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who had never offended him, and who were fighting for whatever is most dear to man. In 1734, the war was renewed; and Theodore, a Westphalian baron, then appeared upon the stage. · In that age, men were not accustomed to see adventurers play for kingdoms, and Theodore became the common talk of Europe. He had served in the French armies; and having afterwards been noticed both by Ripperda and Alberoni, their example perhaps inflamed a spirit as ambitious and as unprincipled as their
He employed the whole of his means in raising money and procuring arms; then wrote to the leaders of the Corsican patriots, to offer them considerable assistance, if they would erect Corsica into an independent kingdom, and elect him king. When he landed among them, they were struck with his stately person, his dignified manners, and imposing talents : they believed the magnificent promises of foreign assistance which he held out, and elected him king accordingly. Had his means been as he represented them, they could not have acted more wisely than in thus at once fixing the government of their country, and putting an end to those rivalries among the leading families which had so often proved pernicious to the public weal. He struck money, conferred titles, blocked
up the fortified towns which were held by the Genoese, and amused the people with promises of assistance for about eight months; then perceiving that they cooled in their affections toward him in proportion as their expectations were disappointed, he left the island, under the plea of expediting himself the succours which he had so long awaited. Such was his address, that he prevailed upon
several rich merchants in Holland, particularly the Jews, to trust him with cannon and warlike stores to a great amount. They shipped these under the charge of a supercargo.
Theodore returned with this supercargo to Corsica, and put hịm to death on his arrival, as the shortest way of settling the account. The remainder of his life was a series of deserved afflictions. He threw in the stores which he had thus fraudulently obtained,
THE FRENCH IN CORSICA.
47 out he did not dare to land, for Genoa had now called in the French to their assistance, and a price had been set upon his head.
His dreams of royalty were now at an end : he took refuge in London, contracted debts, and was thrown into the King's Bench. After lingering there many years, he was released under an act of insolvency ; in consequence of which, he made over the kingdom of Corsica for the use of his creditors, and died shortly after his deliverance.
The French, who have never acted a generous part in the history of the world, readily entered into the views of the Genoese, which accorded with their own policy ; for such was their ascendancy at Genoa that, in subduing Corsica for their allies, they were in fact subduing it for themselves. They entered into the contest, therefore, with their usual vigour and their usual cruelty. It was in vain that the Corsicans addressed a most affecting memorial to the Court of Versailles ; that remorseless Government persisted in its flagitious project. They poured in troops ; dressed a part of them like the people of the country, by which means they deceived and destroyed many of the patriots ; cut down the standing corn, the vines, and the olives ; set fire to the villages, and hung all the most able and active men who fell into their hands. A war of this kind may be carried on with success against a country so small and so thinly peopled as Corsica. Having reduced the island to perfect servitude, which they called peace, the French withdrew their forces. As soon as they were gone, men, women, and boys rose at once against their oppressors. The circumstances of the times were now favourable to them; and some British ships, acting as allies of Sardinia, bombarded Bastia and St. Fiorenzo, and delivered them into the hands of the patriots. This service was long remembered with gratitude. The impression made upon our own countrymen was less favourable. They had witnessed the heart-burning of rival chiefs, and the dissensions among the patriots; and perceiving the state of bar
barism to which continual oppression and habits of lawless turbulence had reduced the nation, did not recollect that the vices of the people were owing to their unhappy circumstances, but that the virtues which they displayed arose from their own nature. This feeling, perhaps, influenced the British Court, when, in 1746, Corsica offered to put herself under the protection of Great Britain. An answer was returned expressing satisfaction at such a communication, hoping that the Corsicans would preserve the same sentiments, but signifying also that the present was not the time for such a measure.
