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who, in early life, had been a journeyman printer. Franklin had also acquired great celebrity by the 1776. invention of the lightning conductor, an invention which was founded on a discovery that electricity and the fluid discharged in lightning are the same.
FRENCH REVOLUTION - NAPOLEON.
THE great debts contracted by Lewis XIV. were A. D. still more increased by his successor Lewis XV., whose reign unfortunately extended from 1715 to 1774. The whole country was exhausted, and the sovereign actually carried on an usurious traffic in corn. Lewis XVI. was a very amiable monarch, and was anxious to relieve the country of all possible burthens, but he had not the advantage of able ministers and financiers. The national debt increased, and the taxes became more oppressive. To assist himself and his people, the King called a National Assembly. The people, inspirited by the opportunity presented of giving a free expression to their feelings, demanded that the noblesse and the clergy should bear their fair share of the burthens. Incited by their apprehensions, both of these classes made a pretence of yielding, but indirectly excited the people to make
A. p. further demands, and in a more imperious manner,
and at the same time they represented to the King that those demands amounted to rebellion. The King in his alarm brought foreign troops into Paris, and dismissed the popular favourite, Necker, in 1789. Hereupon the people took up arms in their own defence, and on the 14th July they conquered the Bastile. Nobles and priests took to flight, the King and the royal family were brought prisoners from Versailles to Paris, and when the nobles had excited Austria to war, and the King had made an attempt to escape, he was placed in closer confinement. The monarchy was now at an end. In 1792 France was declared a Republic; and on the 21st of January, 1798, the king was guillotined. Meantime the Republicans, inspirited by their successes, conquered every enemy upon their frontiers, and, after a ten years' war, obtained peace on most favourable terms: even England, powerful as she was, was obliged at the peace to give up all her conquests in the war. During all this time France was experiencing horrors and misery from civil commotions. Robespierre, about 1793, had committed the most cruel murders: the other five directors who followed him were powerless. From 1799 Buonaparte was at the head of affairs in France, first under the title of Consul, with regal authority, but from 18th May, 1804, as Napoleon, Emperor of the French. In 1805 he became King of Italy, and in 1806 Protector of the Rhenish Confederacy.
He reduced his country to a state of tranquillity, drew up a code of laws, and re-established divine 1812. worship, and, above all, brought his army to such a state of discipline, that the best forces of the continent were unable to withstand them when led on by Napoleon in person. Several powers opposed his schemes of aggrandisement. Austria was quickly conquered in 1805; the Prussian army was routed in the following year; and the armies of Russia were several times defeated in 1807, so that Alexander was obliged to accept the terms of the peace of Tilsit.
of Tilsit. Austria made great exertions in 1809 to recover her ancient fame and power, but without success. By each of her last treaties she lost a portion of her territory, and paid dearly to Napoleon for suspension of hostilities. Three states alone remained exempt from the general submission extorted by the fortunate conqueror, namely, Spain, which made a strong opposition to Joseph Napoleon when forced upon her as her king, an opposition she supported in many bloody battles; England, the mistress of the sea, which supported Spain with large resources; and Russia, which appeared from its very position to be safe from any attempt on the part of France. Russia was not, however, so secure as it appeared; she formed an alliance with England. In the summer of 1812 Napoleon crossed the Niehmen, and a few months later marched into Moscow. Here, however, that tide of fortune which had borne him on victoriously through so many bloody battles began
A. D. to turn.
While his army was resting in their 1815.
city, the forces of Russia were increasing in numbers and strength. The fire of Moscow, by some ascribed to design and the self-devotion of the Russians, and by others to the carelessness of the French soldiery, soon drove Napoleon from his quarters; and without having encountered his enemy, or accomplished even the semblance of a negotiation — for the Muscovites abandoned their
city, and not a soul appeared either to defy or conciliate the conqueror - Napoleon was obliged to give the word to march back to France. On his retreat the severity of the frosts of Russia, and an enemy always ready either to contest each pass, or press upon the rear, destroyed almost the whole of his immense army.
Russia, Prussia, and Austria, now formed in a confederacy, which was joined by Sweden and some of the German princes. On the 18th of October, 1813, the allies won a glorious victory at Leipsic; on the 31st March, 1814, Alexander and Frederic William III. made their triumphant entry into Paris. On the 3d of April, Napoleon was deposed, and the island of Elba assigned as his future residence for life. Lewis XVIII. was restored, and by the terms of a general peace, settled at Paris, France was limited to her ancient boundaries. However, on the 1st of March, 1815, Napoleon fled from Elba, landed in France, and, being joined by the greater part of the army, was soon once more a formidable op
ponent. Lewis XVIII. was obliged to leave Paris, A. D. and Napoleon immediately entered. Russia, Prussia, and England renewed their alliance, and their numerous armies crossed the Rhine. On the 18th of June, Napoleon was totally defeated on the plains of Waterloo by the allied armies of England and Prussia, and was again obliged to leave his capital in the hands of his conquerors. Escape being impossible, Napoleon surrendered to a British man-of-war, and was sent as prisoner for life to the island of St. Helena, where he died on the 5th of May, 1821.
Another general peace was concluded at Paris in November, 1815. All that remained to be settled about the affairs of Germany was brought to a conclusion at Aix-la-Chapelle, in October, 1818.
It was now hoped that Europe, so long convulsed, had been at last restored to a state of lasting tranquillity. But in March, 1820, tumults broke out in Spain. Ferdinand was compelled by his people to limit the arbitrary powers of his sovereignty by a free constitution. This example was soon followed by the Portuguese and the Brazilians, and then by the Neapolitans and the Sicilians. But the Emperor of Austria, in the year 1821, reduced Naples and Sicily once more under the authority of their respective kings; and in 1823 France effected the same with respect to Spain. We now turn to the more pleasing consideration of the rise of free and independent