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accepted by Austria, that those German princes who were deprived of territories west of the Rhine by the French, in extending their empire to that river, should be indemnified in Germany, at the expense of the ecclesiastical electors. Their possessions not being hereditary, there was less injury and difficulty in dispossessing them. Bonaparte now proposed indemnifying the Duke of Tuscany in the same way, by giving him Salzburg. Austria was equally injured and mortified by this secularisation of the ecclesiastical electorates, which had escaped the Thirty Years' war, and which maintained Catholic preponderance even in the north. But Bonaparte struck this strong blow to Catholic sacerdotalism in Germany. He even promised the bishopric of Bamberg and Wurzburg to Prussia, if it would occupy Hanover. Cobentzel was no Melas, he fought to the last, but it was in vain ; the treaty of Luneville was signed on the 9th of February 1811. France took the boundary of the Rhine, and even dismantled all the fortresses on the right bank. Mantua it equally insisted on. Tuscany was given to a prince of the Bourbon family of Spain, the Duke of Parma, afterwards King of Etruria.* The royal family of Naples were left unpunished for its late attacks, Russia strongly interceding for it and for the King of Piedmont. Rome too was respected. Bonaparte, however, cutting down the high prelates in Germany, determined to respect the Pope in Rome, and already looked to make the Church and its head at least the spiritual-allies and supporters of his future sovereignty.t
The main thought of the First Consul was England, and how to overcome its resistance. It was impossible indeed to reconcile any minister of that country to the terrible and now accomplished fact of France remaining
For a personal account of this † Martens, Reuss Deutsche Staidiot prince, see the Memoirs of atskanzlei, Gagern. Madm. D'Abrantès.
CHAP, mistress of the whole of the western continent. Not XLIII.
merely the glory but the very existence of England was threatened by it. All the diplomatic logic of Bonaparte, the un-English sophisms of the British opposition, were idle froth slavered vainly on that fact. England, however, was still supreme on its own element, the sea, and the efforts of Bonaparte to dispute its naval power were as ill-imagined and unsuccessful as English attempts to raise and uphold continental resistance to France. Pitt's repeated efforts to galvanise by subsidies the old governments of Europe to take the field proved futile against French armies and commanders, both sprung from a people animated by the energy which the revolution had given, and the genius which it had called forth. From one mistake of this kind to another the English government floundered, until chance or a more provident cause than chance led the French ruler into the blunder of attacking not merely a court but a people. In trying to crush the Spaniards they turned against him, and proved as indomitable as the French.
In his struggle to combat his foes by sea, Bonaparte was not so fortunate. In 1801 his object was to unite all the countries with ports and navies against England. He had a vague idea that the revenue and power of the latter state depended on its trade with the Continent. To exclude English vessels from the Baltic, from the Elbe, from the Tagus, from the Spanish and Italian ports, became thus his great aim. For this he flattered the court of Madrid, by giving Tuscany to a Spanish Bourbon, and with the same view he compelled the Spanish court to invade Portugal.
A most important ally and aid in these designs was the Emperor Paul, who in spite to England for being refused Malta, and for other reasons, laid an embargo on British vessels, and in conjunction with France obliged the small powers of the Baltic—Sweden, Denmark, and also Prussia--to join in reasserting the old pretensions of
neutral powers to carry on trade with belligerents without being searched or stopped. This was the quondam league of Catharine the Second called the Armed Neutrality. A power of equal importance with Russia was the United States, and with them Bonaparte had made a treaty which denied provisions and marine stores to be contraband of war, and which claimed the right of importing into France any commodity, save guns, powder, swords, and bullets. Paul and his allies adopted the same view of what was contraband of war, and England was thus threatened with being deprived of the means of making any serious or effective use of its power of blockade. The rights and claims of neutrals, and the grave events connected with them, belong more particularly to the history of England than to that of France. They produced the invasion of Portugal by a Spanish army under the Prince of the Peace, at the dictation of Bonaparte, as well as the attack upon Copenhagen by the British fleet, ending in the destruction of many
of the Danish vessels, and the submission of the Danish government. The assassins of the Emperor Paul about the same period (April, 1801) came to defeat the scheme of armed neutrality; and as it caused France and England to despair each of them, of the power to inflict any mortal wound upon the other, the event led to peace.
