, which formerly traded at a discount of 8%, are now at a premium of 4-5%.

Since commerce with England was restored, the cost of Dutch imports of colonial produce has been falling with every shipment. Only the floods in Surinam and the destruction of that island’s agricultural production has kept prices up.

Sat 23rd Oct 1802

The French prefer that the Valais, whose main towns are Milan and Lugano, be separated from the Helvetic Republic. The previous French, Swiss and Italian guarantee of protection remains in force as though the Valais was still part of Helvetia. French troops are permitted to pass through the Valais via the Simplon Pass at their own expense (both maintenance of the road and troops). Valais is to maintain the road from St Gingoux to Brig and is not to open any new roads without French permission. Valais will receive its own Customs revenue without deduction. It will add no new taxes without French agreement.

The territory may have regiments in the service of other powers but will have no role in Swiss foreign affairs. The only ambassadors to the Valais are the French, Helvetian and Italian ambassadors. Citizens of Valais travelling outside their country may call on French diplomatic missions for assistance if necessary.

Sat 23rd Oct 1802

Brussels, 27th June – The Duke of York and the ex-Stadtholder are expected here soon. The former is going to Spa for a holiday; the latter is expected to take possession of the indemnities he has been granted in Germany.

The Corps of Dutch émigrés, presently in the pay of England and numbering 4,500 men, will enter the ex-Stadtholders’ service. They are likely to pass through Ostend by permission of the French.

Sat 30th Oct 1802

The genealogy of Bonaparte has been published in a Frankfurt paper:

Napoleon Bonaparte was born 16th August 1767; his wife Josephine La Pagerie (widow of General Beauharnais, a former President of the Convention. The word ‘Pagerie” has the meaning of a failed Coup d’Etat since the reign of Charles VII) was born in Martinique 1762. They married in December 1796. Her children by the first marriage are Eugene and Cecilé Beauharnais. Eugene is single. Cecilé married Louis Bonaparte, brother of her step-father Napoleon, on 4th June 1802.

Napoleon’s brothers and sisters are Joseph, Lucien (a childless widower), Louis, Maria (married 1797 to General Leclerc), Caroline (married 1800 to General Murat), Jerome, Guido, Marin and Adele (Married 1800 to General Blacchioche).

His parents are Charles born Ajaccio 1739, first a lawyer then a soldier, and Letitia Raniolet.

He has an uncle on his father’s side who was Canon at St Minialo at Tedescho in Tuscany.

Bonaparte’s childhood friends say that as a youth, he revered Paoli.

Sat 6th Nov 1802

To celebrate peace with France the 1st December has been declared Thanksgiving Day in India and Britain.

Sat 6th Nov 1802

The Netherlands has permitted the import of British goods. It seems everyone finds that cheap British manufactures are indispensable. It is also the case that, while the commercial treaty between England and France is pending, the Dutch have an opportunity to get in first. If they do not act quickly, the trade will go to Hamburg and to the Danes and the share available to the Dutch will decrease.

Sat 6th Nov 1802

A huge party for nearly a thousand notables has been held in the Merchant Taylor’s Hall to celebrate Pitt’s 43rd birthday. Every important person was there. When Cornwallis entered he got a standing ovation. Earl Spencer was in the Chair.

Sat 13th Nov 1802

The negotiations for territorial indemnities in Germany continue. They have been moved from the Diet at Ratisbon, where no agreement could be had, to Paris where the ambassadors of Austria, Russia and Prussia talk with Talleyrand and will impose their decisions on the Electors. The ministers of Bavaria, Hesse and Wurtemburg (the major Rhine states) also attend. The Diet has agreed to abide by the decisions reached in Paris.

Sat 13th Nov 1802

Switzerland, 14th June – the Cantons of Zurich, Argovie, Turgovie, Basel, Soleure, Fribourg, Berne and Leman have voted in favour of the new Constitution. Sernea is one Canton which opposes – there has been repeated violence there.

Sat 27th Nov 1802

Paris, 23rd July – The value of Santo Domingo exports during the several years that Toussaint was running the place totalled about £12 millions. Under French administration it was £8 millions a year. Toussaint and a hundred followers got an amnesty from General Leclerc but they continued to foment insurrection and Toussaint was eventually arrested.

France suspects, mainly from the diminished trade statistics, that he has secreted a huge sum of money. Toussaint with his family and fellow black officials has just arrived in France. They will have to be skilled in talking.

Sat 27th Nov 1802

When Lucien Bonaparte negotiated the peace terms with Portugal in 1797 he received a box of diamonds from the Queen at Lisbon. He has just sold them for 3.5 million Livres. The quantity was so great that dealers say, had he sold them separately, he would have received far more.

Sat 4th Dec 1802

France has introduced a wealth qualification to its electoral system. People who pay most taxes get most influence. This will likely make France a formidable competitor for international business. Its one of the provisions in the new Constitution just framed by the Council of State.

Uniquely, for such a long and complex document, the Senators were able to ratify it on the same day it was presented to them. It seems even the Legislature submits to Bonaparte. He is certainly removing the anarchy promoted in the Revolution.

Two initiatives are proposed to better supply the national Treasury – licensing of game hunting and a paper currency based on ownership of the national domains (which were partly sold off previously to fund the war).

Sat 4th Dec 1802

London – Robert Liston is to be our man at Amsterdam; John Hunter will be consul at Madrid.

Sat 11th Dec 1802

The Lord Mayor of London gave an entertainment and the French Ambassador Otto was called upon to give a toast. He proposed ‘the three Consuls’. The Master of Ceremonies misheard and announced ‘the 3% consols’. It was well received.

Sat 11th Dec 1802

The Dey of Algiers has been encouraged in his piracy by Spain which country has just paid him 60,000 piastres to recover three ships he took.

He has taken a strong line with the French coral fleet (84 ships), which arrived at Bone (Annaba) but could not receive the usual approval to dive.

One of the fleet, the gondola Concepcion, started farming at French Bay without permission. It was stopped by an Algerian privateer which crew wounded the master and three crew, cut-up the nets they use to bottom trawl for coral, towed the gondola out to sea and set her adrift. Later they returned, towed her into port, took out the sails and oars, and escorted the crew to Algiers.

At the same time the Dey’s three frigates and some smaller warships were readied for sea and the forts were manned and provisioned.

Sat 25th Dec 1802

Four Dutch frigates are escorting some transports to Java containing Austrian deserters. They represent that part of the Imperial forces that have agreed to join the garrison at Batavia.

Sat 25th Dec 1802

The French Government is raising a new loan to pay off all its arrears. Those people who bought national property to support the currency previously are preferred beneficiaries.

Sat 25th Dec 1802

85 French generals have united to accuse Bonaparte of favouring his armies of Italy and Egypt over the armies of Germany and La Vendée. Neither Massena nor Augereau signed the accusation and Bonaparte has subsequently been more friendly to both of them.

A letter from Paris of 26th June reports 60 arrests in the capital in which the prisoners have neither been charged nor tried, indeed some say they do not know what they have done wrong.

Sat 25th Dec 1802

The failure to complete a Commercial Treaty with France is irritating the City merchants. They see France expanding her trade into all the places we drove her from in war, buying raw materials to compete with our manufacturers whilst they themselves cannot yet get a share of French imports.

France now enjoys trade at the free port of Gothenburg in Sweden. Her strong position in Antwerp gives her a mastery of the Scheldt and that trade-route into central Europe. French trade with the Levant was always strong and is resuming its former size. Cod fishing on Grand Banks is another trade France is seeking to revive. There is talk of a new French East India Company with offices at Marseilles and a new entrepot at Mauritius to which they will invite all the trade of Asia.

At its height in the 1780s the silk manufactories of Lyon employed about 60,000 men. It is now still greatly diminished.

Britain is nevertheless getting on satisfactorily. Our extensive mining interests continue to be as profitable in peace as they were in war. Demand for copper, tin, iron and lead is strong and prices are firm. Sugar and cotton are flat; glass and pottery are improving. There is a big surge in slave-trading from the West African villages to meet the West Indian demand.

Sat 1st Jan 1803

The Convention made at Paris by Talleyrand and the Count Arkady-Ivanovitch Marcoff,[225] to which Austria has acceded, has been ratified by Tsar Alexander on 29th July 1802. It details the indemnities deemed fair by France, Russia and Austria for the rearrangement of the German states. It will be presented to the Diet at Ratisbon which members previously bound themselves to approve.

The Prince of Orange is required to renounce his Stadtholdership but is guaranteed the rents of his former Estates in Netherlands. In compensation he gets the Bishopric and Abbey of Fulda, the Abbeys of Corvey and Weingarten, the town of Dormuda in Westphalia and the towns of Ysny and Buckhorn in Swabia. In the event of a failure in the succession of the House of Orange the lands will pass to the King of Prussia.

Sat 1st Jan 1803

France has agreed with Prussia to deliver every army deserter who might seek for refuge in French lands.

Sat 1st Jan 1803

The Dey of Algiers has claimed 180,000 piastres from England for prize-taking by the Royal Navy. He claims to have lost many ships and cargoes and, if he is not paid within four months, he says he will declare war. He has placed claims for prize-taking on other countries as well. They total 2,918,500 piastres.

This nest of pirates has existed for nine centuries and we have never taken effective action – now is the time. Algiers succeeds because the Dey plays-off the Christians against each other.

Sat 1st Jan 1803

On 2nd August the Paris police visited the coffee shops and reading rooms of the capital and removed all English newspapers. Possession of an English paper in France has become criminal and will in future entail imprisonment.

The Hamburg, Frankfurt and Prussian papers still circulate but these contain no articles that might displease the French.

Sat 1st Jan 1803

General Lannes, the French ambassador at Lisbon, has withdrawn to France. The Portuguese police searched his diplomatic baggage. He said it was an insult and requested the police minister be dismissed. Lisbon declined and Lannes left.

Sat 1st Jan 1803

There is an insurrection in Turkey. The garrison of Belgrade has been killed to a man and the rebel Passwan Oglou is in control. He has since gone to Wallachia and taken possession of Bucharest. The Porte has offered the government of Wallachia to the Prince of Moldavia but he declined it.

Sat 1st Jan 1803

This edition of the Bombay Courier contains a list of MPs returned to the 2nd parliament of the United Kingdom.

The Irish parliament is merged in the British parliament and the country renamed as United Kingdom.

Sat 15th Jan 1803

Passwan Oglou was born in the fortress of Widdin in Bulgaria. His father was an officer of the Janissaries in Bulgaria and became the head of a political faction. Passwan inherited this mantle. Turkey is an empire of factions, particularly at the ports and frontiers where foreign influence penetrates.

His father was killed at the beginning of the last war between Russia and Turkey. As the leader of the main opposition grouping to Malik Pasha he had to be removed and was soon assassinated. Passwan fled to Wallachia where he was patronised by Prince Marojeni until that ruler’s decapitation by the Porte. Passwan then returned to his birthplace and became an army officer. He soon created a faction of his own but would not have achieved prominence had it not been for an innovation of the Porte who wished to emulate the European procedure of transferring garrisons from place to place to diminish collusion between his officers and local dignitaries and businessmen.

This irritated most of the affected officers who considered their jobs as hereditary sinecures. It provided the opportunity that Passwan used. He obtained the allegiance of a formidable part of the officer corps and commenced his insurrection. It survived due to domestic political support and intrigue and became a factor in the power politics of Constantinople.

It is a common event in Ottoman politics for a Vizier, or whoever holds the reins of power, to bring a feared rival before the Porte and commend his appointment to a province in rebellion, of which there is invariably one or more, and require he suppress the insurrection. The Porte gives his assent and the Vizier then thwarts the competitor’s chances by denial of men and / or supplies. On a few rare occasions Viziers even divert army supplies to the rebels. The intention is to procure the failure of the potential competitor in the eyes of the Porte.

Passwan was alert to this common risk and retained his support base at Widdin which he has since fortified. The Muslims are prevented by their religion from besieging a place inhabited by Muslims and containing mosques. By the simple expedient of remaining within the walls of his fort, Passwan has become invulnerable to the Vizier.

Passwan is not particularly impressive amongst the long list of rebels against Ottoman rule but the timing of his rise to power has coincided with a loss of strength in the central government at Constantinople and that makes him potentially more interesting. The thing holding the Ottomans together now is the threat from predatory neighbours. Not one of them will permit any other to swallow this immense revenue-producing machine.

This permits the Porte to play a careful game of snakes and ladders with the European ambassadors at Constantinople. It preserves him and his possessions.

Sat 15th Jan 1803

The FrancoRussian Convention in Paris seems to have brought the petty German states into compliance with the general wish that they settle the matter of territorial indemnities. Prussia has taken possession of the lands granted to her. Austria has taken Salzburg, Berchstolgarten, Brixen and Trent. Britain is to settle arrears of subsidies with the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel. The convention gives Elba to France. The future of Malta remains uncertain as the Tsar declines to guarantee its independence for the time being.

Sat 15th Jan 1803

The opportunity provided to Antwerp by the freeing of navigation on the Scheldt is feared by Amsterdam, Hamburg and the other commercial cities of northwest Europe.

Sat 29th Jan 1803

Whitworth and Andreossi, the appointed ambassadors of England and France to each other’s court, remain at home. When they finally arrive it will be seen as a pledge to peace.

Sat 29th Jan 1803

The Porte has concluded separate treaties with England and France renewing his permission to navigate the Black Sea to both. (This was granted in 1799 but only announced now)

Sat 29th Jan 1803

The insolence formerly shown to the French by the Egyptian people is now openly displayed to the English army as well. It seems we are unwelcome. There is a rumoured threat of hostile acts if we do not quickly leave. Our representations to the Turkish commandant have been ignored. Lord Cavan has provided each British regiment with artillery in the Napoleonic style as a precaution.

The 10th Regiment is actually encamped in the town square of Alexandria which has really irritated the Turks. Cavan says he will force respect upon the Turks. He says the Turkish force has been bettered by the Mamalukes and the country faces civil war if he leaves.

Instead of leaving, we hear General Stuart is about to arrive at Alexandria with 10,000 British reinforcements.

Sat 29th Jan 1803

News from the Netherlands:

The French 17th and 54th regiments, currently garrisoning Breda, are to be sent to Louisiana.

The Dutch émigrés who have gone home from Britain on British ships have dispersed throughout their country but residents are unwilling to employ them. Some have applied to join the army but government has similarly refused. Some are being permitted to join the Dutch colonial army to garrison their returned colonies.

Commerce remains slow and only coffee is in demand.

Sat 29th Jan 1803

The great French trade fair at Beaucaire has been held and over 200 ships ascended the Rhone to attend. 113 ships were French; 38 from Genoa; 37 from Spain and a few from Naples. The purchasers from Spain are fewer than last year and that has depressed sales.

Sat 29th Jan 1803

General Lannes has returned to his estate near Paris. He had a long meeting with Bonaparte and expects to return to Portugal immediately. Lannes is very popular with his army and hence receives respect from the First Consul.

Sat 29th Jan 1803

Ratisbon, 16th September 1802 – Baron de Hugel, leading the Austrian delegation, has disapproved the agreed settlement of indemnities and demanded the delegates adopt his plan. Austrian objections rely on some abstentions from voting in the last two sessions and a scheme of ‘reserved’ modifications that, Hugel says, derogate from the Treaty of Lunéville.

Diet members are generally opposed to Austria’s plan. D’Albini, the minister of Mentz who advised Hugel of the widespread opposition to his belated Protest, regrets he was unable to obtain agreement. Brandenburg, Saxony, Bavaria, Wurtemburg, Hesse Cassel and Mentz have all protested the Austrian ultimatum. Bohemia has refused to surrender anything whereas Brandenburg and Saxony insist on Bohemian flexibility. The other delegates say they will ignore the Emperor and submit their conclusions to the two mediating powers, France and Russia.

The Electors are all devalued by French sovereignty to the Rhine and no-one wants to take a reduction in revenue. One problem is the Austrian ‘guaranteed’ indemnity to the Hapsburg Grand Duke of Tuscany – he’s family. As a result all the others want guarantees too.

Sat 5th Feb 1803

France and Russia are dissatisfied with the Electors at Ratisbon. As mediators they expected greater pragmatism. Talleyrand has published an agreed indictment in the Moniteur.

The delegates are unwilling to settle the matter. They have followed their self-interest instead of the imperative requirement they unite and agree. The tranquillity of Europe demands a settlement. Intervention to influence them is required and inevitable. The settlement can only be based on impartial justice. At present Prussia and Baden have got too much. Prussia becomes an equivalent power to Austria while the resources of Baden are substantially increased. Bavaria also gains in territory and population.

Its the smaller, less-powerful, states who are making most of the sacrifices. The mediators are intent on enforcing a partition upon the Electors and have followed the route of least resistance. Austrian hesitation is due to the decreased influence she will have on the Diet if the indemnities are approved. Prussia will become her equal.

Settlement is also contrary to George III’s interests – with an ascendant Prussia in the north, Hanover and the free ports of Bremen and Hamburg will come more under the influence of Berlin which might mitigate or nullify British control of this important trade route into Europe. It is Hanover that unites British interests with Austria. Perhaps we should be seeking for the same understanding with Prussia. The fate of the Archduke of Tuscany is a warning to the House of Brunswick.

Sat 5th Feb 1803

British visitors to France say the people remain poor but have planted every foot of vacant land and should start recovering their prosperity once the first harvests come in. Paris has the appearance of a military despotism. The soldiers can and do do anything; the people nothing. There is magnificence and poverty side by side – like a silk stocking on a wooden leg. This is an amotivated city.

The gallery of the Louvre is stuffed with the art of Italy and Egypt for the entire 420 yards of its length – 950 pictures are displayed. The exhibition is permanent and entry is free. The statuary is miraculously alive. Napoleon is building bridges and palaces in Paris to increase employment.

Sat 5th Feb 1803

The Swiss cantons of Argovia and Baden are rebelling against French authority. A battle has been fought at Baden between the peasants and the Helvetic Swiss troops but the latter were unwilling to press for victory. A peasant army has occupied Berg and Lenzburg and besieged Arau. The rich cantons of Schwyz, Underwalden and Uri are totally opposed to the egalitarian Constitution. They are joined by many of the people of Glarus, Appenzel, Reiunthal, and Zug. Most of eastern Switzerland is in open rebellion.

