Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

reconciled himself to the refolution of falling under its ruins? On the whole, we must attribute to him the character of a great, though, perhaps, not of a good prince-a falfe religion, and false notions of human rights and liberties, cannot fail to deprave the heart.

Thus terminated a war, which, at least for the prefent, fecures the British interests in India from the apprehenfion of a formidable enemy. The permanence of our empire there will depend upon caufes which we cannot calculate with exactnefs; upon the genius and talents of fome enterprising warrior, who fhall have addrefs to combine and unite the native princes in a common caufe; upon the state of political affairs at home; or, perhaps, upon the fubordination and freedom from faction of the British foldiers themselves. The time, however, feems remote when a change of this kind is likely to happen; it will depend upon circumftances which no man can forefee, whether fuch a change will be for the detriment or advantage of Britain.

The dominions of Tippoo were divided among the conquerors, admitting, on motives of policy, the Mahrattas to a fhare, though they had taken no part in the war. To the company the part allotted was the province of Canara, and the districts of Coimbatoor and Daraporam, all the territory between the British poffeffions in the Carnatic and thofe of Malabar, with the forts and ports forming the heads of all the paffes above the Ghauts on the Table Land, and the fortrefs, city, and ifland of Seringapatam. To the Nizam were affigned the districts of Gooty and Gurrumconda, together with a tract of country along the line of Chitteldroog, Sera, Nandidroog and Colar. To the Mah.

rattas were given Harponelly, Soonda, Anagoondy, Chitteldroog, and a part of Biddenore, except the frontier fortreffes. A defcendant of the ancient rajahs of Myfore, about 5 years old, was fought out, and placed upon the throne, under certain conditions; and the fons and. relations of Tippoo were removed into the Carnatic.

If we may make the abrupt tranfition from the eastern to the weftern continent, from fcenes of war and devaftation to thofe of peace and enlightened policy, we hall take a fhort review of the affairs of the United States of America during this period. We fay a short review; for happy, truly happy is that country which affords the feweft materials for the pen of the hiftorian. Though the American republic, however, was happily freed from foreign conteft and domeftic tumults, it fuftained an irreparable lofs in the death of the venerable Washington. This melancholy event took place on the 15th of December, 1799, and was occafioned by an inflammatory fore throat, the first 1ymptoms of which appeared only three days previous to his death. We have been not inattentive obfervers to the career of this illuftrious man, from the period of his affuming the command of the revolutionary army of America; and we do not hesitate to pronounce him the greatest character of modern times; and, perhaps, with all the embellishments of fabulous and partial hiftorians, there is fcarcely one in the annals of antiquity that will bear a comparison. In him prudence was united with vi gour; wifdom with patriotifm; courage with disintereftédnefs. If he had ambition, it was of the pureft kind; exempt from that felfifhnefs with which this paffion is too commonly united; and he built his fame upon

N 2

the

[ocr errors]

that of his fervices to his country, and his love of human kind. That rare and valuable quality, improperly called common-fenfe, becaufe in reality it is the leaft common, never appears to have deferted him, whether in council or the field, in the moment of depreffion, or in the ftill more dangerous crifis, that of his elevation; and he is one of the very few of whom it may be afferted, that he fcarcely ever faid or did a foolish thing. He was one of thofe who are formed by Providence to be the founders of empires; and, if we look to fecond caufes only, we may venture to affirm, that to the talents of Washington America is more indebted than to any other circumftance for its liberty and independence. With probably few of the advantages derivable from a regular and claffical education, his eloquence was that of the heart, and generally affected the hearts of thofe to whom it was addreffed. Indeed, there is perhaps fcarcely to be found more perfect fpecimens of pure and genuine eloquence than his answer to the proclamation of general Bur. goigne in 1777, and his farewell oration on refigning the prefidency of the United States. Without methodical and early inftruction in the modern fchool of tactics, he was enabled to affume the command of a great army, and to contend, under infinite difadvantages, with the first generals of Great Britain. Without the regular fucceffion of office, and the difcipline of diplomatic fcience, he was perhaps the first flateiman of the prefent age. He founded a government, he maintained it in external and internal tranquility, and left it in a ftate of unexampled profperity.

