THE French, after the great plans and preparations in 1789-94 for a new egalitarian republic, returned in 1799 to an imitation of Louis XIV.'s monarchy, with a hierarchy of nobles, even-the one thing that the early reformers hated most. The French were not yet ready for parliamentary government, which requires a nation educated to moderation on the part both of majorities and minorities. However, the French never entirely gave up the Parliamentary idea. Even Napoleon kept going a system of what pretended to be popular assemblies, and in future France was generally at least on a level with England as regards the degree to which public opinion controlled policy. In the late 1790's, having gained certain very big and positive things from the Revolution, the French did not trouble very much about liberty: they now for a time returned to the old autocratic government that they had known.
Napoleon's system contained a nominated Council of State, where his ablest civil servants worked out details of policy; a Tribunate which discussed measures without voting; a Legislative Assembly which voted without discussion, and an impotent Senate. This machinery existed only to execute the Emperor's orders, which were expressed emphatically on a great variety of subjects. Administrative acts he carried through directly, dealing with the prefects, each of whom controlled one of the eighty-three territorial departments of France formed by the National Assembly. Private life was closely observed by police spies. Any one guilty of anti-Imperial talk or action might find the government's heavy hand falling on him.
The administrative system which he gave France-a rationalised version of that of the old monarchy-still survives there, and so does the Code Napoleon which he pushed through to completion. It was old-fashioned, as, for instance, in emphasising the powers of heads of families, but it was clear, systematic, and uniform. Napoleon did nothing for women's education and little for elementary education, but he organised a secondary school and university system to train capable public servants. The study of history was discouraged in these institutions.
Napoleon's system existed in virtue of a tacit contract between himself and the French people. If he failed to give them glory and security he would fall. There was an essential weakness in his position, as compared with even the poorest representative of a legitimate royal line, and he tried to remedy it by his marriage with a Habsburg princess. His prestige among the long-service veteran professionals of his army was the greatest that any leader has ever enjoyed, but the civil population after 1805-07 was murmuring loudly against taxation and conscription, though Napoleon financed his wars largely by exactions from invaded Germany and Italy and recruited his army from German, Italian, and Polish volunteers and conscripts. Very many French conscripts deserted. It is hard to imagine a man so infatuated as not to have made peace after 1807. Napoleon's public excuse was that the unrelenting malice of England made it impossible for him to feel secure. Certainly French and English interests would have clashed in colonial spheres and the East. Privately he argued that he could not afford to let the French miss their ration of victories. In truth he was obsessed by soldiering and war.
GREAT BRITAIN gave the French their first national resistance, for, from the beginning of the war, people of all classes were prepared to make sacrifices for victory. This spirit to some extent spread to the rank and file in the army and navy, and probably made some difference between their conduct in action and that of continental troops, whose heart was sometimes not in their work. This does not mean that every able-bodied man of military age was expected to be " engaged in work of national importance" as in 1914-18. The regular army was not more than a few hundred thousands strong, though a large number of regiments for home defence underwent perfunctory training. Farmers and landowners were able during the enforced shortage of Russian and German wheat to sell corn at high prices and to bring large tracts of poor land under the plough. Their standard of living went up very much and they found it hard to revert to pre-war conditions after 1815. Their prosperity did not extend to their labourers.
England was governed under George III. by the younger William Pitt (1793-1800); after Pitt's resignation, by Adding-ton, Pitt again, Grenville, Portland, Perceval, and Liverpool in succession. These are not great names, except for Pitt's:
and Pitt's chief title to fame had been his peace ministry (1783-93) when he had curtailed expense, kept national accounts, and supported-very gingerly-some pressing reforms. Unlike his famous father, he was not a good war minister, but he shared with his father the gift of unshaken confidence. The details of England's military activities are of small interest before 1807, and Pitt's repressive measures at home are perhaps better forgotten. In 1800 his agents bribed the Irish Parliament to vote for amalgamation with the English Parliament at Westminster, as the Scottish Parliament had been amalgamated in 1707. Restlessness in Ireland had led to rebellion and an abortive French invasion in 1798. The King, rather treacherously, refused to let Union be followed (as Pitt meant it to be) by the liberation of Irish Catholics from all the penalties and burdens to which they were still liable. They were emancipated in 1829, but it was too late. George with his Tory prejudices and interest in farming was far more popular with the aristocracy than the earlier Hanoverians had been, and his righteous and sober private life endeared him to the middle class, but he did as much to break up the British Empire as a much worse man might have done. Few merits can be attributed to his son, who was Prince Regent from 1810 to 1820 and King George IV. from 1820 to 1830. Some indication of his personality can be gathered from his fantastic and vulgar palace at Brighton, the Dome.