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wishes of the respective parties, that the examination might terminate in their favour. The remarkable fervour with which the royalists expressed their hope of its repeal, sufficiently indicated how much they expected it would militate for them, while the apprehensions of the re publicans, lest it should be repealed, manifested equally their conviction, how strongly this would operate to their detriment.

This fermentation of the public mind carried the weight of the strongest argument with those who were entrusted with this great decision. The elatedness of the royal party, on the bare possibility of a repeal, clearly pointed out the danger of it to the commonwealth, and admonished its well-wishers to oppose such a measure with all their might. The members of the committee of examination, being staunch republicans, could not fail to perceive the question before them in the same light. They did not therefore hesitate to pronounce explicitly a verdict conformable to the opinion of their party, which was thereby released from a state of the deepest anxiety on the issue of this busi


There were, however, some very sincere republicans in both the councils, who disapproved of this law, and exerted their abilities for its repeal. They argued that it made no difference between the relations of real enemies to the revolution, who had abandoned their country, out of hatred to the system introduced by that event, and the relations of individuals who had fled from the tyranny that had deluged France with proscriptions and murders. Such a flight ought not, in the clearest equity, to be accounted

punishable. The law should have been pointed at those chiefly whose crimes had rendered them objects of abhorrence to all parties; and who, having been tried and condemned for them, had been sheltered from punishment, by the amnesty extended to them by that law, in defiance of equity and the general sense of the public, which loudly demanded that they should be made examples of, as guilty of plunders and assassinations that had filled the nation with dread and horror. Were such men to be excepted from the rigour of a law which ought to have been made for them alone, instead of falling upon the innocent? Was it reconcileable with reason and propriety, that such men should be promoted to posts of honour and authority? But the fact was, that the period when this law took place was marked by the terrors that hung over those who, though they reprobated, did not dare to refuse their assent to it. The constitution, though framed and accepted, stood yet upon a tottering foundation. The most upright men in the convention felt themselves in danger from that violent party still prevailing, and with which they had no other expedient to compromise for their own safety, than consenting to this inequitable law, in hope bowever of some auspicious opportunity to repeal it. This opportunity was arrived, and every motive concurred to induce the legislature to rescind an act replete with cruelty and scandal. It was well known, that those, whom it affected, had been falsely held out to the public, as enemies to the state, and their names, together with those of their relations, wantonly inserted in the list of emigrants, while

it was notorious that many of the unfortunate individuals, thus traduced, were locked up in prisons, where calumny and suspicion were at that tyrannical period sufficient reasons to confine and to treat them with the most unfeeling barbarity. But were it only out of respect for the rights of the people at large, a law should be abrogated, that took from them the constitutional right of chusing to places and dignities in the state, those whom they reputed worthy of their confidence. To deny them this right, was to abridge them of their liberties in a most essential point. To plead the safety of the nation was the language of tyranny, and would justify every species of despotism. What crimes had not been committed by the sanguinary tribunals, erected on the pretence of punishing the foes to the revolution?

To these, and other arguments, in favour of a repeal, it was replied, by the supporters of the law, that It passed at a time when it was deemed indispensible for the preservation of the national freedom, and the security of the constitution just established. Its numerous and active enemies were every where in motion, and striving with all their might to set the people against it. Suspicions were warrantable motives to exclude those on whom they fell, at a time when so many were justly suspected, from stations of power and trust, wherein they might have acted so hostile a part to the commonwealth. Would it have been prudent to expose it to such danger at home, while menaced by so many foes from abroad? Allowing that a number of individuals suffered unjustly by this law, was not this a much less inconvenience than to VOL. XXXVIII,

throw the whole nation at once into the bands of so many concealed enemies? But the suffering, so bitterly complained of, amounted only to a temporary suspension of their rights, of which they would undergo the

deprivation no longer than the short space that might elapse till the restoration of general tranquillity. As soon as peace was re-established, both at home and abroad, the suspension of all privileges would cease, and every man be placed on the completest footing of equality, in respect of pretensions to public employments. But till that period, it were the height of imprudence to place confidence in any but the tried friends to the commonwealth. The promotion of others would unavoidably excite fears and jealousies. With what prospect of impartial justice could the relations of emigrants be entrusted with the execution of the severe, but necessary, laws enacted against them? Instances might occur, in the present situation of things, when not only the liberty and property, but the very life of the dearest relative would be at stake: was it to be expected that the ties of consanguinity would not have their influence on these occasions, and that a man coolly and determinately would doom another to death, whose life was as dear to him as his own? In this light, the law, so violently reprobated, was in fact humane and merciful: it exempted individuals from those terrible conflicts between the feelings of nature, and the dictates of duty, wherein they could neither yield to the one nor to the other, without incurring the imputation of betray- ́ ing their trust, or of wanting humanity. When these various circum[M] ·


