William Pitt and the Great War
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William Pitt and the Great War

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Project Gutenberg's William Pitt and the Great War, by John Holland Rose This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: William Pitt and the Great War Author: John Holland Rose Release Date: April 3, 2008 [EBook #24980] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK WILLIAM PITT AND THE GREAT WAR *** Produced by Paul Murray, Wolfgang Menges and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/Canadian Libraries) Transcriber's Notes: The corrections listed in the "ERRATA" paragraph have been made. Further changes in the text are marked with a dashed blue line; the original text is displayed when the mouse cursor hovers over it. Greek words are marked with a dashed gray line; a transcription is displayed. William Pitt, in later life. (From a painting by Hoppner in the National Portrait Gallery) WILLIAM PITT AND THE GREAT WAR BY J. HOLLAND ROSE, Litt.D. England and France have held in their hands the fate of the world, especially that of European civilization. How much harm we have done one another: how much good we might have done!—Napoleon to Colonel Wilks, 20th April 1816. LONDON G. BELL AND SONS, LTD.

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Project Gutenberg's William Pitt and the Great War, by John Holland Rose
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net
Title: William Pitt and the Great War
Author: John Holland Rose
Release Date: April 3, 2008 [EBook #24980]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK WILLIAM PITT AND THE GREAT WAR ***
Produced by Paul Murray, Wolfgang Menges and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive/Canadian Libraries)
Transcriber's Notes:
The corrections listed in the "ERRATA"
paragraph have been made.
Further changes in the text are marked with a
dashed blue line; the original text is displayed
when the mouse cursor hovers over it.
Greek words are marked with a dashed gray line;
a transcription is displayed.William Pitt, in later life. (From a painting
by Hoppner in the National Portrait
Gallery)
WILLIAM PITT
AND
THE GREAT WAR
BY
J. HOLLAND ROSE, Litt.D.
England and France have held in their hands
the fate of the world, especially that of
European civilization. How much harm we
have done one another: how much good we
might have done!—Napoleon to Colonel Wilks,
20th April 1816.LONDON
G. BELL AND SONS, LTD.
1911
CHISWICK PRESS: CHARLES WHITTINGHAM AND CO.
TOOKS COURT, CHANCERY LANE, LONDON.
[Pg vii]PREFACE
In the former volume, entitled "William Pitt and National Revival," I sought to
trace the career of Pitt the Younger up to the year 1791. Until then he was
occupied almost entirely with attempts to repair the evils arising out of the old
order of things. Retrenchment and Reform were his first watchwords; and
though in the year 1785 he failed in his efforts to renovate the life of Parliament
and to improve the fiscal relations with Ireland, yet his domestic policy in the
main achieved a surprising success. Scarcely less eminent, though far less
known, were his services in the sphere of diplomacy. In the year 1783, when he
became First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer, nearly half
of the British Empire was torn away, and the remainder seemed to be at the
mercy of the allied Houses of Bourbon. France, enjoying the alliance of Spain
and Austria and the diplomatic wooings of Catharine II and Frederick the Great,
gave the law to Europe.
By the year 1790 all had changed. In 1787 Pitt supported Frederick William II of
Prussia in overthrowing French supremacy in the Dutch Netherlands; and a
year later he framed with those two States an alliance which not only dictated
terms to Austria at the Congress of Reichenbach but also compelled her to
forego her far-reaching schemes on the lower Danube, and to restore the status
quo in Central Europe and in her Belgian provinces. British policy triumphed
[Pg viii]over that of Spain in the Nootka Sound dispute of the year 1790, thereby
securing for the Empire the coast of what is now British Columbia; it also saved
Sweden from a position of acute danger; and Pitt cherished the hope of forming
a league of the smaller States, including the Dutch Republic, Denmark,
Sweden, Poland, and, if possible, Turkey, which, with support from Great
Britain and Prussia, would withstand the almost revolutionary schemes of the
Russian and Austrian Courts.
These larger aims were unattainable. The duplicity of the Court of Berlin, the
triumphs of the Russian arms on the Danube, and changes in the general
diplomatic situation, enabled Catharine II to foil the efforts of Pitt in 1791. She
worked her will on the Turks and not long after on the Poles; Sweden came to
an understanding with her; and Prussia, slighting the British alliance, drew near
to the new Hapsburg Sovereign, Leopold II. In fact, the events of the French
Revolution in the year 1791 served to focus attention more and more upon
Paris; and monarchs who had thought of little but the conquest or partition of
weaker States now talked of a crusade to restore order at Paris, with
Gustavus III of Sweden as the new Cœur de Lion. This occidentation of
diplomacy became pronounced at the time of the attempted escape of
Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette to the eastern frontier at Midsummer 1791.
