1803

1803.

Strained relations with France—Prosecution and trial of Jean Peltier for libel against Napoleon—Rumours of war—King's proclamation—Napoleon's rudeness to Lord Whitworth—Hoax on the Lord Mayor—Rupture with France—Return of Lord Whitworth, and departure of the French Ambassador.

POLITICAL Caricatures, or, as they should rather be called, Satirical Prints, form very good indications as to the feeling of the country; and, on the commencement of 1803, they evidently pointed to a rupture with France, owing to the ambition of Napoleon. Lord Whitworth found him anything but pleasant to deal with. He was always harping on the license of the British press, and showed his ignorance of our laws and constitution by demanding its suppression. Hence sprung the prosecution, in our Law Courts, of one Jean Peltier, who conducted a journal in the French language—called L'Ambigu.

Napoleon's grumbling at the license of our press, was somewhat amusing, for the French press was constantly publishing libels against England, and, as Lord Hawkesbury remarked, the whole period, since the signing of the treaty, had been “one continued series of aggression, violence, and insult, on the part of the French Government.” Still, to show every desire to act most impartially towards Napoleon,although the relations with his government were most strained, Jean Peltier was indicted; and his trial was commenced in the Court of King's Bench, on the 21st of February, 1803, before Lord Ellenborough and a special jury.

The information was filed by the Attorney General, and set forth: “That peace existed between Napoleon Bonaparte and our Lord the King; but that M. Peltier, intending to destroy the friendship so existing, and to despoil said Napoleon of his consular dignity, did devise, print, and publish, in the French language, to the tenor following”—what was undoubtedly calculated to stir up the French against their ruler. The Attorney General, in his speech, details the libels, and gives the following description of the paper. “The publication is called The Ambigu, or atrocious and amusing Varieties. It has on its frontispiece a sphinx, with a great variety of Egyptian emblematical figures, the meaning of which may not be very easy to discover, or material to inquire after. But there is a circumstance which marks this publication, namely, the head of the sphinx, with a crown on it. It is a head, which I cannot pretend to say, never having seen Bonaparte himself, but only from the different pictures of him, one cannot fail, at the first blush, to suppose it was intended as the portrait of the First Consul,” &c.

It is very questionable, nowadays, whether such a press prosecution would have been inaugurated, or, if so, whether it would have been successful, yet there was some pretty hard hitting. “And now this tiger, who dares to call himself the founder, or the regenerator, of France, enjoys the fruit of your labours, as spoil taken from the enemy. This man, sole master in the midst of those who surround him, has ordained lists of proscription, and put in execution, banishment without sentence, by means of which there are punishments for the French who have not yet seen the light. Proscribed families give birth to children, oppressed before they are born; their misery has commenced before their life. His wickedness increases every day.” The Attorney General gave many similar passages, which it would be too tedious to reproduce, winding up with the following quotation: “‘Kings are at his feet, begging his favour. He is desired to secure the supreme authority in his hands. The French, nay, Kings themselves, hasten to congratulate him, and would take the oath to him like subjects. He is proclaimed Chief Consul for life. As for me, far from envying his lot, let him name, I consent to it, his worthy successor. Carried on the shield, let him be elected Emperor! Finally (and Romulus recalls the thing to mind), I wish, on the morrow, he may have his apotheosis. Amen.' Now, gentlemen, he says, Romulus suggests that idea. The fate that is ascribed to him is well known to all of us—according to ancient history, he was assassinated.”

Peltier's counsel, a Mr. Mackintosh, defended him very ably, asking pertinently: “When Robespierre presided over the Committee of Public Safety, was not an Englishman to canvass his measures? Supposing we had then been at peace with France, would the Attorney General have filed an information against any one who had expressed due abhorrence of the furies of that sanguinary monster? When Marat demanded 250,000 heads in the Convention, must we have contemplated that request without speaking of it in the terms it provoked? When Carrier placed five hundred children in a square at Lyons, to fall by the musketry of the soldiery, and from their size the balls passed over them, the little innocents flew to the knees of the soldiery for protection, when they were butchered by the bayonet! In relating this event, must man restrain his just indignation, and stifle the expression of indignant horror such a dreadful massacre must excite? Would the Attorney General in his information state, that when Maximilian Robespierre was first magistrate of France, as President of the Committee of Public Safety, that those who spoke of him as his crimes deserved, did it with a wicked and malignant intention to defame and vilify him....

“In the days of Cromwell, he twice sent a satirist upon his government to be tried by a jury, who sat where this jury now sit. The scaffold on which the blood of the monarch was shed was still in their view. The clashing of the bayonets which turned out the Parliament was still within their hearing; yet they maintained their integrity, and twice did they send his Attorney General out of court, with disgrace and defeat.”

However, all the eloquence, and ingenuity, of his counsel failed to prevent a conviction. Peltier was found guilty and, time being taken to consider judgment, he was bound over to appear, and receive judgment when called upon. That time never came, for war broke out between France and England, and Peltier was either forgotten, or his offence was looked upon in a totally different light.

The English Government looked with great distrust upon Napoleon, and the increasing armament on the Continent, and temporized as to the evacuation of Malta, to the First Consul's intense disgust. But the Ministry of that day were watchful, and jealous of England's honour, and as early as the 8th of March, the King sent the following message to Parliament:

George R.

“His Majesty thinks it necessary to acquaint the House of Commons, that, as very considerable military preparations are carrying on in the ports of France and Holland, he has judged it expedient to adopt additional measures of precaution for the security of his dominions; though the preparations to which His Majesty refers are avowedly directed to Colonial service, yet, as discussions of great importance are now subsisting between His Majesty and the French Government, the result of which must, at present,be uncertain, His Majesty is induced to make this communication to his faithful Commons, in the full persuasion that, whilst they partake of His Majesty's earnest and unvarying solicitude for the continuance of peace, he may rely with perfect confidence on their public spirit, and liberality, to enable His Majesty to adopt such measures as circumstances may appear to require, for supporting the honour of his Crown, and the essential interests of his people.

“G. R.”

An address in accordance with the message was agreed to by both Houses, and, on the 10th, the King sent Parliament another message, to the effect he intended to draw out, and embody, the Militia. On the 11th of March the Commons voted the following resolution, “That an additional number of 10,000 men be employed for the sea service, for eleven lunar months, to commence from the 26th of February, 1803, including 3400 Marines.”

Events were marching quickly. On the 13th of March Napoleon behaved very rudely to Lord Whitworth; in fact it was almost a parallel case with the King of Prussia's rudeness to M. Benedetti on the 13th of July, 1870. But let our Ambassador tell his own story:

Despatch from Lord Whitworth to Lord Hawkesbury dated Paris the 14th of March, 1803.

My Lord ,

“The messenger, Mason, went on Saturday with my despatches of that date, and, until yesterday, Sunday, I saw no one likely to give me any further information, such as I could depend upon, as to the effect which His Majesty's Message had produced upon the First Consul.