stances were duly considered, it must appear that the repeal of the law in question would be attended evidently with so many inconveniences, that no judicious and unbiassed person could require it. The interest of the public was not, in truth, more concerned in maintaining that law in its full vigour, than that of private families: both would equally suffer from its abolition. It would often happen that Justice would not be done to the public, or that by doing it, men would embitter the remainder of their lives, and become objects either of general resentment or compassion. It being clear, therefore, that much more evil than good must flow from the repeal of the law; and the security of the state being, at the same time, a motive that ought to supersede all others, that law could not with any propriety be abrogated. It was, at the same time, much to be suspected, that many of those, who recommended such a measure, acted from sinister motives, as nothing could be a stronger proof of its impropriety, than the satisfaction universally expressed, by the royalists, at such a question being brought before the two councils.

A multiplicity of other arguments were alleged by the contending parties, in which the public joined with an earnestness that shewed how much all men were convinced of the importance of the subject in debate. But the report of the committee seemed to carry an influence that could not, and ought not to be resisted. This was the opinion of the people at large, even more than of the council of five hundred, as the question against

the repeal was carried by a majority of only forty-four.

The minority, encouraged by this evidence of their strength, resolved, if it were not able to compass the repeal of the law of the third of Brumaire, (25th October, 1795,) so to modify its provisions, as to direct them equally at the partisans and instruments of the terrorists and jacobins ; and the royalists, who, after taking up arms against the republic, had submitted and been pardoned. The proposal of such an amendment proved highly exasperating to the supporters of that law, who asserted, that sufficient moderation had been shewn in exempting from its operation the actors and abetters in the insurrection against the conventional decrees for the re-elections. But the general disposition of the council was so strongly marked by impartiality on this occasion, that the amendment was carried, to the great surprise of the public; the majority of which, though decidedly inclined to measures of lenity, was fearful of that preponderance of jacobinism, which had hitherto exerted so irresistable an influence over all the proceedings of the legislature.

The council of elders would wil lingly have consented to the total repeal of the law of the third Brumaire, and embraced, therefore, with readiness, an opportunity of mitiga ting its severity, by assenting to the amendment made by the council of five hundred.

This alteration of that severe law proved a matter of unexpected triumph to the moderate party, which constituted a large majority of the nation. The exclusion from posts of emolument, or of power,


was a heavy blow on that sanguinary faction, which had ruled by terror. It lost thereby a multitude of its agents, whose crimes now rendered them ineligible to public employments, and many were, on the same account, obliged to vacate those which they possessed.

The discerning part of the public looked upon this event as a species of revolution, and formed the strongest hope that it would promote a reconciliation between the friends to a republican government, and those to a limited monarchy. Liberty being equally the aim of

both, it appeared not improbable that, if the latter could be satisfied of an earnest determination in the ruling powers to put an end to op pressive measures, the little prospect that now remained of subverting the established government, would induce them to submit to it, rather than renew those attempts to restore their own system, which had so repeatedly failed, not more through the rashness or incapacity of those who had conducted them, than the general repugnance of the nation to join them upon those occasions.

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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 Executive Directory.-Prevented by the Necessity of their acting in Concert.-The Legislature invade 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.


"HE spirit of lenity that seemed to have arisen and been nourished by the new constitution, began to operate powerfully in its favour, and to gain it daily fresh adherents. The people in France appeared in general extremely willing to support it, hoping that the period of internal confusions would thereby be accelerated, and that the European powers leagued against them, when they found that unanimity was re-established among the French, would cease to prose cute the war for the restoration of the house of Bourbon to the throne of France, against the manifest will

of the nation.

The heads of the republic were now deeply occupied in the concerting of means to counteract the measures of that power, on the indefatigable efforts of which all the others depended for the support of their own. It was with unfeigned mortification that France beheld


that power unshaken and undimi-
nished in the midst of the disasters
that had befallen the other parts o
the coalition. That invincible spirit,
which had so many ages accompa
nied the councils and the arms of
England, and enabled it to maintain
so many contests with France, had,
in the present, displayed greater
energy than ever, and impressed se-
veral of the soundest politicians
an idea, that however the French
republic might for a while diffuse
the terror of its arms among the
neighbouring states, the persevering
courage of the English, aided by
their immense opulence, would fina!
ly weary out the endeavours of the
French to retain the acquisitions they
had made; and, that notwithstand
ing the republic itself might remain
it would, on the issue of the terribl
trial it had stood, be compelled t
remit of the pretensions it had form
ed to prescribe terms of peace
all its numerous enemies, and t


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