Imatges de pÓgina
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fian government is fubjugating and oppreffive; the Ruffian character, warlike and defolating. Taurida, fince it was conquered, has become a defert ‡.

"This mania of Catharine, of planning every thing and completing nothing, drew from Jofeph II. a very fhrewd and fatirical remark. During his travels in Taurida, he was invited by her to place the fecond ftone of the town of Ekatarinoslaf, of which he had herself, with great parade, laid the first. On his return, he faid, 'I have finished in a fingle day a very im'portant business with the empress of Ruffia: fhe has laid the first ftone of a city, and I have laid the laft.'"

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"This is a well-known fact.”

"Catharine built, at an enormous expence, near Tzarkofelo, the town of Sophia, the circumference of which is immenfe; but the houfes are already tumbling down, and have never been inhabited. If fuch be the lot of a town immediately under her eyes, what must be the fate of thofe cities founded by her in remote deferts? But the most ridiculous town in being is unquestionably that of Gathina, of which Paul has the honour to be founder. Thefe perfonages look upon mankind as ftorks, who are caught by placing a wheel on the top of a house, or on a fteeple. But all thefe forced erec. tions, from the fuperb Potsdam to the contemptible Gathina, prove that the real founders of cities are cultivation, commerce, and freedom; defpots are only the deftroyers of them: they know nothing of building and peopling any thing except prifons and barracks."

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"A friend of mine, a man of learning, was travelling in Taurida under the protection of government, for the purpose of investigating the country. One day com.ng to the habitation of a Tartar, who led a patriarchal life, and treated him with becoming hofpitality, my friend, perceiving that his hoft was dejected, afked him the cause of his faduef: Alas! I have great reafon,' faid he. May I not be permitted to know it? The Ruffian foldiers, who are in the neighbourhood, come every day and cut down my fruit trees, that ferve me both for fhade and nourishment, to burn them; ⚫ shortly my bald head will be exposed to the parching heat of the fun.”—“ Why do you not complain of this treatment to their commander ?'-' I have done fo.”—“ Well !'— He told me that I fhould be paid two rubles a foot for fuch as they had already cut down, and the fame for as many as they may cut down bereafter. But I am not in want of their money. Only let me die in peace under the fhadow of the trees which my fathers have planted! or 1 muft follow my unhappy brethren, and flee my country, as they have been forced to do.' As he spoke the tears trickled down the beard of this venerable patriarch."

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VIEW

VIEW of the CHARACTER and CONDUCT of LOUIS XVI. KING of FRANCE, fubfequent to the REVOLUTION, A.D. 1789.

[From Two HISTORIC DISSERTATIONS, &c. by WILLIAM BELSHAM.]

"TH

HE fincerity of the late king of France, and the reality of his attachment to the conftitution, established A. D. 1791, have been frequent and ferious topics of difcuffion in this country; and there are many perfons fo immoderately indulgent, or fo imperfectly informed, as to imagine that this unfortunate monarch was chargeable with no violation of good faith and

fee.' But M. Bertrand de Moleville, who filled for fome months, during the years 1791 and 1792, the office of minister of marine, and was known to be in the highest confidence of the king, fpeaks in his Memoirs a language widely different. Because,' fays he, the 'States General produced the most execrable revolution that ever exifted, is it Louis we ought to ac

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integrity during the last eventfulcufe? No one is ignorant that it years of his life. But if it appear was not in his power to refuse afon a difpaffionate and impartial in- fembling the States General. He veftigation of facts, that the diffi-was forced to it, not only by the mulation of the king was uniform and fyftematic, from the period of his affembling the Eftates General to the day of his dethronement, the French nation will be refcued from

univerfal cry of the kingdom, but by the deplorable imprudence of the parliaments in declaring, that they did not reprefent the nation, and that they would no longer

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a part, at least, of that intolerableufurp a right which confcience load of reproach, under which, and honour compelled them to refrom a variety of caufes, but chief-linquifh.' The rash and violent ly from the practical abandonment proceedings of the archbishop of of their fpeculative principles, they Touloufe had been attended with at prefent unavoidably fuffer. Truth confequences which ftruck the is facred, and we have no right to court with confternation; and in be unjust, even to thofe who are adopting the conciliatory line of charged or chargeable with acts of conduct recommended by M. Neckthe most atrocious injuftice to er, the monarch was influenced by others. There is furely no necef- no other motive than fear. But his fity to heighten the deep and fombre understanding was too circumfcritints of the picture. bed to allow him long to follow any confiftent and uniform fyftem of action. After the actual convention of the Eftates, he evidently wavered between oppofite counfels.

