The Political History of England - Vol XI - From Addington's Administration to the close of William - IV.'s Reign (1801-1837)
by George Brodrick
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Seventy-five years have passed since Lingard completed his HISTORY OF ENGLAND, which ends with the Revolution of 1688. During that period historical study has made a great advance. Year after year the mass of materials for a new History of England has increased; new lights have been thrown on events and characters, and old errors have been corrected. Many notable works have been written on various periods of our history; some of them at such length as to appeal almost exclusively to professed historical students. It is believed that the time has come when the advance which has been made in the knowledge of English history as a whole should be laid before the public in a single work of fairly adequate size. Such a book should be founded on independent thought and research, but should at the same time be written with a full knowledge of the works of the best modern historians and with a desire to take advantage of their teaching wherever it appears sound.

The vast number of authorities, printed and in manuscript, on which a History of England should be based, if it is to represent the existing state of knowledge, renders co-operation almost necessary and certainly advisable. The History, of which this volume is an instalment, is an attempt to set forth in a readable form the results at present attained by research. It will consist of twelve volumes by twelve different writers, each of them chosen as being specially capable of dealing with the period which he undertakes, and the editors, while leaving to each author as free a hand as possible, hope to insure a general similarity in method of treatment, so that the twelve volumes may in their contents, as well as in their outward appearance, form one History.

As its title imports, this History will primarily deal with politics, with the History of England and, after the date of the union with Scotland, Great Britain, as a state or body politic; but as the life of a nation is complex, and its condition at any given time cannot be understood without taking into account the various forces acting upon it, notices of religious matters and of intellectual, social, and economic progress will also find place in these volumes. The footnotes will, so far as is possible, be confined to references to authorities, and references will not be appended to statements which appear to be matters of common knowledge and do not call for support. Each volume will have an Appendix giving some account of the chief authorities, original and secondary, which the author has used. This account will be compiled with a view of helping students rather than of making long lists of books without any notes as to their contents or value. That the History will have faults both of its own and such as will always in some measure attend co-operative work, must be expected, but no pains have been spared to make it, so far as may be, not wholly unworthy of the greatness of its subject.

Each volume, while forming part of a complete History, will also in itself be a separate and complete book, will be sold separately, and will have its own index, and two or more maps.

The History is divided as follows:—

Vol. I. FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES TO THE NORMAN CONQUEST (to 1066). By Thomas Hodgkin, D.C.L., Litt.D., Fellow of University College, London; Fellow of the British Academy. With 2 Maps.

Vol. II. FROM THE NORMAN CONQUEST TO THE DEATH OF JOHN (1066-1216). By George Burton Adams, D.D., Litt.D., Professor of History in Yale University. With 2 Maps.

Vol. III. FROM THE ACCESSION OF HENRY III. TO THE DEATH OF EDWARD III. (1216-1377). By T. F. Tout, M.A., Bishop Fraser Professor of Mediaeval and Ecclesiastical History in the University of Manchester; formerly Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford. With 3 Maps.

Vol. IV. FROM THE ACCESSION OF RICHARD II. TO THE DEATH OF RICHARD III. (1377-1485). By C. W. C. Oman, M.A., LL.D., M.P., Chichele Professor of Modern History in the University of Oxford; Fellow of the British Academy. With 3 Maps.

Vol. V. FROM THE ACCESSION OF HENRY VII. TO THE DEATH OF HENRY VIII. (1485-1547). By the Right Hon. H. A. L. Fisher, M.A., M.P., President of the Board of Education; Fellow of the British Academy. With 2 Maps.

Vol. VI. FROM THE ACCESSION OF EDWARD VI. TO THE DEATH OF ELIZABETH (1547-1603). By A. F. Pollard, M.A., Litt.D., Fellow of All Souls' College, Oxford, and Professor of English History in the University of London. With 2 Maps.

Vol. VII. FROM THE ACCESSION OF JAMES I. TO THE RESTORATION (1603-1660). By F. C. Montague, M.A., Astor Professor of History in University College, London; formerly Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford. With 3 Maps.

Vol. VIII. FROM THE RESTORATION TO THE DEATH OF WILLIAM III. (1660-1702). By Sir Richard Lodge, M.A., LL.D., Litt.D., Professor of History in the University of Edinburgh; formerly Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford. With 2 Maps.

Vol. IX. FROM THE ACCESSION OF ANNE TO THE DEATH OF GEORGE II. (1702-1760). By I. S. Leadam, M.A., formerly Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford. With 8 Maps.

Vol. X. FROM THE ACCESSION OF GEORGE III. TO THE CLOSE OF PITT'S FIRST ADMINISTRATION (1760-1801). By the Rev. William Hunt, M.A., D.Litt., Trinity College, Oxford. With 3 Maps.

Vol. XI. FROM ADDINGTON'S ADMINISTRATION TO THE CLOSE OF WILLIAM IV.'S REIGN (1801-1837). By the Hon. George C. Brodrick, D.C.L., late Warden of Merton College, Oxford, and J. K. Fotheringham, M.A., D.Litt., Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford; Lecturer in Ancient History at King's College, London. With 3 Maps.

Vol. XII. THE REIGN OF QUEEN VICTORIA (1837-1901). By Sir Sidney Low, M.A., Fellow of King's College, London; formerly Scholar of Balliol College, Oxford, and Lloyd C. Sanders, B.A. With 3 Maps.

The Political History of England





















When the late Warden of Merton undertook the preparation of this volume he invited the assistance of Dr. Fotheringham in the portions dealing with foreign affairs. At the time of the late Warden's death in 1903 three chapters (x., xii. and xviii.) were unwritten, and one (xx.) was left incomplete. It was also found that the volume had to be recast in order to meet the plan of the series. The necessary alterations and additions have been made by Dr. Fotheringham, who has been scrupulous in retaining the expression of the late Warden's views, and, where possible, his words.




Mar., 1801. The new ministry 1 Condition of Ireland 2 Expedition to Copenhagen 3 Sept. Egypt evacuated by the French 6 French diplomatic successes 6 Bonaparte's concordat with the pope 7 Peace negotiations with France 8 Cornwallis at Amiens 10 25 Mar., 1802. The treaty of Amiens 12 Parliamentary criticism of the treaty 14 July. General election 15 Nov. Colonel Despard's conspiracy 16 Further aggressions of Napoleon 17 His colonial policy 18 Negotiations between Whitworth and the French government 19 18 May, 1803. Renewal of the war with France 22



23 July, 1803. Emmet's rebellion 23 Pitt's discontent with the ministry 24 Ministerial changes 27 Jan., 1804. The king's illness 29 April. Addington's resignation 31 The exclusion of Fox 32 18 May. Napoleon declared emperor 33 Pitt's ministry 34 The impeachment of Melville 36 July. The third coalition 37 Nelson's pursuit of Villeneuve 39 21 Oct., 1805. The battle of Trafalgar 40 Napoleon marches into Germany 41 Dec. Austerlitz: the peace of Pressburg 42 Collapse of the coalition 43 23 Jan., 1806. Death of Pitt 43



Feb., 1806. Formation of the Grenville ministry 45 13 Sept. Death of Fox 46 14 Oct. Jena and Auerstaedt 47 General election 48 25 Mar., 1807. Abolition of the slave trade 48 Fall of the whig government 49 The Portland administration 50 General election 50 7 July. The treaty of Tilsit 52 Seizure of the Danish fleet 54 The "continental system" and orders in council 55 Fruitless expeditions 56 12 Oct. Conference of Erfurt 59 Army scandals 60 The Wagram campaign 63 July, 1809. The Walcheren expedition 64 21 Sept. Duel between Canning and Castlereagh 67 Oct. Perceval's administration 68 Capture of the Ionian Isles and Bourbon 69 25. Jubilee of George III. 69



Jan., 1810. Debates on the Walcheren expedition 71 April. The arrest of Burdett 72 Appointment of the "Bullion committee" 73 The king's insanity: regency bill 74 11 May, 1812. Assassination of Perceval 76 1809-11. Social reforms in his ministry 77 July, 1810. Deposition of Louis Bonaparte 78 Opposition in Europe to the continental system 78 Alliances formed by Russia and France 81 Conquest of Java and Sumatra 81 June, 1812. The formation of Liverpool's cabinet 81 1811-12. Distress in town and country 83 Oct., 1812. General election 85 1813. Confirmation of the East India Company's charter 86



1807, 1808. The origin of the war 87 Charles IV. and Ferdinand VII. seek the protection of Napoleon 87 1808. Napoleon's plans for the conquest of Spain 88 24 July. Joseph Bonaparte proclaimed King of Spain 89 13 Aug. Landing of Wellesley 90 21. Battle of Vimeiro 91 Oct., 1808.- Expedition of Sir John Moore 92 Jan., 1809. 16 Jan. Battle of Coruna 95 Wellesley returns to Portugal 97 27 July. Battle of Talavera 98 Sept., 1810. Bussaco: the lines of Torres Vedras 101 Struggle for the frontier fortresses 103 16 May, 1811. Battle of Albuera 103 Jan.-April, Sieges of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz 105 1812. 22 July. Battle of Salamanca 107 1812, 1813. Wellington reorganises the Spanish and Portuguese armies 109 21 June, 1813. Battle of Vitoria 110 Battle of the Pyrenees 113 Siege of St. Sebastian 113 8 Oct. Wellington crosses the Bidassoa 115 Battles round Bayonne 115 Feb., 1814. The investment of Bayonne 117 10 April. Battle of Toulouse 119



