Page images
PDF
EPUB

should make use of a term, very insignificant in the expression, if I said they were only enthusiastic to put their projects in execution, they are so earnest in it as if their existence here, and their eternal welfare depended on the trial.-The invasion of England is a denrée of merchandize of the first necessity for them, and I should doubt whether any concession on the part of England could now avert the experiment: whether it will be a fatal one to its government, time only can determine. In the mean time the government here are putting in work every engine, attempting to engage every passion, to enlist every prejudice, nevertheless always anxious to discriminate between the government and the people, flattering the one, as much as they profess to execrate the other. *

While this last act of the French drama of this eventful struggle is taking place, the republic has been playing a few interludes in various parts of Europe. You have heard of the destruction of the government of Venice, of the regeneration of that of Genoa, of the constitutional fermentation of the Cisalpine republic;—the news of the present period is the fall of the papal power, the possession of Rome by the French troops on account of the late massacrent, and the formation of this country

into

* The preface has already pointed out this passage to the attention of all Englishmen. It contains the summary of all that we ever could have to fear in this country. But the game is no longer concealed--the disguise is gross and manifest. Venice, Genoa, and Switzerland, have taught us all to estimate the value of French fraternity. No artifices employed by France, no language used in this country, from whatever quarter it may come, will now divide the people. from their government.

+ Nothing is more curious in the history of Jacobinism than its phraseology. Are prisoners, women, priests, and ren, butchered by thousands at a time, in cold blood, and with

every every aggravated circumstances of cruelty? These are called Revolutionary incidents, ebullitions of popular zeal. But if, by the just resentment of a people whose religion he is insulting, and whose government he is labouring to overthrow, a Jacobin should perish in a riot of his own exciting, this becomes a massacre, for which no satisfaction will suffice, short of delivering over a whole nation to pillage and proscription, to anarchy and atheism.

into a new government under the name of the Ro. man republic. In like manner as the French troops. are now employed in pulling down the chief spiritual power in one part, another portion is occupied in overturning the genius of aristocracy in the Swiss Cantons, each of which, under the influence of the French republic, are busied in destroy-, ing their present tyrannic oligarchies, and melting the whole into an Helvetic republic, founded on the basis of the Rights of Man, with a representative government. Of the nature of their past governments, and the abuses which they contain, you will have a pretty just idea, if two volumes in octavo, of a View of Switzerland, written by Miss H. M. Williams, and now publishing in London, shall happen to fall into your hands.* The spirit of equality, which has retraversed the Alps, has also entered the Rhine. The province of Suabia, is in

* This passage affords a curious commentary on the work here mentioned, which in principle and sentiment, can only be illustrated by the conduct of the female Patriots; who, after the massacre of the 10th of August, stripped and mutilated the carcasses of the Swiss troops, who had then (as their brethren have since) fallen, in the discharge of their duty, and in the defence of a just cause. It must here be observed, that the unceasing industry with which the English press is loaded with libels on every established government, and on the whole state of society in Europe, under the form of novels, voyages, letters, and anecdotes, is one of those signs of the times (as Mr. Stone calls them) which most deserve the attention of those who wish, well to morality and public order. Q4

insurrection

insurrection in divers places, and though troops are marching to endeavour to suppress it, we expect to hear that the contagion spreads inore rapidly. The state of the empire is such, especially among the little provinces, as to encourage this spirit of revolt

, France at present treats the whole so much de haut en bas, that the people can present but few sentiments of respect when they see their governors treated with so much contempt.*

The Congress assembled at Radstadt, continue to object to the limits of the Rhine, as the boundary of the French Republic; but as there is so much force on the one side, and so little reason on the other, it is easy to decide how the matter will be arranged. At present, the Rhine is the boundary; the Court of Vienna has consented to the cession, having no personal interest to the contrary; and the King of Prussia has actually given up the provinces of Cleves and Guelders, and whatever other territory he held on this side the river. If, therefore, the Princes do not yield with a good grace, to the present secularization, they will be compelled to a still greater ; and, probably at this moment, it is finally and irrevocably determined, that the whole Ecclesiastical part of Germany shall be secularized.

What compensation the King of Prussia receives, is not yet decided on-it is probable, he will have Hanover, if arrangements can be taken without hurting the interests of the neighbouring friendly powers, but nothing is yet finally settled in that quarter.

* No sentiment can be more just. It would be well if every government in Europe were impressed with this opinion. The late display of the iricolor flag at Vienda, proves, among, a thousand other instances, how attentive the Directory is to the principle on which the remark is grounded.

Whatever

Whatever can tend to humble the English government, is most anxiously sought after, in whatever shape the mode of opposition presents itself. The only, or almost the only outlet for English merchandize, is the port of Hamburgh. The French, who have at present long arms, have stretched out one of their fingers towards that town, and have, as we understand, even laid it on. We expect to hear every post, that the port is shut against the English, and that the English merchandize, which is emmagazined there, to the amount of three or four millions, is confiscated *. What the fate of these petty oligarchies in the North will be, is yet uncertain : whether these towns, such as Hamburgh, Embden, Franckfort, will remain as they are, under the great changes operating in the Empire ; or, whether they will be amalgamated with some other territoryt, and till the general day of deliverance arrives, which, according to the signs, does not appear to be at a very great dis

Of those ancient and regular governments that will soon fall, Spain seems determined to take the

tance.

** The reader must not imagine that, because this predi&tion has not yet been verified, it is therefore a proof of ignorance in the writer. It is known to many persons, that ihis project was actually decided upon by France, and that its execution was prevented only by the fear of opposition from those continental powers, the ruin of whose commerce was involved in the consequences of such a measure.

+ Such is the nature of the acquisitions which the Directory encourages the Princes of Germany to make at ihe expense of their neighbours. Tliey are to be annexed to their territories only for the present, and till the general deliverance arrives. A spirit of justice or wisdom, is said to have influenced ihe two great powers of the Empire, to reject these poisoned gifts, and to refuse to lend themselves to the accomplishment of such iniquitous and dangerous projects. May this be the symptom of returning reason on other points not less important ľ

lead.

lead. Every thing internal is big with revolution, according to all the accounts which travellers of observation and veracity bring us from thence. In addition to this, the French government are on the point of demanding very serious explanation, why, during a year and a half of hostility with England, Spain has been more sedulous to help the common enemny, than aid the interests of her ally, the French Republic. It is not very doubtful, that one of the interludes before alluded to, will be the march of an army across the Pyrenees, through Madrid to Lisbon, unless the demands made by the French government, be instantly complied with, which are said to be the delivery of the Spanish Fleet into the hands of the French, to be put under the direction of French officers, and the invasion of the kingdom of Portugal by the Spanish troops. In this alternative, it seems that Spain is placed, trembling on every side for her present political existence, and with good reason to tremble. If these two governments, which will then form one, be also revolutionized, a considerable portion of longitude and latitude in Europe, will take the republican system, and we shall have made pretty decent progress, considering the little space of time we have had to operate in, and the obstacles we have hitherto met with, which are at present considerably removed.

Amidst these changes without, you will, no doubt, be surprised to hear of an unexpected change, that takes place from time to time, within. You will have trembled for our Constitution, and probably felt some alarm for liberty on the events of the 18th Fructidor; you will have felt similar disagreeable sensations, in hearing of the late arrests of the deputies in Holland. These are events, no doubt, very distressing ; but unfortunately we are so placed as to be obliged to commit

one

« PreviousContinue »