“At the Court which was held at the Tuileries upon that day, he accosted me, evidently under very considerable agitation. He began by asking me if I had any news from England. I told him that I had received letters from your lordship two days ago. He immediately said, ‘And so you are determined to go to war.' ‘No!' I replied, ‘we are too sensible of the advantages of peace.' ‘Nous avons,' said he, ‘déjà fait la guerre pendant quinze ans.' As he seemed to wait for an answer, I observed only, ‘C'en est déjà trop.' ‘Mais,' said he, ‘vous voulez la faire encore quinze années, et vous m'y forcez.' I told him that was very far from His Majesty's intentions. He then proceeded to Count Marcow, and the Chevalier Azara, who were standing together, at a little distance from me, and said to them, ‘Les Anglais veulent la guerre, mais s'ils sont les premiers à tirer l'epée, je serai le dernier à la remettre. Ils ne respectent pas les traités. Il faut dorénavant les couvrir de crêpe noir.' He then went his round. In a few minutes he came back to me, and resumed the conversation, if such it can be called, by saying something civil to me. He began again: ‘Pourquoi des armémens? Contre qui des mesures de précaution? Je n'ai pas un seul vaisseau de ligne dans les ports de France; mais, si vous voulez armer, j'armerai aussi; si vous voulez vous battre, je me battrai aussi. Vous pourrez peut-être tuer la France, mais jamais l'intimider.' ‘On ne voudrait,' said I ‘ni l'un, ni l'autre. On voudrait vivre en bonne intelligence avec elle.' ‘Il faut donc respecter les traités,' replied he; ‘malheur à ceux qui ne respectent pas les traités; ils en serait responsible à toute l'Europe.' He was too much agitated to make it advisable for me to prolong the conversation; I therefore made no answer, and he retired to his apartment, repeating the last phrase.

“It is to be remarked, that all this passed loud enough to be overheard by two hundred people who were present, and I am persuaded that there was not a single person, who did not feel the extreme impropriety of his conduct, and the total want of dignity as well as of decency, on the occasion.

“I propose taking the first opportunity of speaking to M. Talleyrand on this subject.

“I have the honour to be, &c.

“(Signed Whitworth.”

He did call on Talleyrand, who assured him that it was very far from the First Consul's intention to distress him, but that he had felt himself personally insulted by the charges which were brought against him by the English Government; and that it was incumbent upon him to take the first opportunity of exculpating himself, in the presence of the ministers of the different Powers of Europe : and Talleyrand assured Lord Whitworth that nothing similar would again occur.

And so things went on, the French wishing to gain time, the English temporizing also, well knowing that the peace would soon be broken.

We are not so virtuous ourselves, in the matter of false news, as to be able to speak of the following Stock Exchange ruse  in terms of proper indignation. It was boldly conceived, and well carried out.

On the 5th of May, 1803, at half-past eight in the morning, a man, booted and spurred, and having all the appearance of just having come off a long journey, rushed up to the Mansion House, and inquired for the Lord Mayor, saying he was a messenger from the Foreign Office, and had a letter for his lordship. When informed that he was not within, he said he should leave the letter, and told the servant particularly to place it where the Lord Mayor should get it the moment of his return. Of course the thing was well carried out; the letter bore Lord Hawkesbury's official seal, and purported to be from him. It ran thus:

Downing Street, 8 a.m.

To the Right Hon. the Lord Mayor.

“Lord Hawkesbury presents his compliments to the Lord Mayor, and is happy to inform him that the negotiations between this country, and the French Republic, have been amicably adjusted.”

His lordship made inquiries as to the messenger, and, as the whole thing seemed to be genuine, he wrote one copy, which was straightway stuck up outside the Mansion House, and sent another to Lloyd's, going himself to the Stock Exchange with the original, and, about 10 a.m., wrote to Lord Hawkesbury expressing his satisfaction. Before a reply could be obtained, and the whole fraud exposed, Mr. Goldsmid called at the Mansion House, saw the letter, and pronounced it a forgery. Meanwhile, the excitement on the Stock Exchange had been terrible. Consols opened at 69, and rose, before noon, to over 70, only to sink, when the truth came out, to 63. If the bargains had been upheld, it would have been hopeless ruin to many; so a committee of the Stock Exchange decided that all transactions on that day, whether for money or time, were null and void. The perpetrators of this fraud, consequently, did not reap any benefit; nor were they ever found out, although the Lord Mayor offered a reward of £500.

The Caricaturists were, at this time, very busy with their satirical pictures, some of which are very good, especially one by Gillray (May 18, 1803) called “Armed Heroes.” Addington, in military costume, with huge cocked hat and sword, bestrides a fine sirloin of the “Roast Beef of Old England,” and is vapouring at little Bonaparte, who, on the other side of the Channel, is drawing his sword, and hungrily eyeing the beef. Says he:

“Ah, ha! sacrè dieu! vat do I see yonder?
Dat look so invitingly Red and de Vite?
Oh, by Gar! I see 'tis de Roast Beef of Londres,
Vich I vill chop up, at von letel bite!”

Addington alternately blusters and cringes, “Who's afraid? damme! O Lord, O Lord, what a Fiery Fellow he is! Who's afraid? damme! O dear! what will become of ye Roast Beef? Damme! who's afraid? O dear! O dear!” Other figures are introduced, but they are immaterial.

But the crisis was rapidly approaching. On the 12th of May Lord Whitworth wrote Lord Hawkesbury: “The remainder of this day passed without receiving any communication from M. de Talleyrand. Upon this, I determined to demand my passports, by an official note, which I sent this morning by Mr. Mandeville, in order that I might leave Paris in the evening. At two I renewed my demand of passports, and was told I should have them immediately. They arrived at five o'clock, and I propose setting out as soon as the carriages are ready.” He did not, however, land at Dover until a quarter to twelve on the night of the 17th of May, where he found the French Ambassador, General Andreossi, almost ready to embark. This he did early in the morning of the 19th of May, being accompanied to the water side by Lord Whitworth.

Invasion Squibs continued—“The Freeman's Oath”—“John Bull and Bonaparte”—“The Eve of Invasion”—“A Biography of Napoleon”—“Britons, strike home”—Enrolment of 400,000 Volunteers—Napoleon at Calais—Apprehension of vagrants, and compulsorily recruiting the Army and Navy with them—Patriotism of the nation—Preparations in case of reverse—Beacons—Spies—The French prisoners—Emmett's rebellion in Ireland—Its prompt suppression—General Fast—Relief of the Roman Catholics.

SEE yet another:

“The Consequences of Buonaparte's succeeding in his designs against this Country:—Universal Pillage, Men of all parties slaughtered, Women of all Ranks violated, Children Murdered, Trade Ruined, the Labouring Classes thrown out of Employment, Famine with all its Horrors, Despotism Triumphant. The remaining Inhabitants Carried away by Ship Loads to Foreign Lands. Britons look before you.