1812. French treaties with Prussia and Austria 122 Alliances made by Russia 123 June. Napoleon's advance into Russia 124 His retreat 125 War between England and the United States 126 Attacks on Canada 129 American successes at sea 131 Feb., 1813. Treaty of Kalisch 134 Austrian diplomacy 135 2, 21 May. Luetzen and Bautzen 135 Aug., Oct. Dresden and Leipzig 137 France loses Saxony, Holland, and Switzerland 138 American war continued 138 1 June. Duel of the Shannon and Chesapeake 142 Jan.-Mar., Campaign in France 143 1814. April. Napoleon deposed: Louis XVIII. recalled 145 24 Dec. Treaty of Ghent 147 July. Visit of Alexander and Frederick William to England 148



30 May, 1814. The first treaty of Paris 149 English blockade of Norwegian ports 150 Union of Sweden and Norway 150 Restoration of Ferdinand VII. and Pius VII. 150 Attempts to abolish the slave trade 151 Sept., 1814- Congress of Vienna 152 June, 1815. 3 Jan., 1815. Secret treaty between England, France, and Austria 153 1 March. Napoleon's return from Elba 153 Flight of Louis XVIII.: the Acte Additionnel 155 Plans of the allies 156 Defeat and death of Murat 157 June. Wellington at Brussels: his army 158 16. Ligny and Quatre Bras 159 18. Waterloo 160 July. Paris occupied by the allies 163 22 June. Second abdication of Napoleon 165 His surrender to England 165 Restoration of Louis XVIII.: treaty of Vienna 166 Resettlement of Europe 166 20 Nov. Second treaty of Paris: English gains 167 26 Sept. The Holy Alliance 168 Napoleon at St. Helena 169



1816. Depression and discontent 171 Vansittart's financial policy 173 Union of British and Irish exchequers 174 2 Dec., 1816. Spa Fields riot 175 Prosecution of Hone 177 1818. General election 178 16 Aug., 1819. The "Manchester massacre" 178 Dec. The six acts 180 1817, 1819. Institution of savings banks: currency reform 182 6 Nov., 1817. Death of Princess Charlotte 184 1818. Royal marriages 184 29 Jan., 1820. Death of George III. 185 Royalist reaction in Europe 187 1816. Expedition against the Barbary states 187 1819. Murder of Kotzebue 189 30 Sept., Conference of Aix-la-Chapelle 189 1818. Spain asks for assistance from the allies 190 The European alliance 190



1820. The Cato Street conspiracy 192 Dissolution of parliament 193 The "queen's trial" 194 7 Aug., 1821. Her death 196 1822. Changes in the cabinet 199 12 Aug. Death of Castlereagh 199 Sept. Canning foreign secretary 200 Jan. Peel home secretary 201 1823. Reform of the navigation laws 202 Agricultural discontent 203 1825. Speculative frenzy and financial panic 205 1823-26. Robinson's finance 206 General election of 1826 207 Close of Liverpool's ministry 208



1820. Revolution in Spain: policy of non-intervention 210 July, Aug. Revolutions in the Two Sicilies and Portugal 211 20 Oct. Congress of Troppau 211 Jan., 1821. Congress of Laibach 212 Mar., April. Revolution in Piedmont: Austrian intervention 213 Insurrections in the Morea and Central Greece 214 Aug. "Sanitary cordon" 215 Ultra-royalist parties in France and Spain 215 Loss of Spanish colonies in America 215 1822. Conference at Vienna 216 20 Oct. Congress of Verona 217 Offer of mediation declined 218 7 April, 1823. War between France and Spain 220 12 Oct., 1822. Independence of Brazil 221 July, 1825. Conference at London 222 2 Dec., 1823. The Monroe doctrine 223 1824-25. Conference at St. Petersburg 224 1 Dec., 1825. Death of the Tsar Alexander I. 225



April, 1827. Formation of Canning's ministry 227 Additions to the ministry 228 8 Aug. Death of Canning 228 Sept. Goderich's cabinet 229 Dissensions: resignation of Goderich 230 9 Jan., 1828. Wellington accepts office 230 The Eastern question 232 20 Oct., 1827. Navarino 233 1828. Repeal of the test and corporation acts 235 May, June. Changes in the ministry 236 June, July. The Clare election 237 1821. Measures for catholic relief 239 1825. Further measures 241 George IV.'s opposition to catholic relief 244 1829. Wellington and Peel adopt catholic relief 245 Mar., April. Debates on the bill 246 13 April. The royal assent 249 21 Mar. Duel between Wellington and Winchilsea 250 Exclusion of O'Connell from Parliament 251



10 Mar., 1826. Death of John VI. of Portugal 253 2 May. Peter abdicates in favour of his daughter Maria 254 31 July. Miguel proclaimed king by the absolutists 254 Dec. England sends troops to help the Portuguese government 255 3 Mar., 1828. Peter appoints Miguel regent for Maria 258 Dec., 1827. The sultan defies Russia 260 26 April, Russia makes war on the Turks 263 1828. Negotiations for settlement of Greek question 264 Oct., Nov. French troops expel the Turks from the Morea 265 Terms of settlement agreed on at Poros and London 266 14 Sept., Peace of Adrianople 267 1829. 3 Feb., 1830. Greece independent: throne offered to Prince Leopold 268 France conquers Algiers 269



1830. Amalgamation of English and Welsh benches 271 Motions for reform 271 26 June. Death of George IV. 272 General election 274 15 Sept. Death of Huskisson 275 Wellington's opposition to reform 277 Fall of his ministry 278 Nov. Grey accepts office 278 His cabinet 279 The regency bill 281 Feb., 1831. Althorp's first budget 283 Public demand for reform 285 Draft of the first reform bill 287 System of representation in the unreformed house 288 Popular excitement: second reading of the bill 291 Dissolution of parliament 292



1831. General election 293 24 June. Second reform bill introduced 294 8 Oct. Rejection by the lords 296 Reform bill riots 296 Attempts at compromise in the lords 299 12 Dec. Final reform bill introduced 300 Gradual loss of the king's confidence in the ministry 302 9 May, 1832. Grey resigns 302 Wellington unable to form a ministry 303 The king recalls Grey 304 4 June. Third reading of the bill 304 Scotch and Irish reform bills carried 306 26 Oct. The cholera epidemic 309 1831. The census 311 State of Ireland 312 O'Connell's agitation 312 The "tithe-war" in Ireland 314 Legislation for Ireland 316 The Kildare Place Society 317



1832. General election 318 1833. Irish coercion bill 320 Irish Church temporalities bill 322 Ministerial changes 325 Abolition of colonial slavery 326 Factory acts 327 The East India Company act 328 Bank charter act 330 Formation of judicial committee of the privy council 332 Act for the abolition of fines and recoveries 333 1831, 1832, Althorp's budgets 334 1833.



1833. The Tractarian movement 336 1832. First meeting of the British Association 338 Foundation of the Catholic Apostolic Church 339 1834. The "new poor law" 340 Creation of a central poor law board 343 Ministerial discord 344 9 July. Grey's resignation 346 Formation of Melbourne's ministry 347 16 Oct. Destruction of the houses of parliament 349 14 Nov. Melbourne's resignation 350 Wellington's provisional government 351 Dec. Peel's cabinet 352 The Tamworth manifesto 353



Jan., 1835. General election 354 Feb. Abercromby elected speaker 354 The "Lichfield House compact" 356 April. Peel's resignation 356 Melbourne's second ministry 357 Exclusion of Brougham 357 Municipal corporations act 360 Jan., 1836. Cottenham lord chancellor 363 Conflict with the lords on Irish bills 365 Tithe commutation act (English) 365 Reformed marriage law 366 Registration system 366 1835, 1836. Crusade against Orange lodges 367 1836. The paper duties lowered 369 Committee on agricultural distress 370 1836, 1837. Agitation in Ireland 371 1837. Irish municipal bill 372 Church rates 373 Burdett secedes from the whig party 374 20 June. Death of William IV. 375



July, 1830. The revolution of July 376 Recognition of Louis Philippe by the Powers 377 Sept. Belgian provinces in revolt 379 20 Dec. Protocol of London 381 June, 1831. Election of Leopold as King of the Belgians 383 Aug. War between Belgium and Holland 384 French troops enter Belgium 384 Nov. British and French fleets blockade the Scheldt 386 Nov., 1833. Convention between Holland and Belgium 387 1830. Insurrections in Switzerland, Poland, Italy, etc. 387 1831, 1832. Capture of Warsaw; Polish constitution abolished 388 7 April, 1831. Peter leaves Brazil for Portugal 388 Carlist rebellion in Spain 389 22 April, The quadruple alliance 389 1834. 26 May. Miguel renounces his claims 390 9 Oct., 1831. Capodistrias (Greek president) assassinated 392 1832. Otto of Bavaria becomes King of Greece 392 1831. War between Ibrahim and the Sultan 393 1833. Treaties of Kiutayeh and Unkiar Skelessi 394 8 Sept. Secret convention at Muenchengraetz 395



1801. Annexation of the Karnatik 397 1803. Assaye and Argaum 399 1805. Resignation of Lord Wellesley 399 10 July, 1806. Mutiny at Vellore 400 Lord Minto's pacific policy 401 1801-10. Treaties with Persia 402 Elphinstone in Afghanistan 403 1813. Lord Moira appointed governor-general 404 The Pindari war 405 1818. Subjugation of the Pindaris 407 First Burmese war 408 Abolition of sati 410 Extirpation of thagi 411 Defence of Herat 412 Communication with India 413 Burnes's mission to Kabul 413



The "Lake school" 416 Scott's novels 418 Minor poets: philosophical works 420 Newspapers and reviews 422 Essayists and historians 425 The arts: painting, sculpture 427 Scientific discoveries 428 University reform 429 Formation of London University 431 Improvements in agriculture 433 Steam navigation 434 The first railways 435 Geographical discovery 436 Philanthropy 436 Canada 437 South Africa 438 Convict settlements in Australia 438 Development of Australia 439

APPENDIX I. On Authorities 443 II. Administrations, 1801-37 451



1. Great Britain, showing the parliamentary representation after the reform. 2. Spain and Portugal, illustrating the Peninsular war. 3. India.



