This chapter covers the period of Napoleon’s return to France however many of the articles that provide some continuity to the history of the period are removed to the Peace chapter.
Sat 10th Sept 1814
The old monarchies of Europe vest their Kings with ownership of the country. The country is property which the King can hold, sell, transfer, encumber with debt, etc.
This doctrine came under critical review when King Carlos gifted Spain to Napoleon in 1808, a transfer that was ratified by a majority of European governments. The Pope and the British could not ratify that transfer, otherwise Joseph Bonaparte had good title to the country and we erred in warring on him, an unthinkable result.
Ratification would have provided a means whereby the insidious doctrine of democracy might have been introduced into Spain and it might be inferred that we approved it. We did ourselves actually stimulate democracy in several European countries but now we are at peace it will be inconvenient.
The consequent agreed revision of international law has caught the Swedes. Under the old rules, they thought Denmark could give them Norway and relied on the terms of the Treaty of Kiel as good title. It was expected that, in return for the Danes ending the famine they have created, the Norwegians would voluntarily submit to Swedish rule. That would have nicely avoided the difficulty.
Unfortunately, Prince Christian of Norway has declared a Regency in his country, issued a Proclamation (above) and called for a levee en masse, preparatory to a declaration of independence. He seems to expect British help.
On the other hand the Swedes will never abandon their claim because all the allies promised her Norway as indemnity for Finland which Russia annexed and Sweden let slip without really exerting herself.
It is likely that the Norwegians cannot have independence and that Britain cannot help them.
Next three issues missing
Tues 11th Oct 1814 Extraordinary
Josephine died in April. She was 51 years old. Her Estate including Malmaison was worth 14 million Francs. She was born on Martinique and came to France as a young woman. She married and her husband became a President of the old Constituent Assembly. He was guillotined in 1793 and she never really recovered from that shock and her own long concurrent imprisonment.
Bonaparte arrived on Elba on 4th May. Eugene Beauharnais has been made a Marshal of France. Maria Louisa is dejected in Vienna. Talleyrand is Foreign Minister of France.
Sat 15th Oct 1814
The treaty with France gives us two islands in the East and two in the West Indies. The removal of the French from their island bases in Asia should make them more amenable to our power in future.
We have not finalised an agreement with the Dutch but we must have Ceylon – the pearls and jewels and spices are nice little earners, but most importantly Trincomalee is a fine port which Madras can never be, and it has strategic implications for our government of India (which calls the island yet another ‘key to India’).
Murat retains Naples. The previous government was odious and he is much better but we should not be rewarding anyone for fighting us.
We have placed the reluctant Ferdinand VII back on his throne at Madrid and his first acts were to quarrel with and finally imprison all members of the Cortes. They have become too independent-minded. He says he is the King and he will draft his own Constitution. The nobility and regular army both tend to his support – it is the way of Kings. Ferdinand is travelling through the provinces and avoiding Madrid. Sir Henry Wellesley, the British ambassador to Spain, is accompanying him. He appears to be gauging the sense of the people and the extent of his national support. It looks likely that the Spanish guerrillas will soon have another war to fight – King v Constitution. The two groups are known as the liberales (constitutionalists) and the serviles (who submit to absolute power). The existing Spanish Constitution is fairly liberal which is unprecedented in Spain – for example, the land-ownership qualification for electors does not fix a minimum income.
Ferdinand will use its novelty to bring about its substitution for a more monarchical social contract by involving the clergy (who own half the country) and aristocracy in a new deal. There is no industry and minimal trade in Spain and no history of a bicameral parliament – everyone meets in one chamber.
The Duke of San Carlos has been made Foreign Minister as reward for his role in removing the British army from Spain and securing the Treaty with France. The British are resentful and say the Spanish do not recognise their obligations.
Sat 15th Oct 1814
That great foundation of trade, the Bank of Hamburg, has been completely drained of assets. When the French garrison left there was little of value remaining in the city. The merchants are seeking for ways to re-establish its credit. They have procured the dismissal of General Davoust who commanded the garrison. His replacement General Gerard has confirmed that Louis XVIII will refund the Bank’s money before end-May.
Sat 15th Oct 1814
Louis XVIII has told the people of La Vendée to forget the past, abandon revenge and embrace forgiveness. If they do that, he will do the same.
He is saying it to everyone but he does not actually do so himself.
A solemn mass for Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette has been held on 14th May in the Metropolitan Church which has annoyed all Paris. The Emperors of Russia and Austria and the King of Prussia attended. The Parisians are watching the Bourbons closely – in fact all the émigrés are out of touch with modern France. All except three of the new ministerial appointees are unknown to the French people.
Louis XVIII has requested the allies to give him Brabant (in like manner, the Tsar feels Poland is an equivalent for his own contribution).
Louis keeps correcting the multitude when they cry ‘vive l’Empereur’. Its not looking good.
Sat 15th Oct 1814
Bonaparte’s mother Letitia is going to Rome with her brother the Cardinal Fesche. They passed through Parma on 2nd May.
Sat 22nd Oct 1814
Le Moniteur of 11th May publishes an announcement of Louis XVIII in which he says he is astonished that the allied armies are levying contributions on the French people. The Convention of 23rd April between France and the allies prohibits it. Louis tells the French these allied soldiers are freebooters who disregard their orders. They should be denied – do not pay.
There is already ill-feeling between the French and allied armies. The Austrian soldiers are wearing sprigs of greenery in their hats as a sign of victory over the French. When the French complained, General Schwartzenberg said it was meaningless and declined to end the practice. If this roughness extends to the populace in general there will be trouble.
The same day of this publication, a fight occurred between French and allied soldiers in Paris. They fought for several hours and hundreds died. It was an infantry battle among the houses of Paris. Louis has ordered all French troops out of the French capital. They were there for his protection. This leaves our appointee King alone in his capital protected by our foreign troops.
The same ideological split as in Spain (between constitutional monarchists and absolute monarchists) is detectable amongst the Parisians. The King and the Senate are being forced to oppose each other. The King is being pressed to rely on the power of the national army whilst the Senate cleaves to the rule of law.
Sat 22nd Oct 1814
In the House of Commons, Vansittart said he wants to continue the war taxes for 1814 as we are still fighting America. The enabling Act for collection of income tax will expire on 5th April 1815.
Wynne said we are blockading Norway on behalf of Sweden to starve the people into agreement to be transferred into new ownership. Our treaty agreements require we assist Sweden in colonising Norway unlike the Russian treaty with Sweden which guarantees Norway is ceded. Wynne thought the Norwegians should be allowed to make their choice of government themselves. His motion was heavily defeated.
Earl Grey said the King of Denmark is sovereign in Norway but is not the proprietor of the country. As such, his monarchical powers are more limited and he cannot legally trade it. He adduced several legal authorities in support of his opinion and the example of the French occupation and colonisation of Corsica four or five decades before, which he deemed a similar injustice.
Grey noted Sweden had been slow in landing her troops at Stralsund and had withheld them from the allied advance on France preferring to have them available against Denmark. He thought those factors might be adequate to repudiate our treaty obligations to her.
Liverpool said Sweden had surrendered Gluckstadt and Holstein as required by treaty and that was good performance. The ministry would not repudiate our agreement and the blockade of Norwegian ports will continue.
Sat 29th Oct 1814
Ferdinand IV of Naples has belatedly proclaimed in Palermo that he did not surrender the sovereignty of the Two Sicilies – it was taken from him. He is worried about this new legalistic concept of monarchical title. He does not want an indemnity for Naples – he wants his kingdom back.
Sat 29th Oct 1814
Bentinck’s Constitution for Sicily has been replaced – it was too democratic. Now the war has ended it is unnecessary to conciliate the people for their approval.
The feudal system remains abolished. A bicameral parliament – upper house of bishops and landowners, lower house of popular representatives is preserved. The practice of upper house legislators being given multiple votes in accordance with the percentage of the population in their estates is ended – in future each Lord has one vote.
The integrity of Judges is preserved by trying their offences in both Houses of Parliament sequentially – if either House finds the Judge not guilty, that is an end to it. The King is obliged to convene parliament annually. The first duty of the new parliament is to draft a new code of laws.
Sat 5th Nov 1814
Paris, 15th May – Louis XVIII has appointed his male relatives to command the French army. Six Bourbons now control the Swiss Guard, infantry, cuirassiers & dragoons, light horse and lancers, hussars and light infantry.
The replaced generals all move down a rank but retain the same pay. Another Bourbon, the Duc d’Angouleme, is given command of the navy.
Sat 5th Nov 1814
General Bertrand, who accompanied Napoleon into exile in Elba, apparently believes the right thing for Napoleon is suicide. He tactfully leaves loaded pistols or phials of poison on the ex-Emperor’s desk. Napoleon says he is not such a fool – he is as good as the rest of them and could still be Marshal of France.
Sat 19th Nov 1814
The new Order of Military Peers has made its appearance in the House of Lords. The colourful uniforms brightened the House considerably although they were somewhat obscured by the Peers’ robes.
Sat 19th Nov 1814
The Prince Regent has a new toy. It is an elegant 60-foot pleasure craft fitted with every conceivable luxury. It was built for Napoleon at Bordeaux and was just being finished when our expedition to the Gironde landed and seized it.
Sat 19th Nov 1814
The ministry says George III is still unwell.
Sat 26th Nov 1814
A considerable number of duels are being fought in Paris between officers of the various armies. About 8 – 10 are fought daily using sabres (or pistols at four paces to ensure a result). Its always a French officer on one side and usually a German or Russian on the other.
Sat 26th Nov 1814
The new Constitution gives Louis XVIII an annual Civil List of 25 million Francs. His brother gets a quarter of that and the other Bourbon princes (nephews) get a sixteenth.
Napoleon’s conscription is abolished and the size of French forces is constitutionally fixed both for peace and war. War can be declared only after the King applies to the parliament and both Houses decree it.
All foreign and defence policy is vested in the King but money for any of his initiatives can only be voted by parliament.
The King makes all treaties (of alliance, peace or commerce) but they have to be ratified by parliament with the sole exception of this present peace which the King will approve on his own.
Sat 26th Nov 1814
The new French Constitutional arrangements have a few interesting clauses:
- The proceedings of the upper House are secret;
- Elected deputies to the lower House must be assessed to pay 1,000 Francs in tax each year to qualify; electors must pay 300 Francs in tax. Proceedings of the lower House are public unless five Deputies object and demand a secret committee.
- The Land Tax is voted year by year whereas indirect taxes may be valid for several years.
- The King convokes and prorogues both Houses annually. He may dissolve the lower House for up to three months. No Deputy can be arrested whilst parliament is in session.
- Ministers may address either House whenever they wish.
- Ministers and Peers may only be tried by Peers. Ministers can only be accused of Treason or corruption.
- The Courts continue as before. Trials are by Jury. The penalty of confiscation of assets is repealed. The King may pardon any convict and commute punishment. The nobility will in future pay tax.
Sat 3rd Dec 1814
Before leaving England, the King of Prussia enrolled his two boys at Oxford University.
Sat 3rd Dec 1814
Our blockade of Norwegian ports continues and hardship is ubiquitous but the people are still unwilling to become Swedish.
Sat 3rd Dec 1814
Hamburg, 27th May – the port is full of shipping; the road to Altona is stuffed with carriages carrying goods outbound and the personal effects of returning citizens inbound. They are using the old timbers of the destroyed housing in the suburbs to create temporary huts.
Sat 10th Dec 1814
Private letters from Vienna in early July say the allies are considering removing Napoleon from Elba to St Helena. Some correspondence has been intercepted in which it appears he is inciting the states of northern Italy to adopt his cause. It was thought that St Helena was appropriate as it is adequately isolated to ensure he cannot escape. It is the property of the India Company.
We (the Editor) have perused Frankfurt Journals to 23rd July but no mention of this report is published in them. It must remain speculative for the time being.
Meanwhile, Princess Borghese left Elba in mid-July for Naples. She is Napoleon’s sister and the wife of the ex-Governor of Piedmont, who has thought it politic to abandon her. That gentleman has just shipped his 2 million Francs loot from Piedmont to Civita Vecchia but the ship was caught in a storm and put into Porto Ferrajo for shelter where Napoleon discovered it, made enquiries, and on learning of its cargo and ownership, has confiscated the lot, purportedly as alimony for his sister. Touché
Sat 17th Dec 1814
The Netherlands budget for 1814 is depressing. Income is estimated at 38.5 million Florins (or Guilders) whilst expenses are set at 63.5 million. The deficit is attributed to the extraordinary European circumstances this year – some of the revenue was taken away by the Prussian army, most of the indirect tax income could not be collected and, consequently, the Dutch have fallen further behind on debt repayments.
On the expenditure side, the dykes have not been maintained for years and a great investment is necessary. The Netherlands economy will need a few years to recover.
Sat 17th Dec 1814
The Pope is back in Rome. He has abolished the Code Napoleon, the commercial laws and the form of Process and reinstated the previous laws. All the Judges are replaced with Italian magistrates. The ‘civil state’, as it is called, is suppressed. All the appointments and titles given by the previous government are invalidated.
The ancient taxes are revived with the special privileges of adherents to the Holy See. The receipt of payments within Papal lands is placed under an Ecclesiastical Commission to restore the church’s properties and the Episcopal revenue.
Sat 24th Dec 1814
Reports from Capetown and Simon’s Bay say property prices have fallen due to an absence of buyers. Investors are deterred by the uncertain sovereignty of South Africa. It is conceivable that the colony will be returned to the Dutch.
Sat 24th Dec 1814
One of the transfers of sovereignty arising out of the peace haggling involves Corsica. This island was occupied by the British early in the war and was instantly incorporated in the British Empire. It cost us a few hundred lives but we really had little use for the island – its ports are not good and its productions are very limited. We only took it as a base from which to disrupt French trade with Genoa.
Sat 24th Dec 1814
Count Rostopchin, the Duke of Moscow who ordered the town burned after the French arrived, and his fellow Russian aristocrats have held a grand fête at the hotel of Poltaratsky, the Tsar’s minister, in Petersburg at which Alexander was proclaimed the Benefactor of the World.
A bust of the Russian Emperor, crowned by two genii, was displayed on a pedestal encrusted with diamonds. Underneath was the legend ‘glory to the Eternal, peace to the Earth’.
Sat 31st Dec 1814
An account of the extraordinary expenses of the British army in 1813 has been presented to House of Commons. The main item is £17.8 million that was drawn in Bills world-wide by myriad officers.
There is also an item for purchase of gold and silver at £1.8 million. The total spent is £21.9 million which is £6.4 million more than House of Commons provided.
Sat 21st Jan 1815
Napoleon’s barge, which we seized in the Gironde and presented to the Prince Regent, is to be displayed as a trophy of war in the forthcoming naval review at Portsmouth.
Sat 28th Jan 1815
Letter from France – the conscript army that Napoleon raised and marched to Saxony to confront the victorious Russians met the same fate as its illustrious predecessor. At Nancy a pestilential fever has been taking the survivors off at the rate of 300 a day. They have been eating their horses for lack of anything else. Most have no or few clothes and their wounds are uncovered. Many local people have caught the disease and this province has become a sepulchre. A few months ago these lads were the flower of our city. Now, when we feed any of them, they are instantly sick. An entire generation of Frenchmen has been lost – there is no-one between 20 – 30 years old to be found.
Sat 11th Feb 1815
Our blockade of Norwegian ports has been effective. Their only recourse was reliance on their small fleet but that has just been destroyed by the Swedes in an engagement. They have submitted to be colonised by Sweden in preference to starvation.
Sat 11th Feb 1815
British policy in the peace talks appears to be to raise the Netherlands to greater power. Holland is to be joined with Belgium to create one country under the Prince of Orange. We have lent him 10,000 troops to maintain order.
Sat 11th Feb 1815
18th July – The House of Commons has voted £100,000 to the poor of Hanover and a similar amount for the poor clergy of Wales and the Channel Islands.
Sat 11th Feb 1815
Sir James Mackintosh has reprobated Castlereagh in the Commons for conniving with Prussia, Austria and Russia in the partition of Poland. He says the Poles are brave Christian people. The allies offered Poland the choice of dismemberment or colonisation by Russia.
Sat 11th Feb 1815
London 9th August – 44 regiments of militia have been disbanded.
Sat 11th Feb 1815
Bernadotte’s Proclamation to Norway:
The King of Denmark gave Norway to Sweden in return for obtaining the evacuation of enemy troops from Schleswig Holstein, the restitution of the forts of Gluckstadt and Fredericksteen, a promise for the future cession of Pomerania and free navigation of the Oresund. It is the right of Kings to trade territories and you Norwegian people may have no opinion.
You supported Napoleon and sent him thousands of your sailors. You ‘picked the wrong horse.’ We avoided France and maintained our own independence. You are a small country. You have to do what the big countries say.
The allied powers want you to join Sweden. Union with Sweden makes sense. It will make Scandinavia defensible. The King of Sweden offers Norway independence, liberty and a guarantee of all your privileges.
Sat 11th Feb 1815
Napoleon’s mother has left Rome and is returning to Elba.
Sat 11th Feb 1815
The Bourbons have held another memorial service – this time for Generals Pichegru and Moreau, the saboteur Georges Cadoudal and those others who were executed for promoting the Bourbon cause.
Sat 18th Feb 1815
Prussia has resumed her old game and has made an immense demand on Saxony. She has forgotten the tutorial received from France. In Berlin whatever was the greatest historical extent of Prussian territory is conceived to be the country’s true limit. The Prussian attitude has annoyed the Austrians. Prussia and Austria are divided by a common language and always irritate each other. Russia is poor but she has assumed an invulnerability after Napoleon’s failure – it has enhanced her reputation. She will likely have an opinion about Saxony too.
Sat 18th Feb 1815
French report on the deliberations of the legislature:
The French legislature has been considering the freedom of the press. They note that allowing people to say what they like relieves anger and identifies possible troublemakers. British political factions all own newspapers to promote their views. Such an institution is inevitable in England due to the extreme rigour of her punitive laws.
France has moved away from exemplary punishments since the excesses of the Revolution. We would be obliged to financially support newspapers to influence them.
Opponents of freedom say Louis XVIII has reduced the size of publications exempt from censorship from 30 to 20 pages. He has been reminded that it was the Parisian press that the Jacobins used to overturn the monarchy. He says he must ensure newspapers publish responsibly.
The vote nevertheless was 137 / 80 for freedom of the press.
Sat 4th March 1815
The Edinburgh Review has considered the effects of peace:
Patronage of the King and his Minister is reduced by the reduction of our army and navy and the repeal of war taxes. A few hundred thousand Pounds of jobs have become redundant. Government expenditure overall should reduce by between £30 – 40 millions a year.
Peace will permit the normal diffusion of wealth that has been prevented by the centralised nature of our national economy in war. This will incrementally raise the power of the people and mitigate the worst aspects of government repression.
These two effects of peace will bring about a real chance for government reform. The familiar pretexts – invasions, expeditions, coalitions, campaigns – will no longer be available to the oligarchy and the unconstitutional anomalies in our political system will become increasingly evident, even to MPs. Comparisons will be made between Britain and other nations without our being censured for ‘promoting democracy’.
The return of hereditary monarchy in Europe will soon give rise to the familiar abuses which will be seen at face value without causing us to be arrested for sedition, treason or whatever. The indiscriminate praise of our allies and vindictive abuse of our enemies is ended.
In peace, Catholic emancipation can no longer be denied on the grounds the Pope is in the French camp. Castlereagh and Liverpool would no doubt be uneasy in the new dispensation but whether it is them or Grey and Grenville at the head of government, they would have to deal with the natural effects of peace.
Sat 4th March 1815
Hamburg, 19th July – British merchants have inundated this city with colonial goods in expectation of a huge demand but there is so little money in circulation that they have had to sell the supplies to us even cheaper than they sell in London.
Having obtained title to the cargoes, the orders from Germany started to arrive and prices firmed considerably. England’s loss is Hamburg’s gain. Its an investment in the future.
General Davoust, who took all the deposits from the Bank of Hamburg when he withdrew the French garrison, has defended his action. He says his act was authorised by the rules of war:
“I had to provision my army and no funds were available from Paris. In mid-June, I levied contributions of 48 million guilders on the city but received only 10 millions which I was obliged to send to Napoleon in Dresden for the Grand Armee.
“We had spent all the taxes and Customs duties that could be collected and had borrowed to the hilt – the only money left in town was in the Bank. By November I had spent 12 million Guilders I did not have and costs were continuing to be incurred.
“I told the Hamburg merchants that I had sealed the contents of the Bank but if they would undertake to fund me 2 millions a month I would release it. They declined and I then made a large withdrawal.”
Sat 11th March 1815
Unerring indicators of the marital state:
Sat 11th March 1815
Vansittart has moved a gift of £100,000 of public money to the King to aid recovery in Hanover, Hamburg and his other German states. Hamburg is temporarily unable to absorb and transmit our extensive trade without greater financial facilities. Another gift of £200,000 is proposed for Russia.
Gordon disagreed – ‘charity begins at home.’ We have 1½ million people out of work. We gave a similar grant to the people of Portugal – it is a bad precedent. If the British people wish to finance Germany they will raise a subscription amongst themselves as they have done many times in the past for other causes.
Castlereagh said its important to elevate European opinion of Britain and donating money is our way. The merchants of the Rhine states gave us considerable, if furtive, help in the war.
Charles Forbes, the former Bombay trader, noted that the ministry proposed to raise loans to pay the gifts and the combined effect of the Portuguese, Russian and now German donations, would encumber the country an extra £20,000 a year in interest payments. If we are willing to assume that burden we should re-examine our opinions on support of military widows and orphans, etc.
He also said he had received £4,000 from India for the Russians and had tried to forward it to the committee distributing the government funds to that country but they claimed difficulty in finding Russians suitable to receive the largesse.
Castlereagh said only the Portuguese gift had been fully disbursed and a report on the Russian gift would be made to House of Commons once it had been expended.
Tierney said we have strained every financial muscle to bring the war to a satisfactory conclusion and all Europe should know it – it was inappropriate to speak of raising the European opinion of Britain by further donations. He particularly objected to the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s talking of ‘our fellow subjects of Hanover’.
The Royal Family had commended the Hanover loan and he asked if they had contributed to it. Tierney thought the huge numbers of demobilised soldiers and sailors were more deserving of handouts than the Germans. He was particularly concerned for 3,000 midshipmen, who had no other vocation, and a large number of master’s mates who have all been dismissed without notice from the Royal Navy.
Vansittart said European sovereigns displayed great solicitude for their peoples. They had all just visited London and we celebrated victory with them and could not refuse to make donations. The gift was then approved.
Sun 12th March 1815 Extraordinary
Peace with France has aided George III’s recovery. He is very satisfied and has been frequently lucid (Recent -2006- examination of his hair has revealed levels of arsenic which was used then in small quantities as a stimulant and cosmetically as a skin whitener.)
Tues 14th March 1815 Extraordinary
The effects of peace on employment in Britain will be substantial. 25,000 officers, 2,000 clerks and 280,000 soldiers and sailors are being released from military service.
Tues 14th March 1815 Extraordinary
Lady Hamilton, Nelson’s paramour, is to marry a French Comte.
Sat 18th March 1815
Napoleon requires the people of Elba to spent part of their time transforming the footpaths into roads. They are unhappy. He is living in a small compound containing two two-storey houses connected by an enclosed cloister. The front door is painted brown and the windows have green shutters. The interior is elegant – he can host up to a hundred people for dinner. The neighbours say he sleeps little and rises early each morning.
Sat 18th March 1815
The re-establishment of the many minor states along the Rhine has re-introduced a familiar complaint. Each petty ruler occupies a castle at every bend of the river and they have all resumed levying fees on passing cargo ships precisely as they did before Napoleon reorganised the Rhine valley into the Confederation. The price of goods at the upper Rhine has consequently become artificially high.
The merchants of Hamburg and other parts of Western Europe are hopeful that the free navigation of the Rhine (and the Scheldt for the merchants of Antwerp and Brabant) will be allowed by the allies at Vienna.
Sat 25th March 1815
Captain Usher of HMS Undaunted took Napoleon to Elba. Before departure from Frejus and during the voyage he had several meetings with the Emperor and has since written of his interviews:
“I asked him if he issued the Milan Decree to pressure the Americans into opposing us”. He laughed but did not deny it. He said his plans for Europe were on an immense scale and would have required 4-5 years more to complete.
“We discussed the Walcheren expedition and our attempt on Antwerp. I asked him if he thought it might have succeeded – he said “never.” He had recognised the thrust of the attack instantly whilst in Vienna and taken steps to counter it.
“He said his purpose in annexing Holland had been solely military – he needed a large lake on which to train his conscript sailors and the Zuider Zee was ideal.
“Finally, of all the portraits of him, the one most realistic in my opinion is the full-length picture of him in cocked hat, arms folded, walking in the grounds of Malmaison.”
Captain Usher’s journal of his interviews has been published in Vienna.
Sat 15th April 1815
The Edinburgh Review has published its opinion about the state of Europe. It says the Bourbons were originally expelled by the French people because of the great abuses they practised. They are restored by the neighbours but the French people will make it a tacit condition of their submission that those old abuses are not recommenced. That is the beginning and the end of twenty years of war – it does not go any further.
The Bourbons have agreed to renounce those old arbitrary powers and act in accordance with the terms of a published Constitution. They seem to understand the lesson of history that oppressive governments are always, sooner or later, overturned.
Sat 22nd April 1815
The Marquis of Buckingham is to be made a Duke in recognition of his care for the Bourbons during the war. His elevation was the particular wish of Louis XVIII to the Prince Regent.
Sat 22nd April 1815
The Swedes have persuaded the Norwegian army to combine with the Swedish army. All effective resistance to the transfer of sovereignty is at an end.
Sat 22nd April 1815
The shape of peace is delayed again. The powers have postponed the Vienna conference to 1st November. The Kings are finalising their private agreements first.
The indications are that Russia gets Poland; Prussia gets Saxony; Austria gets Venice, the Po valley hinterland and the Ionian Islands; Bavaria gets Mentz and some other Rhine states; England gets back Hanover. All these deals look set for approval.
The Bourbons are unhappy. France is returned to her 1792 dimensions and they think the other powers should be too. The trading of states by the major powers is disadvantaging France, comparative to her main competitors. Talleyrand says France will never recognise the new lands of her neighbours.
Sat 22nd April 1815
Louis XVIII has restored all that remains of the Orleans Estate to his nephew and niece, the Duc d’Orleans and his sister.
Sat 22nd April 1815
The Pope has re-constituted the Society of Jesus on 7th August 1814.
It was commended by Tsar Paul in 1800 in respect of the Order’s activities in Russia and the Pope granted it for that country in 1801. The old monk Francis Karen was appointed General of the Order in Russia. He agreed to follow the Rule of St Ignatius of Loyola that was approved by Pope Paul III.
Following the Russian precedent, King Ferdinand petitioned for the Society of Jesus to be allowed in the Two Sicilies. The Pope approved that in 1804.
The Pope has now implored God for guidance and has been directed to rehabilitate the Society everywhere. The Bull of Pope Clement XIV issued 22nd July 1773 is annulled.
The funds of the Order (and their patrimony where still existing) are restored; their alienated property will be compensated.
The Austrian Emperor is however unconvinced that the re-establishment of the Society is necessary. He has ignored the Papal demand.
