jish forces. Nor was this the only calamity that befell the Dutch re. public ; no sooner had the emperor Joseph succeeded to the ample inheritance of Maria Theresa, than he commanded a series of important reforms, among which was included the dismantling of the barrier towns in the Netherlands, which had been fortified at a vast expense to save Holland from the encroachments of France (A. D. 1781). A Dutch fleet, under Zoutman, was defeated by Admiral Parker, at the Doggers' bank; but the English had less success in the American seas, where Sir Samuel Hood was reduced to inactivity by the superior force of Count de Grasse.

The defeat of Lord Cornwallis, and the loss of the second British army that had been forced to surrender, led to a general feeling in England that any further protraction of the contest would be hopeless (A. D. 1782). The ministers, indeed, seemed at first resolved to continue the war, but they could no longer command a parliamentary majority, and were forced to resign. A new ministry, formed by the marquis of Rockingham and Mr. Fox, commenced negotiations for peace, without at all relaxing in their efforts to support the war; but before the results of the change could be fully developed, the ministry was dissolved by the death of the marquis. But ere this event produced any effect on the political aspect of affairs, two signal triumphs shed lustre on the arms of Britain. Admiral Rodney gained a decisive victory over the French fleet under Count de Grasse, between the islands of Martinique and Guadaloupe ; and General Elliott, who had long been besieged in Gibraltar, defeated the formidable attack of the combined French and Spanish forces on that fortress, and burned, by showers of red-hot balls, the floating batteries, which the besiegers had fondly believed irresistible. In the East Indies, Sir Eyre Coote partly retrieved the fortunes of the company; he recovered the Carnatic, and totally routed Hyder's army at Porto Novo (A. D. 1781); and again at Pollalore. All the Dutch settlements were captured (A. D. 1782), but this success was interrupted by the defeat of Colonel Braithwaite, whose forces were surprised, surrounded, and cut to pieces by Tippoo and an auxiliary French force under M. Lally. Several indecisive engagements took place between Suffrein and Hughes, the French and English admirals, in the Indian seas; and the operations of the British by land were impeded by the jealousies of the civil and military authorities (A. D. 1783). The death of Hyder, and the restoration of peace between France and England, induced Tippoo to listen to terms of accommodation, and the English terminated this most unfortunate and disgraceful war, by submitting to humiliations from the son of Hyder, which greatly diminished the respect that had hitherto been paid to their name in Asia.

The changes of ministry in England protracted the negotiations for peace. The earl of Shelburne succeeded the marquis of Rockingham; but he was forced to yield to the overwhelming parliamentary strength of Lord North and Mr. Fox, who formed an unexpected coalition. The independence of America was recognised by the signature of preliminaries at Versailles (November 30, 1782); little difficulty was found in arranging terms with France and Spain ; but the English wished to gain some compensation for their losses from Holland, and this circumstance occasioned a delay in the final arrangement of the treaty.


SECTION IV.-The British Empire in India. The British empire in India was, as we have already stated, founded on the ruins of the empire of Delhi. The French were the first who aimed at acquiring sovereignty by interfering in the contests of the local governors who had established their independence; they gained a decided superiority in the Carnatic and on the Coromandel coast, until the naval supremacy of England, in the seven years' war, intercepted their communications, and enabled their rivals to seize all their settle

It was soon discovered that Coromandel cost more than it was worth, and that the territorial acquisitions most desirable were the countries round the Ganges. Under the government of Lord Clive, the English obtained the sovereignty of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa, on the condition of paying twelve lacs of rupees annually to the emperor of Delhi. No sooner had the company acquired the sovereignty of this rich and opulent country, than an opposition of interest arose between the directors at home and their officers in India. The former were anxious to augment their commercial dividends by the territorial revenues, the latter were as obstinate in applying the surplus income to their own advantage. The want of control over the subordinate authorities in India led to most calamitous results; the officers of the company established monopolies in all the principal branches of domestic trade, rendered property insecure by arbitrarily changing the tenure of land, and perverted the administration of justice to protect their avarice. The injustice with which the native princes were treated, roused a formidable enemy to the English in Hyder Ali, sultan of Mysore; and had he been supported by European aid as effectively as he might have been, the company's empire in Hindustan would soon have ended. Some improvements were made in 1774, by concentrating the power of the three presidencies in the governor-general and council of Bengal, and the establishment of a supreme court of judicature. But Warrer. Hastings, the first governor-general, by a series of oppressions and extortions, provoked a second war with Hyder and the Mahratta states, the general results of which have been stated in the preceding chapter.