When, early in March, 1801, Pitt resigned office, he was succeeded by Henry Addington, who had been speaker of the house of commons for over eleven years, and who now received the seals of office as first lord of the treasury and chancellor of the exchequer on March 14, 1801. He was able to retain the services of the Duke of Portland as home secretary, of Lord Chatham as president of the council, and of Lord Westmorland as lord privy seal. For the rest, his colleagues were, like himself, new to cabinet rank. Lord Hawkesbury (afterwards the second Earl of Liverpool) became foreign secretary, and Lord Hobart, son of the Earl of Buckinghamshire, secretary for war. Loughborough reaped the due reward of his treachery by being excluded from the ministry altogether; with a curious obstinacy he persisted in attending cabinet councils, until a letter from Addington informed him that his presence was not desired. He received some small consolation, however, in his elevation to the Earldom of Rosslyn. Lord Eldon was the new chancellor and was destined to hold the office uninterruptedly, except for the brief ministry of Fox and Grenville, till 1827. Lord St. Vincent became first lord of the admiralty, and Lord Lewisham president of the board of control. Cornwallis had resigned with Pitt, but it was not till June 16 that a successor was found for him as master general of the ordnance. It was then arranged that Chatham should take this office. Portland succeeded Chatham as lord president, and Lord Pelham, whose father had just been created Earl of Chichester, became home secretary instead of Portland. An important change was introduced into the distribution of work between the different secretaries of state, the administration of colonial affairs being transferred from the home to the war office, so that Hobart and his successors down to 1854 were known as secretaries of state for war and the colonies. Soon afterwards Lewisham succeeded his father as Earl of Dartmouth.

Though the Addington ministry has, not without justice, been derided for its weakness as compared with its immediate predecessor, it is interesting to observe that in it one of the greatest of English judges as well as a future premier, destined to display an unique power of holding his party together, first attained to cabinet rank; and in the following year it was reinforced by Castlereagh, who disputes with Canning the honour of being regarded as the ablest statesman of what was then the younger generation. The weakness of the ministry must therefore be attributed to a lack of experience rather than a lack of talent. It was unfortunate in succeeding a particularly strong administration, but is well able to bear comparison with most of the later ministries of George III. Addington himself was in more thorough sympathy with the king than any premier before or after. Conversation with Addington was, according to the king, like "thinking aloud"; and with a king who, like George III., still regarded himself as responsible for the national policy, hearty co-operation between king and premier was a matter of no slight importance.

In the early days of the new administration Pitt loyally kept his promise of friendly support, and it is to be deplored that Grenville and Canning did not adopt the same course. While the issue of peace and war was pending, domestic legislation inevitably remained in abeyance. In Ireland serious disappointment had been caused by the abandonment of catholic emancipation; but the disappointment was borne quietly, and the Irish Roman catholics doubtless did not foresee to what a distance of time the removal of their disabilities had been postponed. The just and mild rule of the new lord lieutenant, Lord Hardwicke, contributed to the pacification of the country. But in reality the conduct of the movement for emancipation was only passing into new hands; when it reappeared it was no longer led by catholic lords and bishops, but was a peasant movement, headed by the unscrupulous demagogue O'Connell. In these circumstances it is to be regretted that the new administration neglected to carry that one of the half-promised concessions to the catholics which could not offend the king's conscience, namely, the commutation of tithe. Nothing in the protestant ascendency was so irritating to the catholic peasantry as the necessity of paying tithe to a protestant clergy, and its commutation, while benefiting the clergy themselves, would have removed the occasion of subsequent agitation. The spirit of disloyalty, however, was believed to be by no means extinct either in Ireland or in Great Britain, and two stringent acts were passed to repress it. The first, for the continuance of martial law in Ireland, was supported by almost all the Irish speakers in the house of commons, where it was carried without a division, and was adopted in the house of lords by an overwhelming majority, after an impressive speech from Lord Clare. The second, for the suspension of the habeas corpus act in the whole United Kingdom was framed to remain in force "during the continuance of the war, and for one month after the signing of a definitive treaty of peace".

[Pageheading: THE HORNE TOOKE ACT.]

The only other measure of permanent interest which became law in this session was the so-called "Horne Tooke act," occasioned by the return of Horne Tooke, who was in holy orders, for Old Sarum. Such a return was contrary to custom, but the precedents collected by a committee of the house of commons were inconclusive. It was accordingly enacted that in future clergymen of the established churches should be ineligible for seats in parliament, while Horne Tooke was deemed to have been validly elected, and retained his seat. The house of commons found time, however, for an important and well-sustained debate on India, in which among others Dundas, now no longer in office, showed a thorough knowledge of questions affecting Indian finance and trade.

The naval expedition which had been prepared in the last days of Pitt's administration sailed for Copenhagen on March 12, 1801, under Sir Hyde Parker, with Nelson as second in command. The admiral in chief was of a cautious temper, but was wise enough to allow himself to be guided by Nelson's judgment when planning an engagement, though not as to the general course of the expedition. The fleet consisted of sixteen ships of the line and thirty-four smaller vessels; all these with the exception of one ship of the line reached the Skaw on the 18th. A frigate was sent in advance with instructions to Vansittart, the British envoy at Copenhagen, to present an ultimatum to the Danish government,[1] demanding a favourable answer to the British demands within forty-eight hours. For three days Parker waited at anchor eighteen miles from Elsinore, and it was only when Vansittart brought an unfavourable reply on the 23rd that he took Nelson into his counsels. He readily adopted Nelson's plan of ignoring the Danish batteries at Kronborg and making a circuit so as to attack Copenhagen at the weak southern end of its defences, but set aside his project of masking Copenhagen and making straight for a Russian squadron of twelve ships of the line which was lying icebound at Revel. The fair weather of the 26th was wasted in irresolution, and it was not till the 30th that the fleet was able to weigh anchor. It passed Kronborg in safety and anchored five miles north of Copenhagen.

Parker placed under Nelson's immediate command twelve ships of the line and twenty-one smaller vessels, by far the greater part of the British fleet. With these he was to pass to the east of a shoal called the Middle Ground and attack the defences of Copenhagen from the south, while Parker with the remainder of the fleet was to make a demonstration against the more formidable northern defences. The wind could not of course favour both attacks simultaneously, and it was agreed that the attack should be made when the wind favoured Nelson. The nights of the 30th and 31st were spent in reconnoitring and laying buoys. On April 1 a north wind brought Nelson's squadron past the Middle Ground, and on the next day a south wind enabled him to attack the Danish fleet, if fleet it may be called. At the north end of the Danish position stood the only permanent battery, the Trekroner, with two hulks or blockships; the rest consisted of seven blockships and eleven floating batteries, drawn up along the shore. An attack on the south end of the line was also exposed to batteries on the island of Amager. Nelson's intention was to close with the whole Danish fleet, but three of his ships of the line were stranded and he was obliged to leave the assault on the northern end entirely to lighter vessels.

[Pageheading: BATTLE OF THE BALTIC.]

The Danish batteries proved more powerful than had been anticipated, and as time went on and the Danish resistance did not appear to lose in strength, Parker grew doubtful of the result of the battle and gave the order to cease action. The order was apparently not intended to be imperative, but it had the effect of inducing Riou, who commanded the frigate squadron, to sail away to the north. For the rest of the fleet obedience was out of the question. Nelson acknowledged, but refused to repeat the order, and, jocularly placing his glass to his blind eye, declared that he could not see the signal. At length the British cannonade told. Fischer, the Danish commander, had had to shift his flag twice, at the second time to the Trekroner, and all the ships south of that battery had either ceased fire or were practically helpless. The Trekroner, however, was still unsubdued and rendered it impossible for Nelson's squadron to retire, in the only direction which the wind would allow, without severe loss. He accordingly sent a message to the Danish Prince Regent, declaring that he would be compelled to burn the batteries he had taken, without saving their crews, unless firing ceased. If a truce were arranged until he could take his prisoners out of the prizes, he was prepared to land the wounded Danes, and burn or remove the prizes. A truce for twenty-four hours was accordingly arranged, which Nelson employed to remove his own fleet unmolested.

The destruction of the southern batteries left Copenhagen exposed to bombardment, and the Danes, unable to resist, yet afraid to offend the tsar by submission, prolonged the time from day to day till news arrived which removed all occasion for hostility. Unknown to either of the combatants, the Tsar Paul, the life and soul of the northern confederacy, had been murdered on the night of March 23, ten days before the battle, and with his death the league was practically dissolved. When Nelson advanced further into the Baltic, he found no hostile fleet awaiting him, and the new tsar, Alexander, adopting an opposite policy, entered into a compromise on the subject of maritime rights. The battle of the Baltic is considered by some to have been Nelson's masterpiece. It won for him the title of viscount and for his second in command, Rear-Admiral Graves, the gift of the ribbon of the Bath, but the admiralty, for official reasons, declined to confer any public reward or honour on the officers concerned in it.