Their capture at Varennes and their ignominious return to Paris are in severalrespects the central event of the French Revolution. The incident aroused both
democrats and royalists to a fury which foredoomed to failure all attempts at
compromise between the old order and the new. The fierceness of the strife in
France incited monarchists in all lands to importunate demands for the
extirpation of "the French plague"; and hence were set in motion forces which
Pitt vainly strove to curb. War soon broke out in Central Europe. His
[Pg ix]endeavours to localize it were fruitless; and thenceforth his chief task was to
bring to an honourable close a conflict which he had not sought. It is therefore
fitting that this study of the latter, less felicitous, but equally glorious part of his
career should begin with a survey of the situation in Great Britain and on the
Continent at the time of the incident at Varennes which opened a new chapter
in the history of Europe.
In the present volume I have sought to narrate faithfully and as fully as is
possible the story of the dispute with France, the chief episodes of the war, and
the varied influences which it exerted upon political developments in these
islands, including the early Radical movement, the Irish Rebellion of 1798, and
other events which brought about the Union of the British and Irish Parliaments,
the break up of the great national party at Westminster in 1801, and the
collapse of the strength of Pitt early in the course of the struggle with the
concentrated might of Napoleon.
That mighty drama dwarfs the actors. Even the French Emperor could not
sustain the rôle which he aspired to play, and, failing to discern the signs of the
times, was whirled aside by the forces which he claimed to control. Is it
surprising that Pitt, more slightly endowed by nature, and beset by the many
limitations which hampered the advisers of George III, should have sunk
beneath burdens such as no other English statesman has been called upon to
bear? The success or failure of such a career is, however, to be measured by
the final success or failure of his policy; and in this respect, as I have shown,
the victor in the Great War was not Napoleon but Pitt.
To that high enterprise he consecrated all the powers of his being. His public
life is everything; his private life, unfortunately, counts for little. The materials for
reconstructing it are meagre. I have been able here and there to throw new light [Pg x]
on his friendships, difficulties, trials, and, in particular, on the love episode of
the year 1797. But in the main the story of the life of Pitt must soar high above
the club and the salon to
... the toppling heights of Duty scaled.
Again I must express my hearty thanks to those who have generously placed at
my disposal new materials of great value, especially to His Grace the Duke of
Portland, the Earl of Harrowby, Earl Stanhope, E. G. Pretyman, Esq., M.P., and
A. M. Broadley, Esq.; also to the Rev. William Hunt, D.Litt., and Colonel E. M.
Lloyd, late R.E., for valuable advice tendered during the correction of the
proofs, and to Mr. Hubert Hall of H.M. Public Record Office for assistance
during my researches there. I am also indebted to Lord Auckland and to
Messrs. Longmans for permission to reproduce the miniature of the Hon. Miss
Eden which appeared in Lord Ashbourne's "Pitt, Some Chapters of his Life and
Times," and to Mr. and Mrs. Doulton for permission to my daughter to make the
sketch of Bowling Green House, the last residence of Pitt, which is reproduced
near the end of this volume. In the preface to the former volume I expressed my
acknowledgements to recent works bearing on this subject; and I need only
add that numerous new letters of George III, Pitt, Grenville, Burke, Canning,
etc., which could only be referred to here, will be published in a work entitled
"Pitt and Napoleon Miscellanies," including also essays and notes.
J. H. R.March 1911.
[Pg xi]CONTENTS
chapter page
I R . o y a l i s t 1s a n d R a d i c a l s
I B I e . f o r e t 29h e S t o r m
I P I e I a. c e o r 57 W a r ?