Notwithstanding the fortunate termination of the Mysorean and Mahratta wars, and the extension of the company's territory in Bengal, by the capture of Negapatam from the Dutch, the aspect of affairs was very gloomy and threatening. All the exactions of the company did not enable it to fulfil its engagements with the government; and its affairs were considered as fast approaching bankruptcy. It had also been found very inconvenient to have a mercantile association existing as a state within the state, and all parties agreed that the company ought to be placed more directly under the control of the government.

Under the administration of the marquis of Rockingham, Mr. Fox had taken the lead in arranging the affairs of Ireland. That country had been left unprotected during the late war; the inhabitants, menaced by invasion, armed in their own defence, and the volunteers thus raised, resolved, while they had the power, to secure the legislative independence of their country. The prudence of their leaders averted the horrors of a civil war, which would probably have ended in the separation of the islands; but they could not long have restrained the impatience of their followers, had not the Rockingham administration showed early its desire to comply with their demands. The legislative independence of Ireland was acknowledged (A. D. 1782), and a federal union of the two governments arranged, which promised to produce permanent advantages to both countries. His success in Ireland induced Mr. Fox to prepare a measure for regulating the complicated affairs of India ; and a bill was introduced, on whose success he staked the existence of the coalition ministry. The principle of Mr. Fox's measure was to place the whole civil and military government of India under a board of nine members, chosen for four years, and not removable without an address from either house of parliament. Such a board would manifestly be an independent authority in the state ; and it was said that its design was to make the power of a pariy rival that of the king. When the bill had passed the commons, his majesty, through Earl Temple, intimated to the peers his hostility to the ineasure,

and the lords rejected it by a considerable majority. A new ministry was formed under the auspices of Mr. Pitt, second son to the great earl of Chatham ; and as it was impossible to resist the strength of the coalivion in the house of commons, the parliament was dissolved at the earliest moment that the state of public business would permit (A. D. 1784). The success of this measure surpassed the expectations of the new minister ; the nation had been disgusted by the coalition of parties, that had been so long and so bitterly opposed to each other as those of Mr. Fox and Lord North ; their friends were in most places beaten by the supporters of the new cabinet, and Mr. Pitt found himself firmly established in the plenitude of power. A new bill was framed for the government of India, which transferred to the crown the influence which Mr. Fox had designed to intrust to parliamentary commissioners; but some share of power, and the whole management of commercial affairs, was allowed to remain with the court of directors. The most important branch of commerce monopolized by the company was the tea trade with China, and this was thrown completely into their hands by a reduction of the duty, which removed all temptation to smuggling

This change in the government of India was followed by the memorable impeachment of Mr. Hastings, whose trial lasted several years. It ended in the acquittal of that gentleman, at least of intentional error; but his fortune and his health were ruined by the protracted prosecution. A wise selection of rulers greatly improved the condition of the British empire in India ; under the administration of Lord Cornwallis, the situation of the natives was greatly ameliorated; but the seeds of corruption, arising from ancient misgovernment and internal wars, could not be wholly eradicated.

The great extension of the British colonies gave a fresh stimulus to the spirit of maritime discovery, and the English penetrated into the remotest seas, stopping only where nature had interposed impenetrable barriers of ice. The three voyages of Captain Cook awakened a spirit of enterprise scarcely inferior to that which had been roused by the discoveries of Columbus. The islands of the south Pacific ocean became soon as well known as those of the Mediterranean sea, and their natural productions speedily formed articles of trade. Cook himself suggested the expediency of forming a settlement on the coast of New Holland ; in less than half a century this colony has risen into great importance as an agricultural community; it promises, at no .very distant day, to outgrow the fostering care of the mother-country, to afford her a rich reward, and become one of her most flourishing descendants.

From the period of Mr. Pitt's accession to power until the commencement of the French revolution, there was little beyond the strife of parties remarkable in the domestic history of England. The illness of the king (A. D. 1787), gave indeed alarming proof that the federal union of the English and Irish legislatures was by no means sufficient to secure the permanent connexion of the countries ; for, while the British parliament adopted a restricted regency, the Irish offered the entire royal power to the prince of Wales. The speedy recovery of the king averted the evils that might have resulted from so marked a discrepancy, but from that time Mr. Pitt seems to have determined on his plan for uniting the two legislatures. The chief parliamentary struggles were for a repeal of the disqualifying laws that affected the dissenters, and the abolition of the infamous slave-trade; but the success of both these measures was reserved for later times.

