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national institute, by whom it was now inhabited, formed a contrast with the pomp and luxury of its late possessors. The inquisition, and other monuments of spiritual despotism, uhieh had long survived the spirit which gave them bjrth, perished, of course, in the revolution. One alone was preserved; not that it merited less the animadversion of the reformers, but hecause its abolition in the penurious state of the Roman revenue would have been impolitic; anil, as far as , it was connected with the fortunes of private individuals, unjust. The office is that from which briefs, or bulls, for benefices, were dispensed; and which brought annually into the Roman treasury a clear l>enefit of from eighty to one hundred thousand pounds sterling. These expeditions were continued with respect to Spain, in the name of the pope, agreeably to an arrangement made by the Spanish minister with the Roman government; and the same steps were ta\en by other catholic powers for such objects ■ s necessitated the interference of the spiritual authority of the church. The temporal establishments, particularly two banks; one for private loans or pledges,, and the other for discounts, were preserved; but the credit of both, excellent in their institution, bad been nearly ruined by the prodigality of the former government*
Of sut'h disorders in the public finances, the revolution could only increase the weight. Confiscation of incorporate property, such as the domains belonging to the apostolic chamber, ami estates of religious communities, whtth it was found expedient to suppress, arid which the dispersion of the crowd of monks who had Hocked to Rome from various quarters of
Europe gave the means of ex^ exiting without violence or terror, yielded certain resources. But, as almost every source of public wealth was dried up from the lavish prodigality of the former government and the repeated and unjust exactions of the French, and the country had been delivered up to that kind of legalised plunder, known under the name of requisitions, which the necessities or rapacity of the victorious armies led them to impose; as the churches had already been spoiled of a considerable part of their valuable ornaments, and the rich had been laid under heavy contributions; as public credit, which was fast hastening to decay, from the shocks which it had endured under the former government, had received a fatal blow from the last occurrences; and Ihe paper-currency of the state, which had hitherto kept up the circulation, had no other standard for its value than the avarice of stock-jobbers; and, as the pressing wants of the state (amongst which were wants that could not be adjourned, such as the supply of subsistence for Rome, which had always been a primary object of public attention) demanded new sacrifices, the government was compelled to have recourse to arbitrary measures, such as levying exorbitant taxes on the rich, who had been- already exhausted—measures eventuallyruinous to the mass of the people, and subversive of the spirit of liberty, but which, they pleaded, the exigencies of the moment forced them to adopt.
With this accumulation of difficulties, the Roman republic had to struggle in the first moments of its birth ; difficulties which the Frenchgovernment might have considerably
aWy diminished, had not other considerations, than those of establishingliberty, influenced the leading members of its executive power. The overthrow of the papal government was a measure loudly demanded, not only by the voice of reason, but by the rulers of almost every catholic country in Europe, to whom the papal yoke hud become insupportable. But the passage from the ruins of that corrupted mass of stuperstitious des
potism, to the erection of a free republic, founded on the basis of public virtue, is an enterprise of dillicult execution. Unfortunately too the Roman government was instituted under the patronage of a directory equally unprincipled and impolitic. It was therefore formed for ruin; and, in our succeeding volume, we shall probably have to record its fall, and the partial and tempory restoration of the papal power.
Affairs of Switzerland. Disputes with the French Directory. Insurrection in the Pays-de-Vand. Interference of the French. March of General l&hnard. Revolution in ike Pays-de-Vaud. Negotiations between the Government of Berne and the French Directory. Seditious Movements in the liernese Tei ritory. Insurgents of Arau dispersed. Fresh Negotiations. Swiss prepare for Defence. Castle of Dornach taken, hy the Fiench. Solcure and Fribourg taken. Action between General d'Erlach and the French. D'Erlach completely defeated, and kilted by his own People. Surrender of Berne. Submission of all Switzerland. Revolution there. Helvetic Republic founded. Pretended Preparations for the Invasion of England. Plan of founding a Colony in Egypt. Expedition of Buonaparte. Surrender of Malta to the French. Buonaparte arrives at Alexandria. That Place taken by Storm. Rosettu, Sfc. taken. Cairo taken. Battle of the Pyramids. Bailie of the Nile, and Defeat of the French Fleet by Admiral Nelson. Reflections on the Expedition of Buonaparte. Proceedings of the French Legislature. Election of the new Third. Election of q New Director. Reflections on the present State of France.
