Saturday, 25 August 2012

Reign of Terror




By and large Europe regarded the democratic fervour in France with profound suspicion. In England, the Prime Minister, William Pitt, welcomed the new French government’s renunciation of war and aggression. However, the attitude toward the French monarchy, princes and nobles alarmed Europe with its kings, princes and aristocrats.

In June 1971 when King Louis attempted to flee anarchy he was captured on the way to the frontier and returned to Paris, by which time Leopold, the German Emperor was aware of the insults to his sister, Marie of Antoinette, Queen of France. Yet Leopold did not want to become involved in French affairs. However, after the royal family’s flight from Paris and their forcible return to Paris in summer 1791, he suggested joint European action to free “the most Christian King and his Queen.” Subsequently Leopold issued a Declaration “to place the King of France in harmony with the rights of sovereigns and the well-being of his people’.

In October, the *Girondins forced the king to accept a new Constitution. When the Assembly met for the first time it confiscated the √©migr√©’s property, and passed sentence of death of those who did not return to France by the end of the year.

The Girondins clamoured for a crusade against Leopold, the Austrian despot On January 11th, 1792 to the tune of “Liberty or Death” the government declared that if the Emperor did not relinquish his threat against France, his country would face invasion.

The French government sent agents to the Netherlands to promote rebellion against Austria. In the meantime, William Pitt, the British Prime Minister, pursued the path of peace. In his Budget Speech in February, 1792 Pitt stated that he believed “Europe was on the threshold of a long period of peace and prosperity.” In order to appease those who feared war, he made economies in the Army and Navy.

On the 20th of April, France declared war on Austria. The **Jacobin clubman, Robespierre, leader of a small group, declared war would assist the growth of tyranny. The Girondins refuted Robespierre’s argument on the grounds that the army’s revolutionary enthusiasm would lead to triumph. They were mistaken. The French rabble of an army fled from the Austrian troops.

King Louis attempted to veto a bill to, amongst other things, dismiss the Girondin Ministry. Jacobins and Girondins united and chose Danton, a 32 year-old lawyer from the Champagne to be their leader.

All too soon the great bell of the Cordeliers tolled at night. It signalled Danton had seized the Hotel de Ville prior to an attack on the Tuilleries. While Napoleon Bonaparte, who was writing a history of Corsica, watched the mob storm the Tuileries.

The Swiss Guards were massacred. The royal family fled. By that night Louis VII had been deposed and confined in a small cell.

The Prussians invaded France and took Verdun. Only the ill-equipped French army, energised by Danton, blocked the way between the Prussian army and Paris, where the Prussians boasted they would free the royal family. While Danton called for volunteers to swell the army, amongst whose elected officers were seven future marshals of the Napoleonic Wars, 1,600 prisoners were massacred; most of them liberally minded aristocrats.

To the east of Valmy, Brunswick, the Prussian general, defeated by the rain and mud, sickness and division in his army, called off his men. Goethe who accompanied the army discerned the truth. “From this day and this hour dates a new epoch in the history of the world.”

On the following day, without news of victory, the monarchy was abolished and the statement “the Republic was one and indivisible” was made.

The Prussians retreated. Led by Custine, the French army pursued them to Speyer and Worms. The nobility fled before Custine’s battle cry. “War to the tyrant’s palace! Peace to the poor man’s cottage.”

From the other side of the Channel the English regarded events in France with increasing bewilderment. Their reactions were slow but in time they would act.

*The Girondins were radical democrats, a faction of the Jacobins. The Girondins forced the declaration of war against Austria, which began the Wars of the Revolution that would result in the Napoleonic Wars.

**Jacobins derive the name from the Jacobin Club of the French Revolution, which was formed in 1789. After the fall of the Girondins the Jacobin leaders instituted The Reign of Terror.

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Sunday's Child a Regency Novel. Despite quixotic Major Tarrant's experience of brutality, honour,loss and past love, will it be possible for him to find happiness?

Tangled Love set in England in 1706. The tale of two great estates and their owners, duty, betrayal, despair and hope.

New Release. 27th October. False Pretences a Regency Novel. Will Annabelle escape an arranged marriage and discover who her parents are?

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Sunday, 19 August 2012

Years of Endurance Britain's War Against France

When I think of the French Revolution, the reign of George III and Regency, so many authors spring to mind. Dickens, Thackery, Jane Austin, Georgette Heyer, Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe, and many others.




At the moment I am studying the late 18th century and the early 19th century.



For twenty-two years, from 1793 to 1815, France tried to dominate the world. At the beginning of this period, some men and women who had seen the Protector Richard Cromwell were still alive. At the end of it those who would live until Adolf Hitler was young had been born. On a personal note my grandfather remembered my long-lived great grandfather speaking about the Battle of Waterloo.



