« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
society, and spent most of his time in Paris, with D Alembert, Diderot, Condorcet, and the other literati.
He was elected to the states general, and first at: tracted attention as a politician, by a publication en titled, “What is the Tiers Etat,” which for a consid erable time was the most fashionable and popular book in Paris.
After the meeting of the states general at Versailles, Sieyes first proposed that they should call themselves “ The Assembly of the Representatives of the French people ;” and when the assembly became alarmed for their safety, he proposed that no troops should be allowed, to approach within ten leagues, of their sitting, and also an address to the king, desiring that he would order the troops to withdraw from the neighbourhood of Versailles.
At this time Sieyes, acted in concert with Mirabeau, La Clos, and others, and although a decided advocate for reform, was a zealous royalist; and in 1791, he actually published several papers in answer to the articles which appeared in a publication entitled “ The Republican" conducted by Brissot, Condorcet, and the celebrated Thomas Paine.
The “ Declaration of the Rights of Man," decreed by the national Assembly, was from his pen. He was chosen a member of the convention in 1792, and possessed great influence in that body; the momentuous question, as to what punishment the king should suffer, was considered in a great measure as depending upon his opinion, as many members declined deciding until they beard the opinion of Sieyes. At length he ascended the tribune ; a profound silence ensued ; great anxiety pervaded the assembly, the fate of the king, being regarded as suspended upon the vote of Sieyes. He broke the solemn pause, with only five words : Je suis pour la mort! “I am for death !" and instantly withdrew.
Perceiving the gathering of a dreadful storm, at this time, he retired, and remained so perfectly concealed for more than two years, that it was not known
whether he was in the “ land of the living” or not. After the death of Robespierre, and the overthrow of the mountain party, he still remained behind the curtain, until 1795, when he was fully assured that the violence of the storm, that desolated France, had passed by, and that the scattered clouds, although still lowering and angry, could not collect again into a tempest. On his emerging, he published memoirs of himself, the object of which was to apologize for his having absented himself from public concerns during so important a period, and to lament the perversion and abuse, which the jacobins and demagogues had made of his definitions of the rights of man, and his political writings.
State of France at the establishment of the Consular government,
.... Its foreign relations.... Operations of the war during the year 1799.... The French unfortunate in all quarters....
They Iose nearly all Italy.... Massena alone obtains some advantages .... Critical condition of France.... Bonaparte opens a negociation with Austria and England for peace.... It fails... he recalls the emigrants.... restores order at home....his extraordinary exertions to prosecute the war....Plan of the campaign.... Success of Moreau.... The First Consul commences his march for Italy....Passing of mount St. Bernard.... The French cross the Po, and attack the Austrians at Montebello.... Both parties concentrate their forces near Alessandria.... The great, obstinate, and decisive battle of Marengo.... An armistice follows.... The First Consul adopts measures for re-organizing the Italian Republics.... Success of Moreau in Germany.... Francis refuses to ratify the treaty, and hostilities are renewed.... Victory of Hohenlinden....Peace of Lunéville.
We are now to consider Bonaparte, as entered upon a new theatre of action, as the supreme executive magistrate, and in a great degree as the ruler of a great nation. We have seen what he has done as an
INTERNAL STATE OF FRANCE.
instrument of power in the hands of others, we shall now witness what he was capable of doing when invested with power himself. If at the head of an army, he made all the Sovereigns of Europe tremble, it cane not be a matter of surprise that when wielding the resources of a great nation, he should crumble many of their thrones to dust.
Before entering upon his administration of the government of France, it may be proper to consider the internal and external condition of the country at this period.
Notwithstanding the internal contentions and bloodshed, and the immense drains which the foreign warg had occasioned since the commencement of the revolution, the population of France, does not appear to have undergone any diminution. A few years before the commencement of the revolution, the population of the nation was estimated by M. Necker, at 24, 800,000, and who calculated that the births at that time, amounted to a million annually. The national Assembly before the commencement of the war, estimated the population of France, at 26,363,074 ; and the number to a square league, at 996 ; in the year six of the republic, the result of the bureau de cadastra gave a population of 26,048,254, and 1,020, to the square league ; and in the year seven, 'the whole
population of the republic was calculated at 33,501,094, of wbich 28,810,694, belonged to ancient France, making 1,101, to the square league.
