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mand of the French Troops in and near Paris, vefted, by the Council of Elders, in Buonaparte.-Tranflation of the Legislative Bodies, and the Directory to St. Cloud.
Y what fpecial combination of circumftances, and what private confiderations Buonaparte was induced to quit Egypt, and return to France, and particularly whe ther it was in confequence of a fecret correfpondence, and concert with that fubtle and reftlefs projeetor of conftitutions, abbé Sieyes, or other politicians, is not yet known: nor could it be expected that it fhould have yet been revealed.There is not, however, the leaft reafon for doubting the truth of his general declaration to the army, at Alexandria, on the twenty-third of Auguft, 1799, "That he had determined immédiately to return to France, in confequence of news from Europe." The fubftance of the intelligence to which he alluded is well enough underflood.. The administration of the French republic was corrupt, weak, unpopular, and odious, and her armies difcomfited in Germany and Italy, by the Auftrians and Ruffians. To repair both these misfortunes, and in repairing them to acquire additional power and glory, it may reafonably be prefumed, was the leading principle in the conduct of Buonaparte. In the execution of this defign there was an invincible neceflity of the most impenetrable fecrecy. Until the moment of his
departure he concealed it from the army, and even from the perfons whom he chofe to accompany him. The moft diftinguifhed among these, were general Berthier, chief of the ftaff; Lannes and Murat, generals of divifion; Marmont, the general of brigade; Andreoffi, the general of artillery; the chief of brigade, Beflieres, who commanded his guides; the three philofophers Bertholet, Mongé, and Arnaud; a great number of officers, several Mammalukes, and his guides.
Buonaparte, having communicated his defign to general Berthier, and him only, gave orders to viceadmiral Gantheaume, to arm and get ready two frigates, together with two floops, the one of the kind called an Arifo, the other a Tartane. This being done, he addrefled a fealed letter to all those whom he intended to take with him, with inftructions not to open it till a certain day, at a given hour, and at a certain point on the feafhore.
The day appointed was the twenty-fecond of Auguft. All thofe who had received the letter attended at the appointed place, and opened the letter, in which they found an order for their immediate embarkation. They did not lofe a moment but left their bag
His letter to the army, on fo interesting an occafion, our readers may wish to fee at full length. As it is but short we fhall here infert it: "In confequence of the. news from Europe, I have determined immediately to return to France. I leave the command of the army to general Kleber. They shall hear from me speedily. This is all I can fay to them at prefent. It grieves me to the heart to part from the brave men to whom I am fo tenderly attached. But it will be only for an inftant; and the general I leave at their head, is in full poffeffion of the confidence of the government, and of mine."
gage in their lodgings, and their horfes on the fhore. Having arrived on board the ships prepared for the voyage, their names were called Two ftrangers were found among them and relanded. They then weighed anchor and fet fail, but contrary winds did not permit them to get out of the road of Aboukir till the twenty-fourth of Auguft.
Previously to his departure, Buonaparte left a letter addreffed to general Kleber, with orders that it hould not be opened for twentyfour hours after his quitting the land. This letter contained his appointment to the chief command of the army of all Egypt, during the abfence of Buonaparte, and an order for conferring the command of Upper Egypt on general Deflaix. On leaving the anchorage of Aboukir, the fmall French fquadron could defcry but one frigate, and they arrived at Ajaccio, in Corfica, on the thirtieth of September.There they were detained by contrary winds till the fixth of October. On the fixth they were but ten leagues diftant from Toulon, when, in the evening, they perceived an English fquadron of eight fail. The queftion now propofed in council was, whether they fhould fail back to Corfica, or attempt to make the shore. Buonaparte foon decided it. Recollecting, perhaps, the encouraging words of Julius Cæfar to his mariners in circumftances alfo of danger, he faid, "Be not alarmed, fortune will not abandon me, let us make dire@ly for the coaft." Signals were made accordingly, and the frigates veered immediately eastward. The Avifo, not perceiving the fignals, remained behind in the midst of the ene
my's fleet. But the fhip that carried Buonaparte, with crowded fails, was foon out of danger. The other three fhips, about nine in the morning of the feventh, came to anchor near St. Rapheau, which, about noon, the crews were permitted to enter. About two, Buonaparte, with his companions and fuite, arrived at Frejus, a fmall fea-port of Provence, amidft an immenfe concourle of people, who haftened to behold him from the neighbouring country. The moment they landed, they fell down, in imitation of a custom among the Greek and Roman generals, and embraced the ground, which they called the Land of Liberty. Traníports of enthufiaftic joy broke out among the fpectators on every fide, and nothing was heard but cries of vive la Republique vive Buonaparte. The magiftates of Frejus went out to meet them, and received them with a kind of triumphal honours,
The generals Lannes and Murat, both wounded, fet out from St. Rapheau with all the crews for Toulon, from whence, fome days thereafter, they proceeded to Paris.
