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ciples which God, in his revelation, has pointed out as the source of tranquillity and prosperity. But the contracting parties understood by these principles the maintenance of despotic power, and made their en. gagement a pretext for resisting the efforts made subsequently, by several nations to establish constitutional freedom.
HISTORY OF THE PEACE.
Section 1.-State of Europe at the Close of the War
When the sanguinary and expensive wars arising out of the French revolution terminated, the different nations of Europe that shared in the contest were so enfeebled and harassed, that they sank at once into inactive repose. But the transition from war to peace made such a complete change in all commercial transactions, that credit was shaken, trade injured, manufactures checked, and thousands suddenly deprived of employment. These evils were more sensibly felt in England than in any other country; for while the tide of war swept over every other European state, England, protected by her insular situation, enjoyed internal tranquillity, and was enabled to sell with profit, not only her manufactures, but her agricultural produce to less favored countries. Peace permitted the people of the continent to supply themselves with many of the articles which they had previously been forced to import; and the jealousy with which the continental sovereigns began to regard the commercial prosperity of England, induced them to encourage native manufactures; hence the demand for British goods and produce suddenly slackened, and distress was felt by every portion of the community. Several serious riots occurred in the agricultural distress; but still more alarming symptoms of dissatisfaction were displayed in the metropolis, where meetings were held under pretence of procuring a reform in the constitution, but which threatened to end in revolution. Several strong restrictive statutes were passed by parliament, and energetic, if not severe measures adopted by the government; it was not, however, until the commercial crisis had passed over, and the embarrassments of transition disappeared that the public tranquillity was restored.
There were not, however, wanting more cheering occurrences which relieved the gloom; the piratical states of Algiers were humbled; Lord Exmouth, with a united squadron of English and Dutch, attacked the city of Algiers, destroyed its fortifications, and compelled the dey to abolish Christian slavery (A. D. 1816). Great joy was also diffused by the marriage of the princess Charlotte, the pride and the hope of England, to Prince Leopold of Saxe Coburg. But the expectations of the nation were fatally disappointed; the princess died on the 6th of November, 1817, after having been delivered of a dead child. The national sorrow was general and profound, and there never was an occasion in which the British nation showed greater regret for the loss of an individual. But this was only the beginning of a series of deaths in the royal family; Queen Charlotte died during the ensuing year, she was soon followed to the grave by the duke of Kent, and finally, the aged monarch George III., without having enjoyed one lucid interval during his long illness, sank quietly into the tomb.
France, much to the surprise of the neighboring states, enjoyed the blessings of tranquillity under the mild and conciliatory government of Louis XVIII. The revolution, and its consequent wars, had given the chief property of the country, and consequently the elements of political power, to the middle classes of society; their interests could only be secured by the preservation of peace, and they became zealous royalists, because they regarded the monarchy as the surest pledge for the maintenance of public order. Some of them carried their zeal to such extravagant lengths that they provoked resistance, and the king was forced to interfere, to prevent the ill consequences that were likely to result from the indiscretion of those who claimed to be his best friends.
The united kingdom of the Netherlands, though apparently tranquis, was secretly shaken by the national antipathy between the Belgians and the Dutch. Gratitude induced the sovereign to accede to the holy alliance, a circumstance which gave great offence to many of his subjects, especially in Flanders, where a republican spirit, fostered by municipal institutions, had prevailed from the time of the Middle Ages.
Great disappointment was felt in Germany, by the delay or refusal of the constitutions, which the several states had been taught to expect during the war of independence. But the principal sovereigns, especially the emperor of Austria and the king of Prussia, alarmed by the remembrance of the calamities that political innovations had produced in France, steadily opposed every change in the forms of government, but, at the same time, zealously labored
to secure to their subjects the benefit of a just and enlightened administration.
Spain was far more unfortunate ; the imbecile Ferdinand was the tool of the courtiers and the priests ; at their instigation he revived the ancient principles of despotism and bigotry, punishing with remorseless severity every expression of liberal sentiments in politics or religion. The arbitrary conduct of the court was not the only cause of the misery that prevailed in the Peninsula ; the South American colonies, which had long been regarded as the chief and almost the only source of the small share of commercial prosperity which the Spaniards retained, openly revolted, and raised the standard of independence. Ferdinand made some faint efforts to subdue the insurgents, but he was badly supported by his subjects, and the troops he had assembled refused to embark. Finally, the liberals having gained over a great portion of the army, compelled the king to establish a democratic constitution, by which the royal power was almost annihilated (A. D. 1820). Similar revolutions took place in Portugal, Naples, and Piedmont; alarm seized the minds of the European sovereigns, and they secretly combined to check popular movements. But experience soon proved that those who had framed the Spanish constitution were ignorant of the wants and wishes of the Spanish people. Louis XVIII. alarmed for the safety of France by the revolutionary movements in Spain, sent an army, under the command of the duke of Angouleme, to restore the royal authority; the invaders encountered no effective opposition; the
cortes fled before them to Cadiz, and when the French approached that city, they permitted the king to resume his former despotic authority (A. D. 1823). The revolutions of Naples and Piedmont ended similarly ; the liberals laid down their arms on the approach of the Austrian armies, and the new constitutions were abolished.
