Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER VII: Of the Conduct of the English Government Outside of England. - Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution (LF ed.)
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CHAPTER VII: Of the Conduct of the English Government Outside of England. - Germaine de Staël, Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution (LF ed.) 
Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution, newly revised translation of the 1818 English edition, edited, with an introduction and notes by Aurelian Craiutu (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008).
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Of the Conduct of the English Government Outside of England.
In expressing, as much as I could, my admiration for the English nation, I have never ceased to attribute its superiority over the rest of Europe to its political institutions. It remains for us to offer a sad proof of this assertion: it is that, in things where the constitution does not command, the English government justly incurs the same reproaches which absolute power has ever deserved on earth. If, by some circumstances which are not met with in history, a nation had possessed, a hundred years before the rest of Europe, the art of printing, the compass, and, what is more valuable, a religion which is only a sanction of the purest morality, that nation would certainly be far superior to those who had not obtained similar advantages. The same may be said of the benefits of a free constitution; but these benefits are necessarily limited to the country which that constitution governs. When Englishmen exercise military or diplomatic employments on the Continent, it is still probable that men brought up in the atmosphere of all the virtues participate in them individually. But it is possible that power, which corrupts almost all men when they go beyond the circle of the dominion of law, may have misled many Englishmen when they had to render an account of their conduct abroad to ministers only, and not to the nation. In truth, that nation, so enlightened in other things, is ill-informed of what passes on the Continent: it lives in the interior of its own country, if we may use the expression, like every man in his own house; and it is only after a length of time that it learns the history of Europe, in which her ministers often act too great a part, by means of its blood and treasures. The conclusion is that every country, at every time, should defend itself from the influence of foreigners, be they who they may; for the nations who are the most free at home may have rulers very jealous of the prosperity of other states, and may become the oppressors of their neighbors if they find a favorable opportunity.
Let us, however, examine how far there is truth in what is alleged of the conduct of the English out of their country. When, unfortunately for themselves, they were obliged to send troops to the Continent, those troops observed the most perfect discipline. The disinterestedness of the English army and of its commanders cannot be disputed; we have seen them paying in an enemy’s country more regularly than the enemy paid their own countrymen, and never do they neglect to blend the cares of humanity with the calamities of war. Sir Sidney Smith,1 in Egypt, protected the envoys of the French army in his own tent; and often declared to his allies, the Turks, that he would perish sooner than suffer the rights of nations to be violated toward his enemies. During the retreat of General Moore2 in Spain, English officers threw themselves into a river where some Frenchmen were on the point of drowning in order to save them from a danger to which they were exposed by accident, and not by arms. Finally, there is no occasion in which the army of the Duke of Wellington, directed by the magnanimity and the conscientious severity of its illustrious chief, has not sought to relieve the inhabitants of the countries through which it passed. The splendor of English bravery, we must acknowledge, has never been sullied by cruelty or by pillage.
The military force transported to the colonies, and particularly to India, ought not to be made responsible for the acts of authority of which there may be reason to complain. The regular troops obey passively in countries considered as subjected, and which are not protected at all by the constitution. But in the colonies, as elsewhere, the English officers cannot be accused of depredation; it is the persons holding civil employments who are reproached with enriching themselves by unlawful means. In fact, the conduct of these persons during the first years of the conquest of India deserves the highest blame and furnishes another proof of what we cannot too often repeat, that every man charged with the command of others, if he is not himself subject to the law, obeys nothing but his passions. But since the trial of Mr. Hastings, the attention of the English nation being directed toward the frightful abuses which till then had been tolerated in India, the public spirit has obliged government to attend to them.3 Lord Cornwallis carried his virtues, and Lord Wellesley his knowledge, to a country necessarily unhappy because subjected to a foreign dominion.4 But the good performed by these two governors is felt every day more and more. There existed no courts of justice in India to which an appeal could be made from the injustice of men in office; the proportion of taxes was not at all fixed. Courts are now established according to the English form; some natives even occupy places of the second rank; the taxes are fixed by a regular scale and cannot be augmented. If persons in office enrich themselves now, it is because their appointments are very considerable. Three-fourths of the revenue of the country are consumed in the country itself; commerce is free in the interior; the corn trade in particular, which had given rise to so cruel a monopoly, is now on a footing more favorable to the Indians than to government.
