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WAR WITH FRANCE.--UNSUCCESSFUL EXPEDITIONS TO HOLLAND.NAVAL CONQUESTS AND VICTORIES.-ADMIRAL NELSON. THE IRISH REBELLION, 1798. THE FRENCH IN EGYPT.-VICTORY OF ABOUKIR BAY, AUGUST 1798.-BONAPARTE QUITS EGYPT, AUGUST 1799.—THE FRENCH ARMY IN EGYPT CAPITULATES, 1801.—BONAPARTE RAISES HIMSELF TO SUPREME POWER IN FRANCE. HIS ANIMOSITY TO THE ENGLISH.
(From 1793 to 1803.)
IN 1793 Great Britain and most of the European states had joined in a league to resist France; the war continued without cessation for nine years; but Britain was soon deserted by the states who had been her allies when it began, and whom she had assisted with large sums of money to enable them to fit out their troops.
In Holland, many of the people sided with the French, and drove out their Stadtholder, the Prince of Orange. England endeavoured to restore him, and twice sent an expedition for that purpose; but neither expedition was successful, and the British troops suffered extremely from sickness and the want of necessary comforts. Indeed Holland seemed to be a fatal country to Englishmen ; for several years afterwards, when a third attempt was made to overthrow the French dominion there, and a noble army of forty thousand men left the shores of England, the greater number of them were speedily laid low by the marshague, and but a sickly feeble remnant returned to this country.
At sea England was triumphant; the valuable Dutch colonies of Ceylon, the Spice Islands, and the Cape of Good Hope were taken, and the French
lost their West Indian sugar islands. But the war in the West Indies had this sad consequence, that thousands upon thousands of brave British soldiers perished by the yellow fever, which raged there during three years like a plague. In 1794 Lord Howe had obtained a great victory over the French fleet off Brest; and in 1797, at Cape St. Vincent, Sir John Jervis defeated the Spaniards, who had nearly twice as many ships and guns as himself. This victory was chiefly owing to the heroic conduct of Nelson, who was soon to become the most celebrated of English seamen. The defeat of the Spaniards at Cape St. Vincent was followed in a few months by that of the Dutch fleet, which was entirely beaten by Admiral Duncan, at Camperdown.
But these triumphs at sea were followed by a very serious trouble near home. In 1798 a multitude of the Irish people, buoyed up with promises of assistance from France, broke out into rebellion, and began to commit frightful excesses. Many persons were murdered, and a great deal of mischief was done by the rebels before they could be put down by the king's troops. Their hopes of aid from France were disappointed. A fleet had been despatched to them, laden with warlike stores, and having on board a number of French officers, who were to teach the rebels how to resist regular soldiers; but Admiral Duncan had taken nine of the ships, and chased the others into port, so that no aid arrived until the rebellion was already subdued. Then, indeed, a small body of French soldiers landed at Killala, but it was too late for them to do any mischief, and at the end of a fortnight they surrendered themselves prisoners.
While the Irish rebellion was in progress, Bonaparte had embarked with a large army for the East. He had formed some grand plans for establishing the French dominion in Egypt, and overthrowing the British power in India. When Admiral Nelson heard in what direction Bonaparte had sailed, he guessed that some mischief was intended against our empire in the East, and hastened in pursuit of the French fleet. On the 1st of August, 1798, he came in sight of it at Aboukir Bay, and prepared immediately for battle. The French were superior in the number of ships, men, and guns, but that was a consideration which never troubled Nelson. The action lasted through the night. In the midst of the fight, when all was darkness, save for the flashes of the guns, the flag-ship of the French Admiral took fire. Nelson, who had been wounded just before, got upon deck again to order out boats, and do everything he could to save the men on board the burning vessel; but the flames soon reached the powder-there was a terrible crash, louder than all the roaring of the artillery, and in a moment all was over,-the noble ship was blown into a thousand pieces. When morning dawned, the English found themselves in possession of almost all the French fleet, and the few vessels which remained untaken fled in all haste.
Another English sailor, Sir Sydney Smith, drove Bonaparte back from Syria, by throwing himself into the citadel of Acre with a few seamen, and holding out against the assaults of the French till they had exhausted all their stores and ammunition, and were obliged to retreat back to Egypt. There Bonaparte suddenly left his army, and went back to France.
The troops he left behind him were afterwards defeated by a force sent from England, and laid down their arms. This was the end of the attempts made by France to destroy the empire of the British in India.
Bonaparte had left Egypt because he heard that the French people were tired of the rulers they had chosen for themselves, and he thought the time was come when he could raise himself to the supreme power. At first he only took the title of First Consul, but he had in fact all the power of the most absolute king, and at the end of a few years he caused himself to be crowned Emperor with great pomp.
He put an end to many of the evils which had afflicted France during the Revolution, restored the public profession of Christianity, and founded useful institutions for the advancement of education, manufactures, and trade. But these good works were not of so much service as they might have been, because Bonaparte was always at war. For a few months, indeed, there was peace, and the people of England, who had been nine years at war, rejoiced greatly when a treaty was signed at Amiens, in March 1802, and hoped that Europe would be in quietness for a long while to come.
But Bonaparte did not wish for anything more than a short cessation of arms; so he presently refused to perform his part of the treaty, and then charged the English with breaking their engagements. He had set his heart on being master of all Europe at the least, and he hated the English nation because they would never give way to him.
In order to stir up the French people to a burning
hatred of the English, he invented the most odious calumnies against our nation and government, and scattered them through all France by his proclamations and newspapers. The people of France could know nothing but what he chose to tell them, for no one was allowed to publish any book or paper that he did not approve of, and he never allowed his subjects to know the truth when a falsehood suited his purposes better.
BONAPARTE THREATENS TO INVADE ENGLAND.-BATTLE OF TRA FALGAR, AND DEATH OF NELSON, OCTOBER 21ST, 1805.-DEATH OF PITT, JANUARY 1806, and oF FOX, SEPTEMBER 1806.
(From 1803 to 1806.)
IN May 1803, war was declared again. Bonaparte had already conquered Italy and Prussia. Russia, Austria, and all the German princes were so beaten by him that they were forced to submit to his will. Not that their soldiers were wanting in bravery, but they had no commanders with genius like Bonaparte's to lead them. The countries overrun by his troops were subjected to horrible sufferings, for they were not only plundered of their money and of all their most precious things, but wherever the French armies were quartered every kind of outrage was inflicted on the inhabitants. And when our countrymen heard of these things, they resolved yet more firmly, that as long as God gave them strength to fight, no soldier of Bonaparte's should ever set foot on English ground.
For two years Bonaparte threatened to invade our island; more than twelve months were consumed in