There were sham playbills such as—“Theatre Royal, England. In Rehearsal, and meant to be speedily attempted, A Farce  in one Act, called The Invasion of England. Principal Buffo, Mr. Buonaparte ; being his First  (and most likely his last) Appearance on the Stage,” &c. “In Rehearsal, Theatre Royal of the United Kingdoms. Some dark, foggy night, about November next, will be Attempted , by a Strolling Company of French Vagrants, an Old Pantomimic Farce, called Harlequin's Invasion , or the Disappointed Banditti ,” &c. “Theatre Royal, the Ocean. In preparation, A magnificent  Naval  and  Military  SPECTACLE, superior to anything of the kind ever witnessed; consisting of an immense display of Flat-bottomed Boats Burning, Sinking, &c., to be called BUONAPARTE; or The Free-Booter  running away; the Triumph of the British Flag,” &c.

“THE FREEMAN'S OATH.

“Our bosoms we'll bare for the glorious strife,
And our oath is recorded on high;
To prevail in the cause that is dearer than life,
Or, crush'd in its ruins, to die.
Then rise, fellow freemen, and stretch the right hand,
And swear to prevail in your dear native land.

'Tis the home we hold sacred is laid to our trust,
God bless the green isle of the brave,
Should a conqueror tread on our forefathers' dust,
It would rouse the old dead from their grave.
Then rise, fellow freemen, and stretch the right hand,
And swear to prevail in your dear native land.

In a Briton's sweet home shall the spoiler abide,
Prophaning its loves and its charms?
Shall a Frenchman insult the lov'd fair at our side?
To arms! Oh, my country, to arms!
Then rise, fellow freemen, and stretch the right hand,
And swear to prevail in your dear native land.

Shall Tyrants enslave us, my Countrymen? No!
Their heads to the sword shall be given:
Let a deathbed repentance be taught the proud foe,
And his blood be an offering to Heaven.
Then rise, fellow freemen, and stretch the right hand,
And swear to prevail in your dear native land.”

Turning from the sublimity of this patriotic effusion, we shall find a change in “John Bull  and Bonaparte !! to the tune of the Blue Bells of Scotland :”

“When and O when does this little Boney come?
Perhaps he'll come in August! perhaps he'll stay at home;

But it's O in my heart, how I'll hide him should he come.

Where and O where does this little Boney dwell?
His birth place is in Corsica—but France he likes so well,

That it's O the poor French, how they crouch beneath his spell.

What cloathes and what cloathes does this little Boney wear?
He wears a large cock'd hat for to make the people stare;

But it's O my oak stick! I'd advise him to take care!

What shall be done, should this little Boney die?
Nine cats shall squall his dirge, in sweet melodious cry,

And it's O in my heart, if a tear shall dim my eye!

Yet still he boldly brags, with consequence full cramm'd
On England's happy island, his legions he will land;

But it's O in my heart, if he does may I be d——d.”

I will give but one more example, not that the stock is exhausted by some hundreds, but that I fear to be wearisome, and this one shows that if occasionally the matter of invasion was treated with a light heart, there were many, nay, the large majority, who looked upon its possibility au grand serieux.

“THE EVE OF INVASION.

“The hour of battle now draws nigh,
We swear to conquer, or to die;
Haste quick away, thou slow pac'd Night,
To-morrow's dawn begins the fight.

Chorus.

Brothers, draw th' avenging sword,
Death or Freedom be the word.

A Soldier.

Did ye not leave, when forc'd to part,
Some treasure precious to the heart?
And feel ye not your bosoms swell,
Whene'er ye think of that farewell?

Chorus.

Another Soldier.

My Lucy said, no longer stay,
Thy country calls thee hence away,
Adieu! may angels round thee hover,
But no slave shall be my lover.

Chorus.

Another.

My Grandsire cried, I cannot go,
But thou, my Son, shall meet the foe;
I need not say, dear Boy, be brave,
No Briton sure would live a slave.

Chorus.

Another.

My Wife, whose glowing looks exprest,
What patriot ardour warm'd her breast,
Said, ‘In the Battle think of me;
These helpless Babes, they shall be free.'

Chorus.

All.

Shades of Heroes gone, inspire us,
Children, Wives, and Country fire us.
Freedom loves this hallow'd ground—
Hark! Freedom bids the trumpet sound.

Chorus.

Brothers, draw th' avenging sword,
Death or Freedom be the word.”

If the foregoing examples of the Patriotic Handbills of 1803 are not choice specimens of refined literature, they are at least fairly representative. I have omitted all the vilification of Napoleon, which permeates all the series in a greater or less degree, because I have already given it in another work. It was gravely stated that his great grandfather was the keeper of a wine-shop, who, being convicted of robbery and murder, was condemned to the galleys, where he died in 1724. His wife, Napoleon's great grandmother, was said to have died in the House of Correction at Genoa. “His grandfather was a butcher of Ajaccio, and his grandmother daughter of a journeyman tanner at Bastia. His father was a low pettyfogging lawyer, who served and betrayed his country by turns, during the Civil Wars. After France conquered Corsica, he was a spy to the French Government, and his mother their trull.” General Marbœuf was said to have been Napoleon's father. He was accused of seducing his sisters, and his brothers were supposed to be a very bad lot. He massacred the people at Alexandria and Jaffa, besides poisoning his own sick soldiers there. There was nothing bad enough for the Corsican Ogre ; they even found that he was the real, original, and veritable Apocalyptic Beast , whose number is 666. It is but fair to say that the majority of these accusations came originally from French sources, but they were eagerly adopted here; and, although they might be, and probably were, taken at their proper valuation by theeducated classes, there is no doubt but the lower classes regarded him as a ruffianly murderer. “Boney will come to you,” was quite enough to quiet and overawe any refractory youngster, who, however, must have had some consolation, and satisfaction, in crunching, in sweetstuff, Bonaparte's Ribs. It was all very well to sing—

“Come, Bonaparte , if you dare;
John Bull invites you; bring your Host,
Your slaves with Free men to compare;
Your Frogs shall croak along the Coast.

When slain, thou vilest of thy Tribe,
Wrapped in a sack your Bones shall be,
That the Elements may ne'er imbibe
The venom of a Toad like thee”—

but there was the flat-bottomed Flotilla, on the opposite shore, which we were unable to destroy, or even to appreciably damage, and the “Army of England,” inactive certainly, was still there, and a standing menace. The Volunteers were fêted, and praised to the top of their bent. An old air of Henry Purcell's (1695), which accompanied some words interpolated in Beaumont and Fletcher's play of “Bonduca” or “Boadicæa,” became extremely popular; and the chorus, “Britons, strike home,” was married to several sets of words, and duly shouted by loyal Volunteers. The Pictorial Satirist delineates the Volunteer as performing fabulous deeds of daring. Gillray gives us his idea of the fate of “Buonaparte forty-eight hours after Landing!” where a burly rustic Volunteer holds the bleeding head of Napoleon upon a pitchfork, to the delight of his comrades, and he thus apostrophises the head: “Ha, my little Boney! what do'st think of Johnny Bull, now? Plunder Old England! hay? make French slaves of us all! hay? ravish all our Wives and Daughters! hay? O Lord, help that silly Head! To think that Johnny Bull would ever suffer those lanthorn Jaws to become King of Old England Roast Beef and Plum Pudding!”