Oligarchs and democrats are united against the new central government which threatens to usurp all their former patronage and profit. Zurich is the main centre of political dissent. It persists in supporting the small cantons in spite of sieges and bombardments by the Helvetic army. It seems the Swiss cannot be suppressed unless the French maintain a permanent garrison to support the Republican style government they wish to entrench there. The French ambassador has arrested the Landemann (Doldier) and obtained his resignation. The ambassador sent resignation letters, already prepared for signature, to five leading citizens of Berne and Zurich. They are not members of the Executive Council of three which Doldier led.

Aloys Reding is the leader of the independent cantons and commander of the armed uprising. He learned the arts of war in the Spanish army and rose to Colonel. He then retired to a solitary valley in his native country and farmed. He supports a Federal system for the Cantons but he wants the Swiss to do it themselves and not have it enforced on them by France. Reding suspects that permitting French Republicanism to be entrenched will give rise to an eternal expectation of gratitude in Paris whereby Switzerland will become a vassal.[226]

He was prominent in the defence of Switzerland when the French first invaded. His local knowledge permitted him to select places for military engagement where he could defy whole armies with a few hundred men. It was the constant diminution of his troop numbers and the treachery of the priests that were the causes of his earlier failure. He is a new Leonidas – his defence on the heights of Morgasten was as spectacular as the Spartans at Thermopylae. Before the battle he told his men there could be no retreat and if any feared death he wished them to leave first. This reduced his men to a tearful recognition of their situation – the ‘forlorn hope’ of military annals – however none of his small force left him.

Sat 12th Feb 1803

Russia and France appear to have convinced the petty princes of German fiefdoms that a resolution of the indemnities is imperative. A delegation of the Diet has at last assented to the mediators’ plan. Once order has been restored in Germany we can expect the benefits of peace to flow throughout Europe.

Peace is only threatened by the disorder in Switzerland where Aloys Reding has organised the opposition of some small cantons to the constitution of the Helvetic Republic. French troops have been withdrawn and the country is secured by the Helvetic army but they are naturally reluctant to change the minds of their own countrymen by force. Unless the Swiss are unanimous, the French will eventually come back and restore order in the only way they can.[227]

Sat 12th Feb 1803

Bonaparte has sent his Aide de Camp Lauriston as ambassador to Vienna to placate the Emperor’s minister and facilitate Hapsburg agreement to the indemnities. Hopefully that will bring about the withdrawal of the Austrian army at Passau.

France seems to be healing. The 5% funds reached 53 last week and are rising very gradually.

Andreossi is expected at Dover soon whereupon Whitworth will depart for Paris.

Piedmont is incorporated into France. It is a wise move, duplicating the removal of the German frontier to the Rhine. It secures another part of the French border and will hopefully keep the continent at peace for eternity.

Italy has never been so peaceful. The Two Sicilies are tranquil; the Pope is encouraging farming in his states, something his crooked predecessors never did. The most fortunate Italians are the residents of the Cisalpine Republic and Piedmont who have been rescued from odious slavery by Bonaparte.[228]

Even the British ministry is becoming consensual. Several Irishmen, wanted for sedition, have been pardoned and invited back to the United Kingdom.

Sat 12th Feb 1803

The Moniteur has objected to the biased reporting of several London newspapers (Times, Morning Chronicle and Morning Post).

The objection may have merit as it has not been denied but instead made the subject of jokes in London. People say ‘the Editor of the Times sought to exculpate his paper but could not finish his first sentence’ and similar comments. No substantive response to the complaint has been attempted.

Sat 19th Feb 1803

A new Grand Master has been elected to the Order of St John. He is Count Baille Ruspoli. Hompesch is out.

The French Foreign and Home office jobs have been united in Joseph Bonaparte. Talleyrand becomes Minister of Finance.

Sat 19th Feb 1803

Bonaparte has sent a superb china service to Lord Hawkesbury, our Foreign Minister. It is manufactured in the French Loire porcelain factory. Some pieces have the cypher ‘H’ on them.

Sat 19th Feb 1803

Bonaparte is consolidating the support of his ministers and legislators. He has introduced a scheme for the payment of 20,000 Livres to all ex-ministers on leaving office as ‘une retraite honorable.’ The pay of Senators has been increased from 25,000 to 35,000 Livres p a and will increase a further 5,000 a year for the next three years. 50,000 Livres equates with £2,000 which is a good reward for protecting the Constitution.

Sat 19th Feb 1803

Bonaparte’s personal guard is comprised of 50 Mamalukes he recruited in Egypt. His personal attendant, a ferocious looking chap named Rostan, is a Muslim who also comes from Egypt and never leaves his side.

Sat 19th Feb 1803

Lucien Bonaparte has bought the Justiniani Collection for £30,000 (700,000 Livres). Prince Justiniani first touted the items around England but found no buyers. There are statues, bronzes and pictures. It will cost some £12,000 simply to move the collection in safety from Rome to Paris.

Sat 26th Feb 1803

European news contains signs of resurrected dissatisfaction:

  • Disturbances are being fomented in the Netherlands where the large number of unemployed émigrés are spreading rumours that the country is to have an American-type Constitution with a President.
  • The Austrian Emperor has recalled his ambassadors from Paris and St Petersburg alleging that they have concealed from him the terms of the FrancoRussian Convention detailing the German indemnities.
  • Tsar Alexander has concurrently expelled the British minister Whitworth from St Petersburg – that is the third time he has been expelled.
  • In November 1802, the Helvetic government was considering removing from Lausanne to Geneva. The progress of the insurgents (or patriots) has threatened Lausanne and the government’s army is not winning the battles (it is usually outnumbered and is reluctant to use force). Bonaparte has sent Adjutant Rapp to address the Swiss Legislature. He will then go to Berne to address the insurgents. He says if he cannot obtain consensus there are 40,000 troops assembling near Basel, ready to march in and enforce agreement.
  • On 1st October 1802, the Dutch commenced building a new dry dock at Helvoetsluis for their warships. Once complete the new facility will enhance the naval strength of the Netherlands.
  • Bonaparte needs bullion and has proposed a joint-venture with Spain, the nominal suzerain in South America. He suggests the incorporation of three associated banks in Paris, Madrid and Peru, each guaranteed jointly by both governments. The proposal envisages a direct French import without the specie passing through Cadiz. The Spanish representative at the discussions is Marza, a financial expert.[229]

Sat 26th March 1803

The Bourbon pretender Louis XVIII has removed to Warsaw. The Tsar found his presence at St Petersburg embarrassing.

Sat 5th Mar 1803

Paris, 20th October 1802 – The ancient Cantons of Helvetia have differing customs, religion and law – ideal for fomenting quarrels. The Constitution bestowed by France was intended to settle a common form of government and a common form of law. It provided forums to resolve disputes through discussion. It was France who obtained an Austrian guarantee of Swiss independence at Lunéville and that gives her title to mediate. The democratic Cantons favour the French initiative whilst the aristocratic Cantons benefit from their old autocratic ways under Austrian influence and protection.

It is the Executive Council and Senate of the French-created Helvetic Republic that feels threatened and keeps pressing France to intervene militarily. Austria’s defeat by France permits the democratic system to flourish in the new Republics but the situation has attracted the attention of the English press which talks-up war whilst excoriating ministers who do not make peace. It seems to be British policy to alarm Europe.

Berne, Zurich and Lucerne are the main strongholds of the autocrats. It is the ‘Council of Ten’ at Berne that is playing a devious game – they undermine social order whilst telling Bonaparte everything is fine. They seem to be prevaricating in the expectation of some development.

Will annulling the new Constitution satisfy the Swiss aristocrats? Can an aristocratic democracy win support from both sides or must France again intervene to impose a settlement?

The Swiss know that they have to make an agreement very soon. The French government is pushing them by commencing preparations for an invasion. A military camp has been established at Huningen; troops are collecting at Verseul and General Ney is appointed commander. The French garrison in Luxembourg is marching to Alsace and other units are approaching a rendezvous with it.

Sat 5th Mar 1803

Russian policy under Alexander has swung in favour of Austria and the indemnification of the Grand Duke of Tuscany.

Sat 5th Mar 1803

Baron de Optado, George III’s Hanoverian representative at the indemnities conference at Ratisbon, has declined to surrender the hereditary Bishopric of Osnaburg. Nor will he cede the bailiwick of Wildshausen or the counties of Sayne Altenkirchen. He also declines to diminish George’s rights in the imperial free cities of Hamburg and Bremen. His implacable opposition to the general settlement is beginning to influence representatives of the other German states.

Sat 5th Mar 1803

Reports from Gibraltar say warships of France, Spain and the Netherlands pass into the Mediterranean almost every week. Our erstwhile enemies are apparently assembling a fleet there. France still possesses Leghorn and Genoa. She has two harbours and a fort in Algiers which she is garrisoning for the protection of her coral farming.

Some of the Neapolitan troops intended for the garrison of Malta departed Naples on 10th September. When England surrenders Malta to the Knights Templar we will have hardly anywhere to go in the Mediterranean. France is turning it into her own sea.

The French navy and commerce buy heavily in southern Poland which is well watered by the Dnieper, the Bog and the Dniester. If these rivers were trained, they would improve transport of goods to the Black Sea. The French presently get the goods out to the Black Sea on the Vistula and Niemen to Cherson and bring them round to Marseilles or Toulon. Its cheaper than shipping via the Baltic. Southern Poland is fertile and productive and has never been properly developed. It produces every agricultural product but has no manufacturing industry.

The Ukraine is similar. It supplied all the needs of several Russian armies during the wars with the Turks. The Ukrainians sell an aged timber that France prefers for her masts. The salted provisions of the Ukraine are said to equal Irish in quality and are half the price. They produce many different kinds of wax which are so much in demand that the Austrian merchants, who presently engross the trade, can land-carry them to Trieste and still make a profit.

Its an obvious fit for France – she exchanges her manufactures for Polish raw materials. That would likely redirect a good part of the existing Baltic trade to the Black Sea. Russia is also promoting the Black Sea as a trade route. She has built a new port called Odessa for the purpose. Black Sea trade could prove to be the glue that binds French and Russian interests.

France will doubtless also maintain an interest in the trade of the Levant which is presently controlled by Jews and Armenians who ship via Moldavia. Its another notionally lucrative trade but the route is expensive and tedious and subject to a thousand extortions.

Sat 12th March 1803

London newspapers of 25th October say Austria is no longer consulted in the matter of settling the territorial indemnities at Ratisbon. Her role has been divisive and provocative throughout and now she is merely required to acquiesce to the agreement reached by the mediating powers, Russia and France. They have amended their plan to account for the various protests received, produced their final recommendations and sent them to the Diet with a demand for a definitive decision. The major Electors – Bavaria, Brandenburg, Wurtemburg, Hesse Castel and Mentz – have already agreed.

Section IV of the amended plan deals with George III as Elector of Brunswick Lunenburg. His representative Baron de Optado has finally abandoned George III’s claims to the counties of Sayn Altenkirchen, Hidershelm, Corvey and Hoster, and his rights and property in the towns of Hamburg and Bremen (and the lands surrounding Bremen) and has agreed the cession of the district of Wildshausen. In recognition of these compromises the English King has preserved the Bishopric of Osnaburg to his own use.

Section XII deals with the ex-Stadtholder as Elector of Nassau Dilsenburg. He gets a piece of land with the abbeys, provostships and convents within it.

Section XXVII deals with the imperial cities Augsburg, Lubeck, Nuremberg, Frankfort, Bremen and Hamburg. They each get full sovereignty over their own city and a declared neutrality in all wars involving Austria. They are exempted from military contributions of all types.

The whole plan contains 34 sections and is exceedingly complex.

Sat 12th March 1803

The European papers contain conflicting views on the French role in settlement of the disputes in Switzerland. Some think French interference is unjustifiable whilst others think it inevitable and necessary. The representatives of the rich Cantons want a sovereign oligarchy to control and restrain the people and preserve the benefits of aristocracy. It is something Republican France can hardly support. Nevertheless, the autocrats have armed themselves and have commenced a civil war. Another numerous group, mainly of farmers and peasants, believes Switzerland needs the intervention of a major power which can command the respect of all parties.

The First Consul had resolved not to intervene but the troubles of the Swiss can only get worse and will predictably end in anarchy. Ultimately, he will be forced to intervene and most of those Europeans who know something of Switzerland will be pleased when he does.

The Moniteur says the Helvetic Senate has published a declaration recognising its comparative weakness and its preference for independence and neutrality. A majority of the senators wish to get rid of the oligarchs permanently and establish a perfect equality between the 18 Cantons regardless of wealth etc., and including tolerance of the five religions.

The senators have observed the difficulties of the King of Sardinia and the Doges of Venice and understand it is sometimes impossible to be neutral. On such occasions they now declare they will ally with France whose principles most closely resemble their own.

Sat 12th March 1803

Bonaparte has issued another Proclamation to the Swiss from St Cloud on 30th September 1802:

“For two years opposing factions have sought sovereign authority and each, upon obtaining it, has shown partiality to one sector or the other of the community, thus showing its lack of skill. Your government asked that the French troops in Helvetia be withdrawn and we did so to honour your independence. As soon as we had withdrawn, your competing factions started fighting each other. You have been killing each other for three years.

“All Swiss history reveals that your internal disputes are invariably settled by the intervention of France. I have tried to avoid French involvement in your affairs. Your different governments come to Paris for advice and then do not follow it. I will now intervene to try and end this quarrelling.

“In five days your Senate will assemble at Berne. All armed groups will disband. All ex-soldiers will deposit their arms at the commune of their birth. The Senate will send three Deputies to Paris for consultations. Any other citizen who has held high office in the last three years may also come to Paris. I want to hear all your opinions on the best means of restoring happiness and tranquillity.

“I expect you to cease rioting. You should know you are on the brink of a precipice. You must awake from your stupor. I cannot believe you have insufficient love of your country to protect it.” Sgd Bonaparte.

Sat 12th March 1803

The Austrian Emperor would like to promote the interests of his relative, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, but he has been soundly defeated and has no voice. It is France alone that will settle the matter of the indemnities and the disputes in Switzerland.

Sat 19th March 1803

The Moniteur of 21st October notes a report from the President of the Bank of France. The nett profit of the Bank in the last six months is FF 1,561,171 (c. £56,000) or FF 52+ per share. The dividend will accordingly be FF 50 for the half-year.

The Bank’s function is to increase the national capital and reduce interest rates. We have progressed on the first purpose but made little difference to the second. This Bank was formed during war when credit cost 3-4% per month. We have now reduced this to 1% per month or less.

Since formation we have competed with the merchant banks and they have labelled us as a government Bank. This lack of confidence made the sale of shares difficult and we commenced operations with limited capital. With our strong bank Constitution and government support, we have overcome the market rumours and our dividends have been growing although we never expose our shareholders’ capital to risk and never delay cashing our notes.

Now we have sold all the authorised shares and the government, which had first thought to hold 5,000 shares, actually holds only 500 shares and is neither our creditor nor our debtor. Our Bank of France is ideally suited for the needs of commerce. We have discounted 450 millions this year (Year 10). We have 200 correspondents throughout the world. We have experienced no failure and no loss. Patronise us.

Sat 19th March 1803

Strasbourg, 3rd October – a considerable body of French troops under General Ney has assembled at Huningen and is prepared to enter Switzerland. This has alarmed the Swiss oligarchs who have sent couriers to report the new development to the other Cantons. The oligarchs have implored the help of Austria and an answer has been sent but its secret.

Sat 19th March 1803

The coronation of Pope Pius VI occurred at Venice on 20th March 1802. He is of the Benedictine Order. He refused all the presents offered him which may suggest he is a genuinely religious man. The conclave of Cardinals picked him because of the general respect they hold for him. He continues to live in the simplicity that characterised his monastic life.

When Bonaparte was approaching Imola, it was Pius VI who met him and convinced him not to permit the looting of the city. As a result Imola was the only Italian town that retained its wealth.

Sat 26th March 1803

George III’s representative at Ratisbon has acceded to the proposed arrangements for the small counties the King owns in Germany but maintains his objection to the cessions required of George in Hamburg and Bremen.

New claims have been made at Ratisbon by the Duke of Modena and the Arch Duchess Maria Beatrix of Austria. George III supports both Austrian claims.

The change of ministry in St Petersburg has caused the Russian delegate to Ratisbon to receive new instructions. This may be more supportive of Hanover and the Austrians.

Sat 2nd April 1803

The Grand Priory of the Order of St John of Jerusalem (the Templars) has nominated candidates for Grand Master and the Pope has selected Baille Ruspoli as the successful contender. The Neapolitan garrison for Malta departed Naples on 10th September 1802. On arrival of the Grand Master and the garrison, the English will return the island to the Order.

Sat 2nd April 1803

The Directors of the Danish East India Company have accounted to the shareholders for their activities in 1801 (mainly profits on Bills of Exchange sold at Tranquebar). The nett profits exceeded $100,000 and the dividend is $170 per share.[230]

Wed 6th April 1803 Extraordinary

The British army is still garrisoning Egypt although the Porte’s forces have been allowed to re-occupy the fort of Alexandria.

Wed 6th April 1803 Extraordinary

General Andreossi has arrived in England with a suite of 21 persons. He presented his credentials to the King on 17th November. A small crowd of curious Londoners assembles daily outside the ambassador’s lodgings in Portland Place.

Lord Whitworth arrived at Calais from England on 16th November with the Duchess of Dorset and her suite. When he arrives at Paris, Merry our charge d’affaires will leave. This exchange of ambassadors will evidence British acceptance of Bonaparte’s government.

Pitt, as Warden of the Cinque Ports, ordered a salute to be fired on the French general’s landing.

The rest of the 6th April edition of the paper is illegibly faint.

Sat 16th April 1803

Colonel Despard has been arrested in Lambeth and accused of organising an astonishing conspiracy. He was caught in a room with 20+ people, mainly Irish labourers. He is alleged to have planned to assassinate George III, seize the Tower, distribute the arms therein, seize the Bank of England, procure a general insurrection and replace the government.

One witness (Francis) said Despard told him in conversation that he was awaiting news from France – that is the evidence of French involvement. The prosecution said there were 30 – 40 soldiers involved – from the 3rd battalion of the 1st Regiment, 2nd battalion of the 3rd Regiment of Guards and some from the 2nd Regiment too. They form part of the garrison of the Tower.

According to Emblyn, another prosecution witness, Despard supposed he also had the support of half the India Company’s seamen. One of the conspirators was found to be carrying a copy of the Declaration of Rights and others possessed similar seditious papers. One had a membership card of the London Corresponding Society. The funding of the conspiracy is little known – 15/6d had been paid to one man for travelling expenses and Despard had brought at least one man a tot of rum.

