Bonaparte and Commerce
The Morning Post (November 20, 1810)
Who art thou with front so bold,
My imperial will opposing?
Caitiff? hast thou not been told,
I'm all ports against thee closing?
Miscreant! think not to evade
My decrees and sov'reign pleasure!
War is now my only trade,
Terror my compulsive measure.
Tyrant! I've been often told
Of thy rancour, fury, madness!
But to hear thee rage and scold,
Ne'er shall sink me into sadness.
Thunder then thy fierce decrees,
Be thy barbarous triumphs vaunted,
While BRITANNIA rules the seas,
Vandal! I remain undaunted.
Death and hell! what do I hear!
Varlet! scoundrel! robber! ruffian!
Off!—or from my fist thine ear
Shall receive imperial cuffing.
Bring me faggots! bring me fire!
Piled in one commingled pyre,
I devote now to—combustion!
Burn away, my Bullyrock!
Burn away!—the goods are paid for—
Quick consumption of the stock,
Merchants know is good their trade for.
Yet I pity the poor slaves
Who must always pay the piper,
When thy fiery passion raves,
O thou most malicious viper!
1. Since the Berlin Decree of November 21, 1806, Napoleon had been attempting to close all the ports of the Continent to British shipping. However, British goods continued to reach France through various means, mostly by smuggling them in from the Baltic countries.
2. In 1810 Napoleon sought more extreme measures to keep British goods out of France. The decree of Fontainbleau on October 10, 1810, prescribed sentences of ten years imprisonment and branding for the smuggling of British manufactures. All goods illegally imported were subject to confiscation; colonial produce was to be sold by the state and manufactured goods were to be publicly destroyed. These measures precipitated the crisis of 1811.