Ansell, too, treats Bonaparte's probable fate, should he land, in a somewhat similar manner. His etching is called “After the Invasion. The Levée en Masse, or, Britons, strike home.” The French have landed, but have been thoroughly routed, of course, by a mere handful of English, who drive them into the sea. Our women plunder the French dead, but are disgusted with their meagre booty—garlic, onions, and pill-boxes. A rural Volunteer is, of course, the hero of the day, and raises Napoleon's head aloft on a pitchfork, whilst he thus addresses two of his comrades. “Here he is exalted, my Lads, 24 Hours after Landing.” One of his comrades says, “Why, Harkee, d'ye zee, I never liked soldiering afore, but, somehow or other, when I thought of our Sal, the bearns, the poor Cows, and the Geese, why I could have killed the whole Army, my own self.” The other rustic remarks, “Dang my Buttons if that beant the head of that Rogue Boney. I told our Squire this morning, ‘What! do you think,' says I, ‘the lads of our Village can't cut up a Regiment of them French Mounseers? and as soon as the lasses had given us a kiss for good luck, I could have sworn we should do it, and so we have.”

Well! it is hard to look at these things in cold blood, at a great distance of time, and without a shadow of a shade of the fear of invasion before our eyes, so we ought to be mercifully critical of the bombast of our forefathers. It certainly has done us no harm, and if it kept up and nourished the flame of patriotism within their breasts, we are the gainers thereby, as there is no doubt but that the bold front shown by the English people, and the unwearying vigilance of our fleet, saved England from an attempted, if not successful, invasion. Upwards of 400,000 men voluntarily rising up in arms to defend their country, must have astonished not only Bonaparte, but all Europe; and by being spontaneous, it prevented any forced measures, such as a levée en masse. The Prince of Wales, in vain, applied for active service; but, it is needless to say, it was refused, not to the colonel of the regiment, but to the heir to the throne. The refusal was tempered by the intimation that, should the enemy effect a landing, the Prince should have an opportunity of showing his courage, a quality which has always been conspicuous in our Royal Family.

But before we leave the subject of the threatened Invasion, it would be as well to read some jottings respecting it, which have no regular sequence, and yet should on no account be missed, as they give us, most vividly, the state of the public mind thereon.

Napoleon was at Boulogne, at the latter end of June, making a tour of the ports likely to be attacked by the British, and, as an example of how well his movements were known, see the following cutting from the Times  of 4th of July: “The Chief Consul reached Calais at five o'clock on Friday afternoon (the 1st of July). His entry, as might be expected, was in a grand style of parade: he rode on a small iron grey horse of great beauty. He was preceded by about three hundred Infantry, and about thirty Mamelukes formed a kind of semicircle about him.... In a short time after his arrival he dined at Quillac & Co's. (late Dessin's ) hotel. The time he allowed himself at dinner was shorter than usual; he did not exceed ten minutes or a quarter of an hour. Immediately after dinner he went, attended by M. Francy, Commissary of Marine, Mengaud, Commissary of Police, and other municipal officers, through the Calais gates, to visit the different batteries erected there. As soon as he and his attendants had passed through the gates, he ordered them to be shut, to prevent their being incommoded by the populace. The execution of this order very much damped the ardour of the Corsican's admirers, who remained entirely silent, although the moment before, the whole place resounded with Vive Buonaparte! The same evening the General went on board the Josephine  packet, Captain Lambert, and, after examining everything there minutely, he took a short trip upon the water in a boat as far as the pier-head to the Battery at the entrance of the harbour, where he himself fired one of the guns; afterwards, he visited all the different Forts, and at night slept at Quillac's Hotel.”

They had a rough-and-ready method, in those days, of recruiting for the services, apprehending all vagrants, and men who could not give a satisfactory account of themselves, and giving them the option of serving His Majesty or going to prison. There is a curious instance of this in the following police report, containing as it does an amusing anecdote of “diamond cut diamond.” Times, the 7th July, 1803: “Public Office, Bow Street. Yesterday upwards of forty persons were taken into custody, under authority of privy search warrants, at two houses of ill fame; the one in Tottenham Court Road, and the other near Leicester Square. They were brought before N. Bond, Esq., and Sir W. Parsons, for examination; when several of them, not being able to give a satisfactory account of themselves, and being able-bodied men, were sent on board a tender lying off the Tower. Two very notorious fellows among them were arrested in the office for pretended debts, as it appeared, for the purpose of preventing their being sent to sea, the writs having been just taken out, at the suit of persons as notorious as themselves. The magistrates, however, could not prevent the execution of the civil process, as there was no criminal charge against them, which would justify their commitment.” Take also a short paragraph in the next day's Times : “Several young men, brought before the Lord Mayor yesterday, charged with petty offences, were sent on board the tender.”

But, perhaps, this was the best use to put them to, as idle hands were not wanted at such a juncture. Men came forward in crowds as volunteers. Lloyd's, and the City generally, subscribed most liberally to the Patriotic Fund, and even in minor things, such as transport, the large carriers came forward well—as, for instance, the well-known firm of Pickford and Co. offered for the service of the Government, four hundred horses, fifty waggons, and twenty-eight boats.[19] County meetings were held all over England to organize defence, and to find means of transport for cannon, men, and ammunition in case of invasion. The people came forward nobly; as the Times remarked in a leader (6th of August, 1803): “Eleven Weeks  are barely passed since the Declaration of War, and we defy any man living, to mention a period when half so much  was ever effected, in the same space of time, for the defence of the country. 1st. A naval force such as Great Britain never had before, has been completely equipped, manned, and in readiness to meet the enemy. 2nd. The regular military force of the kingdom has been put on the most respectable footing. 3rd. The militia has been called forth, and encamped  with the regular forces. 4th. The supplementary militia has also been embodied, and even encamped. 5th. An army of reserve of 50,000 men has been already added to this force, and is now in great forwardness. 6th. A measure has been adopted for calling out and arming the whole mass of the people, in case of emergency; and we are confident that our information is correct, when we say, that at this moment there are nearly 300,000 men enrolled in different Volunteer, Yeomanry, and Cavalry Corps, of whom at least a third  may be considered as already disciplined, and accoutred.”

But, naturally, and sensibly, the feeling obtained of what might occur in case the French did actually land, and, among other matters, the safety of the King and the Royal Family was not forgotten. It was settled that the King should not go far, at least at first, from London, and both Chelmsford, and Dartford, as emergency might direct, were settled on as places of refuge for His Majesty: the Queen, the Royal Family, and the treasure were to go to Worcester the faithful, Civitas in bello, et in pace fidelis. The artillery and stores at Woolwich were to be sent into the Midland districts by means of the Grand Junction Canal. Beacons were to be affixed to some of the seaside churches, such as Lowestoft and Woodbridge, and these were of very simple construction—only a tar barrel!

But, by and by, a better, and more organized, system of communication by beacon was adopted, and the beacons themselves were more calculated to effect their object. They were to be made of a large stack, or pile, of furze, or faggots, with some cord-wood—in all, at least, eight waggon loads, with three or four tar barrels, sufficient to yield a light unmistakable at a distance of two or three miles. These were to be used by night; by day, a large quantity of straw was to be wetted, in order to produce a smoke.

