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from his confinement through the connivance, it was fu pected, of the government. But his aflociate, Babeuf, was not fo fortunate. He was tried by the high criminal court at Vendome, which condemned him to death.

Great and unfeigned was the fatisfaction of the public at the difcovery and fuppreffion of this fanguinary plot. The jacobins became more than ever the objects of general execration. The extermination of all who rejected their principles feemed a fundamental maxim of that inexorable faction. Their inflexible refolution and perfeverance in their projects, which, had they been attended with humanity, might have rendered them refpectable, only tended to excite a dread and abhorrence of them. Thus, they were viewed by the generality as the pefts of the community; and a fpeedy riddance of them became the wifh of all but those who were involved in the criminal intrigues.

It was not with the fame facility that goverment was able to crum the advocates of the perfecuted royalifts. A feizure of thofe eftates, which were to devolve to emigrants on the demife of the actual poffeffor, had been decreed by the council of five hundred, and reject ed by that of elders. The decree excepted only that portion which by law was to remain with the prefent poffeffor. It was warmly oppofed, as too rigoroutly intrenching upon the rights of private property; but, after long and violent debates, it was decreed that, inftead of a direct seizure, that moiety fhould be levied for the ufe of the ftate which the legiflature had already appropriated to that purpofe. This, how

ever, it was plain, afforded no relief to the poffeffor.

The cheif obstacle to these and to the other pecuniary arrangements, refpecting the eftates of emigrants, was the difficulty of finding purchafers for the lands that had been

declared national property. Many individuals, though warmly adher ing to the republic, reprobated the confifcation of property on any pretext, while no mifdemeanor was im putable to the proprietor; who, while obedient to the laws, could not, without manifefi injustice, be punished for the mildeeds of others. The fale of confifcated eftates, met alfo with perpetual obftructions from the fcruples infufed into the minds of numbers by the nonjuring clergy; who explicitly denounced damnation to those who purchased them. Hence a large proportion of national lands remained unfold, to the great inconvenience of the government, in its want of thofe fums that would have been produced by the difpofal of them.

This interference of the nonjur ing clergy, in a matter of fo much importance to the ruling powers, could not fail to encrease their hatred to that order of men. They accufed them of contributing more to the detriment of the state, by their bigotry, than its foreign enemies had done by their arms. They perverted the difpofitions of the weak and the ignorant, by intimidating them with arguments founded upon falfehoods and abfurdities. The unhappy propenfity of unenlightened minds to fuperftition gave ecclefiaftics fo decided an afcendancy over them, that, unless they were checked by the moft effectual reftaints, they would progreffively become the ab



folute diftators of fociety. was undeniably an evil of fuch enormity, that all reafonable men would concur in the neceffity of obviating it by every means that appeared indifpenfibly requifite. The only expedient that feemed to promile efficacy was to interdict every individual of that profeffion from interfering in political matters, either directly or indirectly, under the feveret penalties. Such was the language of the ftaunch friends to the republican fy fiem, and to that freedom of thought upon all fubjecs, which now characterised fo numerous a part of the French na


perfections, the nation had enjoyed much more tranquillity and fatiffaction, than it had known fince the introduction of the prefent fyftem.

The principal allegation againft the foundness of the principles, on which the fucceffive rulers of the republic had conducted themselves, was the fhameful negligence of which they had all in their turn been guilty, in deferring upwards of three years the inquiry into the murders committed in September, 1792. Thele were univerfally reprobated by all parties: they had covered the French nation with dif grace, and expofed it to the abhorrence of all Europe; and they ftill remained unpunished and un investigated. Of those who had been the reputed authors and abettors; fome indeed were no more, but others remained, who were happily divetted of the power of oppofing the courfe of juffice.

Thefe reproaches bore hard upon government, and it found itfelt unable to ftem the torrent of com-plaint against the long and fcandalous neglect of executing that juftice upon the criminals, which they fo fully delerved. A tribunal was erected, in May, before which their trials began upon the twentyfixth. Several of thofe arrained before it were fentenced to die, and others to be imprifoned: but as it appeared, that the generality had been the mere tools of others, and had been impelled to the commiffion of thofe enormities, through miftaken zeal, and an erroneous perfuafion that they were avenging their country, in compallion to their ignorance, they were acquitted of evil intentions, and pardoned.

