BLTC Press Titles

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The Secret Doctrine, Volume I Cosmogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

A. Conan Doyle

Mortal Coils

Aldous Huxley

Through the Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll

History of the king's German legion

by North Ludlow Beamish



The electorate of Hanover had not yet recovered 1803. from the deep wounds which the French revolu- March, tionary war, the support of an army on her frontier, and, above all, the occupation of her territory by Prussia, had inflicted upon the resources of the state, and the spirit of the people; when new misunderstandings between France and England threatened her with a renewal of those afflictions from which she had just been relieved.

Measures of mistaken economy, and an extreme apathy on the part of the Hanoverian government, had been for some years operating to lessen the military importance of the electorate, and now rendered it ill qualified to assume a defensive position; the army had been reduced, the for1803. tresses neglected, great part of the existing force March, suffered to return home on leave of absence, many vacancies in regiments, both among officers and men, had been allowed to remain unfilled, and a general relaxation of military discipline and military spirit had been permitted to engender, tfturns. *n March, 1803, the nominal strength of the army, including cavalry, infantry, artillery, and engineers, amounted to 15,546: of these, however, more than one third were on furlough, and the effective force could not be fairly estimated at more than ten thousand men.

Such was the strength of the Hanoverian army, when M. de Talleyrand's celebrated note verbale to the English ambassador* sufficiently indicated the first consul's designs upon the electorate.

According to the principles of justice, good faith, and the acknowledged rights of nations, Hanover was justified in an expectation of being allowed to remain an undisturbed spectator of the impending contest; under the treaty of Basle she could claim neutrality, and, as an integral part of the German empire, the protection afforded her by the peace of Luneville. But such claims had little weight with the then ruler of France. Under the pretext that if

* Communicated to lord Whitworth at Paris, on the 11th of March, and which stated,—" If we do not receive satisfactory explanation respecting these armaments in England, and if they actually take place, it is natural that the first consul should march 20,000 men into Holland. These troops being once in the country, it is natural that an encampment should be formed on the frontiers of Hanover," &c.

the sovereign of two countries declare war as king 1803. of one, his other territory must necessarily be in- March, volved in the same contest, Napoleon justified his occupation of Hanover.

That such a calamity, however, was to be apprehended by the electorate, her prime minister, the baron von Lenthe, would not allow himself to believe: that he who had violated the most solemn engagements of the treaty of Luneville; who, instead of restoring the independence of Switzerland, Holland, and the Italian republic, was endeavouring to fix more firmly his despotic rule in those subjected countries;—he who, alike uninfluenced by national or personal honour, sought to evade his sacred promise to the German emperor, and withhold all indemnification to the grand duke Ferdinand for the loss of Tuscany;—he who had scarcely ratified the treaty of Amiens, when he took measures for its violation;—should now meditate a breach of faith with the empire by invading one of her provinces, baron von Lenthe persisted in considering a groundless and unwarrantable alarm; and notwithstanding the king's message to parliament of the 8th of March, the consequent preparations in England, (of which he, residing in London, must have been fully aware,) M. Talleyrand's note verbale of the 11th, and the still more decisive evidence of approaching war which an actual assembly of French troops in Holland furnished,—this unsuspecting statesman persevered in 1803. an opinion that no hostilities would take place, and March, succeeded in rendering his colleagues in Hanover equally insensible to the gathering storm.

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