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union, no grounds on which an alliance can be formed fufficiently refpectable to refit their efforts.

Should we, however, be mistaken in these conjectures, though we can not conceive them to be utterly deftitute of foundation-fhould the object of this concert of princes he merely what they profefs, the maintenance of rigal and despotic authority, and a refiftance to every innovation whatever in favour of the people, we do not fee that the cafe is much meliorated, as far as regards the intereft and happiness of mankind. In Poland a revolution was effected without blood, with the unanimous concurrence of both prince and people; a conftitution founded on the welltried basis of British liberty, modelled after that which has exifled for ages the glory and the wonder of Europe, because the only government which united perfonal liberty and perfonal fecurity with the prefervation of general order. This conftitution, fo equitable, fo acceptable to thofe for whose benefit it was framed, could only be blotted out by the blood of the people. This conftitution is to be annulled by defpotic forceand why? Because it was an innovation in favour of the people; be caufe it afferted that the people had rights independent of the will of their malters. The precedent, as we intimated, is truly dangerous. If the principle be just, no nation has a right, however free its legillature, however independent its government, to better its condition by amending a fingle law, fhould that amendment be contrary to the will of the executive government within, or to that of any foreign po without, which chufes to take exception against its proceedings.

There is no clafs of men in any fate that enjoys a portion of liberty, 17924

which ought not to be alarmed at fuch a precedent. Even thofe who fubfift by the abuses of a free govern ment, thofe who receive the wages of corruption, ought to remember that they are only gainers by the general freedom of the government, that where force can command, influence becomes unneceflary. Where defpotifm is eftablished, and in proportion as it is established, every clafs of men becomes alike infigaificant. Ariftocracy itfelf is only "a Corinthian column," where it refts on the durable bafis of public liberty, where its foundation at least has been popular. There is fcarcely any dif tinction of family in defpotic ftates, because the monarch is the fountain of family, honour, confequence, nobility, every thing. The upftart greatnefs of a Potemkin or a Pomel would create aftonishment in England; but in a country where nobility itfelf is debafed, the circumftance excites no furprize.

It is of little importance whe ther fuch a project is the dictate of policy and previous concert, or whether it may be the cafual refult of a peculiar combination of circum ftances: the effects will be equally fatal. The nobleman, the legillator, all thofe whofe influence and confe. quence depend upon a balance between the democratical and regal powers, will find themfelves

to efficiency and confequence completely annihilated; nothing will extà but kings, and their immediate dependents; or rather, tyrants and their flaves. Such was once the fytem of Europe; and we believe that philofophers and authors afcribe too much to their own peculiar functions, when they fay that the prov grefs of fence and literature will never permit it to be fo again,

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CH A P. VI.

France. Defects of the Conftitution. Character of the Legislative Affembly. The meeting of that Body. Indications of Faction. Threatening Appearances. Convention of Pilnitz. Concert of Princes. Decree concerning the King's Brothers. Answers from Foreign Courts. League formed in the North. Decree against the Emigrants. Exercife of the Royal Veto. Intrigues of the Republican Faction. Imprudence of the Emigrants. Troubles in St. Domingo. Non-juring Priefs. Decrees against them. Second Interpofition of the Veto. King's Speech on the State of Foreign Affairs. Petion elected Mayor of Paris. Club of Feuillans. Seditious Proceedings of the Jacobins. Defigns of Leopold. State of the French Finances. Troubles in the Colonies. Hoftile Appearances. Impeachment of Minifters. Death' of the Emperor. His Character. Triumph of the Jacobins. New Miniftry. Dumourier. Decree of Sequeftration against the Emigrants.

TH

HE ftate of France during the preceding year, affords fcarce. ly a fingle profpect confoling to the philanthropic eye, fcarcely a spot or point on which it can reft with fatiffaction. It is a dreary wilderness disfigured with crimes, and deluged with human blood: and whether we contemplate the unprincipled attack on its conftitution by a combination of defpots, or the favage fury with which a frantic populace and a bloody faction difgraced the name of liberty, we have equally to lament the depravity of human nature, the deep-rooted malignity of tyrants, and the defolating madness of a relentless multitude.

