Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

fions. As the republican force in Scepeaux, Chatillon, d'Audigne, that quarter was but weak, and and Turpin, commanded in Anjou the spirit of discontent and revolt, and Britanny, as far as Morbihan; general and ardent, the insurrection generals Georges and de Sol, the fpread fo rapidly, that, in a fhort Lower Britanny ; le Mercier, the space of time, no less than twenty districts 'lying towards St Brieux. departments were, more or less, The couné d'Autichamp was at the in a state of insurrection. will liead of the army of Poiétou, and

Their principle place of strengtly of the country on the left bank was, at first, Meins. This hower of the Loire to the confines of ever, on the appearance of the Aưnis; and under lim were the republican troops, they were forced generals' Suzannet, Sapineau, Soto evacuate,' after pillaging it, and yer, and Berlier. Of all the great taking hostages. But, by this time, towns throughout these provinces the flames of insurrection had spread the royalists were in possession, and far and wide. The infurgents they were all" of the stored with were, for a while, in possession of aminunition and provisions : fupNantes, the capital of the depart- plies of which, had, from time to ment of the Nether Loire, and time, been landed, on such parts Port-Brieux, that of the depart of the coast, as were under ment of the northern coasts.' From their influence and Away by the this last place they did not retreat English. On the whole, the French without carrying off all the public nation was in a state of discontent, money, and allo the principal in- alarm, and anxious expectation. habitants as hostages. A regular The noble families and clergy were chain of posts was formed from proscribed and persecuted; the the Bay of Biscay almost to the men of property were harassed with walls of Paris. The infurgents requifitions; the jacobins were published manifeftoes, demanded excluded from the public councils, lupplies of men, money, and pro- and ready to attempt any entervisions, and, in a word, assuming prize that might throw all things the title of the royal and catholic into confusion, however desperate army, exercised within the sphere and dangerous. of their influence and power all the Some measures had indeed been functions of government. This taken for modifying, not repealing, army, which covered so great 'an the law of Hostages, and for deextent of country and amounted stroying one dreadful engine of defa in all, to about a hundred thousand potism, in the hands of the late men, was formed into five grand directory, by clofing the list of divisions,

The province of Nor- emigrants : other measures too, had mandy (for. we presume that the old been taken for alleviating the pubdivisions of France will yet

be lic distresses, but the whole were intelligible to most of our readers feeble, and in their operation tardy than the new) was under the orders and inefficacious.

The nation was of count Lewis Frotté : the pro- in a state of distraction ; the govince of Mayne was occupied by a vernment, if not altogether in a formidable army, under the count state of languor, indecifion, and de Bourmont. The marquisses of stupefa&tion, rather watched and

B 4 ]

fought

[ocr errors]

more

[ocr errors]

a

a

fought for an opportunity of Arength- come the instrument of political in ening their own hands by some new trigue, accepted the command of change, than of composing the peo- the army of Italy. The abbé, it ple, and saving the country, by the was generally supposed, was enexercise of-any powers or principles couraged and fortified in his designs, inherent in the actual constitution. by the countenance and good wishes

The abbé Sieyes had early fore- of the court' of Berlin, where he seen, or apprehended the discord- had resided a considerable time, and ant and fluctuating nature of the which was equally jealous of devarious forms of government that mocratical docirines, aird all conhad been adopted since the over- neâion ivith governments founded throw of the monarchy. He had on such principles. attempted, in vain, the introduc

The parties which divided and tion of a constitution, which, though, agitated France, at this time, were still retaining the name, and in some reduced to two classes: the one condegree the form of a republic, should fisting of the jacobins or fierce rebe consolidated and stayed by one publicans, who made but little acchief magistrate, and a constitu- count of either the property or lives tional jury, or conservative senate; of their countrymen, whenever they and, in the various changes that judged that a sacrifice of these might took place, from time to time, he be rendered subservient to the ine was a friend, as we have seen, to terests of their own faction: the other an increase of power in the hands comprehending all who had taken of the executive government. The a share in the revolution, without great enemies that abbé Sieyes, who participating in its principal enorhad gained an afcendancy in the mities, and who arranged themselves public councils, had to contend around Sieyes and the council of with, was, of course, the democra- elders, in the hope and expectation

To overthrow the of some approaching change. principles and plans of this party, Though this man had voted for the by an opposite lystem, in which his death of the king, and that in a very own project of a single chief, and a unfeeling and inhuman manner,* he constitutional jury, should be adopt affected great regard for the consti, ed, was the leading principle in his tutionalists of 1791, who had forconduct, and the great object of his merly been the objects of his avere incessant contrivance.