IN a preceding chapter jt will be perceived, that the next victim marked out by the ambition and rapacity of the French Directory was the Helvetian confederacy. That the aristocracies of Switzerland had been wholly blameless, either in their conduct towards their own people, or towards the French, is an assertion which an honest historian wil} scarcely venture to make. But if the power of the state, and its very moderate emoluments, were in some, or, perhaps, the majority pf the cantons,
monopolised by a few families, it must still be remembered that authority was exercised with exemplary moderation, the people were contented and happy; and if, on certain occasions; the jealousy of French principles, or the influence of a powerful neighbour, had induced the governors of some of those republics to treat with less respect than ordinary the agents of France, this was a proper subject for negotiation, and not for war. The French directory, however, had other views: the conduct U 3 which
which they had pursued towards Venice, Genoa, and Rome, was now matured into a system. With them war, the last resort of human resentment, the worst of human calamities, was become a trade;' and the unoccupied legions of France were to levy a subsistence on their defenceless neighbours. Among the obnoxious discussions which were agitated in the councils, previous to the revolution of the 4th of September, it will be remembered, that this- system of aggression towards the neutral powers held a conspicuous place; such a discussion, it is believed, more than any other,heightened the apprehensions of the directory, ;md even of Buonaparte himself, and hastened the event of that atrocious day.
The directory, confirmed in power, and relieved from the controul of a popular legislature*, hastened, towards the close of the year 1797, to put in force their project of subjugating the Swiss republics. The first hostile movement on the part of the French was to take possession of the Helvetic part of the bishopriek of Basle, under some frivolous pretence, and contrary to an express treaty concluded with the Swiss in the year 1792. Either toe weak or too prudent to resent this infraction of their rights, the Helvetic body still flattered themselves with an amicable termination of their difference with France; when an insurrection, which broke out iu the I'aj/x-ile-Vaud, probably through French instigation, or at least through the influence of French principles, afforded a fuller pretext for the overthrow of the government. In the month of December, the French directory
thought proper to interfere in this domestic dispute, and demanded from the government of Berne what they termed the restoration of the rights of that people, and the assembling of the states of the Pays-de-Vaud in their ancient form: this demand they iinine-. diately prepared io enforce by arms; and general Menard was ordtred to march, with a body of 15,000 men, to support the claims of the petitioning party in the Pays-de-Vaud. The designs of the French were for the moment frusirajed by the timidity or generosity of the supreme council of Berne. On the 5lb of January, 1798, they issued a proclamation, enjoining the citizens of the Paysde-Vaud to assemble in arms, to renew the oath of allegiance, to proceed immediately to the reform of every abuse in the government, and to assert and re-establish all frheir ancient rights. A commission had been previously appointed at I,ausanne, for determining on the claims of the petitioners, and for reinstating the country in its former tranquillity. From what causes it happened we have not as yet been correctly informed,but the proceedings of the commission seemed involved altogether in embarrassment and delay. The people became impatient, and the insurrection at once broke out into actual hostility. The castle of Chillon wai seised by the insurgents; and the commotions which took place in the southern districts of the province appeared not less formidable. The government of Berne now determined to reduce the insurgents by force; and a body of 20,000 troops, under the command of colonel Weiss, was dispatched to disperse them. Whether the lenient measures pursued by this general were consistent with sound policy or not, it is impossible, from the materials which have hitherto fallen underour inspection, to determine. Suflicc it to say, that though it is not certain that more precipitate movements would have saved the country, yet his inactivity undoubtedly served to increase at once the power and the audacity of the insurgents. Thus situated, the approach of the French, under the command of Menard, decided the contest. On passing the boundary, Menard dispatched an aide-decamp, attended by two hussars, to creneral Weiss, at Yverdun: on their return, a fatal affray took place at the village of Thierena, in which one of the hussars was killed. Who were the aggressors in this unfortunate business is not correctly ascertained, but it was regarded by Menard as a declaration of war. His troops immediately advanced, while those of Weiss retreated; and the whole of the Pays-de-Vaud was, by the beginning of February, in the "posse?* ion of the French.
* M. Mallet do Pan asserts, that it was tbsoiiJ[h the influence of Carnot and Bnrthelemy that the blew meditated against Switzerland had hitherto been averted.