Sat 22nd April 1815
Gazette Universal, Hamburg 3rd October – The British government has bought the Hotel of Princess Borghese (Napoleon’s sister) in Paris for 1.4 million Francs. It is presently occupied by the Duke of Wellington and his staff. It is expected to become the new British Embassy.
Mon 1st May 1815 Extraordinary
Discussions at Vienna are stalled. Russia and Prussia are uncompromising whilst the Bourbons are demanding England reduce her navy (Britain is maintaining naval strength until all powers acknowledge her hegemony at sea)
In Paris Louis XVIII is not receiving the respect we had hoped for. Indeed the Parisians are lampooning him. At a show in one Paris theatre the cry was taken up of ‘vive Napoleon’ and ‘vive L’Empereur’. The Royalist General Belgarde was in the audience and decided strong measures were appropriate – 9 theatre-goers were taken outside and shot by candlelight.
Several soldiers shot at the Duke of Wellington whilst he was reviewing them with Duc de Berri near Paris. One bullet passed close to his head. General Dufour and four of his officers have been arrested for enquiries and from their information a further thirty men have been implicated.
It appears that Elba is now deemed inappropriate for Napoleon in light of his continuing popular support in France. Louis XVIII is comparatively unpopular. It is intended to remove Napoleon to England where he will be less of a threat to the Bourbons.
Sat 6th May 1815
The Duke of Wellington has cancelled his plan to return to London. He is required to remain at Paris for the time being.
Sat 6th May 1815
Castlereagh has asked that East Friesland be added to Hanover if Prussia gets Saxony. East Friesland controls the left bank of the Weser which river is important to Hanoverian trade.
The popular idea at Vienna is the use of Viceroys. The Austrians have long employed Viceroys in Hungary and Bohemia and the Porte’s regional rulers are similarly named and empowered. It is proposed that Prussian Saxony will retain its Saxon identity and institutions and the change in sovereignty will hardly be noticed from the mere appointment of a Prussian Viceroy. It is the same in Poland where Russia demands control but is willing not to dismember the country and even to allow it a Constitution so long as the Viceroy on the Polish throne is the Tsar’s man. This plan was agreed between Prussia and Russia in Paris but now the Bourbons are in control of the French government they have objected.
Talleyrand wants Russia kept as far from France as possible. He prefers to see the Duchy of Warsaw going to Prussia. Russia and Prussia refer to a secret article in the recent Treaty of Paris between England and France whereby France agrees to condone all land grabs of the allies. Talleyrand says that article requires uniformity amongst the allies – it does not signify French agreement to any individual power taking new territories. This stout defence by Talleyrand has obliged the allies to discuss the matter further.
As a result, the agenda at Vienna concerning territory is Poland, Saxony, the federated shape of Germany, limits of Belgium, division of Italy, Spanish claims to Parma and Placentia, Portugal’s claim to Olivenza and the matter of Switzerland. There is also the slave trade.
England is honour-bound to support Ferdinand IV’s claim to the Two Sicilies. He lost Naples due to his alliance with England and Sicily alone has little income. This means we must evict King Joachim Murat.
Getting the slave trade abolished has become an unnecessarily uphill job since we agreed France might have a five year delay before abolition in her lands.
Sat 6th May 1815
The Tsar has promised his nobles (who monopolise Russian trade) that he will revise the commercial regulations of Russia to take advantage of the open trading system being adopted throughout Europe. The nobles are impatient for his return from Vienna to commence the new system.
Sat 6th May 1815
Paris, 4th November – an Act for the restoration of the unalienated parts of former aristocrats’ Estates has been passed 168 / 23 in the French Chamber of Deputies.
Sat 6th May 1815
Lord William Bentinck is going to Genoa where a detachment of British troops is employed in strengthening the fortifications. The French suppose that Britain intends to incorporate Genoa into her Empire. They are jealous. Bentinck arrived at Genoa on 29th November but said he was en route to Florence.
Sat 6th May 1815
A festival at Milan to celebrate the Austrian Emperor’s birthday on 4th October was interrupted by widespread calls of ‘vive l’Italie’, ‘vive l’independence’ and a few calls of ‘vive Napoleon’. The Austrian governor was irritated.
He cancelled the party, put out the illuminations, called out a unit of artillery and demanded the party-goers surrender the guilty men or he would shoot them all indiscriminately. Eight people were denounced and he then permitted the others to leave the venue. The arrested men were executed without trial.
The Milanese are bitter. They prefer their former government.
Sat 6th May 1815
Napoleon has settled down on Elba and the resident officers of each of the four major allies (deputed to observe him) are having an easy time.
His regret is the Austrian Emperor’s refusal to allow either Maria Louisa or their son to live with him.
Sat 13th May 1815
Josephine’s jewelry is on display at New Bond Street in London prior to sale. Eugene Beauharnais is asking for 50,000 guineas for the entire collection. He wishes to pay off the debts against his Mum’s Estate.
Sat 20th May 1815
Letter from France, 21st August – Many of the French people still revere Napoleon and attribute his fall to the perfidy of his allies. The French allow that Wellington is a capable General but give first place in that discipline to Napoleon. It is a shame he was not killed in battle for as long as he lives he will have a following in this country.
They are not much impressed with Louis XVIII as he lacks the dignity and decisiveness of Napoleon. The new King seems mesmerised by the superstitious aspects of Catholicism.
Sat 27th May 1815
Louis XVIII is suppressing the national and provincial Legislatures. They are inconvenient. The liberal constitution transferred power from the King to the people, which is undesirable.
The Deputies at Paris have issued a Protest. The King swore at his coronation to protect the rights of the people. The aristocracy is united with the crown and has disturbed public order by using violence to achieve its ends. The right of voting taxes belongs solely to the States General not to the aristocrats.
Louis XVIII’s proclamation in England on 1st January 1814 was unconstitutional as it was not approved by the French parliament. They say Parliament may not be suppressed by the unilateral act of the King.
Sat 3rd June 1815
When the Bourbons resumed the government of France they issued some debt paper paying 8% interest. On the day of issue these Bills declined 12% in value and over the next few days fell to a 21½% discount. The Finance Department issued a public undertaking to issue no more Bills and the Bourbon paper recovered to 14% discount.
This scrip pays 8% interest at a time when French merchants and merchant bankers have fixed interest rates at 3½% for trade amongst themselves.
Sat 17th June 1815
The French Bourbons have problems. They are not a talented family and Louis XVIII is a sedentary man. They have been restored to power by the neighbours’ armies consequent on the defeat of the French army, so they appear to be alien. They have enacted legislation that somewhat censors the press. They have not been thoughtful in their demobilisation of the army. They insisted on a revival of the slave trade as the émigré nobles with Estates in West Indies said it was imperative to restore the value of their lands. They have made foolish concessions to the aristocratic merchants of Nantes and Bordeaux that are widely resented. Everywhere people see the old repressive system coming back.
There is deep-felt French resentment of Austria for its fickle policy towards Napoleon. There is a similar disgust with England for our commercial form of war.
Sat 22nd July 1815
A British traveller through France in August 1814 has published a report:
|The French are not jubilant at having the Bourbons back as is repeatedly stated in the British press. I met few people well-disposed to the Bourbons and a multitude of people who hoped Napoleon would return. Nearly all people speak well of him. Indeed they say a correspondence has long continued between Elba and Vienna and the Austrian Emperor respects Napoleon and is not opposed to his return.
I travelled from Rotterdam to Paris and encountered cold reserve and distance from nearly everyone I met. The French who agreed to speak to me generally blamed England for continuing the war so long. Louis XVIII is known in the coffee shops as ‘le cochon’. He has a difficult job with the begging émigrés on one side and the overwhelming numbers of Republicans on the other. He seems unlikely to cope. There is an expectation that this is a truce not a peace.
I tried to avoid the opinions of the bourgeois merchants and shop-keepers as they all hold the same opinion of Englishmen and tailor their comments accordingly. I sought out the drivers and passengers on coaches, the servants in the inns and the farmers along the route. It was these people who all held the same elevated view of Napoleon and disgust for the Bourbons. In France everyman under 40 years is or was a soldier and they are all devoted to ‘l’Empereur’, as Napoleon is known.
The Bourbons have to dismiss 40,000 troops to reduce their army to the peace establishment required by the allies. That must be done soon and will release a considerable force of opponents to their rule. Napoleon used public works to keep the troops busy and there are many amazing civil works – canals, roads, bridges, markets, exchanges – that attest to his progressive development of France. That has all been stopped by the Bourbons for economy. We British are fortunate Napoleon did not remain in command longer or we would have seen France soon elevated to a power that none of the neighbours could have emulated.
Another contentious matter is religion. The French are happy with Catholicism but they eschew the superstitions, processions of images and all the magic that the Bourbons seem to love. There is a crowd of priests that follows the King around like a swarm of black flies and the people well know their significance.
The Belgians are dissatisfied with the treaty – it gives them to the Dutch. In any confrontation between France and the Netherlands there can be only one result and they would prefer to be on the winning side. They mostly speak French as well.
The prospects for British trade are less rosy than expected. France has made such progress with her industry that she can compete with us in everything. Even hardware, which we consider as our monopoly, is produced in the low countries at a similar price and quality to Sheffield goods. The cotton industry is growing. The quality is not as good as ours but will likely be so soon.
It looks as though peace will give us a year or two of good business in Germany but there is not much profit to hope for from France.
Sat 5th Aug 1815
Surprisingly Murat, the King and General of Naples, has declared for the allied powers. He has 70,000 men in the Po Valley.
The King of Saxony has protested the dismemberment of his country and demanded he be allowed a representative at the Congress at Vienna. The allies say his co-operation with Napoleon prevents his being treated fairly. If he does not accept 60% of his country, they will take it all away.
Part of Napoleon’s plan on his return has already gone awry. He had intended to bring Maria Louisa and his son to Paris (she is loved by the French and creates a connection with Austria) but she was contrarily ordered by Vienna to renounce the title of Empress, dismiss all her French attendants and remain in Schoenbrunn.
The French Gazette of 27th March contains a pledge of Napoleon to the foreign ambassadors in Paris to observe all the terms of the Treaty of Paris. He asks the neighbours not to interfere in the internal affairs of France. He expressly renounces foreign conquest.
Sat 5th Aug 1815
There is a growing number of people in London who suppose that Soult is the organiser of Napoleon’s return. Over the last several months, he has procured numerous allies to the Bonaparte cause.
Sat 5th Aug 1815
The British ministry is divided on how to respond to Napoleon’s return. The two political factions are for war and peace. The Earl of Harrowby (peace) and Mr Wellesley Pole (war) have gone to the Netherlands to confer with Pole’s relative, Wellington. The ministry estimates war will initially cost England £5 millions in subsidies – £2 million for the Tsar; £1.5 million for Austria; £1 million for Prussia and about £500,000 for Bavaria and those German states in alliance with us.
Sat 5th Aug 1815
Napoleon has sent de Moutron to Vienna to talk with Talleyrand. They are old and close friends and the purpose of the meeting can easily be imagined.
Sat 12th Aug 1815
The prospect of renewed war has created a gloom in London. Generally it seems the ministry is not keen (there is not much gold in the Treasury) but considers itself beholden to its allies to act with the majority.
A Proclamation has been issued by the Congress at Vienna on 13th March which offers a reward for the assassination of Napoleon. It is supposed to have been drafted by the French Bourbon Plenipotentiaries but the representatives of all the allied powers have signed it too.
Sat 12th Aug 1815
Pouillac, 4th April – the Duchess d’Angouleme boarded HMS Wanderer here on her departure from France. The ship was rumoured to be going to San Sebastien.
Paris, 10th April – Avignon and Toulon have hoisted the tricolor.
Sat 12th Aug 1815
Four wagons of gold and silver shipped from London to Belgium for the Bourbons have been stopped at the French frontier and detained.
Sat 12th Aug 1815
The Duc d’Angouleme’s attempt to raise the people of southern France has failed. The newspapers recited his report that southern France was Royalist but his force was rapidly diminished by desertions until he had 1,500 men and 6 cannons left. He then surrendered without fighting.
General Grouchy reported 9th April from Montelimar that the tricolor is again displayed throughout the south. Napoleon ordered Grouchy to take d’Angouleme to the coast and put him on a ship out of the country – look after him carefully.
He required d’Angouleme to first undertake on behalf of the Bourbon family to return the French crown jewels and the contents of the public Treasury – its the property Louis XVIII was seen removing at Calais. Napoleon says the jewels and money are the property of the nation.
Sat 12th Aug 1815
Napoleon’s account of his departure from Elba.
Wed 16th Aug 1815 Extraordinary
House of Lords, 7th April 1815 – The French frigate Melpomene has been seized by HMS Rivoli in the Mediterranean. Several other captures of French merchant ships have been made.
Melville for the Admiralty said it was all a mistake and some ships have been given back.
Sat 19th Aug 1815
The frequent publicity in the London press of pro-Bourbon insurrections in the south of France, that have been reported daily for years, turn out to be nonsense. Its a continuation of the propaganda the Bourbons fed to the London Editors throughout the war with Napoleon.
A letter just intercepted at Bordeaux from the Duc d’Angouleme to his wife in that city (their family estate is near Bordeaux) reveals they are in the plot – ‘publish a short exaggerated bulletin of the affair (of Montelimar),’ he instructs her in the letter.
This is the source of those splendid newspaper victories. Another intercept refers to a Bourbon initiative to inveigle the Spanish King into sending troops into France.
The National Assembly sits again in Paris and the Decree against the Bourbons has been re-enacted. Everyone who accepted Louis XVIII’s patronage is to stay 30 miles away from Paris. The few supporters who tried to raise the Bourbon flag in the south are under threat of prosecution.
Sat 19th Aug 1815
Algemene Zeitung, Vienna 20th March – The Comte de Montesquieu arrived near Schoenbrunn on 16th March with a group of Frenchmen. He is a near relative of the King of Rome’s governess. On Friday 17th, Montesquieu obtained an appointment in the palace where the boy now lives with Maria Louisa.
An attempt was made to abduct the child and it appears to have involved Talleyrand’s secretary as well (the child represents Napoleon’s succession). The Austrian police are on the case and all the conspirators were arrested. Next morning the boy was separated from his Mum and sent off somewhere safe. His retainers are all changed and a new German governess has been appointed to care for him.
In the course of the police enquiry it was ascertained that Talleyrand permits others to use his couriers to correspond with Paris. They carried letters to both Napoleon and the ministers.
Sat 19th Aug 1815
Caulaincourt has circulated French diplomatic and trade missions:
The Bourbons have left without firing a shot. The Household troops who accompanied Louis XVIII to the ship have assembled at Bethune. Rather more than half have declared their allegiance to Napoleon. The remainder have chosen to retire to their homes. A sense of joy and hopefulness pervades our country.
“Those of you who were appointed by the Bourbons are dismissed. Until your replacements arrive you should display the tricolor flag and cause your staff to wear the tricolor cockade. Before you take leave of your hosts, tell the foreign minister that Napoleon has abandoned all thought of his former grand projects and desires only to maintain the peace.”
Sat 19th Aug 1815
The French courier St Romaine was returning to Paris from London with dispatches from Castlereagh to the French government. He noticed hundreds of horses being embarked on transports at Dover for the Low Countries. He says the English people have welcomed peace but it appears their ministers may deny them their hopes.
Sat 9th Sept 1815
Napoleon has published the restored Constitution. It guarantees those democratic rights that the French have become inured to.
The allies have published the Treaty of Chaumont of 9th March 1814. This is the old agreement for the restoration of the Bourbons and removal of the Bonapartes. The signatories bind themselves to war with France until the Bourbons are restored to the government of France. Britain agrees to pay £5 million to the other three big Kings for their 1814 costs and to pay whatever is required for the following years. All four powers agree to provide 60,000 troops each against France. Britain reserves the right to pay money instead (£20 per infantry man and £30 per cavalry man, both per year).
A year later on 25th March 1815, the allies reaffirmed, modified and actuated the Treaty. The renewal binds each power to field 150,000 men plus artillery and garrisons. The Treaty purports to rescue any country from occupation by France. The British option to give money rather than men is continued.
Sat 9th Sept 1815
Castlereagh presented a copy of the Treaty of Vienna to the House of Commons on 25th April. He says its object is the destruction of Napoleon. The terms are not binding on signatories. He says they can make peace if they prefer.
Tierney asked Castlereagh if he had engaged to pay a debt of Russia to Holland of several million pounds. Castlereagh refused to answer. He said the House was not interested in such matters and the acts of the Ministry were beyond the purview of MPs.
Ponsonby disagreed. You can make treaties, but if you want money you ask us. Castlereagh said the national interest was paramount and required secrecy.
Sat 9th Sept 1815
All British first-rates are to be fitted with 24 pounders on the upper deck capable of firing Congreve’s rockets fitted with Shrapnel’s exploding shells. They explode as they fall throwing out a vast quantity of metal shards in a beautiful butterfly pattern. We discovered in the Peninsula that these new shells are very effective against large bodies of men. The French infantry could not tolerate them. Neither could the Americans. We have previously used them on land but their adaptation to warships will extend their usefulness.
Sat 16th Sept 1815
Common Hall of the City of London, 25th April – The aldermen and Livery of London are debating the ministry’s unannounced decision to renew the war. Some Aldermen object to a renewed war that has the change of the government of France for its object. The French have overwhelmingly indicated they prefer Napoleon to the Bourbons – what business is it of ours to interfere?
Alderman Hunt said if this proceeding becomes widespread, the House of Brunswick must take care. They were set upon the British throne by a handful of aristocrats without a shred of popular support. He thought it might reasonably be contended that Louis XVIII is the rightful King of England as he is the sole heir to the Stuarts in the male line … (at this point the Livery become distressed and Hunt was shouted down). The meeting adjourned in chaos.
Thurs 21st Sept 1815 Extraordinary
Napoleon’s new Constitution for France (the Act Additionnel) has been approved in the Primary Assemblies 1,282,050 / 4,207.
Sat 30th Sept 1815
The Royal Navy has landed 10,000 stands of muskets on the Brittany coast and delivered them to Bourbon supporters. We found a force of 300 – 400 men willing to oppose Napoleon. They fought with a party of Customs Officers who foolishly sought to tax our smuggling and killed over 10 of them.
We discourage Customs Officers from enforcing the revenue laws on our arms shipments. We must maintain ready communications with the rebels. It was hoped the Duchess d’Angouleme would head the revolt but she has gone to Ostend to join the Duc d’Artois.
Sat 30th Sept 1815
Clancarty at Vienna reported that Napoleon has written to the Austrian Emperor requesting peace. He says he is resolved to observe the terms of the Treaty of Paris and the Emperor believes him.
Castlereagh instructed Clancarty not to trust Napoleon but to follow the terms of the Treaty of 13th March requiring reinstatement of the Bourbons. Castlereagh is convinced that if the allies disarm, France will take advantage of their weakness.
Sat 7th Oct 1815
A considerable number of aristocrats whom we sought to induce to commence rebellions in La Vendée have since returned to their homes and undertaken to keep the peace.
They seem satisfied that their situation in 1793 is distinct from their situation now. They were disinclined to take-up arms.
Sat 7th Oct 1815
The Duke of Bourbon is in Ile d’Yeu, off La Vendée, where the Comte d’Artois resided during the first Vendean rebellion.
Sat 30th Sept 1815
The Kings are determined to war on France but no-one is willing to start until Britain distributes the money to pay for it.
The Duke of Wurtemburg had not got his at end June and he is not moving without it. The Russian army is 1,000 miles east of the Rhine and moving very slowly. Assuming the troops are paid we are not likely to see any fighting until late July at the earliest.
Sat 21st Oct 1815
Gazette, 2nd June – Britain has declared war on France. Aliens are to register themselves with the Mayor of the nearest town. All enlisted men have their contracts unilaterally and mandatorily extended for three years.
Sat 21st Oct 1815
Vienna, 9th May – Metternich has advised London that Austria will not fight if the aim is to impose a particular form of government on France.
Tues 20th June 1815 Extraordinary
The Russian and Prussian kings at Vienna have respectively demanded the cession of Poland and Saxony otherwise they will use force to take those lands. They have reciprocally guaranteed the cessions to each other. Prussia has also requested sovereignty over several small states on the Rhine.
If she is successful her population will be doubled to 12 millions – it is the reward for lying. Prussia was invited to occupy Saxony by its King in the allied effort against Napoleon and she joined the allied pledge to remove her armies once Napoleon was gone. Now she has possession of Saxony she cannot resist having the revenues.
Castlereagh has left Vienna for London and the conference appears to be breaking-up with most of the work unfinished. Castlereagh was recalled by the ministry and Wellington has been sent in his place. He and the ministers of France and Austria supported Saxon independence and a better future for Poland. They belatedly recognise the value of Napoleon’s arrangements and want buffer states between Prussia and France and between Russia and both Prussia and Austria. Wellington repudiated the Asian idea of Viceroys. It seems this initiative of Russia and Prussia to occupy Poland and Saxony is the reason Britain has retained an army on the continent.
The English Commander of Genoa has proclaimed its union with Sardinia. He says the union is ordered by the ministers at Vienna. Italy seems to be in chaos. There is a growing movement for Italian unity and independence.
Sat 21st Oct 1815
The Gazette de France of 23rd May assesses the situation:
70,000 English, Dutch, Hanoverians and Hessians are on the Scheldt, Lys and Sambre rivers, menacing our frontier. 110,000 Russians are marching west through Bohemia and Erfurt to this country. 25,000 Bavarians are assembling. Austria is sending 30,000 Germans to the Rhine. The Rhine states and Piedmont have themselves called-up 35,000 men. All these troop movements accord with the wishes of the Russian Tsar. These forces will not assemble on the French frontier until end-June.
The British, Prussian and Austrian allies already have a thin line extending from Ostend to Switzerland but they await the Russians. The Swiss have placed 30,000 men on their own frontier but that appears purely defensive and they assert their strict neutrality. The Spanish are irresolute and bankrupt; the Portuguese will not move without instructions from Rio – neither country is of concern.
France is estimated to be able to call on 300,000 veterans and 200,000 citizen soldiers (militia).
Sat 10th June 1815
Austria has been trying to send the people of its recovered territories in northern Italy to Germany to fight the Emperor’s war there. The Italians are reluctant and mention the principles of moderation and goodness that the allied monarchs jointly promised to Europe after Napoleon.
Austria has responded by imprisoning those who refuse to serve but this has not stopped the Italian aversion to Austrian service abroad. They dislike being mixed-up with people of different language, food and customs.
It is presumed in Italy that Murat, who is still serving as Joachim, King of Naples, will respond to the British threat to remove him by allying himself to Napoleon.
Sat 4th Nov 1815
After Waterloo, Napoleon left the field in a carriage but was stopped by some Prussian troops. He jumped out, mounted a horse and escaped whilst the soldiers were diverted by the spoils in the carriage. His hat and sword were in the coach and have been sent as trophies to the Prussian King. His treasure chest was shared amongst the soldiers. Some of them have made 5,000+ Crowns (Ecus) each from the plunder. Major Keller later took possession of Napoleon’s carriage. It has gold decorations. A list of Napoleon’s financial agents throughout Europe was found in the coach.
There were considerable and continuous desertions from the French army during the battle.
Sat 23rd Dec 1815
The ministry has published the casualty report for Waterloo. The British and Hanoverian armies lost over 12,000 men killed and wounded (40%). The Prussians sustained a similar loss.
Sat 30th Dec 1815
There is a spirit of rebellion in France. The people are not pleased to have been saved from Napoleon. Indeed, they are opposed to our military presence. Several French armies continue to fight and many garrison towns are denying us entry. The spirit of democracy is abroad both amongst the common people and the (supposedly) disbanded army. Normally we would inflict severe and exemplary punishments like Ireland but the dissent is too widespread and we fear inciting another Revolution.
The Bourbons will have to quickly settle the form of their new government and win the support of the power centres. They have ordered the formation of a Royal Guard of 25,000 troops and four regiments of cavalry to be under their family control. Each of the four great cities of France (Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, Marseilles) will have a Bourbon Prince for President. The Duc d’Orleans seems to have fallen under a cloud – he is not invited to Paris and neither is he getting any pension or patronage. Louis XVIII seems to consider him a competitor and forbade his joining any of the allied armies for the invasion.
Troops of all nations are marching on Paris. Our army in America is returning and will disembark at Ostend.
Several missing months of newspapers then …..
Sat 13th May 1815
The Duke of Oxford lives with his wife at Naples. He recently came to London on some business and interviewed the Regent at Brighton. He was then provided with a bag of mail addressed to numerous people in Europe including a good many letters for Napoleon. He mentioned this to friends whilst in Paris and, on leaving that city, was stopped and all his letters confiscated.
He returned to Paris and made a complaint to the Duke of Wellington who enquired of the Bourbon government and was told that the delivery of letters from English and French army officers to an enemy of France (Napoleon) was illegal. The letters to English addressees were returned to him. Wellington told Oxford there was nothing further that he could do.
Sat 24th June 1815
After the abdication of Napoleon, the French provisional government sent the missionary Lavayse to Santo Domingo to recover that colony for France.
He proclaimed to the people that France was now the ally of England. He said that whilst the Kings of Europe have formally made peace, they are retaining armies to give effect to the precedent clause in their recent agreements.
This clause is the undertaking demanded by England to replace all those governments on which Napoleon bestowed popular constitutions and institutionalised democratic principles.
All pretensions to mob rule (democracy) are to be extirpated from Europe and the control of Kings and Aristocrats is to be reinstated and reinforced.
The Haitians were completely uninterested. They say they will not surrender their independence. They have been fighting for ten years and will not give up now. They say Britain is the liberator of the world and will not oppose their freedom.
Sat 1st July 1815
The Treaty of 30th May, leading the discussions at the Congress of Vienna, established the general rule that those countries of which sovereignty is disputed should return to their former rulers; and those lands lacking a sovereign will be divided to provide indemnities to disadvantaged parties. These rearrangements will be done whilst maintaining two fundamental aims – to preserve all rights and restore the balance of power.
Talleyrand has outlined the French position. France is concerned at the hinted destruction of Poland. Poland is an ancient country and deserves independence. It should not be dismembered by its powerful neighbours.
He says Saxony deserves a legitimate government. Its King should not be condemned unheard. It is settled law that nations have no rights distinct from their Sovereign’s rights. Transferring the Saxons to a new King sets a bad example. We wish to settle a permanent peace on Europe. If Prussia is increased, Bohemia is threatened and that causes contention with Austria. If Prussia has a good claim it can only be for part of Saxony. Talleyrand says that is something he can talk about.
Sat 1st July 1815
Lady Emma Hamilton died in France in January.
Sat 1st July 1815
The legislature (diet) of Hanover is sitting under the leadership of the Royal Duke of Cambridge. He studied at the University of Gottingen and understands German law, language and culture. There are 85 Deputies in the Hanoverian parliament of whom 46 are nobles and 39 are merchants.
Wed 12th July 1815 Supplement
Murat, as King of Naples, has proclaimed at Rimini on 30th March that he will make Italy a single independent country from the Alps to the Straits of Messina. Italy once ruled the world. He has mobilised 80,000 troops to effect the union of Italy. “Take arms and throw-out the foreigners” he proclaims.
Murat has based his force along the southern side of the Po Valley and is awaiting a response from the Italian people to his summons.
In light of political developments, the Pope and 19 Cardinals have left Rome and arrived at Genoa. Their ultimate destination is expected to be Spain.