The accession of Charles John Bernadotte, to the crown of Sweden, made no change in the politics of the northern nations; his right of inheritance had been solemnly recognised by the allied sovereigns, at the congress of Vienna, and his conduct as a crown-prince had taught the Swedes to respect and love the monarch they had chosen. Even the Norwegians became reconciled to their fate, and learned to console themselves for the loss of national independence by the blessings that result from paternal government.
No sooner was peace restored between Great Britain and the United States than the old feelings of friendship and kindred revived between the two countries, and the leading statesmen, in both, showed an earn. est desire to have former animosities buried in oblivion. But far different were the feelings between Spain and her revolted colonies; the South American states vigorously maintained their struggle for independence, and finally succeeded. The English government delayed acknowledging these republics until the duke of Angouleme had crossed the Pyrenees, when consuls were sent out to the chief states, and commercial treaties formed with their governments.
From this rapid sketch, it will be seen that throughout the greater part of the civilized world there was a struggle between the principles of monarchy and democracy, and that even England, though it had long enjoyed the blessings of a free constitution, was not wholly exempt from the agitation.
Section II.-History of Europe during the reign of George IV. GEORGE IV. had so long wielded the supreme executive power in England, under the title of regent, that no political change was made or expected when he assumed the royal dignity. A month had not elapsed after his accession, when a plot was discovered for the murder of all his majesty's ministers, and thus facilitating a revolution, which had been planned by a few obscure enthusiasts. The conspirators used to assemble in Cato street, an obscure place near the Edgeware road; they were arrested in their rendezvous, just as they were preparing to execute their project, all their plans having been betrayed to government by a spy who had pretended to join in the conspiracy. Such were the insanity and misery of these wretched men, who proposed to subvert a powerful government, that when they were searched, not even a shilling was found among the whole party. The government pitying their delusion, punished only the ringleaders, and this clemency had a beneficial effect in calming political agitation.
Preparations were now made for the king's coronation, when they were suspended by an event which excited more public interest, and stimulated more angry passions than any other which had occurred for several years. This was the return of Queen Caroline to England, and her subsequent trial before the house of lords. Her marriage had been unfortunate almost from the commencement; she was early separated from her husband ; after the lapse of some years, her conduct was made the subject of official inquiry; at the commencement of the regency she was excluded from court, and these indignities induced her to quit England. She visited the most celebrated spots along the coast of the Mediterranean, and then selected a permanent residence in that part of Italy subject to the Austrian government. Reports injurious to her character were circulated ; commissioners were sent to Milan to investigate them, and the ministers, in consequence of the evidence thus collected, excluded her name from the liturgy, on the king's accession. Irritated at such an insult, she resolved to return to England, though a pension of fifty thousand pounds annually was offered to purchase her submission, and though she was informed that her landing would be the signal for the commencement of a prosecution.
No sooner had the queen landed, than messages were sent to both houses of parliament, recommending that her conduct should be investigated. " A Bill of Pains and Penalties” was introduced, to deprive her of royal rights and dignities, and a trial commenced which lasted forty-five days, when the bill was read a second time by a majority of forty-five. On the third reading, however, the ministers could only command a majority of nine, and the bill was abandoned. During these proceedings, the agitation of the public mind knew no bounds; addresses to the queen poured in from all sides, and when the bill was abandoned, her friends celebrated her escape as an acquittal. The remain ler of her melancholy history may be briefly told : her popularity sank as rapidly as it had risen; she was refused a share in this cereinonial of the coronation; her appeals to the nation were disregarded , and the sense of disappointment and degradation produced a mortal disease which terminated her unhappy life. Her funeral was marked by a disgraceful riot : the mob determined that her remains should pass through the city of London, and triumphed over the troops that tried to carry the hearse by a different route.
Soon after his coronation the king visited Ireland, Scotland, ard Hanover; he was everywhere received with the greatest enthusiasm, but the permanent results expected from these visits were not realized. In Ireland, party spirit blazed more furiously than ever, and the depreciation of agricultural pro luce rendering it difficult for tenants to pay their rents, led to a series of agrarian outrages which could only be checked by severe coercive laws. The distress of the lower classes, which iadeed almost exceeded cred.bi.ity, was relieved by a general and generous subscription in England, which arresied the progress of a pestilential disease, produced by famine and distress.
England suffered severely from the financial difficulties produced by the iminense expenditure of the late war. While statesınen were engaged in devising means to alleviate the pressure of taxation, Napoleon Bonaparte, the cause of so many calamities, dieıl almost unnoticed in his place of exile at St. Helena. During the king's visit to Scotland, Lord Londonderry, who had so long directed the foreign aff.irs of England, committed suicide ; his place was supplied by Mr. Canning, who was supposed to be favorable to what was called a more liberal line of policy than that of his predecessor.