The government of Berne still hoped, it appears, to avert the destruction which now seemed to await them : the centinels who had killed the hussar at Thierens were delivered up, and fresh negotiations were entered upon. In the mean time, however, new insurrections were planned in different parts, and the revolutionary mania appeared to increase. In the seditious assemblages on these occasions, the French envoy, Mengaud, was observed to take a decided part; and, on the 2d of January, he formally reclaimed some persons who had been arrested for treasonable practices by the government of Berne, as the friends and allies of the
French republic. To this reclamation the government of Berne paid little attention; and the standard of revolt having been erected at Aran, they determined on effective measures for its suppression and their own defence. The Argovian militia marched to Arau; the town and province were immediately reduced, and the leaders of the insurrection were taken into custody.
War now appeared inevitable: to conciliate the minds of the people, and induce them more freely to lend their assistance, the government of Berne decreed, that fifty-two deputies from the principal towns and communes should be added to the supreme council; and, on the 3d of February, these new deputies took their seats. A general reform of all the abuses of the government was the first resolution agreed upon in their deliberations; and the example of Berne was followed by the cantons of Lucerne, Fribourg, Soleure, SchafVhausen, and Zurich.
While, in this state of things, fresh negotiations were commenced with the French directory, a defensive force of about 20,000 men was collected, under the command of M. d'Erlach, formerly a fieldmarshal in the service of France, and stationed on the frontiers. The other Swysscantons dispatched their quotas to the defence of Berne, which amounted to about 5,500 men. A truce had been concluded with the French general in the Pays-de-Vaud, where an officer of the name of Bruue had succeeded Menard in the command. The truce was to have expired on the 1st of March; but general d'Erlach, fearful lest the spirit of his troops should slacken, demanded, on the 26th of February, U 4 positive positive orders to put his army in motion, and the council immediately made a decree to that effect. The plan of the campaign was now arranged by M. d'Erlach, and notice had been given to the posts that hostilities were to commence on the evening of the 1st of Ma-eh; when the movements of the Swiss general were frustrated by the repeal of the decree which had been so hastily passed, and the negotiation was renewed with the French commander.
JVI. Mallet du Pan asserts, that the French general, Brune, had agreed to prolong the truce for thirty hours; but, on the 2d of March, the castle of Domain, at the northern extremity of the canton of Soleure, was attacked and carried by the French; and, at the same time, 13,000 men were inarched under the walls of Soleure, which capitulated to general Schawenbourg on the first summons. Fiibourg was immediately alter reduced by general Brune, and the Swiss army was forced to retreat.
While disaffection and mutiny pervaded the army of general D'Erlach, the inhabitants of Berne saw the rapid approach of the vie* torious enemy. On the 3d of March, the levy of the Landstlturm, or, as the French would express it, the rising of the people in a mass, was proclaimed. The expedient did not succeed in favour of the magistrates.—The people were no sooner assembled in arms than they of themselves dissolved the government; a provisional regency was elected for the occasion; the event wasnotifiedtogeneral Brune; and to facilitate a pacification, an order was issued to dismiss the army, on condition that the French would keep the posts they at present occupied.
Lnsatisfied with this concession,
the French general insisted upon the town receiving a French garrison. In the mean time all was confusion, both in Berne and in the army ; the left division of which had mutinied, deserted their posts, and put to death some of their officers. By desertion, the Swiss army was now reduced to 14,000, to which might be added the undisciplined rabble, which the Landstlturm had called forth. About 8000 of the regular forces were stationed at Neweneg, and 6,-iOO held the position of Frauenbrun, against which general Schawenbourg advanced from Soleure, at the head of 18,000 men. Qn the morning of the 5th of March, both posts" were attacked by the French, and a momentary success seemed to crown the valorous efforts of the division which was stationed at Neweneg; but the forces stationed, at Frauenbrun were, after a vigorous resistance, obliged to retreat; M. D'Erlach rallied his men at Uteres, where a second engager ment tduk place, but with no better success on the part of the Swiss. At Grauholtz, a league and a half from Berne, however, they again made a stand; whence they were driven to the gates of the capital, where, after another severe conflict, they were completely routed. The Swiss, in this engagement, lost 2,000 in killed and wounded; the loss of the French was about 1,800. On the evening of the 5th, general Brune entered the city of Berne by capitulation. The divisions of the Swiss army, stationed at Neweneg and Gumjaen retreated; the soldiers of tnis last co~ lumn, in despair, put their officers to death; and the unfortunate ge^ neral D'Erlach, in flying from the field of battle, was murdered by nis countrymen and soldiers.