fion. He gained over the leading It has been said, that he imparted men in the council of five hundred, his defign of establishing a stronger and established his intereft ftill more government, by a fresh revolution, firmly in that of the elders. The to general Joubert, whom he wish- extension of his plan, however, ed to associate with himself in this was still retarded, by various obstaproject, and whose unfullied cha- cles, when the eyes, the thoughts, racter, blooming virtues and talents, and the hopes of all men were sudand popularity rendered a very de- denly turned on Buonaparte. sirable associate in fuch an enter- No less than turee days elapsed, prise. Joubert, unwilling to be- after the unexpected return of this

tical party.

* La mort sans phrase.

celebrated

!

he

was

celebrated commands and politi- together, for the first time in their sian, before he had a personal inter. lives, at the house of Gohier, preqiew with abbé Sieyes; a circum- fident of the directory. “ General," ítance, which, undoubtedly, seems said Buonaparte, “ I had several of to ftrengthen the opinion of those your lieutenants in Egypt, and they who affirm tnat no tecret correspon. are very distinguihed officers.” The dence had taken place between these bright luftre of Moreau's reputation important perlunages ;, though this was yet inferior to the dazzling apparent diynets, in a question rela- fplendour of Buonaparte's fame and Ung. to political dexterity, might character. In the judgement of posibly be accounted for otherwise; many military critics he was not inbut all this is of little moment.-- ferior, but in the public eye Certain it is, that Buonaparte was secondary; and being a man of a carclied, 'flattered, and courted by natural easiness, as well as probity both parties, but that he himself of disposition, and less ambitious did not court any: "With politi and daring, he was content to be cians, though civil and polite, he among the first in the train of the was distant and reserved: close favourite of fortune. himself, while he listened to the It was for some time questioned reports, and put many questions whether the genius of Buonaparte to others

But while he was thus would, in like manner, gain an algrave and guarded in his inter cendancy orer that of aħbé Sieyes, çourles with both the moderate and and which of these men would take jacobinical party, he was open, the lead in settling a new governfrank, and studious above all things, ment, and in its administration when by all means to maintain his interest settled. Both were men of deep and popularity in the army: 'Every refleớion and combination of ideas; officer of distinction he treated with both remarkable for taciturnity, the audied respect; eyery private that natural concomitant of profound and game in his way, as has been above incessant meditation; both possessed noticed, with affability and conde many partisans, and great authority

cepsion." The directory and the of the state: yet, on the whole, councils determined to do honour to their character and condition were Buonaparte hý a 1plendid feast, in mot marked by so many circumftan. the church of St. Sulpice, tranf- ces of resemblance as of discriminaformed into the Temple of Victory. tion. Sieyes was a metaphysician,

. This intention being intimated to melancholy, irascible, fufpicious, the general, he requested that ge- and cautious. He was endowed neral Moreau might also be invited, with a quick discernment of men,

conjoined with himself in every things, and circumstances, and ca sentiment intended to be expressed pable of turning conjunctures to dil. by that entertainment: it is need- ferent purposes, provided that he less to add,' that his request was had time to overcome rising obstacomplied with. He was anxious cles to his plans, not by force, but to prevent any sentiments of rivalty by intrigue, or, as he himself al. and opposition, on the part of Mo- leged, by operating on the minds, reau, and to gain his confidence and and convincing the understandings Favour. These commanders met of men, and to weave his complicated

