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THE PROSECUTION OF THE WAR SUSTAINED BY REPEATED MAJORITIES IN
PARLIAMENT-MR. BURKE'S SCHOOL FOR THE EDUCATION OF EMIGRANT CHILDREN—BUONAPARTE APPOINTED TO THE COMMAND IN ITALYLORD MALMESBURY'S MISSION TO PARIS.
The motion for negotiations with France had been again brought forward towards the close of the last session of Parliament, and was again negatived. Mr. Pitt still insisted upon the impossibility of France being enabled to prosecute the war, with her finances in a state of ruin, and seven hundred and twenty millions of assignats in circulation. Great changes had undoubtedly taken place. The National Assembly had been dissolved, and a regular form of Government established in its place ; and although at that time Mr. Pitt rejected the idea of proposing any terms of peace to the Republic, he admitted without hesitation that if the new Government were put into activity with the acquiescence of the nation, so as that the voice of the people could be heard through their representatives, all obstacles and objections to negotiation would be removed. Thus the question stood at the close of the year 1795.
The subject was renewed at the opening of the session in 1796, with the same result. Mr. Pitt resolved it at once into a question of confidence in Ministers. If the House thought that confidence could not be safely vested in them, the proper course was to address His Majesty to remove them. He still maintained that the French had exhausted their means of carrying on the war; and that, with respect to negotiations for peace, the point to be considered was the probability of obtaining just and honourable terms, which, it was evident from their public declarations, the French were not disposed to admit. The confidence of Parliament in the wisdom and discretion of Ministers was unequivocally testified in the large majority by which the motion was rejected.
Failing to attain their object in this direct form, the Opposition resorted to other means of harassing the Administration. In a motion on the state of the nation, Mr. Grey entered into an examination of the financial condition of the country, exposing the enormous expenditure and heavy taxation entailed by the war, at a time when a more discreet patriotism would have avoided such details. He showed that during the three preceding years seventyseven millions had been added to the funded debt, and that, in addition to the parliamentary grants, upwards of thirty-one millions had been expended without the consent of Parliament. Notwithstanding these disclosures, however, Mr. Pitt proposed a second loan of seven millions and a half for the prosecution of the war, which the House immediately acceded to.
In both Houses, the efforts of the Opposition to over
throw the Administration were followed up with indefatigable activity in the shape of condemnatory resolutions and motions of addresses to the Throne; and in all instances they were defeated by overwhelming majorities. The session terminated in the middle of May, when Parliament was dissolved by proclamation, His Majesty thanking both Houses emphatically for the uniform wisdom, temper, and firmness by which their proceedings had been characterised.
The destitute condition of the French emigrants who sought an asylum in England on the breaking out of the Revolution, and whose numbers were continually increasing, excited universal commiseration. The attention of Government was earnestly directed to the means of providing for them, and measures were adopted for giving the utmost efficacy to the public sympathy. Amongst the persons who interested themselves actively on their behalf were the Marquis of Buckingham and Mr. Burke. The object to which they mainly addressed their exertions was the education of emigrant children whose fathers had perished in the convulsions of their country, or who were unable to obtain instruction for them. The forlorn situation of these friendless children, in a country with whose language they were unacquainted, had attracted the notice of Mr. Burke, with whom the project originated, and who applied to Government in the first instance for assistance to enable him to carry out his charitable design. The appeal was liberally responded to. A house was taken and fitted up for the purpose in Buckinghamshire, at Penn, near Beaconsfield, the residence of Mr. Burke; and, by an order of the Treasury, the Duke of Portland, the Lord Chancellor, the Marquis of Buckingham, Mr. Burke, and others were appointed trustees for the management of the school, which had been established in the first instance by Mr. Burke at his own expense. The following interesting letter from Mr. Burke contains some particulars concerning this institution, which had just been opened. The “clean and not unpleasing " costume spoken of by the writer consisted of a blue uniform which he had assigned to the boys, with a white cockade bearing the inscription of “ Vive le Roi.” Those boys who had lost their fathers were distinguished by a bloody label, and the loss of uncles was marked in a similar manner by a black one. At this time Mr. Burke had the sole management of the school, and watched over its progress with unabated solicitude to the end of his life. The Commission nominated by the Government had not, it appears, been communicated to him, and he justly complains to his correspondent of the embarrassing position in which the oversight, or neglect, had placed him. The Marquis of Buckingham took a warm interest in the education and welfare of the boys, and, as a means of fostering a martial and loyal spirit amongst them, made them a present of a pair of colours and a brass cannon, which were exhibited with great pride and exultation on all public occasions.
MR. BURKE TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
May 24th, 1796. MY DEAR LORD,
Having received no answer to my last letter, I persuade myself there was nothing in it to displease you ; otherwise your general politeness and your kind partiality to me would have led you to give me such instructions as might prevent me from falling into errors in the delicate business in which, under your countenance and with your approbation, I have engaged myself.
We look forward with a pleasure, mixed with some degree of impatience, to the visit which your Lordship and Lady Buckingham have flattered us with the hope of, though I am afraid the heat of the general election will be over before we can enjoy that satisfaction.
I think, however unfortunate I may find myself in all my attempts to please the Bishop of Leon, that your Lordship and Lady Buckingham will feel the same pleasing and affecting interest in what is done here, that all have been touched with who see what is going on. You will be pleased with the celerity, if not with the perfection, of our work. Five-and-forty beds are ready; the rest will be so in a very few days. An old bad stable is converted into an excellent schoolroom. The chapel is decent, in place and in furniture. The eating-room is reasonably good. Twenty-five boys are received, clad in a cleanly and not unpleasing manner, and they are fed in an orderly way, with a wholesome and abundant diet. The masters are pleased with their pupils ; the pupils are pleased with their preceptors; and I am sure I have reason to be pleased with them all. I see them almost every day, and at almost all hours ; as well at their play as at their studies and exercise. I have never seen finer boys, or more fit for the plan of education I mean to follow for them, as long as it pleases the Government to continue that charge in my hands. I am responsible, that if they are left to me for six months, a set of finer lads, for their age and standing, will not be seen in Europe.
The only unfortunate part of the business is, that some of