« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
wishes of the respective parties, punishable. The law should have that the examination might termi- been pointed at those chiefly whose zate in their favour. The remark- crimes had rendered them objects able fervour with which the royalists of abhorrence to all parties; and expreiled their hope of its repeal, who, having been tried and confufficiently indicated how much they demned for them, bas been fielded expected it would militate for from punishment, by the aninefty them, while the apprehensions of extended to them by that law, in the republicans, left it should be re- defiance
defiance of equity and the general peated, manisefted equally their sense of the public, wbich loudly conviction, how strongly this would demanded that they should be made operate to their detriment.
examples of, as guilty of plunders This fermentation of the public and allaffinations that had filled the mind carried the weight of the nation with dread and horror. Were strongest argument with those who such men to be excepted from the were entrusted with this great de- rigour of a law which ought to have cision. The elatedness of the royal been made for them alone, instead party, on the bare possibility of a of falling upon the innocent ? Was repeal, clearly pointed out the it reconcileable with reason and danger of it to the commonwealth, propriety, that furch men should be and admonified its well-wishers to promoted to pofts of honour and oppose such a measure with all their authority ? but the fact was, that might. The members of the com- the period when this law took mittee of examination, being staunch place was marked by the terrors republicans, could not fail to per- that hung over those who, though ceive the question before them in they reprobated, did not dare to rethe fame light. They did not there- fuse their assent to it. The constifore hesitate to pronounce explicitly tution, though framed and accepted, a verdict conformable to the opic food yet upon a tottering foundanion of their party, which was tion. The most upright men in the thereby relealed from a state of the convention felt themielves in danger deepest anxiety on the issue of this from that violent party still prevailbusiness,
ing, and with which they had no There were, however, some very other expedient to compromise for fincere republicans in both the coun- their own safety, than consenting to cils, who dilapproved of this lear, this inequitabe law, in hope howand exerted their abilities for its ever of lome auspicious opportunity repeal. They argued that it made to repeal it. This opportunity was no difference between the relations arrived, and every motive concurred of real enemies to the revolution, to induce the legillature to rescind who had abandoned their country, an act replete with cruelty and out of haired to the system intro- seandal. It was well known, that duced by that event, and the 'rela- thole, whom it affected, had been tions of individuals who had fled fallely held out to the public, as from the tyranny that had deluged enemies to the state, and their France with profcriptions and nur
names, together with those of ders. Such a flight ought not, in their relations, wantonly infertthe clearest equity, to be accounted ed in the list of emigrants, while
It was notorious that many of the throw the whole nation at once into anfortunate individuals, thus tra- the hands of fo many concealed duced, were locked up in prisons, enemies ? But the suffering, fo bitwhere calumny and fufpicion were terly complained of, amounted only at that tyrannical period fufficient to a temporary fufpension of their tezlons to confine and to treat them rights, of which they would unwith the most unfeeling barbarity. dergo the deprivation, no longer But were it only out of respect for than the port space that might the rights of the people at large, a elapse till the restoration of general law should be abrogated, that took tranquillity. As soon as peace was from them the conftitutional right re-eftablished, both at home and of chuting to places and dignities in abroad, the fufpenfion of all privithe state, thole whom they reputed leges would ceale, and every man worthy of their confidence. To be placed on the completest footing deny them this riglit, was to abridge of equality, in respect of pretensions ther of their liberties in a moft to public employments. But till ettertial point. To plead the safety that period, it were the height of of the nation was the language of imprudence to place confidence in tyranny, and would juftity every any but the tried friends to the fpecies of defpotilm. What crimes commonwealth. The promotion of had not been committed by the others would unavoidably excite fanguinary tribunals, erected on the fears and jealoufies. With what pretence of punishing the foes to prospect of impartial justice could the revolution?
the relations of emigrants be enTo these and other arguments, in trusted with the execution of the farour of a repeal, it was replied, fevere, but neceflary, laws enacted by the fupporters of the law, that againit them? Infiances might ocit pafled at a time when it was cur, in the present situation of deemed indispenfible for the pre- things, when not only the liberty fervation of the national freedom, and property, but the very life of and the security of the constitution the dearest relative would be at just establithed. Its numerous and stake: was it to be expected that active enemies were every where the ties of consanguinity would not in motion, and firiving with all their have their influence on these occamight to set the people againit it. tions, and that a man coolly and deSulpicions were warrantable motives terminately would doom another to exclude those on whom they fell, to death, whole life was as dear to at a time when so many were justly him as his own? In this light, the fufpected, from stations of power law, fo violently reprobated, was in and truft
, wherein they might have fact humane and merciful: it exacted to hostile a part to the com- empted individuals from those termonwealth. Would it have been rible conflicts between the feelings prudent to expose it to such danger of nature, and the dictates of duty, at home, while menaced by so many wherein they could neither yielu io foe's from abroad? Allowing that a the one nor to the other, without larumber of individuals fuffered ur incuring the imputation of betrayutily by this law, was not this a ing their truit, or of wanting humamuch less inconvenience than to nity. When these various circunVOL. XXXVIII.
