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suitable to the magnitude of the subject, should the Executive Directory deem it expedient to address itself to this effect, to the laudable Helvetic body.
(Signed) . Morlot, Chancellor. Berne, "11th Oft. 1797.
Letter from M. Ochs, Envey from Bafle, to his Constituents.
Magnificent and gracious Lords, THIS is probably the last time that these antiquated titles shall
firike the ears of your excellencies. I cannot dissemble the pleasure I have in renouncing them myself, and in cherishing the hope that the endearing title of citizen is soon to succeed them.
I confider the revolution in Switzerland as completed. The different cantons, their dependencies, and some of their allies, will, I hope, foon form a democratic and representative republic. Threats, boastings, irregular measures, which may be thought ingenious and firm, petty thifts, miserable intrigues, may perhaps retard the crilis, and even render it troublesome: but these means will not prevent the revolution from being carried into effea. The decree is passed. Destiny seems to have declared the end of all degrading aristocracies.
It is honourable for my canton to be the first which gave the example to Switzerland. It will be glorious for it to have commenced partially the general revolution, without anarchy, and without convuision: if any man, from obstinacy, rash engagemenis, or from principles of pride or selfishness, be dispcsed to resist the torrent, to irritate the ininds, or to provoke the paflions of his fellow-citizens, and to stain the paisage from the ancient regimen to the new order of things, let him remove from our frontiers! He will spare himself remorse, and us regret.-I have been informed of the efforts which several worthy magiftrates, and a great number of privileged citizens, have continued to make, since my departure, to hasten our particular revolution. Their names thall be ever engraven on my heart; and I greatly rejoice, that in a thort time a perfect equality established among us will not perinit them any longer to suspect that the sentiments I entertain for them are in the smallest degree connected with the hope of their protection. I am also informed of the rapidity with which our subject states, which, thank Heaven, will soon ceafe to be so, proceed in the career of their emancipation. They are, as it were, electrified. They have ceased to fear, or to be the dupes of our fineft exhortations. They begin to believe that the great nation does not love our aristocracy, that its government is not divided in opinion with respect to us.
They are no longer persuaded that a hundred thousand Russians are marching towards the Rhine, or that the cause of oligarchies is the cause of God. They feel that they are men, and recollect that their ancestors and themselves have done every thing for us, and that we have done nothing for them. They have discovered that they want a guarantee for the future, and that this guarantee can only be found in the equality of political rights, a conititution riting on that bafis, and, above all, new elections. Our secret council has, indeed, written to me, that our subjects desire to re. main as they are ; but I cannot easily believe that men of common sense, provided they are free to speak what they think, would seriously manifest the desire of remaining hereditary subjects, and that in a kind of subjection of which there exifts nat cven'any example in the monarchies of Europe. Besides, I have, received addresles which demonstrate the contrary: they remind me of the opinions which I have always profefied, and conjure me to seize, like a real tribune of the people, the favourable op. portunities for emancipating the petitioners. I have also been correctly informed of the progress which the minority of the magistrates have successively made, and which for some time feemed to be decisive. I have experienced from this inexprellible joy; but I learn with regret that much valuable time is lost in deputations, commissions, and frivolous concessions, wished to be made with principles: that a mental reservation prevails; that hopes are entertained of continuing in place, and, in a word, that a new influence appears to have arisen from the diet of Arau ; a diet which completely deceived the expectation of every true Swiss as well as foreigners; a diet which, during the three weeks it has been assembled, has set itself against every thing it ought to have performed. Again, and for the last time, I speak to you on the real interests of the country. I tell you, that the light of simple common sense, the force of circumitances, the regeneration of primitive ideas, the public and general good, an inon.te number of political considerations, and particularly the principles of eternal justice, impose upon you the duty of acquieising, without delay, in the wishes of your subjeds, and in the councils of the magistrates and citizens who have proved them. leives their defenders. Declare, then, by a formal decree,
ift. That there are no longer any subjeéts.
2d. That each village, burgh, and section of towns, fall form a primary assembly, and immediately elect representatives one for each fifty persons who have reached the age of twenty. tour years.
3. That these representatives, assembled at Balle, Mall form a particular constitution, to remain in force until the sentiments of The other parts of Switzerland be known.
4th, 4th. That they shall establish, in the mean time, while the constitution is preparing, some provisional committees for maintaining order, and managing the present bufiness; and, finally, that each of you charge yourselves to present to those appointed for the above purpose, the act of resignation of all your places, without any referve whatever.
I am anxious to be before you in this transaction. I declare, therefore, that I renounce every hereditary privilege; that henceforth I consider our subjects as fellow-citizens, and that I am ready to deposit in the hands of the representatives of the peos, ple every power, authority, command, presidency for life, or otherwise, with which I am invested. The influence which a declaration so precise may have in the present circumstances, will, perhaps, öll up the measure of the complaint which the aristocracy have been accumulating against me since the 14th of July 1789,' expecting the great day of their vengeance. I am not ignorant of their malevolence; but the more the aristocracy hate me, the more I love myself.
OUR UNION FORMS Our Power.