Sat 19th Aug 1815
London Editorial on the Congress of Vienna:
It has become apparent that Castlereagh went to Vienna without any instructions from his cabinet colleagues. He used his own judgment in creating British policy ‘off the cuff’ towards the various initiatives that were broached by the other powers. His correspondence is a new departure for diplomacy.
He told the King of Prussia in a straight-forward way that he saw no reason why Saxony should not be transferred to Prussian sovereignty to punish the Saxon King for supporting Napoleon and to make that country an example to the other German states who might feel sympathetic to French principles.
He then told Prussia that the cost of British agreement to a transfer of Saxon sovereignty is Prussian defence of its possessions in Poland against the Tsar. He demanded the strengthening of the Prussian frontier with the Tsar’s extended realm and speaks of ‘the alarming and dangerous pretensions of Russia’ in justification of his advice. This seems to be the key to his plans. Castlereagh wants Prussia reinforced with bits of Poland and Saxony to give her the revenue to act as a realistic buffer against Russia.
His underlying hope is to keep the barbarous Cossacks out of Europe – it seems it was permissible to set them on the French but no-one else. It is a wonder why he relies on Prussia when the people who are pre-eminently placed to perform this role, and have been doing so for centuries, are the Poles.
It seems the union of Russia, Prussia and Austria in the partition of Poland to their mutual advantage was too strong for the Irishman to confront so he sacrificed Poland for the better security of the states further to the west.
Prussia is the country who warred with France to secure her claim to Hanover. That electorate is a great little earner from its position over the trade routes (rivers) into northern Europe. Prussia was deservedly destroyed by Napoleon for that. The King of Prussia appears to be no friend of England’s either.
It now seems that the French provinces on the Rhine, which we were prepared to recognise as French in the Treaty of Amiens, are to be transferred to Prussia as reward for disgorging part of Saxony. The French provinces in Belgium, which we also recognised as French at Amiens, are to be transferred to the Dutch.
The German princes, under Austrian leadership, are all frightened of Russia but they are equally frightened of calling on France to help them repel any Tsarist invasion. Castlereagh concluded that Prussia is the only key to solve this.
It seems that only Talleyrand has the true interests of Europe in mind at Vienna.
Talleyrand has suggested to Castlereagh that England depose Murat as King of Naples and restore Ferdinand IV of Sicily – i.e. reconstitute the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Ferdinand is of course a Bourbon so that will be pleasing to the family. This may simply have been a wily move by the Frenchman to counter the suspicion of his complicity in Napoleon’s plans.
Bernadotte also seems shocked at the coalition of his former allies. He has thrown Sweden’s weight behind Talleyrand’s proposal for Naples. Murat has an Austrian promise not to attack him so long as he supports the allies. This is a nice little imbroglio which Frenchmen all over Europe have taken a hand in. Murat has been supposing that the allies will perform their engagement to give Ferdinand an indemnity for his loss of Naples. Are we forcing Murat into Napoleon’s arms? Naples is the biggest city in Europe and capital of one of its populous states.
Sat 26th Aug 1815
An all-embracing impressment has been conducted at the port of London and many outports to provide crews for our fleet to the Mediterranean. No press has ever before been conducted with such heat.
The Prince of Orange is said to have led Dutch troops across the French frontier at Tournay.
Sat 26th Aug 1815
Neapolitan and Austrian troops have skirmished in the Po Valley. It looks as though Murat has taken Napoleon’s part although he purports to act in the cause of Italian unity.
Murat (King Joachim) has been at Vienna for months soliciting an allied guarantee of his sovereignty of Naples but it was still withheld as of 11th February.
That may well have made Murat suspicious of allied intentions.
Mon 28th Aug 1815 Extraordinary
A fearful battle was fought in northern Italy in April between Murat and the Austrians – the latter were beaten and appear likely to be expelled from Italy.
The allies characterise Murat’s response to Austrian encroachment as an attack on them all.
Sat 9th Sept 1815
Joachim Bonaparte (Murat), King of Naples, has proclaimed from Rimini to the Italians on 31st March to support him in the cause of Italian unity.
Sat 16th Sept 1815
The Austrian Emperor Francis I has issued a confrontational Proclamation to the Italians on 14th April it which he styles himself inter alia as King of Lombardy and Venice. These provinces are part of his territorial reward for joining the alliance and are made available to him by the allied powers. He says he will make the provinces into a Kingdom of Lombardy and Venice.
Sat 23rd Sept 1815
HMS Berwick (74) has gone to Gaeta, a port north of Naples, to prevent King Joachim (Murat) and his family from leaving for France.
Sat 7th Oct 1815
Fox’s speeches have been collected by Wright and published in six volumes. Erskine, who was Fox’s colleague for twenty years, has written an Introduction. The publication has displeased the ministry. Fox was distinctly opposed to interference in the internal affairs of other countries.
Sat 14th Oct 1815
Our Treaty with the Dutch was made last August but was shown to the House of Commons only in June this year. We give back all colonies except the Cape, Demerara, Essequibo and Berbica. We exchange the island of Banea for the port of Cochin in Malabar. We have agreed to the Dutch occupation of Belgium. The Dutch undertake to prohibit the slave trade in their possessions.
We are obliged to pay Sweden £1 million as compensation for some lands which she was promised but will not now receive. We are also paying the Swedes 24 million Livres to forego Guadeloupe which was promised to them.
We pay £2 millions to the Dutch to improve the defences of the Low Countries. We will pay up to £3 million more to the Dutch to settle the Belgian provinces under Dutch rule.
The Dutch town of Baranagar, a Calcutta suburb which catches some of the Company’s Bills business, is rented to Britain in perpetuity.
Russia has demanded compensation from the Dutch for military protection. In payment, the Dutch will pay part of the capital and all arrears of interest up to 1816 on the Russian loan of 26 million Florins raised for Russia by Hope & Co of Amsterdam. The British will pay 25 million Florins to the Dutch to accomplish this by underwriting loans on the Amsterdam exchange at 5% interest.
Sat 21st Oct 1815
Le Moniteur, 25th April – Castlereagh has made an accusation against King Joachim Murat of Naples based on eight documents which he has produced to the House of Commons. The documents are copies made by the Abbe Fleuriel who has a regrettable record for rewriting history. The content is drafted by de Blaces.
A search has discovered no originals of Fleuriel’s copies. Three of the documents drafted by him in January and February are already established to be false. The veracity of the others, which are also in Fleuriel’s handwriting, will have to await closer inspection. Those five were seen by Wellington who accepted them at face value.
On learning that, de Blaces drafted the other three and sent them to Castlereagh. He showed them to Wellington who concluded they indicted Murat of double-dealing and warranted action against Murat by the Congress at Vienna. Wellington is one of those simple soldiers who might not imagine a letter could be forged.
Castlereagh relies on these documents to support his proposed policy against Naples. He says they prove Murat’s complicity in the breach of his agreement with the allies.
Sat 11th Nov 1815
The Regent as Elector of Hanover is to assume the management of the adjacent Duchy of Brunswick (the Duke died at Waterloo). He will care for its orphaned prince.
Sat 23rd Dec 1815
That fine and thoughtful man Sir Samuel Whitbread is dead. He woke up one morning, cut a vein and bled to death. Its embarrassing – we invariably attribute suicide to insanity but Whitbread was patently lucid. He has been eulogised in the Commons for his honesty and integrity.
He was an Etonian and contemporary of Earl Grey, whose sister he married (one of Whitbread’s sisters married Grey’s brother as well). They both went to Cambridge. Whitbread undertook the Grand Tour, returning 1788 to enter parliament with Grey as opposition Whigs. He represented Bedford for 25 years.
Sat 30th Dec 1815
Edward Heycock of Shropshire has designed a column for a statue of Nelson. Harrison of Chester has improved it and Lord Hill is organising its construction. The diameter will necessarily be one foot more than Napoleon’s column in Paris and it will be 13 ft higher as well. It is the largest Doric column ever built.
All issues for 1816 and 1817 are missing in British Library copy of the newspaper – they contain the news between about June 1815 – June 1817.
Sat 10th Jan 1818
The Regent prorogued parliament on 13th July 1817. He said he regretted the many insurrections throughout the country which have caused widespread distress and thanked the MPs for the extraordinary powers and funds they had voted to his government. He says the deficiency in national revenue is attributable to the poor harvest in 1816.
3% consols on 13th July were 85. Exchequer Bills are 16/- to 19/- and the Bank of England is minting gold coins with which to pay its dividend.
End Jan / early Feb 1818 editions are missing.
Sat 21st Feb 1818
Martin Godoy, the Spanish finance minister, says he cannot raise loans for the necessary expenses of the country unless the civil war is ended. He asks Ferdinand to amnesty all the rebels. The Inquisition supports his proposal.
If successful, it will bring back the immense number of Spanish people who have fled abroad to avoid persecution. Ferdinand is commended to introduce the measure when he announces the birth of his son, due soon.
Sat 28th Feb 1818
Lord Amherst visited Napoleon on his return from the abortive embassy to China. Napoleon complained of the Company’s medical services on St Helena – for every condition they prescribe either bleeding or calomel (mercury chloride, a purge); there is no other treatment offered. No medical expertise is indicated.
Amherst told Napoleon his embassy failed because he would not agree to bang his head on the ground nine times as required by Chinese etiquette. Napoleon said ‘if it had been necessary for me to send an ambassador to Peking, I should have required him to kiss the Emperor’s big toe or, if that did not suffice, some other smelly part of his anatomy, rather than abandon my purpose.’
He said he thought his perpetual detention on St Helena was illegal and hoped it would be reconsidered by the Kings of Europe. He has been disappointed in British justice but still expects fair-play from the Regent if that man could be permitted to reach his own conclusions independent of the minister. He asked Amherst to take a letter to the Regent pleading his cause, to which Amherst agreed.
He complained of restraint. He is allowed to walk or ride all over the island but only if escorted by British soldiers whereas he prefers to exercise alone.
The British officers also saw Mdm Bertrand, the wife of the General, during their visit and characterised her as a handsome and clever woman.
Sat 28th Feb 1818
A statue of a gladiator has just been installed in the garden of the Duke of Wellington’s London house at Hyde Park Corner– its very warlike.
Sat 28th Feb 1818
Lord Rivers’ Estate at Startfieldsay about 7 miles from Reading on the Hampshire borders has been bought by Wellington as a country residence. The architect Wyatt has been down to survey the land and has identified a fine site for a house. Once the Duke approves his designs he will commence work.
Sat 7th March 1818
Letter from Persia, copied from Bombay Gazette of 4th March:
The Tsar has sent an emissary to Constantinople to make great demands on the Porte and has amassed a force of some 300,000 men in Moldavia with a reserve of reportedly 250,000 including a large detachment of Ukrainian Cossacks. It seems he will not be taking ‘no’ for an answer.
Sat 23rd May 1818
London, 16th January – The Prussian government is raising a loan of £3 millions in London. The bankers get a 5% discount for immediate payment of the whole sum. The Notes pay 5% per annum and the loan is for 30 years.
Sat 23rd May 1818
Hudson Lowe has billed Napoleon 1,200 Guineas for excess provisions. The Emperor was shocked.
He speaks often of Lyon and says it should have been the capital of a combined France and Italy. He eulogises Ney and Murat as ‘the bravest men who ever lived’. He was unaffected on hearing of the shooting of Murat by the Calabrians.
Sir Hudson Lowe is a Lt General. The Governorship of St Helena is normally held by a Colonel but Napoleon’s presence has required an upgrade. The Company also has a much greater number of troops in garrison than usual.
Sat 20th June 1818
House of Lords, 27th January – Stanhope has told the House of Lords (in a debate on the Regent’s speech opening parliament) that Napoleon must be imprisoned for life – the affection of the French for Louis XVIII could not be relied upon and Napoleon’s freedom would consolidate the power of democracy. The Bourbons had been placed on the French throne by foreign armies and their rule was maintained by force. England is now saying, since the Bonapartes have gone, that we should not interfere in the internal affairs of France.
The French do not like Louis for the same reasons we do – he is indebted to us for his throne and will not provoke us by military adventures. Britain is not able to fight France – it will take many more years for us to recover. So long as Napoleon lives we are in danger.
Foreign armies remain in France until she pays all the indemnities we require of her. We require the erection of a barrier of fortresses along the Rhine before we leave. We also require French guarantees never to disturb us again. To ensure these are performed it is best to keep our armies in France until Napoleon is dead.
We should not maintain the suspension of Habeas Corpus in Britain. Our own people are distressed and infuriated by their poor condition but they are not uncontrollable by law. The asserted existence of a popular conspiracy (Brandreth) to overthrow the government had not been plausibly established by the executive – the supposed coup d’Etat was stopped by 18 Hussars! Continued derogation from the Constitution was inadvisable. We have adequate powers.
Sat 20th June 1818
There are some funny laws being made by the re-established Kings in Europe. In October Parma outlawed moustaches for civilians. In November Hesse Cassel required all its soldiers to grow 15 inch queues. Sergeants will have the exact length marked on their canes to ensure uniformity at military parades.
Sat 4th July 1818
Charles XIII, King of Sweden, is dead and Bernadotte succeeded him in February. He becomes King Charles Jean of Sweden and Norway. The Bourbon monarchy in France recognised him in early March.
The Duke of Wellington remains in Paris endeavouring to settle the allied claims on French territory. Austria, Spain and Sardinia have been satisfied and Bavaria has agreed to reduce its demand from 30 million to 10 million Francs but Prussia is implacably holding out for £2.5 millions.
Sat 4th July 1818
Sir R Croft, the doctor who attended Princess Charlotte in her confinement, has killed himself. He has been depressed since the Princess’ death. He was attending Dr Thackerey’s wife for another difficult birth, lost confidence and called in other doctors. They concluded Mrs Thackerey would not survive and Croft shot himself. Dr Herbert completed Mrs Thackerey’s delivery but she died a few days later.
Sat 4th July 1818
Count Matvei Platoff was the hetman of the Don Cossacks who annihilated much of Napoleon’s retreating army and later threatened Paris. He was something of an allied secret weapon – the cruelty of his men struck fear into many Europeans.
He has just died at Novocherkassk near Rostov. He obtained much publicity for promising his daughter in marriage to the Cossack who killed Napoleon.
Sat 4th July 1818
Tsar Alexander has repealed part of the usual punishment for violent offenders in his domains. They still get banished to Siberia but will no longer have their noses slit.
Sat 11th July 1818
Russia has demanded the Ottomans guarantee the Serbians their religion and laws. The Porte has prevaricated and the Russian ambassador to Constantinople, Count Stroganov, has hauled down his flag and departed.
Russian relations with Persia are peaceful for the time being but the Persians are not deceived. Our old friend, Mirza Abdul Hassan Khan, will visit England soon to renew friendships.
Sat 11th July 1818
St Helena, March – Napoleon seems to have realised he will never leave this island alive. He has been depressed and has quarrelled with everyone. Several of his staff have left. He generally declines interviews to passengers on the Indiamen passing through.
Sat 25th July 1818
One of the clauses of the Treaty of Paris of 5th November 1814 makes Britain the protector of Ionia – Napoleon’s old Federation of the Seven Islands (Corfu to Zante). They were historically Venetian islands, held to protect Venetian trade with the Levant from Aegean pirates. They are Greek-speaking people and Orthodox Christians.
We have just bestowed a Constitution on them. It was ratified by the Regent in August 1817. The local government has a Legislature and Judiciary but Defence is now Britain’s responsibility. We appoint a Lord Commissioner (currently Maitland) who can summon or prorogue parliament. The Senate is composed of one chap from each of the four main islands and a fifth representing the other smaller islands. They meet with a President who is nominated by the British King. All legislation must be approved by the Lord Commissioner. One printing press is permitted to the Federation and that is under the control of the Senate.
Sat 5th Sept 1818
|Matrimony:||“My Dear, what makes you always yawn?”
The wife exclaimed, her temper gone.
“Is home so dull and dreary?”
“Not so my Love” he said, “not so.
But man and wife are one you know
And when alone, I’m weary”
Sat 12th Sept 1818
Hanover, 16th April 1818 – the restoration of Hanover and the independence of the Hanseatic towns are matters of importance to the British economy. The Dutch have laid a heavy tariff on British goods transiting their states to Germany. It amounts to a prohibition and has focused all trade to the Rhine states on Hamburg. Even the Frankfurt merchants are buying in Hamburg and using expensive land carriage because its cheaper than trading through Holland.
The Brunswick Easter Fair this year displayed British goods almost exclusively. The Spring Fair at Frankfurt is expected to be the same. We noticed that Irish linen is becoming popular in Europe.
Sat 3rd Oct 1818
London, mid-June – the ministry is considering the significance of an event involving a sailor from the Indiaman Vansittart who had formerly been a sailor on HMS Northumberland which took Napoleon to St Helena.
Whilst the Vansittart was anchored at St Helena he rowed a dinghy ashore and climbed up the cliff to visit Napoleon. He went twice, the second time with a friend. He later mentioned the visits to a colleague and the story came out. He was put in irons and sent back to London for enquiries.
It seems he may have been more interested in one of the serving girls rather than the Emperor himself. General Hudson Lowe is using the event to disclaim his responsibility for an escape.
Sat 17th Oct 1818
House of Commons, 9th June – only 26 MPs turned-up for work today. It is a lovely day. House adjourned.
Sat 28th Nov 1818
Letter from St Helena – Napoleon seems to be in receipt of funds we did not know he had. In May, his attendant Las Casas drew Bills to £3,000 in Frankfurt on a London bank and they were paid; another draft for £10,000 signed by Napoleon was presented to another London house and paid.
Residents on St Helena say he has received 400,000 Francs in gold and a parcel of diamonds. How the money is getting to him and why he should want to have it here is unknown.
Sat 26th Dec 1818
Mde de Montesquieu, the governess of young Napoleon until his father’s brief return to France, has published a book of anecdotes about the great man. It will likely be very popular. The monster of British newspapers comes across as rather amusing and lovable.
He ate very simply – beans were a favourite, boiled lamb and roast chicken also. He loved good wine but drank little. He was particularly partial to bread and very precise in the flavour he approved.
Sat 27th Feb 1819
When the Congress at Aix-la-Chapelle reconvenes, it is said the Tsar Alexander will propose that Napoleon be permitted to return to Europe as a prisoner-of-war on parole, regardless of British ministerial opposition.
Sat 27th Feb 1819
The London Morning Chronicle has reproduced correspondence concerning Napoleon’s incarceration:
He has shut himself up since May 1816 to protest ‘the outrages of Lt General Sir Hudson Lowe’ whom he characterises as his assassin. A third of the garrison of St Helena does sentry duty on Napoleon and they are everywhere – M de Montholon can see 30 from his window every day. Napoleon gets no newspapers except an occasional and selected edition of the London Morning Chronicle. He has no respect for any of the present rulers of Europe except the Tsar, to whom he would write if it were allowed. The only letter he was allowed to send was to Lord Liverpool and the only interview granted was to Lord Amherst.
Napoleon has liver disease. Dr O’Meara is his doctor, appointed by an Order-in-Council and he treats it with mercury and wants Napoleon to exercise more; Dr Baxter, on the other hand, who is the navy’s senior doctor at St Helena, wants to purge him and then administer calomel and mercury. Lowe, for his part, does not want Napoleon exercising at all as he might escape.
Barry G O’Meara, Napoleon’s doctor on St Helena until 25th July 1818, wrote to Major Gorrequer, in command of the garrison, on 3rd May. He says “in answer to your insinuations, I refer to my letter of 23rd December last. As a result of my Protest you restricted my actions four months ago and confirmed it in your letter of 16th April. Your accusations are unjust and I particularly object to being denied permission to defend myself to Governor Lowe. Whether it is you or the Governor who originates the accusations, I should be allowed my defence. I was born in a free country under the rule of law and justice should extend to its colonies like St Helena. Your restrictions have no judicial precedent. They are based on conjecture and the reports of unidentified spies. If you really believe I have acted criminally I demand you instantly bring me to trial.” 
Sat 3rd April 1819
Bombay Notice, 2nd April – Lt General Sir Hudson Lowe has complained to the Company’s Directors about employees from India using the authority of their rank to pass his guards and visit Longwood (Napoleon’s house). He has provided a list of the involved officers.
The Directors have written to each one conveying their displeasure. They have asked each Presidency to remind all their people stopping at St Helena that they must apply to the Governor of St Helena for a passport to access Longwood.
Sat 10th April 1819
The French have undertaken to succeed Louis XVIII with Comte d’Artois (Monsieur) who has himself undertaken to continue the same policies. The Tsar and the Duke of Wellington are satisfied and have no qualms about withdrawing the allied armies. Barings have undertaken to underwrite the indemnities to the tune of 31 million Francs a month for ten months. Payments commence nine months after signature of the Agreement.
There are many creditors and difficulties will arise. By the Treaty of Paris of November 1815 it was stipulated that France would pay for our occupation to an estimated expense of 150 million Francs a year. The scarcity of grain in 1816 and 1817 that affected all Europe added an unforeseen 40 million Francs to our provisioning expenses which France paid and Richelieu wants that sum deducted from the former estimate.
Other predictable difficulties will arise from the quarrel between Sweden and Denmark, the help Spain requires to recover her South American colonies and the territorial diminishment of Bavaria to the advantage of Baden. Sweden was given Danish Norway and was supposed in return to contribute to reduction of the Danish national debt and provide some other services but has performed none of those agreements. This has enraged the Danish King who is an honourable man. Spain was not invited to the Congress but her concerns must be considered.
Finally the Tsar feels Napoleon is being badly treated. They all dealt with Napoleon as an equal and now he is detained under oppressive conditions as a perpetual prisoner in an unhealthy and remote island. The Tsar fears Napoleon will soon be dead if remedial action is not taken.
Sat 10th April 1819
Zeitschwingen newspaper, 13th – 16th November:
The Count las Casas has approved the Manuscript of St Helena as an authentic exposition of Napoleon’s views. He says some paragraphs brought to mind the Emperor’s own words in their entirety. It is a selective history of many of the events since the turn of the century.
Sat 10th April 1819
Sir Hudson Lowe has evidence (by intercepted correspondence) of a plot to free Napoleon from St Helena. The documents are being sent to England on HMS Musquito. There are several people named as implicated – two in England, several on the continent and a London banking house. It is said the ministry was already alerted by receipt of several undeliverable letters to an unknown person. They were inspected and the alleged plot came to light.
The fact that Lowe is not in control of his island is suggested by Napoleon’s recent receipt of £15,000 in dollars – that is about 2 tonnes of silver. How did he get that without the hundreds of guards noticing? The source of this payment appears to be the hiding place of Napoleon’s fabled wealth, supposed to exceed £1 million.
The Russian and Austrian Commissioners to St Helena have both gone home via Rio de Janeiro. Only the Prussian Commissioner remains. St Helena is a humid foggy place. No-one is permitted to grow food except the Company and most supplies come from the Cape on passing Indiamen. Dysentery seems endemic and every visiting ship has fatalities from this cause. The visiting ships are also required during their stay to contribute boats and armed crews to row around the island and keep a lookout.
Two natives were recently seen on the shore by a passing sloop and traced to a cave near which a difficult path to the cliff top could be accessed. Lowe instantly constructed a battery there. It is true the Company’s cruisers that patrol around the island sometimes see other ships. A large long schooner with 13 guns and full of men was encountered about 80 miles off the island recently but was not stopped. She appeared to be one of the South American privateers predating on Spanish ships and looked quite redoubtable.
Recently two of the Generals accompanying Napoleon quarrelled to the point of one demanding satisfaction of the other. Now General Gourgaud has left St Helena and published a peculiar account of the battle of Waterloo which is libellous of Napoleon. Because of this he is now suspected of furthering the plot to free the Emperor (as he suddenly appears to be against Napoleon, he must in fact be for him) and has been arrested in England and deported under the Aliens Act. Gourgaud resisted arrest saying his repatriation to France was a death sentence. He was sent to Harwich and shipped off to Cuxhaven.
Sat 17th April 1819
Sir Samuel Romilly’s Quaker wife Ann has died and he was so disconsolate he cut his throat. This is a great loss to the liberal cause. The Electorate of Westminster has heard a eulogy of him by Sir Francis Burdett. They now have to select a replacement MP and John Hobhouse is the leading contender.
Hobhouse’s problem is that his father Sir Benjamin was selected years ago and sold-out his liberal principles on obtaining his seat. Cobbett and Hunt have also offered themselves. Apparently Lord John Russell from the glorious Bedford family is willing to serve but wants to be invited. His liberal credentials are good – his speech against the suspension of Habeas Corpus was well received.
On a show of hands Hobhouse was selected.
Sat 17th April 1819
During the commercial war in 1814 a Russian brought tea plants (camellias) to Paris and there are now over 200 plants producing a small but high-quality crop. Apparently it is easy to grow – it is the processing that is tricky. The Parisian supply is sold by subscription.
Sat 24th April 1819
London Morning Post – The King is locked-up by his ministers; the Queen has died and now the family jewels seem to have disappeared. The King’s diamond George and star, his diamond-hilted sword, his priceless button and loop have vanished along with the rest of the collection. The casket containing them has been found at Windsor but its empty. The ministry says they have not been seen since the King first became unwell. It seems unlikely that valuables of such bulk could remain concealed for long. Lord Yarmouth is looking through the vaults of the Bank of England where the King is said to have stored some boxes.
Some courtiers suggest that the anxiety the Queen expressed to go to Windsor during her final illness may indicate that is still their resting place.
The care of the King is now vested in the Queen’s Council.
Sat 1st May 1819
London reports French trade is very slow owing to lack of money.
Sat 1st May 1819
The basis to Sir Hudson Lowe’s theory of a conspiracy to free Napoleon from St Helena has been discovered by the London Morning Chronicle. It derives from a box of books and some letters that Wm Holmes of Lion’s Inn sent to the Emperor. Capt Brash of the Lusitania storeship took the box at end-June from Deal to the island. It was addressed to Napoleon.
Capt Brash is said to have hyped-up the contents of the box to the St Helena officials in the expectation of getting a share of the island’s freight (all provisions are imported). The box contents are numerous political speeches, Beauchamp’s Campaigns, Wilson’s Sketch of Russia, Rogniat’s Art of War, Theibault’s Expedition du Portugal and some other military and political works in French.
Holmes has written an apoplectic letter to the Times. He is an old friend of O’Meara the navy doctor treating Napoleon, and he is sympathetic to the Emperor’s situation. He sent the books to Napoleon and the letters to Dr O’Meara. He thinks Napoleon is being badly treated and he intended to alleviate his perpetual boredom.
This is the substance of Lowe’s ‘traitorous act’ that has gone all the way up to the allied commissioners at Aix-la-Chapelle.
Sat 8th May 1819
Bernadotte was crowned King of Norway at Trondheim on 7th September 1818. To express the joy of the Norwegians, twenty-seven criminals were freed and sentences commuted on three others.
Sat 22nd May 1819
While at Aix-la-Chapelle, the Tsar made the Duke of Wellington a Field Marshal of the Russian army and invited him to dinner, mentioning that he expected the Duke to wear his new uniform.
Wellington then borrowed the Tsar’s own uniform and wore his Field Marshal’s Order with the sword that the Tsar had just given him.
Sat 22nd May 1819
The Regent has issued a Proclamation in Hanover concerning non-payment of interest on money the residents lent to the Electorate’s Treasury during the French occupation. He proscribes their commencing legal action to recover their loans but recognises the justice of their claims. The proscription will continue until a means of settling the Electorate’s outstanding debts has been discovered.