But although the numerical population of the nation had not declined, yet it cannot be supposed but that the number of adult males was considerably reduced ; although the aggregate capabilities of the nation, whether for industry or war, were not impaired, but undoubtedly considerably augmented. The strength and resources of a people do not depend wholly upon their numbers, but upon the activity and energy of their pysical and moral powers. The revolution had agitated every fibre of the nation, and produced a developement of muscular and intellectual capacity,
INTERNAL STATE OF FRANCE.
which had never before been exerted, and which created an aggregate energy that no one had ever supposed the nation possessed. There were various other causes growing out of the revolution, which tended to invigorate and enlarge the resources of France, and which enabled it to sustain the mighty convulsions and sacrifices, which it experienced, without impairing its strength, or drying up the sources, or diverting the streams of its wealth. The manufacturing interests it is true, had suffered considerably ; but agriculture was more flourishing, afforded employment to more persons, and subsistence to a much greater number of families than before the revolution. This was occa. sioned by the confiscation and sale of the domains of the nobility and clergy; which had either been badly cultivated or not at all, a proportion of which consisted of parks and chases, the sporting grounds of " noble breeds." They were taken from the dominion of royal sportsmen, and delivered over to the dominion of the plow. From the immense quantity of lands thrown into market at the same time, they were sold at a low price, which enabled men of small property to become purchasers, and being extensively divided, the number of proprietors and small farmers was greatly increased.
The additional quantity of land thrown into cultivation tended on the one hand by increasing the demand, to raise the price of labouř; and on the other, by aug. menting the quantity of agricultural products to reduce the price of living. The immense number of men which were drawn from the field of labour to that of war, and the great number of emigrants from the country, nearly all of whom were consumers and none producers, operated in conjunction with the above causes, and tended to produce the same result. The condi- . tion of the lower classes was greatly ameliorated; whilst the means and cheapness of subsistence was increased, the price of labour was also raised. The improvement of the condition of the poorer classes, which enabled these to obtain a comfortable subsis
THE STATE OF HER FOREIGN RELATIONS.
tence, who had only sustained a precarious one ; the increase and cheapness of food, and the augmentation of the value of labour, operated most powerfully to invigorate the labouring classes of the community, and to promote the increase of population amougst them.
The continental relations of France had undergonë a great change since Bonaparte left there for Egypt. The absence of the terrific general, and the flower of the troops of the republic on another continent, exposed to an inhospitable climate, and a ferocious people, cut off from all communication with France, and without any apparent chance of returning, their fleet having been destroyed, and the British cruizers blockading the entire coast of Egypt, together with the effect of the great naval victory of Aboukir, had a powerful influence to revive the hopes of the enemies of the res public. British influence and British gold were both made use of to the greatest extent, to excite another coalition against France, and particularly to induce the Emperor of Austria to renew hostilities against the republic, notwithstanding the treaty of Campo Formio, and to draw the court of St. Petersburgh into the coalition.
At the congress held at Radstadt, consisting of plenipotentiaries of the Germanic empire, and those of the French republic, serious difficulties arose, which resulted in an open rupture ; the ministers of the republic withdrew from the congress.
The emperor Paul having succeeded to the throne, joined the coalition.
When hostilities were renewed in 1799, the French had about three hundred thousand men on the frontier; of which about forty-five thousand under Massena, occupied Switzerland and the left bank of the Rhine; sixty-five thousand under Jourdan, were stationed between Basle and Drusseldorf, called the army of Mentz; and a large army was in Italy. Operations were commenced by the French; general Jourdan advanced into Germany, and on the 27th of April, s fought a pitched battle with the arch-duke Charles ;