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it was notorious that many of the throw the whole nation at once into unfortunate individuals, thus tra- the hands of so many concealed duced, were locked up in prisons, enemies ? But the suffering, fo bitwhere calumny and suspicion were terly complained of, amounted only at that tyrannical period fufficient to a temporary suspension of their reasons to confine and to treat them rights, of which they would unwith the most unfeeling barbarity, dergo the deprivation, no longer But were it only out of respect for than the fort space that might the rights of the people at large, a elapse till the restoration of general law should be abrogated, that took tranquillity. As soon as peace was from them the conftitutional right re-established, both at home and of chusing to places and dignities in abroad, the fufpenfion of all privithe state, those whom they reputed leges would ccare, and every man worthy of their confidence. To be placed on the completeft footing deny them this riglit, was to abridge of equality, in respect of pretensions them of their liberties in a most to public employments.
But till effential point. To plead the fafety 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 jealoufies. With .whati pretence of punifhing the foes to prospect of impartial justice could the revolution?
the relations of emigrants be enTo these, and other arguments, in trusted with the execution of the favour of a repeal, it was replied, fevere, but necessary, laws enacted by the supporters of the law, that againft them? Instances might ocit palled at a time when it was cur, in the present fituation 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 deareft 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 have their influence on these occa. might to set the people against it. fions, and that a man coolly and deSuspicions were warrantable motives terminately would doom another? to exclude those on whom they fell, to death, whole life was as dear to at a time when so many were justly him as his own? In this light, the fufpected, from stations of power law, fo violently reprobated, was in and trust, wherein they inight have fact humane and merciful : it exa acted so hostile a part to the com- empted individuals from those termonwealth. Would it have been rible coniiets 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 number of individuals suffered un- incuring the imputation of betrayjuttly by this law, was not this a ing their trust, or of wanting buma, much less inconvenience than to nity. When these various circumVol. XXXVIII.
stances were duly confidered, 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 biased 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, them 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 lubmitted 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 fufficient moderation had been passion. It being clear, therefore, thewn in exempting from its operathat much more evil than good, tion the actors and abetters in the must flow 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 counthat 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 surprize of the public; the that many of those, who recom- majority of which, though decidedly mended such a measure, acted from inclined to measures of lenity, was finifter motives, as nothing could be fearful of that preponderance of a stronger proof of its im propriety, jacobinism, which had hitherto exthan the fatisfaction, universally ex- erted fo irresistable an influence pressed, by the royalists, at such a over all the proceedings of the lequestion being brought before the giflature. two councils.
The council of elders would A multiplicitly of other argu- willingly have consented to the ments were alleged by the con- total repeal of the law of the third tending parties, in which the public Brumaire, and embraced, therefore, joined with an earnestness that with readiness, an opportunity of Thewed how much all men were mitigating its severity, by assenting convinced of the importance of the to the amendment made by the subject in debate. But the report council of 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 heavy blow on that fangui- both, it appeared not improbable nary faction, which had ruled by that, if the latter could be satisfied terror. It 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- preslive measures, the little prospect ployments, and many were, on the that now remained of fubverting same account, obliged to vacate the established government, would those which they possessed.
induce 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 had so reof revolution, and formed the peatedly failed, not more through strongest hope that it would pro- the rashness or incapacity of those mote a reconciliation between the who had conducted them, than the friends to a republican government, general repugnance of the nation and those to a limited monarchy. to join them upon those occasions, Liberty being equally the aim of
C H A P. XI.
Lffects expected in Franee from a growing Spirit of Moderation. The Chief
Object in the Councils of France, how to Break or to Weaken the Power of
to have arisen, and been nished in the midst of the disasters 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 freth which had so many ages accompaadherents. 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 fo many contests with France, had, the period of internal confufions in the present, displayed greater would thereby be accelerated, and energy than ever, and impressed fethat the European powers leagued veral of the foundest 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 profe- the terror of its 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 final. 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 itself 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 had formtheir own. It was with unfeigned ed to prescribe terms of peace 10 mortification that France beheld all its numerous eneinies, and to treat at last upon a footing of equal- French, is incontestible, from the ity with that one, which, while it various publications of the time, remained unvanquished, would al- and no less from that remarkable ways prove an effe&ual obstacle to anxiety with which their rulers that plan of universal influence over canvalled every subject relating to all the governments of Europe, England. How to compass its de which France had, since the unex- pression was the chief object of their pected success of its arms, kept con- councils; and every fortunate event flantly in view.
that befel them, in their numerous However the French might exult enterprizes, employed their confiin the triumphant career of their deration in what manner to convert armies, it plainly appeared, by the it to the detriment of England. sentiments repeatedly expressed by Among the various means of obthe principal speakers of the conven- taining that important end, the antion, and in the councils, and upon noyance of the English maritime all public occasions, to be their inti- commerce, had long been tried, cermaie persuasion, however averse to tainly not without some degree of avow it, that while England stood success: but in no' degree sufficient its ground, they would never totally to weaken the naval power of Engaccomplish those mighty schemes of land, which continued to rule the conquest and influence. To exe- seas in every quarter of the globe, cute them partially, would only in-, with irresistible sway. It was involve them in perpetual quarrels deed from this very circumstance, with those powers whose interest that France derived a multiplicity required their depression, and whole of arguments in its manifeftos and cause England would never fail to exhortations, both to its own people, fupport. Thus it was clear, that and to the other nations of Europe. unless the strength of this ancient Their tendency was to prove, that rival were effectually broken, and it England was the tyrant of the sea, were reduced to sue for peace on and that all the European powers such terms as France should dictate, were interested in repressing that the proposed effect of so many vic- tyranny. To effect this, they ought tories would be frustrated, as the to unite cordially with France, and humiliation of all its other enemies second its endeavours to restore the would not secure to the republic freedom of the seas, by abridging, those objects at which it avowedly through every means in their power, aimed. The prolongation of the the commercial resources of Eng. war, in order to attain these, might land. The actual strength of its be attended with such vicissitudes of navy was so great, that it could not fortune, as would entirely change at present be opposed with much the circumstances of affairs, and hope of success : but other methods oblige the republic, in its turn, to might be used not less effectual in abate of its high pretensions, and their ultimate issue, and these were even to compound for its existence, in the option of every itate. That and the preservation of the ancient the power which commanded the limits of France
seas, commanded also the shores, That these ideas frequently oc- and that naval power was of mere curred to the most fagacious of the importance than dominion at land,
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