I T V h . e R u p t 85 u r e w i t h F r a n c e
V T . h e F l e m 118 i s h C a m p a i g n ( 1 7 9 3 )
V T I o . u l o n 143
V T I h I e. B r i t 164i s h J a c o b i n s
V P I i I tI t. a n d 195 t h e A l l i e s ( 1 7 9 4 – 5 )
I T X h . e W e s t 219 I n d i e s
X S . p a i n a n 230 d H a y t i
X T I h . e C a p e 250 o f G o o d H o p e : C o r s i c a : Q u i b e r o n
X P I i I t . t a s 26W5 a r M i n i s t e r ( 1 7 9 3 – 8 )
X DI eI aI .r t h a 282n d D i s c o n t e n t
X T I hV e. Y e a r 299 s o f S t r a i n ( 1 7 9 6 – 7 )
X N V a . t i o n a l 321 R e v i v a l
X T V h I e. I r i s 339h R e b e l l i o n
X TV hI eI . S e c o 365 n d C o a l i t i o n
X VT hI Ie I . U n i o 389 n
X T I hX e. U n i o 411 n ( c o n t i n u e d )
X R X e . s i g n a t 431 i o n
X P X i I t . t a n d 454 h i s F r i e n d s ( 1 7 9 4 – 1 8 0 5 )
X A X dI dI .i n g t o 483 n o r P i t t ?
X XP Ii It It . a n d 505 N a p o l e o n
X XT hI Ve . L a s t 534 S t r u g g l e
E p i l o g u e 559
S t a t i s t i 57c1 s o f t h e y e a r s 1 7 9 2 – 1 8 0 1
I n d e x 573
[Pg xii]
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
William Pitt, in later life. (From a painting by Hoppner in the
National Portrait Gallery)
Seat of war in Flanders.
The Siege of Toulon. (By Emmanuel Toulougeon, Paris)
The House of Commons in 1793. (From a painting in the
National Portrait Gallery by K. A. Hickel)
The Hon. Eleanor Eden. (From a miniature)
Henry Dundas, First Viscount Melville. (From a painting by Sir
T. Lawrence)
Bowling Green House, Putney Heath. (From a pencil sketch by
Elsie H. Rose)
ERRATAP a g e 180,ad fin., for "Hamilton, Rowan" read "Hamilton
Rowan."
311, line 1, for "formerly" read "brother of."
311, line 2, for "Lord Hood" read "Sir Alexander Hood."
551, line 11 from end, for "6th" read "4th."
[Pg xiii]
ABBREVIATIONS OF THE TITLES OF THE CHIEF WORKS REFERRED
TO IN THIS VOLUME
Ann. Reg. "Annual Register."
"Pitt: some Chapters of his Life and Times," by the Rt.
Ashbourne
Hon. Lord Ashbourne. 1898.
"The Journal and Corresp. of William, Lord Auckland."
Auckland Journals
4 vols. 1861.
MSS. of the Duke of Beaufort," etc. (Hist. MSS.
Beaufort P.
Comm.). 1891.
B.M. Add. MSS. Additional Manuscripts of the British Museum.
"Mems. of the Court and Cabinets of George III," by the
Buckingham P.
Duke of Buckingham. 2 vols. 1853.
"Lives of the Lord Chancellors," by Lord Campbell. 8
Campbell
vols. 1845–69.
"Mems. and Corresp. of Viscount Castlereagh." 8 vols.
Castlereagh Corresp.
1848–53.
Manuscripts of Earl Stanhope, preserved at
Chevening MSS.
Chevening.
"Growth of Eng. Industry and Commerce (Modern
Cunningham
Times)," by Dr. W. Cunningham. 1892.
"The Manuscripts of J. B. Fortescue, Esq., preserved at
Dropmore P.
Dropmore" (Hist. MSS. Comm.). 7 vols. 1892–1910.
"The History of the British Army," by the Hon. J. W.
Fortescue
Fortescue. vol. iv.
"Deutsche Geschichte (1786–1804)," by L. Häusser. 4
Häusser
vols. 1861–3.
"Memoirs of the Whig Party," by Lord Holland. 2 vols.
Holland
1852.
"Mems. of the Life and Reign of George III," by J. H.
Jesse
Jesse. 3 vols. 1867.
"Hist. of England in the Eighteenth Century," by W. E.
Lecky
H. Lecky. 8 vols. Fifth edit. 1891–1904.
"Diaries and Corresp. of the First Earl of Malmesbury."
Malmesbury Diaries
4 vols. 1844.
"History of the Parliamentary Debates" (after 1804 [Pg xiv]Parl. Hist.
continued in Hansard).
"Life and Corresp. of the first Viscount Sidmouth," by
Pellew
Rev. C. Pellew. 3 vols. 1847.
Pitt MSS. Pitt MSS., preserved at H.M. Public Record Office.
"The Unreformed House of Commons," by E. Porritt, 2
Porritt
vols. 1909.
MSS. of E. G. Pretyman, Esq., M.P., preserved at
Pretyman MSS.
Orwell Park.
