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Mission to the Republic of St. Marino-The village of Pictola
-Bonaparte's family brought into notice-his plans to secure his conquests—Preparations of Austria to renew the warBonaparte's plan of the campaign-Action at Tarvis Austrians defeated near Newmarck-Vienna is thrown into the greatest confusion and alarm-Bonaparte offers peace, which is accepted-A negociation opened at Campo Formo-Disturbances at Venice The authority of France re-established, and the authors punished-Success of the army of the Rhine.
As Bonaparte suffered nothing to escape his attention which could contribute to the power or eclat of his country, or to his own, he did not fail to notice the little republic of St. Marino. Having no pretence to quarrel with this little state, which could afford neither a field for glory or for spoil, and from its being a sister republic, although on a small scale, he availed himself of it, as presenting an opportunity of making a display of the magnanimity of the French republic, its regard, for the rights of a free people, and its fraternal feelings towards them. He dispatched citizen Monge, distinguished for his learning, as well as his respect for the rights of mankind, and attachment to republican principles, on a mission to the free and independent republic of St. Marino"; the ostensible object of which, was to remove any uneasiness that might be felt, on account of the contiguity of the French army:
The speech delivered by this distinguished messenger, contains sentiments so noble and exalted, that we cannot forbear to copy it
“Liberty," he observes, "which in the fair days of Athens, and of Thebes, transformed the Greeks into a people of heroes,—which in the time of the republic, made the Romans perform wonders --which, during the short interval it diffused its influence over some of the cities of Italy, revived the sciences and the arts,
SPEECH OF MONGE.
and gave a lustre to Florence ; liberty, while nearly banished from Europe, existed in St. Marino ; where, by the wisdom of the government, and especially by their virtues, the people have preserved this precious deposit, notwithstanding so many revolutions, and defended its asylum during so long a series of years. After a century of knowledge, the French people, blushing at their own slavery, have made an effort, and are free. All Europe, blinded as to their proper interests, coalesced and armed against the French republic ; and, what afflicted her most, a portion of herself kindled civil war, and compelled her to have recourse to measures, of which she must feel the unfortunate consequences. Alone, in the midst of this tempest, without experience, arms, or chiefs, she hastened to the frontiers, and, making head in every direction, was soon every where triumphant. Of her numerous enemies, the wisest withdrew from the coalition ; others, yielding to her victorious arms, obtained successively the peace they implored. In fine, three only now remained, but they were impassioned, and listened to no counsel, except that of pride, jeal. ousy, and hatred. One of the French armies, on entering Italy, had destroyed, in succession, four Austrian armies, bringing in its train liberty to these delightful countries, and, almost under the eyes of the men he addressed, covering itself with immortal glory. 'The French republic, afflicted on account of the blood she sheds, offers peace, when she might dictate laws !" · Here the orator paused, as if he thought this pompous display of irresistible power, would not have sufficient weight without a pointed interrogatory.
6 Would you
believe it, citizens,” continued he, "every where her propositions have been rejected with haughtiness, or eluded with cunning! The army of Italy, thus constrained to conquer peace, is obliged, in pursuit of one of its enemies, to pass in the vicinity of your territory. I come, on the part of general Bonaparte, and in the name of the French republic, to assure the ancient
REPLY OF THE REPUBLIC.
republic of St. Marino, of peace and inviolable friendship. Citizen regents ! the political constitution of the surrounding nations, may experience changes : if any portion of your frontiers was dispuled, or if any part of the neighbouring states, although not contested, be absolutely necessary to you, I am charged by the general in chief, to request you to make it known to him. The French republic is eager to give you proofs of the sincerity of her friendship, and I felicitate myself on being the organ of a mission, the object of which must be acceptable to the two republics, and which procures to me the opportunity of testifying to you the veneration you inspire in all the friends of liberty."
The Republic returned an answer to this glowing, eloquent, and complimentary address, equally flattering to the French republic.
They say,~" That they would insert in the number of the epochs, the most glorious in the calender of their liberty, the day of his mission to their republic.