It was certainly a piece of great good fortune that Buonaparte and his companions fhould effect their efcape through fo many hoftile fhips of war, Ruthian, Turkish, and English. His greatest dangers, however, were encountered during the two firft days after his embarkation, when he was prevented by contrary winds from getting out of the road of Aboukir. The army must have fuppofed that he was only going to reconnoitre fome part of the coaft, or for concerting and planning fome fecret expedition. There was not a little danger of his real defign, in the courfe of thofe two days being difcovered; in [B 2]
which cafe there was alfo fome danger of the army ftopping him, and demanding an explanation of his conduct; fo that the return of Buonaparte, as well as 'his expedition to Egypt, and tranfactions there, were strongly tinctured with the marvelous. If there were in reality a divinity of fortune, there could be no doubt that Buonaparte is one of her greatest favourites, as he himself is very ready to acknowledge.⚫
At fix o'clock in the evening of the feventeenth of October, this celebrated chief left Frejus, and proceeded to Paris, in company with general Berthier and the three members of the national inftitute already mentioned. The courier who had been difpatched before him, to announce his arrival to the directory, and to prepare relays of horfes for his journey, called out for them every where in his name, and from every town and village the people rushed out to meet him, and accompanied him beyond their respective communities, fo immenfe was the crowd, even in the roads, that the carriages found it difficult to go forward. In every place through which he paffed, from Frejus to Paris, there were at night illuminations. At Lyons,
when it was known that he was to pafs that city, nothing was omitted that could be imagined, in order to teftify the joy of the citizens, and give him a fplendid reception. A hort theatrical piece, called the Hero's Return, was compofed and reprefented immediately. The per
formers read their parts, not hav ing had time to commit them to memory. On his appearance at the theatre, he was received with thunders of applaufe, and when he went out of the houfe, the audience followed him home to his lodgings. On the day after his arrival in Paris, he had a private audience of the directory. All the streets and allies leading to the Luxembourg were crowded with fpectators. Buonaparte teftified a lively fenfibility to the demonftrations with which he was every where furrounded of the public joy and gladness. In his way to and from the directorial palace, he ob-, ferved among the fpectators feveral foldiers who had ferved under him in his campaigns in Italy. Thefe men he called to him, wherever he perceived them, and gave them his hand, with expreffions of goodwill and friendship. He wore a great coat with a Turkish fabre. His hair was cut very fhort, and the climate of Egypt had changed the natural palenefs of his face, into a dart complexion, which improved his appearance. On leaving the directory he paid vifits to the minifters of war and marine, and other perfans of consequence in the fervice of the republic.
Thefe particulars will not be cenfured as too minute, when we reflect on the intereft which the French nation felt in Buonaparte at this time, and how much that univerfal enthufiafm, in favour of this fingle man, contributed to the important fcenes with which it was
It is a question of not a little curiofity, what is the reafon why Buonaparte affects to confider himself as under the peculiar protection of fortune? When he had to do with barbarians, to talk of fate and fortune, might not be bad policy? Fut in fortune he has exprefed his confidence to the French army, and even the French nation and legiflature, who, if they are not even deifts, are much lefs polytheifts.