At the same time, the French occupation of Egypt was drawing towards its inevitable close. Kleber, who was left in command by Bonaparte, perished by the hand of an assassin, and Menou, who succeeded to the command, was not only a weak general, but was prevented from receiving any reinforcements by the naval supremacy of Great Britain in the Mediterranean. On March 21, 1801, the French army was defeated at the battle of Alexandria by the British force sent out under Sir Ralph Abercromby, who was himself mortally wounded on the field. His successor, General Hutchinson, completed his work by taking Cairo, before the arrival of General Baird, who had led a mixed body of British soldiers and sepoys from the Red Sea across the desert to the Nile. The capitulation of Alexandria soon followed. In September the French evacuated Egypt, the remains of their army were conveyed to France in English ships, and Bonaparte's long-cherished dreams of eastern conquest faded away for ever—not from his own imagination, but from the calculations of practical statesmanship.

French arms, and French diplomacy supported by armed force, were more successful elsewhere. The treaty of Luneville was only the first of a series of treaties, by which France secured to herself a political position commensurate with her military glory. By the treaty of Aranjuez between France and Spain, signed on March 21, Spain ceded Louisiana to France, reserving the right of pre-emption, and undertook to wage war on Portugal in order to detach it from the British alliance. Spain and Portugal were both lukewarm in this war, and on June 6 signed the treaty of Badajoz, by which Portugal agreed to close her ports to England, to pay an indemnity to Spain, and to cede the small district of Olivenza, south of Badajoz. Bonaparte was intensely irritated by this treaty, which deprived him of the hope of exchanging conquests in Portugal for British colonial conquests in any future negotiations; he declared that Spain would have to pay by the sacrifice of her colonies for the conquered French colonies which he still hoped to recover. A French army was despatched to Portugal and enabled Bonaparte to dictate the treaty of Madrid, signed on September 29, whereby Portugal ceded half Guiana to France and undertook, as at Badajoz, to close her ports against England.


This last condition was equally imposed on the King of the Two Sicilies by the treaty of Florence, concluded on March 28, and before the end of the year France had established friendly relations with the Sultan of Turkey and the new Tsar of Russia. More important still, as consolidating Bonaparte's power at home, was the concordat signed by him and the pope on July 15 recognising Roman Catholicism as the religion of the majority of Frenchmen, and of the consuls, guaranteeing stipends, though on an abjectly mean scale, to the clergy, and placing the entire patronage of the French Church in the hands of the first consul. Never since the French revolution had the Church been thus acknowledged as the auxiliary, or rather as the handmaid, of the state, and probably no one but the first consul could have brought about the reconciliation. After such exertions, even he may have sincerely desired an honourable peace, as the crown of his victories, or at least as a breathing time, to enable him to mature his vast designs for reorganising France. Perhaps he did not yet fully recognise that war was a necessity of his political ascendency, no less than of his own personal character. The French people still clung to republican institutions; and the consulate was a nominal republic, with all effective power vested in the first consul. Time was to show how largely this unique position depended on his unique capacity of conducting wars glorious to French arms; for the present, France was satisfied, and longed for peace.

The English ministry, too, was impelled by strong motives to enter upon the negotiations which resulted in the peace of Amiens. Not only was Great Britain crippled by the loss of nearly all her allies, but the high price of bread had roused grave disaffection,[2] and intensified among British merchants a desire for an unmolested extension of commerce; above all, English statesmen now recognised the consulate, under Bonaparte, as the first stable and non-revolutionary government since the fall of the French monarchy. Both countries, therefore, were predisposed to entertain pacific overtures, but the very fact that these were in contemplation stirred both sides to further endeavours in order to secure better terms of peace. A French squadron, commanded by Admiral Linois and containing three ships of the line besides smaller boats, was making a movement for the Straits of Gibraltar in order to strengthen the force at Cadiz. Sir James Saumarez with five ships of the line and two smaller vessels engaged Linois off Algeciras on July 5, but the French ships were supported by the land batteries, and one of the British ships, the Hannibal (74), ran aground, and Saumarez was eventually compelled to leave her in the hands of the enemy. This victory was hailed with delight throughout France, but it was fully retrieved a week later. The French squadron had in the meantime been reinforced by one French and five Spanish ships of the line, and on the 12th it made a fresh attempt to reach Cadiz; it was, however, engaged in the Straits by Saumarez with five ships of the line. In the ensuing battle two Spanish ships blew up, and the French Saint Antoine was captured. The remainder succeeded in reaching Cadiz, but Saumarez was able to resume the blockade a few weeks later.

Meanwhile there was no relaxation of French preparations for an invasion of England, or of naval activity on the part of Great Britain. No sooner had Nelson returned from the Baltic than he was, on July 24, placed in command of a "squadron on a particular service," charged with the defence of the coast from Beachy Head to Orfordness. With this he not only blockaded the northern French ports, but assumed the aggressive, and bombarded the vessels therein collected. A more daring attempt to cut out the flotilla moored at Boulogne by a boat attack was repelled with some loss on the night of August 15. But couriers under flags of truce were already passing between London and Paris, and hostilities ceased in the autumn of the year 1801.


The history of the negotiations which ended in the peace of Amiens derives a special interest from the events which followed it. The earliest overtures for peace were made by Hawkesbury on March 21, 1801. At first Bonaparte refused to listen to them, but the destruction of the northern confederacy inclined him to more pacific counsels. On April 14 the British government stated its demands. They mark a distinct advance on those which had been made in vain at Lille in 1797. France was to evacuate Egypt, and Great Britain Minorca, but Great Britain claimed to retain Malta, Tobago, Martinique, Trinidad, Essequibo, Demerara, Berbice, and Ceylon. She was willing to surrender the Cape of Good Hope on condition that it became a free port, and stipulated that an indemnity should be provided for the Prince of Orange. At the outset, Bonaparte opposed all cessions by France and her allies, but the steady improvement in the fortunes of England in the north and in Egypt at last determined him to grant some of the British demands, and as the evacuation of Egypt became inevitable, he was resolved to gain something in exchange for it before it was too late. The preliminary treaty was accordingly signed by Bonaparte's agent Otto on behalf of France and Hawkesbury on behalf of Great Britain on October 1, the day before the news of the French capitulation in Egypt reached England. Great Britain had already consented to relinquish Malta, provided that it became independent. She now consented to relinquish all her conquests from France, and with the exception of Ceylon and Trinidad all her conquests from the French allies, requiring, however, that the Cape should be recognised as a free port. The French were to evacuate not only Egypt, but the Neapolitan and Roman States. Malta was to be restored to the knights of St. John under the guarantee of a third power. Prisoners of war were to be released on payment of their debts, and the question of the charge for their maintenance was to be settled by the definitive treaty in accordance with the law of nations and established usage.

No mention was made of the Prince of Orange, but Otto gave a verbal assurance that provision would be made to satisfy his claims. He also gave the British government to understand that France would be willing to cede Tobago in consideration of the expenses incurred in the maintenance of French and Dutch prisoners. The omission of all reference to the continental relations of France is conspicuous. In France it was interpreted as indicating that Great Britain renounced her interest in continental politics. The Batavian, Helvetian, Cisalpine, and Ligurian republics, the kingdom of Etruria, and the whole east bank of the Rhine were, however, supposed to be already protected against French encroachment by the treaty of Luneville, and Great Britain had no wish to impose terms involving a recognition of these new creations. Again, no mention was made of commercial relations apart from the Newfoundland and St. Lawrence fisheries, for Great Britain was too ready to believe that a separate commercial treaty would be practicable, and was naturally loth to delay the conclusion of peace by a difficult negotiation.

Cornwallis was appointed to negotiate the definitive treaty, and had some hope that he might arrive at an informal understanding with Bonaparte at Paris before he proceeded to Amiens. But he was offended by Bonaparte's manner, and, dreading to be pitted against so subtle a diplomatist as Talleyrand, he left Paris before anything was accomplished, and arrived at Amiens on November 30. There France was represented by Joseph Bonaparte, the first consul's elder brother, and the negotiator of Luneville. At Amiens, the position of the British government was compromised from the first by its renewed insistence on a point which had been omitted from the preliminary treaty, namely, the compensation of the Prince of Orange. This demand was accompanied by an endeavour to obtain compensation for the King of Sardinia. Joseph Bonaparte, on the other hand, entrenched himself behind the letter of the treaty, and acknowledged no further obligation. Any additional concession to Great Britain could only be purchased by British concessions to France. Other difficulties arose over the question of Malta, the payment for the maintenance of prisoners, and the inclusion of allies as parties to the treaty.


On the first of these questions the French would appear to have aimed throughout at reducing the knights to as impotent a position as possible. The British, on the other hand, ostensibly desiring to see the strength of the order maintained, were chiefly interested in securing its neutrality. At the time of the signature of the preliminary treaty, Russia was the power that seemed to Great Britain the fittest guarantor of the independence of the knights. On the refusal of Russia to accept this position, Naples appeared to be the next best alternative, but it was eventually agreed to substitute for the guarantee of a third power the obviously futile guarantee of all the powers. Neither party foresaw that the impossibility of obtaining such a guarantee was destined to leave the whole clause about Malta inoperative. After much dispute over the future constitution of the order, France proposed to obviate the chief source of difficulty by the demolition of the forts. This plan commended itself to Cornwallis, but was rejected by the British government. By the end of December it was agreed that a Neapolitan garrison was to occupy the islands provisionally, until the new organisation should be established. Great Britain proposed that this garrison should be maintained at the joint expense of Great Britain and France. It did not occur to the British government to propose any guarantee for the preservation of the property of the order, and this omission ultimately proved material. The question of including allies in the treaty was less complicated. France preferred a number of separate treaties so as to keep the British interest in Europe at a minimum. Great Britain, on the other hand, wished to make France a party to the cessions made by her allies, and successfully insisted on the negotiation of a single comprehensive treaty. Joseph Bonaparte granted this point on December 11, but, as he had not full powers to negotiate with any power except Great Britain, he continued to interpose delays till the end of the year.

