« PreviousContinue »
on the means 6f establishing religious peace; and a letter to the bishops and priests resident in France, in the same spirit of Christian charity. As the primary object of the council was to lay down a plan of general pacification, these reverend fathers proceeded methodically to inquire what ought to be the nature of the plan of conciliation? to whom this union ought to be proposed? in what spirit, and on what points they ought to agree? what ought to be the conditions of the pacification? and whether it were necessary to address it to the pope, and likewise ■ to the bishops of foreign churches. These various topics underwent long examination. The first article respecting the nature of the plan was vague and indistinct; the base of it was stated to be the three virtues, of charity, justice, and truth, and proportioned to the extent of the evils that had desolated the Galliuan church. The next, which relates to the individuals and bodies that should lie invited to compose this union, was more precise and specific. The emigrant priests were excluded from necessity, Ileitis in a state of banishment; and of those who resided in France, the majority remained under the interdict, as long as Jliey persisted in their refusal to submit to the laws of the republic. With respect to the points on which they ought to agree, and the spirit in which they were to act, h\ wa.* proposed that a general oblivion should cover all former dissensions, and that the acknowledged tenets of the church should be the prescribed articles of belief. As to the means of pacification, it was accorded as a general rule, that all pastors and priests who should remain faithful to their vacation, should be called, without distinction., to the exercise of the
ministry, whatever might have been their opinions on the questions which havedivided the church of France. The bishops of foreign churches were to be presented with the decree of reconciliation; and the article of the submission of the plan to the pope was conceived in a spirit of entire . subjection. The Gallican church, after protesting its inviolable attachment to the C. A. R. Church, acknowledges that the pope is by divine right the visible chief; and that he thereby has the primacy of honour and jurisdiction; that the members of it profess all the dogmas received by the catholic church, and condemn all the errors which it has proscribed.
Amidst the great and extraordinary evtaits which were taking place in Europe, the situation of the French possessions in more distant parts of the world have not escaped our attention. After the defeat of the rebels, mentioned in our last, it appears that the colony of St. Domingo began to assume an aspect of order and cultivation. The conduct of the .commissary Santhonax had been the subject of violent debates in thelegislature, previouslo the ISth of Fructidor, und the influence of the antidirectorial party had weighed down every evidence that was attempted to be adduced in favour of his administration. It would be too long, and, for the purposes of general history, too tedious to enter into the detail of the conflict which took place between the various parties; but, since the re-establishment of order, and the re-organisation of the government, the negroes, it appears, by official papers, have returned to labour; the habitations that have been de^ stroyed were rebuilt; and th« plantations that had been desolated have again been turned to considerable profit. The official report made of the actual state of the colony was confirmed by the acknowledgement of a member of the Upper council, since banished, whose information was not, therefore, to be suspected. • The negroes indent themselves for terms, or take their wages in kind, or share in the produce according to previous agreements made with the proprietor; and humanity, according to these reports, is no longer wounded by the most terrible spectacle of human misery.
The pacification of the French republic with the empire had been adjourned by the treaty of Campo Formio to the congress of Radstadt. The meeting of this congress was represented as big with the fate of Europe. It was asserted that an assemblage of the representatives of such high and mighty powers interested or connected with the empire, would form an epoch much more remarkable in history than that of the treaty of Westphalia; that the foundations of a lasting peace would be laid by the further sanction about to be given by the French republic under the protection of the house of Austria to the integrality of the empire, agreeably to the preliminaries of peace signed at Leoben; and that the pretensions of the French would be checked or -awed by such an union of will and power, if any dispositions of further ag-" grandisement were discovered. The plenipotentiaries from various powers had already assembled, whilst Buonaparte, who had waited in Italy till the mutual ratification of the treaty with the emperor had taken place, was employed in planning or arranging the governments which he had formed'. The Cisalpine republic, into which general
