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The Haughtiness of the Directory towards different Nations.-Particularly towards the Dutch, whom they consider, not as Confederates, but a conquered People.-Moderation of the Republic and preponderating Party in the United Provinces.-Batavian Convention.-Its Proceedings.-Affairs of Geneva.-Meeting of the National Institute of France.-Considered as an auspicious Omen of the Return of Peace and Reign of the Arts.-—And Liberty of thinking and publishing on all Subjects.-The Alliance between the Church and Monarchy of France, in the End, ruinous to both.-The new, or constitutional, Clergy avow their Assent to the Separation of the Church from the State.-Yet venture to condemn some Things settled, or approved, by the republican Government.-But which they considered as adverse to the Dignity and Interests of the ecclesiastical Order.-The Settlement of ecclesiastical Affairs considered by the Generality of the French as a Matter of great Importance.

THE irritable temper of the di

rectory was experienced by other governments beside the American. The court of Stockholm, which had, since the death of the late king Gustavus, explicitly renounced his projects against the French republic, and manifested favourable dispositions to it, had lately undergone an evident alteration. Some attributed this to the intrigues of Russia; others to the resentment of the Swedish government at the duplicity of the French, who had paid the subsidy they owed to Sweden, in drafts upon the Dutch republic, which they were conscious would not be honoured. Another motive of dissatisfaction to the directory was, the recall of baron Stäel, the Swedish ambassador, a friend to the republic, and the replacing him by Mr. Renhausen, a gentleman noted for his attachment

to the politics of Russia. The court of Sweden gave the directory to understand, that were he to be refused admission, the French envoy at Stockholm would be treated precisely in the same manner. But the directory ordered him, nevertheless, to quit Paris; not, however, without expressing the highest respect for the Swedish nation, the good-will of which it still sought to retain, notwithstanding this variance with its government. The French envoy at that court was, at the same time, directed to leave it; his residence there being no longer consistent with the honour of France, to the interest of which that court was become manifestly inimical, by its subserviency to Russia, the declared enemy to the French republic.

The king of Sardinia's ambassador had, in like manner, experienced the displeasure of the directory, for expressing

expressing his regret at the precipitation with which his master had concluded the treaty of peace with France; the terms of which, he said, would have been much less severe, had he waited for the more favourable opportunities that fol. lowed it. For having uttered words of that import, he was ordered to quit the territory of the republic. The Tuscan envoy was dismissed in the same manner, on account of the particular zeal he had testified in behalf of Lewis XVI.'s daughter, when she was permitted to leave France.

The court of Rome, when compelled by the victories of Buonaparte to solicit a suspension of arms, had sent commissioners to Paris, to negociate a peace: but, in hope that the numerous reinforcements, which were coming from Germany to the Imperial army, would enable it to recover its losses, and expel the French from Italy, they studiously protracted the negociation, on pretence that they were not furnished with sufficient powers to conclude a definitive treaty. It was not till the successes of the French had put an end to these hopes, that they appeared desirous, as well as empowered, to come to a conclusion. But the directory, for answer, signified their immediate dismission.

Notwithstanding the resolute and decisive conduct adopted by the directory, they found it necessary to abate of their peremptoriness with the Dutch; who, though strongly determined to remain united in interest with France, were not the less resolved to retain their national independence. The party that favour ed and had called in the French, had done it solely with the view of securing their assistance for the sup

pression of the stadtholdership, in which they had been formally promised the concurrence of the French republic. They were, for this mo. tive, so zealous for the success of its arms, that, during the campaign of 1794, they had projected an insurrection in the principal towns of the Seven United Provinces, while the republican armies should advance, with all speed, to their support. Having communicated their designs to the French government, they doubted not of its readiness to second them, and prepared accordingly to execute the plans which they had formed in virtue of that expectation. But the uninterrupted career of victory, that had given so decided a superiority to the French over all their enemies, had also elated them in such a manner, that, looking upon the co-operation of their party, in Holland, as no longer of that importance which it had hitherto appeared to be, they now received its applications with a coldness, which plainly indicated that they considered the Dutch as a people that must submit to their own terms, and whom they now proposed to treat rather as being subdued by the arms of the French, than as confederated in the same