The foreseen conclusion of the struggle in Egypt offered the way for overtures from both sides. In January, 1800, Kleber, who had succeeded to the command in Egypt, and who was no little disgusted with it, concluded with the Turkish vizier at El Arisch, under the suggestion of Sir Sidney Smith, a treaty, by which the French troops were to evacuate Egypt, and be transferred to Europe; such a stipulation was against the express orders of the English government, which, however anxious to expel the French army from Egypt,
* Bignon, 'Thibaudeau.
CHAP. could not be a party to bringing it within a few marches
of the Austrians, when these were about to fight a decisive battle for the possession of Italy. Unfortunately the Turkish vizier had acted upon the convention, and brought his disorderly army of horse to the gates of Cairo, which he expected to be delivered to him. Kleber of course refused, and a battle ensued between the French and Turks at Heliopolis, near Cairo (20th March). The French infantry in squares defied the Turkish horse, which, far superior in numbers, galloped round them in vain, to be finally shot down and routed by destructive volleys of grape.
But Cairo itself had risen in insurrection. And it proved a far more perilous and difficult work for the French to subdue this. They succeeded however.
When a fanatic Arab assassinated Kleber a few weeks subsequent to his victory (June 14th).
The command then devolved upon Menou, a French general not unwilling to enact the part of Sultan of Egypt. From this dream he was awakened at Cairo by the news, that 15,000 English had landed in the bay of Aboukir, on the 8th of March, 1801. He instantly marched to encounter them, and was able to bring up a force about equal to that of the English general, Abercrombie. The landing at Aboukir resembled the recent landing at the Helder; the English had * then to advance along a narrow peninsula to attack Amsterdam, now to capture Alexandria. Had Menou acted like Brune in Holland, that is, stood on the defensive, he probably would have proved victorious. But having an undue contempt for his enemy, he attacked them on the 21st. He soon found the British soldier indomitable in defending his positions. The French were repulsed and lost the action, † Abercrombie was killed.
* Bunbury's Narrative.
He was excessively short-sighted, and his successor, Hutchinson, was equally so, a proof of a similar defect of vision in the English war office. Hutchinson, however, made the most of the victory; he succeeded in separating the French army, and in compelling one after the other to surrender, one half at Cairo, on May the 22nd, the other in Alexandria, August the 31st, on condition of being transferred to France. The battle of Marengo had been fought, the peace of Luneville concluded, there was no longer a reason for objecting to the return of the survivors of the French army of Egypt to their homes.
Negotiations for peace between France and England had long preceded the catastrophe of Egypt, or the fall of Malta. To restore the former to the Porte, but keep the latter as a stepping-stone to recapture it was the first desire of Bonaparte. But he soon found it impossible of accomplishment. He continued therefore to threaten England in Portugal, in Hanover, and in the Channel by the construction of an invading flotilla at Boulogne. Nelson, in August, made a vain attempt to destroy it. Portugal, invaded by the Prince of the Peace, acceded to his demands in the treaty of Badajos, which the First Consul rejected as not procuring him the chief object, for the moment, of the war-a Portuguese province to restore, and thus serve as an equivalent in the making of peace. England, however, defeated this design by seizing Madeira. Negotiations nevertheless proceeded, and the difficult question of Malta was solved by the compromise of restoring it to the knights. France demanded of England the restoration of all her colonial conquests. This being refused, the French consented to her keeping Ceylon, formerly appertaining to Holland. The English also desired to keep Martinique or Trinidad. On this there ensued another dispute and stand-still. But being or pretending to be dissatisfied with the Spanish court, Talleyrand gave up also Trinidad. The preliminaries of peace were thus signed on the 1st of