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46

EXECUTION OF LOUIS XVI.

the 21st he was taken to the place of execution, which was surrounded by a vast multitude of people ; and large bodies of military to overawe them, and guard against any attempt to rescue the unfortunate monarch from the awful fate which awaited him. With a firm step, and a countenance undismayed, he ascended the fatal scaffold, accompanied by his confessor and two or three municipal officers; and looking round upon the people he attempted to address them, when the rnffian Santerre, who commanded the military, cried out, “ no speeches ! no speeches !") and immediately ordered the drums to beat. He applied his head to the block with serenity ; in a moment the fatal ax fell and severed it from his body; it was taken by Santerre, who holding it up reeking with blood, exclaimed this is the head of a traitor."

Thus fell Louis XVI., and with him apparently the monarchy of France; which under three dynasties had existed nearly fifteen centuries. His personal character was adorned by many virtues ; and if as a sovereign, he possessed little energy or capacity, neiwas he characterized by any conspicuous faults or vices. He held the sceptre with a feeble and trembling hand; and from the want of firmness, vigour and decision, the virtues of his character may have contributed to the calamities of his reign, and the dreadful catastrophe which terminated it. His fate is an awful lesson to kings; and a conspicuous example of the instability, and the tendency to violence and internal convulsion, of arbitrary governments, which possess no ameliorating, and renovating principle, by which the abuses of power may be checked and repressed in a lawful and peaceable manner. The sense of injury which always follows great political and national wrongs, where they cannot be redressed in a constitutional and peaceable way, although like the internal fire of a volcano, it may be smothered for a season, yet liloe that, the time will come when it will bupst forth

DEFECTION OF DUMOURIER.

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in an awful explosion, spreading far and wide the burning lava of inflamed and infuriated passions.

The war on the frontiers was prosecuted with great ardour, but not with the same success on the part of the French, who in a desperate battle fought on the 18th of March at Neerwinder were routed, and obliged to retreat. In a tremendous action at Louvain, on the 21st, the good fortune of the French returned; the contest, dreadfully sanguinary, lasted a whole day, and terminated in the total defeat of the Imperial troops.

The treasonable designs of Dumourier being discovered, he was superseded in the command by general Bournonville, who with four commissioners was ordered to arrest him. The commissioners, having arrived at the head quarters of the army at St. Amand, disclosed the object of their commission to Dumourier, who, finding it impossible to bring them into his views of establishing a limited monarchy, seized them, and threw them into prison. In a manifesto communicated to the army on the 2d April, he unfolded to the troops his designs, and discovering no immediate symptoms of dissatisfaction, he imagined it met their approbation. But he soon found himself mistaken; the next day the troops were in a state of open rebellion, and it was with difficulty he escaped himself, being fired upon by a body of volunteers. He fled to the camp of the enemy, from whence he issued another manifesto, in which he enlarged upon his own services, unfolded bis designs and the reasons for them, and animadverted upon the conduct of the convention, its uppardonable neglect of the army, its proscription of the best patriots and citizens of France; and concluded with an animated description of the dreadful evils which afflicted his country, and the more tremendous wich threatened it, should the reign of the jacobins continue.

By means of the treasonable conduct of some of the

48

SIEGE OF TOULON.

inhabitants of Toulon, lord Hood, commanding a British fleet, succeeded in getting possession of that port.

The British landed some troops and proceeded to erect redoubts on the heights, which were supplied with cannon from the French ships of the line, that had fallen into their hands; and they received large reinforcements of Spanish, Sicilian, and Sardinian troops.

Barras and Freron, commissioners from the Convention made a desperate effort to retake the place and drive out the British; and the Convention affording them large supplies of money, and every assistance in their power, they soon collected a large body of troops and an immense supply of artillery. On the night of the 30th September, the French by an incredible effort attacked and captured fort Faron, the acquisition of which was so important as to render the possession of Toulon precarious. A council of officers which was called, determined that it was necessary to re-obtain this redoubt. The attack was desperate and sanguinary; and the French after a most determined defence abandoned the fort with the loss of near three fourths of their number. But such was the perseverance and fury of the French that they stormed and took possession of the heights of Cape Brun, which hazarded the safety of the garrison.