In treating of the defects of the new conftitution, we inftanced feyeral caufes which might operate to its deftruction. The weakness of the executive government laid it open on every occafion to the affaults of faction; and had this caufe not operated internally to the overthrow of the government, it would equally have accomplished that end, by impeding the exertions of minifters for the defence of the country. The par triotic focieties too (as they were erroneously termed) contained in

themselves the feeds of anarchy and confufion. Inftead of aiding, they were calculated to oppofe or to go. vern the legislature; they were "an "empire within an empire ;" and as they had at their difpofal the moft defperate inftrument of faction, the mob of a depraved and overgrown metropolis, it was not probable that their leaders would long reft contented in a fubordinate fituation,

The great fource of misfortune to France, from the commencement of the revolution, has been the prevailing apprehenfion which has exifted in the minds of the people, of the return of defpotifm. This has enabled a vicious faction to act upon their fears, to keep the public mind in perpetual agitation, to teach the multitude to confider their beft friends as their determined foes, and to inftigate them to exceffes which muft difgrace, for ever, a civilized nation. Too many of the provifions established by the legislature itself, were dictated by this groundless fear. Hence a mere fhadow of executive authority was conftituted without efficiency, without vigour, Hence the feffions of the legislative body were ordered to be held within

the

the polluted walls of a factious capital. Hence the conftituent affembly were induced to pass that famous decree, fo honourable indeed to their own character, but fo fatal to their country, which deprived them for a certain period of the privilege of being re-elected to reprefent the people. With the conftituent affembly the fun of French liberty fet. With it the wisdom, the moderation, the dignity of the nation was diffolved. That fatal decree which deprived the country of all the affiftance which might be derived from the exertion of the most brilliant talents matured by experience, placed in their feats men incapable either from want of principle or of ability to exercise the facred and important function of legislators. The new affembly confifted chiefly of country gentlemen, whofe inexperience in political affairs rendered them in competent to act for themselves, and made them the paffive dupes of a party, which, though not numerous, compenfated for this defect by its activity and boldnefs. This faction confifted of men of letters, but not of the highest rank in literature. The editors of newspapers, and the publishers of periodical libels, were, by the fingular change in the affairs of France, elevated to the rank of fenators, and foon affumed to themfelves the authority of fovereigns. Even of this faction, however, it would be uncandid in the extreme, to confider all the members as equally unprincipled. The great majority of them were decided republicans; but fome were mere enthufiafts in this fyftem, while the object of others was undoubtedly to gratify their private ambition, or to fatiate their private revenge. In this point, however, they were all agreed, that no government but a pure democracy

was adapted to the condition of free men, and that France could never be happy and flourishing till every. veftige of monarchy was finally obliterated. This point they determined to enforce, and few of them, we fear, hefitated with respect to the means by which it was to be accomplished.

This

There is fomething in true religion which foftens the ferocious paffions of man; it can arreft the hand of the affaffin, it can whisper peace to the perturbed fpirit. It rejects the attainment of its end by unlawful means, and follows rather the dictates of confcience, and immediate duty, than the most splendid vifions which the imagination may form of diftant perfection. only fafeguard of moral principle the republican philofophers of France unfortunately wanted; they were even bigots in infidelity; the throne and the altar were equally obnoxious to them; and many of the exceffes into which they plunged, may be more properly attributed to their irreligious prejudices than to any other caufe.

Such was the general outline of the first legislative affembly, as it was called, though we muft except from cenfure, fome refpectable and independent characters, who fall properly under neither of the claffes which we have defcribed. The affembly met on the 1st of October, and the following day proceeded to the verification of their powers. On the 3d M. Paftoret was elected prefident, and Meff. Francois, Garron de Coulon, Cerutti, Lacepede, and Guyton-Morveau, were proclaimed fecretaries. On the 4th all the members of the affembly folemnly took the conftitutional oath in the following terms:

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"I fwear to maintain to the utmost of my power, the conftitution of the kingdom, decreed by the conftituent national affembly in the years 1789, 1790, and 1791; and neither to propofe nor confent to any thing during the continuance of this legiflature, which may be injurious or contrary to it; and to be in every thing faithful to the nation, the law, and the king."

A deputation of the members was at the fame time appointed to wait upon the king, to acquaint his majefty that the affembly was finally conflituted.

The fpirit with which the future deliberations of this affembly was to be conducted, foon began to manifeft itself. On the return of the deputation to the affembly on the 5th, the reporter having stated that the king had informed them by the minister of justice, that he would receive the deputation at nine o'clock, one of the republican members ad verted to a decree in the month of July, 1789, which enacted, that the affembly and its deputations fhould correfpond directly with the king, and not through the medium of the minifters; that decree was therefore re-enacted and enforced with peculiar rigour.

