CHAPTER IX
LORD BATHURST

"NOTHING," wrote the Russian Commissioner to his Government after near three years' experience at St Helena, "can be more absurd, more impolitic, less generous and less delicate than the conduct of the English to Napoleon." It would not be fair or just, however, to debit Lowe or Cockburn with the responsibility for these ignominies, or for the general principle of the Emperor's treatment. They were only the somewhat narrow and coarse agents of a sordid and brutal policy. It was the British Ministry which was answerable jointly and severally for the treatment of Napoleon; and which, strangely enough, was equally condemned by the partisans of Lowe. "Worst of all," says the Governor's most efficient advocate, ". . . was the conduct of the British Government, which, viewed in itself, was utterly undignified: viewed from Sir Hudson Lowe's standpoint was unfair and treacherous." When, however, we remember who and what these ministers were we cease to marvel. Vandal, in one of the most eloquent passages of his noble history, points out that the eventual victory of Great Britain over Napoleon was the victory of persistency over genius. "The men who governed in London, flung by the illness of George III. into a chaos of difficulties, placed between a mad King and a discredited Regent, exposed to the virulent attacks of the Opposition, to the revolt of injured interests, to the complaints of the City, face to face with

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