Despard is arrested under the Mutiny Act of 1797 that was passed to deal with the mutiny at the Nore and the concurrent fear that army and navy personnel might be seduced from their loyalty to the King. This provides that ‘any person seducing a serving soldier from his allegiance to the King is guilty of High Treason.’ The Act was passed for one year but, like the other reactionary measures, has been continuously extended and will currently expire in 1807.

Despard has been a thorn in the ministry’s side for years. He funded some government initiatives years ago as Governor of Jamaica and could neither get the loan acknowledged nor refunded. He is married to a black woman.

Nelson gave character evidence, having known Despard in 1779 when he was a Lieutenant in the Liverpool Blues. He called him ‘an ornament to the English army.’ They had not met since 1780. Sir Alured Clarke and Evan Nepean also gave character evidence. Neither had seen him for at least a few years.

The Jury convicted on the evidence of four accomplices. They recommended mercy but Lord Ellenborough, one of the newly elevated Lords and Lord Chief Justice, sentenced him to be hanged for 30 minutes, then cut down and disembowelled (his guts to be burnt before his face) followed by beheading and quartering. “Your remains will then be at the disposal of the King.” When the King in his utmost mercy came to sign the Death Warrant he commuted the award to hanging and beheading.

Totally six conspirators were hanged. Despard was the last. When he had been tied preparatory to execution he addressed the crowd “I have served my country for thirty years. I am to be killed for a crime of which I am innocent. The King’s ministers know I am innocent. They have decided to kill me to conceal truth, liberty and justice. The principles of humanity will ultimately overwhelm falsehood, tyranny and illusion.” At this point the crowd was becoming unruly and the executioner protested Despard’s inflammatory words but permitted him to finish. He said “I wish you all happiness, health and liberty.” He was then hanged for 30 minutes, cut down and beheaded. The executioner then held up the head by the hair and called “behold the head of the traitor Edward Marcus Despard”. He died stoically and well.[231]

Sat 16th April 1803

The King has spoken of the probability of renewed war in his Address to parliament. He recommends the representatives make prudent preparations. Only Fox is upholding the peace treaty.

Sheridan associates Despard’s assassination plot with France and all the King’s friends are saying the same.

All staff officers presently on leave from our forces in the West Indies have been ordered to rejoin their regiments.

Sat 16th April 1803

A report from Basra says a Russian army is moving towards Persia. The Wahhabi Sheikh is moving his men to meet the threat. The Porte has confirmed the new Pasha of Baghdad in his job and required him to assemble a large force.

Sat 16th April 1803

Ney’s French army in Switzerland has arrested the leaders of the insurrection. Aloys Reding is arrested in Zurich. His brother, who was Landemann of Baden, is also arrested. They are residents of Schwyz. Hirzel, one of the Diet of Schwyz, is arrested too. The full list of officials arrested is long. The Diet of Schwyz resisted and sought to re-assemble the rebel army behind the River Reuss but they were instantly arrested too. They are all sent to Challon Castle on Lake Geneva as prisoners. Zurich is disarming and so are the other rebellious towns and Cantons but it may only be the presence of French troops that is now preventing insurgency.

The Senate has sent a message to all the Cantonal Prefects saying Bonaparte will provide a new Constitution that will ensure tranquillity.

Sat 16th April 1803

Westminster news:

  • Recent debates in the House of Commons, particularly the speeches of Sturges and Canning, reveal discontent amongst the former adherents of Pitt.
  • Sir Sidney Smith has made his maiden speech to the Commons on the works at the London Docks. He has made some sound and manly objections. It is a pleasure to see an MP representing his constituents on the floor of the House and not in the Minister’s anteroom. Being an MP these days has become a means to make private applications and facilitate unseemly compromises.

Sat 16th April 1803

Private letters from St Petersburg report a triple alliance is in the making between Russia, Austria and England and that Sweden and Denmark will be invited to accede to it as well. Russia is said to be keen on the idea. There has been a great increase in the courier traffic between London, Vienna and St Petersburg and Count Staremburg, that favourite diplomat of the Tsar, has been invested with great powers and gone to London.

Sat 16th April 1803

The House of Commons has been debating the recent King’s Speech in which George III calls for renewed war. The King’s friends in the House of Commons all agree that the country is wealthy. Our commerce and industry is very profitable and we can afford to start fighting again.

Sir John Wrottesley contrarily says the people of his constituency (Lichfield) are poor and obtain no benefit from a war economy. He thought many other members represented similar places. He felt doubtful that the ministry’s assurances of national wealth and profit were known outside the House. During the armistice we knew France was aggrandised by the likely peace terms. There is nothing new in that.

Pytches concurred.

Fox said the King calls for ‘such measures as appear most proper for the security of H M’s dominions.’ He does not call for an increase in the army or navy – that was just the minister (Addington) on a frolic of his own. I think peace is good and is preferable to war. Others think it unwise to remain at peace. It was not long ago that peace received the approbation of a large majority of MPs. What has changed now?

Fox noted that one member has told the House that the honour of England had been impugned. If it is so, we have no alternative to war. But I should like to hear how England has been dishonoured. I need to see evidence that French conduct requires our military response. Honour works both ways.

We are on the cusp of immense trade with Europe now it is at peace. This trade will be hazarded by war. The minister has said we should fear the French navy but I confess I never felt such a fear.

France is occupied in reviving her commerce and industry. We have such a head-start on France that any revival there will redound to our benefit too. France can never fully compete with our economy but events of the last ten years should enlighten every man that a continental war must have ill consequences for everyone.

The power of France has become alarmingly great. It is one of the main grounds for criticising Pitt. Now it is to be made the basis for renewed war. Is this an honourable cause? The peace treaty should not be violated. We are right to observe France and call for explanations when peace appears to be jeopardised. But we cannot ourselves breach treaties without good reason. Is there something in the many treaties France has made since Amiens that constitute breaches of the peace agreement? Are we just going to war for expediency; to bring down France from her distinguished place?

The government newspapers are calling for war. That is not the same as the people calling for war. The ministry is creating opinion not responding to it. I believe the British people are still in favour of peace.

It is said that the only people calling for war are the rich merchants and the Chambers of Commerce. I do not believe it. Our merchants are too respectable for that sort of despicable conduct. They would not willingly bring the calamity of war on us merely for more government loans business and war contracts.

We have made peace. If we now find peace burdensome it is a disgrace. We cannot say we gave up many valuable acquisitions to make peace but it now seems to be advantageous for us to renew war. What is the rest of Europe to say to such an arbitrary minister.

We cannot make the indemnities into a pretext. We knew France would be involved in that settlement from the terms of the Treaty of Lunéville. We also would have intervened but we relinquished our right by not becoming signatories to that Treaty. At the time it was said in this House that we abandoned Austria to the terms of Lunéville because we did not wish to be restrained by continental alliances. It seems likely that the settlement at Lunéville and the new delineation of the frontiers will be beneficial to Europe.

Canning and Windham both talked-up the ambition of France.

Hawkesbury thought the question was whether it had been wise to make peace and whether it was now wise to break the treaty. He thought England was geographically separate from Europe but was linked in so many other ways that we could never ignore events there. When Poland was last partitioned by her neighbours in 1792, we condemned the business but did not get involved. We could not get involved for there was no land-power (except France) with whom we might ally ourselves in the Polish cause. In the present case with France, is there any expectation of support from the other European powers? He thought it impolitic to reveal the discussions which the ministry had with other European countries recently. He assured Canning that no express encouragement had been given to the Swiss to rebel. The King’s Address appeared to propose strengthening our forces but it did not object the terms made with France, only the thoughts and intentions that are supposed to underlay the policies of that country. Everybody knows the three last treaties we made with the ancien regime were made by France only with the intention of breaking them when convenient. Sir John Rose has told the House that British commerce and industry is declining. He himself (Hawkesbury is the ministry’s expert on trade) would assure the House that our trade is flourishing.

Windham said the country is under threat. France is not our friend. She is a usurper – Piedmont, Tuscany and Parma have been swallowed-up. Anyone who had gone away fourteen years ago would be shocked at the changed face of Europe today – Holland is gone, Piedmont is gone, Spain and Portugal are subdued, Italy is in thrall, Germany is eviscerated, Switzerland in tatters. The more France destroys the more she is capable of destroying. Look at the map and measure her progress in acres. She holds power over 50 – 60 million Europeans. She is a wolf. We either beat her or she will eat us. In the last year France has launched 7 ships-of-the-line and 6 lesser warships, she has imported in British and American ships 10,000 tons of hemp from the Baltic (the equivalent of one year’s consumption by the Royal Navy in wartime), she has sent an enormous expedition to Santo Domingo. He hoped that none of the lands we had agreed to surrender would be surrendered. Whatever we give up will be turned against us. We should act against France and that will cause the continental powers to rise again and ally themselves with us. War is the only means we have to obtain our safety. We either become like Spain – a source of goods and men for French armies – or we fight.

Fox recalled that Windham had said after peace was ratified that the increased power of France was not a British grievance. Fox thought it was an immense grievance and one for which Windham and the other ministers were solely responsible. Windham has also said he did not support peace. Fox reiterated his love of peace.

Pitt said there has never been a time when we had so much to hope for and so little to lose. We were the leading power and we might defy all others. “I was in favour of peace. I recognised the aggrandisement of France but I have heard nothing to suggest that renewed war might lessen her power. France has always been ambitious. Under Louis XIV she was the strong man of Europe. MPs have spoken long on the reductions of our military forces but they should recall the state of the country in 1784 after the American War. The present peacetime establishment far exceeds our strength then. We have made no reductions in our regular infantry as normally occurs after a definitive peace treaty (the militias had to be reduced by law). He admitted a slight reduction in the cavalry but our navy in 1786 was 115 capital ships and was now 207. When we started to fight Revolutionary France we had 15,000 sailors, now we have 46,000. Then we had 28 capital ships in commission, now we have 55.

“British exports in 1781 were £23 millions, in 1802 they are £27 millions. Our annual revenue has increased £4.4 millions. The floating debt is being reduced and I expected the debt due to the Bank (£300 millions), £1.5 million Exchequer Bills and £4 million Navy Bills to all be paid-off soon.”

Pitt stated the policy of the government – we will not compromise the dignity or honour of the country. He hoped for the best but was prepared for the worse. Some people wanted to revive old antagonisms with France but the government would defeat their machinations.

Sat 16th April 1803

The Duke of York has surrendered the principality and bishopric of Osnaburg to his father.

Sat 16th April 1803

Debate on the King’s Speech in House of Lords:

Abercorn said England must defend her own influence in the balance of nations and not be sidelined or insulted by France (the Lords are concerned for the reduction of the King’s dominions in Hanover – a reduction forced on the Electors of the Austrian Empire by France and Russia – and for the Despard plot, which the King deems to be a French initiative).

Norfolk said French observance of her treaty commitments to other nations was not ipso facto a matter that required England to war.

Grenville said the country was apparently in a critical position. What were the real reasons for the King to make such a confrontational speech instead of the consensual announcements of last year. Nothing has been published to explain the volte face.

If the King’s Address is approved, we are again on the path to war. The King says it is the duty of his minister to care for English interests in Europe; he says there has been a material change in the power of several European countries. I suppose he is referring to Louisiana, Piedmont and the German states:

Louisiana – The cession of Louisiana to France occurred between the armistice and the peace treaty. Ministers were indifferent at that time – they still had the army and navy intact but did not act.

Piedmont – The treaty was ratified in May. In June our ally Piedmont (a fief of the Sardinian King, held by his son) was also ceded to France. France knew that Russia was opposed to that cession and dexterously timed it to occur after the treaty ratifications. The father of the deposed King of Piedmont recognised the danger that the French Revolution represented to him and united with us against that common enemy. He supported the alliance as well he could. He then saw Savoy taken from him and was finally imprisoned in his own capital. To relieve his situation he was persuaded to make a treaty with France and thus, under our Law of Nations, he became our enemy so we do not care that Piedmont is no more. He became monarch of the island of Sardinia alone. This is the King who granted us port facilities and provisions when the rest of the Mediterranean was closed to us. He was generous to us and we reciprocated with inaction when he needed our help. The minister has made no public comment on the fate of Piedmont.

If Louisiana was insufficient, Piedmont should have incited a response. Is not that a material change in Europe?

Germany – In August the French overthrew the German states and delineated their frontiers as she herself wished. We were not formally informed – we learned about it from Talleyrand’s report to the French deputies. It has every appearance of an infringement of the Treaty of Amiens. Is Germany not in Europe?

These are material changes. Our minister says he will respond to material changes. He should blush at the treaty provisions for the Netherlands. Cornwallis told this House that the indemnities for the House of Orange were proportionate to its losses. Well, the Stadtholder has not got a tenth of what he had and we do not care.

Finally, as we all know, our King has himself been a victim. Some people have said that England is unnecessarily involved in Europe through the King’s Hanoverian lands. That is absurd. In fact it is Hanover that suffers from her connection with us. Now the ministry has induced the King to forego his rights in Hanover.[232] The King’s Address contains comment on the state of our forces. The true meaning of the comment is to augment our forces.

When we Whigs opposed these peace terms, we were told that a general disposition towards peace prevailed in Europe and we had to take advantage of Bonaparte’s willingness.

Now France has invaded Switzerland. It is more injurious to us than the occupation of Parma or the cession of Louisiana which derive from different French treaties with Spain. Our independence is threatened by this ministry. Their interference in Switzerland has clearly evidenced their incapacity. We declaim against the French invasion whilst Austria approves it!

We have agreed to surrender the Cape, Martinique and Malta. Martinique has already been handed-over. Orders have been sent to the Cape to withdraw our garrison. Malta remains in our possession due to matters beyond our control.

Concessions have never worked for us. When our ancestors bribed the Danes to stop ravaging our country, those people used the money to build more ships and returned even more powerful.

We may appear to be at peace with France but she is eternally at war with us. She will likely view the King’s Address as a declaration of renewed war. There is only one man in England who can save us. We must call him back.

Hobart scolded Grenville. He was one of the ministers most closely identified with our war effort and policies. Now he censures Addington’s group over the changes in Germany although he well knows they are obliged to permit change due to the Treaty of Lunéville (concluded whilst Grenville was in power).

Pelham said the indemnities agreed amongst the German states were not something England could remonstrate about. If the Germans are satisfied, we should be too.

Carisford regretted that the forces were not to be augmented. Access to the north of Germany is imperative for our merchants.

The King’s Address was then approved unanimously.

Wed 20th April 1803 Extraordinary

The Editor has received London papers to 9th December and published their contents in this Extraordinary edition:

The Secretary at War Windham presented the army estimates to House of Commons on 8th December. It is larger than any previous peace-time establishment. It is because this is the first time that all the major rivers of Western Europe – Scheldt, Maas and Rhine – are under French control. Windham says he was astonished to hear Fox say we have nothing to fear from France – the Netherlands is not independent; Belgium and the Rhine below Alsace have been taken from Austria.

Our forces should be proportionate to France. She has 84 cavalry regiments (46,000 horsemen), 120 demi-brigades of infantry and 30 demi-brigades of light infantry (341,000 men), 10 demi-brigades of veterans for garrison duty (13,000 men) and an artillery employing 26,600 men (with pioneers, etc.). She also has a vast reserve of Frenchmen with military experience who double the regular army numbers and can be conscripted at any time.

Security is more fundamental than comfort. There is no point talking about accumulating wealth or supporting public credit without the means to protect it – it would simply make our country a more tempting target for take-over. We must give our merchants a strong sense of security so that they may pursue their interests and enrich us all.

My proposals are based on Constitutional policy and national economy. A standing army in England is always disliked by Constitutionalists but it is imperatively necessary to protect our freedom of action. We have actually always had a standing army since 1688 – the argument is only about its size. We must tolerate the size of army necessary to protect us from the French threat. Those MPs calling for us to husband our resources and support public credit to ‘recover’ from the war are dreaming. We cannot have prosperity without the costs of security. We should prepare for the French aggression that will likely be our first intimation of renewed war. Its not just the protection of these islands but the safety of our colonies and our merchant ships trading to and fro. Even if there were no European reasons to increase our military, we have just received Trinidad and Ceylon and they must be garrisoned. An increase in the army is inevitable.

Windham followed-up with details of his recommended deployment of force:

Six of the twelve black regiments are disbanded; the others, totalling 4,158 men, retained for fighting where the weather is too hot for British troops. Four foreign regiments will continue – Stuart’s Regiment (that did so well in Egypt) and the three Swiss regiments, totally 32,532 men. Staff officers are to be maintained at the same level. The total army will be 129,000 men including those of H M’s Regiments serving in India. Of these, 60,000 troops and 15,000 cavalry will protect the United Kingdom, 30,000 will go to the plantations in West Indies and 18,000 will go to India. This will cost £4.15 millions a year.

Fox asked if the numbers protecting England included the garrisons. The Secretary said he would form 7 battalions of Chelsea pensioners to emulate the French veteran regiments. They are cheaper and will release younger men for more active service. The total cost of the army for next year should not exceed £5.5 millions.

Banks said he could not vote for a large army unless ministers disclosed some real threat that they were in expectation of occurring. The army’s job is to protect the frontiers and quell internal disturbances. We have always succeeded in those aims with smaller standing armies. If we have become insecure and wish to have the sword always in our hand; if we must assess our defences on the basis of the size of French forces, it would soon become beyond our means to compete. The French army exceeds 400,000 men. How can little England compete with France? The costs would bankrupt our commerce and industry and we would lose what we have been fighting so long to maintain. MPs should recall that our insular position has always protected us from invasion. Only the Romans, the Normans and the Dutch had successfully invaded in two millennia. We can rapidly mobilise if there is a real threat. Until then, we should attend to our trade and accumulate wealth.

He thought England wasted too much money on alliances that were unconnected with national interests.

Sir Eyre Coote thought the estimates admirable. All England needs is the ability to project force internationally and the proposed force levels are sufficient for that aim.

Temple said he was convinced that France intends the destruction of England. He only wished that the Minister would precisely say what motivated him to propose such an increased armament. He has spoken long about preserving peace with honour but not a word about checking the progress of French aggression. At the time that France was landing an immense force on Santo Domingo, we were cutting our forces and appeared to have no apprehensions for the safety of our West Indian colonies. Even in October, when we remonstrated about events in Switzerland, the subject of disarming was reconsidered and approved – hardly a vigorous support of our remonstrance. At that time Mr Francis Moore was sent off in mysterious circumstances to appear at Constance amongst the Swiss insurgents, purporting to be the emissary of the British government.[233] Temple saw no grounds to suppose the national honour was involved in that interference….. Next paragraphs illegible…..