"Diaries and Corresp. of Rt. Hon. G. Rose." 2 vols.
Rose G., "Diaries"
1860.
Rose, "Napoleon" "Life of Napoleon," by J. H. Rose. 2 vols. 1909.
"Select Despatches ... relating to the Formation of the
Rose, "Third Coalition" Third Coalition (1804–5)," ed. by J. H. Rose (Royal
Historical Soc., 1904).
"MSS. of the Duke of Rutland" (Hist. MSS. Comm.). 3
Rutland P.
vols. 1894.
"William Pitt, Earl of Chatham," by A. von Ruville (Eng.
RuvilleRuville
transl.). 3 vols. 1907.
"L'Europe et la Révolution française," par A. Sorel.
Sorel
Pts. II, III. 1889, 1897.
"Life of ... William Pitt," by Earl Stanhope. 4 vols. 3rd
Stanhope
edition. 1867.
"Geschichte der Revolutionzeit (1789–1800)," von H.
Sybel
von Sybel. Eng. translation. 4 vols. 1867–9.
"Quellen zur Geschichte der deutschen Kaiserpolitik
Vivenot
Œsterreichs ..." von A. von Vivenot. 1873.
"Memoirs of Sir N. W. Wraxall" (1772–84), edited by H.
Wraxall
B. Wheatley. 5 vols. 1884.
[Pg 1]W I L L I A M P I T T A N D T H E G R E A T W A R
CHAPTER I
R O Y A L [1]I S T S A N D R A D I C A L S
Détruire l'anarchie française, c'est se préparer
une gloire immortelle.—Catharine II, 1791.
The pretended Rights of Man, which have
made this havoc, cannot be the rights of the
people. For to be a people and to have these
rights are incompatible. The one supposes the
presence, the other the absence, of a state of
civil society.—Burke, Appeal from the New to
the Old Whigs.
A constitution is the property of a nation and not
of those who exercise the Government.—T.
Paine, Rights of Man, part ii.
In the midst of a maze of events there may sometimes be found one which
serves as a clue, revealing hidden paths, connecting ways which seem far
apart, and leading to a clear issue. Such was the attempted flight of Louis XVI
and Marie Antoinette to the eastern frontier of France at midsummer 1791,
which may be termed the central event of the French Revolution, at least in its
first phases. The aim of joining the armed bands of émigrés and the forces held
in readiness by Austria was so obvious as to dispel the myth of "a patriot King"
misled for a time by evil counsellors. True, the moderates, from sheer alarm,
still sought to save the monarchy, and for a time with surprising success. But
bolder men, possessed both of insight and humour, perceived the futility of all [Pg 2]
such efforts to hold down on the throne the father of his people lest he should
again run away. In this perception the young Republican party found its
genesis and its inspiration. In truth, the attempted flight of the King was a death-
blow to the moderate party, into which the lamented leader, Mirabeau, had
sought to infuse some of his masterful energy. Thenceforth, the future belonged
either to the Jacobins or to the out and out royalists.
These last saw the horizon brighten in the East. Louis XVI being underconstraint in Paris, their leaders were the French Princes, the Comte de
Provence (afterwards Louis XVIII) and the Comte d'Artois (Charles X). Around
them at Coblentz there clustered angry swarms of French nobles, gentlemen,
and orthodox priests, whose zeal was reckoned by the earliness of the date at
which they had "emigrated." For many months the agents of these émigrés had
vainly urged the Chanceries of the Continent to a royalist crusade against the
French rebels; and it seemed appropriate that Gustavus III of Sweden should
be their only convert. Now of a sudden their demands appeared, instinct with
statecraft; and courtiers everywhere exclaimed that "the French pest" must be
stamped out. In that thought lay in germ a quarter of a century of war.
