Imatges de pÓgina
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tions. As the republican force in that quarter was but weak, and the fpirit of difcontent and revolt, general and ardent, the infurrection fpread fo rapidly, that, in a fhort fpace of time, no lefs than twenty or lefs, departments were,

more

in a ftate of infurrection. Their principle place of ftrength was, at firft, Meins. This however, on the appearance of the republican troops, they were forced to evacuate, after pillaging it, and taking hostages. But, by this time, the flames of infurrection had spread far and wide. The infurgents were, for a while, in poffeffion of Nantes, the capital of the department of the Nether Loire, and Port-Brieux, that of the depart From ment of the northern coasts. this laft place they did not retreat without carrying off all the public money, and allo the principal inhabitants as hoftages. A regular chain of pofts was formed from the Bay of Bifcay almoft to the walls of Paris. The infurgents published manifeftoes, demanded and fupplies of men, money, provifions, and, in a word, affuming the title of the royal and catholic army, exercifed within the fphere of their influence and power all the This functions of government. army, which covered fo great an extent of country and amounted in all, to about a hundred thoufand men, was formed into five grand divifions. The province of Normandy (for we prefume that the old divifions of France will yet be more intelligible to moft of our readers than the new) was under the orders of count Lewis Frotté: the province of Mayne was occupied by a formidable army, under the count de Bourmont. The marquiffes of

Scepeaux, Chatillen, d'Audigne,
and Turpin, commanded in Anjou
and Britanny, as far as Morbihan;
generals Georges and de Sol, the
Lower Britanny; le Mercier, the
diftricts lying towards St Brieux.
The count d'Autichamp was at the
head of the army of Poitou, and
of the country on the left bank
of the Loire to the confines of
Aunis; and under him were the
generals Suzannet, Sapineau, So-
yer, and Berlier. Of all the great,
towns throughout thefe provinces
the royalifts were in poffeffion, and
they were all of them ftored with
ammunition and provifions: fup-
plies of which, had, from time to
time, been landed, on fuch parts
as were under
of the coaft,
their influence and way by the
English. On the whole, the French
nation was in a flate of difcontent,
alarm, and anxious expectation.
The noble families and clergy were
profcribed and perfecuted; the
men of property were haraffed with
requifitions; the jacobins were
excluded from the public councils,.
and ready to attempt any enter-
prize that might throw all things
into confufion, however desperate
and dangerous.

Some measures had indeed been taken for modifying, not repealing, the law of Hoftages, and for deftroying one dreadful engine of def potifm, in the hands of the late directory, by clofing the lift of emigrants: other meafitres too, had been taken for alleviating the public diftreffes, but the whole were feeble, and in their operation tardy and inefficacious.

The nation was

in a flate of diffraction; the government, if not altogether in a ftate of languor, indecifion, and ftupefaction, rather watched and [B4]

fought

fought for an opportunity offtrengthening their own hands by fome new change, than of compofing the people, and faving the country, by the exercife of any powers or principles inherent in the actual constitution.

The abbé Sieyes had early forefeen, or apprehended the difcordant and fluctuating nature of the various forms of government that had been adopted fince the overthrow of the monarchy. He had attempted, in vain, the introduction of a conflitution, which, though ftill retaining the name, and in fome degree the form of a republic, fhould be confolidated and flayed by one chief magiftrate, and a conftitutional jury, or confervative fenate; and, in the various changes that took place, from time to time, he was a friend, as we have feen, to an increase of power in the hands of the executive government. The great enemies that abbé Sieyes, who had gained an afcendancy in the public councils, had to contend with, was, of course, the democratical party. To overthrow the principles and plans of this party, by an oppofite fyflem, in which his own project of a fingle chief, and a conftitutional jury, fhould be adopt ed, was the leading principle in his conduct, and the great object of his inceffant contrivance.

It has been faid, that he imparted his defign of establishing a ftronger government, by a fresh revolution, to general Joubert, whom he with ed to affociate with himfelf in this project, and whofe unfullied character, blooming virtues and talents, and popularity rendered a very de firable affociate in fuch an enterprife. Joubert, unwilling to be

1

come the inftrument of political intrigue, accepted the command of the army of Italy.. "The abbé, it was generally fuppofed, was encouraged and fortified in his defigns, by the countenance and good wishes of the court of Berlin, where he had refided a confiderable time, and which was equally jealous of democratical doctrines, and all connection with governments founded on fuch principles.