Whitbread found the ministry’s proceedings inscrutable. One moment they wanted a big army for 3 months, the next Windham asks for 12 months. French military preparedness is offensive while our naval preparedness is merely defensive. Bonaparte is perfidious, the Bourbons were not. Its all confusion.

Sheridan said Bonaparte’s behaviour to Switzerland was perfidious. His lust for domination must be contained. His ambition has grown with his hostility to England. I am a man of peace. Switzerland is a mere incident not casus bellum. If there is nothing else against France since Amiens, we have to preserve peace. But … columns of vitriol …

Canning added more warlike words

Fox noted Canning complained the conduct of France towards Switzerland and he complained the German indemnities. Is one or the other or both to be considered grounds for war? If so, why has the ministry not commended the King to declare them as such? If they are not grounds, why does he talk so much? Canning calls Banks the agent of France. Banks’ views accord with mine. Does this House suppose me also to be the agent of France? I have been to Paris recently. Have I been bribed to betray England? I am called the apologist of France. This is just the words of debate, when one side tries to diminish the other. I recall my relation, the Duke of Richmond, was accused during the American War of procuring a French invasion of Sussex.

We have often had this argument about large or small standing armies in this House. It is said that continental alliances preclude the need for large armies; therefore, now we have no alliances, we need a large army. The wisdom of parliament for the last century has been the reverse of that position. It was because we had connections with Europe that large armies were proposed. Who would have approved a large standing army merely for internal defence?

It is my considered belief that France is in no position to pose a threat to this country. I suppose that the large army requested by ministers is in contemplation of our being invaded. The French navy cannot pose a threat for years to come. Our superiority at sea is unquestionable.

Even conceding for argument’s sake that France could land an army in England (and she has better facilities now she has Belgium) how would it be provisioned? Besides, the largest army yet contemplated for invasion would unlikely exceed 40,000 men. What are they to do against 10 million irritated English people?

The conduct of France to Switzerland upsets many in this country but it is not aggression against us. How can it be made the basis to increasing our army? Is our employment of an extra 20,000 or 30,000 men a remedy against a French invasion of Switzerland?

We are not really vulnerable to invasion. Our vulnerability is in the funds. If France can get us to spend our money on large standing armies and cause us to increase our national debt that would be their best plan of attack. The people of Ireland are disaffected but, unless we are completely incompetent colonial administrators, they must become less disaffected as time passes. Our national debt has been the constant ally of France. If we spend a few years reducing that, it would fortify us here and in Ireland and reduce our vulnerability due to Irish disaffection.

In the late war the 3% consols fell from 97% to 47 – 50% of face value. They are now at 67%. If we go to war now, the funds will again fall. Our first task is clear – we have to economise and reduce our national debt. We differ from France in this respect. England’s wealth rests on credit. France borrowed little before the Revolution and hardly at all now. France does not depend on credit as we do. There is no point in making comparisons between the countries that omit this fundamental point. It is likely that war will come in no distant time but we should not look for a speedy commencement of it.

I disapprove mingling the army and navy estimates together. There seems to be a belief that if we have a large navy we must also have a large army. The fact is that a large navy precludes the need for a large army. We do our fighting at sea. I suspect the reason is that every MP, either personally or through a relative, is ‘interested’ in army emoluments. This increases support for army votes amongst the popular representatives.

I have noticed that the most warlike MP in his public utterances says he is a man of peace – he wishes to stand well with his constituents. It is quite clear that the members of this House recognise that the country wants peace.

He noted that Windham, Temple and others had called for the return of Pitt. How could Pitt return if the supposed reason for his resignation (Catholic emancipation) had any truth in it?

Windham said he was really a friend of France. His concern was to preserve a balance of power and that involved interference in European affairs. France has upset that balance. He recognised the money argument but felt it more important to have the troops than the cash.

Pitt, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, noted France had increased her territory. She influenced the Netherlands and Spain. England definitely needed a big army, he thought.

Sat 23rd April 1803

Talleyrand is an interesting character. Twenty years ago Mr Francis was ordered by a Judge to pay £4,000 damages to Mr Grand for theft of the affections of Mrs Grand.[234] Last night Talleyrand invited Francis, the formerly wedded couple Mr Mrs Grand and the Judge, Sir Elijah Impey, to dinner with him and his wife and they all seemed to get along passably well. They were co-incidentally in Paris at the same time.

There has been an exodus of Swiss rebels in the face of the advancing French army. They have crossed the frontier into Bavaria and the Elector of that state has now banned immigration from Switzerland.

Sat 23rd April 1803

Count Staremberg was sent by Tsar Alexander to Paris to secretly examine the size and preparedness of the French army. He has been ordered out of the country almost as soon as he arrived in Paris. It seems his purpose was foreknown.

Staremberg asked for a meeting with the Austrian minister Cobenzl to whom he protested his expulsion and Cobenzl agreed to check the authenticity of the order.

The First Consul said ‘qu’il voulait d’etre maitre chez lui’.

Sat 23rd April 1803

Paris, 12th December – the warlike speeches of Windham and Grenville in the Houses of Parliament have alarmed Paris. We hope the thoughtfulness and courtesies we show to Whitworth will be reported to London so they know we are not their enemy. On arrival he was given a coach and six and two coaches and four, all gifts from the Tuilleries. Whitworth uses the big coach and his suite the other two.

Whitworth presented no less than 29 Englishmen to Bonaparte and every one of them received an affable welcome and attention. The Consul asked them, when they returned to England, to tell their friends that Bonaparte is a real friend of peace who intends to preserve it inviolate.

Sat 23rd April 1803

Colonel Sebastiani, the French expert on Turkish affairs, arrived at Alexandria in October in a frigate accompanied by a corvette.[235] He went straight to General Stuart’s headquarters and said he was instructed by Bonaparte to discover why the British army remained in Egypt contrary to the stipulations agreed at Amiens.

General Stuart said his government knew where he was but he was still without orders to leave. Sebastiani sent the corvette back to France with the information and proceeded himself to Cairo.

The British seem to be getting on better with the Turkish troops since they agreed that Alexandria be garrisoned by an equal number of both armies.

Subsequently Stuart and Sebastiani attended before the Porte on 14th November and the next day Stuart sailed for Egypt to evacuate his army. He had proposed British mediation in the Porte’s dispute with the Beys but it was not accepted. Stuart had suggested our allies, the Beys, must continue to live in Egypt for their health but the Porte said they came from Georgia and should go back there.

Egypt remains a refractory province for the Porte. Omar Bey and the other Beys in Upper Egypt have been summonsed to Cairo by the Pasha and they are all uniting there.

Sat 23rd April 1803

London report on France – France is recovering from war. 5 million acres are under wheat this year; other grains in proportion. The wine harvest will be 30% less than pre-war but the quality is high. Numbers of horned cattle are greatly increased. 600,000 ploughs are drawn by oxen and a further 300,000 ploughs are drawn by horses. There are 20 million sheep in the Republic.

French fishery industry is also substantial. She has monopolised supply to Spain, Portugal, Italy (where France is virtually sovereign) and elsewhere in the Mediterranean. She provides salted cod from the Grand Banks to all these countries. The fisheries enable France to maintain 45,000 seamen.

The French colonies have not yet recovered but on the treaty terms Bonaparte and his allies control the Cape, Batavia, Cuba, Brazil, Louisiana and the French West Indian islands. France has also settled its trade with the Barbary States, Fez and Morocco. The trade via the Black Sea will soon become as important to France as the Baltic trade is to us. There is little that can be done in the World now without French approval.

A Land Tax is about to be introduced in France. It makes no distinctions on the basis of fertility or location of the land. It is imposed on the entire area of the country and is assessed at 75% of the old land tax that was paid to the State and Church under the Bourbons. It is expected to produce 500 million Livres. People who pay Land Tax need pay no other tax.

For the remainder, taxes on a variety of items for consumption will add another 180 million Livres to revenue. There is no evidence that France is considering an Income Tax in emulation of England (A tax on a man’s labour would be inconceivable under the Rights of the People that found French law). Capital invested in shipping, fishing, mining, manufacturing and machine work is untaxed too. Excluding Customs & Excise and fees, the future annual government revenue is estimated to be over 800 million Livres.

The French government distinguishes the French people in three categories. First are those with no fixed property but a little moveable property; second are the landowners and bourgeoisie and third is the military. Each class is treated differently.

Sat 23rdApril 1803

Thomas Grenville has queried Minister Addington about the army estimates. England is at peace and you ask for 50,000 seamen. Last June you asked for a vote for 70,000 seamen and Tierney asked what would be the probable peace establishment. You said 30,000 seamen. Why the difference? What change has taken place and why are you concealing it from this House.

In the same debate it was noted that Russia had become Francophile although the present Tsar Alexander has the reputation of a man of honour and may change his national policy.

Sat 7th May 1803

The French legislature has enacted some new law:

  • Italy – The states of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla will come under the sovereignty of France. The provisional Regency of the infant Duke of Parma is ended. The old government will continue to administer the countries for the time being. All public acts will be done in the name of France and will be double dated (with the French new dating and the old Gregorian dating)
  • Switzerland – The Diet of Schwyz has been dissolved by France. Its President Aloys Reding chose war over peace. The Diet proclaimed its own dissolution but claimed the right of a suitable Constitution as guaranteed at Lunéville.

Sat 7th May 1803

Le Havre – Bonaparte has visited the port of Paris. He says Le Havre, Rouen and Paris are one city connected by the Seine. He has told the merchants that only time is needed for them to recover their fortunes.

Sat 14thMay 1803

Austria is attempting to balance her books. A recent audit suggests the country’s trade imbalance (excess of imports over exports) is 20 million Florins annually.

A proposal has been made to ban the import of coffee and sugar which will save 60 millions. Austrian exports Hungarian wines, linen, coarse cloth, lead & mercury and a little saffron to a value of 40 millions. All tin and copper is imported.

Sat 21stMay 1803

General Francois Andreossi, the French Ambassador to London, has received his new carriage from M/s Wilson & Turner of Long Acre. It is yellow with the ambassador’s initials ‘FA’ in a small silver cypher on the sides. The Londoners attending the event understood ‘FA’ to mean French Ambassador.

Sat 21st May 1803

The Swiss have received an invoice from France for 900,000 Livres, being the costs to date of the army that was sent to restore order. The Senate would choose to throw the bulk of payment onto the rebellious Cantons who caused the French intervention.

Aloys Reding, former President of the Diet of Schwyz, and Auf der Maur, his associate, remain detained at Arbourg Castle.

Sat 28th May 1803

The Grenville faction in parliament is vociferously calling for renewed war. Lord FitzWilliam, through his proxy in House of Commons (Windham), is abetting them. Fox is firmly for peace while Grey is aloof from the dispute and his aide Tierney is restrained.

Two useful developments have occurred to encourage the war party. Addington has agreed he is in perfect political agreement with Pitt whilst Sheridan has separated from Fox.

Sheridan has always looked like a faint-hearted liberal since the naval mutinies which he deplored and the Armed Neutrality of the Baltic states which he adopted to assert rights of neutrals over those of belligerents. He has now come down firmly in the ministry’s camp and excoriates French conduct.

Sat 28th May 1803

Letters from Constantinople dated 14th November 1802 say the British ambassador Elgin has proposed an alliance between Turkey, Russia and England to prevent any future invasion of Egypt by France.

Elgin’s proposed terms include a restraint on the Porte to prevent his permitting any European power to march troops through his Empire.

The Beys of Egypt have been weakened by the defection of Omar Bey and his army to the Pasha at Cairo. The remaining Beys applied to General Stuart for mediation but he is formally disallowed interference having failed to get approval from the Porte.

Col Sebastiani, the French Arabist, has become Talleyrand’s Envoy Extraordinary to the entire Levant.

Sat 11th June 1803

Turkey’s problem in bringing order to Egypt is the independent attitude of the Beys. These are mainly Georgians (with a large minority of Albanians). They are disinclined to again unite themselves with the Porte. The British support the Beys and have offered to intercede with the Porte on their behalf. The Porte assembled his divan and Elgin attended to make his suggestions.

It appears the Porte was finally persuaded to pardon the Beys provided they:

  • put their cavalry under the Pasha of Cairo,
  • all the Beys and their men go to Jeswant in Upper Egypt and reside there and
  • the Beys cease interfering in government and do as they are told.

That’s the offer.

Elgin told the Porte that the British army in Egypt had been ordered home via Malta.

Sat 11th June 1803

Djezar, the Bosnian Pasha of Acre who helped Sir Sidney Smith withstand the French siege that ultimately forced Bonaparte’s army back to Egypt, has had an interview with Sebastiani and explained his hostility to France in a story:

A Nubian slave, after an arduous journey, arrived at an untended field of sugar cane and determined to make his abode there. Soon after, two travellers passed and the first made the popular greeting ‘health be with you’. The Nubian responded with ‘the Devil take you’. The second traveller demanded an explanation. The slave said ‘if I had been friendly, that chap would have sat down nearby and taken part of the food. He would have found, as I had, that the cane tasted good and become attracted to the ownership of it.[236]

Djezar’s responsibility extends to all Palestine, including the Christian convents at Nazareth and Jerusalem. The only part of Palestine in which he is without power is Jaffa – it is temporarily in the control of Abu Marak, who calls himself the Pasha of Palestine. He has 4,000 men in garrison but they have been besieged for five months by Djezar’s men and should yield soon. Abu Marak also has 400 men in Gaza.

Djezar has told Sebastiani he cares for the Christians to an appropriate extent.

Damascus is in rebellion to the Porte. The rebel Pasha Abdullah in charge of Damascus is a creature of Djezar’s. It seems Djezar is in control of all Syria and the eastern Mediterranean coast – the Ottoman Turks are as detested there as they are in Egypt.

Djezar gets upset if his word is not implicitly relied upon (e.g. when Sebastiani asked for a written confirmation). His minister is an unfortunate man – every time he upsets the Pasha he is fined a bit of his body. So far his nose, ears and one eye have been excised. In the streets of Acre Sebastiani saw over a hundred other mutilated people – it is a common form of punishment.

The Procurator of the Christian sites in the Holy Land resides at Acre. He is grateful to Bonaparte for French protection of the monks. The Procurator asked Sebastiani to again commend his flock to Bonaparte as Djezar wishes to have good relations with the French.

It appears the Porte is getting little or no revenue from Syria.

It is a two week sail from Acre to Zante, the eastern-most of the ex-Venetian Islands. Sebastiani found the Republican government of Zante was factionalised. “I called them together and asked them to postpone their partisan quarrels until the new Constitution, under which the Great Powers guaranteed their independence, arrived from Europe. They recognised the good sense in that and some 4,000 residents escorted me to the port. This alarmed the Russian commander of the garrison. I found the Governor of Zante had sent a report to Corfu, where the capital of the Republic is sited, and, fearing a biased report, I sent my own to the French charge d’affaires on Corfu explaining everything that had occurred. I believe all these islands would choose French sovereignty if they were asked to do so.”[237]

Sat 11th June 1803

General Stuart’s army in Egypt is about 4,400 strong and occupies Alexandria and the surrounding forts. The Turks briefly garrisoned some forts but we had to remove them. The Pasha of Cairo is required to provision the English army. He gives corn, rice, fresh meat and cooking wood but gets no payment. He says provisioning the British requires three times more goods than is appropriate for 4,000 men. The lack of payment has induced the Pasha’s distrust of Stuart.

The Turkish army in Egypt is about 16,000 men but both officers and men are untutored in military tactics or strategy and merely predate on the people. A European army of 6,000 would be adequate to conquer the Turks in Egypt.

The army of the Beys is composed of 3,000 Mamalukes and 7,000 Arabs. The Arabs are from two tribes that are connected by inter-marriages in their leaders’ families. Ibrahim Bey is the commander and the headquarters is at Djerge. They have 80 French deserters manning their artillery. They have met the Turks in battle on 5-6 occasions recently and won every time. The whole of Upper Egypt is under their control.

Sat 18th June 1803

There are now an estimated 10,000 English living in Paris but it is not like before the war. Formerly the visitors were very visible but now they seldom show themselves. The new English live in Paris without living with the Parisians. They used to be the big spenders but now they are economical.

They have come to make money from France. French lands produce 4¾% a year on average; French funds produce about 10% a year and, if you work all the speculative discounts, which the English are doing, you can get 18% a year on your capital. That’s the English game in Paris right now.

Sat 18th June 1803

The Russian ambassador to Constantinople has got the Porte’s agreement to permit Spanish, Neapolitan and Dutch merchants through the Bosphorus to trade in the Russian ports of the Black Sea.

The new entrants to Black Sea trade will not get the concessions of the French and English. They will not be allowed to trade in Turkish Black Sea ports and neither may they establish Consuls there, but it is another wedge in Ottoman control of the Bosphorus.

Sat 18th June 1803

The British administration has passed a law to regulate matters in the Admiralty. There has been too much fiddling. Staff of all the government offices, the private contractors and prize agents are to be examined on Oath to discover the full extent of skullduggery. They have to open their books as well.

They are not obliged to answer but silence will cause their exclusion from future government business. The government dockyards at Deptford, Woolwich and Chatham will then recommence ship-building. Repairs to the North Sea and Channel fleets will be done at the new dockyard on the Isle of Grain.

Sat 2nd July 1803

The legislature of the Batavian Republic (Netherlands) has made cinnamon a free commodity for importation – they need a new source of supply to maintain their trade with the German states where cinnamon is always in demand. The VOC can no longer monopolise its supply. A duty of 1% ad valorem is enacted to ensure as well as may be that most supply comes to Amsterdam.

They have prohibited the import of woollen cloth for domestic sale. It may be carried through the Netherlands for sale elsewhere but not sold at home.

Sat 16th July 1803

The French are using a concession of the Porte that permits their trade with Turkish ports in the Black Sea. The Reis Efendi (foreign minister) at Constantinople has notified all the Turkish ports of France’s permission to trade. He has sent specimens of the French tricolor to each. The French have just loaded a grain shipment at Sebastopol.

Sat 23rd July 1803

The émigrés are all welcomed back to Paris now we are at peace but they do not get carte blanche to do as they please. The old Duc de Choiseul was at the theatre and applauded a passage about royalty. Bonaparte was also in the audience and noted the Duke’s preferences – he has since been banished outside Paris.

The Duc de Laval published disparaging remarks about Republican government in London before returning to France. He is likewise banished from Paris and is living on his estates at Bordeaux.