In the meantime France had failed in her attempts to meet the British claims on behalf of the Prince of Orange by demands for further privileges and territory in the oceans and colonies. On the whole, the first month's negotiations had contributed much to a settlement, without giving a decided advantage to either side. The lapse of time, however, turned the balance in favour of the negotiator who was the more independent of his country's desire for peace. On January 1, 1802, Hawkesbury wrote to Cornwallis, treating the acquisition of Tobago as unimportant; on the 2nd Addington expressed his readiness to accept a separate arrangement with the Batavian republic for the Prince of Orange. By the 16th Hawkesbury had yielded the claim of Portugal to be a party to the treaty. The refusal of the French to cede Tobago in lieu of payment for the French prisoners, and the difficulty of assessing the payment, opened a way to the evasion of compensation altogether. Cornwallis, preferring to sacrifice this claim rather than re-open the war, suggested to Joseph Bonaparte on the 22nd that the treaty should provide for commissioners to assess the payment, while it should be secretly provided that they should not be appointed. On the same day, Joseph Bonaparte communicated his brother's consent to a clause engaging France to find a suitable territorial possession in Germany for the Prince of Orange.

If Hawkesbury and Cornwallis imagined that they had made sure of an early peace by these extensive concessions, they were greatly mistaken. Napoleon, flushed with this unexpected success, was encouraged to make further trial of the pliability of the British diplomatists. Two events occurred at this stage of the negotiations which tried the temper of both sides to the uttermost. On January 26, Bonaparte was elected president of the Cisalpine republic, to be styled henceforth the Italian republic. This event seems to have taken the British government by surprise; they thought it a distinct indication that he still contemplated further aggressions in spite of the series of treaties by which he appeared to be securing peace, and were therefore much less inclined than formerly to make concessions. About the same time Bonaparte was not unreasonably enraged at the outrageous attacks made on him in the press conducted in London by French exiles, especially by Jean Peltier, the editor of a paper called L'Ambigu, and he blamed the British government for permitting their publication. He therefore instructed his brother Joseph to raise further difficulties over the garrison and permanent organisation of Malta, as well as over the proposed accession of the sultan to the treaty. Vain attempts were also made by Joseph to retain Otranto for France till the British should have evacuated Malta, and to secure the inclusion of the Ligurian republic in the treaty.

[Pageheading: THE TREATY OF AMIENS.]

At last on March 8 Napoleon agreed that no important difference remained, and urged his brother to conclude the treaty. A little more time was wasted in providing for a temporary occupation of Malta by Neapolitan troops, and a more marked division of opinion arose as to the compensation for the Prince of Orange. In spite of instructions to the contrary from Hawkesbury, Cornwallis accepted an engagement on the part of France to find a compensation, not defined, for the house of Nassau, instead of charging it on the Dutch government; and the treaty was finally concluded on March 25. It was signed by Great Britain, France, Spain, and the Batavian republic, while the Porte was admitted as an accessory power. It differed from the preliminary convention in no important respect, except in the illusory safeguards for the claims of the Prince of Orange, the secret arrangement for evading the cost of the French prisoners, and the provisions concerning Malta, pregnant with the seeds of future enmity. These provisions were as follows: Malta was to be restored to the knights of St. John, from whose order both French and British were hereafter to be excluded. The evacuation was to take place within three months of the ratification of the treaty, or sooner if possible. At that date Malta was to be given up, provided the grand master or commissaries of the order were present, and provided the Neapolitan garrison had arrived. Its independence was to be under the guarantee of France, Great Britain, Austria, Spain, Russia, and Prussia. Two thousand Neapolitan troops were to occupy it for one year, and until the order should have raised a force sufficient, in the judgment of the guaranteeing powers, for the defence of the islands.[3]

On October 29, 1801, parliament was opened with a speech from the throne briefly announcing the conclusion of a convention with the northern powers, and of preliminaries of peace with the French republic. General Lauriston, bearing the ratification of the preliminaries by the first consul, had reached London on the 10th, when he was received by the populace with tumultuous demonstrations of joy. Soon afterwards the "feast of the peace" was celebrated in Paris with equal enthusiasm. Short-lived as they proved to be, these pacific sentiments were doubtless genuine on both sides of the channel. The industrial, though not the military, resources of France were exhausted by her prodigious efforts during the last eight years; while England, suffering grievously from distress among the working-classes and financial difficulties, welcomed the prospect of cheaper provisions and easier times, as well as of emerging from the political difficulties originating in the French revolution.

The preliminary treaty, however, did not escape hostile criticism in either house of parliament. It was the subject of discussion in the lords on November 3, and in the commons on the 3rd and 4th. Its most strenuous assailants were Lord Grenville, who had been foreign secretary under Pitt, and the whigs who had joined Pitt's ministry in 1794, among whom Lords Spencer and Fitzwilliam and above all Windham call for special notice. Windham's powerful and comprehensive speech contained more than one shrewd forecast of the future. For once, Pitt and Fox supported the same measure, and Pitt, dwelling on security as our grand object in the war, specially deprecated any attempt on the part of Great Britain "to settle the affairs of the continent". Fox, in advocating peace, fiercely denounced the war against the French republic, and gloated over the discomfiture of the Bourbons.[4] It was admitted on all sides that France was stronger than ever in a military and political sense. She had already made treaties with Austria, Naples, Spain, and Portugal; other treaties with Russia and Turkey were on the point of being signed; while the still more important concordat with the pope was already ratified. On the other hand, Great Britain had largely increased her colonial possessions, and the chief question now discussed was whether she would be the weaker for abandoning some of these recent conquests. The general feeling of the nation was fitly expressed by Sheridan in the phrase: "This is a peace which all men are glad of, but no man can be proud of". Malmesbury, the negotiator of Lille, was absent from the debates; but he has recorded in his diary his disapproval both of the peace and of the violent opposition to it The king told Malmesbury on November 26 that he considered it an experimental peace, but unavoidable.[5]


The debates on the definitive treaty of Amiens took place on May 13 and 14, 1802, and though vigorously sustained, were to some extent a repetition of those on the preliminaries of peace. The opposition to it was headed by Grenville in the lords and in the commons by Windham, who compared it unfavourably with the preliminaries; and the stipulations with respect to Malta were justly criticised as one of its weakest points. Strange to say, Pitt took no effective part in the discussion, which ended in overwhelming majorities for the government. As in the previous session, domestic affairs, except in their bearing on foreign policy, received comparatively little attention from parliament. The income tax was repealed, almost in silence, as the first fruits of peace, and Addington, as chancellor of the exchequer, delivered an emphatic eulogy on the sinking fund by means of which he calculated that in forty-five years the national debt, then amounting to L500,000,000, might be entirely paid off. The house of commons showed no want of economical zeal in scrutinising the claims of the king on the civil list, and those of the Prince of Wales on the revenues of the duchy of Cornwall. Nor did it neglect such abuses as the non-residence of the parochial clergy, and the cruel practice of bull-baiting, though it rejected a bill for the suppression of this practice, after a characteristic apology for it from Windham, in which he dwelt upon its superiority to horse-racing. In this session, too, a grant of L10,000 was voted to Jenner for his recent invention of vaccination. In supporting it, Wilberforce stated that the victims of small-pox, in London alone, numbered 4,000 annually.

The parliament, which had now lasted six years, was dissolved by the king in person on June 28, and a general election was held during the month of July. The new house of commons did not differ materially from the old, and even in Ireland the recent national opposition to the union did not lead to the unseating of a single member who had voted for it.[6] Meanwhile the ministry was strengthened by the admission to office of Lord Castlereagh, already distinguished for his share in the negotiations precedent to the union with Ireland. On July 6 he was appointed president of the board of control in succession to Dartmouth, and was admitted to a seat in the cabinet in October. The new parliament did not meet till November 16. During the interval members of both houses, with vast numbers of their countrymen, flocked to Paris, which had been almost closed to English travellers since the early days of the revolution. Fox was presented to Napoleon, as Bonaparte, since the decree which made him consul for life, preferred to be styled. Napoleon conceived a great admiration for him, and afterwards persuaded himself that, had Fox survived, the friendly relations of England and France would not have been permanently interrupted. On the very day on which parliament assembled, a conspiracy was discovered, which, however insane it may now appear, attracted much attention at the time. A certain Colonel Despard with thirty-six followers, mainly labourers, had plotted to kill the king and seize all the government-buildings, with a view to the establishment of what he called the "constitutional independence of Ireland and Great Britain" and the "equalisation of all civic rights". The conspiracy had no wide ramifications, and the arrest of its leader and his companions brought it to an immediate end. Despard was found guilty of high treason and was executed on February 21, 1803.