the proudeft and moft folid bafis, an early period of his life. Be fore the age of twenty he was ap pointed a major in the colonial militia of Virginia; rather, we may fuppofe, from refpect to his family, which was opulent, than from a knowledge of his talents, which were untried. On the commencement of hoftilities between the French and English, in the war of 1754, he was fent to negotiate with the French governor of Fort Du Quefne, to afcertain the boundaries of the colouy, which was in fact the caufe of the difpute. He fucceeded in averting the invafion for the moment; but, hoftilities breaking out in the following year, he accompanied the unfortunate general Braddock, as lieutenant-colonel of a provincial corps. It is faid that Wafhington conducted the retreat with fhill, and with the fame intrepid calmness which diftinguifhed his fubfequent conduct. From the year 1758, when he quitted the fervice on account of his health,. he appears to have lived at his feat of Mount Vernon, in the moft perfect retirement, till the difaftrous conteft which took place between the mother country and the colonies. once more called him into action. He was chofen a member of the American congrefs, which met at Philadelphia in 1774; and was foon after appointed to the command of the provincial army. Of his great talents and confummate judgment that defperate and difficult conteft affords the beft of proofs; and the character of Washington is written by the hiftorian in every detail that he has given of the incidents of the war. Yet it is remarkable, that fuch was the humanity of this incomparable man, that he never could afterwards bear to converseon a fubject which would have adminiftered to the vanity of almost any.

Mr. Washington commenced his military and political career at

FOREIGN

41

any other individual. "Sir," faid he one day, to a foreign gentleman, I obferve you with me to speak of the war. It is a converfation I always avoid. I rejoice in the eftablishment of the liberties of America; but the time of the ftruggle was a horrible period, in which the best men were compelled to do many things repugnant to their nature."

At the close of the war he again went into retirement; but the diforders arifing from paper currency, and an unfettled government, once more called forth his attention. When a new conflitution was framed for the United States, he was chofen prefident. He feems to have accepted it rather from neceflity than choice; and afterwards to have refinquished the honour in compliance with his own inclination, when his Country seemed to have no further claim or call for his fervices. In a word, his conduct exhibited to the world the character of a truly great and good man-epitheis fo rarely united, that they have almost been fuppofed incompatible.

Of the nature of the difpute between the American and French republics we have never yet received fuch fatisfactory information* as to enable us to lay the true ftate of it before the republic. The hardships on individuals from the fearch and capture of American veffels were undoubtedly great and eruel; and the conduct of the French

HISTORY.aku

Life

directory, and their minifter Talley. rand, in a certain mysterious transaction, must be confidered as infamous, unless it be cleared up more to our fatisfaction than has hitherto been done. The conduct of the American government, however, in this inftance, has afforded an example of political wisdom and forbearance which rarely occurs on this fide of the Atlantic. Inftead of too haftily resenting the infolence and rapacity of the French directory, they took advantage of the change of government, and difpatched an embally to negotiate with the first conful. In the beginning of March Meff. Murray and Elfworthy, the American commiffioners, arrived at Paris. The adjustment of the queftion, however, appears to have occupied no inconfiderable time, and it was not till the 30th of September that a treaty of peace and amity was figned at Paris. We do not know that all the particulars of this treaty have as yet been made public. The trade of both countries is fecured, it is faid, by it on terms of equality; and it is provided, that if either party fliall be at war, and the other at peace, there fhall be no search of neutral veffels, while failing under convoy. Thus the claim is relinquifhed without agitating the quef tion of right; but in the official report of the affairs of France, prepared by Regnier, it is infinuated that no fuch right can exift.

197

N3

[ocr errors]

* We fhall be much obliged to any of our readers or correspondents or any good authentic documents on this fubject.

CHAP.

[ocr errors]

CHAP. VII.

France. First Measures of the New Government. Project for the Regulation of Legislative Proceedings. Warm Difcuffion in the Tribunate. Attempts of the First Conful to open a general Negotiation. Letter of Bonaparte to the King of Great Britain. Second Application to Lord Grenville. Reply. Infurrection in the Western Departments. General Brune affumes the Command there. Pacification in La Vendee. Great Defeat of the Infurgents near Vannes. Surrender of Georges. Defeat and Execution of the Chouan Leader Frotte. General Pacification in the Weft. Plan for overturning the Republican Government. Revolutionary Committees. Correfpondence with Talleyrand and Bonaparte for determining the Latter to efpoufe the Interefts of Louis XVIII. Plan for feizing on the Port of Breft. General Submiffion of the Royalifts. Seizure of the Chevalier de Coigny and the Reyalift Committee at Paris. Their Confeffion. Anxieties respecting the external State of the Republic-In Part relieved by the Return of the Ruffians. Secret Negotiations with Auftria. Abortive. Preparations for War on the Part of Auftria. Prince Charles fuperfeded by General Kray. Defeription of the Perfon and Character of the Archduke Charles. Renewal of the War with Auftria, Internal Regulations made by the French Government. Law for the Regulation of the Departamental Administrations— For the Reform of the Jurifprudence. Conflitution fubmitted to the PeopleIts Acceptance. Inftallation of the Confuls. Emigrants permitted to return. Regulations with respect to Contracts. Tribunate. Nomination of

