Imatges de pÓgina

generally difcontinued, and ceased altogether.

The correfpondence with the British court was opened in, a manner which appeared to evince, on the part of the first conful, great anxiety to bring about a Ipeedy negotiation. A letter was addreffed immediately from himfelf to the king, which has already been inferted in a former chapter.

From this letter no great expectations of opening a negotiation could be formed. The most ardent friend to peace could fcarcely hope, that, in the circumftances in which France was placed at this epocha, just emerging from a great revolutionary crifis,-her treafury empty, a fourth part of her territory in open infurrection,-her armies, notwithstanding their late victories, driven back nearly within their frontier, and thofe of her allies, propofals for opening a negotiation for peace would be accepted with the alacrity with which it was offered. The anfwer of the English minifter left no doubt on this fubject.

This anfwer plainly indicated, that recourfe was only to be had to the fword; and though it was fomewhat mortifying to his pride, perhaps this reply was lefs difagreeable than may be imagined to the warlike fpirit of Bonaparte. He had fulfilled the engagement he had made with the nation, of opening a negotiation by even fupplicating for peace; and the rejection of th fe intreaties had left him altogether master of the conduct he was in future to parfue. The guarantee which was pointed out in the minifter's letter as the fureft and moft natural means of a durable peace, namely the restoration of the Bourbons, was confidered as an

intolerable infult; the charge of aggreffion, fo confidently introduced, was pointedly commented on; and the determination of abiding by the experience and evidence of facts was confidered as the fignal of a war which was to end only in extermination.

The whole of the French nation, even those who difapproved of the manner in which Bonaparte opened his communication with the Britih government, felt a common fentiment of indignation at this per emptory refufal of peace, except on terms which, it was afferted, were too ignominious to be listened to with complacency. The French government feized with avidity this occafion of rendering the war popular; but, in order to throw the blame of its continuance more ef fectually on the British ministry, it appeared not to be difconcerted by this firft rejection of its offers, and, convinced that further applications would be attended with further refufals, continued the correfpondence.

This fecond note, written by the minitter of foreign affairs, in anfwer to that of lord Grenville, be gan with a recrimination refpect, ing the origin of the war; in which he prefented a picture of a defign and colouring totally different from that which the noble lord had pourtrayed in his letter. The charge of aggreffion, of which the French nation was accused, was haughtily repulfed, and retorted on the coalifed powers, and particularly on the British government. After expatiating on this fubject, the French minifter obferved that a fincere defire for peace ought to lead the parties to the difcovery of the means of terminating the war, rather than apologies or recriminations refpecting its commencements


that no doubt was entertained but that the right of the French nation to chufe its own government was a point which would not be contefted, afferting that the Britifli crown was held on no other tenure; that, at a time when the republic presented neither the folidity nor the force which it now poffeffed, negotiations had been twice folicited by the British cabinet, and carried into effect; that the reasons for discontinuing the war were become not lefs urgent; on the contrary, the calamities in which the renovation of the war muft infallibly plunge the whole of Europe were motives which had induced the first conful to propose a fufpenfion of arms, and which ought like wife to influence the other belligerent powers. The minifter concluded with preffing this object fo far as to propofe the town of Dunkirk, or any other, for the meeting of plenipotentiaries, in order to accelerate the re-establishment of peace and amity between the French republic and England.

In the anfwer of the British minister to this note, the recrimination of aggreffion was as contemptuously repulfed as it had been haughtily urged. Referring to his for mer note, the minifter obferved, that the obftacles which had been prefented, rendered hopele fs, forthe moment, any advantages which might be expected from a negotiation: that all the reprefentations made with fo much confidence by the French minifter, the perfonal difpofitions of thofe in power, the folidity and confiftence of the new government, were points which could not be admitted as motives for opening a negotiation; fince thefe confiderations remained yet to be proved, and of which the only evidence must be that already explained by

his majefly, namely, "the refult of experience, and the evidence of facts."

Whatever were the motives which led the British court to refufe fo peremptorily all negotiation, the publication of this correfpondence bad a very confiderable influence in uniting almost all par ties in France for a vigorous profecution of the war, fince it was evi dent that this was now the only measure left for obtaining peace.

