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Being obliged by the superior force of his enemies
to retire from Corsica,
and was here most graciously received (amidst the general applause of a magnanimous nation) into the protection of his Majesty, King George the Tbird,
by whose fostering hand and munificence
but was enabled during the remainder of his days,
in affluent and dignified retirement. He expressed to the last moment of his life the most Grateful sense of his Majesty's paternal goodness towards him,
Praying for the preservation of his sacred person
and the prosperity of his dominions.
The foreigner who became thus distinguished amongst us was the second son of Hiacinte Paoli, an officer, who was created a Marquis, and appointed Grand Treasurer, and Marshal-general of the Island, during the transitory reign of the unfortunate Theodore the First, King of Corsica. Upon the interference of the French with the affairs of his country, the Marquis sought a retreat in Naples, and there devoted almost all his cares to the instruction of young Pascal, whose talents displayed themselves with firm precocity. He was educated by the Jesuits, who pro. phesied the celebrity of his career; and after being introduced at Court, received a commission in the Neapolitan service. When he left Corsica, he was a mere boy, but was even then taught to cherish a strong love for his native isle, to acquire a just sense of her wrongs, and a hatred of her oppressors. Thus prepared, he caught a vivid air at school from all those passages in the antient classics, which breathe a spirit of liberty; and from his very youth projected the enfranchisement of his fellow-countrymen.
Fourteen years of expatriation were thus spent, during which the experience of time, and the judgment of his father, gradually trained his actions to the practice of virtue, and fortified his mind with the principles of heroism. While his character was slowly developed to the admiration of his friends, the views he had long
planned for the good of his country ripened with consideration.
The dominion of republican Genoa over that devoted island grew more sanguinary the longer it lasted; every character obnoxious to the ruling tyrants, whom the process of the law could not reach, was darkly removed by the dagger of the assassin ; the patience of the people by degrees had sunk exhausted, and then at last despair arose from her form. The Corsicans conspired, and looked around for a leader in the work of deliverance; strong entreaties and warm invitations were addressed to all who could co-operate in the labour; and amongst others, Paoli revisited the land of his birth for the avowed purpose of emancipating it from a foreign yoke.
Upon his first arrival, he undertook the post of secretary to a kinsman, named Caffori, who practised as a physician, and had been chosen one of the insurgent leaders. This man, however, was soon after assassinated, and then Paoli advanced a claim to the vacant place. He was opposed by a Signor Matra; and so violently did the spirit of party rage amongst the friends of liberty, that a sort of battle was fought between the supporters of the rival candidates, in which the Paolists were beaten, and compelled to fly. Matra, therefore, succeeded in his election ; but, ere long, shared the miserable fate of Caffori, and then Paoli again solicited the suffrages of the people, for the honours of a chieftainry. He succeeded, and even acquired a power far more ample than he either expected, or seems at first to have desired.
A general assembly was constituted, consisting of the generals, and chosen representatives from the different towns and parishes, who came to a unanimous vote, that the election of one political and gencral chief was indispensably necessary to their common safety, and that the virtues and ability of General Paoli made him alone worthy of the choice. So far the tide of events ran smooth and prosperous : a different course of things, however now set in. Paoli found himself elected chief without any' opposition whatever, but also without any means to support the power, save those he derived from the resources of his own ingenuity; for there was no money in the treasury, and no arms in the arsenal. In this predicament his first care was to satisfy the people that he had no vile ambition to arrogate to himself an uncontrolled or matchless authority: he therefore took pains to
render all his acts and ordinances, as strictly as possible, conformable to the ancient customs and manners of the country. Thus it was that in the management of the public affairs, which he undertook with some reluctance, he insisted upon the aid of two counsellors of state, and a representative from one of the provinces, who was changed every month.
The first effort he had to make was to expel the enemy from the bosom of the island, who held in many places a fast and dangerous hold. This design being in a great measure accomplished by a series of bold plans, bravely enforced; bis next care was to correct and improve the condition of the people, who had sunk into a state of almost brutal depravity under the lengthened pressure of their miserable thraldom. With this view he opened a University at Corte, and issued directions for the establishment of popular schools throughout every town and village under his jurisdiction. Meanwhile, the plan of hostilities was carried on with variable success; the open country was cleared of the Genoese, but the fortified towns were still in their hands, and offered the prospect of no vain resistance to the untrained and ill armed natives. Such a state of things could only be overthrown by desperate measures; and with a deep resolution of expelling the tyrants, and securing the prosperity of the island, Paoli led his little army to the siege of the Castle of San Fiorenzo. It was composed of brave men, and trusty; each and all of them far better prepared to do or die,' than instructed how to effect the one object, or economise the other; they had no idea of the modes of tactical approach, and systematic attack, and were, moreover, unprotected by a single cannon of any description. The injury they could inflict upon a place regularly fortified and defended, was therefore but trifling; but they persevered, and the republic of Genoa became seriously alarmed. That machine of despotic power was now tottering on the verge of a decay, which was only superinduced by its own excesses ; it made an effort, however, to support its possessions, and sent forward a reinforcement of 500 men to Corsica, while, by a ne. gociation with the King of France, it politically sought to lighten the burden of the contest.