England has adopted the principle of governing the inhabitants of the country according to their own laws. But the very toleration by which the English distinguish themselves so honorably from their predecessors in the government of India, whether Mahometans or Christians, obliges them to employ no other arms than those of persuasion in order to destroy prejudices which have taken root for thousands of years. The difference of castes is still humiliating to human nature, and the power of fanaticism is such that the English have not hitherto been able to prevent women from burning themselves alive after the death of their husbands. The only triumph which they have obtained over superstition has been that of preventing mothers from throwing their children into the Ganges in order to send them to paradise. Attempts are being made to establish respect for an oath among them, and hopes are still entertained of being able to diffuse Christianity among them at some future time. Public education is very carefully attended to by the English in authority, and it was at Madras that Dr. Bell established his first school. In short, it may be hoped that the example of the English will form those nations sufficiently to enable them to give themselves one day an independent political existence. Every enlightened man in England would applaud the loss of India if it took place in consequence of the benefits conferred on it by government. It is one of the prejudices of the Continent to believe the power of the English connected with the possession of India; that oriental empire is almost an affair of luxury and contributes more to splendor than to real strength. England lost her American provinces and her commerce has been increased by it. Were the colonies that remain to her to declare themselves independent, she would still possess her naval and commercial superiority because she has in herself a principle of action, of progress, and of duration which places her always above exterior circumstances.
It has been said on the Continent that the slave trade was suppressed in England from political calculation in order to ruin the colonies of other countries by that abolition. Nothing is more false in every point of view. The English Parliament, pressed by Mr. Wilberforce, debated this question during twenty years, in which humanity struggled with what apparently was interest.5 The merchants of Liverpool and of various parts of England demanded vehemently the continuance of the trade. The colonists talked of that abolition as certain persons in France express themselves at present on the liberty of the press and political rights. If you would believe the colonists, that person must be a Jacobin who could wish to put an end to the buying and selling of men. Maledictions against philosophy in the name of that superior wisdom which pretends to rise above it by maintaining things as they are, even when they are abominable; sarcasms without number on philanthropy toward the Africans or fraternity with negroes; finally, the whole arsenal of personal interest was poured forth in England, as elsewhere, by the colonists, by that species of privileged persons who, fearing a diminution of their income, defended it in the name of the public good. Nevertheless, when England pronounced the abolition of the slave trade, in 1806, almost all the colonies of Europe were in her hands, and if ever it could be injurious to be just, it was on this occasion. There has since happened what always will happen—a resolution commanded by religion and philosophy has not produced the least political inconvenience. In a short space of time, good treatment, by increasing the number of the slaves, has made up for the wretched cargoes imported every year, and justice has found her place, because the true nature of things always fits in with her.
The English ministry, then of the Whig party, had proposed a bill for the abolition of the slave trade: they gave in their resignation to the King because they had not obtained from him the emancipation of the Catholics. But Lord Holland, the nephew of Mr. Fox and heir of the principles, of the knowledge, and of the friends of his uncle, reserved to himself the noble satisfaction of still carrying to the House of Peers the King’s sanction to the act for the abolition of the slave trade. Mr. Clarkson,6 one of the virtuous men who labored during twenty years with Mr. Wilberforce at the accomplishment of this eminently Christian work, in giving an account of this meeting says that at the moment when the bill received the royal assent, a ray of sunshine, as if to celebrate this affecting triumph, darted from the clouds which that day covered the sky. Certainly, if it were tedious to hear so much spoken of the fine weather which was said to consecrate the military parades of Bonaparte, pious minds may surely be permitted to hope for a benevolent token from their Creator while they are burning on his altar that incense which is most pleasing to him, the doing of good to mankind. Such was on this occasion the sole policy of England, and when the Parliament, after public debates, adopts any decision whatever, its principal aim is almost always the good of humanity. But can it be denied, it will be said, that England is encroaching and domineering abroad? I now come to her faults, or rather to those of her ministry; for the party, and a very numerous one it is, that disapproves the conduct of government in this respect cannot be accused of it.