quickly followed. Without this enthufiafm the revolution of 1799 would not probably have been conceived, and certainly could not have been exccuted. Human nature is prone to caft off all melancholy reflections, and anticipations, and to grafp at fome object of hope, if poffible. This difpofition is particularly remarkable in the French nation. They are alfo diftinguifh ed by another propenfity, indulged to excels: a devoted attachment to fome object of fond admiration. Their whole attention, their pride, and their hopes were, at this time, fixed as on a centre, on Buonaparte. Of him alone they thought, fpoke, and dreamed. From him, fome great though unknown good was to arife to France, and every clafs of men in the republic. Six months had not elapfed fince a majority, in the nation and the legillative councils, had condemned the expedition to Egypt as imprudent, and the fource of that reverfe of fortune, which had been experienced both in Italy and Germany. This was urged, as matter of accufation against the ex-directors Merlin, Rewbel, and la Réveillere Lepaux, who infifted that the expedition to the Eaft was projected and infifted on, in oppofition to the fentiments of the executive government, by Buonaparte. The fame pofition was maintained, in fundry memorials by the ex-bifhop Talleyrand, and Charles la Croix. The afcendant obtained, by the general, over the public councils, they faid had overcome all oppofition on the part of the directory. This question concerning the propriety or impropriety, the advantages or difadvantages of the expedition against Egypt, was now
loft in an admiration and fond attachment to the hero who conducted it, returned after many perils, and deeds of valour, within the Freneh territories. It was this boundlefs attachment and confidence, no doubt, that encouraged Buonaparte to form the defign of fubverting the prefent conftitution and government, or confirmed him in that defign, if already formed.
The fituation of the republic in its relations, both external and internal, were fuch as foftered difcontent and invited to innovation. Though victory had returned to the French standards in Switzerland, the privations and fufferings of the armies of both Switzerland and Italy were very great, and a fubject of loud complaint against adminiftration. The forced loan of 100 millions of which only a fmall portion was collected, had fhaken public credit, damped the fpirit of induftry, and produced, with many inconveniences and fufferings, much difcontent and murmurming among the bufy claffes of the people. But, the imbecillity and rafhnefs of government, fill farther increased the general diffatisfaction, anxiety, and alarm, by a law known by the name of the law of Hoftages.
During the administration of the late directors, various projects had been formed, and prefented to the legiflature, for the fuppreffion of diforders under the title of a law for the refponfibility of the different diftri&ts, known by the name of Communes, or Communities. Thefe projects had hitherto been deemed inadequate to the purpose. In the mean time, the evils, for which they were intended as a remedy, grew up to an alarming height, particn
arly in the western departments: which determined the council of five hundred to apply a remedy still more violent.
By the law of Hoftages, paffed on the twelfth of July, it was decreed, among other articles, that when a department, or commune, was notorioufly in a state of civil diforder, the relations of emigrants, and nobles, comprehended in the revolutionary law of the twentyfifth of October, third year of the republic, their grand-fathers, grandmothers, fathers and mothers, and individuals, who, without being relations, or ex-nobles, were known to form part of the affemblies or bands of affaffins, fhould be perfonally and civilly refponfible for whatever affaffinations or robberies were committed in their communes; that whenever diforders fhould take place the adminiftration of departments fhould take hoftages among thefe claffes, and that they should be authorized to do fo, even before any declaration of fuch department or commune being in a ftate of diforder; that thefe hoftages fhould furrender themfelves, on demand, in fuch places as fhould be pointed out; that a delay of ten days fhould incur constraint by force, and flight. If a murder was committed on any public functionary, defender of the country, or purchafer of national domains, or any perfon of this character carried off, four hoftages were to be banished for every perfon fo murdered or carried off, befides a fine of fix thoufand livres. Every hoftage was made refponfible for the payment of four thousand livres, in cafe of any murder in his community, to be paid into the public treafury, of fix thoufand to the widow, and three thousand to the
children of the perfon affaffinated: which indemnity was allowed likewife to every perfon mutilated. The fame refponfibility was alfo extended to whatever damage or wafte was committed against property. And the law was to have its due courfe, till the conclusion of a general peace.
The effects of this law fuch as might have been expected. While fome, from the various motives of ambition, intereft, and refentment, were tempted to commit innumerable acts of oppreffion, others were driven to defpair. In fuch departments of the weft as had never been thoroughly reduced to an obedience to the republic, the law of Hoftages was a fignal of almoft general revolt, not only feveral of thofe who had been formerly chiefs of the infurgents and again took up the arms which they had laid down, but others who had hitherto remained quiet, preferred a state of infurrection, and oppofition to tyranny, before a fubmiffion to laws of fo atrocious a nature. Tumults and riots had for fome time difturbed the peace of different departments, when, towards the end of Auguft, a general infurrection broke out in the department of Mayenne, on the right of the Loire. Here the infurgents, who had hitherto remained in the woods, or villages remote from general refort and communi cation, appeared under their leaders in force, made themselves masters of feveral towns, depofed the conftituted authorites, feized their pa pers, took republican hostages, and prociaimed by public advertisements the object of their rifing in arms: which was, the reftoration of the monarchy without limita