The parties which divided and agitated France, at this time, were reduced to two claffes: the one confifting of the jacobins or fierce republicans, who made but little account of either the property or lives of their countrymen, whenever they judged that a facrifice of thefe might be rendered fubfervient to the interefts of their own faction: the other comprehending all who had taken a fhare in the revolution, without participating in its principal enormities, and who arranged themfelves around Sieyes and the council of elders, in the hope and expectation of fome approaching change.Though this man had voted for the death of the king, and that in a very unfeeling and inhuman manner,* he affected great regard for the conftitutionalifts of 1791, who had formerly been the objects of his averfion. He gained over the leading men in the council of five hundred, and established his intereft still more firmly in that of the elders. The extenfion of his plan, however, was ftill retarded, by various obftacles, when the eyes, the thoughts, and the hopes of all men were fuddenly turned on Buonaparte.

No less than three days elapfed, after the unexpected return of this La mort fans phrase, .

celebrated

celebrated commander and politician, before he had a perfonal interview with abbé Sieyes: a circumftance, which, undoubtedly, feems to ftrengthen the opinion of thofe who affirm that no fecret correfpondence had taken place between thefe important perfonages; though this apparent fhynels, in a queftion relating to political dexterity, might poffibly be accounted for otherwife; but all this is of little moment. Certain it is, that Buonaparte was Ceffed, flattered, and courted by both parties, but that he himself did not court any. With politicians, though civil and polite, he was diftant and referved: close himfelf, while he liftened to the reports, and put many queftions to others. But while he was thus grave and guarded in his intercourles with both the moderate and jacobinical party, he was open, frank, and ftudious above all things, by all means to maintain his intereft and popularity in the army. Every officer of diftinction he treated with ftudied respect; every private that came in his way, as has been above noticed, with affability and condefcenfion. The directory and the councils determined to do honour to Buonaparte by a fplendid feaft, in the church of St. Sulpice, tranf. formed into the Temple of Victory. This intention being intimated to the general, he requested that general Moreau might also be invited, and conjoined with himself in every fentiment intended to be expreffed by that entertainment: it is needJels to aid, that his request was complied with. He was anxious to prevent any fentiments of rivalty and oppofition, on the part of Mo jeau, and to gain his confidence and favour. Thefe commanders met

together, for the first time in their lives, at the house of Gohier, prefident of the directory. "General," faid Buonaparte, "I had feveral of your lieutenants in Egypt, and they are very diftinguished officers." The bright luftre of Moreau's reputation was yet inferior to the dazzling fplendour of Buonaparte's fame and character. In the judgement of many military critics he was not inferior, but in the public eye he was fecondary; and being a man of a natural eafinels, as well as probity of difpofition, and lefs ambitious and daring, he was content to be among the firft in the train of the favourite of fortune.

It was for fome time queftioned whether the genius of Buonaparte would, in like manner, gain an afcendancy over that of albe Sieyes. and which of thefe men would take the lead in fettling a new government, and in its adminiftration when fettled. Both were men of deep reflection and combination of ideas; both remarkable for taciturnity, the natural concomitant of profound and inceflant meditation; both poffeffed many partifans, and great authority of the ftate: yet, on the whole, their character and condition were not marked by fo many circumftances of resemblance as of difcrimination. Sieyes was a metaphyfician, melancholy, irafcible, fufpicious, and cautious, He was endowed with a quick difcernment of men, things, and circumftances, and capable of turning conjunctures to different purposes, provided that he had time to overcome rifing obftacles to his plans, not by force, but by intrigue, or, as he himself alleged, by operating on the minds, and convincing the understandings of men, and to weave his complicated

web

web in the dark, and without difturbance. He feemed to entertain a juft regard and reverence for what he deemed right and juft, and conducive to the public welfare: though he feemed allo to be of opinion that few, if any, good laws were to be expected from any other head than his own. Nor, though filent and reclufe, did he want firmness to avow and defend his own fentiments, in the midft of popular clamour and paffion. He ftood up for the defence of property in oppofition to laws in favour of bankruptcy, and for the fuppreffion of tythes. A faying of his was long, and is now remembered to his credit. Speaking of his colleagues in the national aflembly, he faid, "They wish to be free, and they know not what it is to be juft." On the whole, the abbé Sieyes was not an amiable, but poffeffed a very general repu tation of being both a wile and juft man; and that, if he was not without a tincture of vanity and ambition, it was not the common ambition of power and splendour, but that of gaining over the French nation and the world to his political doctrines. His ambition, therefore, was of the fame nature with that of the heads of religious fectaries. Buonaparte, to the advantage of military renown, added that of moderation, prudence, and a regard not only for civil rights, but alto for religion. The fage counfels he gave to the Genoefe on leaving them to themselves, the letter which he wrote to the Pope in a tone of refpect and veneration, the whole of his conduct in Italy, not more intrepid than temperate and wife, were recollected with applaufe. There was nothing that the French people was not difpofed to expect at the

