A HISTORY OF
THE BRITISH EMPIRE
Allan Ramsay pinx
A HISTORY OF
THE BRITISH EMPIRE
MARCUS R. P. DORMAN, M.A.
FROM THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE WAR WITH
FRANCE TO THE DEATH OF PITT
WITH SIX PHOTOGRAVURES
KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRÜBNER & CO. LTD
PATERNOSTER HOUSE, CHARING CROSS ROAD
The rights of translation and of reproduction are reserved
Printed by B[sc]ALLANTAYNE[sc/], H[sc]ANSON[sc/] & C[sc]O[sc/] At the Ballantyne Press
T[sc]HE[sc/] period dealt with in this volume is probably the most important in the history of Modern England, so no apology is needed for commencing a History of the Nineteenth Century at the year 1793. Indeed, it would be impossible either to describe the condition of the country in 1801, or to continue the narrative of the war with France, without some account of the events which occurred during the last few years of the eighteenth century. The mine of historical wealth in the Foreign Records is by no means yet exhausted, and any one who has taken the trouble to compare the published documents with the original communications to and from the ambassadors and agents of England abroad, will realise how impossible it is to write the true history of this period from the former alone. A study of the original letters of Lord Malmesbury in 1796 cannot fail to produce an impression very different from that acquired by reading the correspondence as presented to Parliament, and even in the more extensive extracts published later by the biographer of that distinguished diplomat some points of great importance are omitted. The rupture with Spain is more easily understood after a perusal of the correspondence with the Earl of Bute, which shows clearly that at this date the British Ministers were distrusted almost as much as the Continental Courts of Europe. We know now that this distrust was unwarranted, for, as the true facts are, one by one, brought to light, it becomes more and more evident that the British Governments endeavoured to act in a plain and straightforward way with their allies against the common enemy. Some new light is also thrown on the action of Prussia before the Treaty of Basle, but the main fact remains that that unfortunate country was always, so to speak, between the devil and the deep sea, and had neither the moral or physical strength to struggle against either. Again, the negotiations leading to the Preliminary Articles of Peace, before the Treaty of Amiens, when studied in the original, prove far more clearly than the published extracts that the British Government never for one moment intended to evacuate Malta unless the most certain guarantees existed that it should not again fall into the hands of the French. These guarantees were not forthcoming, and thus the island remained an English possession; but, although there can be no doubt, according to the strict letter of the treaty, that it was legal to refuse to surrender it, it is equally certain that it was very bad policy not to word the treaty more distinctly so that the First Consul could have had no grounds for complaint. Evidence is also given here showing that the Czar of Russia was more active in instigating the third coalition than was Mr. Pitt. I take this opportunity of thanking the Marquess of Salisbury, K.G., Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to her late Majesty, Queen Victoria, for permission to examine the Foreign Office Records, and to the Lords' Commissioners of his Majesty's Treasury for permission to examine the records of that office.
M. R. P. D.
Character of the Government in 1792—Pitt influenced by the French Revolution—Fox, Burke, and the Reform party—Opening of the war between France and Austria—Spirit of the Monarchical Courts—The attack on the Tuileries by the...
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