"The famous Royal Declaration of the 23d June. (1789) was originally drawn by M. Necker; but al terations fo material were fubfequently engrafted upon it by the fecret advifers of the crown, that he no longer acknowledged it as

"Although every art and every effort had been tried on the part of the court to prevent the meeting of the Eftates General, the king of France, in his opening fpeech (May 5, 1789) affumed the merit of convening that affembly from the pureft motives of patriotifm and good-will; and he congratulated them on the arrival of the · day which he had long panted to

his; refufing even to attend the
king on this occafion to the affem-
bly. I. The declaration, in its
original state, did not pretend to
annul the refolution by which the
Tiers Etat announced itself to be
the National Affembly, but on the
contrary it authorised the affembly
during the prefent feffion to vote
individually. II. The plan of M.
Necker contained an article which
declared that the citizens of every
clafs fhould be admitted equally to
all offices, without any other diftinc-but
tion than that of abilities and vir-
tues; a conceffion which at once
overthrew all the ancient and odi-
ous ariftocratic privileges. III. By
an article of M. Necker's plan, the
affembly, voting individually, was
empowered to regulate the organi-
zation of all future affemblies of
the Eftates General; the fpirit of
the declaration therefore in its ori
ginal state was entirely in favour of
the Tiers Etat, who would have
been highly gratified at this critical
moment by fuch gracious and open
manifeftations of the royal counte-
nance and protection. And the
fpecific propofitions of the king,
confifting of thirty-five articles, as
they came from the hands of M.
Necker, might eafily have been
modified and reduced to a regular
fyftem. But the haughty and per-
emptory manner in which the Tiers
Etat were recommended to refcind
the decifive ftep they had just taken
totally counteracted every good ef-
fest the declaration was otherwife
calculated to produce.

"The king even ventured to throw out an indirect menace of diffolving the Affembly in cafe of difobedience. Vous venez, Meffieurs,' faid he, d'entendre le ' refultat de mes difpofitions, et de mes vues. Elles font conformes au vif defir que j'ai d'operer le

bien public; et fi par une fatalité loin de ma pensée vous m'abandonniez dans une fi belle enterprize, Seul je ferai le bien ce mes peuples: Seul, je me confidérai comme leur véritable répréfentant; et connoiffant vos cahiers, connoiffant l'accord parfait qui ' exifte entre le vœu le plus général ' de la nation, et mes intentions bienfaifantes, j'aurai toute la confiance qui doit infpirer une fi rare 'harmonie, et je marcherai vers le

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auquel, je veux attendre avec tout le courage, et la fermeté, qu'il doit m'infpirer.'

"Such language as this was calculated to produce the highest degree of irritation, and the authority of the crown at this period was utterly unequal to the execution of thefe lofty ideas. Arrogant and boaftful words, unaccompanied by the reality of power, will inevitably excite at the fame time refentment and contempt. M. Necker was certainly by no means a man of first-rate talents; but it is no more than juftice to fay, that the failure of his projects arose not from any inherent abfurdity in their nature, but from the fecret and powerful oppofition made to them by perfons poffeffing the fubftance of that confidence of which he had only the name and the fhadow. But when he found himself unable to carry those measures, of which he difcerned the wisdom and the rectitude, into effect, he ought doubtlefs inftantly to have refigned his office. To remain for a moment in a place, lending his fanction to meafures which he was no longer allowed to guide, muft ever be regarded as demonftrative evi dence of a mind devoid of that refolution and energy which his fituation demanded.

"The character of that unfortunate

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tunate but well-intentioned minifter is thus drawn by M. Bertrand de Moleville, with a pen dipped in gall. I knew him well enough to be firmly perfuaded that he never defned the ill he has done, or that he had the leaft notion that his measures would produce it. I only blame his vanity, and his extravagant prefumption. He fo completely in his confcience believed himself to be the ableft minifter that ever exifted, that 'he would have been mortified to have only been compared with Sully and Colbert. He did not hefitate to believe, that he combined in a fuperior degree all the great qualities of the greatest minifters, without any of their faults. Pofterity will fee in him a man,

trand speaks in terms of high-flown panegyric, appears, nevertheless, throughout these memoirs, in a light by no means advantageous. Weak, diftruitful, fuperftitious, inconftant, ftrongly affected by minute circumftances inceffantly, and idly bufy in the purfuit of petty, and at the fame time ofter pernicious, objects. Mild, humane, and indulgent by nature, but jealous to the laft degree of any diminution of power; and when occafionally forced to conceffions, artfully and oftentatiously reprefenting them as the effect of his own royal and fpontaneous beneficence; perpetually hearkening to, and in part following, the counfels of fome rafh and defperate men, falfely calling themfelves the king's felfish, ambitious, and vain : fool-friends,' whom, in defiance of

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ishly intoxicated with the merit which he fancied himself to poffefs, and jealous of that of others; defirous of excess of honour and of power; virtuous in words, and through oftentation, more than in reality. In a word, he was a prefumptuous empiric in politics and morals.' The colleague of M. Necker, M. de Montmorin, is declared by M. Bertrand,

to have been neither conftitu

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the public opinion, and of the com mon dictates of prudence, he retained near his perfon, and of whom M. Bertrand was the chief.