When the orders for these first came out, invasion was only expected on the Kent and Sussex coasts, and the beacon stations were proportionately few; afterwards, they became general throughout the country. The first lot (17th of November) were

1. Shorncliffe.5. Egerton.
1. Canterbury.5. Tenderden.
2. Barham.6. Coxheath.
2. Shollenden.6. Highgate near Hawkehurst.
2. Lynne Heights.7. Boxley Hill.
3. Isle of Thanet.7. Goodhurst.
3. Postling Down.8. Chatham Lines.
4. Charlmagna.8. Wrotham Hill.

N.B. Stations marked with the same figures, communicate directly with each other.

Of course, naturally, there was the Spy craze, and it sometimes led to mistakes, as the following will show: Times, the 29th of August, “A respectable person in town a short time ago, went on a party of pleasure to the Isle of Wight, and, being anxious to see all the beauties of the place, he rose early one day to indulge himself with a long morning's walk. In his way he took a great pleasure in viewing with his glass, the vessels at sea. In the midst of his observations he was interrupted by an officer, who, after a few questions, took him into custody upon suspicion of being a spy. After a proper investigation of his character, he was liberated.”

In more than one case, however, the charge of espionage  seems to have rested on a far more solid basis; but, of course, the “Intelligence Department” of every nation will have its agents, in the enemy's camp, if possible. Two persons, one named Nield, the other Garrick (nephew to the famous actor), were actually arrested as being Bonaparte! I do not know how Mr. Nield fared, but Mr. Garrick was enabled to prosecute his journey under the protection of the following certificate from the Mayor of Haverfordwest:

“This is to certify whom it may concern, that the bearer, Mr. George Garrick, is known to me; who is on a tour through the country, and intends returning to England, by the way of Tenby.

Richard Lloyd Mayor.”

We cannot wonder at the rumour of spies being in their midst, when we think of the number of French prisoners of war there were in our keeping, one prison alone (Mill Prison, Plymouth) having 2,500.

Many were out on parole, which I regret to say all did not respect, many broke prison and got away; in fact, they did not know where to put them, nor what to do with them, so that it was once seriously proposed that, in an hour of danger, should such ever arrive, they should be shut up in the numerous spent mines throughout England. When on parole, the following were the regulations—they were allowed to walk on the turnpike road within the distance of one mile from the extremity of the town in which they resided, but they must not go into any field or cross road, nor be absent from their lodgings after five o'clock in the afternoon, during the months of November, December, and January; after seven o'clock in the months of February, March, April, August, September, and October; or, after eight o'clock in the months of May, June, and July; nor quit their lodgings in the morning until the bell rang at six o'clock.

If they did not keep to these regulations, they were liable to be taken up and sent to prison, a reward of one guinea being offered for their recapture. Should they not behave peaceably, they would also have to return to durance.

There were also very many refugees here who were not prisoners of war, and, in order to keep them under supervision, a Royal Proclamation was issued on the 12th of October, citing an Act passed the last session of Parliament, respecting the Registration of Aliens, and proclaiming that all aliens must, within eighteen days from date, register themselves and their place of abode—if in London, before the Lord Mayor, or some magistrate at one of the police offices; if in any other part of Great Britain, before some neighbouring magistrate.

However, enemies nearer home were plaguing John Bull. “Mannikin Traitors” verily, but still annoying. Then, as now, England's difficulty was Ireland's opportunity; and of course, the chance was too tempting to be resisted. The Union (curious phrase!) was but in the third year of its existence, and Ireland was once more in open rebellion. Chief of the spurious patriots was one Robert Emmett, whose picture in green and gold uniform coat, white tights and Hessian boots, waving an immense sword, appears periodically, in some shop windows, whenever Irish sedition is peculiarly rampant, only to disappear when the inevitable petty rogue, the approver, has done his work, and the windbag plot is pricked.

Emmett was the son of one of the State physicians in Dublin, and brother to that Thomas Eddis Emmett, who was prominent in the rebellion of 1798. Robert had so compromised himself, by his speech and behaviour, that he deemed it wise to live abroad during the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, but he returned when his father died, having become possessed of about £2,000, which he must needs spend, in “regenerating” Ireland.

Silly boy! (he was only twenty-four) with such a sum, and about one hundred followers, he thought it could be done. His crazy brain imagined his down-trodden compatriots hastening to his side, to fight for the deliverance of their beloved country from the yoke of the hated Saxon despot. There were meetings sub rosâ—assemblages on the quiet—as there always will be in Ireland when the pot is seething; and at last the curtain was to be drawn up, for the playing of this farce, on the 23rd of July, when towards evening, large bodies of men began to assemble in some of the streets of Dublin—but vaguely, and without leaders.

At last a small cannon was fired, and a single rocket went upwards to the sky; and the deliverer, Emmett, sallied out, waving that big sword. A shot from a blunderbuss killed Colonel Browne; and the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, Lord Kilwarden, and his nephew, Rev. Richard Wolfe, were dragged from their carriage, and brutally murdered.

A little more bluster, and then, some three hours after its rising, this scum was put down by about one hundred and twenty soldiers. The ringleaders were caught and executed. Emmett, tried on the 19th of September, was hanged next day.

To show how slowly news travelled in those days, the Times  has no notice of this riot on the 23rd till the 28th of July, and then not a full account. The Government, however, seems to have estimated the situation quite at its full gravity, for there was a message from the King to his faithful Parliament on the subject; the Habeas CorpusAct was once more suspended, and martial law proclaimed.

On the 19th of October the religious panacea of a general fast was tried, and “was observed with the utmost decorum” in the Metropolis. The Volunteers, especially, won the encomia of the Times  for their goodness in going to church, and the Annual Register  also warms up into unusual fervour on the occasion: “Such a number of corps attended this day, that it is impossible to enumerate them. Every principal church was crowded with the ardent patriots who fill the voluntary associations; and there can be no doubt that, in the present temper of the people of this country, not only every other great city and town, but even the smallest village or hamlet throughout the island, evinced a proportionate degree of fervour and animation in the holy cause. The corps who had not before taken the oath of allegiance, did so this day, either on their drill grounds, or in their respective churches.”

Of the latter part of the year, other than the Invasion Scare, there is little to say. Among the Acts passed this year, however, was one of hopeful import, as showing a glimmer of a better time to come in the era of religious toleration. It was to relieve the Roman Catholics of some pains and disabilities to which they were subject, on subscribing the declaration and oath contained in the Act 31 George III.

Three per Cent. Consols opened this year at 69; dropped in July to 50, and left off the 31st of December at 55.

Bread stuffs were cheaper, the average price of wheat being 77s. per quarter, and the quartern loaf, 9d.


[19]In two advertisements only of voluntary offers of horses and carriages, in August, we find they amount to 2,370 horses and 510 carriages.