Such were the dispositions of the French towards the Dutch, when they entered the United Provinces. The arbitrary manner, in which they imposed a multiplicity of heavy contributions upon the Dutch, was highly exasperating to the nation: but they were too prudent to exasperate men, who were determined to act as conquerors, and whom it was impossible to resist. They submitted, therefore, with that phlegmatic patience, which characterizes

them in difficulties, and usually enables them to surmount the greatest, by giving way to the storm while it lasts, and reserving themselves for those auspicious opportunities of retrieving their affairs, that so seldom fail the vigilant and undesponding. In the mean time, the republican party, in Holland, resolved to conduct itself with so much temper to the adherents of that party, which it had opposed with so much firmness and perseverance, that they should have no cause to complain of its having made an improper use of the power it had newly acquired. The effects of this moderation were highly beneficial to both parties. It softened the grief of those who had been deprived of the government of their country, and induced them to be less hostile to those who had taken their places: and it procured for these a readiness in the generality of people to consider them as actuated by patriotic motives, and in no wise by private animosity towards their antagonists.

This conduct was the more remarkable, that the inhabitants of the provinces, though a large majority, was desirous of a change of government, differed materially in their opinions concerning that which was to succeed it. The party favouring the stadtholder was the least considerable. It consisted of the titled, or noble families, still remaining in the United Provinces, and chiefly depended upon the inferior classes, and the great number of foreigners, for the most part Germans, in the Dutch service. The mercantile and middle classes, and generally the people of opulence and property, were inclined to a republican system: but herein they differed among themselves as to the plan to be adopted. VOL. XXXVIII.

Several preferred the antecedent one, that had subsisted from the demise of William III. king of Great Britain, and stadtholder, with such alteration as might secure it effectually from a re-establishment of that office, and render it more democràtical: others recommended an immediate adoption of the precedents, which the French had fixed on as the most popular. These different parties contended with great warmth for the superior excellence of their various plans. But the necessity of settling some form of government, brought them, at last, atter long and violent dispute, to the determination of calling a national convention. The provinces of Zealand and Frizeland, the two most considerable in the Dutch republic, next to that of Holland, made a long and obstinate opposition to this proposal. But they were, at length, prevailed upon to concur with the others on its expediency.

The year 1795 was consumed in altercations of this nature. But as soon as the national convention met, which was on the first of March, 1796, all parties agreed on a resolution to declare war against Great Britain, which they considered as having chiefly occasioned the many calamities that had befallen the United Provinces for a course of years.

Through its influence over the stadtholder, the strength of the state had been perfidiously withheld from acting in defence of the trade and shipping of the republic, and its interests wholly sacrificed to those of England. During the whole duration of the American war, this had been done in despite and con tempt of continual remonstrances and solicitations from the most respectable citizens in the common[N]


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wealth. It was through the interference of England, leagued with Prussia, that the stadtholder, who had been expelled from the United Provinces, was restored in defiance of the manifest will of the Dutch. Thus a governor was imposed upon them, whom they could compare to no other than a lord-lieutenant of Ireland, or a stadtholder of some Prussian district. He was the mere agent of those two powers, by whose impulse he was guided, and by whose power he was upheld in his authority, which he exercised entirely according to their directions. Through their fatal influence, Holland had been precipitated into the present contest with France, against the well-known wishes of all the provinces, and upon pretexts quite foreign to their interest. While this influence lasted, Holland could be viewed in no other light than as a dependence of England and Prussia. It was, therefore, incumbent on the national convention, to put an end to this slavish and ruinous connection with those two powers, but especially with England; which had, on the pretence of espousing the cause of the stadtholder, torn from the republic almost the whole of its possessions in the Indies and in America. What was still more insulting, the English ministry treated him avowedly as the sovereign of the Seven Provinces, though they must know that he was constitutionally no more than the captaingeneral of their armies, and the admiral in chief of their fleets. What was this but tyranny and usurpation in the extreme? The pretensions of Prussia were at an end by the treaty it bad concluded with France: but those of England were in full vigour, and it eagerly seized every