There is a people who will one day be very great: these are the Americans. One stain only obscures the perfect splendor of reason that vivifies that country; slavery still subsists in the Southern provinces; but when the Congress shall have found a remedy for that evil, how shall we be able to refuse the most profound respect to the institutions of the United States? Whence comes it then that many English allow themselves to speak with disdain of such a people? “They are shopkeepers,” they repeat. And how did the courtiers of Louis XIV talk of the English themselves? The people of Bonaparte’s court also, what did they say? Do not the nobility that are unemployed, or that are employed only in the service of a prince, disdain that hereditary magistracy of the English which is founded solely on its utility to the whole nation? The Americans, it is true, declared war against England at a very ill-chosen time7 with respect to Europe; for England then resisted alone the power of Bonaparte. But America on this occasion looked only to what concerned her own interest; and she can certainly not be suspected of having wished to favor the imperial system. Nations have not yet attained that noble feeling of humanity which should extend itself from one part of the world to the other. As neighbors they feel a mutual hatred; while those at a distance are unknown to each other. But could that ignorance of the affairs of Europe which impelled the Americans to declare war unseasonably against England justify the burning of Washington? It was not warlike establishments that were destroyed, but peaceful edifices sacred to national representation, to public instruction, to the transplantation of arts and sciences into a country once covered by forests and conquered only by the labor of men on savage nature. What is there more honorable for mankind than this new world, which has established itself without the prejudices of the old; this new world where religion is in all its fervor without needing the support of the state to maintain it; where the law commands by the respect which it inspires, without being enforced by any military power? It is possible, alas! that Europe may be destined, like Asia, to exhibit one day the spectacle of a stationary civilization,8 which, not having been able to advance, has become degraded. But does it thence follow that England, old and free, should refuse the tribute of admiration inspired by the progress of America because former resentments and some features of resemblance excite a family hatred between the two countries?
Finally, what will posterity say of the recent conduct of the English ministry toward France?9 I shall confess I cannot approach this subject without being seized with an inward tremor, and yet, were it necessary, I would not hesitate to declare that if one of the two nations, France or England, must be annihilated, it would be better that that country which can reckon a hundred years of liberty, a hundred years of knowledge, a hundred years of virtue should preserve the trust which Providence has placed in its hands. But does this cruel alternative exist? And why has not a rivalship of so many ages led the English government to think that it is a duty of chivalry, as well as of justice, not to oppress that France which in her contests with England, during the whole course of their common history, animated her efforts by a generous jealousy? The opposition party has been at all times more liberal and better informed respecting the affairs of the Continent than the party in power; it ought, of course, to have been entrusted with the conclusion of peace. Moreover, it was the rule in England that peace ought not to be signed by the same ministers who had conducted the war. It is felt that the irritation against the enemy which serves to carry on war with vigor leads to the abuse of victory; and this manner of reasoning is no less just than favorable to real peace, which must not merely be signed, but must be established in the minds and hearts. Unfortunately, the party of opposition had committed the error of supporting Bonaparte. It would have been more natural to have seen his despotic system defended by the friends of power and opposed by the friends of liberty. But the question became very complex in England, as everywhere else; the partisans of the principles of the Revolution thought it their duty to support a tyranny for life to prevent, in various places, the return of more lasting forms of despotism. But they did not see that one kind of absolute power opens the way for all others; and that by again giving to the French the habits of servitude, Bonaparte had destroyed the energy of public spirit. One peculiarity of the English constitution, which we have already noticed, is the necessity in which the opposition believe themselves placed of opposing the government on all possible grounds. This habit, applicable only to ordinary circumstances, ought to have been relinquished at a crisis when the contest was so national that even the existence of the country depended on its issue. The opposition ought to have frankly joined government against Bonaparte; for the government, by opposing him with perseverance, nobly fulfilled its duty. The opposition made its stand on the desire of peace, which is in general very welcome to the people; but on this occasion, the good sense and energy of the English impelled them to war. They felt that it was impossible to treat with Bonaparte; and all that the government and Lord Wellington did to overthrow him contributed powerfully to the repose and greatness of England. But at this period when the nation had reached the summit of prosperity, at this period when the English government deserved a vote of thanks for the part it could claim in the triumph of its heroes, the fatality which seizes all men who have reached the height of power marked the treaty of Paris with the seal of reprobation.