Sat 22nd May 1819
Asiatic Journal – Dr O’Meara, who has acted as Napoleon’s doctor since the Emperor’s incarceration, has been removed from the list of naval surgeons following his dispute with Lt General Sir Hudson Lowe.
Sat 22nd May 1819
Napoleon’s secretary, le Comte Bertrand, has written a letter to Las Casas:
On 7th June I received your letter of 15th January. Four months ago I received a box of books from Henry Goulburn.
Circumstances here have changed considerably since your departure. I wonder if the British ministry is aware of the vexations we live under since 1817. The St Helena Governor seems intent on harassing the Emperor to death. He seems to be motivated by hatred. We wonder if that is the ministry’s policy?
After you left St Helena, Napoleon ceased to ride a horse because of the insulting acts of the many sentries posted everywhere. Since then he has likewise abandoned hill-walking for the same reason. In March and April this year, as a substitute activity, he started to visit me and my wife and he also took to sitting on the bench placed some 50 yards from Longwood House where some views of the island can be had. He was wont to sit there for an hour each day.
These excursions have been stopped by the Governor and Napoleon is confined to the house. Lowe has replaced the gardener at Longwood with a soldier and empowered him with a right to stop and search. He is not much good at gardening but he is very diligent in policing any one who enters or leaves. He has also placed a sergeant at my (Bertrand’s) house who poses as overseer to the workmen who are supposedly repairing the house (all the Longwood houses leak in the frequent rain). This sergeant is also empowered to stop and search. This has been sufficient to ensure Napoleon does not emerge. Nowadays he rises at 11 am and retires at 2 am.
He has been thus confined for over a hundred days now. The lack of exercise combined with the humid climate has impaired Napoleon’s health. You would not recognise him now. Since Sept 1817 he has had increasing attacks of liverishness which O’Meara diagnosed as hepatitis and was treating but in April, in consequence of Lowe’s provocations, O’Meara felt obliged on his honour to resign. Lowe immediately wanted to replace O’Meara with Baxter, about whom you already know, and for April and part of May the Emperor was without a doctor. The Russian and Austrian commissioners here were embarrassed. They could not imagine how to explain themselves if the Emperor died and feared they would be implicated in what appears to be a gradual assassination.
On their representations, Lowe agreed to reinstate O’Meara on 10th May but sought to isolate the doctor from the 66th regiment which is providing many of the soldiers watching Napoleon and with whose officers the doctor customarily dined. Lowe ordered the Colonel of the 66th to require O’Meara to eat apart from the officers. Effectively he detached O’Meara from the British force and transferred him to the French group with Napoleon. Lowe affects to fear that the doctor would establish a route of communications for Napoleon via the regimental officers.
During O’Meara’s absence and since he has resumed treatments, Napoleon’s health continued to deteriorate. O’Meara is prescribing mercury for the liver disease. There are two other reputable doctors at St Helena – Baxter the regimental doctor and the surgeon of the flag ship Conqueror (Stokoe). Napoleon dislikes Baxter because he was formerly a Sergeant Major in the Italian battalion that Lowe commanded in the war and still supports Lowe right or wrong. The evidence of this is in the medical bulletins he prepared for the British ministry from October 1817 to March 1818 which are all misleading.
We called Dr Stokoe and he came to our camp but he would not see or examine Napoleon as he feared to jeopardise the fruits of 40 years employment with the India Company. I interviewed him to ascertain his difficulty. He is a respectable old man and told me his position frankly. He was allowed to visit Longwood on the same terms as other visitors – that they have no discussion with any Frenchman except in the presence of the orderly officer (the Orderly Officer and the Doctor are the two resident Englishmen at Longwood). The same thing happened to Coles, my local banker, and Fowler the London merchant with whom I have an account. This strict regulation makes life very trying.
Please use your influence to prevent any of the Bonaparte family from visiting. The circumstances here are too depressing and Napoleon would dislike them seeing his humiliating degradation and the hatred he is exposed to.
Count de Montholon and myself are the only two aides still here and Napoleon constantly presses us to leave. He feels guilt at being the cause of our misery. The British regimental officers were long ago forbidden to visit but continued to stop and chat on opportunity when my wife and I met them on the path. That piece of fraternisation was discovered and an insinuation of treason was bandied about the mess sufficient for them to desist. There was no written instruction to them; we knew it when one day we met them and they just walked straight passed.
We also have a problem with dirty clothes and bed linen which are allowed to collect for several days before the orderly captain makes a careful inspection of each item before approving it for washing. This is humiliating and seems intended to insult us.
In June 1816 a storeship arrived at the anchorage bringing a bust of Napoleon’s son for him. Lowe required it be mishandled and it was dropped in the sea on off-loading. The ship’s officers exposed Lowe because they feared their failure to deliver it gave rise to their liability under the Bill of Lading and its on a judicial record but he is a Lieutenant General so he denies it. Lady Malcolm was here at the time and she and those ship captains who were visiting were all shocked and disgusted. In February 1817 the storeship Cambridge delivered two engravings of young Napoleon which the officers had brought in their privileged tonnage expecting the Emperor would like to buy them. Lowe bought them himself saying he planned to give them to his prisoner but they were not presented and we realised Lowe intended to withhold them like the bust.
We suppose the British ministry is aware of Lowe’s activities. Amherst must have reported the true state of affairs when he returned to London. There is also Captain Popleton who was orderly officer for two years in replacement of Capt Mackay of the 53rd (Popleton was himself replaced by Capt Blakenly – all three orderly officers receive good reports from Bertrand). Colonel Nicholls of the 66th regiment and Col Fehrzen of the 53rd regiment and their officers are all aware of what is being perpetrated here. Most of us think it would have been more manly for the British to have executed Napoleon on HMS Bellerophon. We have made our complaints for two years as best we can but it just goes on so we must conclude that Napoleon’s treatment is British policy.
You may remember there are Russian and Austrian commissioners here and a Bourbon representative. Whilst you were here we never saw them although Napoleon has not declined to meet them and even now they have not visited us or the Emperor but we have met them fortuitously on the footpath. It seems very strange as they are supposed to monitor the Emperor’s health and treatment. Lowe himself last visited in August 1816. Napoleon’s complaints on that occasion were sufficient to rouse the General’s pride and he did not return.
I should be obliged if you would acquaint the Bonaparte family with the nature of his imprisonment and ensure that none of them seek to visit him in the midst of his misfortune.
You mentioned that the British government had agreed to send copies of the Morning Chronicle and we also receive copies of the Times but a good many numbers are held back. We get a few editions each month and recently received a bundle of February and early March issues. By interrupting the sequence of daily reports, the reported stories become almost meaningless. Its worse than having no news at all.
As regards books that are brought by the ships’ officers it is Lowe’s purpose on the arrival of each ship to buy every book on board. We have been fortunate to receive two bundles of pamphlets that you sent but none of the other parcels have been delivered.
I have shown this letter to the Emperor for his approval and he wishes to add that he believes the calomel (a salt of mercury used as a purgative) he is prescribed is not improving the health of his liver and is actually the cause of his other indispositions.
PS – Capt Blakenly of the 66th, on discovering the precise nature of Lowe’s requirements a few days after he took up the Orderly’s job, sought assurance that on the expiration of his one year posting he might be relieved. We heard he told some other regimental officers that it was not possible for a man of honour to hold the post of Orderly officer. Lowe did not wait a year. You will recall there was one man on the Governor’s staff whom Napoleon declined to meet – he was one of the officers sent out to assume a command in the militia (Lyster). Well, he now does the work of Orderly officer and has introduced a friend about whom we know nothing who assists him in his duties. Blakenly is now only nominally Orderly and Lyster has already had a sharp altercation with O’Meara. It is beneath my station to provoke Lowe but I have sent him a Protest concerning the new chap’s challenge against me.
On 24th May Lowe ordered O’Meara to leave Longwood in consequence, as he said, of an order of Lord Bathurst. O’Meara was appointed by Order-in-Council to act as Napoleon’s own doctor and this new instruction appeared of doubtful authority. I wrote to Admiral Keith indicating Napoleon supposed his doctor would continue to be appointed or dismissed by Orders-in-Council and I wished to see the new Order. It seems an astonishing thing to do when the Emperor’s health is so precarious. Actually, aware of Lowe’s disapproval of O’Meara, we asked in April that any replacement doctor should have the Emperor’s confidence but three months have elapsed without reply.
Concerning the books, the Countess of Leedkerke, my wife’s niece and the daughter of M de Latour Dupin, received a letter proposing books be sent upon which she obtained Goulburn’s agreement in London to send us something. He indicated that books would be sent every month. We received the first two boxes on 12th and 28th March but, although several ships have arrived in the succeeding months, no more books are delivered to us.
On the back of Lowe’s letter to the Emperor of 18th November 1818, Napoleon has written “this letter and those of 26thJuly 1818 and 26th Oct 1817 are full of lies. I have shut myself up in this room for 18 months to protest the insults of this officer. My health is impaired and reading his disgusting stuff makes it worse. Send me no more if it.
This officer has given it to be understood that he acts on secret verbal instructions of the British ministry but I suspect he acts on his own initiative from the lengths he goes to disguise his purpose. I consider him my assassin. Had they sent a man of honour I should be less tormented and they would escape the odium of history.”
Sgd Napoleon, 23rd November 1818.
Bertrand’s Protest to Lowe, 22nd July 1818:
|The Longwood Estate was provided to the Emperor for his use. The boundaries are repeatedly violated by people acting on your instructions who purport to be domestic servants, workmen and the like.
Dr O’Meara was appointed by His Britannic Majesty. You have overtly and covertly obstructed him in his professional duty and now dismissed him with the foreseeable result that Napoleon’s health will not be preserved.
Lyster’s only purpose at Longwood appears to be hatred and revenge.
Sat 5th June 1819
The King’s missing jewels have been found. It was remembered he last wore them at the Queen’s Palace and a search of likely storage places there found them in the Queen’s chamber. They have been sent to the Tower.
Sat 5th June 1819
Lord Erskine the eminent lawyer is now about 70 years old but he has just married his long-term girlfriend Sarah Buck by whom he has several children. She is 37 years old.
Erskine arrived at Gretna Green dressed as a woman and wearing a large bonnet and veil. He changed clothes for the ceremony which was completed just before his son Thomas arrived.
Erskine resumed his female impersonation and immediately left with his new bride. He was taken ill a couple of nights later whilst dining with the Duke of York at Oatlands. 40 ounces of blood were drawn off and he was reportedly much improved.
Sat 5th June 1819
London, 8th February – Robert Peel has been elected Chairman of the Commons’ Secret Committee. It is seen as an intermediate step to Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Sat 31st July 1819
St Helena, 26th January 1819 – Napoleon was very ill this last few days but declined to see Baxter. The only doctor he confides in is O’Meara’s old friend Stokoe, the surgeon of the flag ship, who went up to examine him at 2 am yesterday.
Stokoe is not publishing his findings but his action has won the hostility of Lowe, the Governor. He has been given the choice of a court-martial or invaliding out of the service and has chosen the latter. He sails back to Portsmouth tomorrow on HMS Trincomalee. This is the second time Lowe has removed a doctor treating Napoleon and, with the Emperor apparently quite sick, it should have the desired effect. At least it provides a route for Baxter to treat the Emperor should the latter be too ill to prevent it.
The Bertrands appear well. We see them walking occasionally but are not supposed to talk with them.
The Morning Chronicle of 2nd April is concerned that Britain might be stigmatised by Lowe’s unregulated inhumanity to Napoleon – it says it looks like national policy.
Sat 28th Aug 1819
Hampshire Telegraph, 13th April – Dr Stokoe, Napoleon’s doctor who has been expelled from St Helena by Lowe and who arrived in England a week ago, has been interviewed by ministers and sent back to St Helena to treat the Emperor. He will travel on the Abundance.
Sat 28th Aug 1819
Napoleon’s abuse by Lowe seems to have worried the ministry. The concern is that the Emperor will be thought deserving of sympathy. Five people intended for his service have just arrived in London from France. There is an old priest – the Abbe Bonavito, Dr Viglioli, Professor Antomarchi together with a man servant and a cook.
Sat 18th Sept 1819
Charlotte von Siebold is the daughter of two doctors of Darmstadt and a doctor herself. She graduated from Gottingen, the Hanoverian university. They are all obstetricians. Her latest triumph was in delivering the Duchess of Kent of a baby girl.
Sat 6th Nov 1819
Plymouth News – Wm Gall, the Coroner at Broad Street, St Giles has just held an Inquest into the death of an Irish labourer by spontaneous combustion.
Dr Henry Thompson deposed that he examined the body of Patrick Roper at the place of death. The two hind quarters were severely contused, the ribs were scattered around the room, the left arm with shoulder attached was on the chest-of-drawers and the other arm was behind the bed. The head could not immediately be found but a hole in the ceiling suggested a direction for search. Death was due to a sudden dismantling of the entire body.
Molly Roper deposed that, at the end of each week, her husband would take his wages to the pub and stay there until his money was exhausted. On Saturday night at about midnight Patrick Roper came home and went to bed. Molly was already in bed and asked him to blow out the candle. She saw him raise the candle to his mouth whereupon there was a blinding flash and an immense explosion. The room appeared full of liquid fire and she lost consciousness.
Lawrence Meagher deposed that he lived in the room above the Ropers. Whilst sleeping on Saturday night his bed was suddenly raised with such violence he and his wife fell out of either side. Protruding through the palliasse was a head with eyes blinking and teeth chattering. On looking closely he recognised his old mate Pat Roper.
Dr Thompson gave further evidence. He recalled there were many similar instances in the medical texts. He had personally dealt with a case in the Peninsula War in which an officer’s wife exploded after drinking tea mixed with gunpowder.
Sat 13th Nov 1819
There is a business done in Westminster Hall that should be better known. It is operated by ‘men of straw’. These are people with no property of their own who walk the corridors with a piece of straw in one shoe or the other. If you require bail, approach a man of straw and, for a small fee, he will swear to the Judge that he is the holder of property sufficient to guarantee your bail.
It is perjury but it allows one to fight another day.
One of the ‘men of straw’, who says he is named Milner, has just been convicted of perjury in precisely these circumstances. He got an hour in the pillory and banishment to Australia for 7 years. Apparently banishment to Australia is no longer considered a punishment by the criminal classes. If you can survive the journey, there are many opportunities and the climate is delightful. Its also cheaper than emigrating to America as the government pays the passage fare to the India Company.
Sat 27th Nov 1819
Colonel G A Gustafsson of Basle, formerly King Gustavus Adolphus IV of Sweden, published a letter on 1st June 1819 from his Swiss home:
He says he separated from his Queen in 1812 and gave over the education of their children to her, together with a considerable fund to finance their lives. The money was regularly provided by the Swedish government without strings attached and she disposed of it as she saw fit. She had promised to bring-up the boy (also Gustavus) in a way that prepared him for monarchy and to return him to his father at age 17. In fact she kept the boy until he was 21 years and it has since turned-out that he has been educated by a Calvinist Republican!
The Russian Gazette recently said the Tsar has appointed young Gustavus to rule one of his provinces (Finland). It was also, somewhat contrarily, said that the Tsar was sending Gustavus £2,000 to remove to London and complete his education there. I myself have heard nothing from the Tsar. I wish the Editor of the London Courier will insert this letter in his newspaper.
Sat 4th Dec 1819
Calcutta Journal, 4th November – Capt Montague, a passenger on the Indiaman David Scott on his return to England, has written a letter dated 7th July from St Helena to an unidentified friend in Calcutta:
The Rev Bryce (another passenger) prevailed on the chaplain of the flagship to obtain passports for us to visit Longwood. He was required to accompany us. We were unable to interview Napoleon. He has seen no-one for 18 months except Ricketts to whom he gave a message for Lord Liverpool.
The new house looks very comfortable and is said to have cost £40,000. It is a square cottage with two gabled ends in the front. The largest room is a billiards room and there is a dining room and library as well. It is on a fine site and the security fencing around the house is hidden behind earthen banks at his request. When he moves-in the nearby army cantonment will be removed out of sight. There are attached stables with several horses which he is permitted to ride unattended over a distance of 12 – 14 miles but he never leaves the Estate. His health is said to have recovered and he is no longer persecuted by Lowe. He spends an unusual amount of time each day in a hot bath. He visits the Bertrands from time to time but Mde Bertrand is in failing health and may join the trickle of French people drifting away from St Helena.
We rode through his grounds and got a rare sighting at a distance – blue coat, cocked hat, hands behind his back, pacing along in the familiar wide stride with which he walked all over Europe.
As you are his friend I am enclosing two plants from the bank around his garden.
Sat 4th Dec 1819
Letter from Rome, 1st June – Dr O’Meara was the doctor who refused to discuss Napoleon’s condition with Governor Lowe and was consequently shipped-off to London. The job had provided him with his only annual income.
Members of the Bonaparte family near here have now settled a lifetime pension on O’Meara in 12,000 Francs – equivalent to the amount he has lost.
Sat 4th Dec 1819
Constantinople, 1st June – After three years of tedious negotiations, the Porte has agreed we can keep the Ionian Islands if he can have back Parga and its hinterland (on the mainland coast south of Corfu).
Sat 11th Dec 1819
The infant daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Kent has been christened Alexandrina Victoria on 24th June at Kensington Palace.
Sat 11th Dec 1819
There is a strange distress affecting American merchants. North Carolina and Maryland are in the worst difficulties but all the states are more or less the same. It appears a general reduction of prices has caught the mercantile classes with too much over-priced stock on their hands. Baltimore City Bank has resumed partial cash payments which has eased tension there but it is a rare gleam of hope in a generally depressing picture. Representatives from all the Banks in the country are being assembled to discuss what to do.
Sun 6th Feb 1820 Extraordinary
The Admiralty is rearranging the deployment of its fleets, purportedly to obtain more flexibility. In future they will serve a year at each of the stations – West Indies, Mediterranean, South America, etc., – and then move on.
It is anticipated that officers and men will get a better familiarity with the different climates and geography of each region – that’s the official explanation.
Sat 26th Feb 1820
Letters from the Netherlands reveal that country is in the same economic mess as Britain. They attribute their difficulties to government regulations which they say do not nurture commerce. The House of Orange has lost many of its former friends.
Sat 26th Feb 1820
Journal de Paris, 27th – 29th September – a spirit of hatred against the Jews has manifested throughout the European states but particularly in Germany and Denmark. Have we not progressed beyond the monstrous laws of the middle ages that made debts due to Jews unenforceable and confiscated Jewish property if the owner would not apostatise?
We suppose we live in an age of tolerance. From whence does this return to barbarism come? We claim to be Christians and say we live the Christian life but what has become of the universal charity we are expected to practise – ‘love thy neighbour’?
The Jews purchased the right of co-existence with their gold and blood. They have been wandering for sixty generations and it was high time for recognition and toleration to be institutionalised but it has lasted a scant five years and now the very Diet that decreed their equality has reversed itself.
It is our belief that the Jews will outlive their persecutors, rebuild the temple and ultimately adopt the standard of Christ. In a very real sense, they are our fathers and brothers and we are wrong to tyrannise them. If the Germans insist to proscribe them, they are welcome in France. We have room here for synagogues and counting houses and all the industry of the Jews.
Sat 4th March 1820
London Courier, 6th November – Dr Stokoe, the doctor on the Admiral’s flagship at St Helena who briefly attended Napoleon, has been court-martialled by the Admiralty on the complaint of Lt General Sir Hudson Lowe. The Court Martial is composed of Capts Stanfell, Wauchope, G Rennie, Sir W S Wiseman and J H Plumridge. The charges are:
Rear Admiral Plampin is Admiral at the Cape and was not at St Helena which is commanded by Stanfell as his deputy. Lowe offered Stokoe the choice of retirement on half-pay or Court Martial and he chose the former.
He returned to London and was well-treated by the Lords of the Admiralty and persuaded to continue serving at St Helena but that now appears to have been a ruse. It has deprived Stokoe of all his original official documents which might have established his defence as he left them in England, supposing that his friendly reception indicated he had been vindicated.
When he got back to the Island, Lowe instituted the Court Martial proceedings. The complaints are clearly frivolous but, when the Governor of a colony and the Admiral’s deputy on station require a Court Martial, it is done. The main people who can give evidence for Stokoe are Bertrand and Montholon, the two French generals accompanying Napoleon, but Lowe says their evidence is inadmissible in a Royal Naval Court Martial. The result of the prosecution is not in doubt and Stokoe’s 20 years of service to the Company has become worthless.
Stokoe says he approached some army officers to give evidence on his behalf but they were frightened of incurring official displeasure – one said he was sick and the other frankly admitted he was fearful. The trial started on 29th August 1819 and concluded on 3rd September.
Sat 4thMarch 1820
Napoleon’s son, now known at Vienna as the Duke of Richstadt, has been appointed assistant to the Archbishop of Olmutz by the Austrian Emperor. He will reside in that see with his uncle, the Cardinal Rudolphus, and be instructed by three Jesuits.
Sat 25th March 1820
Windsor Castle, 6th November – George III is 81 this year. His regular medical reports have shown his physical health to be extraordinarily good all along but it seems now to decline.
Sat 1st April 1820
The Regent has become dissatisfied with Carlton House because he cannot give it greater elevation. He has selected Buckingham House as the most suitable available site for his new home.
The plans call for a building with the front offering as aspect of a long avenue of trees and the canal in St James Park; the second side will command Green Park and the third the Surrey Hills. It is proposed to give the new structure sufficient elevation to overlook Pimlico. The N W and S W aspects will have a terrace copied from Windsor Castle.
The cost is estimated at £7 millions. The Regent is reluctant to apply to parliament for funds and proposes to sell various properties to raise the money – the land on which St James’ Palace stands, King’s Mews and Warwick House – which are expected to raise 90% of the necessary money. He is selling Carlton House to his brother (the Duke of York).
Sat 8th April 1820
London, December 1819 – The Duke of York says the King is lucid. He has asked the doctors to cease attending him.
Sat 8th April 1820
When Louis Bonaparte was King of the Netherlands he bought the Haarlem Estate from the banker Hope. Events have since caused Louis’ removal from Holland and he can no longer enjoy his Estate. The returning Prince of Orange confiscated the Estate to his crown but Louis remonstrated with him and the Prince offered 300,000 Florins but Louis declined – he wants the Estate.
The Prince then assembled a group of lawyers, a majority of whom opined that the Estate belonged to the Prince. Louis has now commenced an action for recovery at Amsterdam. The Prince’s case depends on the source of the money Louis used to buy the Estate in the first place – if it was Dutch government money it belongs to the Netherlands.
Sat 3rd June 1820
English newspapers to 4th February report the deaths of the Duke of Kent and George III. The Regency is ended and George IV has been proclaimed King.
George III is said to have wasted-away and died of chronic diarrhoea. His teeth fell out and he lost his appetite. At the last he was unrecognisable as the active man who led the country for so many decades.
Sat 10th June 1820
The Times, 18th February – A reminder of the death of Duc d’Enghien has occurred in Paris. The Bourbons were at the Opera on 13th February. When they came out, a young man named Louvel stabbed the Duc de Berri in the chest with a stiletto. The Royal physicians were soon on hand and tried to bleed the Duc but could not commence a flow. They then put him in a bath but that made his wound bleed more profusely and he complained. He survived for about 5 hours. He was the last direct descendant of Louis XIV.
Charles Ferdinand d’Artois, Duc de Berri, is the nephew of Louis XVIII and was 42 years old. Louvel was a stablehand in the Royal harness stables. British reports say he accompanied Napoleon to and from Elba. The murderer took the view that the Bourbon family were tyrannical and Berri was the most likely candidate to assume the succession after Louis XVIII’s passing. His removal makes the succession less easy. The man appears to have acted alone. He will be tried by the Chamber of Peers. (NB – soon afterwards there was an attempt to kill Berri’s pregnant widow. Her unborn child is the Bourbon’s last hope)
In the Chamber of Deputies a right-winger, de Bourdonhaye, alleged that de Cazes, the Prime Minister, was involved in the assassination of Berri. The chamber voted a unanimous repudiation of the remark but de Cazes had to resign. The suspicious item is 1,500 Francs found in Louvel’s room. No-one believes a man in his employment could have savings, so it is assumed to be a recent payment for some valuable service.
Berri’s body is on public exhibition at the Louvre. His dying wish was that the assassin be spared (Louvel was executed on 9th June). The Duchess has gone to St Cloud and is so upset she has given away all her diamonds to charity, saying she will never wear them again. The Bourbons are saying the murder was not political – Louvet was taking revenge for a blow Berri had levelled at him in the stables. Berri was actually one of the most unpopular of an unpopular family. Had he been made King it would have likely induced another Revolution. At the hearing Louvel gave his interlocutors no satisfaction whatsoever. He was unemotional and revealed no useful information.
The Bourbons have responded with a further lurch to the right. The Election Law is to be amended; all safeguards of personal liberties are withdrawn for a year; the freedom of the press is revoked. This might well procure the Revolution they seek to avoid.
Sat 17th June 1820
Europe is in complete disarray:
The only Europeans having fun are the British and American adventurers in South America who are playing boys’ games and collecting real silver.
Sat 1st July 1820
The German states of the Austrian Empire have petitioned the Emperor to levy high duties on French and British imports but remove all internal transit fees within the Rhineland. They remember the convenience and good effect of Napoleon’s measures in that respect. They say the smuggling of British and French goods should be prevented as the quantities are so immense they prevent the establishment of local industry. They particularly complain of those insurance companies that indemnify smugglers for their losses by warranting the legal requirements clause in their policies to be of no effect.
Sat 26th Aug 1820
Sir Thomas Maitland is the Lord High Commissioner of the United States of the Ionian Islands which we acquired after the wars with Napoleon. The Islands are governed under a Constitution we bestowed on them in 1817. To obtain the islands, we were obliged by treaty to cede Parga (in Albania) to the Porte but have indemnified its citizens and granted them citizenship in the Islands should they wish to join us. Commerce is developing. The islands straddle the route from the Levant to western Europe and will indubitably become a wealthy state. Lord Guildford is organising schools.
Sat 23rd Sept 1820
Bells’ Weekly Messenger of 16th April contains a review of the life of John Bernard Trotter, Charles Fox’s private secretary.
Born in County Down in 1775, a descendant of the Scottish Earls of Gowry, educated at Trinity College, Dublin, called to the English bar where he befriended Fox who appointed him Private Secretary during his political career. On Fox’s death he was left unemployed and unrewarded and spent the rest of his life in penury. Died 29th September 1818.
Sat 23rd Sept 1820
The First Librarian of the Vatican has discovered Cicero’s Republic in the archives. It was thought the work had been lost and only fragments are known to us. There is some difficulty with legibility as the old parchments have been reused recently to save paper and the original writings are partly obscured by the new.
Sat 21st Oct 1820
George IV went to the House of Lords to assent to the new Civil List but few people turned-out to watch the procession.
Sat 18th Nov 1820
The Bourbons have obtained a new Election Law in early June by a narrow margin of five votes. It diminishes popular power and is widely resented. Rioting has occurred in Paris and blood has been shed. The army is patrolling the streets and dispersing any groups of people.
Sat 25th Nov 1820
Berlin, 13th July – Citizens are warned not to assemble in the streets merely to gratify their curiosity. A government Proclamation says crowds are dangerous to good order and likely to lead to excesses.