Declaration of War against France—Napoleon makes all the English in France prisoners of war—Patriotic Fund—Squibs on the threatened invasion—“The New Moses”—Handbill signed “A Shopkeeper”—“Britain's War-song”—“Who is Bonaparte?”—“Shall Frenchmen rule over us?”—“An Invasion Sketch.”

ON THE 16th of May the King sent a message to Parliament announcing his rupture with the French Government, and the recall of his ambassador, and laying before them the papers relating to the previous negotiations; and on the 18th of May, His Majesty's Declaration of War against France (a somewhat lengthy document) was laid before Parliament. No time was lost, for, on the 20th of May, Lord Nelson sailed from Portsmouth in the Victory, accompanied by the Amphion, to take the command in the Mediterranean; and prizes were being brought in daily.

Whether it was in reprisal for this, or not, there are no means of telling, but Napoleon, on the 22nd of May, took the most unjustifiable step of making prisoners of war of all the English in France, and Holland, where, also, an embargo was laid on all English vessels. This detention of harmless visitors was unprecedented, and aroused universal reprobation. They were not well treated, and, besides, were harassed by being moved from place to place.

In the Annual Register, vol. xlv. p. 399, we read: “In consequence of orders from the Government, the English, confined at Rouen, have been conducted to Dourlens, six miles from Amiens. The English that were at Calais when Bonaparte visited that place, have all been sent to Lisle. The English prisoners at Brussels have been ordered to repair to Valenciennes. The great Consul, like a politic shepherd, continually removes the pen of his bleating English flock from spot to spot, well knowing that the soil will everywhere be enriched by their temporary residence. How their wool will look when they return from their summer pasture is of little consequence!”

It is not my province to write on the progress of the war, except incidentally, and as it affected England socially. The old Volunteer Corps, which had been so hastily disbanded, again came to the fore, in augmented strength, and better organization; but of them I shall treat in another place. As both men, and money, constitute the sinews of war, the volunteers found one, the merchants helped with the other. On the 20th of July the merchants, underwriters, and subscribers of Lloyd's, held a meeting for the purpose of “setting on foot a general subscription, on an extended scale, for the encouragement and relief of those who may be engaged in the defence of their country, and who may suffer in the common cause; and of those who may signalize themselves during this present most important contest.” The Society of Lloyd's gave £20,000 Stock in the Three per Cent. Consols, and over £12,000 was subscribed at once, five subscriptions each of £1000 coming from such well-known City names as Sir F. Baring, John J. Angerstein, B. and A. Goldsmid, John Thomson, and Thomson Bonar. Other loyal meetings took place, and everything was done that could be done, to arouse the enthusiasm of the people, and the spirit of patriotism.

One method was by distributing heart-stirring handbills, serious or humorous, but all having the strongest patriotic basis. Of these very many hundreds are preserved in the British Museum,[17] and very curious they are. That they answered their purpose no one could doubt, for, although the threatened invasion of England was a patent fact, to which no one could shut their eyes, nor doubt its gravity, these handbills kept alive an enthusiasm that was worth anything at the time, and it was an enthusiasm, that although in its style somewhat bombastic, and with some insular prejudice, was deep-seated and real; and, had the invasion ever taken place, there can be little doubt but that, humanly speaking, it would have resulted in a disastrous defeat for Napoleon, or, had it been otherwise, it would not have been the fault of the defenders, for, like Cromwell's Ironsides, “Every man had a heart in him.”

In these handbills, Bonaparte was accused of many things—that he became Mohammedan, poisoned his sick at Jaffa, with many other things which do not come within the scope of this work, and have been fully treated in my “English Caricature and Satire on Napoleon I.,” and which I do not wish to reproduce; only, naturally, Napoleon's name can hardly be kept out, and, as I took the best for that book, this must not suffer therefrom. They are of all dates, as can be seen from internal evidence, but very few are dated, so that they may be taken nearly haphazard. The following, from its mention of Lord Whitworth, and his recall, is evidently an early one:

The New Moses

or

Bonaparte's Ten Commandments.

“Translated from a French Manuscript
by
Soliman  the Traveller .

“And when the great man came from Egypt, he used cunning and force to subject the people. The good as well as the wicked of the land trembled before him, because he had won the hearts of all the fighting men; and after he had succeeded in many of his schemes, his heart swelled with pride, and he sought how to ensnare the people more and more, to be the greatest man under the sun.

“The multitude of the people were of four kinds: some resembled blind men, that cannot see; some were fearful, who trembled before him; others courageous, and for the good of the people, but too weak in number; and others yet, who were as wicked as the great man himself. And when he was at the head of the deluded nation, he gave strict laws and the following commandments, which were read before a multitude of people, and in a full congregation of all his priests—

“1. Ye Frenchmen, ye shall have no other commander above me; for I, Bonaparte, am the supreme head of the nation, and will make all nations about you bow to you, and obey me as your Lord and Commander.

“2. Ye shall not have any graven images upon your Coin, in marble, wood, or metal, which might represent any person above me; nor shall ye acknowledge any person to excel me, whether he be among the living, or the dead, whether he be in the happy land of the enlightened French, or in the cursed island of the dull English; for I, the Chief Consul of France, am a jealous hero, and visit disobedience of an individual upon a whole nation, and of a father upon the children, and upon the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and show mercy unto them that love me, and humble themselves.

“3. Ye shall not trifle with my name, nor take it in vain; nor shall you suffer that any other nation, treat it disrespectfully; for I will be the sole commander of the earth, and make you triumph over your enemies.

“4. Remember that ye keep the days of prayers, and pray for me as the head of the nation, and the future conqueror of the base English. Ye shall pray fervently with your faces cast upon the ground, and not look at the priest when he pronounces my name; for I am a jealous hero, and delight in my priests because they are humble, and I have regarded the lowliness of their hearts, and forgiven them all their past iniquities. And, ye priests, remember the power of him who made you his creatures, and do your duty.

“5. Respect and honour all French heroes, that ye may find mercy in mine eyes for all your iniquities, and that ye may live in the land in which I, the Lord your Commander, lives.

“6. Ye shall not murder each other, save it be by my own commands, for purposes that may be known to me alone; but of your enemies, and all those nations that will not acknowledge your, and my greatness, ye may kill an infinite number; for that is a pleasing sight in the eyes of your supreme Commander.

“7. Ye shall not commit adultery at home, whatever ye may do in the land of the infidels, and the stiff-necked people; for they are an abomination to the Lord your Commander.

“8. Ye shall not steal at home, but suppress your covetousness and insatiable desire for plunder until ye may arrive in the land of your enemies. Ye shall neither steal from them with indiscretion, but seem to give with the left hand, when the right taketh.

“9. Ye shall not bear false witness against your neighbour, if he should distinguish himself in the land of the enemies.

“10. Ye shall not covet anything of your neighbour, but everything of your enemies—his jewels, his gold, his silver, his horse or ass, his maid, his daughter, his wife, or anything in which your hearts find delight; and ye may take it, but still with cunning; for the Lord your Commander loveth mildness more than strength, to please the people when he plunders. Use the sword in battle, cunning after it; look for plunder, but subject the people to me. Herein lie all my Commandments, and those who keep them shall be protected by my power, and prosper in all their undertakings.