The English ministry had already had the misfortune to be represented at the Congress of Vienna by a man whose private virtues are highly worthy of esteem, but who has done more harm to the cause of nations than any diplomatist of the Continent.10 An Englishman who reviles liberty is a false brother more dangerous than strangers, since he seems to speak of what he knows and to do the honors of what he possesses. The speeches of Lord Castlereagh in Parliament are stamped with a kind of cold irony singularly pernicious when applied to all that is dignified in this world. For most of those who defend generous sentiments are easily discouraged when a minister in power treats their wishes as chimerical, when he makes a mockery of liberty, as of perfect love, and puts on the appearance of an indulgent air toward those who cherish it by imputing to them nothing but an innocent folly.
The deputies of several countries of Europe, at present weak but formerly independent, came to solicit some rights, some securities from the representative of the power which they adored as free. They returned with an anguished heart, not knowing whether Bonaparte or the most respectable nation in the world had done them most lasting mischief. One day, their conferences will be published and history can hardly present a more remarkable document. “What!” they said to the English minister, “does not the prosperity, the glory of your country arise from this constitution, some principles of which we demand, when you are pleased to dispose of us for this pretended balance of which we form one of the make-weights in your scales?” “Yes,” they were answered, with a sarcastic smile, “liberty is a usage of England; but it is not suitable to other countries.” The only one11 among kings, or among men, that ever put to the torture not his enemies but his friends has distributed, according to his good pleasure, the scaffold, the galleys, and the prison among citizens who, having fought in defense of their country under the standard of England, claimed her support as having, by the generous avowal of Lord Wellington, powerfully aided his efforts. Did England protect them? The North Americans would willingly support the Americans of Mexico and Peru, whose love for independence must have increased when they have seen the torture and the inquisition restored at Madrid. Well, what fears the Congress of the North in succoring its brethren of the South?12 The alliance of England with Spain. In all directions the influence of the English government is dreaded, precisely in a contrary sense to the support which the oppressed have a right to hope from it.