While the French government and its adherents were complaining of the undue influence of the refractory clergy, thefe retorted the reprefentations made to their difadvantage, by appealing to the people, on the little juftice they had to expect from men, fo many of whom diregarded thofe principles on which alone the morality of mankind, and their integrity in the moft ellential tranfactions of fociety, are ufually founded. These principles were thofe of religion, without which little confidence could be placed in each other by the generality of men, who had neither abilities nor leifure to argue themselves into virtue and honefty by philofophical reafonings, and were much more eafily kept in good order by thofe precepts and doctrines that had been eftablished and refpected during fo many ages, than by the maxims and opinions lately introduced. The clear and visible confequence of these had been the embroilment of the public in continual feuds, and the overturning of a government, under which, with all its im

Thefe acquittals were to many, and the punishments to few, comparatively

paratively to what had been expected, and loudly demanded, that the public was entirely difappointed: the more indeed, that fome, who were deemed the principal promoters of thofe criminal tranfactions, found means to escape the vengeance of the law.

Before this tribunal were alfo brought thofe citizens of Paris, who had taken up arms to oppofe that decree of the convention, by which two-thirds of its members were to be returned deputies to the new legiflature. Lenity being now, to use a very common phrafe, become the order of the day, they were acquitted, to the great joy of their fellow citizens, who now fincerely repented the violent meafures they had been perfuaded to adopt upon that occafion, through the intrigues of men who had much more in view, the attainment of their private ends, than the public objects which they pretended to have fo much at heart. Thefe, the people of Paris were at prefent convinced, would have been much more effectually accomplished by the tready and perfevering ftrength of argument and remonftrance, in which they would have probably been graduaily joined by mult tudes in all the departments. But had they failed in thefe endeavours, fill they "ould not have been the dupes and victims of private ambition, and fled their blood for men who, like moft afpiring characters, would, if fuccefsful, have forgotten their fervices, and repaid them with ingratitude.

After having thus, in fome degree, fatisfied the demands of the nation, the directory now turned its attention to a bufinefs which required more than ever the cares

and exertions of government: this was the department of the finances, which having, fince the foundation of the republic, been fupported by the moft extraordinary and unprece dented means, were now beginning to totter, and to threaten infant ruin.

The credit, at first given to the affignats, had long been gradually falling, and they were now become of no value. It was therefore indifpenfible to replace them by a currency of more eftimation. The fpecie of the nation was either hid. den by thofe who would not part with their hoards, or in thofe avaricious hands that had accumulated it for the purpose of fwelling its value in pecuniary tranfactions with thofe who wanted it. The means of bringing it forth, in the ordinary occurrences of fociety, were ftudi oufly fought, but could not be found, while thofe terrors and uncertainties continued, that made every man tremble for his property. The establifhment of the new constitution was beginning to remove thefe apprehenfions: but they ftill retained much of their influence, and the fcarcity of hard money was still an univerfal complaint.

In order to remedy the depreciation, and indeed the inutility of affignats, government procured the paffing of a decree, on the 25th of March, which it hoped might tend to expedite the fale of the national property in lands. Twenty-two years purchafe was the price at. which they had been fixed fince the year 1790, when the national affembly first had recourse to this method of fupplying the wants of the ftate. By the decree now pafied, a new fabrication of paper money was iflued, to the amount of two thousand four hundred millions of

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oflivres. Part of this fum was intended to redeem the affignats in circulation at the rate of thirty of these for one of the former; and the lands on fale were to be mortgaged, as a fecurity for the payment of the remaining part. The purchafers of thefe lands were to pay for them by inftalments; and, as the property difposed of was a folid and visible allet; it was hoped that the new emifion would retain its original value. The directory infifted in the moft ferious terms on the immediate want of this fupply, for the carrying on of the war, and the fervice of the current year.