name had sunk the provisional Cispadane, and Transpadane republics, had taken the French constitution for their guide. The organisation of the different departments of this new state h;yl been arranged under the direction of Buonaparte, and the places of trust and dignity had been filled agreeably ,to his nomination. For this exercise of power, the general apologises in a letter which he addresses to the Cisalpine people on his leaving their territory, in which he informs them, " that the inconveniences which may arise from his fallibility in having sometimes mistaken the intriguer for the man of worth are much less than would have arisen had he left the nomination to themselves before they were yet organised.'' He moreover observed to them, " that they were the first example in history of a people who had become free without factions, revolutions, or commotions; that as France had given them liberty, they should learn how to preserve it; that being next to France, the most populous and richest republic in Europe, they should learn how to preserve that liberty, by becoming worthy of their hisrh destiny, in making only wise and mo-lerate laws, and executing them with forcea:id energy; by favouring the spread of knowledge, and respecting the rights of conscience." lie advised them also to make up the military force of their country, not with vagrants or dissolute men, but with citizens imbued with the principles of the republic, and immediately attached to the prosperity of their country. He observed, "that divided and bowed down for so many years, under the yoke of slavery, they would never have acquired their liberty; but with regulations like these, in a few years, were they S 4 left
left to themselves; no power on earth would take it from them; that till that period France would protect them against the attacks of their neighbours, and that her political system would be united to their own :" he finished by remarking, "that in order to consolidate their liberty, and with the view only of their prosperity and happiness, he had undertaken a task which could hitherto have bten inspired only by ambition and the love of power; that he was then about to leave them to return only by the orders of his government, or if any imminent danger awaited their republic, for whose glory in every place, wherever the service of his country should call him, he should entertain the most sincere affection and the most anxious solicitude."
Buonaparte left Italy at the moment when the Cisalpine government was duly installed (20 Nov.). The opening of the Cisalpine legislature presented nearly the same scenes as had been witnessed in France at the first sittings of the constituent assembly. Although it is said that Buonaparte had exercised his best judgment in the election of the individuals who composed, these bodies, they were found, when assembled, to form but an heterogeneous mass; discordant in their views and sentiments, and jealous and suspicious of each other. Ignorant of the true landmarks of liberty, some enacted the parts of the Paris jacobins, and made absiird and inexecutable propositions; others,justly affrighted at the exaggeration of their colleagues, made counterpropositions of tendencies so different, as to incur, with no measured terms, the disapprobation of the republican party. Discordant as they were in their opinions and
sentiments respecting each other, all parties in the legislative assemblies united against the executive power. This jealousy of the'executive power, which is a virtue m a despotic state, where every thing torn from that power is an addition to the liberties of the people, becomes a political vice of the most dangerous kind when it is exercised against the executive power of a free state. If in despotic governments this power can not be too weak, so in free govern ments, which are regulated by precise and written laws, it can hardly be too strong, while it does not violate the strict letter of the law; and force thus tempered, especially in the beginning of new governments, is one of the most essential and important attributes of liberty. Among the conquests in the expedition against the pope, it must be remembered that the port of Ancona, in the Adriatic, was an object of no small moment. By the treaty, this port and its dependencies were to remain in the possession of the French till the continental peace. By this treaty, as the peace had taken place, Ancona ought to have been restored to the holy see. It had, however, been too long under the tutorage of the French not to have unlearnt most of its habitual feelings of reverential allegiance. The people of Ancona, probably stimulated by a French party or the French government, declared themselves sovereign, and communicated their resolve to be free, and their will to form themselves into a representative government under the protection of France, to the French general, yvho commanded in that quarter, and who instantly acceded to the wish, and proclaimed the free and independent republic of Ancona. The republic of St.
Marino underwent also, at this period, a revolution; and the power and patronage of the state, which had hitherto been concentered in the hands of the nobles, was now distributed in equal portions among the council of the state.
The journey of Buonaparte through Switzerland would have resembled a triumph, had his vanity corresponded with the eagerness of homage; he arrived at Rad
stadt where he found the plenipotentiaries assembled, and where he exchanged with count Meerfeldt the ratification of the treaty of peace with the court of Vienna. As soon as this ceremony had taken place, he departed from Radstadt for Paris, leaving behind him the commissaries Treilbard and Bonnier to represent the republic in the congress that was to open on the first of January ensuing.