Already the Prussian and Austrian Governments had vaguely discussed the
need of a joint intervention in France. In fact this subject formed one of the
pretexts for the missions of the Prussian envoy, Bischoffswerder, to the
Emperor Leopold in February and June 1791.[2] As was shown at the close of
the former volume, "William Pitt and National Revival," neither Court took the
matter seriously, the Eastern Question being then their chief concern. But the
flight to Varennes, which Leopold had helped to arrange, imposed on him the
duty of avenging the ensuing insults to his sister. He prepared to do so with a
degree of caution highly characteristic of him. He refused to move until he knew
the disposition of the Powers, especially of England. From Padua, where the
news of the capture of Louis at Varennes reached him, he wrote an autograph
letter to George III, dated 6th July, urging him to join in a general demand for the
liberation of the King and Queen of France. He also invited the monarchs of
Europe to launch a Declaration, that they regarded the cause of Louis as their [Pg 3]
own, and in the last resort to put down a usurpation of power which it behoved
all Governments to repress.[3]
The reply of George, dated St. James's, 23rd July, bears the imprint of the cool
and cautious personality of Pitt and Grenville, who in this matter may be
counted as one. The King avowed his sympathy with the French Royal Family
and his interest in the present proposals, but declared that his attitude must
depend on his relations to other Powers. He therefore cherished the hope that
the Emperor would consult the welfare of the whole of Europe by aiding in the
work of pacification between Austria and Turkey now proceeding at Sistova. So
soon as those negotiations were completed, he would instruct his Ministers to
consider the best means of cementing a union between the Allies and the
Emperor.[4]
Leopold must have gnashed his teeth on reading this reply, which beat him at
his own game of finesse. He had used the difficulties of England as a means of
escaping from the pledges plighted at the Conference of Reichenbach in July
1790. Pitt and Grenville retorted by ironically refusing all help until he fulfilled
those pledges. As we have seen, they succeeded; and the pacification in the
East, as also in Belgium, was the result.
Equally chilling was the conduct of Pitt towards the émigrés. The French
Princes at Coblentz had sent over the former French Minister, Calonne, "to
solicit from His Majesty an assurance of his neutrality in the event ... of an
attempt being made by the Emperor and other Powers in support of the royal
party in France." Pitt and Grenville refused to receive Calonne, and sent to the
Comte d'Artois a letter expressing sympathy with the situation of the King and
Queen of France, but declining to give any promise as to the line of conduct
which the British Government might pursue.[5]
No less vague were the terms in which George III replied to a letter of the King
of Sweden. Gustavus had for some little time been at Aix-la-Chapelle in the [Pg 4]
hope of leading a royalist crusade into France as a sequel to the expected
escape of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. As readers of Carlyle will remember,the Swedish noble, Count Fersen, chivalrously helped their flight towards Metz;
and deep was the chagrin of Gustavus and his squire on hearing the news from
Varennes. They longed to strike at once. But how could they strike while
Leopold, Catharine, and Frederick William declared that everything must
depend on the action of England? The following significant sentence in
Fersen's diary shows the feeling prevalent at Brussels, as elsewhere,
respecting England: "We must know if that Power regards the continuation of
anarchy in France as more advantageous than order."[6] Fersen had imbibed
this notion at Brussels from Count Mercy d'Argenteau, the Austrian Minister,
whose letters often harp on this string. Thus on 7th March 1791 he writes: "The
worst obstacles for the King of France will always come from England, which
wishes to prolong the horrors in France and ruin her." A little later he avers that
the only way to save the French monarchy is by a civil war, "and England
(unless won over) will support the popular party."[7]
In order to win Pitt over to the cause of neutrality from which he never intended
to swerve, Gustavus and Fersen persuaded an Englishman named Crawford to
proceed to London with letters for George III and Pitt, dated 22nd July.[8] To the
King he described the danger to all Governments which must ensue if the
French revolted with impunity. He therefore begged to know speedily whether
His Majesty would accord full liberty "to the Princes of Germany and to those,
who, owing to the long distance, can only arrive by sea."[9] Evidently, then,
Gustavus feared lest England might stop the fleet in which he intended to
convey Swedish and Russian troops to the coast of Normandy for a dash at
Paris. The answer of George soothed these fears, and that of Pitt, dated August [Pg 5]
1791, was a model of courtly complaisance.
Compared with the shrewd balancings of the Emperor Leopold and the cold
neutrality of Pitt, the policy of Frederick William II of Prussia seemed for a time
to be instinct with generosity. Despite the fears of his counsellors that a
rapprochement to Austria would involve Prussia in the ruin which the friendship
of the Hapsburgs had brought on France, the King turned eagerly towards
Vienna; and on 25th July Kaunitz and Bischoffswerder signed a preliminary
treaty of alliance mutually guaranteeing their territories, and agreeing to further
the aims of the Emperor respecting France. Frederick William was on fire for
the royalist crusade. He even assured Baron Rolle, the agent of the French
princes, that something would be done in that season.[10] Pitt and Grenville
disapproved the action of Prussia in signing this compact, impairing as it did
the validity of the Anglo-Prussian alliance of the year 1788; but Frederick
William peevishly asserted his right to make what treaties he thought good, and
remarked that he was now quits with England for the bad turns she had played
him.[11] On their side, the British Ministers, by way of marking their disapproval
of the warlike counsels of Berlin and Vienna, decided not to send an envoy to
Pilnitz, the summer abode of the Elector of Saxony, where a conference was
arranged between Leopold and Frederick William.