It was in the operations of Toulon that Bonaparte was first actively engaged in military service. He had re-entered the corps of artillery as lieutenant ; and was recommended to Barras by his countryman Salicetti, deputy from Corsica, and one of the commissioners with the army at Toulon. Barras immediately promoted him to the rank of general and gave him the command of the artillery destined for the reduction of the arsenal. This extraordinary advancement of a young and inexperienced officer, must either be con sidered as a wonderful evidence of the sagacity of Barras, or as one of those instances, where hasty and inconsiderate measures, from their successful results

OPERATIONS AT TOULON.

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are considered as having proceeded from wisdom and foresight. This situation gave our young hero an opportunity to display his extraordinary military talents, which he did not fail to improve to the best advantage, both to himself and to his country. His active and spirited exertions had great effect upon the fate of Toulon, and soon evinced the wisdom of his appointment.

His first operation was an attack upon Malboussquet, one of the principal, and most important outposts of the enemy, which in a great measure commanded the town and arsenal. For the reduction of this post he erected a strong battery on the heights of Arenes, which enabled him to cannonade it with great effect. The enemy, alarmed for the security of this position, took immediate, steps to dislodge the French from the height they occupied; proceeded under cover of night with a body of more than 2000 men, to ascend the height, and succeeded in surprising the battery; but instead of occupying the position, they pursued the French with great impetuosity down the heights, who, taking advantage of the dispersion and disorder which this step occasioned, attacked, and compelled them to abandon the advantages they had acquired.

The success of this affair gave great expectations to the French, and stimulated their exertions. They erected new batteries, attacked several outposts, made nearer approaches to the town, and threatened a general assault. The French troops, amounting to 40,000, were constantly increasing; those of the allies did not exceed 12,000. The situation of the garrison was critical and alarming. The French prosecuted the siege with great ardour. On the morning of the 17th of December, they erected two new batteries on fort Mulgrave, which, together with those previously erected, maintained a tremendous cannunade and bombardment, that greatly annoyed the enemy and destroyed many of their works. With great impetuosity, having their bayonets screwed on, they stormed and

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50.

OPERATIONS AT TOULON.

entered the fortifications, and succeeded in ascending on the backside of the mountain, although deemed inaccessible, which enabled them to occupy a height that overlooked Toulon. The English troops behaved with their usual coolness and bravery, but the enthusiasm of the French overcame all resistance, prostrated all obstacles, rendered them insensible to dangers, and impetuous and furious in their attacks.

The young general Bonaparte, who had the direction of all the batteries shewed himself to be a young “god of war." His activity and exertions astonished every one ;

he infused his own soul into the troops he directed ; rendered them as furious as lions, and as fearless as himself. This siege was a fine field for the developement of his geuius, and his extraordinary activity, heroism and exertions, procured him great applause, and marked him as one of the most promising candidates for military glory and renown. During the heat of the conflict, Barras complained to Bonaparte of the direction of a gun which had been pointed by his order : “ Attend to your duty as a commissioner, replied the young general, and I will do mine, or be answerable for the consequences with my head."

During the siege at Toulon, a formidable insurrection broke out at Lyons, which was not suppressed without shedding rivers of blood. But the Convention, unconcerned at these internal disorders, and the tragical scenes which they occasioned, proceeded in their plans of improvement ; they formed a new callender, dividing the year into twelve months, of thirty days each, and christening the five intercallender days with the odd and uncouth name of Sans_culottidies, and which were designed for holidays. Each month. consisted of three decades of ten days each, the last of which was to be observed as a day of rest; and the year and the era of the republic was to commence from the 23rd of September, the day of the first anniversary of the Convention. Christianity and the clergy were proscribed, the churches ordered to be shut ;

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