Imatges de pàgina

people are only regarded," says Monsieur Carnot, 66 as the victims of their chiefs; we witness nothing but the contest of subjects for the private interest of their princes,-kings, who are themselves regicides and parricides, and priests who incite mankind to mutual slaughter. "The eye can but repose on the generous efforts of some brave men who consecrate themselves to the deliverance of their fellowcountrymen; if they succeed, they are called heroes, if they fail, they are traitors and demagogues." In this, and other passages, the author plainly intimated what spirits were at work, and what was the object of their machinations. The whole pamphlet was designed as a manifesto to the French public, darkly, yet distinctly, announcing the existence of a formidable conspiracy, the principles on which its members proceeded, and their grounds for expecting success.

Carnot himself affected to say, that the Memorial was only designed for circulation among his private connections. But it would not have answered the intended purpose had it not been printed and dispersed with the most uncommon assiduity. Small carts traversed the boulevards, from which it was hawked about among the people, in order to avoid the penalties which booksellers and stationers might have incurred by dealing in an article so inflammatory. Notwithstanding these evasions, the printers and retailers of this diatribe were prosecuted by government, but the Cour d'Instruction Criminelle refused to confirm the bill of indictment, and this failure served to encourage the jacobin faction. The official proceedings, by which the ministers endeavoured to suppress the publication, irritated rather than intimidated those who took interest in it. It argued, they said, at once a timorous and a vindic

tive spirit to oppress the inferioragents in an alleged libel, while the ministers dared not bring to trial the avowed author. In this unquestionably they argued justly; for the measures corresponded with the paltry policy, which would rather assail the liberty of the press, than bring to fair trial and open punishment those by whomitis misused.

If Carnot aspired to influence the jacobin faction, and the converts whom they daily acquired by his reputation for military science and for republican spirit, Fouché was not less distinguished for the civil endowments which their cause required. To his share in the cruelties of the revolution, and especially of the reign of terror, no doubt attaches. The name of Fouché of Nantes is written in bloody letters in these dreadful pages; and his own dispatches to the committee of public safety, as well as the laudatory comments of Chaumette, Robespierre, and other heroes of that period, are on record to prove, that at Nevers and at Lyons, he was the willing agent of their most sanguinary decrees, and reported their execution with the Sardonic sneer of one delighted by the exercise of his bloody vocation. He presided at, and he reported, the dreadful wholesale executions which took place in the square at Lyons, antl associated with the horrible Collot D'Herbois. He regretted the slow means which their zeal employed in the destruction of that beautiful city. «ladulgence," said his official dispatch, "would be a criminal weakness-demolition proceeds too slowly: There must be more rapid means for the gratification of republican impatience ;the explosion of the mine,--the devouring activity of fire, can alone express the power of the people. Their will is incapable of being checked like that of tyrants;-it ought to have the speed and the force of thunder.” *

* Moniteur, November 3, 1793.

The actions of these representatives of the people kept pace with their em phatic language. Upwards of four hundred of the most respectable citizens of Lyons were executed by the guillotine and by discharges of musketry. Menaced with the vengeance which overtook some of his colleagues, Fouché sheltered himself under the protection of Tallien, and afterwards under that of Barras, and totally changed his opinions in politics. He was the foremost to denounce the club of jacobins, in which he had so often presided; and in the revolution of 18th Brumaire, (8th November, 1799,) when the vision of Liberty and Equality vanished before a military government, Fouché was the first to hail the rising sun. He kept pace with Napoleon in promotion, and as his master became Consul for ten years, for life, and finally Emperor, Fouché became Senator, Grand Eagle of the Legion of Honour, Duke, and Peer of France. But these were only honorary distinctions. As an apostate priest, Fouché was without religion; as a Septembrizer, he was devoid of mercy; unfettered by the scruples of Carnot, he made few pretensions to political consistency, and was therefore, in every point of view, suited for the office of minister of police, which, for nearly ten years, he held under Napoleon. During this all-sceing and all-scrutinizing occupation, Fouché, doubtless, became the master of many a dark and dangerous secret, and the agent of much hidden oppression. The journals, the thea tres, the management of domestic spies, the charge of watching the intrigues of the clergy, the emigrants, the Chouans, the Vendeans-all fell under his charge; and the well-known kidnapping of Sir Thomas Rumbold, Mr Drake, Georges, Pichegru, Moreau, and the Duke D'Enghien, attested his


