« PreviousContinue »
wishes of the respective parties, that punishable. The law should báte the examination might terminate in been pointed at those chiefly whose their favour. The remarkable fer- crimes had rendered them objects vour with which the royalists ex- of abhorrence to all parties; and pressed their hope of its repeal, who, having been tried and consufficiently indicaied how much they demned for them, bad been sheltered expected it would militate for them, from punishment, by the amnesty while the apprehensions of the re- extended to them by tbat law, in publicans, lest it should be repealed, defiance of equity and the general manifested equally their conviction, sense of the public, which loudly how strongly this would operate to demanded that they should be made their detriment.
examples of, as guilty of plunders This fermentation of the public and assassinations 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 such men should be and admonished its well-wishers tó promoted to posts of honour and oppose such a measure with ali their authority? But the fact was, tbat 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 eeive the question before them in they reprobated, did not dare to sethe same 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 opinion stood yet upon a tottering foundaof their party, which was thereby tion. The most upright men in the released from a state of the deepest convention felt themselves in danger anxiety on the issue of this busi- from that violent party still prevail
ing, and with which they had no There were, however, some very other expedient to compromise for sincere republicans in both the their own safety, than consenting to councils,who disapproved of this law, this inequitable law, io hope bow. and exerted their abilities for its ever of some 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 legislature to rescind who had abandoned their country, an act replete with cruelty and out of hatred to the system intro- scandal. It was well known, that duced by that event, and the rela- those, whom it affected, bad been tions of individuals who had fled falsely held out to the public, as from the tyranny that had deluged enemies to the France with proscriptions and mur
names, together with those of ders. Such a fight ought not, in their relations, wantonly inserted the clearest equity, to be accounted in the list of emigrants, while
state, and their
it was notorious that many of the throw the whole nation at once into unfortunate individuals, thus tra- the hands of so many concealed ducer, were locked up in prisons, enemies? But the suffering, so bite : where calumny and suspicion were terly complained of, amounted only at that tyrannical period sufficient to a temporary suspension of their Teasons to confine and to treat them rights, of which they would undergo with the most unseeling barbarity. the deprivation no Jonger than But were it only out of respect for the short space that mignt elapse the rights of the people at large, a till the restoration of general law should be abrogated, that took tranquillity. As soon as peace was from them the constitutional right re-established, both at home and of chusing to places and dignities in abroad, the suspension of all privithe state, those whom they reputed leges would cease, and every man worthy of their confidence. To be placed on the completest footing deny them this right, was to abridge of equality, in tespect of pretensions them of their liberties in a most to public employments. But till essential 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 justify every any but the tried friends to the species of despotism. What crimes commonwealth. The promotion of had not been committed by the others would unavoidably excite sanguinary tribunals, erected on the fears and jealousies. With what pretence of punishing the foes to prospect of impartial justice could the revolution ?
the relations of emigranis be ena To tbese, and other arguments, in trusted with the execution of the favour of a repeal, it was replied, severe, but necessary, laws enacted by the supporters of the law, that against them? Instances might ocIt passed at a time when it was cur, in the present situa'ion of deemed indispensible for the pre- things, when 'not only the liberty servation of the national freedom, and property, but the very life of and the security of the constitution the dearest relative would be at just established. Its numerous and stake: was it to be expected that active enemies were every where the ties of consanguinity would not in motion, and striving with all their bave their influence on these occa. might to set the people against it. sions, and that a man coolly and deSuspicions were warrantable motives terminately would doom another to to exclude those on whom they fell, death, whose life was as dear to at a time when so many were justly him as his own ? In this light, the suspected, from stations of power law, so violently reprobated, was in and trust, wherein they might have fact humane and merciful : it exacted so hostile a part' to the com- empted individuals from those tera monwealth.
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 yield to foes from abroad? Allowing that a the one nor to the other, without Dumber of individuals suffered un- incurring the imputation of betrayjustly by this law, was not this a ing their trust, or of wanting humà. much less inconvenience than to nity: When these various circumVol. 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 biassed person could require it. repeal of the law of the third of The interest of the public was not, Brumaire, (25th October, 1795,) so in truth, more concerned in main. to modify its provisions, as to direct taining that law in its full vigour, ihem 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, shewn in exempting from its operathat much more evil than good tion the actors and abetters in the must Aow 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 coun. that ought to supersede 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 same time, much to be suspected, great surprise of the public; the mathat many of those, who recom• jority of which, though decidedly mended such a measure, acted from inclined to measures of lenity, was sinister motives, as nothing could be fearful of that preponderance of a stronger proof of its impropriety, jacobinism, which had hitherto ex. than the satisfaction universally ex. erted so irresistable an influence pressed, by the royalists, at such a over all the proceedings of the legisquestion being brought before the lature. two councils.
The council of elders would wil. A multiplicity of other argu. Jingly have consented to the total ments were alleged by the contend- · repeal of the law of the third Bruing parties, in which the public maire, and embraced, therefore, with joined with earnestness that readiness, an opportunity of mitigashewed how much a!l men were ting its severity, by assenting to the convinced of the importance of the amendinent made by the council of subject in debate. But the report 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 resisted. This was triumph to the moderate party, the opinion of the people at large, which constituted a large majority even more than of the council of of the nation. The exclusion from five hundred, as the question against posts of emolument, or of power,
was a beavy blow on that sanguina- both, it appeared not improbable sy faction, which had ruled by that, if the latter could be satisfied terror
. li lost thereby a multitude of an earnest determination in the of its agents, whose crimes now ren- ruling powers to put an end to opdered them ineligible to public em. pressive measures, the little prospect ployments, and many were, on the ihat now remained of subverting the same account, obliged to vacate established government, would inthose wbich they possessed. duce 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 bad so reof revolution, and formed the peatedly failed, not more through Itrongest hope that it would pro. ibe rashness or incapacity of those note a reconciliatiou between the who had conducted them, than the mends to a republican government, general repugnance of the nation ad those to a limited monarchy. to join them upon those occasions. berty being equally the aim of
Effects 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 restoring the Pecuniary Credit of the French Republic - A Rupture threatened between the French Councils and Executire Directory.- Prevented by the Necessity of their acting in Concert.-The Legislature intade 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 wise Economy and Firmness of the United States of America.- Jealousies and Disputes between the French and Americans.-And an open Rupture.
THE.spirit af lenity that seemed that power unshaken and undimi
to arisen rished by the new constitution, be- that had 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 accompa. adherents. The people in France nied the councils and the arms of appeared in general extremely England, and enabled it to maintain willing to support it, hoping that so many contests with France, had, the period of internal confusions in the present, displayed greater would thereby be accelerated, and energy than ever, and impressed sethat the European powers leagued veral of the soundest politicians with against them, when they found that an idea, that however the French unanimity was re-established among republic might for a while diffuse the French, would cease to prose- the terror of ils 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 fina!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 notwithstandcerting of means to counteract the ing the republic itselt might remain, measures of that power, on the in, it would, on the issue of the terrible defatigable efforts of which all the trial it had stood, be compelled to others depended for the support of remit of the pretensions it bad form. their own.
It was with unfeigned ed to prescribe terms of peace ta mortification that France behela all its numerous enemies, and ti