“When the reading of these Commandments were over, the multitude gazed with amazement. There were present the gentiles, and ambassadors of various nations, and many looked at each other as if they were looking for the sense of what they had heard. The Chief Priest, however, more cunning than all the rest, thus broke silence:

Bishop. Our mouths shall glorify thee for ever; for thou hast regarded the lowliness of our hearts, and hast raised thy servants from the dust.

Pope. And I will support your holy endeavours; for without him I would not sit upon the holy seat of Peter.

All  (Priests and many of the Multitude). Praise be to him, for he has mercy on those that are humble, and fear him—throughout all the world, and all nations but the English, who are an abomination in his sight.

Bishop of Amiens. Bow to him, for he commands ye.

An Italian to a Swiss. I bow to him, for I fear and dread him.

A Dutchman  (to the two former). Ay, ay! I must bow, at present, with you; but I would rather make him bow before me and my nation.

French Gentleman. Dat be very right to you! Vy vere ye sush fools, and bigger fools yet, as we French, to submit to him, and even to court his tyranny?

Bonaparte  (in one corner of the hall, and not hearing part of the preceding discourse, to one of his slaves). Do you observe that proud Englishman?

1st Slave. He neither bows, nor does he seem to approve of the homage paid to thee by the worshippers.

2nd Slave. Ay, he is one of the stiff-necked Englishmen.

Bonaparte. And so are all of his breed, except some of the meanest rabble.

Lord Whitworth  (to himself). I shall bow to thee with all my heart and soul, as soon as I may have the pleasure of being recalled.

Bonaparte. This is an insult which shall be revenged on the whole nation.”

There is not much “go” in the above, but it is mild, as being one of the first; they soon developed.

Fellow Citizens ,

“Bonaparte threatens to invade us; he promises to enrich his soldiers with our property, to glut their lust with our Wives and Daughters. To incite his Hell Hounds to execute his vengeance, he has sworn  to permit everything. Shall we Merit by our Cowardice the titles of sordid Shopkeepers, Cowardly Scum, and Dastardly Wretches, which in every proclamation he gives us? No! we will loudly give him the lie : Let us make ourselves ready to shut our Shops, and march to give him the reception his malicious calumnies deserve. Let every brave young fellow instantly join the Army  or Navy ; and those among us who, from being married, or so occupied in business, cannot, let us join some Volunteer Corps, where we may learn the use of arms, and yet attend our business. Let us encourage recruiting in our neighbourhood, and loudly silence the tongues of those whom Ignorance or Defection (if any such there be) lead them to doubt of the attempt to invade or inveigh against the measures taken to resist it. By doing this, and feeling confidence in ourselves, we shall probably prevent the attempt; or, if favoured by a dark night, the enemy should reach our shores, our Unanimity and Strength will paralyze his efforts, and render him an easy prey to our brave Army. Let us, in families and neighbourhood, thus contribute to so desirable an event, and the blood-stained banners of the Vaunted Conquerors of Europe will soon be hung up in our Churches, the honourable Trophies of our brave Army —an Army ever Victorious when not doubled in numbers, and the only Army who can stand the charge of Bayonets. What Army  ever withstood THEIRS!!! Let the welfare of our Country animate all, and ‘come the World in Arms against us, and we'll shock ‘em!'

A Shopkeeper.

“Prave ‘orts,” but they answered their purpose. It was an article of faith that an Englishman was certainly a match for two ordinary foes, perhaps three, and this, no doubt, was to a certain extent true. The history of that time shows victories, both by land and sea, gained against fearful odds. What then might not have been done under such stimulant as

“BRITAIN'S WAR-SONG.

Britons  rouse; with Speed advance;
Seize the Musket, grasp the Lance;
See the Hell-born Sons of France!

Now Murder, Lust, and Rapine reign
Hark! the Shriek o'er Infants slain!
See the desolated Plain!

Now's the Day, and now's the Hour,
See the Front of Battle lower!
See curs'd Buonaparte's Power!

Who will be a Traitor Knave?
Who can fill a Coward's Grave?
Who so base as live a Slave?

Rush indignant on the Foe!
Lay the Fiend Invaders low!
Vengeance is on every Blow!

Forward! lo, the Dastards flee;
Drive them headlong to the Sea;
Britons ever will be free!

Huzza, Huzza, Huzza!”

“Who is BONAPARTE?

Who is he? Why an obscure Corsican, that began his Murderous Career with turning his Artillery upon the Citizens of Paris—who boasted in his Public Letters from Pavia, of having shot the whole Municipality —who put the helplessinnocent, and unoffending  Inhabitants of Alexandria, ManWoman, and Child, to the Sword , till Slaughter  was tired of its work—who, against all the Laws of War, put near 4000 Turks to death, in cold blood, after their Surrender—who destroyed his own Comrades by Poison, when lying sick and wounded in Hospitals, because they were unable to further the plan of Pillage which carried him to St. Jean d'Acre—who, having thus stained the profession of Arms, and solemnly and publicly renounced the religious Faith of Christendom, and embraced Mohametanism, again pretended to embrace the Christian Religion—who, on his return to France, destroyed the Representative System—who, after seducing the Polish Legion into the Service of his pretended Republic, treacherously transferred it to St. Domingo, where it has perished to a Man, either by Disease or the Sword—and who, finally, as it were to fill the Measure of his Arrogance, has Dared  to attack what is most dear and useful to civilized Society, the Freedom  of the Press  and the Freedom  of Speech , by proposing to restrict the British Press  and the Deliberations of the British Senate. Such is the Tyrant  we are called upon to oppose; and such is the Fate which awaits England  should We  suffer him and his degraded Slaves to pollute Our  Soil.”

Shall, Frenchmen rule o'er us? King Edward said, No!
And No! said King Harry, and Queen Bess she said, No!
And No! said Old England, and No! she says still;
They never shall rule Us; let them try if they will.

Hearts of Oak we are all, both our Ships and our Men;

Then steady, Boys, steady,

Let's always be ready;

We have trimmed them before, let us trim them again.

Shall Frenchmen rule o'er us? King George he says No!
And No! say our Lords, and our Commons they say No!
And No! say All Britons of every degree;
They shall never rule Britons, United and Free.

Hearts of Oak, &c.

Shall Frenchmen rule us , the Free Sons of the Waves?
Shall England be ruled by a Nation of Slaves?
Shall the Corsican Tyrant , who bound on their Chains,
Govern Us, in the room of Our Good King  who reigns?

Hearts of Oak, &c.

Though He'd  fain stop our Press, yet we'll publish his shame;
We'll proclaim to the World his detestable Fame;
How the Traitor Renounced his Redeemer , and then
How he murder'd his Pris'ners and Poison'd his Men.

Hearts of Oak, &c.

Then Down with the Tyrant , and Down with his Rod !
Let us stand by our Freedom , our King , and our God !
Let us stand by our Children , our Wives , and our Homes !
Then Woe  to the Tyrant Whenever he Comes !

Hearts of Oak, &c.”