Naples 3rd July – A revolution similar to the popular Spanish one has broken out amongst the troops at Nola. It has been instigated by the Carbonari. The officers were unable to control their troops and the King has proclaimed his agreement to admit a Constitution but says he needs a few days to arrange it. All the ministers have been changed. The new ministry is largely composed of the men who served under Murat. The popular wish is for a Constitution similar to the one the Cortes made for Spain. Neapolitan debt paper fell considerably on the local exchange.
Sat 6th Jan 1821
Milan, 12th June – The Jesuits have bought an enormous property at Sabina, near Monte Leone, for 36,000 Piastres. It is to house those Jesuits who are no longer welcome in Spain and those that have been banished from Russia.
Sat 3rd Feb 1821
There has been a hostile take-over of Sicily. The government is in the hands of merchants who armed some 30,000 of the farming populace. They entered the city and took over Palermo in a terrible orgy of blood-letting. Several thousand people died. The Royal princes were murdered and some of their heads were displayed in the town square. The intention is to shake-off Neapolitan dominion and declare independence. The people remember the pleasant time under Bentinck’s liberal Constitution and the earlier consensual government and wish to return to those halcyon days.
The Neapolitan King’s Viceroy ordered 4,000 cavalry and infantry to enter the city. A monk named Giacuomo Vaglica implored the Commander to be merciful. He contrarily was adamant and the monk called on the people to fall back and permit the soldiers to enter. Then Vaglica saw one soldier preparing to fire a cannon and shot him dead. After that a general battle ensued in which the troops were routed.
On 19th July the merchants declared a provisional government. The provisional senate has 10 nobles, 10 citizens and 72 merchants / artisans representing all the various trades of the island. They sent a deputation to Naples to demand independence but it returned without success.
Sat 24th Feb 1821
A spirit of revolution is spreading across Europe. The towns of Pontecorvo and Benevento in the Papal States have called in the Neapolitan militia and expelled their Governors. The government of Naples has however disclaimed any intention of destabilising its neighbours. It is the new popular government and is restrained by a Constitution copied from Spain.
Sat 24th Feb 1821
The Emperors of Russia and Austria and the King of Prussia are to meet at Troppau (later changed to Laybach) on 16th October and have invited Canning to represent Britain. They refuse to receive ambassadors from any Constitutional government.
The meeting is to consider the best means of combating the revolutionary spirit that has manifested in Portugal, Spain, the Two Sicilies, the Papal States and Piedmont. The monarchs represent religion, order and legitimacy (divine right) and they intend to assert themselves.
Sat 17th March 1821
Metternich’s statement of future monarchical policy – the beginnings of the Holy Alliance:
Following a meeting of the great monarchs at Carlsbad, Metternich, the Austrian Chancellor, has written confidentially to Baron Berstett, minister of the Grand Duke of Baden and to all the other German princes, outlining the course of action agreed upon by the big Kings.
Metternich says it is the duty of each German sovereign to use firmness, moderation and prudence, united with military force, to protect good order. Our object is to maintain monarchy and recover what has been lost.
Our danger was revealed between 1817 – 1820 by the false course pursued by the French ministry and the toleration shown in Germany towards these dangerous doctrines. Audacious reformers were indulged, newspapers abused their trust and several representative Constitutions were permitted to the southern states of Germany. Our concessions have simply induced a demand for more. That state which has most completely indulged the popular wish (Spain) has become the greatest centre of dissent.
Before the meeting at Carlsbad, it was clear that a trifling political complication would have been sufficient to completely overthrow monarchy. Even now, when we have agreed on the best course of action, we are still endangered. Before we can repair the edifice of our political control, we must ensure the foundation is reliable. This requires the maintenance of what we have preserved.
The change from monarchy to Constitutional government was beset with as many risks as our intended reversal of the process. We should not deviate from the existing order, no matter how the proposals for change are derived. Nothing should be done quickly and our basic policy should be to resist the evils of the age. This will excite obstinate opposition.
The objections against some of the Constitutions granted to German states repose on no basis and are accordingly unfounded. Had they rested on a basis, the demagogues would have identified and undermined them. Every system of government contains within it the principle of a better system, provided it is not subject to the whim of arbitrary power such as the Spanish Cortes in 1812.
A Charter is not a Constitution, which latter develops over time as the government concedes those points that distinguish good from evil, consolidates government authority and preserves the happiness of the people.
There are two great means to effect our purpose. One is the alliance of those major powers that assert the immutable principles of sovereignty. This unity guarantees our strength. The second is the union that was formed in the last 9 months amongst the German states which our firmness must render indissoluble.
The conference at Carlsbad and the Decrees issued by it have acted powerfully in our interests. Their success will be apparent from the results in the coming years but we can obtain an early evaluation by noting the effect of the Resolutions of 20th September on the progress of our enemies.
The results of the Conferences in Vienna will have a more profound effect. By consolidating the German states into a Union we offer each state a guarantee of stability. It obviates the need for our taking firmer measures, which would appear as ‘terms imposed’, as the Union is entered freely and sincerely by each contracting party. The Confederation thus assumes a moral force that is equally as important as its legislative force.
The Rules that German governments should henceforth comply with are:
These are the principles on which the Austrian Empire depends. By ensuring internal tranquillity, by consolidating our moral and military force, we obtain the best guarantee of our own preservation and will always be willing to extend these resources to our confederates.
Sat 24th March 1821
Paris, September 1820 – a military coup has been foiled and 35 officers arrested. They had planned to take-over the government on 19th August by arresting their Generals, obtaining the loyalty of the troops by declaring the King’s death, proclaiming young Napoleon and storming the Tuilleries where they would arrest the Royal Family.
The coup did not just involve the Paris garrison – the Legions of the Seine and the Meurthe were also implicated. Rebellion also broke-out in Brest and the Vosges. Such a well-spread rising would probably have been beyond the Bourbons to contain. The spurious announcement of the King’s death was made in many places – Bordeaux, Lyon, Metz, etc.
Sat 5th May 1821
St Helena, 10th September 1820 – Napoleon is occupied in the decoration of his new house. Mde Bertrand and her children are his constant companions.
Sat 12th May 1821
The great powers have acted against the revolution in the Two Sicilies. Austria has invaded Italy from the north (the Pope has permitted the Austrian army to transit the Papal States provided they pay their own way) whilst Britain has told William A’Court to take-off the Royal family from Naples in the flagship of the Admiral of the Mediterranean fleet. The great powers say they will protect the King by taking him to Sicily (also in rebellion) whilst the Neapolitans believe, once the King is safely with his ‘brothers,’ he will be required to declare his people in rebellion to legalise the Austrian invasion.
Under French mediation, the Naples parliament was persuaded to permit the King to interview the monarchs of the Great Powers at Laybach. The Great Powers declined to interview anyone else from Naples. A British warship will take the King to Trieste or Leghorn and a French warship will carry his suite. However the parliament has told him it will accept no amendment to the existing Constitution.
The King is widely considered to be an imbecile and is quite likely to agree to anything – for example he has undertaken to the parliament to maintain the Constitution as a term of their permitting his attendance at Laybach.
His ignorance appears to be the thinking behind Great Power intractability in the identity of the Neapolitan representative although the Great Power monarchs and their ministers would never negotiate with a Constitutional government of Naples as that would amount to recognition.
He is a slender reed on which to base European monarchical policy but an improvement on the Austrian solution. Their army is at the Po Valley and cannot conveniently march against Naples until January at the earliest. Prussia and Russia are sending commissariat officers to monitor their expenditure in the joint cause. The army presents a threat to the Naples government in the usual monarchical style. This is a confrontation between institutions – on the one hand the Kings under their Divine Right and, on the other, Constitutional administration determined by popular will.
The Pope has been put on stand-by by the Kings as his mediation would be beneficial to them.
Sat 12th May 1821
Some 8,000 Russian cavalry at St Petersburg are in revolt. It started with the 1st regiment of Imperial Guards, who are all noblemen. They attacked Col Schwartz their commandant.
Sat 12th May 1821
Pozzo de Borgo, the Corsican enemy of the Bonapartes who is now Russian ambassador to France, has gone to Troppau to assist in the discussions amongst the Great Powers.
Louis XVIII is sick. He is grossly fat and has abscesses on one leg that have not healed for a couple of years. He is taking copious draughts of brandy but the stench from his leg gets worse.
The soldiers, the moneymen and the farmers all dislike the Bourbons – it is a fearsome array of national power confronting the family.
Sat 19th May 1821
Cleopatra’s Needle has been gifted by the Pasha of Egypt to George IV. It weighs about 200 tons. S Briggs, our Resident at Cairo, obtained the Pasha’s agreement.
Sat 26th May 1821
Fouché, the Duke of Otranto, died at Trieste on 26th December 1820.
Sat 26th May 1821
The five great powers have defined monarchical government at the Congress of Troppau and have criticised the King of Naples for permitting the new Constitution as it contains derogations from their agreed definition.
The King is called to Leybach to interview the Emperors of Russia and Austria.
The Great Powers are not fully united at Troppau – Lord Stewart, Castlereagh’s step-brother who is representing Britain, assaulted Metternich. The confrontation was allegedly due to the distinctly religious flavour that Austria and Russia have imparted to their system. They represent God in a Holy Alliance for the hearts and minds of the people. They hold that Kings are tutored from an early age in the management of a country. They are all inter-related and co-operate with each other. Who else could conceivably do the job? It is absurd to imagine that a mob of soldiers, politicians, academics and merchants could offer a viable alternative. Authority, to be consistent and effective, must be expressed by the One Man.
The Holy Alliance also distinguishes the Christian Europeans from the Muslim Ottomans who still occupy a large and valuable part of Europe which Austria and Russia covet.
Britain contrarily supports trade as the best mechanism for keeping the European people busy and thus tranquil. The Kings note that Britain is different – it is seldom self-sufficient in necessaries and is obliged to trade and, being an island, is less concerned with the security needs of its continental neighbours.
Sat 26th May 1821
Morning Chronicle, December 1820 – The Editor avers that the British problem in contemporary European affairs stems directly from their domestic problem. The ministry sided with the King against the Queen and that lost them all public support.
When Lord Stewart has an opinion at Troppau the other ministers are disinclined to listen as they see him, and the ministry he represents, as temporary features of the British political scene. Austria asked Britain for money and men to settle the Neapolitans. Stewart offered no money but agreed to use force to obtain the submission of the Neapolitans to their King. Metternich did not believe him and referred to published ministerial engagements that were given in the House of Lords not to interfere in foreign adventures. Stewart lost his self-control and challenged Metternich to a duel. Metternich told the Irishman to grow-up and Stewart became deranged and struck him.
That caused the Congress to bar Stewart from their councils. It is expected that Canning will replace him as he has resigned from the ministry, citing as cause the popular opposition to ministerial policy towards the Queen.
Whilst Canning is no longer President of the Board of Control, he has secured the continuing employment of his two commissioners there and got Bathurst to take the Presidency on a sharing arrangement. Bathurst has the income from his sinecure as Chancellor at the Duchy of Lancaster to tide him over and should make an ideal partner.
The continental powers believe Canning has some insight into the religious feeling of the European peoples and is thus accessible to the attractions of a Holy Alliance but he is unlikely to endorse any programme that involves interference in the internal affairs of the Two Sicilies. This puts Britain closer to France which has extensive interests and many powerful friends in Italy and does not want interference either.
Meanwhile the Royal Navy squadron in the Bay of Naples continues to increase but the Great Powers (temporarily minus Britain) seem to have concluded that a pacific settlement must be found.
Sat 26th May 1821
The King of the Two Sicilies is in Tuscany on his way to Laybach. Austria, Russia and Prussia have issued a joint statement directed at the Neapolitan half of his Kingdom. They contend the revolution was undertaken by fanatical sects who succeeded in wooing the army from its allegiance and established an arbitrary and anarchical system in Naples contrary to all law and morality and subversive of the true principles of national happiness.
The monarchies assert they stand for law, morality and happiness.
Constitutional government is incompatible with tranquillity and therefore threatens the continuing peace of Europe hence their undying opposition.
The ‘imbecile’ King is going to have a hard time at Laybach.
Sat 2ndJune 1821
George IV has approved the Englishman W Slythe as Sardinian vice-Consul to Malta.
Sat 2ndJune 1821
The Constitutional government of Naples has a difficulty. They rose to power with support of the army. Now the King has gone to Laybach it is generally assumed he lacks the strength of opinion or character to withstand the demands for change that the monarchs will press upon him.
That realistic assessment has caused the democratic ministers to discuss matters with the army generals who will be uncomfortable if they are required to breach their Oaths of Allegiance to the King. The troops have recollected their duty and the Generals are in a quandary.
When the King returns he will most likely feel obliged to assert monarchy on whatever plausible reasons the Great Powers have conditioned in him. If the soldiers obey the King, the status of the constitutional leaders is jeopardised. They need to concert their attitudes.
Sat 16th June 1821
London papers, 13th March – Naples is to be invaded by the Kings. The Austrian army of 60,000 on the Po was ordered to march on Naples on 29th January. The invasion is done in the name of the Holy Alliance.
It looks frightful for those people but we should not forget the achievements of the Republican French when attacked by the well-disciplined armies of all Europe – there is something about a Constitution that unleashes the whole force of a nation in its defence.
The actual invasion is being done by the three core members of the Holy Alliance (Prussia, Russia and Austria). France has been obliged to send money but will not send men, Britain remains a neutral observer and Spain has her own internal problems.
Sat 16th June 1821
The Neapolitan newspapers of 24th January have addressed the question why the Great Powers are focused on Naples and not Spain.
The Editors believe the Great Kings think the Spanish Constitution is a Pandora’s Box. Spain was the leaking hole in Napoleon’s arrangements for Europe. There are so many Spanish people with a working knowledge of the ways and means of guerilla warfare that any regular army would predictably have difficulties. Napoleon expended many experienced regiments in attempts to bring Spain to submission and the Holy Alliance is not about to do the same thing again.
A war against a guerilla army enjoying popular support, fading away when your army approaches then suddenly reappearing when you are unprepared, is a type of warfare that cannot be won by violence whereas negotiations are seen as the slippery slope to extinction.
To make Europe safe for monarchy, and for the oligarchs who execute monarchical policy, it makes more sense to confront the Neapolitans who lack the Spanish experience and should be easier to subdue. Then, with one scalp on their belts, the Great Kings can approach Spain from a position of strength.
The Editors believe that recent historical examples are not reassuring for Kings. A handful of Swiss resisted Austria successfully; the Americans shook-off the yoke of England. There are 7 million Neapolitans of whom some 400,000 might be willing to defend the Constitution. Unlike the Austrian soldiers who fight for pay and plunder, these Neapolitans will be fighting for their freedom.
Meanwhile the Austrian army is making stately progress down the Italian mainland and Headquarters units are expected in Rome by late February. The Prussians have belatedly changed their minds and now demur at sending men but the Tsar will do so in due course.
Sat 16th June 1821
The Constitutional government of Naples has issued an invitation on 15th February to all European Republicans – ‘come to Naples for sanctuary and help in defending the country against the Kings. We will fight a guerilla war against any occupation force. We have already broken-up the roads connecting Rome to Naples.’
The Sicilians have offered to support Naples, conditional on recognition of their independence under a liberal Constitution. The Neapolitans are said to have demurred but are withdrawing the 11,000 troops the King placed there. It seems they hope the dispossessed King will adjourn to Sicily and exercise his monarchical talents there.
Britain has declared a strict neutrality.
Sat 23rd June 1821
In the House of Commons debate on Naples, Sir Robert Wilson said that a British Agent sat on the military commission that condemned Murat and then watched his execution in 1815. Castlereagh denied it and Wilson was satisfied.
Sat 21st July 1821
Revolution commenced in Piedmont in early March. It is the continental possession of King Victor Emmanuel of Sardinia and the richest state in Italy. He warned his people that the Great Powers would attack Piedmont and cause bloodshed, but it had no effect. In fact the Austrian army is already in Naples and the Russians have not yet assembled their force. Victor Emmanuel then abdicated in favour of his brother Charles Felix (Duke of Geneva and son-in-law of the King of Naples) and left for Nice.
A regiment of cavalry started the revolt at Fossano and it quickly spread to the other towns. A Spanish-type Constitution has been proclaimed.
The Austrian and Russian emperors say they will send armies to oppose the revolutionaries.
Meanwhile the Austrian army has entered the territory of Naples, taken the town of Aquila, and appears to be meeting little resistance. They report that the Neapolitans flee before them.
Sat 11th Aug 1821
The Piedmontese army has marched to the assistance of the Neapolitans. The King of Sardinia, who owns Piedmont, is aghast as he fears he will be held accountable by the Kings. He sent his son to call the soldiers back but they demanded a free Constitution. This is worrying for the Great Kings.
The Austrian army now has an ill-disciplined army of Neapolitans in front of it (with civilian support) and 40,000 Piedmontese troops behind. Unrest in the Papal States is also increasing.
The Tsar has gone home purportedly to organise an army of reserve for Italy. The Russian Black Sea fleet is expected to help the Austrians with provisions.
French funds fell to 77 Francs on 19th March but London appears little affected financially – 3% consols were 71.
Sat 18th Aug 1821
Paris, 4th April – the Neapolitan army has dispersed and the Austrian army has occupied Naples. They are showing great restraint. They are received as liberators and the Carbonari are widely denounced.
Sat 18th Aug 1821
Castlereagh’s Dad, the Marquis of Londonderry, has died at Castle Stewart, County Down aged 83 years. His first wife was Sarah Frances, sister of the Marquis of Hartford and Castlereagh’s Mum. His second was Frances, sister of the Marquis of Camden, who is Lord Stewart’s Mum (the recent British ambassador to Vienna).
County Down is an opulent part of Ireland which Castlereagh has hitherto represented in House of Commons. He will now have to surrender his seat on his elevation to the Londonderry marquisate. He has somehow sidestepped this difficulty by buying another seat (the borough of Orford) which will enable him to stay in the Commons.
Sat 18th Aug 1821
M/s Rundell & Bridge have made a new Imperial Crown for Britain. It is an astonishingly big and heavy crown, about 15 inches high and covered in precious stones. At the front is a huge sapphire and at the back is the old ruby worn by the Black Prince and later by King Harry at Agincourt. Several other items of the King’s regalia and coronation service have been repaired preparatory to the coronation of George IV.
Sat 1st Sept 1821
Madras Gazette, 11th August. By a letter from St Helena of 5th June we learn that Napoleon died on 5th May after a six week illness. He did not leave the house after 17th March. An autopsy the following day found an ulcer under the left lobe of the liver penetrating the stomach wall about one inch from the pylorus. The hole of this ulcer was about ¼ inch in diameter. The internal surface of the entire stomach was cancerous (his father is said to have died of stomach cancer). The stomach was nearly filled with what appeared to be coffee grounds.
He was buried on 9th May with the honours of a General. He had indicating the site of his grave to Mde Bertrand some years ago under three willow trees in the Saine valley on Richard Torbatt’s land.
Dr Arnott of H M 20th Regiment attended him at the last. The body was put on display for two days, attired in full dress with boots and spurs, sword at his side and cocked hat as though he was lying in-state. He was then put in a tin-lined coffin which was enclosed in a lead coffin and that in a mahogany one.
The 66th regiment has already left and H M’s 20th is expected to return to India soon. The staff, artillery, sappers and miners all remain awaiting their orders.
Sat 15th Sept 1821
London, 8th May – the Congress at Laybach is expected to end soon. The Emperors of Russia and Austria and the King of Prussia have agreed to unite their power to intervene in any other European state that demonstrates an affection for Republicanism or democracy.
The French, who disallowed the Holy Alliance to march troops through their country, and the British attitude of strict neutrality are said to have dissuaded the Alliance from invading Spain.
However the King of Sardinia had applied to the Austrian Emperor to put down the revolution of his army in Piedmont. At first the Russian army started to march on Piedmont, then it was thought there were adequate troops in Piedmont to deal with the constitutionalists and the Russians halted.
The major European powers have now acted in several countries to prevent democratic development – Norway, Poland, Saxony, Liguria and the Two Sicilies.
A flow of emigrants has commenced from Naples and Piedmont into Spain. About 4,000 people had arrived by mid-May. They are mainly people on the list of traitors that the Austrians have published at Naples who would be executed had they stayed at home. Spain is now the only democratic country left in Europe but Greece is rebelling against Ottoman rule and may obtain its freedom.
Sat 22nd Sept 1821
Hanover, 7th April – George IV will visit here in July / August this year. He will first visit his sisters, the Langravine of Hesse Homberg and the Queen Dowager of Wurtemburg. He will then go to Gottingen and enter Hanover.
Sat 22nd Sept 1821
Ex-King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, who abdicated in favour of Bernadotte, applied to the Norwegian Storthing for naturalisation in January. It seems he wants to live there. He is presently a citizen of Basel. He has declared assets of 30,000 Guilders for the purposes of naturalisation. He is separated from his wife and children but still has one dependant son. In his application, he calls himself Mr Gustavson.
Sat 5th Jan 1822
Lord William Bentinck made his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 21st June 1821 after becoming an MP in the last century. He spoke about Sicily, the island which he governed during the war and which had enjoyed the most liberal Constitution ever granted to a European country. Sicily had its own flag, coined its own money and was governed by its own parliament which sat once every four years. It voted the taxes and assured they were applied as intended. It was the basis of Sicilian prosperity until the gentlemen from Naples returned after the war.
He said the Sicilian Constitution was compatible with the aims of the Holy Alliance in so far as it was established on unquestionable authority. When he returned the government of Sicily to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies he had given two undertakings to the popular representatives – that none of them should be punished for their connection with England and that the privileges they enjoyed should not be impaired by the transfer. In fact the transfer had been followed by singular injustice and oppression.
He briefly outlined the history of British involvement.
In 1805 Murat possessed Naples and the Royal Family took up residence in Sicily. A French invasion was expected and Sir John Stuart could only raise one regiment of cavalry from the Sicilian people. British forces were brought-in and, when the invasion occurred, it was repelled mainly through our efforts. Such Sicilian assistance as was provided was directly from the people and not from the government. The British garrison remained for six years until it became desirable and convenient to let the Sicilians govern themselves.
A liberal Constitution was needed to respond to Murat’s promise of something similar for the Neapolitans. Castlereagh was then Foreign Secretary and approved Bentinck’s proposals. It was expected that the advantages the Royal Family obtained by winning the hearts and minds of their people would be recognised and the King initially appeared to agree but later resiled. The Neapolitan advisers to the Sicilian government then withdrew and Sicilian residents replaced them. On that occurrence, the King said the Constitutional proposals would destroy the prosperity of Sicily but he sent the Heir Apparent to rule the island and that young man turned-out to be enlightened. The Constitution was declared and prosperity increased. In 9 months Sicily was able to send 7,000 mercenaries to the allied force in Spain. Even the Neapolitan garrison became a disciplined and valuable fighting force.
During the four years between each parliament, a deputation of the popular representatives supervised the collection of revenue and ensured it was spent as intended. This procedure had formerly been abused and, when the Neapolitans left and Sicilian deputies assumed their functions, it was improved. In 1812, the three houses of parliament agreed a new Constitution. The land-owners voluntarily surrendered their feudal rights and parliament was formed into a bicameral system like Britain – bishops and land-owners in one and commoners in the other. This parliament met annually in 1813, 1814 and 1815.
In 1814 the King of the Two Sicilies resumed his functions in Sicily and renewed his undertaking to observe the forms of government adopted by the Sicilians. In May 1814 we withdrew our forces and returned the island to Neapolitan rule. In Sept 1815 the details of Bentinck’s constitutional arrangements were sent to Naples from London, having been earlier advised at the time the Neapolitan advisers had withdrawn. The British ambassador (Sir William A’Court) submitted a paper for the consideration of the Neapolitan King at the time he went to Naples saying our influence would be withdrawn and praying that any future alteration in the laws would be made only with the consent of the people. He expressly committed Britain to oppose any arbitrary change in the Constitution.
The instructions sent out by Castlereagh were drafted by Bentinck. They were received joyfully in Sicily. Immediately afterwards came the instructions from the King for the reunion of the Two Sicilies which destroyed the Sicilian Constitution in toto and gave the island a provincial status to Naples.
The recent revolution in Naples had its counterpart at Palermo. The English General Church was in Neapolitan service at Palermo at the time and recalled the Sicilians had a profound desire for the Constitution and the maintenance of their former independent rights and privileges. They particularly protested the imposition of a charge of 1,841,000 ounces of silver (£460,000) that the island was to pay to Naples each year. That figure was assessed on the basis of the 1813 / 14 economic figures when prices were twice what they are now. The budget for 1815 / 16 was 1,400,000 ounces which was a more achievable figure. Not only were the taxes set unrealistically high but no accounting of revenue was done and there was not one person in the whole country who knew how much was collected or where it had gone. The only measure in the Constitution that the King applauded was the Barons’ voluntary surrender of their feudal rights which removed the only effective restraint on the King’s own exercise of power over Sicily. That surrender of rights was one part of a pact that entailed the King’s reciprocal surrender of some of his rights.
And Bentinck moved that George IV be petitioned to interfere to protect the honour and good faith of Britain.
Castlereagh thought Bentinck had waited too long. The events he complained of occurred at the latest in 1816. Now Sicily is faced with another re-organisation, the details of which are unknown, he brings out this old complaint. Happiness and independence do not go hand-in-hand. Scotland was reluctant to join with England but had ultimately discovered the benefits after the fact. Ireland is progressing rapidly along the same path.
Bentinck has failed to distinguish the different methods appropriate to two differing sets of circumstances – first when we occupied the island militarily as a measure against France (and to assure provisions for Malta) and now that peace has returned. Our sojourn in Sicily was to protect that part of the Neapolitan King’s dominions. The British government gave assurances in respect of only two of the countries we occupied in the war – Portugal and Sicily. We agreed we would leave when our presence was no longer required and we agreed not to plunder. We gave no undertakings about the political organisation of the countries. When we arrived in Sicily, the people were themselves proposing a Constitution. It was modelled on our domestic arrangements and the people supposed they would reap the same benefits. Our military government strongly supported the Constitution because it assured the loyalty of the people. Britain was never in the Napoleonic business of bestowing Constitutions on everyone – it was a pragmatic arrangement to secure a desirable end. All-in-all, the Sicilians would have preferred that the war had not occurred and we had not visited.
Bentinck’s motion was then voted and failed 35 / 69
Sat 26th Jan 1822
Portsmouth, 4th August – Napoleon’s suite landed here from the Camel storeship in accordance with the Aliens Act. They and their baggage were examined at the Customs House and their presence in England was registered. Count Bertrand and his wife and four children have applied to reside here.
It transpired that Count Montholon is the beneficiary of a considerable bequest from Napoleon.
The rest of the suite included Dr Antonimarchi, the Rev Vignoll, Marchand the valet, Novarez and his wife, St Denys and his wife, Archambault the groom, Pierron and Courceau the butlers, Etienne Brouge valet to Count Bertrand and the three cooks – Chandelier and the two Chinese.
Sat 2nd Feb 1822
The price of commissions in the British army has been substantially increased. Officers’ jobs in infantry regiments are now – ensign £150, lieutenant £700, captain £1,800, major £3,200, etc. Cavalry commissions are 60-70% more.