January 18, 1798. VOU know that the people of the country require their li.
berty. It is a right which they derive from God and nature. During an age, this right has been a stranger to the country inhabitants of the canton of Balle, and we have been obliged to remain filent. We have been compelled to bend our heads under an aristocratic yoke, which the burgesses of the town of Balle have imposed upon us. How painful this must be to every true Swiss! We well know that your pretended rights are supported by alienations and titles. We know that the town of Balle pur
chased its subjects from ruined princes or fanatical priests : but · can you persuade yourselves that the rights of man are alienable?
You know as well as we do, that claims and contracts rest solely
on the right of the strongest, and on the force of arms, and that • such pretensions have no reality but in the power of maintaining
them. Your rights are not hereditary: we never subscribed your title-deeds; we never consented to them. We expect that our demand will receive your approbation. You will not oppose a confederation, which has for its only object the general good, and which may even extend the limits of your civil liberty.. If some mult lose, others must gain. Such is the fate of all revolutions ; and none ought to refuse the making of light sacrifices to procure important advantages. We know the secret of revolutions as well as the force of arms: we know the means of propagating our principles—we leave you to think the rest. For ages it has been our only wish to defend our country, at the expense of our blood-be not astonished, then, that we seek our liberty at the same.price. Such is the manifesto which we address to you, and to all the universe. It depends only on you to favour the success of our enterprise. Reflect on the spirit of the times, and you will be convinced that an imprudent resistance will occasion more violent means to be used, and excavate the abyss which must swallow up our unhappy commune.
Declaration of the Sovereign Council of Berne, on the 31 January
1798. W E being assembled this day, upon oath, to deliberate upon
the measures to be taken for the safety of the country, have personally bound ourselves by a solemn oath, and have firmly resolved to defend the country at the price of our property and our blood, to the last extremity, and with all our power against any enemy whatever, and to employ to that end all the means dependent upon us, in concert with our dear and faithful burghers.
Mellage of the Executive Directory to the Council of Five Hundred,
on the oth Pluvioje ( Feb. 5). Citizens Representatives, . . . THE Helvetic oligarchy, which, since the commencement of
the revolution, has taken so active a part in all the secret machinations against liberty, and in all the plots formed for the deftruation of the French republic, has now filled up the measure of its crimes by violating, in the persons of several of our brave brethren in arms, the most sacred laws of the right of nations. The Executive Directory, in confornity with the 328th article of the conftitution, inult acquaint you with every thing that has paffed, and with the meanses it has taken. The people of the Pays de Vaud, detached from Savoy in 1530, have for a long time groaned under the despotism of the gover:ments of Berne and Fribourg. “I bat country, originally dismembered from France, formed under the Savoilian government a separate province, governed by the itatcs, in concert with a ducal bailiff, whofe prerogatives were circumscribed by confitutional laws. Thefe laws, even in 1530, were defpifed and trod under foot by
of the cond with the much from Savoy in
11:1565, the Frendould be preserved. he form
) the patricians of Berne and Fribourg. In 1544, the Duke of Savoy renounced all pretensions to that country, but he formally stipulated that its constitution should be preserved ; and on the 26th of April 1965, the French government constituted itself guarantee of this treaty, and consequently of the political rights of the Pays de Vaud. It is well known with how little delicacy the governments of Berne and Fribourg constantly violated the social contract formed between them and the Vaudois, by thefe new treaties. The Vaudois, at different periods, remonstrated against that oppression to which they were victims; but force for a long time imposed silence on the multitude, and those among them who displayed more courage than the rest were proscribed. One of these was the brave General Laharpe, who, adopted by the French republic, became one of its most intrepid defenders, and sealed with his blood, in the plains of Italy, the attachment which he had sworn to it. Liberty, however, was supported in the Pays de Vaud by numerous and strenuous friends, who at
length determined to claim the protection due to them from the · sepublic in virtue of the treaties of 1564 and 1565, both as the
substitute of the ci-devant Duke of Savoy, and as replacing the ancient French government. Scarcely was the report of this claim spread abroad, when malevolence endeavoured to lay hold of it, and to insinuate in a public journal, that the Pays de Vaud, as a reward for its attachment to liberty, was to be de. tached from Switzerland, and incorporated with France. These insinuatians, which ascribed to the French republic views of invasion contrary to its good faith, had evidently no other object than to alarm the Vaudois respecting the consequences of those steps which they might take for the recovery of their ancient rights. The Executive Directory took the first opportunity, therefore, of proving the falsity of them by a decree of the 27th Frimaire, which prohibited the journal that contained them, and by notifying what it had done to all the Helvetic cantons. On the 8th Nivofe following, the minister of foreign affairs gave an account to the Executive Directory of the claims which had been addressed to it, for re-establishing the Vaudois in the political rights hitherto guaranteed to thein in vain by the treaties of 1564 and 1565; and the Directory the same day passed a decree, charging the minister of the republic to the Helvetic cantons, to declare to the governments of Berne and Fribourg, that the mem. bers of these governments should be personally answerable for the individual safety and property of the inhabitants of the Pays de Vaud, who should or might in future address themselves to the French republic, to obtain by it its mediation to be maintained or reinstated in all their rights, according to ancient treaties. This determination was the more urgent, since the government of Berne, as it has itself acknowledged by its answer to an offs