Sat 23rd July 1803

Bonaparte has responded to the advices of those Swiss parliamentarians whom he invited to Paris for discussions. He said “I can understand that the Federal system satisfies you. I cannot understand how the unification of the Cantons fails to satisfy you. It is no longer the case that Italy is divided into 50 governments against some of which you might expect to prevail in a conflict. Your other neighbours are France, Austria and Prussia which respectively can raise armies of 500,000, 300,000 and 200,000 whilst you yourselves might be able to pay 10,000 men. What use would that be for you?”

Sat 23rd July 1803

The French have asked Aloys Reding to go to Paris and assist in the political settlement of Switzerland. He says he went a year ago and presented his plans and sees no point in going again. He prefers to remain in prison at Arbourg.

Sat 30th July 1803

When Tippoo sent an Embassy to Paris in 1787, his ambassador gave Louis XVI a solid gold bed.[238] During Robespierre’s brief period in power the bed was sent to the mint and melted down.

Sat 30th July 1803

French influence in Spain is increasing. The Pope has been persuaded to issue three Bulls to the Spanish Court.

One empowers Bonaparte as Inspector of the Spanish monasteries and convents; the second directs the revenues of all vacant religious establishments be paid to government; the third permits the Archbishop of Toledo to suppress such convents as he feels merit suppression.

This elimination of monastic orders will likely be followed by the elimination of the Inquisition. That would explain the late rehabilitation of Sr d’Urquijo, a long-term opponent of the Propaganda Fide.

Sat 30th July 1803

The British buy Piedmont silk at Nice. The French would prefer us to buy Lyon silk. The French have declared a new duty on Piedmont silk, higher than the duty paid at Lyon which more or less equalises their export prices.

Sat 30th July 1803

The British parliament, not long after the émigrés and French priests started to arrive in England, enacted a law that protected émigrés from imprisonment for debt. It was moved in the House that they had been dispossessed of their lands and wealth by the Republican government of France and thus temporarily made unable to pay. Parliament intended to revoke the legislation once the émigrés and priests were re-established in their possessions.

Now that peace has broken-out without the re-establishment of monarchy, etc., in France, claims for repayment from émigrés are being presented in the London courts.

An Irish merchant named Ryan sued the French Royalist official Reynier. In 1787 Reynier gave security to Galland in respect of a man named Papigneau. Galland had business with Ryan and sent him Reynier’s security in part payment of a shipment of Irish linens. Upon receipt Ryan asked Reynier to pay. Reynier did not know about the protective British legislation and gave Ryan a Bill on his brother in Santo Domingo (an émigré serving with the British force there) where Reynier had owned a large estate before the revolution. The Bill was dishonoured, Reynier was arrested and this action commenced.

Sat 30th July 1803

The Spanish ambassador to the Batavian Republic (Netherlands) has published a note to merchants:

Any merchant exporting goods to Spain must provide a Certificate of Origin with the goods. Some countries are exempted – England, France, Portugal and the Batavian, Helvetic and Italian (Cisalpine) Republics.

Editor – by elimination, this targets the Americans and the Baltic states.

Sat 6th August 1803

Britain is still holding Malta. The delay was first attributed to the Tsar, who was to guarantee both its independence and the independence of the Order of St John, but it now appears to be Prussia that is preventing a conclusion.

General Duroc recently went to Berlin to settle the matter and an announcement in the Moniteur said Prussia had now agreed to provide its guarantee as well. Austria has already agreed.

Previously when the Grand Master of the Order went to Malta to obtain its possession, the British Governor told him to ‘go away’ because the guarantees were not yet provided. Now they are, this appears to solve the Malta difficulty and should lead to the complete adoption of the terms of Amiens. That, at least, is the general expectation in Europe.[239]

Sat 6th August 1803

The Austrian Emperor has intimated that his states will be strictly neutral if Britain and France go to war again.

If war does start, the King of Prussia will probably want to seize Cuxhaven and Hanover and extend his domains to the Dutch border.

Sat 6th August 1803

The French are assembling an expedition to occupy the islands of Zeeland, particularly Walcheren, where Flushing is situated, and where an important British smuggling operation is based.

Sat 6th August 1803

The émigrés have recommenced subverting the French government. Placards were found around Paris in early April 1803 with the words “No war, No Chief Consul; Moreau and Peace”

Sat 6th August 1803

Lord Moira is made Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He has given an exciting speech to the Irish at a St Patrick’s Day meeting in England. He said:

“Do not be fooled by French offers of independence. Look at poor Netherlands and Switzerland. They listened to France and they have become vassals. If it is civil liberty that you want, look closely at France – it is a despotism groaning under a system of slavery. France is a disgrace to Europe. French liberty means subjection and slavery. Etc.”

Sat 13th August 1803

The Emperor of Austria has acceded to the settlement of the German territorial indemnities. It is supposed he would have continued to protract the settlement if he thought he had anything to gain from it but Austria is tired and impoverished. She will be an unlikely ally to England if war with France breaks out again, at least until our own efforts diminish the immense power of France to a level that the Emperor considers sufficiently small to allow a real prospect of success. The fact is no European country can face French armies.

An English representative has been in Vienna to hire some mercenaries (Austrian army support is essential for renewed war) but the Emperor has refused him.

Sat 13th August 1803

Bonaparte is to visit Belgium. French army units are entering Zeeland apparently to secure the area. The British have been using Flushing (on the island of Walcheren) to warehouse our manufactures for supply to Bergen op Zoom, our main trade route into France and N W Europe. The French approach is consequently a direct threat to British illicit commerce.

The business connection evidences a relationship between the English and the Zeelanders, who have been the little brothers of the Hollanders in international trade and are a well respected mercantile force.

Bonaparte gets nothing from our smuggling and may want to stop it.

Sat 13th August 1803

General Lannes has returned to Lisbon and taken up his former quarters. He immediately wrote to the Prince Regent that he was resuming his former diplomatic functions but could not attend a levee until British influence at court had been diminished.

The Prince Regent has complied with the dismissal of some of our friends. So much for Portuguese independence.

Sat 20th August 1803

The Dutch have postponed the expedition to Louisiana. They are delayed by a fleet of British cruisers off their coast, north of the Maas estuary.

Sat 20th August 1803

Several City merchants have received copies of an official notice of the Spanish government (temporarily at Valladolid) to the British settlers at the Gulf of Honduras requiring them to depart as soon as possible or be evicted forcibly.

Sat 20th August 1803

The British have left Egypt. The Beys are in upper Egypt and the country appears to be tranquil. The Beys have complied with the Porte’s demands and surrendered their Mamalukes to the Grand Vizier. Turkey is short of cash and the export duty on all home produce has been increased to 3% to restore the Imperial finances. The merchants don’t like it but, in the Porte’s system, no-one listens to them (i.e. the Asian way in trade). France has sent Agents and Consuls to all the ports of the Levant and they have been well received.

The British army of Egypt has arrived at Malta. It comprises 4,000 men who formed the garrison of Alexandria. Whilst there, a French fleet under Admiral Leisseignes arrived and was put into quarantine at Lazaretto. There are already 10 British capital ships anchored off the port.

Sat 27th August 1803

Addington told the House of Commons on Friday 6th May that Andreossi had that morning applied to the Foreign Office for a passport to leave England as soon as he heard that Whitworth had left Paris. Addington expected to be able to provide all the information the House wanted on the failed negotiations on Monday.

Fox said Whitworth will arrive today. Why not provide the papers tomorrow – this is important.

Hawkesbury said it would be inconvenient and Monday was better. Grey said he felt unable to trust ministers and proposed the House sit on Saturday.

The Secretary of War said it was inconsistent with the dignity of the House to sit on a Saturday.

Wed 24th Aug 1803 Extraordinary

When the King’s message was read in House of Lords, Stanhope said our resources were exhausted by the recent war and now we are warring again. We are no longer a predominantly agricultural country but subsist on paper money and credit more than any other country. An American inventor has shown the French a means of destroying our fleets (Fulton’s torpedo) which we are presently unable to combat. We will not know the justice of this renewed war until we see the papers.

In the Commons Hawkesbury called for an early discussion on the King’s message. He said the negotiation papers were voluminous and would be available to MPs next Wednesday. He hoped to have a debate on the following Monday.

Grey said the King has not yet declared war but it was rumoured he had called for reprisals (Grey spends much of his time on his Estate in Northumberland).

Hawkesbury said the King was not concealing anything. He had taken the minister’s advice and ordered reprisals. Wait until Whitworth gets back from Paris and we will tell you the full story.

Fox said he hoped the papers would be available as soon as possible. He thought it unwise to issue Letters of Marque before the House of Commons had considered the matter.

T Grenville hoped the papers would be complete.

Hawkesbury said they would cover the entire period from signing the treaty at Amiens to the present day.

Sat 3rd Sept 1803

Bonaparte has moved forces into Belgium and southern Holland to protect the force fitting out in Dutch ports for Louisiana. The ships have ascended further up the Meuse to be better protected from the British fleet (Thornborough’s) blockading the estuary.

French funds have fallen slightly to 54¾.

Sat 3rd Sept 1803

The Bank of France enjoys the sole right to issue Bills in France. Its capital will be 45 million Francs divided into 45,000 shares of 1,000 Francs each. It will discount all Bills of Exchange and commercial notes. The annual dividend is limited to 6% maximum and any surplus profit is to be placed in a reserve fund and invested in the 5% Consols, the government’s main loan stock. Satisfactory performance of the 5%’s may give rise to a second dividend for the Bank’s shareholders.

Sat 10th Sept 1803

Col Fraser, the English Commander at Goree (the West African slave market) has declined to surrender the island to the French Commandant of Senegal, General Blanchot, as he has no ships to take away his men.

Sat 24th Sept 1803

Paul Benfield the City financier, has returned to London from Paris.

He wrote his own passport on a blank proof sheet of the Argus newspaper and it was accepted by the officials.

At the same time Pitt’s relative, the ‘eccentric’ Lord Camelford, entered France and went to Paris under escort. No-one knows what he is doing.

Sat 24th Sept 1803

Bonaparte is to visit Strasbourg in April. The Margrave of Baden, Duke of Wurtemburg and the Elector of Bavaria (the three German princes with good settlements under the German indemnities) are expected to welcome him.

Sun 25th Sept 1803 Extraordinary

19th March 1803 – The Prince of Orange has returned to Berlin from Brunswick in light of the vulnerable location of Hanover should the French invade.

Wed 5th Oct 1803 Extraordinary

Several French Generals have been courting Madame Leclerc, Bonaparte’s relative and the widow of the French General killed in Santo Domingo, but she is inconsolable at her bereavement.

She is determined to found a Carmelite convent and reside there.

Wed 5th Oct 1803 Extraordinary

The Hanseatic League of towns has refurbished and re-opened their old Hotel at Antwerp in prospect of trade along the Scheldt. It has been closed to navigation by treaties of the United Provinces since the 16th century.

The merchants of Hamburg are distressed by the news of renewed war and have opened subscriptions for several new insurance companies, which has been one of the few profitable businesses in war. Speculators in the French and Spanish trade feel threatened by the prospect of war.

Dutch funds move only one way – no-one is buying.

Wed 5th Oct 1803 Extraordinary

The Neapolitan Prince Belmonte Pignatelli and his English wife were arrested whilst passing through Paris and imprisoned for three weeks. Whitworth intervened and they were freed on condition they left Paris in 12 hours.

Sat 15th Oct 1803

Now we are at war again, the Navy Board is at Chatham to investigate how long it takes to assemble and moor a fleet of boats across the Thames Estuary as a defence against Fulton’s torpedoes. It look as though it will take a fortnight.[240]

Sat 15th Oct 1803

The Dutch loan for 20 million Florins has been over-subscribed by 3 millions. The Landgrave of Hesse Castel alone subscribed 1 million. Many other foreigners, especially from the German States, made large investments.

Sat 22nd Oct 1803

Bonaparte has already told Whitworth (above) that he rates the chances of a successful invasion of England lowly, but he is still making desultory preparations. It must be to encourage his own people and his allies with the prospects of the immense loot they will get if he succeeds.

Sat 22nd Oct 1803

George III’s government of Hanover has moved the seat of government from Hanover to Lauenburg but the King’s minister, de Dedan, will remain at Hanover a little longer to receive some expected dispatches.

The French army under Mortier has taken-up positions on the banks of the Weser. It comprises 24,000 infantry and 8,000 cavalry plus some artillery and engineers. Part has marched on Osnaburg, which the Hanoverians have abandoned. Another part is moving to Diephotz (between Bremen and Osnaburg) where the Hanoverian troops are dug-in to defend Hanover. A Hanoverian government deputation has been sent to the French General Mortier to request good treatment.

Mortier says if Hanover had not armed, he would not have attacked but merely occupied the country as the Prussians did in Part One of this war. The French troops have been well behaved and are progressively garrisoning the Hanoverian towns.

France has agreed with Prussia and Russia to demilitarise the area between the Elbe and the Weser to secure the neutrality of the imperial cities of Hamburg, Bremen and Lubeck and ensure commerce is not interrupted. Prussia is to provide 30,000 men to protect the southern frontier of Germany but this will exclude Hanover.

Sat 19th Nov 1803

The infidel honorary British consul to Algiers, Falcon, has been caught with a couple of young Turkish slaves in his house. He blamed his cook for introducing the girls. They were condemned to be drowned which drew a statement from one girl which rather implicated the Consul.

As a result each girl avoided the death sentence and instead got 500 blows with a stick. They and the Consul were then ordered to leave Algiers within three days. Falcon said he could not leave without the orders of his King. On hearing this, the Dey had him manhandled onto a ship which sailed instantly.

Sat 19th Nov 1803

The Hamburg newspapers say Prussia has authorised France to march her armies through Prussia to occupy Hanover.

A contrary report from London says talks are being held in Berlin between Hanoverian and Prussian officials to prevent the French entering Hanover.

Sat 26th Nov 1803

City stockbrokers report that Talleyrand sought to capitalise on his knowledge that we would renew war by judicious share trading on the London Exchange but his courier with the Purchase Orders arrived 3 hours after the news was known in the City and prices were already increasing.

Sat 26th Nov 1803

A list of the MPs who opposed the King and his Minister’s requests for renewal of war is given in this edition. It is about 10 percent of the representatives in the Commons. As a preponderance of these people were effectively voting with their conscience rather than their pockets, their names, as shown in the newspaper, are recorded here for posterity and the pride of their descendants.

The national situation was well stated by John Nicholls MP during a debate on increasing the Assessed Taxes (in January 1798). He said “I oppose the tax because not necessary; I think the tax not necessary because I think the continuance of war not necessary; I think the continuance of war not necessary because sincere efforts have never yet been in vain employed to obtain peace” and he asserted the war was waged, not from a dread of France, but from jealousy of the Commons of England … that Britons might claim their rights:

ADAIR Robert FELLOWES Robert ORD William
AUBREY Sir John FOX Charles James PLUMER William
ANTONIE William Lee HAMILTON Archibald PONSONBY William
BULLER James JEKYLL Joseph ST JOHN St Andrew
DOUGLAS Marquis of MORE George Peter WHARTON John
DUNDAS Laurence MORE Peter Tellers:
DUNDAS Charles NORTH Dudley SMITH William

Sat 26th Nov 1803

Reports from Hamburg of 28th May say that Prussia has consented to that city and the lower River Elbe being garrisoned by France.

Sat 3rd Dec 1803

Bonaparte has published rewards for scientific endeavour and all the French chemists and engineers are busily inventing things.

Sat 3rd Dec 1803

Tsar Alexander is continuing his efforts to achieve an amicable settlement of the quarrel between England and France. He has French support. He has already offered to take Malta under his protection. Unfortunately Grenville’s group is not listening and, more importantly, neither is George III.

Sat 3rd Dec 1803

London, 27th May – the Speaker of the House of Commons has ordered all news reporters be excluded from the House until after prayers (about 4 pm daily)

Sat 3rd Dec 1803

Dubois, the Prefect of Police at Paris, has been arrested for corruption. He accepted a bribe to permit the Chief of the Chouans to escape.

Sat 3rd Dec 1803

On 28th April France sent 300 troops from Genoa and artillery from St Pierre d’Arena to Porto Ferrajo on Elba to defend that island against an expected British attempt at occupation. Elba is recognised as a likely British base to support a blockade of Leghorn’s trade.

Sat 3rd Dec 1803

Austria has publicly declared it will remain strictly neutral in the new war.

Sat 10th Dec 1803

Bonaparte requires his infantry to learn how to swim. They have been instructed in it and recently a whole regiment was required to cross the Seine. He keeps improving the quality of his army.

Rivers without bridges are absolute barriers to our own troops.

Sat 10th Dec 1803

News from the London papers:

  • The British ministry says the Netherlands is not being strictly neutral. The breaches of neutrality are not itemised but the King has advised parliament that he has issued Letters of Marque to his ship commanders against the Batavian Republic and its subjects.
  • France has occupied Hanover. England has blockaded the Elbe and Hamburg. The Baltic states are strictly neutral although Russia seems partial to the British cause. King George’s youngest son (Duke of Cambridge) is offered to the Tsar’s sister as husband.
  • Generals Dumouriez and Pichegru have arrived in England to command the émigré army. They plan to land on the Brittany coast and restore monarchy and the expedition is now fitting-out in British ports. The Bourbon family in England is delighted with renewed war. Many of the common people are signing-up – it is a gamble that one might get hurt but the chance for quick profits is better than the farm or the factory.
  • Tierney, Charles Grey’s pupil, has been made Treasurer of the Navy (a plum sinecure) and has appointed his brother-in-law as Paymaster of the Navy. This will test his liberal Whig principles.
  • M/s Hobson and Lemon have replaced Capts Trowbridge and Markham on the Admiralty Board.

Sat 10th Dec 1803

The militias, fencibles and volunteers are to be recruited again. With reservists and sailors they will total a million men. That should keep Britain tranquil.[241]

The King has also asked parliament to consider the state of the Prince of Orange. He wants him to have a British pension.

Fox has moved that Britain accept Russian mediation to bring an immediate end to the war. Hawkesbury said the ministry was not disposed to accept anyone’s mediation (Prussia has also offered – they don’t like 12,000 French troops in Hanover but they are more incensed by our blockading the Weser and Elbe).

We have an unequivocal policy to pursue, Hawkesbury said.

Parliament was prorogued 12th August – 6th October

The 3% consols were up at 53 on 26th August.