The external enemy, however, was not the only one, nor to all appearance the moft formidable, which the French government had to combat: for notwithstanding the proclamation iffued, and the means adopted to bring about tranquillity in the western departments, the infurgents, relying on foreign aid, had not only laid the country, which was the focus of revolt, under contribution, but again pushed their bodies of obfervation within a fhort diftance of the capital. In certain places where the republican forces were fufficient to protect the inhabitants order was restored; but of fo vaft an extent of country, it was impoffible to watch every point; and though the Britons were in general tired of this predatory war, yet the influence of the infurgent chiefs was fuch, that, wherever they penetrated, the country, though pacified, became again the fcene of infurrection. To fow diffenfion among the different parties of infurgents, and to attack each with vigour, were the only expedients left to the government. A proclamation iffued and addreffed to the army of the weft, inftructed them, that the great mafs of the inhabitants, whofe juft complaints had been heard and redreffed, had laid down their arms; and that none remained to be fubdued but ruffians, emi


emigrants, and the hirelings of fo- cification with the infurgents was reign powers. It was afferted in by this time far advanced; and, this proclamation that the republi- two days previous to the time alcan army confifted of fixty thousand lotted, Bernier, an ecclefiaftic of men. Neither the army nor the confiderable influence with the dif infurgents were deceived by this contented party, addreffed a letter affertion, fince the number did not to general Hedonville, in which he form half the amount. Their force, informed him that the proffered was, however, judged fufficient to peace had been gratefully accepted accomplish the talk impofed on by all the chiefs on the left fide of them, which was that of extermi- the Loire, in which was situated nating the chiefs, who were repre- the department of the Vendee. To fented as a dishonour to the French have broken this league of infurname. This proclamation con-rection was an important achievecluded by recommending to the ment: but, as yet, a part only of the army to make a fhort and good work of pacification was effectcampaign. ed. The departments on the right of the Loire, to the fea on the north and weft, were still in their possesfion, or overrun by bands under experienced leaders; and the country in particular lying between the ports of L'Orient and Breft was entirely fubjected to the infurgents. Certain diftricts on the right fide of the Loire, under the command of D'Autichamp and Chatillon, at length followed the example given by thofe of the left. The divifion under the command of Bourmont fubmitted likewife; but as the whole of the infurgents did not partake of the pacific fentiments of their chiefs, a confiderable number made good their retreat towards the department of Morbihan, the western extremity of Brittany, where they joined the bands collected in great force under the command of Georges, one of the moft enterprifing and dangerous of the revolted chiefs. After clearing the departments on both sides the river, and driving the infurgents who had not fubmitted, except thofe under the command of Frotté, before him, Brune fo difpofed his forces as to furround the main body under Georges, in the Morbihan near Vannes, whom he defeated with great


Anxious to prevent an unnecef fary effusion of blood, the government had given fecret inftructions to general Hedonville, commanding in the weft, to temporife as long as there was a probability that the reduction of the infurgents might be obtained by peaceable means. Letters were fent to the generals commanding in different points, which they were to notify to the chiefs of the infurgents. Thefe letters flated, that as the proclamation of the confuls could not have reached the diftant cantons by the time limited, the fufpenfion of arms fhould be prolonged to the twentieth of January; after which time, if the chiefs had not disbanded their forces, they were to be pursued with the utmost rigour, and all benefits of the amnesty offered were to be void.

In order to give greater effect to thefe various proclamations, and to bring the conteft, if neceffary, with the infurgents, to a fpeedier iffue, the first conful appointed general Brune to the command of the army of the weft. Brune entered on his functions a few days before the conclufion of the prolonged armiftice was to take place. The pa

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great lofs. Georges finding fur
ther refiftance ineffectual, at length
laid down his arms, on the condi-
tions propofed by Brune, which
was the disbanding his forces, and
giving up the whole of his arms.
Frotté, the most active leader of the
infurgents, feeing himfelf abandoned
ed on every fide, attempted alfo to
make his terms; but his offers of
conditional fubmiffion were reject-
ed. He had taken the title of com-
mander in chief for Lewis XVIII.
and had fhown no lefs dexterity
than zeal for his fervice. He had
been hitherto the most adverfe to
any conceffion; and even, when
left almoft without refource, re-
fufed to comply with the condition
moft peremptorily infifted on,
which was the furrender of their
arms. The choice of his future
conduct was not long left to his de-
cifion. Purfued clofely by detach-
ments of the republican army, and
betrayed probably by fome of his
own adherents, he was taken pri-
foner, with the whole of his ftaff,
in a château in the department of
the Orne. He was conducted to
Vernueil, where, after a trial before
a military commiffion, he, together
with his companions, was con-
demned to be hot, which fentence
was immediately put into execu-


to the laws of the republic, not only furnished its contingency in common with other departments to the pecuniary neceffities of the flate, but fwelled confiderably the republican armies, who now quitted that country in order to be employin other quarters, in moré active fervice.