web

web in the dark, and without dil hands of the man who had con. turbance. He seemed to entertain quered' Italy and Egypt, and made a just regard and reverence for what peace with Auftria, on terms lo he decmed right and juft, and con- adrantageous and honourable to the ducive to the public welfare: though republic, while, at the fame time, he seemed allo to be of opinion that it was the more likely to be lasting, tew, if any, good laws were to be that it was neither so dishonourable expected from any other head than nor disadvantageous to that great his own. Nor, though silent and re- power, as it might have been, if cluse, did he want firmness to avow the pride of viĉory had not been and defend his own sentiments, in tempered by political prudence. the midst of popular clamour and Tlie wisdom of the treaty of Campo paffion. He stood up for the de. Formio was illustrated by the lofies, fence of property in oppofition to dilafters, and fofferings that resulted laws in favour of bankruptcy, and from its violation. The nation for the suppreslion of tythes. A sighed for peace, and this blessing saying of his was long, and is now was not so likely to be procured by remembered to his credit. Speak- any one as by Buonaparte.' As the ing of his colleagues in the national nation confided in Buonaparte, lo allemhly, he faid, “They will to be neither was he diffident in himself; free, and they know not what it is though it would be very unjust, and to be just.” On the whole, the is by no means intended to infiabbé Sieyes was not an amiable, nuate, that he carried a confidence but possessed a very general repu- in his own powers beyond the tation of being both a wise and just bounds of a just self-esteem.' He man; and that, if he was not with had improved an understanding, naout a tincture of vanity and ambi- torally excellent, by a very clole and tion, it was not the common an- successful application to literature bition of power and splendour, but and the sciences. By the former, that of gaining over the French his mind was humanized as well as nation and the world to his poli- enlarged, and his ruling paffion, the tical doctrines. His ambition, there- love of glory, confirmed and exaltfore, was of the same nature with that ed: from the latter, his'understand. of the heads of religious sectaries ing derived additional vigour, pre

Buonaparte, to the advantage of cition, and promptitude. He was military renown, added that of mo- descended of an ancient family in deration, prudence, and a regard Corfica, an iñand protected by its not only for civil rights, but allo for poverty and mountaivous aspect from religion. The fage counsels he gave the enervation incident to the chamto the Genoele on leaving them to paign and luxuriant regions, lying themselves, the letter which 'he in the fame degrees of latitude; and wrote to the Pope in a tone of re- by the simple state of manners from spect and veneration, the whole of that famenets and monotony of gehis conduct in Italy, not more in- nius, which is commonly produced trepid than temperate and wile, were by an imitation of established aurecollected with applaule. There thorities and modes of thinking, in was nothing that the French people the more advanced ftages of society, was not dilposed to expect at the He was born, and received his first

[ocr errors]

impressions, too, in times, when the position to the jacobins, and on the spirit of liberiy in his native land side of the moderate party. It was excited every latent spark of genius almost as soon perceived that he and adventure. Though the fupe.. considered the destinies of France rior and irresistible power of France, as in his own hands, and that he damped and crued all hopes of would not brook either any fuperior maintaining the independence of or equal. He spoke in a tone of laCorfica, the tone and temper of conic decision, which sufficiently inmind to which the unequal struggle dicated the opinion he entertained gave birth, the ardent spirit of ex- of his talents, power, and importertion remained in the youthful ance. borom of Buonaparte, who, by a It was a fingular fpectacle to see feries of incidental circumstances, so many generals, and these of the was led into the famous école mili- first rate, in the midst of a war in taire of France, where he added the Paris. Buonaparte was supported accomplishments to be acquired by by the presence, countenance, and the most refined, to the benefits authority of Moreau, Berthier, Lederived from one of the simplest and febre, Serrurier, Macdonald, Murat, most virtuous nations in Europe. Berryer, and several other general To personal courage, carried to the officers. In other circuinitances, verge of temerity, and military art such a congress of generals, in the and stratagem, he united blameless, feat of the government and legiflaand, with his inferiors in station, ture, would probably have occaaffable manners. Of a firm and un- fioned some murmurs of jealousy and daunted spirit, and a genius pene- dissatisfaction; but every paffion was trating, sublime, and inventive, he hushed, and every head bowed down distinguished difficulties from im- before the man, who was not only possibilities, discerned the nature the idol of France, but the admiand dispositions of men, and bodies ration of the world. of men, and not only improved, but, The day fixed on by the direcin fome degree, created conjunc: tory and legislative councils for the tures. He had taken a wide range feast in honour of the two generals, over the ancient as well as modern Buonaparte and Moreau, was the world, and cholen the greatest and seventh of November. There was most heroic models for his imita- nothing extraordinary, in such an tion. His letters, his speeches, his entertainment; on the arrival of actions, all proclaimed a fublimity Buonaparte from Egypt, or what of courage, imagination, and design, was not to have been expected.beyond the limits of vulgar concep- But neither is it unnatural to fuption.

pofe that the politics of the day In such times, it was certainly to might in some fhape and degree, be expected, that the genius of the infinuate themselves into this design warlike should prevail over that of after it was formed, although it the metaphyfical politician. Not would not be realonable to ascribe more than a week had elapsed, af- its original formation to any other ter the general's arrival in Paris, cause than what is most natural and when it was clearly perceived that obvious. It served to folemnize the his fentiments were wholly in op- union and friendship between the

greatest

« AnteriorContinua »