Sat 23rd Feb 1822
It has just transpired that Princess Borghese, Napoleon’s sister who lives in Rome, made repeated applications to the British ministry to live on St Helena with her brother but these were routinely denied until early 1821 when permission was granted. She was preparing to remove to the island when the Emperor died.
The Count de Montholon wrote to her from Longwood on 27th March and told her that Napoleon’s chronic liver disease had worsened over the previous six months. Napoleon had become weaker and could scarcely manage half an hour in the carriage or on horseback at a slow pace. He needs assistance merely to walk. Apart from liver disease, he cannot retain and digest ordinary food and is restricted to a diet of jellies and ices.
Count Bertrand wrote to Lord Liverpool 23rd September 1820 (and in June 1819 – letters which Hudson Lowe said he had never received for forwarding) asking him to permit Napoleon’s removal to a place in Europe with mineral spring-water for his health (the water on Elba had previously restored his health) but Bertrand says Lowe declined to forward it. He wrote “You could not guess his condition from the occasional articles in the London newspapers – they purport to come from St Helena but entirely misrepresent his state of health. Actually he is dying.”
Wed 27th Feb 1822 Extraordinary
Lord Strangford, our man at Constantinople, has obtained the Porte’s agreement to preserve the antiquities in his Greek province. There is a rebellion of Greek Orthodox Christians against Ottoman rule.
The Grand Vizier has instructed the Governor-General of the Morea, who is attempting to recover Athens from the rebels, to protect the ancient sites in and around that City.
Strangford has agreed reciprocally that all British subjects, including residents of the Ionian Islands we administer, will desist from supplying men, arms and ammunition to the rebels.
Sat 2nd March 1822
Constitutionnel (a Paris newspaper) – Sir Hudson Lowe has seized all Napoleon’s papers and taken them to London. It is said the ministry intends to examine every page before releasing them.
Sat 16th March 1822
Ceuta, 23rd July – Mullah Sayeed has defeated his uncle Suliman in a battle between old Fez and new Fez on 7th July. Sayeed is in control of old Fez where he has been proclaimed Emperor of Morocco. Suliman’s support-base is in new Fez which Sayeed besieged for 5 days until the people emerged and also proclaimed him Emperor.
The cause of the problem is a sudden stoppage of foreign trade. Sayeed blames the Jews of Tetuan who advise Suliman. He says they incited their countrymen in Gibraltar to procure a stoppage of British trade with the Barbary Coast.
Sat 27th April 1822
Baron Charles Dupin has written an interesting French opinion called Voyages dans la Grande Bretagne which considers various aspects of the late war. Much of it, in connection with the plans for the invasion of Britain, belongs to the ‘what if’ school of history.
Dupin reports an interesting conversation recalled by Count Daru when he was Intendant General of the invasion force based at Boulogne. On the morning that Napoleon learned that Villeneuve had taken the French fleet to Ferrol instead of cruising in the Channel, and had realised the invasion was impossible, Daru recalled he devised the plan of Austerlitz with all the troop movements from Holland, Hanover and the French coast all the way to Munich. The events of the campaign thereafter were likewise envisaged that morning with clarity although Napoleon’s anticipated dates were a bit off.
Dupin notes that Trafalgar was a turning point. With Franco-Spanish naval power diminished by that defeat, it allowed the British to consider offensive war – first in N W Spain under Moore, then on Walcheren under Chatham, both of which failed but provided valuable lessons in joint army / navy operations and prepared the planners for the five years of attrition in Iberia.
He also highlights Napoleon’s willing sacrifice of his navy to the interests of his army – workmen in the great dockyards were redeployed as sappers in the land campaigns; marine gun crews were transferred to artillery units – with the result that French fleets were seldom formidable.
Sat 4th May 1822
Prerogative Court, 14th November – In Forbes v Gordon, John Forbes of Aberdeen and Fitzroy Square London, formerly of Bombay, died 29th June 1821 aged 78 years leaving an Estate estimated at £350,000+. Amongst his assets is the ship Bombay which is chartered to the Company.
He named his Executors as his nephews John, Charles and Michie Forbes and a relative named Mitchell. He made a Will on 2nd May 1820 disposing of some £220,000 of the Estate to a sister, nephews and nieces, etc. The residue was to be disposed of by later Codicils. Two codicils were produced in his handwriting, one undated and the other of 1st March 1821, by which Forbes made further bequests. The Codicils were not formally completed but Forbes’ lawyer attested to their validity. A relative disputed the validity of some papers and the matter has come before the Court for a decision. The Court validated all the documents.
Sat 18th May 1822
The King of Denmark’s bond as security for the £3 million loan the ministry has approved for him, has been deposited in the Bank of England by the Danish ambassador. The terms have not been published.
Sat 8th June 1822
Russian expansion to the south, at the expense of Ottoman, Persian and Chinese lands, has attracted the critical attention of the Company’s Directors. A proposal to increase the size of the Company’s army is being discussed. Russia already occupies a huge amount of territory with an enormous population.
The Mughal Raj was the result of one of the incursions from Central Asia that invariably arrive in India via Afghanistan. The continuance of Company rule in the sub-continent is accordingly seen as at risk of invasion from that direction.
The Tsar’s plans are occult. He professes moderation but the speed with which he reverses himself (over Napoleon, freemasonry, the Spanish Revolution) indicates the uncertainty of his future conduct.
We should take care. Fortunately we have a Governor-General who readily defends us as the Gurkhas and Mahrattas have recently learned.
Sat 15th June 1822
Lafitte, the French banker who holds much of Napoleon’s property, may be reluctant to part with it.
When the Emperor opened his account he was Buonaparte but the Will is signed Napoleon and Lafitte is unsure if it is the same person. He requires a judicial ruling before paying.
Sat 29th June 1822
The Bourbons have publicly involved themselves in the matter of Napoleon’s Will. The French Attorney General made an appearance on their behalf before the Tribunal of the First Chamber.
Proceedings are secret but it is suggested that Louis XVIII will found a claim to the Estate on the basis that Napoleon was a rebel.
Sat 27th July 1822
Recently George IV sent the Order of the Garter to Copenhagen. At the time we wondered why but now it is rumoured he intends to marry Princess Caroline, a 29 year old daughter of the Danish King.
Sat 27th July 1822
Napoleon’s Will is being circulated in Paris as a pamphlet. It is illegal to sell it or publish it in French newspapers but that cannot not restrain us here in India:
“All the above bequests to be drawn from the deposit of 6 million Francs (on 5% interest) made in Paris in July 1815. In the case of death of any beneficiary, the legacies are payable to the widow and children; if none; to revert to the Estate.
“I appoint Montholon, Bertrand and Marchand as Executors.
It is said there is a second Will in the possession of Dupin which distributes the bulk of his Estate of, reportedly, some 40 million Francs. It remains an entirely secret document.
Apparently as Emperor he was voted an annual Civil List of 24 million Francs, of which he banked 10 millions every year before his marriage. After his return from the Russian campaign he effectively lent his entire savings to the government to meet essential expenditure. In the secret Will he reclaims and bequeaths this loan.
There is also a letter to Lafitte, the banker, dated 25th April:
‘I deposited nearly 6 million Francs with you before I left Paris in 1815 for which I have your double receipt. I have cancelled one and given the other to Comte de Montholon in order that you may deliver the fund, plus accumulated interest, to him after my death, deducting whatever charges you make for the services rendered. The box containing my medallion that I gave you at the same time should also be delivered to Comte de Montholon.’
Sat 10th August 1822
George IV has bought a £20,000 violet-coloured diamond and is having it set by Eliason of Hatton Gardens. It is apparently for his intended betrothal to Princess Caroline of Denmark.
This series of unexplained acts – the big loan to Denmark, carriage of the Order of the Garter to Copenhagen and now the rumoured marriage and diamond ring – are possible all related to a wish of the House of Brunswick for an exchange of property involving Hanover and some southern part of Denmark.
If there is a difficulty, it seems chiefly to relate to the low opinion the Danes have of Britain, due to their experiences in the war. Some British merchants resident at Copenhagen say they are still routinely insulted in the streets.
Sat 10th August 1822
Frankfurt papers, 10th March – George IV has written to his sister the Langravine of Hesse Homburg that he will visit her in June. He is first going to Vienna and Berlin and thereafter will proceed to Hanover to take the waters at Pyrmont which his doctor recommends. He is also expected to visit Darmstadt.
Sat 17th Aug 1822
Sieur Lafitte, the banker holding Napoleon’s savings, has succeeded at first instance in obtaining judicial agreement to his withholding of Napoleon’s 6 million Franc deposit. The Executors were said to have failed to produce the entire Will to the Court and that swung the decision against them. The Court also held that a dead man cannot appoint Attorneys.
It was finally adjudged that Lafitte’s agreement with the Executors was valid and enforceable. By that agreement he will pay 4% interest for 5 years after which he will repay the principal sum. The Executors were ordered to pay the costs of the action.
The original Will is in England amongst the papers Sir Hudson Lowe brought back from St Helena. It will not be released by the British ministry until all documents have been carefully examined. It is said to be a very long Will.
Sat 17th Aug 1822
Sir Hudson Lowe received a KCB at the Levee in late March.
Sat 24th Aug 1822
The London Courier, 23rd March – Evan Nepean, the Admiralty insider and more recently our Bombay Governor, has bought the Lordship of the Manor of Loders and Bothenhampton in Dorset.
He is suing Sarah Budden, a widow living on his Estate, for the transfer of her land to him. His claim is based on a customary law of the land that deprives a widow of her landed property should she take a lover. The custom was established in the reign of Henry VII and its existence was proved to the satisfaction of the Court by the production of ancient texts.
The Defence has also been delving into old texts. It adduced a custom in the Manor of East and West Euborne, Berkshire in its support. A widow in Ms Budden’s situation, who comes into Court riding backwards on a black ram with its tail in her hand and saying a certain form of words, is bound to be re-admitted to her Estate.
Nepean will have to pay the lawyers and Budden as well if he still wants her land. It is a sign of the times.
Sat 2nd Nov 1822
London newspapers – The Russian Tsar Alexander has been persuaded not to make war on Turkey. The King of France has just assured his Peers of the case. Britain and France jointly requested the Tsar restrain himself in consideration of the convulsed state of Europe. The fact of the Tsar’s agreement appears to confirm his recognition of the tenuous hold that Kings have on their countries.
The truism is that every King relies on his army. They have failed to consolidate their resumption of power on the ouster of Napoleon. They enjoy neither the love nor the confidence of their peoples. They have wronged and deceived their peoples to the extent that few trust them any more. In the event of war breaking-out again in Europe, many of the Kings and their ministers fear that the depletion of home garrisons to fight abroad will weaken their ability to withstand democracy and Republicanism at home.
The Porte agreed reluctantly to evacuate Wallachia and Moldavia but is determined to hold on to Greece where a vibrant insurgency, characterised by fearful barbarity on both sides, is in full flower.
Sat 4th Jan 1823
Castlereagh killed himself on 12th August at his Estate in North Cray, Kent. He inserted a pen knife into his neck under the left ear and cut the carotid artery in a deft incision. He was 53 years old.
On 9th August he took leave of George IV prior to returning to the Continental Congress. He appeared depressed. He was said anecdotally to have opposed the King’s impending tour of Scotland and a rumour subsequently circulated of a disagreement having occurred. He called Dr Bankhead that evening and complained of a severe headache and confusion. He looked pale. The doctor cupped him and took seven ounces of blood from his neck. He felt better and later left London with his wife for North Cray but a dinner planned for that evening was postponed.
On Sunday he complained of discomfort and seemed irrational, sufficient for his wife to order his pistols and razors be removed from the room. The irrationality flowed from amnesia. He was also uncustomarily irritable and suspected a domestic conspiracy against himself.
The next morning he told his servant to call Dr Bankhead. The doctor arrived and went up. Castlereagh hurried into his dressing room and opened the window. The Doctor followed. Castlereagh appeared to hear him enter and said without turning his head ‘let me fall upon your arm, its all over.’ He fell against the Doctor and died. The wound was expertly done and the blood flowed in torrents. It is supposed Castlereagh left an explanation amongst his papers.
At about the same time John Inglis, one of the India Company’s Directors also killed himself. He is a partner in Inglis Ellice & Co. He was 73 years old and used a pistol.
Sat 4th Jan 1823
Morning Chronicle, London – The news from France suggests the French Bourbons have been the cause of the trouble in Spain. In 1820 Ferdinand swore to uphold the Spanish Constitution but he was then persuaded by the family to violate that promise and risk a civil war with the intention of restoring his ancient monarchical power.
The Spanish population is about 10½ million of whom 2½ million are town dwellers – merchants, artisans – who are decidedly liberal. The other 8 millions are the rural population who are almost entirely under the spell of the priests who are, to a man, hostile to the Constitution.
So its the usual line-up – the King, his minister and the church versus the merchants and capitalists.
Sat 4th Jan 1823
House of Lords, 30th June – Holland has raised the matter of Las Casas, Napoleon’s aide on St Helena. That aristocrat was arrested by General Lowe, his papers seized, and he was sent to the Cape and from thence 500 miles up-country. He had been writing an autobiography that inevitably dwelled on his relationship with Napoleon and contains many of the great man’s opinions. That was his objectionable act.
The Company eventually brought Las Casas to England where he was not permitted to land owing to the provisions of the Aliens Act but his papers were again seized. This second seizure was no doubt illegal, Lord Holland thought. He requested Liverpool to arrange for their return.
The Prime Minister said the measure had been necessary to prevent London becoming a centre of political plots.
Sat 25th Jan 1823
It has lately occurred to the ministry that New South Wales is a rather fine place which many Britons might wish to live in. The ministry has so far relied on the Judiciary to supply a stream of convicts for transportation but the £80 fare that the India Company charges to take each of them to Australia is too high. Government is obliged to economise and the spate of emigration to America since the end of the war suggests people will pay the fare themselves.
There is some slight evidence from the Judicial records that people commit certain crimes in the expectation of transportation to Botany Bay (the ‘men of straw’). The dread that the law is supposed to hold over the people has unwittingly been turned into hope.
The government is considering Bermuda as a temporary location for transportees. The last Governor of that colony contracted for extensive public works that will be expensive to complete with paid labour. We can hardly use African slaves any more but convicts would do nicely. It is also the case that the opportunities for escape that are so readily utilised at Botany Bay will be unavailable on an island like Bermuda. It is as isolated as St Helena.
A second initiative under consideration is to transport juvenile offenders to the coasts of West Africa to be regimented and disciplined. That climate is fatal to older people but the young tolerate it better.
Sat 22nd Feb 1823
Editorial – The Greek Christians are fighting a new crusade for independence from the Ottomans. It is not going well. Can Europe expect the Kings, who put Louis XVIII on the French throne at the point of a bayonet, who raised the Stadtholder to the sovereignty of the Netherlands and who crushed the popular uprising in Naples, to now become the advocates of free choice?
If the Greeks are to have any prospect of success, they will have to find it outside the Holy Alliance.
Sat 22nd Feb 1823
The wreck of HMS Lutine, which was lost on the Dutch coast in 1799, has been discovered. It was transporting about £200,000 specie as a subsidy from the British government to Prussia at the time of its loss. The crew all perished and the precise location of the foundering remained unknown until some Dutch fishermen recently discovered it. During the entire period of the war, its location remained unknown. The British government insured the cargo of specie and was indemnified by Lloyd’s underwriters. Those insurers have applied to the Belgian government for licence to recover the ship’s cargo. The Belgians say that, as Britain was at war with the Netherlands at the time, they themselves have a better claim.
The underwriters demur. In 1799 the Stadtholder and his entire family was in England while his country was under French influence. In effect the British were fighting for the House of Orange and not against it. Since the peace the allies have not only restored the Prince of Orange to sovereignty of the Dutch but we have procured Flanders for him as well. Throughout the war when the laws of prize-taking were applicable, HMS Lutine’s location remained unknown. Lloyd’s believes it has an irrefutable claim.
Sat 15th March 1823
Dr O’Meara’s book about his time at St Helena as Napoleon’s doctor is selling very well and is already in its 8th Edition. Demand on the continent is great and it is supposed the Bourbons will endeavour to suppress sales in France where it is called L’echo de St Helena. The Edinburgh Review has reported on the book. In a backhand compliment typical of that magazine, the reviewer says he believes O’Meara’s evidence reliable as ‘he does not have the wit to invent it’.
Apparently Castlereagh ordered the Attorney General to prosecute O’Meara for libel in Vol II, Page 228 where O’Meara discusses the disposal of Maria Louisa’s fortune. Castlereagh told the AG to proceed ‘on Information’. His death has frustrated that prosecution.
Colbourn & Co and Borange & Co have contracted to jointly publish the Memoirs of Napoleon as edited from the Emperor’s papers by Comte de Montholon. The first two volumes in French and English are just available. A copy of the manuscript with Napoleon’s own corrections on it is available for inspection at the publishers.
Sat 29th March 1823
London, 21st October – the court-martial of Corporal George of the Dragoons occurred at Portman Street Barracks on 21st September. Lt Colonel St John Corbett Gore had been charged a few days earlier in a slightly less secret trial to which a reporter from the London Observer alone was invited (they are related charges).
The charge and the proceedings against George have not been published but he was found guilty and sentenced to 12 months hard labour. An unusual aspect of the award is that George may not communicate with others – he is to serve his time alone. This has formerly been an aspect of French punishments but has never occurred in Britain before.
It appears the attempt to conceal all information has had the opposite effect to that intended – the British press has become intrigued by the case.
Sat 26th April 1823
Frankfurt Gazette, 4th November – Baron Edmond de las Casas was in London on 23rd October. Edmond is the son of Napoleon’s aide. He is now a teenager. He met Sir Hudson Lowe at Paddington. The Baron, on meeting Lowe, struck him across the shoulders with a whip he was carrying and presented his card. Lowe tried to leave without taking the card, whereupon the Baron gave him two more stripes on the shoulders. Eventually Lowe’s servant came forward and took the card and the Baron allowed Lowe to leave.
Young las Casas complains that Lowe brutalised him on St Helena. Doctor O’Meara protested Lowe’s treatment but was ignored. Lowe sent both las Casas, father and son, to the Cape where they were imprisoned for 7 months. The Baron particularly objected to the subtle means Lowe employed to sow dissent amongst the small group with Napoleon. He objected to his father being called ‘a rascal, a villain and a damned liar.’
It was due to these provocations that las Casas had come to England to search out Lowe and confront him as a matter of honour. Lowe reported to the Bow Street magistrates requesting a warrant against las Casas. The proscription on duelling in England is now generally observed and the assault with the whip was already an offence.
After three days Lowe received a letter from las Casas offering him the satisfaction if he was prepared to act in an honourable way but not if he sought the help of the law officers.
Sat 3rd May 1823
The chap who has been stirring-up the Greeks is Pozzo di Borgo, our old friend from Corsica who sprung to prominence when that island was briefly inducted into the British Empire. He has long been the Tsar’s minister. Our man at Constantinople (Strangford) has been told to encourage the Porte to consider a measure of Greek independence in order to defuse the tension created by Pozzo. It appears Strangford’s diplomacy is to bring the Russians to recognise that they cannot provoke Turkey much more without incurring our wrath as well. This may be the thinking behind Russian willingness to implement Plan B – the attack on Spain which requires a Russian naval presence in the Mediterranean.
The Bourbon family has been keen on restoring Spanish monarchy and Louis XVIII always allows the family view to dominate his policy. The development has induced the Admiralty to move a fleet into the western Mediterranean. Canning has also given the Portuguese Court a guarantee of British protection.
Sat 17th May 1823
Verona, 14th December – Full text of a progress report for 1822 issued by the Holy Alliance. Briefly, it says ‘we have settled Piedmont and Naples and the Kings of Sardinia and the Two Sicilies are now in command of their countries. The Iberian peninsula has fallen into disorder due to the supposed enlightenment of democracy. We will support those Kings to recover their proper station.’
Sat 31st May 1823
Napoleon’s wife the Empress Marie Louisa is now the sovereign of Parma – three little Austrian fiefs in Italy. Her minister is Glaive. Her revenue is about the same as the Duke of Northumberland. Her court operates on a budget of £50,000 a year. The vast sums bequeathed to her and her son by Napoleon have never been paid. She left France with only her jewels.
It is not mentioned in the London Press but Maria Louisa was an intimate friend of the late Princess of Wales – they toured Tuscany and lived at Leghorn together.
Sat 14th June 1823
House of Lords, 4th February – The minister has George IV telling parliament in his Address that Britain does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. This is a volte face from our policies of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. The new line is our response to the Holy Alliance (Austria, Prussia, Russia). Those Kings plan to support a French invasion of Iberia to restore the Kings of those countries to their former monarchical dignity, accountable to God alone.
Britain has a treaty obligation to defend Portugal that we say is irrespective of who controls the government. We have also acknowledged the Spanish Constitution (as had the Tsar in 1812 when he made a treaty with the ‘legitimate’ Cortes of Spain). Neither Iberian country had asserted any intention to effect changes in the governments of other countries.
Two commercial effects of all this have occurred. The first was an increase in the rates of insurance on French shipping at Lloyd’s – they are now 25% and 15% ad valorem on ships returning from East and West Indies respectively. The second was an application by City merchants for a new packet to run between Falmouth and Corunna to avoid the interception of mails via France. It is supposed that war premiums on all international trade will soon be introduced.
Sat 21st June 1823
Canning surrendered the representation of Liverpool when he was persuaded to become Governor-General of India. When the Foreign Secretary’s job fell vacant with Castlereagh’s death, he abandoned India and contracted with the owner of the seat for Harwich in order to qualify for the job.
Sat 21st June 1823
Talleyrand has made a speech about the imminent French invasion of Spain. He says it is now 16 years since he advised Napoleon not to invade Spain. As a result he was disgraced but he will take a chance with the Bourbons and tender the same advice.
Sat 21st June 1823
Sir Hudson Lowe has got the Solicitor General to prosecute O’Meara on information for libel. His case started at King’s Bench on 11th February. He made his complaint on publication of the 2nd edition of Napoleon in Exile in November 1822. The 1st edition had been published 5-6 months earlier.
Lowe’s case is that O’Meara was a British officer at the time of his appointment to care for Napoleon and was necessarily subject to British army discipline. He helped the ex-Emperor to forward letters to Europe and was sent home. He accused Lowe and was prosecuted by Court Martial. After his conviction, O’Meara was dismissed, based on his own account of his actions at St Helena.
Lowe complained that most of the witness evidence adduced by O’Meara involved people who had since died. The authenticity of the book could not be established.
The judges asked Lowe why prosecution was delayed and why it was on Information (denying O’Meara a Grand Jury and putting him within the power of the Solicitor General). The prosecutor said Lowe’s statement was very long and complex. The Court allowed him to proceed but said it would require a better explanation why the prosecution was delayed.
Sat 12th July 1823
Dover, mid March – Packets arriving from Boulogne and Calais are full of British merchants and their families, residents of France. They are returning from the coastal ports and from Paris in anticipation of war between our countries.
Sat 20th Sept 1823
The acts of the Kings against Spain have excited British opposition. In 1820 the Congress of Laybach issued an undertaking of the Kings not to interfere in Spain. It appears they now think that was a mistake. The policy of the Kings since 1814 has been one of consistent oppression of both their own people and those of their neighbours. It is even conceivable that, should they succeed in settling monarchical government on Spain and Portugal, they will commence provocations to have Britain revoke its Constitution. Our national policy has been ‘strict neutrality’ when we should really assert our true feelings.
Wellington and Somerset have told various Spanish representatives that they should allow Ferdinand sufficient power to satisfy him when it is historical fact that nothing short of absolute power is sufficient to these families.
Sat 20th Sept 1823
The Treasury has revealed that £130,000 of the reparations and indemnities from France for the war, that was agreed to be paid in the 1815 treaty, has been spent on George IV’s coronation. Its about 65% of the total cost.
Sat 4th Oct 1823
Parsimonious parliamentarians have been economising on their Court Dress. Canning, Henry Wellesley and Lord ClanWilliam requested plain suits and sent them to Sir Charles Stuart (son of the General), our man in Paris, who arranged for their embroidery. Embroidery in Paris is far cheaper than in London. Stuart returned them with his despatches to avoid Customs inspection.
Unfortunately, it seems a disapproving clerk at the Paris embassy alerted the press in London. Wellesley and Clan William were able to take delivery before the Customs raid but Canning was not fast enough and the gorgeous suit was seized in his tailor’s shop.
The following articles are garnered from the Canton Register and, towards the end, the Friend of China but relate to news to or from Europe. These China papers are focused on local news and have little to say about Europe.
Vol 1 No 4 – 14th December 1827
The fall of nations is due to the decay of the mother country as the condition of Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands attest.
The decay of Portugal dates from its occupation by Spain in 1580. Spain sacrificed its own arts and manufactures in preference for the silver of Peru and Mexico and had no interest in promoting the Indian possessions of Portugal.
The Portuguese first came to China in 1517 when Ferdinand Andrade’s 8 ships carrying Thomas Pereira, the King’s ambassador, arrived for trade. Two ships were allowed up the river to Canton whilst the others stayed outside and harried the coast trade. Andrade went to Canton and dealt honourably but the Portuguese pirates in the other 6 ships compelled the Canton Governor to attack. The sailors escaped to Malacca but the ambassador was imprisoned and died. The Portuguese then traded at St John’s (San Chuan) until the grant of Macau which they garrisoned but which remained under Chinese control. The Chinese based officers there and controlled the food supply. Macau has spacious dwellings, warehouses, churches and forts. It reveals a hint of its former prosperity. Notwithstanding Portuguese decay elsewhere, Macau continues a trade with Brazil, Portugal and other national possessions.
All of India was open to the Portuguese flag and they had special treaty rights at Manila under the Spanish occupation of that country. All other foreigners were excluded from Manila trade. Religious intolerance and priestly intrigue lost them the Japanese monopoly (where the Japanese still perform an annual ceremony of trampling the cross) and submission to Chinese demands at Macau soon reduced the Portuguese to dependant status. All sorts of innovations by successive Chinese officials have become law through want of challenge. This is most apparent in the exactions made of any person landing there.
“…there is no doubt that a proper remonstrance to the higher authorities would have the desired effect. Firmness is indispensable in urging the repeal of an oppressive order or in soliciting a right founded in justice,” the Canton Register Editor John Slade says.
Macau’s decline is not solely due to Portugal’s decline. The crafty schemes and petty jealousies of its residents have materially contributed to its reduction. Vain and inordinate hopes of self-aggrandisement induced Arriaga, the Judge, to bargain his honour and fame for an empty title. His fall buried the hopes of the wealthiest inhabitants. His replacement, Don Jose Felipe Pires da Costo, should improve the situation.
Macau has lost its commerce but taste and hospitality survive. Balls, musical parties and masquerades are regular events.
Vol 1 No 9, 26th February 1828
A New York newspaper Albion of 2nd September has been received. It reports the British cabinet has changed.
It says Greece has permitted the establishment of a local press under three conditions, the first of which is ‘no sacrilege’.
Vol 1 No 12 – Sat 22nd March 1828
Letter to the Editor – ‘although, religiously speaking, Christendom presents many dark spots; still, in reference to science, to the arts and to equal rights, Christendom, though very far from being immaculate, represents the greenest portion of the globe.’