capacity for this important office. It is certain that he lost for a season the confidence of the jacobin faction while acting under the imperial government; but he regained it in some measure by his disgrace with Buonaparte. The occasion was never distinctly known, but it has been supposed that Buonaparte suspected Fouché of a desire to form an interest separate from his own, by means of the immense influence and extensive information vested in him by virtue of his office. The pretext of the government of Rome removed this dangerous servant into an honourable exile, and the breach between the emperor and his minister of police, restored to the latter the confidence of his republican friends. But Fouché did not belong to that class of statesmen who make a point of becoming the victims of their principles. By means which may easily be conceived, he had acquired immense wealth, and was in no hurry to lose it by engaging in any hazardous adventure, until he had examined the probable stability of the new royal government, and ascertained whether his services would be acceptable to Louis XVIII. He solicited and obtained an audience of the king soon after acknowledging his sovereignty. While he attended in the anti-chamber to be introduced, he observed a sneer on the countenance of some royalists who were in waiting, and gave them a lesson that a minister of police, even when he has lost his office, is not a person to be jested with. "You, sir," said he, to a gentleman, "seem proud of the lilies with which you are adorned. Do you recollect the language you held respecting the Bourbon family some time since in such a company?-And you, madam," (he continued, addressing a lady,) "to whom

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manding their attendance, lived in the greatest security. Cambaceres continued to maintain the same style of luxury at his table, and was quitted for the self-imposed fine of two hundred francs, (8l. 6s. Ed.) subscribed towards erecting a new statue of Henri Quatre. The folding doors of the Tuilleries still opened to receive Lebrun, (late Duke of Placentia) in his capacity of arch-treasurer of the empire. Savary, so long the manager of Buonaparte's high police, with his subaltern agents of oppression, walked the streets without notice or insult. Carnot, David, and other men of letters, who had mingled in the revolution, now figured in the institute, as if literary employment was to be henceforward the business of their lives. Under all this apparent peace and security, the bonds of jacobinical fraternity were in secret renewed, and the members of the confederacy might be distinguished by the well-disciplined unanimity with which they praised or blamed, censured or approved, individuals or opinions.

I gave a passport to England, may, perhaps, wish to be reminded of what then passed betwixt us on the subject of Louis XVIII." The laughers were conscience-struck, and Fouché was introduced into the cabinet. What pass ed betwixt Louis and this person cannot be known; but it may be presumed that Fouché's motives were to offer his services to the king, and it is said that he recommended the organization of a police, which should be effectual for the security of the government, without being odious or oppressive to the people. It would certainly have been of the last consequence to Louis to have secured the attachment of this sagacious, though unprincipled statesman, and through him a complete acquaintance with the secrets of Napoleon's government. Accordingly, Louis is said to have received him with courtesy, and even favour. But Fouché's vote on the late king's death could scarce be forgiven by his brother, even if the memory of that and his other crimes had not been thundered into the ears of Louis by the royalists around him. Fouché soon saw all hopes from the royal favour were vain, and placed himself once more at the head of the jacobin, or, as they called themselves, the patriotic party, whom he had deserted and betrayed under the reign of Napoleon, and whom he was destined, in the course of this marvellous year, once more to desert and betray.

Headed by the audacious Carnot and the wily Fouché, the ancient assertors of the republican cause, as well as the later agents of Buonaparte's tyranny, with many who had played both parts in this changeful drama, began to reappear on the public stage with new courage and confidence. The members of Buonaparte's senate, who had been dismissed from the House of Peers in the most gentle manner, by receiving, namely, no intimation or letter from the king com

But it was chiefly their business to insist upon the faults of the royal family, and their prejudices against the men and measures of that period when France was successful in foreign war, against the statesmen who directed, and the soldiers who achieved her gigantic enterprizes.-The king, they said, had suffered misfortune without having learned wisdom;-he was incapable of stepping beyond the circle of his Gothic prejudices ;-France had received him from the hand of foreign conquerors, surrounded by an emaciated groupe of mendicant nobles, whose pretensions were as antiquated and absurd as their decorations and manners. His government went to divide, they alleged, the French into two classes, opposed to each other in me rits as in interests-the emigrants, who alone were regarded as faithful and willing subjects, and the rest of the