When parliament met, the king's speech referred ominously to fresh disturbances in the balance of power on the continent; and votes were passed for large additions to the army and navy, in spite of Fox's declaration that he saw no reason why Napoleon, satisfied with military glory, should not henceforth devote himself to internal improvements in France. Nelson, on the contrary, speaking in the house of lords, while he professed himself a man of peace, insisted on the danger arising from "a restless and unjust ambition on the part of our neighbours," and Sheridan delivered a vigorous speech in a like spirit. On the whole, in January, 1803, the prospects of assured peace and prosperity were much gloomier than they had been in January, 1802, before the treaty of Amiens. The funds were going down, the bank restriction act was renewed, and Despard's conspiracy still agitated the public mind. In the month of February a strong anti-Gallican sentiment was roused by Mackintosh's powerful defence of the royalist Jean Peltier, accused and ultimately convicted of a gross libel on the first consul. On March 8 came the royal message calling out the militia, which heralded the rupture of the peace.

The renewal of the war, fraught with so much glory and misery to both nations, can have taken neither by surprise. The ink was scarcely dry on the treaty of Amiens when fresh causes of discord sprung up between France and Great Britain. More than one of these, indeed, had arisen between the signature of the preliminary convention and the actual conclusion of peace. During the negotiations, the first consul had, as we have seen, never ceased to protest against the violent attacks upon himself in the English press, while Cornwallis persistently warned his own government against the menacing attitude of France in Italy and elsewhere. The proclamation of the concordat in April, 1802, and the recognition of Napoleon as first consul for life in August, however they may have strengthened his position in France, were no legitimate subjects for resentment in England; but his acceptance of the presidency of the "Italian" republic in January, followed by his annexation of Piedmont in September, revived in all its intensity the British mistrust of his aggressive policy.


The month of October witnessed a renewed aggression on Switzerland. A French army, commanded by Ney, advanced into the interior of the country, and forced the Swiss, who were in the midst of a civil war, to accept the mediation of Napoleon. The new constitution which he framed attempted, by weakening the federal government, to place the direction of Helvetian external relations in the hands of the French first consul. Our government vainly endeavoured to resist this interference by sending agents with money and promises. In Germany the redistribution of territory necessitated by the peace of Luneville was carried out professedly under the joint mediation of France and Russia, but really at the dictation of Napoleon. The final project, which destroyed all except three of the spiritual principalities and all except six of the free cities, was proposed by France on February 23, 1803, and accepted by the Emperor Francis on April 27.

Against these rearrangements, Great Britain could have nothing to say; their importance is that while the negotiations were pending, Austria, Prussia, and Russia all had a strong motive for standing well with France. Bonaparte's attitude towards Switzerland was, in so far as it was backed by force, an infringement of the treaty of Luneville, to which, however, Great Britain was not a party. The neutrality of Piedmont had not been safeguarded either at Luneville or at Amiens; it had already been occupied by France before the treaty was signed, and Napoleon claimed to have as much right to annex territory in Europe without the consent of Great Britain as Great Britain had to annex territory in India without the consent of France.

Napoleon's schemes of colonial expansion, though equally within the letter of the treaty, were not less disconcerting. The reconquest of San Domingo appeared necessary in order to obtain a base for the effective occupation of the new French possession, Louisiana. The despatch of an expedition for this purpose in December, 1801, had excited grave suspicion, and when two-thirds of the army had died of yellow fever and the remainder had returned home, fresh troops were sent out to take their place. A new naval expedition was prepared in the Dutch port of Helvoetsluis, but it was impossible to persuade British public opinion that its real destination was San Domingo. Finally, on the eve of hostilities, in the spring of 1803 Napoleon, despairing of advance in this direction and disregarding the Spanish right of pre-emption, sold Louisiana to the United States for 80,000,000 francs. Still more embarrassing was Bonaparte's eastern policy. In September, 1802, Colonel Sebastiani was sent as "commercial agent" to the Levant. He was instructed to inspect the condition of ports and arsenals, to assure the sheykhs of French favour, and to report on the military resources of Syria, Egypt, and the north African coast. His report, which was published in the Moniteur of January 30, 1803, set forth the opportunities that France would possess in the event of an immediate return to hostilities, and was naturally interpreted as disclosing an intention to renew the war on the first opportunity. Six thousand French would, he said, be enough to reconquer Egypt; the country was in favour of France. In March, 1803, Decaen left France with open instructions to receive the surrender of the five towns in India restored to France, but with secret orders to invite the alliance of Indian sovereigns opposed to Great Britain. On his appearance at Pondicherri, the British commander prepared to seize him, but he escaped to the Mauritius, which he put in a state of defence, and made a basis for attacks on British commerce which lasted from 1803 to 1811.


Ireland also was visited by political spies, passing as commercial agents. It may not be easy to say how far Emmet's rebellion, to be recorded hereafter, was the result of these visits. At all events a letter fell into the hands of the British government, addressed by Talleyrand to a French agent at Dublin, called Fauvelet, directing him to obtain answers to a series of questions about the military and naval circumstances of the district, and "to procure a plan of the ports, with the soundings and moorings, and to state the draught of water, and the wind best suited for ingress and egress". The British government naturally complained of these instructions, but Talleyrand persistently maintained that they were of a purely commercial character.[7] It is, of course, true that these preparations in view of a possible recurrence of hostilities, however obvious their intention, were not in themselves hostile acts. Still, they were just grounds for suspicion, and, with our retrospective knowledge of Napoleon's later career, we may seek in vain for the grounds of confidence which had made the conclusion of a treaty possible. Great Britain was guilty of more direct breaches of the peace of Amiens. Russia refused her guarantee for the independence of Malta, and the British government was therefore technically justified in retaining it. No similar justification could, however, be alleged for the retention of Alexandria and the French towns in India. These measures were, as will be seen, defended on broader grounds of public policy. Not the least of the causes of discontent with the new situation was the refusal of Napoleon to follow up the treaty of peace with a commercial treaty. He had even retained French troops in Holland, and thus shown that he meant to close its ports against British commerce. The hope of a renewal of trade with France had been a main cause of the popular desire for peace, and had reconciled the British public to the sacrifices with which the treaty of Amiens had been purchased. It soon became clear that further concessions would be made the price of a commercial treaty, and it was felt in consequence that the sacrifices already made were made in vain.

In September, 1802, Lord Whitworth was sent as ambassador extraordinary to the French Republic. The instructions which he carried with him from Hawkesbury fully reflect the prevailing spirit of mistrust. He was to watch for any new leagues which might prejudice England or disturb Europe; he was to discover any secret designs that might be formed against the East or West Indies; he was to maintain the closest surveillance over the internal politics of France, but especially over the dispositions of influential personages in the confidence of the first consul, as well as over the financial resources and armaments of the republic.[8] Two months later, he was expressly warned in a secret despatch not in any way to commit His Majesty to a restoration of Malta, even if the provisions made at Amiens for this purpose could be completely executed; and the principle was laid down, from which the British government never swerved, that Great Britain was entitled to compensation for any acquisitions made by France since the treaty was signed. Accordingly, the retention of Malta was justified as a counterpoise to French extensions of territory in Italy, the invasion of Switzerland, and the continued occupation of the Batavian republic.[9] This resolution was naturally confirmed by the publication of Sebastiani's report.


The long negotiations between Whitworth and the French government, during the winter of 1802 and the spring of 1803, only bring into stronger relief the importance of the issues thus raised, and the hopelessness of a pacific solution. Napoleon firmly took his stand throughout on the simple letter of the treaty, which pledged Great Britain, upon certain conditions, to place the knights of St. John in possession of Malta, but did not contemplate the case of further accessions of French territory on the continent. Although the conditions specified were never fully satisfied, it is abundantly clear that the British ministers, having at last grasped the value of Malta, created all the difficulties in their power, and determined to cancel this article of the treaty. They alleged, in self-defence, that the spirit of the treaty had been constantly violated by Napoleon, in repeated acts of hostility to British subjects, in the refusal of all redress for such grievances, and, above all, in that series of aggressions on the continent which he declared to be outside the treaty and beyond the province of Great Britain.[10] None of the compromises laboriously discussed in the winter of 1802 betoken any desire on the part of either government to retreat from its main position, though it does not follow that either sought to bring about a renewal of the war. Whitworth constantly reported that no formidable armaments were being prepared, and clung for months to a belief that Napoleon, knowing the instability of his own power and the ruinous state of his finances, would ultimately give way. On the other hand, Talleyrand and Joseph Bonaparte never ceased to hope that Great Britain would make concessions which might be accepted.

Such hopes were rudely dispelled by the king's message to parliament on March 8, 1803, complaining of aggressive preparations in the ports of France and Holland, and recommending immediate measures for the security of his dominions. This message, with the consequent embodiment of the militia, startled the whole continent, and was followed five days later by the famous scene in which the first consul addressed Whitworth in phrases little short of insult. During a public audience at the Tuileries on the 13th, Napoleon, after inquiring whether the British ambassador had received any news from home, broke out with the words: "And so you are determined to go to war". The altercation which ensued is best told in Whitworth's own words[11]:—

"'No, first consul,' I replied, 'we are too sensible of the advantages of peace.' 'We have,' said he, 'been fighting these fifteen years.' As he seemed to wait for an answer, I observed only, 'That is already too long'. 'But,' said he, 'you desire to fight for fifteen years more, and you are forcing me to it,' I told him that was very far from his majesty's intentions. He then proceeded to Count Marcoff and the Chevalier Azzara, who were standing together at a little distance from me, and said to them, 'The English are bent on war, but if they are the first to draw the sword, I shall be the last to put it back into the scabbard. They do not respect treaties. They must be covered with black crape.' I suppose he meant the treaties. He then went his round, and was thought by all those to whom he addressed himself to betray great signs of irritation. In a few minutes he came back to me, to my great annoyance, and resumed the conversation, if such it can be called, by something personally civil to me. He then began again, 'Why these armaments? Against whom these measures of precaution? I have not a single ship of the line in the French ports; but if you wish to arm, I will arm also; if you wish to fight, I will fight also. You may perhaps kill France, but will never intimidate her.' 'We wish,' said I, 'neither the one nor the other. We wish to live on good terms with her.' 'You must respect treaties then,' replied he; 'woe to those who do not respect treaties; they shall answer for it to all Europe.'"