The following is particularly good, as it gives a very vivid description of what might have occurred, had Napoleon's threatened invasion been successful, and it will favourably contrast with its congener of modern times, “The Battle of Dorking.”

Our Invasion Sketch.

“If there be one Person so lost to all Love for his Country, and the British Constitution, as to suppose that his Person or his Property, his Rights and his Freedom, would be respected under a Foreign Yoke, let him contemplate the following Picture—not Overcharged, but drawn from Scenes afforded by every Country: Italy, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Hanover, which has been exposed to the Miseries of a French Invasion.

London 10 Thermidor Year  ——.

General Bonaparte  made his public entrance into the Capital, over London Bridge, upon a charger from his Britannic Majesty's  Stables at Hanover, preceded by a detachment of Mamelukes. He stopped upon the bridge for a few seconds, to survey the number of ships in the river; and, beckoning to one of his Aide-de-camps, ordered the French flags to be hoisted above the English—the English sailors on board, who attempted to resist the execution of this order, were bayonetted, and thrown overboard.

“When he came to the Bank, he smiled with Complaisance upon a detachment of French Grenadiers, who had been sent to load all the bullion in waggons, which had previously been put in requisition by the Prefect of London, Citizen Mengaud , for the purpose of being conveyed to France. The Directors of the Bank were placed under a strong guard of French soldiers, in the Bank parlour.

“From the Bank, the First Consul  proceeded, in grand procession, along Cheapside, St. Paul's, Ludgate Hill, Fleet Street, and the Strand, to St. James's Palace. He there held a grand Circle, which was attended by all his officers, whose congratulations he received upon his entrance into the Capital of these once proud Islanders. Bonaparte , previous to his arrival, appointed two Prefects, one for London, and one for Westminster. Citizen Mengaud , late Commissary at Calais, is the Prefect of London, and Citizen Rapp , of Westminster. He also nominated Citizen Fouché to the office of Minister of Police. The Mansion-house has been selected for the residence of the Prefect of London, and Northumberland House,[18] for the residence of the Prefect of Westminster. As it has been deemed necessary to have the Minister of Police always near the person of the First Consul , Marlborough House has been given to Citizen Fouché. Lodgings have been prepared elsewhere, for the late owners of that splendid palace.

“London was ordered to be illuminated, and detachments of French Dragoons paraded the principal streets, and squares, all night.

11 Thermidor.

Bonaparte , at five o'clock in the morning, reviewed the French troops on the Esplanade at the Horse Guards. A Council was afterwards held, at which the following Proclamations were drawn up, and ordered to be posted in every part of the City:

“‘By Order of the First Consul.
“‘Proclamation.

“‘St. James's Palace.

“‘Inhabitants of London, be tranquil. The Hero, the Pacificator, is come among you. His moderation, and his mercy, are too well known to you. He delights in restoring peace and liberty to all mankind. Banish all alarms. Pursue your usual occupations. Put on the habit of joy and gladness.

“‘The First Consul  orders,

“‘That all the Inhabitants of London and Westminster remain in their own houses for three days.

“‘That no molestation shall be offered to the measures which the French Soldiers will be required to execute.

“‘All persons disobeying these Orders, will be immediately carried before the Minister of Police.

“‘(Signed Bonaparte.
“‘The Minister of Police, Fouché.'

“‘Proclamation.
“‘To the French Soldiers.

“‘Soldiers! Bonaparte  has led you to the Shores, and the Capital of this proud island. He promised to reward his brave companions in arms. He promised to give up the Capital of the British Empire to pillage. Brave Comrades, take your reward. London, the second Carthage, is given up to pillage for three days.

“‘(Signed Bonaparte.
“‘The Minister of War, par interim, Angereau.'

“The acclamations of the French Soldiery—Vive Bonaparte le Héros le Pacificateur le Magnanime —resound through every street.

“12th, 13th, 14th Thermidor.

London Pillaged! The doors of private houses forced. Bands of drunken soldiers dragging wives, and daughters, from the hands of husbands and fathers. Many husbands, who had the temerity  to resist, butchered in the presence of their Children. Flames seen in a hundred different places, bursting from houses which had been set fire to, by the vivacity  of the troops. Churches broken open, and the Church plate plundered—the pews and altars converted into Stabling. Four Bishops murdered, who had taken refuge in Westminster Abbey—the screams of women and of children mix with the cries of the Soldiers—Vive la Republique! Vive Bonaparte!

“St. Martin's Church converted into a depôt  for the property acquired by the pillage of the Soldiery.

15 Thermidor.

“A proclamation published by the First Consul , promising protection  to the inhabitants.

“The houses of the principal Nobility and Gentry appropriated to the use of the French Generals. Every house is required to furnish so many rations of bread and meat for the troops.

“At a Council of State, presided over by Bonaparte , the two Houses of Parliament are solemnly abolished, and ordered to be replaced by a Senate, and a Council of State. General Massena  appointed Provisional President of the former, and General Dessolles  of the latter. The Courts of Law are directed to discontinue their sittings, and are replaced by Military Tribunals.

16 Thermidor.

“A contribution of twenty millions ordered to be levied upon London. A deputation was sent to Bonaparte  to represent the impossibility of complying with the demand, the Bank and the Capital having been pillaged. After waiting in the ante-chamber of the Consul for four hours, the deputation are informed by a Mameluke guard, that Bonaparte  will not see them. Two hundred of the principal Citizens ordered to be imprisoned till the Contribution is paid.

17 Thermidor.

“A plot discovered by Fouché against the First Consul , and three hundred, supposed to be implicated in it, sent to the Tower.

“Insurrections in different parts of the Capital, on account of the excesses of the Soldiers, and the contribution of twenty millions. Cannon planted at all the principal avenues, and a heavy fire of grape shot kept up against the insurgents.

“Lords Nelson St. Vincent , and Duncan , Messrs. Addington Pitt Sheridan ,Grey , twenty Peers and Commons, among the latter is Sir Sidney Smith , tried by the Military Tribunals for having been concerned in the insurrection  against France, and sentenced to be shot. Sentence was immediately carried into execution in Hyde Park.

18 Thermidor.

“The Dock-yards ordered to send all the timber, hemp, anchors, masts, &c., to France. The relations of the British sailors at sea, sent to prison till the ships are brought into port, and placed at the disposal of the French. Detachments dispatched to the different Counties to disarm the people.

“The Island ordered to be divided into departments, and military divisions—the name of London to be changed for Bonapart-opolis —and the appellation of the Country to be altered from Great Britain, to that of La France insulaire.—Edinburgh to take the name of Lucien-ville —Dublin, that of Massen-opolis.

“BRITONS! can this be endured? shall we suffer ourselves thus to be parcelled off? I hear you one and all say, No! No! No! To your Tents, O Israel!—for BRITONS NEVER WILL BE SLAVES.”


[17]Notably the following, 806. k. 1.————1—154  Squibs on Bonaparte's threatened Invasion; 1890 e. Miss Banks' Collection, Threatened Invasion; and 554 f. 25 Squibs on the Threatened French Invasion.

[18]On the site of which The Grand Hotel, Charing Cross, now stands.