But let us return, with all our soul and all our strength, to that France which alone we know. “During twenty-five years,” it is said, “she has incessantly tormented Europe by her democratic excesses and her military despotism. England has suffered cruelly by her continual attacks, and the English have made immense sacrifices to defend Europe. It is perfectly just that in her turn France should expiate the evil of which she has been the cause.” Everything in these accusations is true except the conclusion that is drawn from them. Of what use is the law of retaliation in general, and above all, the law of retaliation exercised against a nation? Is a people today what it was yesterday? Does not a new and innocent generation come to replace that which has been found guilty? Will you comprise in the same proscription women, children, old men, even the victims of the tyranny that has been overthrown? The unhappy conscripts, concealed in woods to escape the wars of Bonaparte, but who, when forced to carry arms, conducted themselves like intrepid warriors; the fathers of families ruined already by the sacrifices they have made to purchase the exemption of their sons; and what, finally! do so many classes of men, on whom public misfortune presses equally although they have certainly not borne an equal share in the fault—do they deserve to suffer on account of a few? If it be hardly practicable in a question of political opinion to try one man with equity, how then can a nation be tried? The conduct of Bonaparte toward Prussia was taken as a model in the second treaty of Paris; in pursuance of which fortresses and provinces are occupied by one hundred and fifty thousand foreign soldiers.13 Can the French be in this manner persuaded that Bonaparte was unjust and that they ought to hate him? They would have been better convinced of it if his doctrine had in no respect been followed. And what did the proclamation of the Allies promise? Peace to France so soon as Bonaparte should cease to be her chief. Ought not the promise of powers whose decisions were free to be as sacred as the oaths of the French army pronounced in the presence of foreigners? And because the ministers of Europe commit the error of placing in the island of Elba a General, the sight of whom cannot but excite the emotions of his soldiers, must enormous contributions exhaust the poor during five years? And what is still more grievous, must foreigners humiliate the French as the French humiliated other nations; that is, provoke, in the soul of Frenchmen, the same feelings which raised up Europe against them? Is it supposed that the abuse of a nation formerly so strong is likely to be as effectual as the punishment inflicted on students at school? Certainly, if France allows herself to be instructed in this manner; if she learns humility toward foreigners when they are the stronger party, after having made an abuse of victory when she had triumphed over them, she will have deserved her fate.
But some persons will still say, what then was to be done to restrain a nation always prone to conquest, and which had taken back its former chief only in the hope of again enslaving Europe? I have mentioned in the preceding chapters what I consider to be incontestable, that is, that the French nation will never be sincerely tranquil until she shall have secured the object of her efforts, a constitutional monarchy. But in putting aside for a moment this view of the case, was not the dissolution of the army, the carrying off the artillery, the levying contributions a sufficient assurance that France, thus weakened, would neither be desirous nor able to go beyond her limits? Is it not clear to every observer that the hundred and fifty thousand men who occupy France have but two objects, either to partition her territory or to prescribe laws for her interior government? Partition her territory! Alas! Since policy committed the human sacrifice of Poland, the mangled remains of that unhappy country still agitate Europe; its wrecks are incessantly rekindled to serve it as firebrands. Is it to strengthen the present government that a hundred and fifty thousand soldiers occupy our territory? Government has more effectual means of maintaining itself; for as it is destined to be one day supported by Frenchmen only, the foreign troops who remain in France, the exorbitant contributions which they exact excite daily a vague discontent which is not always justly directed to the proper objects.
I willingly admit, however, that England as well as Europe had a right to desire the return of the former dynasty of France; and that, in particular, the high degree of wisdom evinced by the King in the first year of his restoration rendered it a duty to make him a reparation for the cruel return of Bonaparte. But ought not the English ministers, who know better than any ministry whatever, by the history of their country, the effects of a long revolution on the public mind, ought they not to maintain constitutional securities with as much care as they maintain the ancient dynasty? Since they brought back the royal family, ought they not to be watchful that the rights of the nation should be as well respected as those of legitimacy? Is there but one family in France, although that family be royal? And ought the engagements taken by that family toward twenty-five million persons to be broken for the sake of pleasing a few ultraroyalists?* Shall the name of the charter be still pronounced at a time when there is not a shadow of the liberty of the press; when the English newspapers cannot penetrate into France; when thousands of individuals are imprisoned without examination; when most of the military men brought to trial are condemned to death by extraordinary tribunals, by prevotal courts, by courts-martial composed of the very men against whom the accused have fought during twenty-five years; when most of the forms are violated in these trials, counsel interrupted or reprimanded; finally, when arbitrary rule prevails everywhere and the charter14 nowhere, though it ought to be defended as zealously as the throne, since it was the safeguard of the nation? Could it be pretended that the election of the deputies who suspended that charter was regular? Do we not know that twenty persons named by the prefects were sent into each electoral college to make choice there of the enemies of every free institution as pretended representatives of a nation which, since 1789, has been invariable only on one single point, the hatred that it has shown for their power? A hundred and eighty