Too much stress has been laid upon this incident, so characteristic of Napoleon's studied impetuosity. Little more than a fortnight later he received the British ambassador with courtesy. Overtures now succeeded overtures, and much was expected on both sides from the influence of the Tsar Alexander, to whom France suggested that Malta might be ceded.[12] At the last moment, a somewhat more conciliatory disposition was shown by the French diplomatists; and the British government was blamed by its opponents, alike for having failed to break off the negotiations earlier on the broadest grounds, and for breaking them off too abruptly on grounds of doubtful validity. But we now see that national enmity, fostered by the press on both sides, rendered friendly relations impossible, and that, even had Napoleon been willing to refrain from aggressions, peace was impossible. On May 12, two months after the king's message, Whitworth, having presented an ultimatum, finally quitted Paris. A few days later an order was issued for the detention of all British subjects then resident in France, and justified on the ground that French seamen (but not passengers) were liable to capture at sea. On June 10 Talleyrand announced the occupation of Hanover and the treatment as enemies of Hanoverian soldiers serving under the King of Great Britain. Meanwhile, on May 16, the rupture of peaceful relations was announced to both houses of parliament; on May 18 war was declared, and in June volunteers were already mustering to resist invasion.


[1] So Vansittart himself, in Pellew, Life of Sidmouth, i., 371. Southey and Captain Mahan have erroneously supposed that Vansittart accompanied the naval expedition and was sent by Parker in the frigate from the Skaw.

[2] Annual Register, xliii. (1801), chapter i. The average price of wheat in 1800 was 112s. 8d. the quarter, whereas the highest annual average in the half century before the war had been 64s. 6d. On March 5, 1801, the price of the quartern loaf stood as high as 1s. 101/2d. On July 23 it was still 1s. 8d. The harvest of this year was, however, an excellent one. The price fell rapidly during August, and by November 12 was as low as 101/2d.

[3] Cornwallis, Correspondence, iii., 382-487.

[4] In a letter to Charles Carey, dated October 22, Fox went the length of expressing extreme pleasure in the triumph of the French government over the English (Memorials of C. J. Fox, iii., 349).

[5] Malmesbury, Diaries, iv., 60, 62.

[6] Lecky, History Of Ireland, v., 465.

[7] Lanfrey, Napoleon I. (English edition), ii., 202; Pellew, Life of Sidmouth, ii., 164.

[8] Browning, England and Napoleon in 1803, pp. 1-6.

[9] Browning, ibid., pp. 6-10.

[10] See especially Hawkesbury's despatch in Browning, ibid., pp. 65-68, and Whitworth's despatches, ibid., pp. 73-75, 78-85.

[11] Whitworth's despatch of March 14, in Browning, England and Napoleon, p. 116.

[12] Browning, England and Napoleon, p. 218.



The period following the rupture of the peace of Amiens, though crowded with military events of the highest importance, was inevitably barren in social and political interest. Disappointed in its hopes of returning prosperity, the nation girded itself up with rare unanimity for a renewed contest. In July the income-tax was reinstituted and a bill was actually carried authorising a levy en masse in case of invasion. Pending its enforcement, the navy was vigorously recruited by means of the press-gang; the yeomanry were called out, and a force of infantry volunteers was enrolled, which reached a total of 300,000 in August, and of nearly 400,000 at the beginning of the next session. Pitt himself, as warden of the Cinque Ports, took command of 3,000 volunteers in Kent, and contrasted in parliament the warlike enthusiasm of the country with the alleged apathy of the ministry. On July 23 a rebellion broke out in Ireland, instigated by French agents and headed by a young man named Robert Emmet. The conspiracy was ill planned and in itself insignificant, but the recklessness of the conspirators was equalled by the weakness of the civil and military authorities, who neglected to take any precautions in spite of the plainest warnings. The rebels had intended to attack Dublin Castle and seize the person of the lord lieutenant, who was to be held as a hostage; but they dared not make the attempt, and after parading the streets for a few hours were dispersed by the spontaneous action of a few determined officers with a handful of troops, but not before Lord Kilwarden, the chief justice, and several other persons, had been cruelly murdered by Emmet's followers. Futile as the rising was, it sufficed to show that union was not a sovereign remedy for Irish disaffection.

Meanwhile the relations between the prime minister and his predecessor had been growing less and less cordial. Throughout the year 1801 Pitt was still the friend and informal adviser of the ministry, and it is difficult to overrate the value of his support as a ground of confidence in an administration, personally popular, but known to be deficient in intellectual brilliance. In 1802 he generally stood aloof, and though in June of that year he corrected the draft of the king's speech, he absented himself from parliament, for he was dissatisfied with the measures adopted by government. His dissatisfaction was known to his friends, and in November a movement was set on foot by Canning to induce Addington to withdraw in Pitt's favour; but Pitt, though willing to resume office, refused to allow the ministry to be approached on the subject. He preferred to wait till a general wish for his return to power should be manifested. In December he visited Grenville at Dropmore, and expressed a certain discontent with the government.[13] It was his intention still to treat the ministers with tenderness, but to return to parliament and criticise their policy. It is easy to see that his object at this date was not to drive the government from office, but to give rise to a desire to re-enlist his own talents in the service of the country, and thus prepare the way for a peaceable resumption of the position he had abandoned in the preceding year.


No sooner had rumours of Pitt's willingness to resume office reached Addington in the last days of December, than he opened negotiations with Pitt with a view to effecting this object. Pitt did not receive his overtures very warmly. He doubtless wished to be brought back because he was felt to be indispensable, without any appearance of intrigue. Time was in his favour, and he allowed the negotiations to proceed slowly. As the proposals took shape, it became clear that Addington did not wish to be openly superseded by Pitt, but preferred that they should serve together as secretaries of state under a third person; and Addington even suggested Pitt's brother, the Earl of Chatham, then master-general of the ordnance, as a suitable prime minister. Pitt's reply, communicated to Addington by Dundas, now Viscount Melville, in a letter dated March 22, 1803, was to the effect that Pitt would not accept any position in the government except that of prime minister, with which was to be coupled the office of chancellor of the exchequer. Addington readily acceded to Pitt's claim to this position, but Grenville refused to serve in a ministry where Addington and Hawkesbury held "any efficient offices of real business," and Addington declined to abandon ministerial office for a speakership of the house of lords, which Pitt proposed to create for him. Finally, on April 10, Pitt at a private conference with Addington proposed as an indispensable condition of his own return to office that Melville, Spencer, Grenville, and Windham should become members of his cabinet. This meant a reconstruction of the whole ministry, and Pitt stipulated that the changes should be made by the king's desire and on the recommendation of the existing ministry.

The situation had become an impossible one. Nothing was more reasonable than that Pitt, the friend and protector of the existing ministry, should assume the direction of affairs now that the nation appeared to be on the brink of war. But Pitt could not honourably desert those former colleagues, who had resigned with him on the catholic question. Two of these, however, Grenville and Windham, though doubtless men of the highest capacity, had bitterly attacked the existing ministry; and it was not to be expected that that ministry, supported as it still was by overwhelming majorities in both houses of parliament, supported as it had hitherto been by Pitt himself, should consent to admit its opponents to a share of office. It is highly improbable that Grenville and Windham would then have co-operated with Addington and Hawkesbury, and their admission to office would have ruined the cohesion of the cabinet, unless it had been accompanied by the retirement of the leading members of the existing ministry which Pitt's previous attitude, together with the actual balance of parties in parliament, rendered it impossible to demand. How difficult it was to induce Grenville and Windham to enter into any combination future years were to prove. For the present the ministry took not merely the wisest, but the only course open to it. Addington, after vainly endeavouring to induce Pitt to modify his terms, laid them before a cabinet council on April 13; they were immediately rejected, though the cabinet declared itself ready to admit to office Pitt himself and those of his colleagues who had hitherto acted with the Addington ministry. Pitt could hardly have expected any other reply. No ministry could have granted such terms except on the supposition that Pitt was indispensable, and Pitt for the present hardly claimed such a position.[14]

But if Pitt did not consider himself indispensable, his friends did, and both he and others came gradually to adopt their view. The rejection of his terms left him free to adopt the line of policy that he had sketched to Grenville in the previous December. He had not to wait long for an opportunity, but in the opinion of Pitt's friends at least the first provocation came from Addington. Unable to strengthen his ministry by any accession from Pitt and his followers, he had turned to the "old opposition," the whigs who, under the leadership of Fox, had consistently advocated a pacific policy. These had recently supported the ministry against the "new opposition," as the followers of Grenville and Windham were called. But since 1797 Fox and the majority of the "old opposition" had generally absented themselves from parliament, and George Tierney, member for Southwark, had led what was left of their party.[15] He now received and accepted the offer of the treasurership of the navy, one of the most important of the offices below cabinet rank. As a speaker Tierney was a valuable addition to the government which was sadly deficient in debating power; he had, however, been particularly bitter in his attacks on Pitt, with whom he had fought a duel in 1798, and had provoked the sarcastic wit of Canning, in whose well-known parody, "The Friend of Humanity and the Knife-grinder" (1798), the original illustration by Gillray depicted the friend of humanity with the features of Tierney and laid the scene in the borough of Southwark.