France knew not only how to vanquish her enemies. force of arms, but also to astonish her friends by her generosity. Happy, in being able to reckon themselves among the models, which excited the noble emulation of Frenchmen, and more happy still in being found worthy of their friendship, of which he had given them so eminent a proof, they could not view, without the most lively interest, the arms of the French republic restoring in Italy the fair days of the Greek and Roman republics. Love of their own freedom made them feel the value of the magnanimous efforts of a great nation, that wished to recover its liberty. Return, therefore to the hero who sent you : bear to him the free homage, not only of that admiration which we participate, in common with the universe, but also of our gratitude. Tell him, that the republic of St. Marino, content with her mediocrity, is afraid to accept the generous offer he has made of aggrandizing her territory, the consequence of which might compromise her
liberty. As to yourself, illustrious envoy! we esteem ourselves so much the more happy at this moment in having you amongst us, as you unite the talents of the scholar with the civic virtues. The object of your mission, the manner you fulfil it, and the name of him who has sent you, will prove a lasting monument of the magnanimity of the conquerors of Italy, and ever revive in our breasts those sentiments of gratitude we at present experience."
Bonaparte, however, notwithstanding the refusal of this independent people, to accept his proffered favour of aggrandizing them, and extending their territory, and the manifold wisdom of that measure, presented them in the name of the French republic four pieces of cannon, which were entirely useless to them; and ordered a supply of corn to be given them, which they really wanted and had made application to purchase.
This little republic, from the security of its situation, being like the eagle seated among the mountain-cliffs, although comprising but about five thousand inhabitants, surrounded with civil and ecclesiastical despotism, with king-craft and priest-craft, had maintained its independance and liberty for more than thirteen hundred
years ; and although the feeblest, was perhaps the only state in Europe which could say it had never been conquered. Its situation not only preserved it from foreign violence, but by securing the simplicity, hardiness and poverty of its inhabitants, has protected it from those internal disorders, that degeneracy and corruption, which are the consequences of wealth, luxury, and power. What a striking example that the maintenance of the independence and freedom of a nation does not depend upon the number but the character of its inhabitants ; their simplicity, industry, integrity and patriotism.
Another incident in the conduct of Bonaparte, which took place about the same time is entitled to notice as an additional evidence of his policy, and of the readiness with which he embraced every opportunity to ac
quire eclat, exalt himself in the opinion of the learned, and acquire their esteem.
The village of Pictola, where the “ Mantuan bard," the prince of Latin poets was born, had suffered as much during the siege of Mantaa as in the wars of the triumvirate. Bonaparte, equally desirous of fame with Augustus, who formed the surrounding country of this spot into his liberalities, did not forget the ancient patrimony of Virgil ; but as a particular honour and distinction ordered that its inhabitants should be fully indemnified for all the losses they had sustained in consequence
of the war. As might naturally be expected, the successes of Napoleon, and the eclat which his exploits had attached to the name of Bonaparte, had a powerful influence in bringing his brothers into public notice. Availing themselves of this influence, Lucien and Joseph, who, however, were not destitute of talents themselves, succeeded in obtaining seats in the legislative councils of the Republic ; Louis, his third brother, received the appointment of lieutenant-colonel in the army of Italy; and even Jerome, a mere school-boy was presented to the public authorities, and noticed by the distinguished and influential men of the Republic,
The fortune of the successful adventurer of the family, did not tend to estrange him from the other members of it; elevated as he was, and surrounded by all the "pomp and circumstance of glorious war," and whilst the mighty concerns of nations claimed his attention, he did not forget the humble mediocrity of his mother and sisters, nor withhold a portion of the immense riches he had acquired, to raise them to a station more consistent with the relation which they sustained with the hero of the Republic and the conqueror of Italy.
Bonaparte having destroyed the power of Austria in Italy, and humbled the court of Rome, turned his attention to the adoption of such civil regulations as were calculated to secure the conquests he had made,