Senators.

UR narrative of French affairs with an account of the new organifation of the principal conftituted aus thorities, which took place after the revolution of the 18th and 19th of Brumaire. In conformity to the laws and regulations which had been propofed by the provifionary executive power, and ratified by the legislative commiffions, thofe perfons who had been named by the fenate to fill the offices of tribunes, and the council of three hundred, entered the first day of the year on the exercise of their refpective functions. The conftitution, though it had not yet received the fanction of the people, to whom it was now fubmitted, had already become the regulator of the state; and the executive power opened its

communications with the legislative

of

a law which was defigned to fix the mode in which all future projects were to be introduced, debated, and adopted. This regulation, fubmitted by the executive power to the confideration of the council of three hundred, which affumed exclufively the name of the legislative body, and will hereafter be defignated as fuch, confifted of twelve articles, containing in fubftance, that when the executive power had framed a bill, it should be fent to the legiflative body by a counsellor of state. The motives for the propofal of the law were at the fame time to be explained, and a day named to open a difcuffion on its merits. The legiflative body was enjoined to fend a copy of the bill to the tribunate; who,

who, after having debated it, was likewife enjoined to fend, on the day appointed, three of its members to declare the motives which had led it to affent to, or reject, the law propofed. If it appeared to the tribunate that fufficient time had not been allowed for the difcuffion, the legislative body were to determine if further delay fhould be granted; in which cafe the executive power named a further day for the difcuffion; but if the legislative body refufed further delay to the tribunate, which by the law propofed could not be denied to the party propofing the law, if it faw caufe for changes or amendments, the project was to be difcuffed between the orators of the confulate and the tribunate; and the legiflative body, who fat as judges without mingling in the debate, were to decide by ballot the acceptance or rejection.

ber talked of the idol of fourteen days, which might as readily be overthrown as that of fourteen ages; alluding to the firft conful and the old monarchy. And when the eulogium of Bonapartewas pronounced in the courfe of the debate by one of thofe fycophants who always attach themfelves to power under every form, the tribunate decreed, that in future no name whatever fhould be mentioned in debate, either to sanction or difcredit an opinion. After three days difcuffion, which occafioned fome anxiety, left the first propofition made by the executive power fhould receive the negative of this deliberating body, the tribunate, not concealing certain defects which it contained, voted its adoption by a majority of upwards of two-thirds; and, as both the orators of the confulate and tribunate joined in recommending it, the legislative body gave it their fanction, and it became a law of the state.

While the organifation of the government was preparing, agreeably to the principles laid down in the new conftitution, and various ameliorations were taking place throughout the republic in the inferior adminiftrations, the chief conful attempted to open a negotiation with foreign courts, in order to bring about a general pacification. The affurances which he had given that his firft object fhould be to restore the bleffings of external peace to the republic had confiderably increased the mass of adherents to the fyftem of the new government; and the oppofition which was forming against the measures of the executive power, part of which it must be allowed were founded on principles hoftile to the true fpirit of liberty, was N4 generally

As this projected regulation was to determine the mode by which all future laws were to be formed, it was difcuffed in the tribunate with a warmth equal to its importance. Every part of the conftitution had not been received with equal favour: that which gave the initiative of the laws exclufively to the executive power had been most the fubject of animadverfion and difcontent. This project, therefore, appeared to certain members of the tribunate as a ftill further encroachment on their rights, as reprefentatives of the people; and various objections were made to certain parts, as unfavour able to that latitude of examination and difcuffion which they confifidered as effential to the true spirit of liberty. Certain circumstances appeared in the debate on this queftion, which evinced a difpofition to form a regular oppofition to the executive power. One mem

« AnteriorContinua »