The result of these measures was such as might naturally be expected from a power so successful in intrigue, and ambitious
as France has ever been. Six battalions of French troops in. vested the maritime towns of Corsica, a treaty was set on foot for the purchase of the equivocal rights which Genoa pretended to possess, and a formal transfer of the island for 4,000,000 livres was made at the very time that conferences were maintained with Paoli, by which he was tacitly confirmed in his chieftaincy. But the ultimate aim of these proceedings was too violent to be adjusted on paper, and a second body of troops was landed from France, under the Marquis of Chauvelin, in 1768, which soon came into formal contact with the independent arny under Paoli. The reinforcement consisted of 8000 men, still farther protected by a fleet of ten sail, and, naturally enough, advantages were gained in almost every encounter with the undisciplined natives. Still as the resistance was gallant, so was the cost of victory always dear: the Corsicans generally succeeded, ia their skirmishes. This precarious superiority continued until the French commander was compelled to make known his appre hensions for ultimate victory, and apply for additional support from home. Then did Paoli collect all his strength for a signal blow: he gave formal battle to the invaders on the 5th of September, 1768, and in the issue completely triumphed. The French lost 4 pieces of cannon, and the colours of their royal legion, while their general was forced to fly to Bastia for safety, where a truce highly favourable to the cause of independence was readily granted. Treachery, however, now came forward to thwart the success of' valour. Dumourier, who was afterwards celebrated as a general of the victorious armies of republican France, was at this time an adjutant of the French forces in Corsica. Convinced by the dictates of his natural talents of what ought to be the result of a contest so ill proportioned, he set the suspension of arms at defiance, and without any authority or command, seized upon the post of Isola Rosa, and carried the castle of Giralette by storm.
Thus flagrantly revived, the struggle raged on with fury, and the French government sent forward a third body of reinforcements to secure so unexpected an advantage. The Corsicans still resisted with spirit, but it was easy to foresee that no valour could long resist numbers and arms so decidedly superior. Notwithstanding all this, Paoli held out to the very last, and only ceased to fight when, one after the other, his followers had been cut off, almost to a man, from his side. In this extremity, bis only chance of personal safety was in flight; and, after various adventures, he succeeded in reaching an English frigate, and was faithfully conveyed to Great Britain. Here his conduct was honourably approved; the heroism of his exertions was admired by men of all parties ; he was presented at Court, and pensioned by the King. This fortune enabled him to live with a style of becoming affluence in Portman-square, where his society was not only courted by the great, but also enjoyed by the most distinguished in art and literature, amongst whom were Johnson, Goldsmith, and Reynolds; while his table was always hospitably covered for every exile, like himself, from a home and the continent.
Three and twenty years passed over his head in this happy state, when an event unexpectedly occurred, which once more summoned him to the busy theatre of political manœuvres. The people of France, wearied with the yoke which their kings had so long and so severely held over them, obtained a National Assembly by force, and the language of domination was abandoned, although the spirit of it was bitterly retained. The affairs of Corsica naturally pressed forward for the most serious attention, and it was determined to make the island a department of France, and secure to the people the same laws and liberties as the great nation herself aspired to possess. To effect these advantages, Paoli was summoned to Paris, and, after resigning his pension from the King of Great Britain, he obeyed the invitation. Presented before the bar of the National Assembly, he delivered an eloquent address in favour of the claims of his native country to justice and freedom, and was ultimately voted into the possession of his former command, for which, after swearing fidelity to the French King, he set out at the public expense. The death of that monarch soon followed, and Paoli was involved in difficulties as violent and unjust as any he had before encountered. Corsica became the scene of ardent altercations, and it was soon evident that the promises of the French National Assembly were hollow, and that nothing short of uncontrolled domivion was intended, and nothing short of an unconditional submission would be enforced. Under these adverse prospects there only remained the choice of a dependance