Vol 1 No 15 – Sat 12th April 1828
Marshall von Bulow, who brought up the last-arriving Prussian division that decided the battle of Waterloo, has repented of all the lives he has taken and in 1819 sought salvation from Jesus. He resigned from the army, returned all his military honours and went to Norway to teach Christianity.
In April 1827 he was in London for ordination.
Germany is said to be rife with an unChristian belief called Neologism in which the truth of Christ is explained in scientific terms.
Vol 1 No 20 – Sat 17th May 1828
The Howqua has finally arrived at Canton from London via Gibraltar, Cadiz and Manila. It carried some Turkish opium so it may have entered the Mediterranean for a while as well.
It reports a naval engagement at Navarino at which the Turkish fleet was destroyed by the British.
Vol 1 No 30 – Sat 2nd August 1828
Memoir from St Helena – A small book has been published in England by one of the group of Christians who prayed for Napoleon during his final sickness:
“We asked God to mitigate his severe bodily sufferings and sanctify them to his salvation.”
One of his suite told us that Napoleon had the constant habit of prayer. He maintained he had abused his power less than any other ruler and expected history would vindicate him. He remained a devout Catholic and urged Dr A (the leader of the Protestant group) to go to Mass.
Vol 4 No 2 – Mon 17th January 1831
In the summer of 1830, King Charles X of France dissolved the national assembly and censored the press. A riot consequently broke out in Paris. The National Guard, part of the Paris garrison, and the citizens occupied the Tuilleries and most public offices in July. They appointed a provisional government under Jacques Lafitte, Casimir Perrier and others.
The principal French provincial towns have joined the rebellion and everywhere the tricolor has been hoisted. The deputies have met and Charles X offered to abdicate, conditional on their accepting his son as the new King. His abdication was readily accepted but not the condition.
The Chamber of Deputies appointed Duc d’Orleans as Lieutenant Governor of France and selected a new ministry. This ministry has accepted revised terms from the King. In return for his abdication, he is to receive a passport to England with an escort of 1,000 men and an annuity of 4,000,000 French Francs. The Duc d’Orleans has been offered and accepted the crown, The ex-King with his family have boarded two American ships at Cherbourg and gone to Portsmouth.
Vol 4 No 3 – Wed 2nd February 1831
The Bavarian Professor Neumann has just left China for England. He was commissioned by the King of Prussia to buy and bring back a library of Chinese books.
While in Canton he picked up something of the Cantonese dialect.
Vol 4 No 7 – Thurs 24th March 1831
- The southern part of the Netherlands revolted in September 1830 and seceded, calling itself Belgium. A Dutch army was sent but has not been successful in putting down the revolution.
- In Berlin there are riots calling for implementation of the constitution promised in 1814. Sixty protesters have been killed.
- In Saxony a revolution has caused the King to flee.
- In Hanover an insurrection against the nobility has required the British King George IV to yield the crown to his brother, the Duke of Cambridge.
- The revolt in France appears to be diminishing in violence.
- In Spain the constitution proposed in 1823 is finally to be introduced and to pacify the people, a general amnesty is declared.
Vol 4 No 16 – Mon 15th August 1831
Editorial – We have just seen a copy of Major Head’s Life of Bruce. Bruce was an excellent reporter. When in Algiers as British Consul he wrote repeatedly to ministers and correctly told the true state of affairs there for which he was removed and a less independent man sent to gloss over the unacceptable conditions.
This shows the unwillingness of British ministers to adopt causes they do not themselves initiate. How can ministers deal with France, the balance of power, reform at home and the new coalitions of surrounding nations in Europe as well as Chinese affairs?
The old adage ‘know thyself’ has become ‘take care of thyself’.
Vol 6 No 6 – Fri 3rd May 1833
The Dutch are endeavouring to control Belgium (the new state between Netherlands and France). Britain and France oppose them and, without the support of Russia, the Dutch will fail.
The English King has said the dispute will not affect trade to ports in the Far East but British Indian newspapers consider it necessary to capture Java if there is a war. We only lost Java through ignorance or treachery. Its recapture would not be difficult. The Dutch hold on the island is quite insecure.
It seems unlikely that the Netherlands will fight over Belgium as they would stand to lose the productions of other considerable territories.
Vol 7 No 27 – Tues 8th July 1834
Whigs and Tories – The term ‘Whig’ was first used by the Cameronians of Western Scotland. They frequently fought religious wars and ‘whig’ was the name of the spirituous liquor they drank. They commenced the famous insurrection of Bothwell Bridge that was put down by the Duke of Monmouth. The Duke was thought to have been too merciful and King Charles was told that Monmouth was a ‘whig’ himself. This introduced the word into Court and soon the followers of the Duke took the term to apply to themselves.
‘Tory’ is an Irish word. It was first used to signify a highwayman. Tories were involved in the Irish massacre of 1641. In 1680 a group of English Catholics pretended to be Protestants and by ridiculing the Papacy, encouraged the Papists, led by Titus Oates, to revive their plot to recover the English crown. They banished the Duke of Monmouth and recalled the Duke of York. They opposed the Bill of Exclusion. They tried to restore monarchical power over the parliament. They persecuted dissenters, murdered patriots, and finally set up a Catholic King on the throne, asserting his hereditary right. They were thus seen to be like the Irish highwaymen and the name ‘tory’ was popularly applied to them.
Vol 8 No 28 – Tues 14th July 1835
London news – Lord Palmerston and Sir George Staunton both lost their seats in the last election.
Vol 9 No 40 – Tuesday 4th October 1836
Tait’s Magazine, May 1836 – The Corn Law rhymer:
• An army of principles will penetrate were an army of soldiers cannot.
• When nations require change, the danger is to those who oppose it.
• When a nation changes its opinions it cannot be governed as before.
• Aristocracy is a law against nature. Men accountable to no-one can be trusted by no-one.
• Separate an individual from society and he cannot increase his wealth. The means is connected to the end. All accumulation beyond subsistence is derived from society.
Vol 10 No 34 – 22nd August 1837
On 15th March a chap named Kearney attacked Loch, the Deputy Chairman of the India Company, in his office and wounded him in the head and neck. Loch’s shouts were heard by the messengers who rushed in and restrained Kearney. He was interrogated by the Lord Mayor but thereafter drank oxalic acid and died. Loch is recovering.
Vol 10 No 42 – 17th October 1837
The London papers are saying that the new Queen, now 18 years old, has recalled Lord Elphinstone from India to perform some function in the Royal household. An attachment between the two is alleged to have been the cause of the Lord’s prior removal from London.
Vol 11 No 6 – 6th February 1838
Athenaeum, 5th September 1837:
Tea cultivation has commenced in France. The shrub languished in heat but some plants are growing well near Marseilles from whence it is proposed to plant them throughout the region in replacement of some of the orange groves.
Vol 11 No 15 – 10th April 1838
News from London:
- The Directors of the India Company have voted to repay their government loan on 30th June 1838. This caused India bonds to fall 26d to a premium of 30d.
- In consideration of the reduced circumstances of the Marquis Wellesley (previously Governor-General of India), the directors have granted him a £20,000 loan. Directors Marjoribanks, Wigram and Mills opposed the loan. The loan is subject to shareholder approval and the approval of the Commissioners for Indian affairs. It is proposed the Chairman, Deputy Chairman and two others administer the fund.
Vol 11 No 21 – 22nd May 1838
European news – fires:
There have been terrible fires this winter – the Winter Palace at St Petersburg, the Italian Operahouse in Paris and the Royal Exchange in London have all been destroyed:
The Royal Exchange fire commenced in Lloyd’s Coffee House and quickly spread to the captain’s room and the underwriting offices. Extinguishment water could not be sprayed for an hour as the pumps and hoses were frozen. When they were finally made to work it was too late.
The silvery bells of the clock tower used to play every three hours “God Save the Queen”, “Life let us Cherish” and “There’s nae Luck aboot the Hoose” in rotation and on Sundays, the old version of 104th Psalm. Now they are silenced.
The grand chimes of the 12 bells in the steeple of Spitalfields were destroyed two years ago by fire and the only chimes to be heard in London now are at St Clement Danes in the Strand (where the old 104th psalm is played every four hours), St Giles at Cripplegate and St Denis Back in Fenchurch Street.
After extinguishment, on crossing the embers and entering the quadrangle, it was found that the splendid piazza and its embellishments were destroyed. The statues of the Kings and Queens of England since William the Conqueror were lying about, many of them fractured.
Vol 11 No 21 – 22nd May 1838
The French philosophers of the last century stripped war of its glory. They turned our attention from the passions of savages, the enthusiasm of poets and the fame of heroes to the wrongs done to the murdered millions. They made humanity their fundamental principle.
They forgot the advantages of war:
- the misfortune of one generation is often the necessary preliminary for the prosperity of the next.
- War sometimes enlightens the invaded, sometimes the invader.
- It stimulates invention by harnessing the energy of distress.
- For some, war subdues and crushes, for others it encourages and exalts.
- The characters of men and nations are hardened by that bitter and sharp experience. It refines the subtle and the sagacious.
- Even a destructive war ending in the subjugation of a people gives birth to a counteracting force amongst them or their neighbours.
- Its effects are like the sea, rising and falling. It captures the fact of change in human destiny.
Had Persia not been destroyed, Greece might have left no annals and we would search in vain for inspiration from the ancients. When Persia withdrew to Asia, Greece rose majestically above the rest of the civilised world. Faraway on the Latin plains, Rome was struggling against its neighbouring Etruscan states. Gaul and Germany lay in barbarism and who could predict their future?
Persia remained the only superpower but its youth had been wasted and it could only sustain its existing immense empire. The defeat of Xerxes paralysed Asia. Thus Greece was assured of tranquillity and directed its national energies into peaceful pursuits. The Athenians returned to rebuild their city and restore their untended fields.
The Greek aristocracy had been impoverished by the war effort. New families arose, like that of the commoner Themistocles, to challenge ancient prescriptive rights of aristocrats. Soldiers were honoured. This new blood introduced a spirit of enterprise.
Themistocles was peculiarly adapted to the circumstances of the time. It is the nature of free states to focus the popular will on the unity of despotism by sequentially producing great leaders who sympathise with and express the popular will. These leaders succeed or fail dependant on their giving or withholding the widest range of legislative power to direct the executive, thus uniting the wishes of the greatest number under the administration of the few – absolute but responsible government.
Editor – this helps to elucidate the peaceful policy of the Ching dynasty. Every allusion to war is carefully avoided; a military career is not honoured, and the army is kept inadequately supplied
Vol 11 No 25 – 19th June 1838
The Sun, 20th November 1837 has news of Russia:
There was a report two years ago that Tsar Nicholas was insane.
We have a September 1837 report from Limburg in Galacia indicating he has selected Ekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk) for cavalry manoeuvres this year. Around Sverdlovsk are numerous agricultural colonies to develop the production of the area. They are staffed by soldiers with few women.
The Tsar has just signed an order requiring the revolutionary Poles, whom he subjugated in 1830, to provide 600 young women aged 16 – 20 years to the soldiers. He has sent an army to enforce the order on the reluctant villagers. Several battles ensued, the villagers defending their women with sticks and scythes, before the girls could be secured from their protectors. Many resisting villagers have been knouted and banished to Siberia.
The 600 women were marched off to the colonies around Sverdlovsk and examined, much like an army recruit, to confirm they were complete and functioning, before being dressed in their national costume and distributed.
It is supposed they will eventually marry the soldiers although their relatives have petitioned the Tsar for relief.
There is a precedent. Catherine II allowed Potemkin to populate the Crimea with soldiers after he devastated it and a levy of young females was made in all the Russias to provide them with wives.
Vol 11 No 38 – 18th September 1838
The Sandwich Islands Gazette, May edition “Fetters of the Press”:
Dr Channing of Boston, the Unitarian preacher and doyen of American writers, has the following to say on the condition of the Press:
Firstly, the newspaper press is fettered by dependence on subscribers, many of whom withdraw support when they see articles contradicting their own views. Consequently, few Editors will give publicity to an unpopular view.
In seeking a balance between providing good information and maintaining a profitable business, editors often lose their moral independence. They fail to fully explore corrupt opinion or limit the excesses of popular passions. Effectively they focus and increase the violence of the people.
Those subjects on which the public have been led to wrong opinions are likely excluded from their columns.
Secondly, men of conscience who cannot get their views published, are compelled to unite together and produce newspapers of their own in which they often express an extravagance of opinion that they would have eschewed had they been permitted space in an existing paper.
Denial of publicity forces them together, their zeal increases with their numbers, their prejudices are entrenched and their willingness to violence to achieve their ends is promoted.
The anti-Masonry party lost its ability to publicly express its views after the murder of Morgan. That event caused Editors to shrink for publishing their views.
The abolition of slavery movement has been ignored by the press – the subject is never publicly discussed. The movement is completely intolerant but denying it publicity is not the way to eliminate dissent.
The thoughtful man is strengthened by exposure to a diversity of views. The intolerance of the anti-slavery movement will delay abolition because intolerance produces belligerence in those opposing the movement.
The greatest good is achieved by newspapers edited by men of superior ability and moral independence who judge all people and parties by the standards of Christianity. They uncompromisingly speak the truth and express a just and lofty public sentiment. They give all honourable and upright men an opportunity to publish their views no matter how they are opposed to the fashion of the day.
The power of the press is enormous and it can only be wielded by the best minds. Editors should be well paid and allowed to express reasoned opinions.
Editor – these lucid remarks are inapplicable to the Canton press. The Canton Register and Canton Press were established by the two most eminent opium traders but have both published letters opposed to the trade. No correspondent should expect every Editor to understand the nuances of every argument. To do so we Editors would all have to be walking encyclopaedias. Editors draw public attention to matters of interest. A newspaper is primarily a record of events.
Vol 11 No 52 – 25th December 1838
Petition of the Glasgow Chamber to the Queen, June 1838:
There is a progressive diminution in our foreign trade concurrent with a depression in our domestic market that is causing a decline in national revenue. We are now excluded for several markets in which we used to trade. Foreign states are breaking their treaties with us, insulting our traders and restricting our trade. The loss of international respect for our commerce is due to the peculiar system of diplomacy we have followed in the last few years (an inference against Palmerston).
That policy has compromised Turkey as an independent country and nullified its use as a buffer protecting eastern Europe. We have abandoned Circassia and exposed our Indian empire to Russian conquest. We have allowed Persia to be reduced to a Russian dependency. British merchants are now excluded from the lucrative Black Sea trade. We permit the Dutch to evade the terms of our 1824 treaty with them and impose illegal duties on our exports to Java. We have tolerated the creation of a French colony in Africa, contrary to treaty. We have allowed European countries to exclude our manufactures by high duties in breach of our commercial treaties. Our fishing fleet in Newfoundland and around our own coast must compete with foreign fishermen. We have permitted the destruction of ancient Poland. Our claims on Greece have been compromised. We also have difficulties with Spain, Portugal, America, Brazil and Mexico.
Please use your influence to recover the respect we are due and protect your merchants and shipowners. The world acts as though our power had diminished. This is due to the supine nature of our foreign policy. We implore you to obtain redress and maintain our rights by a display of national vigour against any country that seeks to infringe on them.
Editor – this is one of the most important documents of our time. 459 Glaswegian firms and individuals – Tories, Whigs and Radicals – signed this Petition. They recognise the importance of the facts and have abandoned partisan beliefs for the national benefit. This is a remarkable development in our commerce. The cause of the decline in the British economy has been the indifference of the political leadership and the failure of London merchants to unite and lobby for our interests. There is as yet no Chamber of Commerce in London but one is in prospect. The political executive is worthless and must be advised by commercial associations. It’s a shame the Glasgow merchants did not mention China – the ‘fan kwai’ must also be protected.
Vol 12 No 7 – 12th February 1839
Statistical Society – Russia is rapidly expanding its territories. It has occupied half of Sweden (the colony in Finland); it has taken Poland from the Austrian empire, it has seized parts of Turkey; it is paramount in Persia and it is moving into Tartary.
Her territorial acquisitions since 1770 have doubled her lands in Europe. In 1762 the population was recorded at 25 millions; in 1825 it was 58 millions.
Vol 12 No 7 – 12th February 1839
The Council of Plympton, Devon has sold the portrait of Sir Joshua Reynolds which he gave the town when he was its mayor. In the Plympton parish church Sir Joshua appears on the register as Joseph but his parents always intended he be called Joshua – the vicar got confused at the baptism.
The residents say as a pre-teenager he was given to taking long solitary rambles. He was thought to be lazy but after one day-long absence his father tackled him and the boy produced from his pocket an astonishingly good sketch of Plympton to evidence what he had been doing.
Plympton has two other pictures by Sir Joshua – they hang in the Council office.
Vol 12 No 9 – 26th February 1839
Editorial – The sale of the fire-damaged contents of the Royal Exchange has mainly focused on the statues of the Kings and Queens of England that were arrayed around the Hall. They are being disposed of at an average of 10 guineas each. The Mercer’s Company has bought Charles II and Edward I.
George III might end up in a garden pond with a water pipe threaded under his arm. Will no-one take out an Injunction?
Vol 12 No 15 – Tuesday 9th April 1839
Austria and England have concluded a commercial treaty on 7th September 1838 to maintain free navigation on the Danube and contain Russian expansion.
Whether the Tsar can induce his nobles to abandon their land grabs in the south and submit to peaceful co-existence with the neighbours is problematical. Controlling the Russian nobility requires the abilities of Peter the Great but we hope this treaty will avert war.
The Porte is co-operating with us. His fleet is under the control of our squadron in the Dardanelles and an English commander is on board each Turkish vessel. Turkey proposes to reopen Trajan’s Canal from Rosova to the Black Sea thus cutting 87 miles off the journey and evading the Russian Customs House.
This will free Turkish commerce from Russian influence.
Vol 12 No 25 – 18th June 1839
The Queen’s speech, opening parliament on 5th February 1839:
- “I have concluded treaties of commerce with Austria and Turkey. I have assisted Austria, France, Prussia and Russia in arranging the differences between Holland and Belgium – the Dutch have accepted our compromise, the Belgians are soon expected to do so, and the five powers will guarantee peace.
- “My minister has temporarily withdrawn from Persia but I hope to have him back there soon. For the same reason British India has had to protect our interests on Persia borders and prepare for war.
- “The emancipation of slaves in British West Indies proceeds. The temporary system of apprenticeship has been followed by their freedom and no disturbance of public order has resulted.
- “Lower Canada is being destabilised by Americans who have made hostile incursions into Upper Canada. Our forces and people have suppressed these disturbances and evicted the troublemakers. The American President is directing his people towards friendly relations with us.”
Vol 12 No 25 – 18th June 1839
Colonial Gazette, 19th January 1839 – A comparison of the naval strengths if England, France, America, Russia, Egypt and Turkey is provided.
Vol 12 No 42 – 15th October 1839
Calcutta Courier, 27th July – The House of Lords has issued its judgment on the dispute between the residents and the owner of the village of Auchterarder.
Briefly, the landowner, the Earl of Kinnoul, appointed Mr R Young to a living in his gift as pastor to the villagers. The Presbytery of Auchterarder objected on the grounds that authority for or ratification of the appointment lay with the residents. The Earl asserted his right of patronage and the Judicial Committee of the Lords has now upheld him.
Thus dies the independence of the Church of Scotland.
The law upholds Caesar over Christ.
In England the head of the Anglican church (Queen Victoria) is already Caesar.
Vol 12 No 51 – 24thDecember 1839
London news – Sir Moses Montefiore has leased a large tract of land in Palestine for fifty years and is inducing the Jewish community, the most oppressed subjects of the Pasha, to remove there and become farmers.
Jews in the Ottoman province of Syria cannot give evidence in court, they cannot own land and they are otherwise discriminated against.
Sir Moses has offered Mehemet Ali to establish a bank at Alexandria with a capital of £1 million, provided the Pasha will repeal the discriminatory laws against Jews.
A prime function of the bank will be to provide agricultural loans to Jewish settlers in Palestinian lands.
This may be the small beginnings of a long prophesied event.
Vol 13 No 10 – 10th March 1840
Hitherto a Jew could not become a First Class Citizen in Russia but now the Tsar says they can, provided they render themselves ‘worthy’.
Vol 13 No 10 – 10th March 1840
Journale de Perpignon – Paganini is depressed. He is spending his time at the baths in Vernet in the Bourbonnais. He has lost all his teeth and his servant has to mince his food. He walks a little and plays billiards but mostly he sits alone, cap on head, cane in hand, plunged in meditation. He sometimes makes involuntary movements which appear to annoy him and he stamps his feet. The paralysis he experiences particularly affects his speech. He leans towards the ear of his auditor, pinches his nose and talks feebly but quite often no sound emerges.
Vol 13 No 11 – 17th March 1840
The European powers are at Vienna to consider a settlement of the ‘eastern question’ between the Turks and their province of Egypt.
Mr Waghorn, the British trader at Alexandria who negotiated the overland mail route, has written to all British Chambers of Commerce to say he expects the overland route to be closed if the five powers attempt to force Egyptian agreement to a settlement with Turkey by blockading Alexandria. He notes this will particularly impact British trade in the east:
“All you Chambers should assess the effects of a closure of the overland route on your members’ business. If you want your letters to India delivered in three months instead of nine, you will take action with government in support of Egypt.”
Vol 13 No 12 – 24th March 1840
On 23rd November 1839 Queen Victoria called 85 senior politicians to Buckingham Palace and told them she would marry Albert Francis Augustus Charles Emanuel of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
He is a fine fellow, the second son of Duke Ernst.
Vol 13 No 12 – 24th March 1840
An obituary and biography of the life of Admiral Sir Frederick Lewis Maitland is provided. He was the commander-in-chief of British naval forces in the East Indies and has just died of dysentery on the Wellesley off Bombay,
We list the post-captains on the East India station from whom a successor may be chosen, together with their dates of appointment:
Captain Sir James J G Bremer 7th June 1814
Rt Hon Lord J A S Churchill, 4th August 1826
H Smith 4th September 1829
C R Drinkwater 22nd July 1830
Joseph Nias 8th July 1835 and
Thomas Maitland 10th January 1837
(Note – There is a biography of the Admiral’s life in this and the succeeding edition – not reproduced here)
Vol 13 No 17 – 28th April 1840
The Naval & Military Gazette of 21st December reports Palmerston was married on Monday at St George’s Church, Hanover Square, to the dowager Countess Cowper, widow of the late Earl Cowper, and only sister of Viscount Melbourne. The couple left immediately for Palmerston’s estate at Broadlands in Hampshire.
Editor – this is good news. While Palmerston may prefer Lafitte on the breakfast table, her Ladyship will chose Pekoe or gunpowder. It may concentrate the Foreign Secretary’s mind on our problems here.
Vol 13 No 26 – 30th June 1840
The Times, 30th January 1840 – The Marseilles Chamber of Commerce advises its members that the French consulate at Manila is to be made a Consulate General for India and China and new consulates will be opened in Singapore and elsewhere in Asia. The Chamber previously told the government of the importance of French trade with China and a French Agent is expected to be sent to Canton. The Chamber has recommended its ship-owning and other members take advantage of the new arrangements.
Vol 13 No 26 – 30th June 1840
United Services Gazette – We hear Rear Admiral George Elliot is likely to succeed Maitland in command of the East India squadron and Briggs will succeed Elliot at the Cape. Sir Robert Stopford’s successor in the Mediterranean is still undecided but Sir Charles Adam wants the job and it would be foolhardy for this government to thwart the wishes of ‘one of the Family’.
Elliot and Adam are efficient Admirals although far from the best available. China will be perplexed to find another Elliot coming to repair the blunders of his relative.
Editor – Sir Charles Adam, as First Sea Lord, told the Commons on 2nd March that he could not have sent a naval force to China more quickly because of the winter monsoon. Opium clippers beat-up to China from Calcutta against the N E Monsoon in a month. Anyway, the squadron did not have to beat-up in that way – it might have sailed via the eastern passage (Sunda Straits). Surely British tars can perform as well as Lascars.
Vol 13 No 44 – 3rd November 1840
The Duke of Wellington is a fine military horseman but he’s not so skilled in cross-country. Near his Startfieldsay estate in Hampshire is the Bramshill Hunt which he generously supports and with which he frequently rides, together with his old friend Sir John Cope. Unfortunately the Duke falls off rather frequently.
Recently a Frenchman moved into the neighbourhood and started attending the Hunt daily, not as a member but as a riding spectator. He was always pleased to see the Duke arrive and followed him closely throughout the day. On enquiry it turned out that hunting was not of any particular interest to him, but he obtained a deep satisfaction from seeing ‘the overthrow of Old Waterloo.’
Vol 14 No 34 – 24th August 1841
Wm Jardine’s Address to the electors of Ashburton (near Exeter):
I am a firm friend of civil and religious freedom. I want to remedy every abuse, remove every grievance and allow everyone to receive the benefits of the Reform Bill as intended. I oppose the existing draft of the Law Amendment Act until it better protects the poor. I will only support ministers when I think they are right. I have long been connected in commerce with the staple trade of your town (serge) and will try to promote and advance it further. I will not neglect your local and private interests.
A song was sung at his reception:
Stand fast reformers in the field
Opponents to your strength must yield,
Tory corruption must give way
And Jardine now shall gain the day
Jardine was cheered by hundreds of people present who shared his liberal views. He said he had fought against oppression for 25 years in China and would continue to do so in England. He said he had refused the offers of three Dukes to recruit him as an MP. He wanted the suffrage extended to end bribery and intimidation. Many former Whigs were in the audience and clearly supported Jardine.
An old rich manufacturer named Solomon Toger mentioned the improved trade that Jardine would bring to Ashburton. Sir Warwick Tonkin then proposed Jardine be returned as candidate. He was so well received that his election is secure, however the Tory candidate MacKillop will canvass shortly.
Editor – Ashburton is a prescriptive borough and was named one of the four leading towns of Devon by Charter of Edward I. It formerly had two members but was reduced to one by the Reform Act. It now has a population of about 5,000. We do not expect Jardine to be much of a debater but he will be good value in committee where all the important parliamentary business is done.
Vol 14 No 44 – 2nd November 1841
Lord John Russell was married on 29th June at Minto House to Francis Anna Maria, 2nd daughter of the Earl of Minto.
Lord and Lady Dumfermline, Lord Edward Russell, Lord Melgund, Lady Elizabeth Elliot, Admiral George Elliot and Capt Charles Elliot all attended.
The couple will stay a few weeks at Bowhill, near Selkirk, the seat of the Duke of Buccleuch.
Vol 14 No 50 – 14th December 1841
Queen’s Speech – the extraordinary expenses caused by events in Canada, China and the Mediterranean and the costs of maintaining a force adequate to protect Our extensive possessions makes an increase of the public revenue necessary. H M hopes this will fall primarily on the productions of foreign countries.
Some of our existing duties are so trifling in amount they cost more to collect than they are worth. The principle of protection, on which many of these duties are founded, should neither injure the State nor the people.
She hopes her Commons will enact means to relieve the distress of widespread unemployment (i.e. repeal the Corn Laws).
Peel is the new PM and Aberdeen the Foreign Secretary. The government fell in August over the Corn Laws – they increase fluctuations in supply, cause embarrassments to trade, derange the currency and produce hardship for the people.
Vol 15 No 9 – 1st March 1842
London Mail, 2nd November 1841 – The census just concluded puts the populations of Great Britain and Ireland at 27 millions:
|England & Wales
The figures exclude everyone out of the country on 5th June 1841.