SECTION V.-History of Europe, from the end of the American War to the

commencement of the French Revolution. DURING the progress of the American war, a gradual improvement in the science of government began to be manifested in the European states. Many of the German princes began to moderate the stern exercise of their despotic authority, to reform their expenditure and military establishments, and to adopt new institutions suited to the advanced state of civilization. The emperor Joseph was the most enterprising of the royal reformers ; his measures for regulating the church involved him in a contest with Pope Pius VI., who hated and dreaded innovation, and was bigotedly attached to the ancient pretensions of the Romish see. Persuaded that his personal influence would be sufficient to dissuade Soseph from pursuing his course of change, the pontiff undertook an expensive journey to Vienna, but the emperor only gave him an abundance of compliments, and persevered in his resolutions. His failure covered the pontiff with ridicule, especially as he had to endure similar disappointments in his negotiations with the courts of Russia and Prussia. Joseph was willing to join the emperess Catherine in the dismemberment of Turkey, and permitted that princess to seize the Crimea; but the principal western powers still dreaded the aggrandizement of Austria, and the threat of their confederacy saved the Ottoman empire. The king of Prussia was foremost in checking the encroachments of the emperor; he secretly instigated the Dutch to refuse the free navigation of the Scheldt to the ships of the Austrian Netherlands, and he planned a confederacy for maintaining the integrity of the Germanic states. Frederic died when he had completed the consolidation of a kingdom which his conquests had nearly doubled (A. D. 1786); he was succeeded by his nephew Frederic William, whose attention was early directed to the affairs of Holland. The success of the Americans in establishing a commonw

nwealth, induced many of the Dutch to aim at restoring their old republican constitution, and abridging or destroying the power of the stadtholder, which had become in all but name monarchical. The French secretly encouraged the opponents of the prince of Orange, hoping to obtain from the popular party an addition to their East Indian colonies, or at least such a union of interests as would counterpoise British ascendency in Asia ; but the new king of Prussia, whose sister was married to the stadtholder, resolved to prevent any change, and the English ambassador vigorously exerted himself to counteract the intrigues of the French. An insult offered to the princess of Orange brought matters to a crisis ; Frederic William immediately sent an army to redress his sister's wrongs; the republicans, deserted by France, made but a feeble resistance, and the stadtholder was restored to all his former authority.

The disordered state of the French finances was the cause of this desertion of their party by the ministers of Louis ; through mere jealousy of England, they had involved their country in the American war, and had thus increased the confusion in which the prodigality of the preceding year had sunk the treasury. Minister after minister had attempted to palliate the evil, but M. de Calonne, who owed his elevation to the unwise partiality of the queen, Marie Antoinette, aggravated the disorder by a series of measures formed without prudence, and supported with obstinacy. Opposed by the parliaments, Calonne recommended the king to convene an assembly of the notables, or persons selected from the privileged orders (A. D. 1787); but these orders had hitherto paid far less than their fair proportion of the imposts, and an equitable system of taxation could not be expected from such an interested body. Necker, a Swiss banker, who had been for a short time the French minister of finance, joined in the opposition to Calonne, and it must be confessed that he demonstrated the total inadequacy of the proposed measures to remedy the decline of public credit. Louis dismissed Calonne, but he would not gratify his subjects by recalling Necker to the cabinet ; and he dismissed the notables, whose uncom plying disposition rendered all hopes of aid from that assembly fruitless.

But the derangement of the finances was not the only evil that the French court suffered from its interference in the American war; the officers and soldiers who had fought for liberty in one hemisphere became dissatisfied with despotism in the other. A general desire for the establishment of a free constitution, like that of England, was diffused through the nation, and some more ardent spirits began to speculate on a republic. The connexion of the court with Austria was the cause of much secret discontent; the decline of the influence and the power of France was traced to its unfortunate alliance with the court of Vienna during the seven years' war, and the queen, who was naturally inclined to perpetuate this unpopular union, became an object of suspicion and dislike. It was mortifying to find that France no longer held the balance of power on the continent; that she could not save Turkey from the aggressions of the ambitious Catherine, nor protect the republican party in Holland from punishment for acts done in her service.

« ElőzőTovább »