Affairs of Rome. Treaty of Tolentino. Embarrassments of the Papal Government. Extreme Poverty of the Treasury. The Subjects of the Pope compelled to contribute the whole of their Plata. Secretary of State, Cardinal Busca, dismissed. Cardinal Doria appointed to that Office. Revolutionary Movements in different Parts of the Papal Dominions. Embassy from Spain to the Pope. Indisposition of the Pope. Various Candidates for the Tiara. Indignation of the People against the Nephews of the Pope. Clergy obliged to render in an Account of their Possessions. Joseph Buonaparte sent as Embassador to Rome. Popular Tumult at Rome. General Duphot killed. The Pope and his Ministry innocent of the Murder. Melancholy Consequences of this Affair. French Directory make it an Excuse for overturning the Government. March of General Berthier. Insurrection of the People at Rome. The Roman Republic proclaimed. Flight of the Cardinals, Sfc. Extraordinary Escape of Cardinal Maury. Rapacity and indiscriminate Oppression on the Part of the French. Pope confined to his Palace. Fortunes of his Nephews confiscated. Review of the Cause's which precipitated the Decline and Fall of the Papal Authority. Disaffection of certain Catholic Princes. Conduct of the Protestant Powers towards the Pope. Disputes with the French Clergy previous to the Revolution. Conduct of the Pope after that Event. His Conduct after his Abdication. Removed from Rome. Happy and respectable in Retirement. His Character. Reflections on the Revolution, and (he new Government established by the French at Rome.
IN the history of the past year, the most prominent figure in the canvas, and the first in order of time, is that assemblage of temporal and spiritual power, the papal see; which, after repeated struggles against dissolution, of which slight sketches have been given in our preceding history, now sunk into, at least, a temporary annihilation! TJje rise and progress of this
mighty empire, which held so wide a dominion over the human race, and whose influence not only directed the affairs of earth, but pervaded the invisible world, has often swelled the page of the historian. The annals of history have indeed frequently been little else than records of the tyranny of thif church; and its decline, and possibly its fall, at this portentous season
son of reformation and change, are no less worthy of attention. We have already given the details of the negotiations between the French republic and the pope; and we shall proceed to record the events which took place at Rome, from the period when Buonaparte signed the treaty at Tolentino, to that when the Roman senate and people were again proclaimed at the capitol.
Buonaparte, after having given another respite to the holy see, by the signature of that treaty, left the dominions of the pope in possession of a small portion of his army till the articles of the treaty were executed. During the negotiation the pope, struck with terror, and expecting that no further freedom could be extended towards him, had made preparations for flight to Naples, with such of his treasures as could be conveniently transported. All was anarchy and confu•ion at Rome till the news of peace arrived ; when the pontiffwas turned from his purpose of escape, and the people were consoled, or insulted, with processions, prayers, and priestly imprecations against the French.
Although peace had prolonged the political existence of the holy »;e, it had nevertheless been left in extreme embarrassment. The pope, whose conduct had been lately marked by a series of follies, became almost an object of compasron. His counter-revolutionary hopes were now utterly overthrown; three of his provinces were irremediably lost; his cotters w.re empty; his subjects discontented; and every apparent resource exhausted by the exactions which had already been made to pay the tribute of the armistice granted by the French, the last summer. But i n order to execute the present treaty, it was necessary to make new
exertions, and mournful edicts were accordingly published the week that followed the signing of the' peace, in which the holy father, af> ter calling to the remembrance of his subjects, that having in the last season of calamity demanded the whole of their plate, he had contented himself with half; be must now, when circumstances were more critical, as every one well knew, be compelled to request, that within three days the other half might be carried to the pontifical treasury.
The issuing of this edict was one of the last labours of the secretary of state, the cardinal Busca, whose impolicy had again involved the holy see in calamities, and nearly accomplished its ruin. This sacrifice of the secretary was a necessary homage both to the French and Spanish ministers; the latter of whom the chevalier D'Azara, a statesman of consummate skill and wisdom, had withdrawn himself to Florence at the time when he discovered the ruinous policy that directed the operations of the papal cabinet, in opposition to those wise and conciliatory measures which he had proposed as mediator between the French republic and the holy see. It was difficult among the cardinals to nftme a successor to this high office who should prove agreeable to the French government, since almost the whole of the sacred college were conscious how little claim they had from this consideration. The choice fell at length on cardinal Doria, who, although united by family ties to the Neapolitan minister at Rome, the marquis del Yasto, who was the soul of that party which had directed tlie late measures, had nevertheless always lived on terms of intimacy with the ministers, both of France and Spain. This minister, though a sensible and upright