Protestants were massacred in the department of the Gard15 without a single man having suffered death in punishment of these crimes, without the terror caused by these assassinations having permitted the courts to condemn them. It was very readily asserted that those who perished were Bonapartists, as if it were not also necessary to prevent Bonapartists from being massacred. But this imputation was likewise as false as all those which are commonly cast upon victims. The man who has not been tried is innocent; still more the man who is assassinated; still more the women who have perished in these bloody scenes. The murderers, in their atrocious songs, pointed out for the poignard those who profess the same religion as the English and the most enlightened half of Europe. This English government, which has re-established the papal throne, sees the Protestants threatened in France; and far from coming to their aid, adopts against them those political pretexts which the parties have employed against each other from the beginning of the Revolution. An end should be put to the argument of force which might be applied in turn to the opposite factions by merely changing proper names. Would the English government now have the same antipathy for Protestantism as for republics? Bonaparte also was in many respects of this way of thinking. The inheritance of his principles is fallen to certain diplomatists like the conquests of Alexander to his generals; but conquests, however much to be condemned, are better than a doctrine founded on the degradation of mankind. Will the English ministry still be permitted to say that it considers it a duty not to interfere in the interior affairs of France? Must it not be interdicted from such an excuse? I ask it in the name of the English people; in the name of that nation whose first virtue is sincerity, and which is unconsciously led astray into political perfidy. Can we repress the laugh of bitterness when we hear men who have twice disposed of the fate of France urge this hypocritical pretext only to avoid doing her a service, to avoid restoring to the Protestants the security that is due to them, to avoid demanding the sincere execution of the constitutional charter? For the friends of liberty are also the brethren of the English people in religion. What, Lord Wellington is officially charged by the powers of Europe with superintending France since he is charged to answer for her tranquillity; the note that invests him with that power is published; in that same note the Allied Powers have declared, and the declaration is honorable to them, that they considered the principles of the constitutional charter to be those that ought to govern France; a hundred and fifty thousand men are under the orders of him to whom such a dictatorship is granted; and the English government will still come forward and say that it cannot interfere in our affairs? Lord Castlereagh, who, in his capacity of Foreign Secretary, had declared in the House of Commons several weeks before the battle of Waterloo* that England did not in any manner pretend to impose a government upon France, the same man, in the same place, declares the following year† that if, at the expiration of the five years, France should be represented by another government, the English ministry would not be so absurd as to consider itself bound by the conditions of the treaty. But in the same speech in which this incredible declaration is made, the scruples of the noble Lord, in regard to the influence of the English government in France, revive as soon as he is asked to prevent the massacres of the Protestants and to guarantee to the French people some of the rights which it cannot lose without lacerating its bosom by civil war or without biting the dust like slaves. And let it not be pretended that the English people desires to make its enemies bear its yoke! It is proud, it has a right to be so, of twenty-five years and a day. The battle of Waterloo has filled it with a just pride. Ah! nations that have a country partake the laurels of victory with the army! Citizens are warriors, warriors are citizens; and of all the joys which God permits to man on earth, the most lively is perhaps that of the triumph of one’s country. But this noble emotion, far from stifling generosity, re-animates it; and if the voice of Mr. Fox, so long admired, could be once more heard; if he should ask why English soldiers acted as jailers to France; why the army of a free people treats another people like a prisoner of war who has to pay his ransom to his conquerors: the English nation would learn that an injustice is committed in its name; and from that instant there would arise from all quarters, in its bosom, advocates of the cause of France. Could it not be asked, in the midst of the English Parliament, what England would now be if the troops of Louis XIV had taken possession of her territory at the time of the restoration of Charles II; if they had seen encamped in Westminster the French army that had triumphed on the Rhine; or, what would have been still more disastrous, the army which subsequently fought against the Protestants of the Cevennes? These armies would have re-established the Catholic worship and suppressed Parliament; for we see from the dispatches of the French ambassadors that Louis XIV offered them to Charles II with that intention. What would England then have become? Europe would have heard of nothing but the murder of Charles I, of the excesses of the Puritans in favor of equality, of the despotism of Cromwell, who made himself be felt abroad as at home, since Louis XIV put on mourning for him. Writers would have been found to maintain that this turbulent and sanguinary people ought to be brought back to its duty, and ought to resume the institutions that were those of their fathers at the time when their fathers had lost the liberty of their ancestors. But should we have seen that fine country at the height of power and glory which the universe admires today? An unsuccessful attempt to obtain liberty would have received the name of rebellion, crime, in short, every epithet lavished on nations when they desire to have rights and do not know how to obtain possession of them. The countries which were jealous of the maritime power of England under Cromwell would have taken delight in her humiliation. The ministers of Louis XIV would have said that the English were not made to be free, and Europe would not have been able to contemplate the beacon which has guided her in the tempest and ought to direct her course in the calm.