The various failures of the French government in its pecuniary operations, had fo much difcouraged the fpeculators in these matters, that it was highly neceffary to hold out every encouragement to them. On the decline of the affignats, a paper, known by the name of refcriptions, had been given for advances to government, and made payable in fpecie at a fixed period: but this too had loft its credit, by non-payment. The new fabrication, which went by the name of mandates, loft, at its first fluing, one-fourth of its nominal value, and was reduced fhortly after to one-fifth. It continued to decrease, and fell at laft to the bare proportion of one-tenth. So heavy a lofs alarmed the directory, as, at that rate, the national property, which was paid for in mandats, muft of course be fold for one-tenth of its value It came to the determination to fhorten the periods of payment, in order to diminish thereby the quantity of mandats in circulation, which would raife the worth of thofe that had remained: but this expedient did not much restore it, and govern

ment, to fecure any farther detri ment, ordained the last inftalment, which was the fourth part of the purchase, to be paid in fpecic.

Thus the fpeculators were to tally deceived in their calculations of the profit they had expected: the more indeed as private land fold at a cheaper rate than public: but as they were chiefly monied men, and much of their opulence had arifen from their fuccefsful fpeculations during the public diftrefs, as their lofles were unheeded, and the conduct of government, however irregular and arbitrary, pafled uncer fured.

So great, in the mean time, were the difficulties of the republic, that, according to a statement of the revenue, made at this time by the committee of finances, the whole of it amounted to no more than five hundred millions of livres, while the expenditure was not lefs than one thoufand. The directory was fully fenfible that in such a situation the boldeft, as well as the most prodent measures must be reforted to, and that no alternative remained, but either of finishing the conteft with the enemies of France, on difadvantageous conditions, or of ftraining the authority and power of government to the fartheft extent that could be borne with, or fubmitted to, regardless of the diffatif faction and murmurs that fuch a conduct would in all likelihood occafion.

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France was, at this period, nearly exhaufted of all extraordinary means of levying money. The fale of national property, which was almoft the only one remaining, had been decreed. This mealure however had not yet taken place in the Auftri an Netherlands, now incorporated

with France, which had hitherto a numerous clafs of individuals, abftained from loading this country wholly heedlefs for the purpofes of with fuch burdens as might prove fociety. offenfive to its inhabitants. But the exigences of the republic were now become fo urgent, that the directory thought itfelf entitled to put fo rich a portion of the empire under the fame requifitions as France itself. This could not be conftrued into oppreffion of the natives, as they would only be placed on the fame footing as the French, with whom they now formed one nation, united in views and interefts, and having the fame enemies to combat, by whom, if fubdued, they would experience in common the fame ill treatment, and relapfe into that state of flavery, from which they had both taken fuch pains to emancipate themselves.

As these representations were founded in truth, and as the minds of the people in Belgium had of late undergone material alterations in their opinions of things, they were not unwilling to admit the va lidity of the reafonings alleged in vindication of the meafures propofed by the French, and the fuppreffion of religious houfes, together with the fale of their lands, for the ufe of the fiate, took place accordingly.

Such were the motives laid before the people of the Auftrian Netherlands, to induce them to coincide with the defign of the French government, to decree the fale of thofe valuable tracts of land, become the public property in that country, by the fuppreffion of the numerous and opulent monaftic orders. Exclufively of thefe motives, which were of confiderable weight with that part of the people which were well affected to the French, had a precedent to plead of great efficacy in the minds even of those who retained an attachment to the religious eftablishments in their country. This was the general willingness of the catholic powers to retain no other than the parochial and fecular elergy, and to fupprefs all conventual inftitutions, as the incentives and receptacles of idlencfs, and burthening the induftrious part of the community, with the maintenance of

The refources arifing from this ample fund, aided by the impofition of fome new taxes, rendered fupportable by an equitable repartition; and more than all, by an exact and rigid economy, introduced into every channel of expenditure, fupplied the five hundred millions wanted, in addition to the revenue, and enabled the government to provide for the demands of the prefent


The difficulties experienced by the French government in matters of finance, great as they were, did not equal thofe that continually obftructed the indefatigable endeavours to preferve internal tranquillity. The inextinguishable animofity of the oppofite parties, that diftracted the nation, feemed to increase by failure and disappointment in their refpective projects, and to derive, as it were, new vigour from the repeated fuppreffion of their attempts to overturn the established government.

The jacobin party, though not more active than the royalifts, confifted of men of far fuperior parts. As they had but lately been oufted from the feat of power, they nou

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