Change of Ministry, and Peace of Amiens, 1801
At the commencement of 1801, Britain had not only to lament this un expected turn of fortune, but to reckon among her enemies the whole of the northern states of Europe, which had found it necessary to place themselves on a friendly footing with Bonaparte, and though they did not de clare war against Britain, yet acted in such a manner as to render hostilities unavoidable. Nelson sailed in March with a large fleet for Copenhagen, and proved so successful against the Danish fleet, as to reduce that country to a state of neutrality. The death of the Russian Emperor Paul, which took place at the 'same time, and the accession of Alexander, who was friendly to Britain, completely broke up the northern confederacy. Yet the great achievements of France on the continent, joined to the distresses of a famine which at this time bore hard on the British people, produced a desire for that peace which, a year before, might have been gained upon better terms. With a view, apparently, to save the honor of Mr. Pitt and his friends, a new ministry was appointed under Mr. Addington, by whom a peace was at length, in the end of the year (1801), concluded with France, which was left in the state of aggrandizement which has just been described.
The war of the French Revolution placed Great Britain in possession of a considerable number of islands and colonies in the East and West Indies and elsewhere; and while only two war ships had been lost on her part, she had taken or destroyed 80 sail of the line, 181 frigates, and 224 smaller ships, belonging to the enemy, together with 743 privateers, 15 Dutch, and 76 Spanish ships. The triumphs of the British fleets were indeed numerous and splendid, and had the effect of keeping the national commerce almost inviolate during the whole of the war while that of France was nearly destroyed. There was, however, hardly the most trifling instance of success by land; and the expenses of the contest had been enormous. Previously to 1793, the supplies usually voted by the House of Commons were L14,000,000; but those for 1801 were L42,197,000 - a sum about double the amount of the whole land-rent of the country.