Vol 15 No 11 15th March 1842
The Duke of Wellington recently sat for a sculptor who wished to engage the Duke in conversation to observe the range of facial expressions he produced. He explained to the Duke that he hoped to bring forth the expression at the moment the Duke said “up Guards and at ‘em” at Waterloo.
The Duke laughed and said “ah, that old story. People will invent words for me. Poets will write and painters will paint and I suppose we must give them some license, but really I don’t know what I said. I was aware that the moment for action had come and I gave the command for attack. I suppose the words were brief and homely enough for they ran through the ranks and were obeyed on the instant. I never saw sharper work. But as to the exact words I used at such a moment, I am sure I don’t recollect them, and I very much doubt whether any one else can.”
Friend of China , 1st April 1842 edition:
The 1839 English revenue from spirits was £8 million. Excluding moonshine that’s a gallon for every man, woman and child and costs each at least 15/- per year.
At about the same date, the revenue of Russia was 600 million Roubles of which a quarter came from duties on wines and spirits.
The Colonist says that the value of spirits consumed in New South Wales exceeds £2 per head while the consumption of opium by the Chinese community there does not exceed 3d per head. The Australians are spending 200 times more on booze than the Chinese spend on their recreational drug of choice.
Editor – Indulging in the use of opium is, with the Chinese, far less subversive of individual duties and social rights than the immoderate use of ardent spirits.
Friend of India, 7th Feb 1842:
Capt Elliot who recently returned to London from China has had a long interview with the Chancellor of the Exchequer at Downing Street.
Friend of China , 21st April 1842:
At last colonial matters are receiving attention in London. The Colonial Society has formed the Colonial Club and issues the Colonial Gazette. Even Under Secretary of State Stephen might learn something. Until now it has been true, as said by Sir Josiah Child of India in 1680 that
‘… as to the laws of England they are wholly inapplicable; a heap of nonsense, compiled by a few ignorant country gentlemen, who hardly know how to make laws for the good governance of their own families, much less for the regulation of companies and foreign commerce.’
Friend of China 21.4.42 edition
News from Europe:
- Prince Albert is accorded the rank of King Consort;
- The King of Prussia will attend the christening of the Prince of Wales on 25 January as one of the infant’s sponsors.
- The Dutch India fleet is to be augmented.
- The French are sending more troops and emigrants to their colony in New Zealand.
- The Hanseatic League has opened negotiations with the British government for the purchase of the Chatham Islands. They have already obtained the agreement of the owners – the New Zealand Land Company – to their sale to the Government of Hamburg for a German colony.
The British claim to their ownership rests on the visit of HMS Chatham which discovered the islands, so far as Europe was concerned, in 1791. We should try to accommodate the Germans as they are intent on having colonies, no matter how small.
Vol 15 No 18, 3rd May 1842
The Earl of Ripon has told the House that he expects the war in Persia will not be satisfactorily concluded. He denied holding a similar view of the war in China.
Friend of China 12.5.42 edition
- Life expectancy in England now averages 39 years in town and 55 years in the country.
- The foundation stone of the new Royal Exchange was laid by Prince Albert in January.
Friend of China 2.6.42 edition
The Royal Navy fleet now comprises 592 ships of which 107 are armed steamers.
Friend of China, 2nd June 1842:
Tens of thousands of pictures of Napoleon have been sold in England but not one single picture of Wellington has been sold in France.
Friend of China, 9th June 1842:
Valletta harbour, January 1842 – the rear admiral thinks it necessary to call on the captains of H M ships to give effect to circular No 261 of 25th August 1840 issued by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, being satisfied that the progress of luxury and extravagance in midshipmen’s messes is allowed to go on unchecked, it must sap the morals and discipline of the service.
Sgd Francis Mason, Malta 20th January.
Friend of China, 23rd June 1842:
Amongst the last 120,000 marriages registered in England, 40,587 husbands and 58,959 wives could not write their own names.
Friend of China 23.6.42 edition
Peel’s budget includes the re-introduction of income tax at 7d per £ (3½%). It was previously categorised as a war tax. All incomes under £150 will be exempt. This will produce £3,775,000. There is no change to the duty on tea and sugar imports.
Friend of China 30.6.42 edition
News from Europe:
- The French government has announced it will increase its steam flotilla to 70 of which 40 will be ships of war.
- The West India steam packet averages 253 miles per day.
- The ancient marbles collected in Lycia (from Telimissus?) by Charles Fellows for the British Museum are said by the Malta papers to be nearly ready for embarkation. They cost the country only the freight and are said to rival Elgin’s for beauty.
- The new steam frigate Geyser has four of the largest guns ever put on a ship. Two are 10” bore and two 8” bore. The bigger cannon fires a shot of 86lbs.
Friend of China , 28th July 1842:
HRH Prince Albert has been appointed Lord Warden of the Stannaries (the tin- and copper-mining districts of Cornwall and Devon) and Chief Steward of the Duchy of Devon and Cornwall. By his request no emoluments are payable.
Vol 15, No 31 – 2nd August 1842
Mr Laurence Peel, Chief Justice of Calcutta, has been knighted.
Canton Register Vol 15, No 31 – 2ndAugust 1842
There has been a great fire at Hamburg. Of the 10,000 buildings in the town, some 2,000 have burnt down.
Friend of China 11.8.42 edition
A huge fire started on 11th May in Hamburg and engulfed the entire town. It burned for four days before it was brought under control. Many lives were lost and damage to property is estimated at £5,000,000. Subscriptions are being collected all over Europe.
Friend of China 4.8.42 edition
The British Government has refused permission for German colonisation of the Chatham Islands.
Friend of China 11.8.42 edition
Queen Victoria, while returning from the park in an open carriage after her evening walk on 30th May, was shot at by John Francis at Constitution Hill. This is the second attempt on her life. She knew an attempt might be made and had disallowed her ladies-in-waiting to accompany her. She was accompanied by Prince Albert and the equerry Colonel Arbuthnot. The attempt was made at the same place that Oxford used last year. Francis aimed his pistol and pulled the trigger but the gun just flashed. A nearby fusilier caught him immediately. Francis was handed over to Arbuthnot who took him to the Palace Lodge. He was then taken to Gardiner’s Lane Police Station and from thence to the Home Office where he was grilled by a hastily convened Privy Council but remained silent. He was finally sent to Tothill Fields Prison. Francis’ father is a stage carpenter at Covent Garden of good character and he could not explain his son’s act
Friend of China 18.8.42 edition
Editorial – Palmerston’s policy towards France has encouraged Minister Thiers to precipitate a war. We hope it can be averted. The War of Tariffs was actually begun by the French in taxing our linens with prohibitory duties.
Peel reduced British duty on many French products in the expectation it might cause them to reciprocate. (He overlooked the immense tax on silks, brandy and wines which are their main exports. That was a mistake but the general policy was right.) He told the house ‘It is the interest of England to buy cheap, whether other countries buy from us or not’ – how true.
The rubbish about ‘reciprocity’ and about ‘payment in specie being economically damaging’ is contemptible, as Peel has recognised.
Friend of China 25.8.42 edition
- Since 1830 the armies of all the European countries have cost £2 billion to equip and maintain.
- Russia is preparing a second expedition against the Circassians. She has demanded Turkey cease supplying gunpowder to the Circassians (a factor in the previous Russian defeat). Russia has no legitimate claim to this land and we hope she fails.
- Coffee bushes grow satisfactorily in Andalusia.
- Auckland now has a population of 2,000 and the British government wants to make it the capital of New Zealand.
Friend of China 8.9.42 edition
King Louis Philippe is 69 years old and suffering from dropsy. He will die soon, indeed he may have died already. A new monarch will likely adopt a war policy.
Friend of China 6.10.42 edition
- Dr Montgomery has been awarded a medal for successfully cultivating nutmeg in Singapore.
- A Chinese exhibition has been opened at Hyde Park corner by the American Nathan Dunn, an old resident of Canton. The proprietor has built a Chinese building 225′ x 50′ containing a superb screen and three colossal religious figures. A number of displays are made up like rooms – the visitor looks through a window to see inside. They contain embroideries, magnificent dresses and elaborate paintings. The Queen visited with Prince Albert and enjoyed it.
Friend of China 6.10.42 edition
The Parisian press is delighted with the prohibitory duties enacted by the French legislature on English imports. The increases are 25 – 35% and the items to pay this impost include our linens. The French press expresses an unfavourable view of our Indian Empire.
A very slight decrease in French funds occurred at the time of publication of the tariff changes, apparently due to a perception that the new duties might be misunderstood in England.
Friend of China , 20.10.42 edition
Peel has just reduced duties on vegetable oil and oil seeds which should increase consumption in England. Many new products have been introduced recently and an oil almost equal to olive has been expressed from the American peanut. The Chinese get oil from a huge variety of nuts and seeds for various purposes and some of these must be useful in England. Further investigation is required.
Friend of China,3.11.42 edition
Russian trade figures – Imports and exports are valued at £19,524,000. The population is 56 millions. A vast amount of smuggling is done in Russia – their Customs officers are just like Chinese Customs officials.
Friend of China 3.11.42 edition
A new iron steam frigate Guadeloupe has been completed for the Company and will sail from England shortly.
The steam communication route via the Red Sea will be extended to China next year.
Friend of China 16.2.43 edition
The Spectator – There is no point in maintaining diplomatic missions at every capital city. We should focus on those where interesting things happen.
Many of the German and American states invariably vote with the central government. In those places, like Saxony and Wurtemburg, there is no point having a representative.
We should concentrate our diplomatic activity on places like New York and Maine where the local government is likely to oppose the central government occasionally.
Friend of China , 2.3.43 extraordinary edition
The Cambridge has left Malta for England with the valuable ancient marbles from Xanthus.
Friend of China , 2.3.43 extraordinary edition
A French shipping report copied from Journal du Havre comparing the fleets employed on English and French trade:
|No of Ships dispatched
from national ports
* 74% of this figure exported in British bottoms
** 42% of this figure exported in French bottoms
UK coasting trade in 1841 carried 22,184,047 tons of goods
French coasting trade in 1840 carried 2,314,735 tons of goods
The British merchant marine in 1840 totalled 28,692 vessels with average burden of 80 tons;
The French merchant marine in 1840 totalled 15,600 vessels with average burden of 27 tons
Friend of China 9.3.43 edition
Knight’s London Magazine says London is the biggest city in the world. It occupies 32 sq mls. It consists of the City, Westminster, Finsbury, Marylebone and Tower Hamlets on the north bank and Southwark and Lambeth on the south. The house-owners of London pay one third of the window tax of all England.
Friend of China , 9.3.43 edition
German Customs Union – The population of the states in the Union was 24,048,970 in 1837. Sugar imports that year equate with 4.4 lbs per head per annum. In Britain it is 29 lbs per head.
Germans consume 2.2 lbs of coffee per head but only 2 ozs of tea. We hear the tea in the German market is the very finest qualities (the flowery pekoes) trans-shipped from London.
Friend of China , 16.3.43 edition
England is annoying other maritime nations in the world with its anti-slavery activities off the African coast and in the Caribbean. She could find herself fighting a war in Europe for the sake of Africa!
America questions her right to search, France denies it, all others detest it.
We mention this because one of the new duties of our treaty port consuls in China will be to prevent smuggling. Smuggling will diminish only if the commercial treaty has very low duties.
Friend of China , 23.3.43 edition
Editorial – Sir Robert Peel partly attributed the need for new property and income tax to the uncertain cost of the China war. Now it is concluded and a huge indemnity paid he should withdraw the taxes.
Friend of China 30.3.43 edition
A long list of army promotions from the London Gazette of December 1842
Friend of China 6.4.43 edition
The London Mail reports that Austrian Lloyd’s at Trieste say communications between India and the Mediterranean are possible. The Austrian brig Pylades has arrived at Trieste from Alexandria with a cargo of tea, rice and indigo from the Far East which was delivered to Suez by the Indian ship Bengalee and carried overland by camel to Alexandria.
If carts can be made for the road carriage, the route will become viable and merchandise intended for the European continent can go direct instead of around the Cape. Cargo can reach Trieste, Leghorn and Marseilles within two months of dispatch from Bombay.
Friend of China , 11.4.43 edition
The Queen’s speech to parliament this year, which she did not give personally, mentioned the commercial treaty just concluded with Russia but no details are yet available.
Other bilateral commercial treaties are in negotiation with Spain, Holland, Austria, France, Portugal and Brazil.
No doubt there will be many changes to our tariff.
Friend of China 15.6.43 edition
March overland mail:
- The Queen will have a baby in April.
- A commercial treaty has been concluded with Russia permitting that country to send her ships to Indian ports on MFN trading basis.
- London trade is bad – tea and silk prices falling. Money cheap at 2%.
Friend of China 22.6.43 edition
Extract from the Times concerning Oregon Territory sometimes called Columbia River Territory (a British possession on the American west coast):
Recent events in China make it apparent that as Chinese commerce and trade increases there will be an effect on the other nations of the Pacific Rim. This may be expected to particularly affect our Australian colonies and the North West of America. It highlights the need for a canal across the isthmus of Panama. The U S Government is alive to these foreseeable changes and President Tyler has asked Congress for a handsome provision for his representative to the Celestial court.
He has at the same time observed the importance that the Sandwich Islands might assume in such a new pattern of World trade and has accordingly published American recognition of Kamehameha III’s native government. The French have indicated the care with which they are observing these developments by their own occupation of the Marquesas. The Spanish assert a claim to these islands but no-one listens to them anymore. The French will develop them better, using them for trade in peace and as a base in war, but actually they lie too far south to be realistic challengers to the Sandwich Islands for the cross-Pacific trade and ship-repairing and provisioning business.
In spite of the blind unsparing haste with which our democratic descendants are rushing West to appropriate the ample Oregon territory, it seems unlikely that these rude backwoodsmen should reach the Pacific in our lifetimes. Nevertheless we should suspect that America intends to claim Oregon by leaping over the normal development of the next fifty years, sending emigrants directly there and increasing her settlements in the disputed area.
British America and the United States occupy the area between Russian and Spanish America. We have to settle these boundaries. Oregon may be an unpeopled region with a savage coast, but when the Treaty of Washington was signed last August the question of the Oregon boundary, whilst absolutely understood, was not addressed.
In future the oldest nations of the Far East may be blended with those unborn states in the Far West, united by that ocean that rolls between the utmost limits of the old and new hemispheres.
Friend of China 22.6.43 edition
The overland mail has brought news from London up to 6th March 43:
- HMS Blonde and Herald have arrived in America.
- There has been a terrible earthquake in Antigua and the capital was almost completely destroyed but fortunately few lives lost.
Friend of China 13.7.43 edition
News from the London papers:
Lord Ashburton’s Washington Treaty has been approved by parliament and, with that out of the way, slavery in the east has become a concern of the country (Editor – following the report in this paper).
Friend of China 13.7.43 edition
The overland mail arrived in harbour late on Tuesday but we were already set up for printing and can only allude briefly to the latest news:
- Richard Arkwright, the richest commoner of Europe, died on 23rd April 1843.
- The Queen had a baby daughter on 25th April 1843.
Friend of China, 3.8.43 edition
Prince Augustus of Saxe Coburg Gotha has married Princess Clementine of France.
Friend of China 17.8.43 edition
We learn from the mail that the Zollverein (German Customs Union) intends to send a consul to China to open commercial relations. We have previously adverted to the intentions of France and this all seems to reveal the awakening interest of Europe in China. No doubt the new tariff, which is so good for everyone, will encourage that interest.
The Zollverein comprises 30 million people occupying 10,000 German square miles. It is an immense commercial network which Belgium and Hamburg are negotiating to join. With the foreseeable inclusion of the Hanseatic towns, the Zollverein will soon rank next to England in the extent of its shipping and external trade.
The recent attempt to buy the Chatham Islands from the New Zealand owner, although abortive, shows the Zollverein also wants colonies.
Owing to the stupidity of our legislators’ domestic policies, the Zollverein can now produce many English products at cheaper price than we. Woollens from Liege and Aix la Chapelle are less expensive than from Leeds or Huddersfield. These German goods have hitherto been shipped to London and brought here as British goods. Much of the cheap woollen cloth found at Ningpo and Shanghai and called Russian by the Chinese is actually German weaves from the Leipzig fair exported to China by Russians at Kyakhta.
As regards cottons, the Germans have their Turkey Red dye which is a world-beater. Even England sends yarns to Elberfeld for dyeing and return.
China can get cheaper hardwood and firearms from Liege than Birmingham. German linens and Bohemian glass would also find a market more easily than the English product. Amber is produced in Prussia, smalts (fragments of coloured glass) in Saxony, spelter (zinc) from Silesia. Napoleon said German steel was as good as Swedish.
German tea consumption is comparatively small but increasing. It is not considered as a medicine but, like us, as a beverage. In 1838 1,301,600 lbs of tea were imported at Hamburg. Even if the Germans were uninterested in tea there are many other Chinese products that could form a return cargo. Indeed they buy many Chinese goods from London through the East India Agencies. We have no statistics.
All this information comes from the Editor’s visit to Prussia some years ago. We suspect that an important trade between the Zollverein and China could soon develop.
Friend of China 31.8.43 edition
Summary of British news received by the June overland mail:
- The Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel have reiterated the late King’s concerns about Ireland in 1833 and a huge force has been sent to maintain the Union. Recruiting is commenced to increase every regiment, except those serving in India and China, by 60 men.
- Goulburn has published the national account and we are £2 millions short. Peel over-estimated the Excise by £1.2 millions and the Customs by £0.75 millions. If you exclude the one-off receipts, like the Canton ransom, its even worse. But we believe the crisis has passed and with the Income Tax starting to arrive and the improved business climate, there should be a surplus soon.
- One third of the Church of Scotland has seceded from the establishment without fuss. Such an overt act of attachment to a principle should awaken interest in England where no-one knows of their ghostly squabbles.
- Sir Richard Arkwright died in 1792 and left £½ million to his son. The son, also Richard Arkwright, has now died and left £7½ millions to his five sons. He paid the highest estate duty of £15,000, applicable to estates in excess of £1 million.
Friend of China 7.9.43 supplement
The Bombay has reached Bombay from Plymouth in 80 days, a remarkable achievement, reported in the Friend of India.
Friend of China, 7.9.43 edition
The Times article which we published last week about M Lagrené and a French Admiral coming to China considers the matter as an outburst of national vanity. We think not.
In France the domestic beet-sugar industry is being taxed to raise its cost to the level of colonial cane-sugar. It is expected that the monopoly on beet-sugar will then be removed and the home industry allowed to collapse, presumably to be replaced by imported cane sugar.
An association of capitalists headed by Baron Terneaux have acquired the best part of Cayenne with the intention of developing its produce of which sugar cane is the most important. The abolition of the beet-sugar monopoly appears to be part of a larger design that reveals the French government’s intention is to develop their merchant marine and their colonies and promote global trade as the English have done so successfully.
At the same time France has annexed the west (African) coast of the Red Sea. It is forming settlements in the Niger delta near Cape Palmas. It has just occupied the Marquesas and Society Islands, strengthened its post at Madagascar and extended its trading stations at Senegal. Now we have this matter (above) of a mission to China and an Admiral on the way here with a squadron.
We think all this reveals the French government’s new policy is one of colonial and trade expansion.
McCulloch’s Geographical Dictionary gives the value of French manufactures in 1839 as £94 millions. The principal items that year were silk £12 millions, woollens £10½ millions, linens £10.4 millions, cottons £9 millions, hardware £8½ millions, leather £6 millions and misc £37½ millions = £94 millions.
In 1836 French exports were worth £36 millions and imports £38 millions. In that year the French mercantile marine was still small as illustrated in the following table:
|No of merchant ships in 1836
700 – 800
600 – 700
500 – 600
400 – 500
300 – 400
200 – 300
100 – 200
60 – 100
30 – 60
Friend of China 14.9.43 edition
London news from the overland mail up to 6th July:
- The French and American press protest British occupation of the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii). They should note that this occupation is professedly provisional and may not be ratified by parliament.
- We are pleased to see Commander W H Hall, late of the Nemesis, is to command the Royal Steam Yacht ‘Victoria and Albert.’ This is a distinguished mark of favour for a truly meritorious officer.
- Col Fawcett CB of HM’s 55th regiment was killed in a duel with his brother-in-law, Lt Monroe.
- Princess Augusta of Cambridge has married the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg Strelitz.
Friend of China, 14.9.43 supplement
News from London by the July overland mail:
- The arrival of the first tranche of the Chinese war indemnity has arrived and replenished the exhausted British treasury.
- The opium controversy is quiet but Sir Robert Peel has to move the compensation payments for Elliot’s opium scrip soon and it will flare up again then.
Friend of China 13.1.44 supplement
The Queen has just visited France (and Belgium) with Prince Albert.
Editor – the French think the Queen spends all day eating Cheshire cheese and drinking porter.
- Actually the agreement gives Britain not only Mauritius and Reunion in the East but Rodrigues and the Seychelles as well. These latter places are for watering and lack resident government.↵
- See the North America chapter for this punitive commercial war.↵
- Castlereagh’s European diplomacy is worse than Mackintosh yet knows. Not only is Poland sacrificed but Belgium is subjected to the Netherlands, Norway is starved into submission to Sweden, the Lombards and Venetians are handed over to the Emperor and Germany is torn in two between Prussia and Austria. The sole beneficial arrangement is the guarantee of non-interference to Switzerland in return for a pledge of perpetual neutrality.
The fact is the English people have been suppressed whilst Europeans have been made aware of their power. Castlereagh’s diplomacy is an important contributing cause of the continent-wide revolutions during the next few decades.↵
- The Norwegians submit under Protests recorded on all the treaty documents.↵
- The saboteur Cadoudal was posthumously ennobled by King Louis.↵
- The rivers of Belgium run through northern France and Germany and would represent important trade routes and a source of income for the country if independent of the Dutch.↵
- Murat’s support is from Austria. When the Emperor’s minister Metternich lets him down, he assumes the character of liberator of Italy and fights Austria. Metternich betrayed him to Castlereagh who had him tried and executed. The details are obscure but he appears to have been shabbily treated.↵
- For the many reports about Napoleon’s return to France, see the Peace chapter.↵
- The Income Tax has just been increased to 12½% and all the other war taxes continued↵
- All the allied armies maintained in Europe after peace are to give effect to the agreements made at the Congress. Britain’s treaty commitment is to supply a European army of 75,000 men. It is anticipated that there will be dissatisfaction in some areas and peace terms will have to be imposed↵
- The first realistic stirrings of the risorgimento occurred at this time under the aegis of Murat. Napoleon’s prior contribution to Italian unity seems to have been under-valued by history.↵
- This battle more or less precisely followed the light-hearted proposal of Tsar Paul who had earlier suggested that a strongman of each country should fight and each would abide by the wishes of the victor. Had France defeated the Allied army it would have been the downfall of the war party in London and a consensual peace would have resulted. The anarchic condition of Britain allows of no other possibility. Wellington was fighting for the political survival of his friends, hence his subsequent veneration and the turbidity surrounding the historical record of this period.↵
- Apparently a reference to Edward Harley, 5th Earl of Oxford.↵
- Murat is forced into Napoleon’s arms by allied initiatives but Napoleon declines to assist him in any way and he eventually attempts the unification of Italy alone. He is defeated, captured and sentenced to death by firing squad. His last words were “Soldats, faites votre devoir. Droit au cœur mais épargnez le visage. Feu.” When I first read this I assumed that Naples was indeed the largest city in Europe but I have since been advised it was not↵
- de Blaces is Louis XVIII’s man.↵
- Between 1790 and 1820, nineteen members of Parliament committed suicide and twenty others were said to have gone mad. Indeed the suicides were all routinely attributed to madness, as in the cases of Sir Samuel Romilly, Sir Samuel Whitbread and, shortly, Castlereagh.↵
- Amherst’s pretext for not kow-towing was that Europeans are plump and wear tight clothes. Kneeling down made them fart which might seem disrespectful of the Emperor. It did not get the attention he had hoped for.↵
- See the Dissent chapter for details of the condition of the British people.↵
- Lowe wanted O’Meara to report on Napoleon for him; O’Meara said he is on the Admiralty payroll and declined; Lowe then wanted to replace O’Meara with Baxter, his former Sergeant-Major in the war. He treated O’Meara like the French prisoners; this precipitated the Doctor’s resignation.↵
- Lowe is convinced Napoleon will escape. The Congress of the Kings has authorised the withdrawal of foreign armies from France now that country can no longer pay for them. Lowe is provided with regiments on 6-month tours. He has doubled the guard on Napoleon and requires frequent reports.↵
- See Chapter 21 – ‘the year without a summer’ for details of the global effects of the eruption of Tambora on Sumbawa Island.↵
- Residents, like the French group escorting Napoleon and these Commissioners, leave the island on ships bound to Rio or the Cape, depending on the season, and return to Europe on opportunity from those places. They return to St Helena from Europe direct.↵
- The Tsar was a small man but I had not realised until reading this that the Iron Duke was too.↵
- Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies and MP for St Germans, Cornwall 1812 – 1818 and for West Looe 1818 – 1826.↵
- A Second Bank of the United States was Chartered after the war with Britain.↵
- There were ten charges, all proven, and Stokoe was dismissed from the service with a recommendation he receive half-pay↵
- The Ionian Islands were formerly Venetian colonies, held to protect the shipping route to the Levant and maintain the Venetian monopoly on the silk and spice trade. France obtained title to the islands after occupying Venice, intending to use them as stepping-stones to Egypt and beyond. To protect India from invasion, the Ionian Islands have been ceded to Britain.↵
- An Italian nationalist organisation using a cellular form of organisation like the Masons. They were unable to confront the army of the Holy Alliance, lost reputation and were dispersed.↵
- See the Chapter on Caroline for details of the King’s matrimonial dispute.↵
- Napoleon’s bequest to her in sovereigns and old German coins was part of 40 million Francs guaranteed to Napoleon under the Treaty of Fontainebleau but taken from his Treasurer near Orleans as he was travelling into exile. It was alleged by Napoleon to have been largely shared between the four Plenipotentiaries. Napoleon said Castlereagh’s share funded extensions to his Northern Ireland estates. The statement appears at Pages 131 – 132 of Vol II in the 1969 AMS edition.↵
- Actually solitary confinement was a feature of some of the ‘sedition’ sentences during the war.↵
- As mentioned elsewhere in the text Macau’s prosperity derived from its trade with Japan which was paid for in gold and silver. When that ended, the economy became reliant on social services – drugs, gambling and women.↵
- This caused the Presbyterian secession from the Anglican Church↵
- Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Aden, Canton, London, Liverpool, Bristol, Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester and Sheffield have Chambers. There may be a few others too.↵
- He is a brother-in-law of Lord Minto.↵
- Academic exponents of political economy consistently asserted the points made in the final paragraph throughout the period that Britain had favourable trade balances with the rest of the World. They comprise a regular feature of commentary on China-trade. Contrarily the accumulation of gold reserves remained a central bank intention in all western countries at that time and continues to be a feature of most western economies today. America recently (2006) claimed to hold about 8,000 tons of gold and Germany claimed to have over half that.↵
- The last King of France, eldest son of Philippe Égalité. He abdicated in 1848 shortly before the establishment of the 2nd Republic.↵
- From the published grocery lists in the newspapers it does appear that the cheese of preference in 1840s England was Cheshire. Seldom is any other cheese available.↵