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nation, in whom the Bourbons saw, at best, but repentant rebels. Too timid as yet to strike an open blow, they alledged that the king and his ministers sought every means to disqualify and displace all who had taken any active share in the events of the revolution, and to evade the general promise of amnesty. Under pretext of national economy, they were disbanding the army and displacing the officers of government, depriving thus the military and civil servants of France of the provision which their long services had earned. Louis, they said, had insulted the glory of France, and humiliated her heroes, by renouncing the colours and symbols, under which twenty-five years had seen her victorious; he had rudely refused a crown, 802 offered to him by the people, and snatched it as his own right by inheritance, as if the dominion of men could be transferred from father to son, like the property of a flock of sheep. The right of Frenchmen to chuse their own ruler was hereditary and imprescriptible; and the nation, they said, must assert it, or sink to be the contempt, instead of being the pride at once and dread of Europe.

Such was the language which nettled, while it alarmed, the idle Parisians; the departments were assailed by other arts of instigation. The chief of these was directed to excite the jealousy so often alluded to concerning the security of the property of national domains. Not content with urging every-where that a revocation of the lands of the church and emigrants was impending over the present proprietors, and that the clergy and nobles did not even deign to conceal their hopes and designs, a singular device was in many instances practised to inforce the belief of such assertions. Secret agents were dispatched into the departments where property was advertised for sale. They

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made enquiries as if in the character of intending purchasers, and where the property appeared to have been derived from revolutionary confiscation, instantly objected to the security as good for nothing, and withdrew their pretended offers; thus impressing the proprietor, and all in the same situation, with the unavoidable belief, that such title was considered as invalid, owing to the expected and menaced revocation of the Bourbon government.

It is generally believed that Buonaparte was not originally the object of these intrigues. He was feared and hated by the jacobin party, who knew what a slender chance his iron government afforded of their again attempting to rear their fantastic fabrics, whether of a pure republic, or a republican monarchy. It is supposed their eyes were turned in preference towards the Duke of Orleans. As the son of the foster-father of the revolution, as the pupil of Madame Genlis, as having, during the very early part of his youth, worn the colours and fought under the banners of the revolution, the jacobins founded hopes upon this prince, which his upright and loyal character ought to have checked. They reckoned probably on the strength of the temptation, and they thought that in supplanting Louis XVIII., and placing his kinsman in his room, they would obtain, on the one hand, a king, who should hold his power by and through the revolution, and, on the other, would conciliate both foreign powers and the constitutionalists at home by chusing him out of the family of Bourbon. The more cautious of those concerned in the intrigue recommended that nothing should be attempted during the life of the reigning monarch; but that they should reserve their force for an effort after his decease, an event which probably was not dis

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tant, to set aside his brother, and call the Duke of Orleans to the throne. It was supposed that the unpopularity of Monsieur and his sons, with the general belief that they were devoted to the interests of the emigrants and clergy, would render it comparatively easy to contest their right of succession. Others were more impatient and less cautious, and the Duke of Or leans received an intimation of their plan in an unsigned billet, containing only these words, "We will act it without you-we will act it in spite of you-we will act it FOR you,' if putting it in his choice to be the leader or victim of the intended revolution. The Duke of Orleans, though his intimacy with the king and princes is not supposed to be great or cordial, immediately communicated this note to the former, and acted otherwise with such prudence as greatly to cool the hopes which the jacobins had founded him. It became necesupon sary that they should turn their to some other central point.

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The court, aware of the disaffection of the army, and the intrigues of the jacobins, seems to have formed no other plan of defence, than by flattering the military with the prospect of a speedy call to war. On the frontiers towards Flanders, the fortresses were put into a state of defence, and the inhabitants of fortified

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* Nous le ferons sans vous-nous le ferons malgré vous-nous le ferons pour vous,

Si les dangers, si la victoire

Nous offrent de nouveaux combats,

Les Bourbons sont fils de la gloire!

Soldats, aux champs d'honneur ils guideront vos pas :

Vous les verrez, fiers de combattre,

Frapper de mort une superbe ennemi;

Et le panache d'Henri Quatre
S'elevera sur le front de Berri.

Such praises were, of all others, the most injudicious, as they invited a comparison between the Bourbons and Buonaparte, in the only point where the latter could claim superiority.

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