stances were duly considered, it the repeal was carried by a majority must appear that the repeal of the of only forty-four. law in question would be attended The minority, encouraged by this evidently with so many inconveni- evidence of their strength, resolved, ences, that no judicious and un- if it were not able to compass the biafied person could require it. repeal of the law of the third of The interest of the public was not, Brumaire, (25th October, 1795;) fo in truth, more concerned in main- to modify its provisions, as to direa taining that law in its full vigour, them equally at the partisans and. than that of private families: both instruments of the terrorists and jawould equally suffer from its abo- cobins; and the royalists, who, after lition. It would often happen that taking up arms against the republic, justice would not be done to the had submitted and been pardoned. public, or that by doing it, men The proposal of such an amendment would embitter the remainder of proved highly exasperating to the their lives, and become objects supporters of that law, who asserted, either of general resentment or com- that sufficient moderation had been passion. It being clear, therefore, thewn in exempting from its opera. that much more evil than good, tion the actors and abetters in the must fiow from the repeal of the insurrection against the conventional law; and the security of the state decrees for the re-elections. But being, at the same time, a motive the general disposition of the counthat ought to fuperfede all others, cil was so strongly marked by imthat law could not with any pro- partiality on this occasion, that the priety be abrogated. It was, at the amendment was carried, to the fame time, much to be fufpected, great surprize of the public; the that many of those, who recon- majority of which, though decidedly mended such a measure, acted from inclined to measures of lenity, was finister motives, as nothing could be fearful of that preponderance of a stronger proof of its impropriety, jacobinism, which had hitherto exthan the fatisfaction universally ex- erted fo irresistable an influence pressed, by the royalists, at luch a over all the proceedings of the lequestion being brought before the giflature. two councils.
The council of elders would A multiplicitly of other argu- willingly have consented to the ments were alleged by the con- total repeal of the law of the third tending parties, in which the public Brumaire, and embraced, therefore, joined with an earnestnets that with readiness, an opportunity of Thewed how much all men were mitigating its severity, by assenting convinced of the importance of the to the sinendment made by the fubject in debate. But the report council of five hundred. of the committee seemed to carry This alteration of that severe an influence that could not, and law proved a matter of unexpected ought not to be refifted. This was triumph to the moderate party, the opinion of the people at large, which conftituted a large majority even more than of the council of of the nation. The exclufion from five hundred, as the question against pofts of emolument, or of power,
was a heavy blow on that fangui- both, it appeared not improbable nary faction, which had ruled by that, if the latter could be fatisfied terror. It lost thereby a multitude of an earnest determination in the of its agents, whose crimes now ren- ruling powers to put an end to op dered them ineligible to public em- preslive measures, the little prospect ployments, and many were, on the that now remained of subverting same account, obliged to vacate the established government, would those which they pofTefled.
induce them to submit to it, rather The discerning part of the public than renew those attempts to restore looked upon this event, as a species their own system, which had so reof revolution, and formed the peatedly failed, not more through strongest hope that it would pro- the rashness or incapacity of those mote a reconciliation between the who had conducted them, than the friends to a republican government, general repugnance of the nation and those to a limited monarchy. to join them upon those occasions. Liberty being equally the aim of
c H A P. XI. .
Efiis expected in France from a growing Spirit of Moderation. The Chief
Object in the Councils of France, how to Break or to Weaken the Power of England.-Plan of the French for that End.-Means for Reporing the Pecuniary Credit of the French Republic.--A Rupture threatened betucen the French Councils and Executive Directory. I'rerented by the necesity of their alling in Concert.--The Legislature Invade the Province of the Directory, by the Appointment of a Committee for judging in Cases of Appeals from Emigrants. --Loftiness of the Directory.-Humbled by the Wije Economy and Firmness of the United States of America.-Jealoufies and Difpuies between the French and Americans.--And an open Rupture. 'HE spirit of lenity that seemed that power unsaken and undimi.
to have arisen, and been nou- nished in the midst of the disasters rised by the new conititution, be- that lrad befallen the other parts of gan to operate powerfully in its the coalition. That invincible spirit, favour, and to gain it daily fresh which had so many ages accompaadherents. The people in France nied the councils and the arms of appeared in general extremely England, and enabled it to maintain I willing to support it, hoping that so many contests with France, had,
the period of internal contifions in the prelent, displayed greater would thereby be accelerated, and energy than ever, and imprefled le. that the European powers leagued veral of the foundeft politicians with against them, when they found that an idea, that however the French unanimity was re-efiablished among republic might for a while diffuse the French, would cease to prose- the terror of its arms among the cute the war for the restoration of neighbouring states, the persevering the house of Bourbon to the throne courage of the English, aided by of France, against the manifest will their immense opulence, would final. of the nation.
ly weary out the endeavours of the The heads of the republic were French to retain the acquisitions they now deeply occupied in the con- had made ; and, that notwithllandcerting of means to counteract the ing the republic itfelt might remain, mcasures of that power, on the in- it would, on the illue of the terrible defatigable efforts of which all the trial it had food, be compelled to others depended for the fupport of remit of the pretentions it had formtheir own. It was with unteigned ed to preferibe terms of peace to mortification that Frarce beheld all its numerous enemies, and to