"On the capture of the Baftile, on the memorable 14th July, 1789, the king profeffed, and, moft unfortunately for himfelf, only profeffed, to change the whole courfe of his policy. When the baron de Breteuil,' fays M. Bertrand, left Ver 'failles at the period of M. Nec

$ tionalist, nor democrat, but a realker's recal, he was invefted with

royalift. I muft,' fays he, at the fame time acknowledge, that the S extreme weakness of his charac

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the power of treating with foreign courts, and of propofing any 'measure in the king's name which, his opinion, tended to promote the re-establishment of the royal authority.'

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• ter prevented him from being ufe-in • fulto his majesty in circumftances

that required much energy.' This is equivalent to an affertion, unfortunately too well fupported by collateral and independentevidence of the political hypocrify of M. de Montmorin, during the whole term of his administration, even when he feemed most friendly to the eftaplishment of a free conftitution.

Louis XVI. of whom M. Ber

"For two years this nobleman appears to have poffeffed the higheft place in the royal confidence ; and during this period political in trigues were inceffantly carried on by the French court, and a clandeftine and dangerous correfpondence maintained with that of Vienna. This was well known by thofe

those who were the moft intereft- a counter-revolution,

ed in counteracting them. The plainest truths were spoken in the plaineft language; but to thofe who had ears, and would hear not, fpoken, alas! in vain.

concerted between the courts of Vienna, Madrid, Turin, and Naples; conformably to which, France was to be invaded by the combined forces of thefe confederate powers, amounting to 100,000 men, at the end of July; and their Moft Chriftian majefties are earnestly exhorted to employ every poffible means to increase their popularity, in order to take advantage of it, when the time fhould come; and that the people, alarmed at the approach of the foreign armies, 'fhould find their fafety only in the king's mediation, and their fubmiffion to his majesty's authoHis Imperial majefty intreats their Moft Chriftian majef

"While the infidious project for the vifit to St. Cloud was in contemplation, the following fpirited expoftulatory addrefs to the king appeared in the periodical publication ftyled L'Orateur du Peuple. Louis XVI. aujourd'hui encore roi des Français arrête!fo Ou cours-tu monarque, abufé par des confeils perfides? As-tu bien 'pefé les fuites de ce départ, l'ouvrage de ta femme? Le peuple ignore-t-il que de St. Cloud tu terity. difpofes à partir pour Compeigne,

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et de-là pour la frontière? Ne fa-ties to drop every idea of procur

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vons-nous pas que la bouche des rois fut toujours l'antre du menfonge? Une furie te pouffe dans le precipice! Eh bien, fi tu.pars, nous ne voyons plus en toi que Tarquin chaffé de Rome.'

ing their liberty; and adds, that their fureft dependence is on the movement of the armies of the allied powers, preceded by menacing manifeftoes.'

"Had the king of France been a man capable of philofophic reflexion, the axiom of the Roman hiftorian might probably have occurred with fufficient force to have restrained his fubfequent acts of delirium. Regum majeftatem difficilius ab fummo faftigio, ad medium detrahi, quain a me♦ diis ad ima præcipitari.'

The most direct and decifive evidence of the deceitful conduct of the king is, however, furnished by M. Bertrand himfelf, who acknowledges, that, in May 1791, M. le Compte Alphonfe D'Urfort, was difpatched on a fecret commiffion from their Moft Chriftian majefties to the emperor, then at Mantua: and in a fhort time he returned with a declaration, figned by his Imperial majefty, containing the outlines of a plan for effecting

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"Unfortunately the king and queen, deaf to every fuggestion of policy and prudence, from whatever quarter originating, adopted meafures equally fatal to themfelves and to the kingdom.

"By the advice of the baron de Breteuil, an attempt was made by their majesties, notwithstanding the diffuatives of the emperor, to effect their escape to Montmedi; a proje& no lefs abfurd in the defign, than unfuccefsful in the execution, and mifchievous in the confequences. Senfible, by dear-bought experience, of the falfe ftep he had taken, the king withdrew his confidence from the baron, but unhappily without transferring his fa vour to those who were more de, ferving of it. From this fatal æra the republican party became every day more daring and formidable. The king having declared, in the paper

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