The king having announced that he would repair to the affembly on Friday the 12th, it was next debated in what manner he should be received. In the decree that followed this debate, the mean and trifling fpirit by which the affembly was afterwards to be actuated, was clearly evinced. The moment the king entered the affembly, the members were to rife and be uncovered, but as foon as he arrived at the bar, they were to fit down and cover themselves. The king was to be feated on the left of the prefident,

not on an elevated throne, but on a fimilar feat to that of the prefident. These petty indignities were as impolitic as they were undeserved, and were inconfiftent with magnanimity, and utterly unbecoming a great nation.

Previous to the arrival of the king on the 7th, feveral deputations appeared at the bar, among the rest, one from the commons of Paris which rene ved their proteftations to maintain the conftitution inviolate; the king alfo fent a written notice that he had appointed M. Bertrand to be the naval minifter, in the room of M. Thevenard.

Notwithstanding the jealoufy which had been manifefted by the affembly on the 5th, and the defire which they had fince fhewn of degrading the regal dignity, yet the first meeting between the king and the legislature was cordial. The excellent temper of Louis did not permit him to retain refentment, and the courtesy and affability with which he entered the hall, rendered the mott inveterate republicans refpectful. The king addreffed the affemby in a judicious and patriotic oration. He pointed out briefly to them the nature of the duties they had undertaken to perform, and recommended fome objects as requiring inftant attention. The ftate of the finances, he obferved, was fuch as required frong and fpeedy exertion to establish an equilibrium between the receipt and the expenditure; to accelerate the affeflment and collection of taxes, and to introduce an invariable order into all the departments of this immenfe adminiftration. The revision of the civil code was also an object which he recommended to their care; and the fimplifying the mode of proceeding, fo as to render the attainment of justice more eafy and more prompt.

He

He proceeded to enlarge on the neceffity of a fyftem of national education; on the organization of the army, and the propriety of reftoring order and difcipline. He referved himfelf to a future occafion for the communication of his fentiments concerning the navy. He ftated his hopes that the nation would not be troubled by any attack from abroad. Recommended in a ftyle of paternal regard, unanimity and unalterable confidence between the two great branches of government, the legiflative and executive powers, as he pointedly remarked that the enemies to the profperity of the county were continually labouring to difunite them.

The fpeech of the king was received with unbounded applaufes, and the prefident replied in terms of confidence and refpect. He complimented the king on his appearance among the reprefentatives of the nation, which he termed a new engagement with the country. He obferved that the conftitution, fo far from diminishing the real power of the king, had only placed it on the firmeft foundation; it had converted thofe into friends, who had formerly heen termed fubjects; and had made him the first monarch in the world. He concluded with expreffing the with of the affembly to co-operate with the benevolent views of the king, to purify the bufinefs of legiflation, to re-animate public credit, to reprefs anarchy. "Such, fire, faid he, is our duty, fuch are our earnest wishes, fuch are yours; fuch are our hopes, the gratitude and, bleffings of the people will be our reward."

It would have been a circumftance truly fortunate for France if thefe fentiments had been fincere, or if this harmony had continued unbro

ken; but it was not merely the republican ardour of the new legiflators, which revived the jealoufy between the executive and legislative powers; a fill more potent caufe exifted externally. The hoftile preparations of the emperor and the continental powers; the veil of secrecy, which they caft over their proceedings; the vague and obfcure terms in which they expreffed themfelves compared with the open boafts, and the imprudent and intemperate declarations of the emigrant princes and nobility, contributed to excite in the minds of the people, a variety of fufpicions, in which all the perfons connected with the court were occafionally involved.

To unravel more explicitly the caufe of thefe fatal jealoufies, and in reality of all the unfortunate circumftances which afterwards afflicted this unhappy and diftracted country, it will be neceffary to have a retrofpect to a tranfaction which occurred fome months previous to the period of which we are now treating, but which was then faintly known by the vague infinuations of rumour, or by the unconnected intimations of fome whofe information appears to have been rather founded upon conjecture than upon competent evidence.

The meetings of great and pow erful princes, like the conjunctions of the heavenly bodies, have generally been confidered as ominous to the peace and happinefs of the world. Towards the clofe of the fammer of 1791, an extraordinary convention of this kind took place at . initz in. Saxony, between the emperor Leopold and the prefent king of Prussia, between whom as principals a treaty was formed, to which other powers are fuppofed to have afterwards acceded. The profeffed object of this treaty was fufficiently profligate,

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