Sat 10th Dec 1803

HMS Immortality with the bomb ships Perseus and Terror has bombarded Boulogne in mid-August and seriously damaged the lower part of the town and the mole. Our friends in Calais (who should know we will not bomb them) report this has spread alarm along the whole coast. A few nights later the three ships returned, men landed and the destruction of the port and defensive works was completed.

Sat 10th Dec 1803

The merchants, bankers and traders of London have met at the Royal Exchange on 16th July and agreed to publish the following Declaration:

“We will stand or fall with our King. The safety of the British Empire and its continuing existence is at stake. We wish to continue to live as freemen in a flourishing community. We will not be enslaved by implacable enemies. We fight for our laws, for our liberty and for our children. Our cause is righteous and blessed by God. To sacrifice our fortunes or our lives is our duty. We are unshaken in our resolution to win or die.”

Sgd Jacob Bosanquet.

Sat 10th Dec 1803

House of Commons, 3rd June – Colonel Patten, MP for Newton, moved to censure the ministry. He is an independent MP, unbeholden to any Peer or borough-monger for his seat. He thinks the present war can be avoided. He says:

“The minister has made the King say (in his recent Address commending a renewal of war) that the period since the peace has been marked by a continued series of aggressions, violence and insults by the French. Patten supposed it was true. If so, why had no intimation of it been made to the representatives of the people? Ministers had talked of peace but their orders and counter-orders indicated knowledge to the contrary.

The people of a free country should be informed of what is happening. He had expected one of the more voluble MPs to raise this point but none had done so. The ministry’s policies are shrouded in mystery and cause doubt and perplexity. Information is being concealed. Patten makes the supposition that the representatives are being trifled with.

The British people all over the country are depressed by renewed war. No-one wants it. This all derives from these unknown ‘aggressions, violence and insults by the French’ that ministers have caused the King to mention. The House should not concur with the ministry’s demands unless they are properly announced, argued and supported. Patten had not discussed this with any other MP.

He would like Pitt ‘from a most strong conviction of his principles, and an admiration of his extraordinary political ability and conciliatory disposition’ to justify the ministry’s stance. Why are ministers now asking us MPs to draft something as mundane as a Test Act when we have this fundamentally important matter before us. He moved that the ministry be censured for withholding all information from the time of the definitive treaty to the outbreak of war.

Thomas Grenville seconded the motion.

Sir T Theophilus Metcalfe, late of the India Company’s China factory, thought Patten’s motion pernicious – ‘a debate might give information to the enemy’ (‘hear, hear’ from Windham and his friends). Others reprobated Metcalfe’s attempt to muzzle the House. Addington made a lengthy defence revealing nothing new. As he is very popular and seems harmless, no-one seriously criticised him.

Col Graham wished to talk about Malta. General Pigot had just visited him with Cobbett’s newspaper in hand. It had an article alleging Pigot had allowed the French garrison of Malta to capitulate and take away all their possessions on their agreement to leave the money behind (called ‘enforced taxes’ in Cobbett’s review of the capitulation). He wants Cobbett prosecuted.

Graham failed to divert the MPs. One said the sequestration of the property of the Spanish langues (of the Order of St John) and the annexation of Elba to France both occurred after the definitive treaty had been approved by the House (23rd April 1802) but before Addington had assured us that there was no probability of the treaty being broken. There was also the matter of the 10th article, on the future of Malta, which turned out to be incapable of performance.

Eventually a vote was held 56 / 333 against censure.

Sat 24th Dec 1803

Five of the principal merchants of Boulogne have been arrested for corresponding with the English blockading force.

Sat 24th Dec 1803

Lord Elphinstone has been elected a Scottish peer although Melville (Dundas) opposed the vote (Melville controls Scotland through c. 3,000 supporters).

Sat 24th Dec 1803

The Report of the Admiralty Commissioners into naval abuses recounts the conduct of the naval storekeeper Smith at Jamaica who kept the premiums on Bills of Exchange for himself. London Bills were in high demand in late 1790s to remit silver proceeds of South American trade to London. Smith was removed from office in 1795 and replaced by Mr Dick who regrettably continued the same practice. The abuse continued from January 1793 – December 1800. During that period the naval storekeepers at Jamaica issued Navy Bills to raise cash from local merchants.

The premium was generally about 10% in view of the strong demand. The total amount drawn (face value of the Bills) in the eight years was £536,258 so public funds of about £53,626 have been fraudulently abstracted.

It was not only in their cash-raising ventures that M/s Smith and Dick were criticised. Their purchases of naval stores were thought to be unwise. They generally paid very considerably more than the market rate. The Commissioners estimate they overpaid something like $135,000 to the merchant suppliers over the same eight years.

Sat 31st Dec 1803

Bonaparte has told his legislature that the justice of the French cause is evident from British refusal to accept the mediation of either Russia or Prussia. He says the British ministry is obliged to conceal those documents that reveal the moderate nature of the French position. If the British people knew that peace might easily be preserved, they would protest.

He says the Commercial Agents sent to England, characterised by the war-hawks as military spies, had mostly come from the Council of Prizes or the civil administration.

The British ministry wishes to dominate the commerce of the world. They wish to stifle free trade by controlling the oceans. France will oppose their dominion in the Mediterranean. France asserts the freedom of commerce and navigation.

France has now established protective tariffs on her own manufactures to reciprocate those that England raises against French goods. This is restoring the prosperity of French industry. The English say it is confrontational but we merely copy what they do.

Sat 7th Jan 1804

The Defence of the Realm Act requires a census of the country and the classification of all Englishmen for the purpose of national defence. Annual lists are to be prepared. Heavy fines and imprisonment are enacted for non-compliance or evasion of classification.

Arms are to be kept in churches under the care of church wardens and at the congregation’s expense. Those classes of people deemed capable of fighting are to be exercised on Sundays if thought necessary. Training will occur on weekdays. There are extra fines for non-attendance and fines for losing or not maintaining your musket.

The fighting men will be required to serve anywhere in the United Kingdom. They will be subject to the Mutiny Act and the Articles of War. Those who object to joining these Volunteer Corps will be treated as deserters and shot. Men wounded whilst fighting the enemy will be entitled to treatment at Chelsea Hospital. The Act will continue in force until the ratification of a definitive peace treaty with the King’s enemies.

Sat 14th Jan 1804

Windham has told the House of Commons that the Treaty of Amiens shut out Britain from the continent. Supporters of the treaty said this country can do nothing for Europe and should remain on the sidelines. Our renewed war, according to the last paragraph of the King’s Address, is for purely British interests – access to European trade.

Windham says the conscription of the entire populace into militias under Army Law would not produce a force that could confront a regular army. What was its purpose, he wondered. Our army remains in garrisons near the major towns of the country. Why are they not engaged with France on the continent?

Pitt asked if ministers had any other plans preparatory to war.

The Secretary at War said a French invasion of Britain will fail and will bring down Bonaparte. He recalled the example of American patriots in the War of Independence. They are British stock. The same zeal and valour may be expected from the English.

The Treaty of Amiens had been useful to England because its terms conciliated the people to renewed war. Militias have been used successfully in several other countries and we should have the same good experience here.

Pitt said ministers had to be active to secure the confidence of the people. The militias were defensive forces which released the regular army for offensive acts.

Sat 14th Jan 1804

General Stuart’s army of Egypt, now at Malta, is ordered to Sicily to secure Malta’s grain supplies. A British squadron will cruise the Straits of Messina to keep the French at bay.

Sat 21st Jan 1804

The émigrés have made a Proclamation which they are distributing to the French people along the west coast. It is signed ‘an old French soldier’ and may well be the work of Pichegru or Dumouriez. It makes great play of Bonaparte’s Corsican birth – he is not French; he hates the English but the English love the French; they have long succoured your dispossessed bishops and nobles, etc.

Sat 28th Jan 1804

Bonaparte’s object in touring Belgium was to take the sense of the populace concerning England. He was pleased with his reception and extended his tour to the Dutch and Flemish ports as well. It seems most of the towns through which he passed displayed exhortations to invade England. At the gate of Amiens was written ‘the road to England’. The Prefect of Abbeville told Bonaparte that ‘his astonishing genius will proclaim peace to the Universe’.

Bonaparte has been to Boulogne. A couple of British frigates that were cruising off the port saw a crowd gather on the ramparts of the fort and assumed it was him. They fired off a few cannon at him but the shots went over the fort and into the town. Some death and injury was caused. Bonaparte was reportedly outraged at the casual taking of innocent lives. Thereafter a prodigious discharge of cannon was maintained at the frigates but all the French shots fell short.

Sat 28th Jan 1804

The British ambassador at Constantinople has been trying to get Turkey to ally with England. He has told the Porte that the French wish to annex Egypt but the Grand Vizier does not believe him. He notes it was the English who refused to leave Egypt not the French. It was the French who worked hard to ensure the Treaty was respected.

General Brune, the French ambassador, is well treated at Constantinople.

Sat 4th Feb 1804

Bonaparte has asked the merchants of Brussels and Antwerp, as an act of support and patriotism, to withdraw their funds from the Bank of England. They do not want to comply but cannot see a way out.

Sat 4th Feb 1804

15th August is Napoleon Bonaparte’s birthday.

Sat 4th Feb 1804

Prince Camillo Borghese has engaged to marry Bonaparte’s sister, the widow of General Leclerc. The Prince is expected to succeed Melzi as Vice President of the Italian Republic and will be made President on the death of Bonaparte at which time the Presidency will be declared hereditary to the Borghese family.

Sat 4th Feb 1804

Col Hepburne of the 31st regiment and some fellow officers have been convicted of fraud. They inflated the numbers of men in their regiment whilst serving in Barbados in 1796 and shared the extra wages amongst themselves. The extent of over-statement was so large it was apparent at audit.

Sat 4th Feb 1804

Vansittart has got leave to bring-in a Bill permitting foreigners to serve in British national ships and merchantmen.

Sat 4th Feb 1804

During the brief period that General Andreossi was French ambassador to London, he protested Sir Robert Wilson’s book on the Egyptian campaign as ‘a most atrocious and disgusting calumny’.

Wilson was a Lieutenant Colonel in the English forces. He says he has copies of French General Orders requiring the destruction of villages that caused the deaths of 20,000 Egyptians. As a result he says the French were execrated in Egypt whereas the British were welcomed by the people and English soldiers could travel everywhere unarmed.

He invites Andreossi to bring an action for libel in the British courts if he can find anything to really complain about in the book.

Sat 4th Feb 1804

The House of Commons has continued to debate the Budget:

Lord Folkestone complained that if the people were clamorous for war it would be proper to throw the costs on their shoulders but it could never be proper to bill our posterity for our loans. Actually the situation is that no-one supports the government’s wish for war and the people applaud the dissenting Whig MPs instead.

He thought, if war could be justified, that we can avoid most of the expense of fighting a defensive war in protection of our homeland by taking the cheaper and better option of offensive war. Every schoolboy knows that ‘Rome was defended under the walls of Carthage’, he says. France must be attacked directly but this ministry has expended the goodwill of all potential European allies and even the émigrés.

Johnstone said he thought the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s estimated war expenditure of £26 millions inconceivable. He expected costs in the first year of war would approximate £40 millions. The alternative was to surrender Malta to Russia and continue to enjoy the benefits of peace. He regretted the ministry’s determination to fight.

Vansittart said the most we spent in any one year of the last war was £33 millions and £26 millions seemed a reasonable amount to propose for the first year of this one. He theorised that if we had surrendered Malta we could not have expected peace to last six months after the date of that surrender.

Johnstone disagreed. He thought the ministry had incited the passion of the people in order to create grounds for renewed war.

Dent asked if foreigners investing in British funds would receive their interest without deduction of national domestic taxes. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said ‘correct.’ Dent asked if that might allure English capitalists to use nominees for their holdings. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that is very likely but we cannot violate our public faith to foreign investors.

Smith objected to the increased Malt Tax. All the benefit goes to the brewers. If you put up the tax, you can hardly object to their clawing back the extra costs of production in increased prices to the public. Taxing the intoxicants of the country merely puts prices up. The people will have their tipple more or less at whatever the price. If it becomes too expensive they will make their own or crime will increase (to finance drinking).

Vansittart said he had an account of the import of sugar, hemp, ginger and many other major imports from 1793 – 1803. It showed the amounts being imported through the various ports.

Sat 4th Feb 1804

The King of Prussia has sent an army of 8,000 to Hamburg and taken possession of that Free City of the Austrian Empire. He is negotiating in London for the re-opening of the Weser and Elbe. Both Prussia and Russia oppose our blockade closing the rivers but Bonaparte is unco-operative. He will not occupy the Free Cities (Hamburg, Bremen and Lubeck) but neither will he permit British goods up the rivers under Neutral flag ships. He absolutely declines to evacuate Cuxhaven. There is a slight possibility he will agree to reduce his garrisons to 20,000 men – that is the best that appears possible.

The erstwhile Hanoverian government has proposed the French withdraw and leave policing of Hanover to the Prussians. They don’t want to antagonise the British who bring the goods on which the Hanoverian economy is partly reliant. They offer to pay France 2 million Livres a year for the duration of the war as an inducement.

On the other hand, a French suggestion is to separate Hanover from England and establish Republican government there. France has 31,000 troops in Hanover. They are quartered on numerous towns and villages which pay for their maintenance. The monthly cost is estimated at 900,000 Livres. The annual revenue of government is about $4 million Rix and the daily costs of board and lodging for the French is $10,000 Rix. This maintenance cost will exhaust the Hanoverian revenue and the Hanoverian officials want the garrison drastically reduced. They say they cannot afford it.

General Mortier has deployed his troops along the Weser and Elbe and has ordered the Hanoverian officials to fund his fortifications. The officials have raised a loan of $150,000 Rix to pay his demands. They are also liable to pay the Hanoverian army that France required to be disbanded – that is over $500,000 Rix a year. On 2nd September all the ecclesiastical and civil officials will meet at Hanover to discuss the financial crisis.

A Congress is proposed at Brussels to reconcile the French and British under the mediation of the Baltic powers. The Scandinavians are inveterate traders and deplore the renewal of war. Only the Russian Tsar seems motivated by concern for the rights of Hanover as a neutral.

Sat 4th Feb 1804

Admiral Saumarez’s fleet has been bombarding the ports of Boulogne and Dieppe, etc., continually to disrupt the ‘invasion preparations.’ He has reportedly caused considerable damage. Nelson is cruising off Toulon. The remainder of Nelson’s fleet is in Malta.

Sat 4th Feb 1804

France and Switzerland have concluded a Treaty of Offence and Defence.

Sat 25th Feb 1804

The British Press is considering the prospects of invasion. Julius Caesar landed near Ramsgate while William the Conqueror landed at Pevensey near Beachy Head. It was only William of Orange who landed in the west country and that was because he had support there. These examples are under consideration to predict where the French might seek to make a landing.[242]

Sat 3rd March 1804

There is an article in Le Moniteur (undated) which warns Dutch investors in British funds that they may not receive their dividends during the war.

Sat 3rd March 1804

Bonaparte has sent General Augereau to Madrid to urgently request 30 million Francs, 10,000 men and 20 warships, supposedly for the invasion of England.

The Dutch are precisely performing their part in the exclusion of British goods from the continent. Numerous applications for exemption have been turned down. The Dutch cheeses that have formed a part of every British sailor’s rations for decades are no longer available. They are all going to France and Spain now.

Sat 3rd March 1804

Our blockade of the Cape continues. We believe we are having an effect as Rochambeau, the Governor, has encouraged the Americans with a promise of duty-free importation of their goods. They supply mainly foodstuffs so we surmise he is running low on provisions. However, Rochambeau is making no preparations to evacuate.

Sat 3rd March 1804

The Chouans have published a paper about Bonaparte’s genealogy. His Corsican birth is one of few things they can protest. The pamphlet is circulating in western France. It says:

In 1736 Porto Vecchia was attacked and the butcher Josefo Buona brought his group to its defence. King Theodore rewarded his assistance with a title and permitted him to add ‘parte’ to his family name. Josefo Buonaparte served Corsica during the civil wars until the island was conquered by France.

His son is Napoleon Bonaparte. At Toulon in 1793 he signed his reports ‘Brutus Buonaparte’ but he has since dropped the name Brutus, to disassociate himself from the ‘Brutus’ in Robespierre’s reports about the recapture of Toulon.[243]

Sat 3rd March 1804

London papers say Talleyrand has submitted an opinion to Bonaparte urging peace for 10-15 years in order to assemble the wealth of France whereupon ‘we can raise a navy equal or superior to England and succeed in the invasion we have contemplated for 150 years’.

Sat 10th March 1804

The Black Sea trade that France wishes to stimulate, now she feels she is in control of the Mediterranean, is suffering from British captures. We cruise in the Greek archipelago and adjacent seas and seize all ships we find carrying Polish grain for France.

Our squadron has captured 5 Austrian ships, 1 Spanish and several ships of the Republic of the Seven Islands (the old Venetian Islands). The Austrian captures were made at the Dardanelles and the Emperor complained of it to the Porte who is treaty-bound to guarantee safe passage for merchant ships. The Porte remonstrated with the British ambassador Drummond who said he could only refer the matter to his court.

Tsar Alexander is disturbed by our acts. He doubts the Ottomans will resolve the difficulty and has ordered his Black Sea squadron into the Mediterranean. If the admiral complies, that will be another treaty-breach.

Sat 10th March 1804

There were numerous British people in France at the outbreak of war. Some were unprepared for Whitworth’s precipitant departure and have since been arrested. At Paris they include the Reverend Bentinck, A Cockburne our Hamburg Consul, Paul Benfield the financier, W Boyd the banker and his family, the Earls of Elgin and Yarmouth, Sir Elijah Impey and his family, Mr Innes the principal of the Scottish College at Paris, Lucius Concannon MP for Seaford, Mr Ker another partner of Boyd in M/s Boyd & Ker, the bankers, and a large number of British army and navy officers.

Many others have been caught at provincial towns and cities – for example, Sir James Crawfurd, our minister plenipotentiary at Hamburg, was arrested with many British army officers at Calais.

Sat 10th March 1804

A number of Belgian officers in the Austrian army have transferred to French service. They will join the 112th demi-brigade of infantry at Brussels. They have the same rank as before.

Sat 10th March 1804

A letter from Flushing of 17th September 1803 says the French General Poincote has arrived to inspect the garrison on Walcheren. An epidemic has seriously reduced their numbers and may spread to Flushing.[244]

The French flotilla on the western Scheldt is getting bigger by the day. The Dutch are co-operating and have also amassed great forces at the Texel and Helvoetsluys. Admiral de Winter will have overall command of the three fleets.