hands of the man who had conquered Italy and Egypt, and made peace with Auftria, on terms fo advantageous and honourable to the republic, while, at the fame time, it was the more likely to be lafting, that it was neither fo dishonourablenor difadvantageous to that great power, as it might have been, if the pride of victory had not been tempered by political prudence.The wifdom of the treaty of Campo Formio was illuftrated by the loffes, dilafters, and fufferings that refulted from its violation. The nation fighed for peace, and this bleffing was not fo likely to be procured by any one as by Buonaparte. As the nation confided in Buonaparte, fo neither was he diffident in himfelf; though it would be very unjuft, and is by no means intended to infinuate, that he carried a confidence in his own powers beyond the bounds of a juft felf-eftcem. had impro ed an underftanding, naturally excellent, by a very clofe and fuccesful application to literature and the fciences. By the former, his mind was humanized as well as enlarged, and his ruling paffion, the love of glory, confirmed and exalted: from the latter, his underftanding derived additional vigour, precifion, and promptitude. He was defcended of an ancient family in Corfica, an ifland protected by its poverty and mountaincus afpect from the enervation incident to the champaign and luxuriant regions, lying in the fame degrees of latitude; and by the finiple state of manners from that famenels and monotony of genius, which is commonly produced by an imitation of established anthorities and modes of thinking, in the more advanced ftages of fociety. He was born, and received his firft

He

impref

impreffions, too, in times, when the fpirit of liberty in his native land excited every latent fpark of genius and adventure. Though the fupe rior and irrefiftible power of France damped and crushed all hopes of maintaining the independence of Cortica, the tone and temper of mind to which the unequal ftruggle gave birth, the ardent fpirit of exertion remained in the youthful bofom of Buonaparte, who, by a feries of incidental circumftances, was led into the famous école militaire of France, where he added the accomplishments to be acquired by the moft refined, to the benefits derived from one of the fimpleft and moft virtuous nations in Europe. To perfonal courage, carried to the verge of temerity, and military art. and ftratagem, he united blamelefs, and, with his inferiors in ftation, affable manners. Of a firm and undaunted fpirit, and a genius penetrating, fublime, and inventive, he diftinguished difficulties from impoffibilities, difcerned the nature and difpofitions of men, and bodies of men, and not only improved, but, in fome degree, created conjunctures. He had taken a wide range over the ancient as well as modern world, and chofen the greatest and moft heroic models for his imitation. His letters, his fpeeches, his actions, all proclaimed a fublimity of courage, imagination, and defign, beyond the limits of vulgar concep

tion.

In fuch times, it was certainly to be expected, that the genius of the warlike fhould prevail over that of the metaphyfical politician. Not more than a week had elapfed, after the general's arrival in Paris, when it was clearly perceived that lis fentiments were wholly in op

pofition to the jacobins, and on the fide of the moderate party. It was almoft as foon perceived that he confidered the deftinies of France as in his own hands, and that he would not brook either any fuperior or equal. He spoke in a tone of laconic decifion, which fufficiently indicated the opinion he entertained of his talents, power, and importance.

It was a fingular spectacle to fee fo many generals, and these of the first rate, in the midst of a war in Paris. Buonaparte was fupported by the prefence, countenance, and authority of Moreau, Berthier, Lefebre, Serrurier, Macdonald, Murat, Berryer, and feveral other general officers.

In other circunftances, fuch a congrefs of generals, in the feat of the government and legiflature, would probably have occafioned fome murmurs of jealousy and diffatisfaction; but every paffion was hushed, and every head bowed down before the man, who was not only the idol of France, but the admiration of the world.

The day fixed on by the directory and legiflative councils for the feaft in honour of the two generals, Buonaparte and Moreau, was the seventh of November. There was nothing extraordinary, in fuch an entertainment; on the arrival of Buonaparte from Egypt, or what was not to have been expected.But neither is it unnatural to fuppofe that the politics of the day might in fome fhape and degree, infinuate themselves into this defign after it was formed, although it would not be reafonable to afcribe its original formation to any other caufe than what is moft natural and obvious. It ferved to folemnize the union and friendship between the

greatef

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