Imatges de pÓgina

generally difcontinued, and ceafed 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 moft 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,-ber 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, fa confidently intro duced, 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 peremptory 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 po pular; but, in order to throw the blame of its continuance more effectually on the British miniftry, it appeared not to be difconcerted by this firft rejection of its offers, and, convinced that further applications would be attended with further re fufals, continued the correfpondence.

This fecond note, written by the minitter of foreign affairs, in an fwer to that of lord Grenville, be gan with a recrimination refpecting 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 accufed, was haughtily repulfed, and retorted on the coalifed powers, and particu larly 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 recrimina. tions refpecting its commencements


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

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 conteft- 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 evident that this was now the only measure left for obtaining peace.

ed, afferting that the British crown was held on no other tenure; that, at a time when the republic prefented 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 difcontinuing 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 firft conful to propofe a fufpenfion of arms, and which ought like wife to influence the other bellige. rent 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 answer of the British minifter to this note, the recrimination of aggreffion was as contemptuoufly repulfed as it had been haughtily urged. Referring to his for mer note, the minifter obferved, that the obftacles which had been prefented, rendered hopelefs, forthe moment, any advantages which might be expected from a negotiation: that all the representations made with so 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

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 con tribution, 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 scene of infurrection. To fow diffenfion among the different parties of insurgents, and to attack each with vigour, were the only expedients left to the government. A proclamation iffued and addressed to the army of the west, 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,

cification with the infurgents was by this time far advanced; and, two days previous to the time allotted, Bernier, an ecclefiaftic of confiderable influence with the difcontented party, addreffed a letter to general Hedonville, in which he informed him that the proffered peace had been gratefully accepted by all the chiefs on the left fide of the Loire, in which was fituated the department of the Vendee. To have broken this league of infur

emigrants, and the hirelings of foreign powers. It was aflerted in this proclamation that the republican army confifted of fixty thousand men. Neither the army nor the infurgents were deceived by this affertion, fince the number did not form half the amount. Their force, was, however, judged fufficient to accomplish the talk impofed on them, which was that of exterminating the chiefs, who were reprefented as dishonour to the French name. This proclamation con-rection was an important achievecluded by recommending to the army to make a fhort and good campaign.

Anxious to prevent an unneceffary 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 ftated, 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 contest, 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

ment: but, as yet, a part only of the work of pacification was effected. The departments on the right of the Loire, to the fea on the north and weft, were still in their poffeffion, 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 M. de 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 fides 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 lofs. Georges finding further refiftance ineffectual, at length laid down his arms, on the conditions 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 on every fide, attempted alfo to make his terms; but his offers of conditional fubmiffion were rejected. He had taken the title of commander 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 almost without refource, refufed 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 decifion. Purfued clofely by detachments of the republican army, and betrayed probably by fome of his own adherents, he was taken prifoner, 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 condemned to be fhot, which fentence was immediately put into execu


Thus finished, in a fhort space of time, without any confiderable effúfion of blood, this inteftine war; the most difaftrous 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 treasure, but this extenfive portion of territory, now fubmifive

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 employed in other quarters, in moré active fervice.

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 just 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 fhould be rejected by a ftern and conftant denial, excited general astonishment; 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.

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 promifed a very powerful diverfion in favour of the only condition held out of pacification;-a preliminary condition




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 ex ertion, 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, eftablished 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 charafter of this revolution, and its probable refults with refpect to France. The anfwer having proved fatisfactory, the committee at Paris, on the obfervations 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 firft 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 wit. 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 speculation 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 speculation, you will be authorised to go on with it. I repeat to you, that every support shall be given that you can defire; for Durand, Joli, and myfelt, are well perfuaded 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 then return upon the plan propofed, &c."—Letter 11th December. Hamburgh (London).

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