These brave islanders then formed a government for themselves, under two leaders, Gaffori and Matra, who had the title of protectors. The latter is represented as a partisan of Genoa, favouring the views of the oppressors of his country by the most treasonable means. Gaffori was a hero worthy of old times. His eloquence was long remembered with admiration. A band of assassins was once advancing against him ; he heard of their approach, went out to meet them, and, with a serene dignity which overawed them, requested them to hear him : he then spoke to them so forcibly of the distresses of their country, her intolerable wrongs, and the hopes and views of their brethren in arms, that the very men who had been hired to murder him fell at his feet, implored his forgiveness, and joined his banner. While he was besieging the Genoese in Corte, a pert of the garrison perceiving the nurse with his eldest son, then an infant in arms, straying at a little distance from the camp, suddenly sallied out and seized them. The use they made of their persons was in conformity to their usual execrable conduct. When Gaffori advanced to batter the walls, they held up the child directly over that part of the wall at which the guns were pointed. The Corsicans stopped ; but Gaffori stood at their head, and ordered them to continue the fire. Providentially, the child escaped, and lived to relate, with becoming feeling, a fact so honourable to his father. That father conducted the affairs of the island till 1753,
CORSICA UNDER PAOLI.
when he was assassinated by some wretches, set on, it is believed, by Genoa, but certainly pensioned by that abominable Government after the deed. He left the country in such a state that it was enabled to continue the war two years after his death without a leader ; then they found one worthy of their cause in Pasquale de Paoli.
Paoli's father was one of the patriots who effected their escape from Corsica when the French reduced it to obedience. He retired to Naples, and brought up this his youngest son in the Neapolitan service. The Corsicans heard of young Paoli's abilities, and solicited him to come over to his native country, and take the command. He did not hesitate long; his father, who was too far advanced in years to take an active part himself, encouraged him to go; and when they separated, the old man fell on his neck, and kissed him, and gave him his blessing. “My son," said he, “perhaps I may never see you more ; but in my mind I shall ever be present with you.
Your design is great and noble; and I doubt not but God will bless you in it. I slrall devote to your cause the little remainder of my life in offering up my prayers for your success.” When Paoli assumed the command, he found all things in confusion : he formed a democratical government, of which he was chosen chief; restored the authority of the laws ; established an university; and took such measures, both for repressing abuses and moulding the rising generation, that, if France had not interfered, upon its wicked and detestable principle of usurpation, Corsica might, at this day, have been as free, and flourishing, and happy a commonwealth as any of the Grecian States in the days of their prosperity. The Genoese were at this time driven out of their fortified towns, and must in a short time have been expelled. France was indebted some millions of livres to Genoa : it was not convenient to pay this money; so the French minister proposed to the Genoese that she should discharge the debt by sending six battalions to serve in Corsica for four years. The indignation which this conduct excited in all
generous hearts was forcibly expressed by Rousseau, who, with all his errors, was seldom deficient in feeling for the wrongs of humanity. “You Frenchmen," said he, writing to one of that people, "are a thoroughly servile nation, thoroughly sold to tyranny, thoroughly cruel, and relentless in persecuting the unhappy. If they knew of a freeman at the other end of the world, I believe they would go thither for the mere pleasure of extirpating him.”
The immediate object of the French happened to be purely mercenary; they wanted to clear off their debt to Genoa ; and as the presence of their troops in the island effected this, they aimed at doing the people no farther mischief. Would that the conduct of England had been at this time free from reproach ! but a proclamation was issued by the English Government, after the peace of Paris, prohibiting any intercourse with the rebels of Corsica. Pauli said he did not expect this from Great Britain. This great man was deservedly proud of his country. “I defy Rome, Sparta, or Thebes,” he would say, 66 to show me thirty years of such patriotism as Corsica can boast !" Availing himself of.the respite which the inactivity of the French and the weakness of the Genoese allowed, he prosecuted his plans of civilising the people. He used to say, that though he had an unspeakable pride in the prospect of the fame to which he aspired, yet, if he could but render his countrymen happy, he could be content to be forgotten. His own importance he never affected to undervalue. “We are now to our country,” said he, “like the prophet Elisha stretched over the dead child of the Shunamite-eye to eye, nose to nose, mouth to mouth. It begins to recover warmth, and to revive : I hope it will yet regain full health and vigour.”
But when the four years were expired, France purchased the sovereignty of Corsica from the Genoese for forty millions of livres : as if the Genoese had been entitled to sell it; as if any bargain and sale could justify one country in taking possession of another against the will of the inhabitants, and butchering all who oppose the