During those years of struggle the French wanted to overturn the old order, however the British did not accept a government not based on the rule of law. At one time Britain fought nearly the whole of Europe with little hope of victory. To make matters worse, when Britain was on the verge of bankruptcy, revolutionary France benefitted from Napoleon Bonaparte, considered by many to be the greatest military genius in the history of the world.



Until Sir John Moore fought Napoleon in Spain, only the Russians triumphed over Napoleon for a few months between 1806 and 1807.



Trafalgar and the battle of Waterloo are so well-known that the first ten years of struggle, which William Pitt called ‘the virtues of adversity endured and adversity resisted, of adversity encountered and adversity surmounted, which ended in the Peace of Amiens, are often forgotten.



The peace did not last but it did give Britain the breathing space necessary for the war to continue until 1815.



Available from https;//museituppublishing.com/bookstore2, Amazon kindle,Good Reads, Kobo and elsewhere



Sunday's Child a Regency Novel. Despite quixotic Major Tarrant's experience of brutality, honour,loss and past love, experience of brutality will it be possible for him to find happiness?

Tangled Love set in England in 1706. The tale of two great estates and their owners, duty, betrayal, despair and hope.

New Release. 27th October. False Pretences a Regency Novel. Will Annabelle escape an arranged marriage and discover who her parents are?



Sunday, 12 August 2012

1789 Prelude to Britain's 22 year Struggle Against France

1789. Prelude to Britain’s struggle against France.




Baroness Orczy’s Scarlet Pimpernel is the fictional hero, Sir Percy Blakeney Bart, who saved the victims of the French Revolution. Unfortunately, when it began there was no real life hero to save de Launey, Governor of the Bastille.



On the 14th July, 1789 the French revolution began. A violent crowd of men and women gathered in front of the Bastille. Shortly before five o’clock the rabble stormed the old Paris fortress and tore de Launey, 30 Swiss guards and 80 pensioners to pieces. Afterwards, holding severed heads aloft, they set out to murder the chief magistrate in the Hotel-de-Ville.



This event announced to the world that the French intended to overthrow the old order.



The foundation of society had been the feudal system. By 1789 taxation had impoverished the French workers living in abject misery in hovels.The people demanded change.Writers and philosophers extolled the virtues of a longed for age of reason.



During the reign of Louis XIV France was the most powerful nation in Europe. If William III of England and Marlborough had not defeated France, the French might have ruled Europe. Yet, in France, effective government was eroded by the aristocrats’ privileges, the middle classes exclusion from government and ever increasing dissatisfaction with the Church. The governing class lost touch with the masses, who, in 1788 and 1789 suffered from hunger and cold.



In January 1789, the treasury was bankrupt, the last harvest had been ruined, and the streets of Paris were flooded with unfortunate wretches. After two centuries of absolute rule the king summoned the States General to meet at Versailles. After three weeks, the Third Estate took control. This declaration was a prelude to the storming of the Bastille and, eventually, Britain’s 22 year struggle against France.



Sunday, 5 August 2012

The Long Struggle. 1793-1815 Britain and France at War

When I think of the French Revolution, the reign of George III and Regency, so many authors spring to mind. Dickens, Thackery, Jane Austin, Georgette Heyer, Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe, and many others.




At the moment I am studying the late 18th century and the early 19th century.



For twenty-two years, from 1793 to 1815, France tried to dominate the world. At the beginning of this period, some men and women who had seen the Protector Richard Cromwell were still alive. At the end of it those who would live until Adolf Hitler was young had been born. On a personal note my grandfather remembered my long-lived great grandfather speaking about the Battle of Waterloo.



During those years of struggle the French wanted to overturn the old order, however the British did not accept a government not based on the rule of law. At one time Britain fought nearly the whole of Europe with little hope of victory. To make matters worse, when Britain was on the verge of bankruptcy, revolutionary France benefitted from Napoleon Bonaparte, considered by many to be the greatest military genius in the history of the world.



Until Sir John Moore fought Napoleon in Spain, only the Russians triumphed over Napoleon for a few months between 1806 and 1807.



Trafalgar and the battle of Waterloo are so well-known that the first ten years of struggle, which William Pitt called ‘the virtues of adversity endured and adversity resisted, of adversity encountered and adversity surmounted, which ended in the Peace of Amiens, are often forgotten.



The peace did not last but it did give Britain the breathing space necessary for the war to continue until 1815.



Available from https;//museituppublishing.com/bookstore2, Amazon kindle,Good Reads, Kobo and elsewhere



Sunday's Child a Regency Novel. Despite quixotic Major Tarrant's experience of brutality, honour,loss and past love, experience of brutality will it be possible for him to find happiness?

Tangled Love set in England in 1706. The tale of two great estates and their owners, duty, betrayal, despair and hope.

New Release. 27th October. False Pretences a Regency Novel. Will Annabelle escape an arranged marriage and discover who her parents are?