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The fimple narrator has one duty, in common with the hiftorian, that of faithfully recording facts: but if, like the hiftorian, he were to examine into caufes, probably no period of this important crifis would furnish him with fubjects of deeper fpeculation than that of the events of which we have been juft treating. That not only peace fhould have been fo peremptorily refufed, when fupplicated by a power accustomed to fee furrounding nations imploring it from its hands, but that every overture should be rejected by a ftern and conftant denial, excited general aftonishment; efpecially as negotiations for peace had heretofore been entered into with those who held the reins of government in France, and whofe characters were fuch as made the chance of concluding it infinitely lefs.

Thus finished, in a fhort space of time, without any confiderable effufion of blood, this inteftine war; the most disastrous and cruel which the republic had had to maintain during the long courfe of its hoftilities with the allied powers of Europe. By this pacification, not only was the French government relieved from the most dangerous of its enemies, which had occafioned it a moft enormous wafte both of life and treafure, but this extenfive portion of territory, now fubmiffive

It is true, that the Auftrians, who at one of thofe periods were driven back almost to the walls of Vienna, were now again in poffeffion of the whole of Italy; that the determinations of a great northern power, who had, during the last campaign, joined the confederacy against France, were yet uncertain; that the expedition of the French into Egypt feemed likely to redound only to the difgrace of its authors; and, above all, that the infurrection rekindled in the western departments promiled a very powerful diverfion in favour of the only condition held out of pacification; -a preliminary condition indeed,


indeed, that of a complete counterrevolution in the restoration of royalty; but as fo much experience had hitherto been obtained of what great efforts France was capable, when driven to the neceffity of exertion, and that, when feemingly moft reduced, she had rifen triumphant over all her difficulties, it would have feemed prudent to have deliberated longer upon returning fo ftern a refufal as marked the correfpondence which took place on the application made by Bonaparte. But it appears that the hopes entertained of bringing about that important event which was the condition for peace propofed in the correfpondence of the British miniftry were not confined folely to external operations: an active, but fecret agent had been for fome time planted in the enemy's camp, and the means of effecting that great purpofe feemed far from impoffible; if credit were to be given to affurances from the confidence with which they were urged. A committee of counter-revolution had been formed in Paris, previous to the revolution of the 18th Brumaire, the principal actors in which were three perfonages


under fictitious names, the real chief of whom was the chevalier de Coigny. A correfponding committee was, it is faid, established at London, of which the count d'Artois was the chief. The date of the formation of thefe committees is uncertain; but it appears that at the epocha of the revolution of Brumaire a project had been concerted at London for the overthrow of the directory. That revolution fo far deranged the plans of the committee, as the work was accomplished without their aid, though in a sense different from their own. This event naturally perplexed them as to their mode of future operations, and it feems that farther countenance was withheld from the profecution of their plans till the English miniftry were better acquainted with the cha racter of this revolution, and its probable refults with refpect to France. The answer having proved fatisfactory, the committee at Paris, on the observations made by the count d'Artois to the English miniftry, were enjoined to go on with their plans, the neceffary funds were promifed, and the first remittances made.

Extracts from the Correspondence feixed at Paris, and published by Order of the French Government.

*« YOU must have been informed, my dear citizens, that the event which took place the roth of November (the 18th Brumaire) has neceffarily changed the difpofitions of M. Durand, (fupposed to be the English miniftry) relative to the fpeculations which he was defirous of forming between your house and his own. Before entering into any fpeculation on your place, the citizen Tête (M. Pitt) is anxious to know the true caufes of the revolution of the 10th November, the confequences it is likely to produce, and the advantages which the company Adrien (Lewis XVIII.) and Durand may gain in following up the fpeculation agreed on at the citizen Joli's. If you fucceed in proving to the citizen Durand that nothing is changed in the profits prefented by the fpeculation, you will be authorised to go on with it. I repeat to you, that every fupport fhall be given that you can defire; for Durand, Joli, and myself, are well persuaded that you will afk nothing that fhall not be neceffary, and that you will employ it in a manner perfectly useful to Durand and the friends (the western infurgents)."—Letter of Duthiel, from London, 28th November, 1799.

"If the letter of Charron (Duthiel) has reached Dubois, (the chevalier de Coigny), he will think that all our fpeculations have been abandoned; this is what in reality took place for fome days; but the observations made to the citizens Tête and Grain (Mr. Pitt and lord Grenville), by Honore (the count d'Artois), foon made them return upon the plan propofed, &c."-Letter 11th December. Hamburgh (London).

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