There are in France, it is said, none but extreme royalists or Bonapartists; and the two parties are equally, it must be confessed, favorers of despotism. The friends of liberty are, it is asserted, in small number and without strength to compete against these two inveterate factions. The friends of liberty, being virtuous and disinterested, cannot, I admit, contend actively against the eager passions of those whose only objects are money and place. But the nation is with them; all who are not paid, or do not aim at being paid, are on their side. The progress of the human mind is favorable to them from the very nature of things. They will succeed gradually, but surely, in founding in France a constitution similar to that of England, if England herself, who is the guide of the Continent, forbid her ministers to show themselves everywhere the enemies of the principles which she so well knows how to maintain at home.
[1. ] Sidney Smith (1764–1840) was an admiral in the English navy.
[2. ] Sir John Moore (1761–1809) was a prominent officer in the English army.
[3. ] Warren Hastings (1732–1818) was the first governor-general of British India, from 1773 to 1785. He was impeached in 1787 for corruption (Burke was one of his most vocal critics) and acquitted in 1795.
[4. ] Lord Cornwallis and Lord Wellesley were governors of India. During his tenure (1786–93), Lord Cornwallis introduced several judicial reforms and set up the criminal courts. Lord Wellesley, who served as governor-general between 1798 and 1805, extended the dominions of the British in India by introducing the Subsidiary Alliance system, which brought the Indian states within the purview of the British power of jurisdiction.
[5. ] On Wilberforce, see note 14, p. 656, above.
[6. ] Thomas Clarkson (1760–1846), a prominent English abolitionist educated at Cambridge, played a key role in the abolition of the slave trade in 1833.
[7. ] In June 1812, during the Napoléonic Wars.
[8. ] This was the conventional image of Asia (i.e., India and China) in nineteenth-century Europe.
[9. ] An allusion to the two treaties of Paris (1814 and 1815), which brought France back to the borders of 1792 and imposed heavy reparations on the French.
[10. ] Robert Stewart, second Marquess of Londonderry and Viscount Castlereagh (1769–1822), was a prominent English diplomat who represented England at the Congress of Vienna. In 1804 Pitt appointed Castlereagh secretary of state for war and the colonies. He also served as foreign secretary from 1812 to 1822.
[11. ] King Ferdinand VII of Spain.
[12. ] In 1815 Spain was counting on the support of England to suppress the independence movements in Central and Latin America.
[13. ] Napoléon imposed extremely harsh conditions on Prussia in 1806 at Tilsit.
[* ] All this was written during the session of 1815, and it is known that no one was more eager than Madame de Staël to do homage to the beneficial effects of the ordonnance of the 5th of September of that year.—(Note of the Editors.)
[14. ] The Charter of 1814. For more information about the political context and the parliamentary debates during the first years of the Restoration, see Craiutu, Liberalism Under Siege, 19–85, 192–97.
[15. ] The so-called White Terror of 1815.
[* ] Debate of 25th May 1815.
[† ] Debate of 19th February 1816.