Sat 10th March 1804

France has obtained Prussian agreement to her garrisoning Hanover. She will incrementally change the occupying troops to Germans of the French German Legion. The Hanoverian government sought a loan of $1.5 millions Rix from Cassel but George III would only permit it if it was guaranteed by France.

Along with his refusal to ratify the Convention of Solingen, his impossible demand has disappointed the Hanoverian people.

Sat 10th March 1804

Naples, 8th September – the French ambassador to Naples has got General Stuart out of Sicily. The King of the Two Sicilies has been told France will occupy his mainland territories if he permits England to remain in Sicily. Elliot, the English ambassador, says England will not continue to occupy Sicily as long as France does not occupy Naples – he seems to expect Neapolitan neutrality.

The King has largely disbanded his army but has given a general permission to them to enter the service of ‘another King’ if they wish to do so. Its as much as he can do.

Sat 10th March 1804

The first regiments of Italian troops are arriving at Paris for service.

Sat 10th March 1804

The response in Britain to the bounty for militia service has been very good and 900,000 men have accepted payment. The House of Commons is debating the final form of the militia.

There is an opt-out system but its only popular with middle-aged people who have accumulated sufficient wealth to take advantage of it. If they pay £30 annually in assessed taxes they can nominate a substitute for ‘volunteer service’ or pay the fine. The fine is £20+ and is payable to the local parish which is then itself beholden to find a substitute.

The government intends for 750,000 militiamen to serve in England and Wales. Clergy, teachers, articled clerks and university students are exempt (but not the older schoolboys).

Sat 17th March 1804

An American in Paris has reported the opinions of some of his acquaintances in that town concerning the supposed invasion of England.

He was told London would most probably be burnt to the ground as Bonaparte would not want Frenchmen to settle there and be debauched by the greed of the City merchants. If they did so, their morals might become indistinguishable from the British merchants whom he is trying to overcome. Some Parisians feel London should be treated like the Romans treated Carthage.

One objection to Bonaparte is his sympathy for the tenets of Islam. He professes to be a Muslim and keeps a bodyguard of Muslims who serve him devotedly. This apostasy annoys those Europeans who uphold the divinity of Christ.

Sat 17th March 1804

Milan, 28th September news:

  • Barbary slavers have landed between Fano and Senigallia (south of Rimini) and abducted an entire convent of nuns.
  • A British squadron is cruising off the Po and has disrupted the maritime commerce of the Venetian Republic.

Sat 17th March 1804

Last year charitable legacies and donations to the French government totalled over 2 million Francs. These exclude the huge legacy of General Martin of Lyon as his wealth is invested in London and cannot be recovered until the war ends.[245]

Sat 17th March 1804

Bonaparte has distinguished the ships that are welcome in French ports. Those bringing the produce of the Baltic are welcome. On the other hand, if a ship brings any type of manufactures or colonial produce, it is deemed to be English cargo and will be confiscated.

Sat 17th March 1804

Bonaparte has received proposals from many French departments to build ships. They offer to finance the construction by quotas levied on their commercial inhabitants. He approves.

The Legislature has also debated commercial war. By prohibiting the import of British goods to Europe, the English will be denied their major market and, in the consequent commercial recession, it is supposed that British bankers will fear risking their capital in government loans and, in this way, compel King and ministry to make peace.

The Interior Minister has extended the restrictions on Neutral ships’ cargoes to French ships. He particularly targets those using the internal waterways to trade in Holland (the English smuggling route).

Bonaparte has amended his order concerning neutral ships arriving at French ports from England. This mainly caught those ships bringing Baltic supplies that were captured and investigated by the British in their own ports.

He now permits the Minister of the Interior to review individual circumstances as advised by the Customs Commissioner.

If this order is enforced it appears capable of entirely reducing English trade in Europe to smuggling.

Sat 17th March 1804

The Dutch government has ordered the fishing fleet at Scheveningen to stay in port. The fishermen are constantly stopped and interrogated by the British cruisers off the coast and information on Dutch defences is leaking out.

The British blockading ships responded with a bombardment of Scheveningen and, for good order, the nearby fishing villages of Landroot and Castwyck.

Sat 17th March 1804

The Hamburg newspapers say dispatches have been sent from London to all the principal Courts of Europe notifying them that the war will be prosecuted by Britain with the utmost vigour.

Hamburg is a vibrant commercial centre with several newspapers and a well developed mail service to all of Europe.

Sat 24th March 1804

The Dutch government has ordered home all those French ships that took refuge in Dutch ports to avoid being requisitioned for the invasion of England.

Sat 24th March 1804

Biography of Talleyrand – his family comes from the province of Perigord in the south of the country. His father was a second son with little capital. He directed Talleyrand into the church because his limp disbarred him from a military career. Before he was twenty he owned several abbeys and before he was thirty he became Bishop of Autun. Louis XVI suspected the young Abbe de Perigord was immoral but was persuaded to permit his appointment. During the Revolution he befriended a married woman and the son from this union has since become a page to Louis Bonaparte.

It was Talleyrand’s motion to the National Assembly on 2nd November 1789 that led to the nationalisation of church property in France; something he repeated recently in disposing of church lands in Germany and Italy to secure performance of the requirements of Lunéville.

In May 1790 he was on Mirabeau’s Diplomatic Committee which produced the French renunciation of all foreign conquests. That same year he was a member of the Ecclesiastical Committee that distinguished Constitutional clergy from Non-Juring clergy.

He was implicated in La Fayette’s scheme to help the King escape. Louis XVI’s troubles became insoluble after that impolitic act.

In Autumn 1791 he accompanied Chauvelin to London during those desperate attempts by the French to preserve peace with England. In 1793 Robespierre proscribed Talleyrand and he came again to England for sanctuary. He plotted schemes so assiduously and prolifically that the British cabinet ordered him away and he went to America in 1794 until the National Convention in Paris annulled his expulsion. In 1796 he arrived back at Hamburg where he resided a while before re-entering France. He became intimate with Barras, Reubel and La Reveiller and in 1797 was made Foreign Minister. His negotiations that year and in 1798 at Rastadt revealed his supreme diplomatic ability.

In 1797 it was he who resurrected the old French dream of an empire in Egypt like the Romans. This diminished factionalism in the Directory and gave employment to Bonaparte’s ambition – effectively killing two birds with one stone. Bonaparte’s failure in Egypt was Talleyrand’s failure as well. He incurred the dislike of the Jacobins and had to resign but he got his own man (Rheinhardt) in as replacement. He recognised the qualities of Bonaparte and did the deal, on that General’s return from Egypt, that gave Bonaparte the Consulship and Talleyrand the Foreign Ministry.

He considered the treaties of Ratisbon, Lunéville and Amiens as the show pieces of his diplomacy and the irrefutable evidence of his genius.

He uses his knowledge of the political developments of Europe for commercial advantage and his speculations have procured a fortune for him. He did very well out of the negotiations concerning the throne of Tuscany, the indemnities in Germany and the Louisiana transactions with America.

Bonaparte offered him a Cardinalship in 1802 but Talleyrand preferred to marry his old flame, Mrs Grand.

Sat 26th March 1804

Hutchinson MP has reminded the Commons that the British Constitution asserts the King can do no wrong. His infallibility is not supposed to operate to the injury of his people and the responsibility to ensure this is placed on the Minister who must take the advice of parliament.

In the matter of the Prince of Wales’s offer to serve the country, it is generally recognised that he is the most well-liked of the Royals and could bring considerable popular support to the government’s side.

Hutchinson concludes that a high military command of the Prince would produce greater public support for the government.

Sat 26th March 1804

Hamburg papers, 10th November – Some strange coincidences have occurred at Boulogne and Ambleteuse. Some workers preparing encampments for Soult’s army of invasion have found a Roman battle-axe at Boulogne and medals of William the Conqueror at Ambleteuse. These artefacts from the last two successful British invasions from France are being considered as propitious signs of impending victory.

Sat 26th March 1804

Amsterdam, 11th November – The Dutch are raising part of the costs of an invasion of England by a 2% tax on all property but the people with most property are the merchants and they are the people who make more money from England than France. There has consequently been much evasion of payment and receipts are minuscule.

Bonaparte thinks the concealment of valuable property, the creation of liens and other devices to evade the tax, are due to the landowners having not, for a long time, taken an Oath to truthfully declare their assets.

Being a man of honour, he suggests the Dutch government require Oaths from the property owners each time a payment falls due. The officials might then do whatever is necessary to elicit payment from those refusing to make Oath.

Sat 26th March 1804

Commercial relations have been re-established between London and Frankfurt. We ship to Emden and the goods are river-carried to Dusseldorf and thence up the Rhine. Transport costs and taxes en route are enormous.

Lubeck is the great beneficiary of the British blockade of the Elbe and Weser. With Hamburg and Bremen closed for business, London merchants are shipping their goods round to the Baltic and landing them at Lubeck.

Sat 26th March 1804

Tsar Alexander must have the assassination of his Dad in mind. Or he assesses France to be a potentially more dangerous enemy than Britain. He seems to have decided to support his merchants who are naturaly all pro-British nobles.

A fleet of 16 capital ships is being fitted-out in the Baltic and 30,000 troops are being levied under a Ukase of 2nd November. Both are to be ready for use by January.

Our spat with France is pushing Austria and Russia closer together. Many diplomatic mails are passing between their capitals. It is supposed this might refer to a renewed attempt at mediation.

Sat 31st March 1804

The French government has issued a Decree concerning English workers in France. English artisans in French factories may remain if their employer vouches for them; English businessmen who have established factories or commercial houses in France may, after registration, continue their business. Englishmen who came during the peace to start business or become French citizens and who have complied with the administrative formalities for those steps may remain. All others must comply with the expulsion order issued previously.

Sat 21st April 1804

In further debate on the King’s Speech, Fox asked about the progress of the Russian mediation, which the King had not mentioned at all. The minister confirmed it had been offered but he declined to produce the documents.

Sat 21st April 1804

England has a problem provisioning Malta now that the King of the Two Sicilies has declared His strict neutrality. Nelson has sent the King a note saying he only asserts a strict neutrality but enemies of England receive provisions from Naples. He demands favouritism cease immediately or he will bombard the city.[246]

Sat 21st April 1804

The Elector of Bavaria (to whose Court the persevering Otto was sent) has expelled the Austrian garrison from a border fort in his lands. Vienna is furious and has sent messages to all the courts of Europe requesting diplomatic support. Bavaria sustained no loss in the territorial indemnities required by Lunéville. No-one knows what possessed the Elector to act thus. The new frontiers are very sensible and everyone is satisfied. There should be no grounds for quarrelling.

Sat 21st April 1804

Spain still claims to be a neutral, in spite of the Treaty of Offence and Defence she concluded with France (ever since the Bourbon family compact, France and Spain have been bound by offensive / defensive treaties).

She has commuted her treaty obligations to France for cash. This seems to mean her neutrality is ended but England accepts that in all the wars she has fought with France she has never supposed they automatically involved Spain as well.

On the contrary we usually have separate treaties with Spain and although Spain often breaks them by assisting France with subsidies, we have historically never used that as pretext for violence unless there has also been some direct hostility against us.

The fact of an offensive / defensive treaty alone has not been considered a cause for war.

Sat 21st April 1804

The situation of Austria is always difficult to understand. All the Electors are obliged to supply the Emperor with men and money in the event of war but they are also empowered to conclude separate treaties with His enemies and may be neutral or hostile according to their own interest. Its an enigma.

Sat 21st April 1804

Le Moniteur, 30th November 1803 – Bonaparte had a splendid audience with the ambassadors of Austria, Spain, Russia and other countries.

He appeared to be on good terms with the Russian ambassador Marcoff contrary to the reports of British politicians and the London press. Marcoff has been recalled by the Tsar but his suite is remaining in Paris until the replacement arrives. Bonaparte asked Marcoff to assure the Tsar of his personal respect and his determination to remain friends.

Sat 21st April 1804

Colonel Philips has been trawling all Germany for muskets. He is paying astonishing prices and has accumulated a vast quantity. Berlin knows these arms are bought for England (for the one million ‘volunteers’ in the home guard) and is supposed to try and stop their export. We wonder how Philips will get them home.[247]

Sat 21st April 1804

By the Treaty of Ratisbon, Hamburg was declared one of the neutral Free Cities in all future European wars and the senate of Hamburg has now ordered the demolition of all defensive works around the city.

Sat 21st April 1804

A loan for Hanover has been arranged at Hamburg. The Hanse towns have advanced 3 million Marks at 4% secured on all the private property of George III within the Electorate – forests, salt mines, estates. The loan is to enable the Hanoverian government to meet the expenses of garrisons, etc.

General Berthier has gone from Hanover to Hamburg to ‘conclude’ the loan. The General opines that if the Hanse towns can make a loan to Hanover, they can make one to France as well. He has requested 9 million Francs for the urgent needs of his army.

The elders and burgesses of Hamburg convened and appointed a commission of five senators who agreed to pay France 2 million Marks immediately and the balance in monthly instalments. France offered security for the loan – Lauenburg, the forest of Sacksenwald and the productive district of Wilhelmsburg on the Elbe. These are all George III’s former assets and the Hamburg senate wisely waived its requirement for security.

At Hanover on 1st November a Corporal of the Hanoverian army was found guilty of offering his services to England and was sentenced to 15 years hard labour.

Sat 21st April 1804

To stir the national spirit of the French, the papers are now reporting the English newspapers verbatim (formerly they could not do so). The wild and bitter invective of the London press has been useful in politicising the French. It is causing the French to rate the prospects of mediation as poor.

All continental Europe is keen on peace and the only powers England might conceivably inveigle into alliances are the Baltic states who imperatively need trade for their survival.

Sat 21st April 1804

Count Woronzow, the aged Chancellor of the Russian Empire, has resigned on health grounds. The job goes to Prince Tsartoriski until a permanent successor is identified.

Sat 21st April 1804

Letters from Livorno (Leghorn) of 18th December 1803 say the government of Sardinia has allied itself with the English. At about the same time, the Mayor of Livorno contrarily refused supplies to Nelson’s fleet.

Sat 28th April 1804

Europe is presently under the control of Russia and France. The Russians influence everything north of the Danube and the Elbe whilst France predominates to the south. Austria and Prussia compete in the centre. This competition ensures their dependence on one or other of the two great land powers.

For England to prevail over France she must ally herself with Russia. For France to prevail over England she must keep Russia out of the quarrel.

Sat 28th April 1804

Vienna, 25th October: The effect of AngloFrench activities in Egypt have caused insurrection to spread east and west all over the Ottoman Empire. Countries adjoining Turkish lands have increased their frontier forces.

Sat 28th April 1804

Venice, 28th October – An English flotilla has arrived at Alexandria and, with the consent of the Beys, has landed several thousand troops who now garrison the forts around Alexandria.

Sat 5th May 1804

The British ministry has made a Convention with Sweden. No details are provided except that it is a maritime convention – it is published to evidence that England has not been isolated by Europe.

Sat 12th May 1804

Colonel William Pitt of the Cinque Port Volunteers attended dinner at the Mansion House to celebrate Lord Mayor’s Day. He was toasted as ‘the greatest man in the country’.

There was then a ribald toast for Private Charles James Fox of the Chertsey Volunteers.

Sat 12th May 1804

The spat between the Elector of Bavaria and the Austrian Emperor has worsened. In response to the Elector’s occupation of an insignificant fort in his country and expulsion of its Austrian garrison, the Emperor has sent an army, reportedly of 40,000 men, to the Bavarian frontier.

On looking for a reason for this quarrel, observers have noted that the Bishopric of Passau at the confluence of the Inn and the Danube between Bavaria and Bohemia has been ‘secularised’ under Lunéville and the part on the Austrian side of the Inn is to form part of the indemnity for the Grand Duke of Tuscany whilst the rest is annexed to Bavaria. The fort which the Bavarians attacked and occupied at Oberhaus is in the Bavarian part of the Bishopric.

It is likely that this insignificant matter is the cause of the quarrel.

Sat 12th May 1804

The House of Commons debated the feared invasion in late November 1803:

The country is spending hugely to pay and equip the 500,000+ men in the militias but the purported French invasion fleet does not set out to England. On the other hand, our blockading fleets off the Dutch and French coasts have nothing to do and they also cost money to maintain. Some are saying this threatened invasion is merely an attempt by Bonaparte to cause us to spend our revenue.

Borland MP repudiates the thought. He recalled that Fox said in the last session he had been assured by Hawkesbury that if Russian mediation was offered it would be accepted, and if not offered it would be sought for. Hawkesbury had also publicly agreed that the ministry would explain its reasons for the present conflict to the Russian mediators. H M’s speech (preparing the country for invasion) says nothing on this subject.

Secondly, it is said the insurrection in Ireland is crushed and the people are tranquil. The King’s Address suggested there was an Irish wish for a French alliance but Borland, who had seconded the motion approving the Address, disclaims the idea saying the rebels themselves deny it. If the Irish are not courting French occupation, they have simply protested violently against English rule but the ministry says they are peaceful. As the ministry discloses that nothing has changed in our administration of Ireland, this would seem to be wishful thinking.

He asked MPs to think more deeply about the situation of Ireland and commended an entirely new system of government for that country.

Addington agreed that Hawkesbury had confirmed that if Russian mediation was offered it would be accepted. He said mediation had indeed been offered but it was assessed to offer no hope of adjusting the differences between England and France.

On Ireland, some of the convicted rebels had said they wanted no French alliance but their were other unarrested rebels who were thought to want it.

Windham said the House of Commons must appear united in wartime and its acts should be passed unanimously but he thought Addington’s ministry was totally unfit to lead the country in war. He was more afraid of them than of France. He predicted the country would not outlive the ministry. Windham said the coast where he lived was completely undefended and he accused Addington of neglect.[248]

Sat 12th May 1804

There is a dispute amongst the lawyers of London concerning the construction to be placed on the Articles of Service agreed by militiamen.

The Crown’s lawyers say volunteers who have accepted the bounty cannot resign. Having received the money they must continue until death, disease or disbandment.

Erskine and the private bar disagree.

Sat 12th May 1804

A French newspaper, Les Nouvelles a la Maine, has adduced from the events since Amiens that Bonaparte is a man of peace.

It says the cost to England of maintaining a defence against invasion is vastly greater than the costs to France in preparing to launch one. He says all the French gun boats, etc., are paid for by public subscription while the costs of the French army are cheerfully paid by those European allies who subscribe to Bonaparte’s vision for a tranquil Europe.

