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By Clive Emsley

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The government had doubts and consequently scoured foreign markets and chartered merchant ships; fifty-six ships were despatched to Canada to purchase and carry back wheat originally destined for Portugal and Spain. All of the wheat imported up to the end of 1795 was purchased by the government and carried in government or government-chartered ships. The wheat was released on to the London corn market by Claude Scott, a London corn factor, who advised the Board of Trade and the Privy Council throughout the crisis.

The fervour which many prisoners showed for the Revolution prompted considerable apprehension, especially in coastal areas fearful of invasion. A Catholic priest in Kent answered those who scoffed at the idea of invasion by asking what would the French not do, 'who fear neither God, man nor DevilT Popular credulity allowed the most bizarre views of the ranks and capabilities of the new French armies to circulate. '9 Frenchmen, and other foreigners, who had lived in Britain for years now found themselves objects of suspicion.

He suggested that instead of the allowance for bread in their pay, which, he suspected, was often spent on other things, the troops might be issued with bread. Pitt approved of this idea, fearing CRISIS UPON CRISIS 43 that unless something was done more serious disturbances would occur in May. Eventually, by diverting emergency supplies and authorising army victuallers to draw on supplies earmarked for London, the authorities ensured that the soldiers received bread. 4 The disturbance among the Northamptonshire Militia prompted a gentleman of Falmouth to write to Portland requesting that the Northamptonshires, then ordered to Falmouth and its neighbourhood, be sent elsewhere.

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