The appointment, which Pitt himself does not appear to have resented, was announced on June 1, and Tierney took his place on the treasury bench on the 3rd. On the same evening Colonel Patten moved a series of resolutions condemning, in extravagant terms, the conduct of the ministry in the negotiation with France. Pitt seized the opportunity to move the orders of the day. In other words, he proposed that the question should be left undecided. He expressed the opinion that the ministry was not free from blame, but declared himself unable to concur in all the charges against it. He considered further that to drive the existing ministers out of office would only throw the country into confusion, and that it was therefore inadvisable to pursue the question. To this the ministerial speakers replied by demanding a direct censure or a total acquittal, and the consequent division served only to display the weakness of the opposition. The Addington, Fox, and Grenville parties combined to oppose Pitt's motion, which was rejected by 333 votes against 56. Pitt and Fox, and their respective followers then left the house, leaving the ministerial party and the Grenville party to decide the fate of Patten's resolutions, which were negatived by 275 votes against 34. A comparison of the figures of the two divisions, allowing for tellers, gives as the voting strength of Pitt's party 58, of Grenville's 36, of Fox's 22, and of Addington's 277. Of these the Grenville party alone desired to eject the ministers from office, while Fox's party openly professed a preference for Addington over Pitt.

During the remainder of the session Pitt seldom took any part in parliamentary business, and never opposed the ministry on any question of importance. On August 12 parliament was prorogued after a session lasting nearly nine months, and the prime minister embraced the opportunity of making some slight reconstructions in the ministry. Pelham, who was removed from the home office, resigned his place in the cabinet, and was shortly afterwards consoled with the chancellorship of the duchy of Lancaster, an office which was not yet definitely recognised as political. Charles Philip Yorke, son of the chancellor who died in 1770 and half-brother of the third Earl of Hardwicke, resigned the office of secretary at war and succeeded to the home office on the 17th. It was also considered advisable to strengthen the ministry in the upper house, where Grenville's oratory gave the opposition a decided advantage in debating power, and Hawkesbury was accordingly summoned to the lords on November 16 in his father's barony of Hawkesbury. After this rearrangement the cabinet contained eight peers and three commoners, no illiberal allowance of commoners according to the ideas of the age. The recess was further marked by a violent war of pamphlets between the followers of Addington and Pitt, which began early in September, and which, although no politician of the first order took any direct part in it, did much to embitter the relations of their respective parties.[16] Not less irritating were the jeux d'esprit with which Canning continued to assail the ministry in the newspaper press.[17] The most famous of these is the couplet:—

Pitt is to Addington As London is to Paddington.

A more openly abusive poem, entitled "Good Intentions," described the prime minister as "Happy Britain's guardian gander". The following verses refer to the appointment of Addington's brother, John Hiley Addington, to be paymaster-general of the forces, and of his brother-in-law, Charles Bragge, afterwards succeeded by Tierney, to be treasurer of the navy:—

How blest, how firm the statesman stands (Him no low intrigue can move) Circled by faithful kindred bands And propped by fond fraternal love.

When his speeches hobble vilely, What "Hear him's" burst from Brother Hiley; When his faltering periods lag, Hark to the cheers of Brother Bragge.

Each a gentleman at large, Lodged and fed at public charge, Paying (with a grace to charm ye) This the Fleet, and that the Army.[18]

[Pageheading: THE KING'S ILLNESS.]

When parliament reassembled on November 22 the opposition was still disunited, and, though Windham severely condemned the inadequacy of the provision made for national defence, he did not venture to divide against the government. But during the Christmas recess a distinct step was made towards the consolidation of the opposition by the reunion of the two sections of the whig party. Grenville had conceived a chimerical project of replacing the existing administration by one which should include all statesmen possessed of real political talent, whatever their differences in the past might have been. True to this policy, he persuaded Fox in January, 1804, to join him in attempting to expel the Addington administration from office as an essential preliminary to any further action. Sheridan, however, with some of the Prince of Wales's friends, still refused to enter into any combination which might result in the return of Pitt to power. The parliamentary session was resumed on February 1, but the course of events was complicated by a recurrence of the king's malady. Symptoms of this were observed towards the end of January; the disease took a turn for the worse about February 12, and on the 14th it was made known to the public. For a short time the king's life appeared to be in danger; his reason was affected during a longer interval, but the attack was in every way milder than in 1789, and on March 7 Dr. Simmons reported to Addington that "the king was competent to perform any act of government".[19] It is true that for many months the king's health did not allow him to give his full attention to public business, but there was nothing to prevent him from attending to such routine work as was absolutely necessary. There could, however, be no question of a change of ministers till there should be a marked improvement in the king's health.

The king's illness was made the occasion on February 27 of a motion by Sir Robert Lawley for the adjournment of the house of commons. This was parried by Addington with the statement that there was no necessary suspension of such royal functions as it might be necessary for His Majesty to discharge at the present moment.[20] The emphasis here obviously lay on the word "necessary". A still bolder course was adopted shortly afterwards by the lord chancellor. When on March 9 the king's assent to several bills was given by commission, Fitzwilliam raised not unreasonable doubts as to whether the king was capable of resuming the functions of government. Eldon, however, declared that, as the result of a private interview with the king, he had come to the conclusion that the royal commissioners were warranted in assenting to the bills in question. Whether the chancellor was justified in assuming this responsibility must remain doubtful; at all events Pitt seems to have determined that the time was now ripe for a ministerial crisis. He had on February 27 criticised both the military and naval defences of the country, but he would not directly attack the government till the king's health was in a better condition. At last, on March 15, the first attack was made. Pitt selected the weak point in the administration. St. Vincent's obstinacy in refusing to believe in the possibility of a renewal of hostility and his excessive economy had brought about a marked deterioration in the strength and quality of the fleet. Pitt accordingly moved for an inquiry into the administration of the navy. Fox dissociated himself from Pitt's attacks on the first lord of the admiralty, but supported the motion on the ground that an inquiry would clear St. Vincent's character. On a division the government had a majority of 201 against 130. On the 19th, however, Pitt refused to join the Grenvilles in supporting Fox's motion for the re-committal of the volunteer consolidation bill. On the following day Eldon made overtures to Pitt, and on the 23rd Pitt dined tete-a-tete with the chancellor, but no record has been preserved of the nature of their negotiations.

On the 29th Pitt, in a letter to Melville, explained his position at length. He intended, as soon after the Easter recess as the king's health should permit, to write to the king explaining the dangers which, in his opinion, threatened the crown and people from the continuance of the existing government, and representing the urgent necessity of a speedy change; he would prefer an administration from which no political party should be excluded, but was unwilling, especially in view of the king's state of health, to force any minister upon him; if, therefore, he should be invited by the king to form a ministry from which the partisans of Fox and Grenville were to be excluded, he was prepared to form one from his own followers united with the more capable members of the existing government, excluding Addington himself and St. Vincent; should this measure fail of success, he would "have no hesitation in taking such ground in Parliament as would be most likely to attain the object".[21] As it happened, the parliamentary assault preceded the correspondence with the king. Immediately after the recess the ministry laid before parliament military proposals which Pitt felt bound to resist. On April 16 Pitt, supported by Windham, opposed the third reading of a bill for augmenting the Irish militia, and expressed a preference for the army of reserve. He was defeated by the narrow majority of 128 against 107. On the 23rd Fox proposed to refer the question of national defence to a committee of the whole house. He was supported by Pitt and Windham, and defeated by 256 votes only against 204. The division which sealed the fate of the ministry was taken two days later on a motion that the house should go into committee on a bill for the suspension of the army of reserve. This was opposed by Pitt, who expounded a rival plan for the diminution of the militia and increase of the army of reserve. Fox and Windham demanded for Pitt's scheme a right to consideration, and on a division the motion was carried by no more than 240 against 203. The division of April 16 had convinced Addington that a reconciliation with Pitt was necessary. On Pitt's refusing to confer with him, he agreed to recommend the king to charge Eldon with the task of discovering Pitt's views as to the formation of a new ministry, in case the king wished to learn them.


The king, however, expressed no such wish, and on April 22 Pitt sent an unsealed letter to Eldon to be laid before the king; announcing his dissatisfaction with the ministry and his intention of declaring this dissatisfaction in parliament.[22] It was not till the 27th that Eldon found a suitable opportunity of communicating Pitt's letter to the king. Before that date Addington, who considered that he could no longer remain in office with dignity after the divisions of the 23rd and 25th, had on the 26th informed the king of his intention to resign. The king reluctantly consented to his resignation, which was announced to the cabinet on the 29th. On the following day Eldon called on Pitt with a request from the king for a plan of a new administration. Pitt replied in a letter, setting forth at great length the arguments in favour of a combined administration, and requesting permission to confer with Fox and Grenville about the construction of the ministry.[23] The letter irritated the king, who demanded a renewed pledge against catholic emancipation, with which Grenville was specially associated in his mind, and refused to admit Pitt to office if he persevered in his purpose of consulting Fox and Grenville. Pitt then declared his adherence to the pledge given in 1801[24] and requested an interview with the king. The interview, which took place on May 7, lasted three hours, and ended in a compromise. The king agreed to admit Grenville and his friends to office, but, while ready to accept the friends of Fox, he refused, as much on personal as on political grounds, to give Fox a place in the cabinet. At the same time he declared himself ready to grant him a diplomatic appointment. At a later date the king went the length of declaring that, rather than accept Fox, he would have incurred the risk of civil war.

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