As is well known, the Comte d'Artois and Calonne now cherished lofty hopes of
decisive action by all the monarchs against the French rebels. But Leopold,
with his usual caution, repelled alike the solicitations of Artois and the warlike
counsels of Frederick William, the result of their deliberations being the famous
Declaration of Pilnitz (27th August). In it they expressed the hope that all the
sovereigns of Europe
will not refuse to employ, in conjunction with their said Majesties, the
most efficient means in proportion to their resources, to place the King
of France in a position to establish with the most absolute freedom, the
foundations of a monarchical form of government, which shall at once
be in harmony with the rights of sovereigns and promote the welfare of[Pg 6]the French nation. In that case [alors et dans ce cas] their said
Majesties, the Emperor and the King of Prussia, are resolved to act
promptly and in common accord with the forces necessary to attain the
desired common end.
Obviously, the gist of the whole Declaration lay in the words alors et dans ce
cas. If they be emphasized, they destroy the force of the document; for a union
of all the monarchs was an impossibility, it being well known that England
would not, and Sardinia, and Naples (probably also Spain) could not, take up
arms. In fact, on that very evening Leopold wrote to Kaunitz that he had not in
the least committed himself.—"Alors et dans ce cas is with me the law and the
prophets. If England fails us, the case is non-existent." Further, when the Comte
d'Artois, two days later, urged the Emperor to give effect to the Declaration by
ordering his troops to march westwards, he sent a sharp retort, asserted that he
would not go beyond the Declaration, and forbade the French Princes to do
so.[12]
To the good sense and insight of Grenville and Pitt, the Pilnitz Declaration was
one of the comédies augustes of history, as Mallet du Pan termed it. Grenville
saw that Leopold would stay his hand until England chose to act, meanwhile
alleging her neutrality as an excuse for doing nothing.[13] Thus, the resolve of
Catharine to give nothing but fair words being already surmised, the émigrés
found to their annoyance that Pitt's passivity clogged their efforts—the chief
reason why they shrilly upbraided him for his insular egotism. Certainly his
attitude was far from romantic; but surely, after the sharp lesson which he had
received from the House of Commons in the spring of 1791 during the dispute
with Russia, caution was needful; and he probably discerned a truth hidden
from the émigrés, that an invasion of France for the rescue of the King and
Queen would seal their doom and increase the welter in that unhappy land.
Pitt and Grenville spent the middle of September at Weymouth in attendance
on George III; and we can imagine their satisfaction at the prospect of universal
peace and prosperity. Pitt consoled himself for the not very creditable end to the
Russian negotiation by reflecting that our revenue was steadily rising. "We are
already £178,000 gainers in this quarter," he wrote to George Rose on 10th
[Pg 7]August.[14] In fact, the cyclonic disturbances of the past few years now gave
place to a lull. The Russo-Turkish War had virtually ended; Catharine and
Gustavus were on friendly terms; the ferment in the Hapsburg dominions had
died down, except in Brabant; the Poles were working their new constitution
well; and, but for Jacobin propaganda in Italy and the Rhineland, the outlook
was serene.
At this time, too, there seemed a chance of a reconciliation between Louis XVI
and his people. On 14th September he accepted the new democratic
constitution, a step which filled France with rejoicing and furnished the desired
excuse for Leopold to remain passive. Kaunitz, who had consistently opposed
intervention in France, now asserted that Louis had voluntarily accepted the
constitution. The action of Louis and Marie Antoinette was in reality forced.
Amidst the Queen's expressions of contempt for the French Princes at
Coblentz, the suppressed fire of her fury against her captors flashes forth in this
sentence written to Mercy d'Argenteau (28th August)—"The only question for
us is to lull them to sleep and inspire them with confidence so as to trick them
the better afterwards."—And again (12th September)—"My God! Must I, with
this blood in my veins, pass my days among such beings as these, and in such
an age as this?" Leopold must have known her real feelings; but he chose to
abide by the official language of Louis, and to advise the Powers to accept the
new situation.[15]
This peaceful turn of affairs sorely troubled the French Princes and Burke. In