opportunity of doing all the damage in its power to the people of the United Provinces ; who had, there fore, the clearest right to consider it as their most inveterate enemy. On these considerations, which were obvious to all impartial minds, the national convention ought to call forth the whole strength of the nation, and use every effort to recover what England had so unjustly taken from it, rather by surprise than real prowess.

Such was the language of the republican party, in Holland, which, confiding in its strength, and on the support of the French, was deter. mined to improve to the utmost the opportunity that now offered, of extinguishing radically, all the hopes and pretensions of the Orange fa mily. In this determination, this party met with every encourage. ment from the directory, which aux. iously stimulated it to form a constitution explicitly exclusive of a stadtholder.

The Dutch convention itself was sufficiently averse to the re-esta blishment of this office, which, new-modelled as it had been, by England and Prussia, was become, in fact, a sovereignty. But however unanimous on this point, they varied on several others. The former independence of the Seven Provinces on each other, and their separate and unconnected authority over their respective territories and pecple, had so long subsisted without impairing the general union, that it appeared to many unnecessary, if not dangerous, to make any alteration in this matter, as it would affect the mode of levying taxes, and burthen one province with the expences of another. To this it was replied, that a firm and indissoluble

union, which was the object principally required, could not be effected, while such a separation of interests was suffered to exist. It would open a door to perpetual variances, which might eventually endanger the very existence of the government they were about to establish, by breaking the principal bond of unity on which it was to be found ed. After a multiplicity of debates upon this subject, the importance of a solid union of all the provinces, into one common state, appeared so indispensible, that it was unanimously agreed to on the first day of December, 1796. To remove the objection that had principally stood in the way of this decision, a commission of the most respectable members of the convention was appointed to examine and state the former debts of the respective provinces, and to consider of the most equitable and satisfactory manner of liqui dating them, by providing for their extinction, and preserving, at the same time, uninjured, the rights and interests of all the parties concerned in this liquidation.

In all these transactions, the members of the Dutch convention were remarkably cautious in permitting no visible interference in their deli berations on the part of the French government. Its secret influence was well known; but the preservation of every form and external indication of freedom, was judged indis. pensible,in order to maintain the apparent dignity of the state, and, what was of more consequence in the eye of the discerning, to prevent the French themselves, at any future period, from pleading a right of interfering, from any acknowledged precedent. The directory was also very careful in abstaining from all

open and ostensible exercise of authority over this meeting. This would have invalidated their proceedings, and infringed the liberty which France boasted of having restored to the Dutch, in too glaring a manner, not to have excited their murmurs and resentment. For these reasons the directory affected every sentiment of respect for this national convention of the United Provinces, and treated it with every outward mark of their considering it as the representatives of an independent nation.

But the regard shewn, by France, to the republic of Holland, was measured solely by the consideration of its weight in the political scale, which, however depressed by circumstances, might still recover the level of its former importance. The directory did not extend the same deference to those whom it deemed more subjected to its power. This was remarkably evinced in its con duct towards Geneva. This little republic had invariably remained attached to the interests of the revolution in France, ever since its first breaking out; and had gone hand in hand with it through all its variations. Relying on these proofs of its fidelity, it now requested the di-, rectory to confirm its independence, by making it a clause in the treaties between France and other powers. But this request did not coincide with the views of the directory, which had, it seems, in contemplation the annexation of Geneva to the dominion of France. Ip pursuance of this project, an intimation was given to the Genevans, that their interest would be better consulted, and their freedom secured, by becoming a part of the French republic. This intimation was highly [N 2] disgusting

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