France receives considerable financial support from its allies. Spain pays 60 million Francs a year; Hanover pays 36 million Francs a year; the Italian Republic 32 millions (and the board and lodging of the 25,000 French troops in that country); Holland pays for 24,000 troops and by a secret treaty article also pays 12 million florins (equivalent to 26 million Francs) a year for the construction of gun boats and transports for the invasion; Naples 10 million Francs; Etruria 6 millions; the Pope 4 millions; Genoa 3 millions; Switzerland pays for 12,000 French troops and also provides 16,000 of its own troops to the joint effort.

In the north the three Imperial cities loan 18 million Francs annually, Hesse loans 6 million Francs annually, Mecklenburg 1.5 million Francs, Saxony 4 millions, Brunswick 1 million and repayment on each of these German loans does not commence until after ten years.

France also has a treaty right to expect financial assistance from Denmark in return for that country getting the benefit of trade that would otherwise travel up the Elbe to Hamburg. Denmark pays 4 million Francs a year for that. America has agreed to pay 5 millions annually for five years and Prussia has agreed to pay 50 million Francs when required.

This financial support comes from all Europe except Sweden, Portugal, Russia and the Austrian empire. It is only amongst those non-contributing countries that England can expect to make allies.

Russia has withdrawn both her ambassadors (from London and Paris) for consultations.

Two missing editions then

Sat 2nd June 1804

The London newspapers are talking-up the prospects of invasion and the populace has been made anxious. There is little other news contained in them.

Sat 2nd June 1804

Bonaparte has asked the Danish King to permit French garrisons in Husum, Tonningen and other ports in Holstein and Jutland to disrupt the new British trade routes. At the same time, his Consuls at Lubeck, in Swedish Pomerania and along the Mecklenburg coast have requested all ports within their jurisdictions be closed to British ships. The French Consuls along the Baltic coast refer to Bonaparte’s determination to prevent British trade with the continent. Bonaparte supposes peace is still achievable if war can be made unprofitable to London.

Sat 16th June 1804

This edition contains a long series of spoofs on Bonaparte from the London press and rousing calls-to-arms to the English people, ending with Bonaparte’s (genuine) Declaration of the State of the Republic, from which the following:

France is spending much money on communications. The Rhone and the Rhine are being joined by a canal; the Scheldt, Maas and Rhine likewise; numerous bridges are built at Paris; a canal into Bretagne; the drainage of the marches at Rochefort and at Cotentin and the repair of the many canals near the Belgian coast. There is a particular emphasis on public works in the ports where maritime commerce has reduced and the people need employment to mitigate hardships. The right of fishing in the public waterways has been returned to the public….. etc.

Sat 7th July 1804

HMS Argo has returned Elfi Bey from England to Aboukir. He is the richest of the Beys. The Albanian Mamelukes at Alexandria wanted to ransom him but Elfi was warned and escaped to his support base in upper Egypt. He made his way up the Damietta branch of the Nile to Birket where his friend the Arab Sheikh Sedud helped him escape into the desert on a dromedary.

All the valuable presents that Elfi received from the British fell into the hands of Osman Bey including a picture of George III in a diamond frame.

Elfi negotiated a truce with Osman in order to unite the Mamelukes and fight jointly against the Turks who possess Cairo. Elfi invited the Bedouins, through Sheikh Sedud, to join in the war. The Turks levied an onerous contribution on the merchants of Cairo to fund their defence and, to avoid this, many of the rich families together with the British and French consuls evacuated to Alexandria.

And so it goes on.

Sat 7th July 1804

J W Janssens, the Dutch Governor of the Cape has issued a Proclamation on 29th September 1803 threatening English residents with punishment.

They have replied saying ‘they never intended to urge the people to retaliate against the Dutch now war has again broken out. We are prepared to guarantee our future propriety.’

This elicited Janssens’ requirement that all the British settlers who had not left take an Oath of Allegiance to the Dutch government of the Cape.

Sat 28th July 1804

The French garrison in Hanover has sent 20 men to Meppen to prevent the further recruitment of Hanoverian soldiers into the British army. Hanoverian citizens have all sworn not to serve against France in this war.

Sat 1st September 1804

600 plants and flowers intended for Mde Bonaparte were found in a ship made prize by one of our Cruisers. They are now in the King’s Botanical Gardens at Kew.

Sat 8th Sept 1804

A piece of Roman pavement has been discovered opposite East India House. It depicts Bacchus riding a rampant tiger. Mr Holland has taken in up using plaster-of-Paris and will lay it down (in a frame) in the Company’s museum as part of the flooring.

Sat 22nd Sept 1804

Sir Francis Baring is chairing a Patriotic Fund. The committee meets at Lloyd’s Coffee House and solicits donations for the widows and orphans of men killed in the war.

Forbes & Co of Bombay are this Presidency’s collecting agents for the Patriotic Fund. Send your donations to them.[249]

Sat 6th Oct 1804

Milan 2nd May – On hearing of the hereditary honour being offered to Bonaparte in Paris, the Consulta sat in extraordinary session and decided to offer the crown of Lombardy to Bonaparte.

Sat 20th Oct 1804

Russia and Denmark have concluded a treaty of defensive alliance.

Sat 27th Oct 1804

The French senate’s review of the differences keeping England and France apart (largely illegible). It concludes with confirmation of the decision to make Bonaparte Emperor.

Sat 11th Nov 1804

In the French senate debate on offering Bonaparte the hereditary government of France, Carnot opposed the motion because it was contrary to the intentions of the Revolution.

Favard acknowledged Bonaparte’s overwhelming popularity with the people but warned that a hereditary succession was incompatible with Republican government – what happens when he dies? The successor may lack his special qualities.

Savoie Rollen said government must be founded on law and law can only be preserved if there is a balance between the power of government and the liberty of the people.

It was finally agreed that the Bourbons had made hereditary government odious but it was not intrinsically so. All our attempts at a democratic form of administration have been frustrated and the government of the country was lost to us when Bonaparte made his coup d’etat. Fortunately he has adopted enlightened policies.

We need his strength to contend with the disaffected nobles and clergy and the House of Bourbon. Hereditary government is the European norm. Our experience of Bonaparte allows us to confidently expect his continuing support for the rights and liberty of the people.

The title and power of Emperor will be made hereditary to his family in the male line according to the order of primogeniture.

Sat 24th Nov 1804

Denmark has asked London for $800 a month as its fee for permitting the passage of English mails across Danish lands to Hamburg. It is back-dated to the commencement of the new Tonning / Husum / Schleswig smuggling route which England started when the blockade of the Elbe and Weser prevented our goods entering along those rivers. Since then letters are landed at Tonning and road-carried down to the Dutch post office in Hamburg which handles British mail.

The Dutch postmaster at Hamburg has agreed to pay Denmark but says he cannot afford to discharge the arrears. Sir George Rumbold[250] is the British official at Tonning. He has protested Danish interference and requested the responsible officers be punished.

Sat 24th Nov 1804

A great quantity of British goods for the Frankfurt Fair is being stored at Emden because the merchants fear they might be confiscated by France. Normally we ship to Emden and the goods are sent down the Ems to Meppen and Frankfurt. Meppen is in the fief of the Duke of Ahrensberg who has allowed French troops to enter the town to intercept British goods. This has deterred our merchants from shipping goods on the Ems river passage. They have moved their stock back under Prussian protection. The French have not interfered with goods-in-transit previously.

If we cannot use this route, we will be forced to use Holstein and the Baltic ports to introduce merchandise to Germany. At about the same time as this occurred in Meppen, the Frankfurt government instructed that all émigrés should remove from that city.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. Lord Bolton, formerly Thomas Orde-Powlett, Chief Secretary for Ireland.
  2. French profession of equality is the ideological pretext Britain had to refute democracy – the ‘French principles’ pretext. The British accepted the American Constitutional position of men being born equal but noted they did not long remain so in terms of material resources. This inequality is stimulated by law and custom in the British property-based system and was highly valued. It was entrenched in the master / servant laws of the country.
    The British position was that French equality, as conceived in the Revolution, would have destroyed the hierarchical basis to British commerce but that is untenable. The French definition of ‘equality’, which seems unremarkable, is contained in the Declaration of the Natural, Civil and Political Rights of Man at end 1793, see the earlier part of this chapter.
  3. Rose was a frequent author of political records. This one is probably “An Examination of the Revenue, Commerce and Navigation of Britain under Wm Pitt” The book is still occasionally available. Rose authored 3-4 similar books.
  4. This is an early public notice of a French fleet and army being sent to West Indies as a result of peace – included amongst the people sailing to Santo Domingo are the two sons of Toussaint who had gone to France for their education about 11 years earlier.
  5. He has been receiving instant reports by telegraph from Joseph on the progress of negotiations but clearly a lull has occurred.
  6. See an article datelined 10th Dec 1803 in the Economy chapter in which Windham reveals the French expedition is financed by London capitalists which prevented the ministry objecting to it. Nevertheless, Grenville, Windham, et al use its departure to foment renewed war.
  7. The departure of the French fleet was mentioned in Bonaparte’s Address of 21st November. The fleet included several Spanish ships (carrying the new Spanish Governor of Cuba, for example) which some British politicians fear might be intended to recover Trinidad which France gave to England with no British knowledge of prior discussion with Spain. It is speculated in London that the Spanish King may not have agreed to surrender Trinidad which has the best port in the Antilles and is perfectly sited for smuggling into South America.
  8. This Napoleonic initiative is not elucidated but might reasonably be expected to address the reality of the European situation – Britain has the goods; France has the consumers.
  9. The Po Valley continues to be the powerhouse of the Italian economy today.
  10. Another possible element in the supposed deal between Napoleon and Addington alluded to above. The terms of these proposals have been concealed ever since.
  11. Bonaparte’s acceptance of the government of the Italian Republic is believed in London to be a fall-back position in case he has to surrender France to the Bourbons. British monarchists have not abandoned their hopes for the French King and his nobles. Napoleon is supposed in London to require Bourbon recognition of his command of the Italian Republic as quid pro quo for resigning the First Consulship.
  12. Owners of ten-odd fiefs west of Frankfurt between Hesse and Saarland.
  13. This makes the French analogy to Rome and Carthage more credible.
  14. The court martial was formally for cruelty to men under his command. Hamilton had a couple of years prize-taking in West Indies in 1798 and 1799 commanding a frigate. Foreign shipping, often American, was unprotected in those seas and a posting to Jamaica or West Indies was the greatest naval money-spinner of the war.
  15. This is the invariable way politicians, or at least male politicians, do their budgets. First they estimate how much they want to spend then they seek for ways of paying for it. It is recognisably the act of a determined debtor.
  16. He reported on French naval activities at Brest.
  17. The common incidence of hernias those days was sustained mounting a horse, so it was said.
  18. See the Economy chapter.
  19. A matter of fundamental importance given that we have financed the French expedition to Santa Domingo. Had France been successful in pacifying her colony it would have been an advantage to Britain once the Amiens truce was broken.
  20. A uniquely dense wood (it sinks in water) used for load-bearing in ship construction.
  21. A notional thirty year period that is easily circumvented by roll-overs.
  22. References to ‘Jacobins’ and ‘Jacobinism’ are to anyone holding liberal views. It was intended to be insulting, rather like calling someone a communist or socialist in USA today and in both cases represents the fear of democracy by the commercial / financial classes. In France it referred to promoters of strong central government directing the country on Republican principles. Napoleon in The Manuscript of St Helena called his system of government “a vast democracy under a dictatorship” which strangely captures the nature of the British system today – a nation-wide political democracy under a capitalist dictatorship.
  23. With the Company’s military assistance in Egypt it is substantially more. Company accounts are invariably inscrutable. See the Asia Economy and Asia chapter for numerous examples. These meaningless accounts were approved in the Commons by the India Company’s own MPs. Few other MPs attend.
  24. This conclusion seems contentious. France repeatedly sought peace. Britain conceded it after all her continental allies had made peace.
  25. Napoleon has restored French finances since his coup d’Etat. He only pays cash, holding that “the hand that gives is above the hand that receives” – debt-financing would require his government to submit to the requirements of the banks. This increased bread price is invariably due to speculation in the grain supply.
  26. British concerns derive from numerous French activities. They made peace with the Porte in June which opened the Dardanelles to French trade; French agents had gone to the Levant and North Africa and concluded agreements with Muslim rulers; Sebastiani had gone to Egypt; Decaen and a large staff was to sail to India in March 1803. These sequential acts excited British fears for the safety of India. They could all be somewhat countered by continuing British possession of Malta.
  27. The British army shipped a couple of huge obelisks back to England, one of which was donated by the Pasha and later called Cleopatra’s Needle.
  28. Actually, Jefferson sent Monroe to Paris with a proposal to buy Louisiana Territory for 80 million Francs. After setting-off French debts to America, and the commissions due to the two national bankers, Hopes and Barings, this produced a nett 55 million Francs to France.
  29. London is the same size as Paris, although France has more than twice the population of England. London’s disproportionate size reflects the centralised nature of the economy in the presence of the King, the parliament (which has legislated against most foreign trade at outports) and government, the Chartered Companies and the City banks and agencies.
  30. A later more extensive vote of 3,577,259 electors in the Primary Assemblies gave an astonishing 3,568,885 votes to Bonaparte
  31. This is effectively the re-creation of an aristocracy but based on merit.
  32. John Nicholls is one of the less well-known members of the liberal Whig group under Fox and Grey. He published Recollections Personal and Political in 1822 which is a very useful and original addition to the liberal writings of the day.
  33. Pitt and his cabinet have already received an indemnity from liability for their acts from the House of Commons at the behest of Addington.
  34. Dundas is a pragmatist. In his view treaties are hardly relevant or reliable. He relies on the projection of force.
  35. The spelling of this Russian diplomat’s name varies in every newspaper. I have settled on just this one – Marcoff.
  36. Reluctance to adopt a good idea because another country had it first is a constant feature of European history and always for the same reason stated in the article – the fear of owing a debt of gratitude. Many French scientific and social ideas of this period were ultimately accepted – even Metric weights and measures are becoming global now – it just takes an absurdly long time.
  37. Reding was representing the ruling classes in preserving feudalism in Switzerland. His support came from the gentry of Berne and Geneva who could not tolerate the secular state.
  38. They were both feudal states largely owned by the church. The policy of Napoleon throughout the wars was to abolish feudalism wherever he could and substitute constitutional government.
  39. This will prick back ears in the City of London.
  40. The main business of both the Dutch and Danish ports in India is sale of Bills on Amsterdam and Copenhagen. These sales might be to employees of the British East India Company.
  41. Despard was unfashionably democratic. As Governor of Honduras, he antagonised resident British merchants by restraining their mahogany logging on adjacent Spanish land. They responded by characterising him as a Leveller and, in the spirit of the times, that put him ideologically in the French camp.
    His incessant claims for repayment of costs irritated Grenville and culminated in a ministerial willingness to see him as a promoter of French principles at the time Pitt was seeking for pretexts for renewed war with France. Mike Jay has published a useful book in 2004 ‘The Unfortunate Colonel Despard.
  42. It is being presented in London as tit-for-tat business. George III annexed Corsica to the British Empire and declared himself sovereign; now Bonaparte is reciprocating by giving away part of the British King’s homeland
  43. See the Peace chapter for brief details of Moore’s instruction and acts.
  44. Mrs Le Grand was a beautiful and accomplished woman in Bengal. Francis, the instigator of the impeachment of Hastings, sought her favours by fixing a rope ladder on her balcony and ascending to her rooms at night. A hue and cry caused him to flee but he was caught and prosecuted for the attack. Sir Elijah Impey was the chief Judge seized of the case.
  45. Sebastiani had been Napoleon’s aide-de-camp since the early 1790s. They were imprisoned together at Fort Carré, Antibes in 1794 by Robespierre.
  46. This simple and readily intelligible story so perfectly captures the nature of society under ‘British principles’ that I could not resist including it.
  47. The British overland mail route to India was originally through Djezar’s jurisdiction and to that extent under his control. The Porte has Pashas at Damascus, Baghdad and Alexandria. The alternative mail route is via Alexandria and the Red Sea but the India Company dislikes sailing that sea claiming it is too dangerous. It is the reality of Muslim opposition to British principles, as evidenced in this article, that influences national policy. Britain failed to obtain control of the Levant to secure its mail but succeeded with the Pasha of Egypt and the overland route ultimately passed through that country. The Company concurrently ‘discovered’ a safe Red Sea route along its southern shore.
  48. The Kolar Goldfields are within Tippoo’s domains and inevitably represent a focus of British interest. They supply the gold from which the Madras Mohar is minted. See the Asia chapter for better details.
  49. In fact it is the British who decline to surrender Malta to the Order. When France finally demands performance of the agreement to do so, the King alleges military preparations in Dutch and French ports in his Message to parliament and war ensues. According to the Russian ambassador Marcoff, in a letter to the Tsar, Napoleon was willing to cede Malta to Britain to preserve the peace but needed the Tsar to propose it ‘to preserve his (Napoleon’s) honour.’
    In fact British retention of Malta was not simply to protect the route to India – it was the premier smuggling centre in the Med, supplying all southern Europe, and came to house an important prize court for the navy.
  50. The torpedo is reported to be a floating bomb attached to a submarine which passes under the target vessel thus bringing the bomb into contact with it.
  51. Its 20% of the male population.
  52. Bonaparte’s threat of invasion seems to have done all that he and Pitt could wish for it – England is spending a vast amount on militias. A million men have signed-up for the bounty-money.
  53. Conceivably an allusion to Napoleon’s brief imprisonment by Robespierre.
  54. This is the annual epidemic in late summer that later destroys the British expedition to Antwerp.
  55. This is Claude Martin who spent most of his life in, and made his fortune from, India.
  56. Naples is nearly as populous as Paris or London, and very cosmopolitan. Any bombardment would be disastrous to its popularity and revenue.
  57. They are effortlessly transported to Hamburg and shipped home.
  58. He lives at Felbrigg in Norfolk.
  59. Much of the consensual policies of the merchants are concerted in coffee shops. The ship-owners use the Baltic coffee shop, insurers use Lloyd’s and the East India people patronise the Jerusalem Café.
  60. Eldest son of Sir Thomas of Madras notoriety. This request for prosecutions is a common practice of the Englishman abroad, both diplomat and merchant. It establishes one’s prickliness and is thought to better ensure co-operation. The importance of prickliness to imperialists is further discussed in the China chapter.

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