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To retorn you thanks, and to inform you of these matters, I have written this letter, in the middle of the moon of Rebiniltani. (Signed)
HAMUDA, ; Pacha, Dey, Prince of Princes, and Lord
of the well-guarded town of Tunis. [The Dey added to this letter a list of eighteen Frenchmen, who had been taken by Tunisian cruisers in foreign vessels without palsports, and made flaves of. He gave them their liberty, and sent them to France.]
Ofis Dey, P. HAMUDON OF Rebiaiters, ,
Proceedings at the Sitting of the Executive Directory on the ift Nivoje
(Dec. 21), 1797. THE minister of the interior informed the Directory, that a
deputation of the merchants of Paris solicited the honour of being admitted to an audience, and asked leave to make soine patriotic propositions relative to the means of procuring the necessary funds for a descent on England, and to assure the vengeance of France against the tyrannic government of that island.
The president ordered the minister to introduce the deputation.
The Directory, accompanied by the secretary general and the ministers, and preceded oy the sergeants at arms and mellengers of state, proceeded into the hall of public audience.
The deputation was introduced by the minister of the interior. It consisted of citizens Lecouteulx, Fulchiron senior, Fulchiron junior, Jubie, Enfantin, Saillard, Recamier, Hupais, Marnet, Doyen, Decretot, Charlemagne, Desprez, and Barillon.
The deputation was presented by the minister of finances, who stated the object of the million in the following terms:
“ Citizens Directors- After having secured the repose of the continent, you have considered, since it belongs to the destiny of the republic to make peace with her enemies only at the gates of their capitals, that you ought to send to England those invincible columns which have confined victory to their standards, and that general who is as distinguished by his profound knowledge of the general policy of nations as by his military talents.
" The inerchants of Paris see, in this determination, a favourable prospect of the liberty of the seas, and the restoration of commerce. They are convinced that the moment is come to prove to an enemy, who always gives way when closely pressed, that the French are at last prepared to terminate a war which is only prolonged because a handful of pirates have the barbarity to calculate upon its events as fpeculations, as chances favourable to their interests.
“ The merchants of Paris have become the organ of the public opinion. Each citizen wishes to give a proof of ine confidence he
places in the success of your measures; they intend to propose to you to invite the legislative body to open a loan, the shares of which shall be mortgaged upon our victories.
« The Romans Cold the ground on which Hannibal was encamped: but history has not informed us if this celebrated people ever declared to their obstinate enemies that the war should be carried on at their expense. This trait shall be added to our'an. mals. The loan proposed to be borrowed shall be called the loan upon England. It will soon be completed. The Great Nation speedily executes whatever it plans,
“ The deputies of the merchants reorgest an opportunity of ftating their views upon this subject. rbeg that the Executive Directory will listen to them."
Citizen Fulchiron, the elder, spoke ihus, in the name of the deputation:
« Citizens Directors At the moment in which the French nation prepares to attack, with all her strength; her eternal and implacable enemy-at the moment in which our invincible legions are about to cross the almost insurmountable barrier which nature has placed between us and the haughty tyrants of the sea, all who poffefs hcarts truly French and republican are seized with that profound and irresistible enthusiasm which is usually the forerunner of important events and brilliant successes.
“ The merchants of this great city, and those of all France, cannot dissemble, that it is particularly their cause which the conquerors of Italy and of the Rhine prepare to support and to avenge. All the merchants of the continent of Europe ought to unite in. arming against this perfidious government.
« But the French merchants do not want a particular and personal motive, to make them partake in the sacred sentiment which at this moment animates all republican souls.
« We have seen the three-coloured standard planted on the banks of the Texel, and waving on the islands of the Ægean sea. On the continent we see no longer any but republican friends, or monarchs who are compelled to supplicate our alliance. Shall, then, the ocean, the common mother of the riches of the universe, which ought to carry our glory, our arts, and our industry into every part of the globe, be interdicted to us? Shall the ocean be enflaved by a handful of proud islanders?
" Great and intrepid conquerors of Lodi, of Rivoli, of Taglia amento, of Fleurus, of Kehl, and of Neuwied !--you whose path is marked by triumphs, and by the emancipation of nations! --you cannot endure this horrible idea! We see you press in crowds to the shores of the ocean, offering your services to your country--We see you hastening, from the banks of the Rhine and the summits of the Alps, to restore to the French nation' het Vol. VII:
iah is not respeither even in after having whic
maritine power, and to the national commere its anciens fplendour
“ Bearing in our breasts the impatience of a noble vengeance, we ask you, in common with all republicans, why the French pation is not respected on the seas as she is on the continent? Shall our laurels wither even in the midst of our triumphs?
“ But in vain shall England, after having sown in our country, . crimes and evils of every kind by the gold of which the despoils the
nations subjected to her deceits, shelter herself by her numerous vessels! In vain shall she flatter herself with escaping the just punishment which awaits her! We shall send back to that island the scourges with which its government desolated our provinces; but, more generous and more brave, we will know how to mo. derate and how to restrain the most legitimate resentment, from the moment in which it shall have expiated its long and pernicious errors.
« Could the merchants of this great city, of all the republic, remain filent spectators of so great a movement? No, Citizens Directors! All commercial men, all who give life and spirit to our national industry, besuech you to open to them a civic career, by which they may concur in promoting the great and generous enterprise which you have in view. . “ Is French commerce uninterested in the great national armament which is preparing? Are not all the fortunate chances of this expedition in its favour? and is it not certain that they will restore it to its ancient dominion, and to all the prosperity which belongs to the commerce of a great nation? Can, then, the merchants of France balance for a moment between the temporary privation of a barren enjoyment, and the prospect of so much future prosperity?
« This is the most favourable moinent for the emancipation of the seas, for us and for our posterity; and this fortunate crisis has been created by our victories. The commerce of France cannot endure that it Thould have been wasted in vain. The peace of Europe would have but a precarious existence, the continent would remain humbled before these lnaughty islanders, if the most powerful efforts, Citizens Directors, did not concur in the exor cution of your plans.
“ The ardent wishes of all Frenchmen, the undaunted courage of our warriors, are so many pledges of success; but there is one on which we found, as well as you, Citizens Directors, a hope which cannot be disappointed. It is the sublime and almost incredible valour of the young hero, who, during two years of uninterrupted triumphs, has filled the universe with the report of his fame, whose prudence is the adıniration of the old, whose generosity is the model of the young, whose wisdom and geniis excite the wonder of the philosopher, whose naine will hence
forth for ever be inseparable from victory, and always recall the idea of every virtue by which glory can be embellished.
“ Citizens Directors, the inerchants of Paris, of whom we are the organ, anxioully beg of you to send a message to the legislative body, inviting them to open a loan, which may give you the means, as prompt as certain, of effecting a defcent upon England, and of transporting thither our hero, those whom he shall conduct, and all their glory. This loan may be mortgaged upon an indirect impoft. The public opinion declares itself for a measure of this kind. The duration of this impost ought to be limited to the period of the repayment of the loan, which shouldbe borrowed upon that principle. It would be defirable, also, that the loan should be made in such a manner as to manifest, with new force, a wish to consolidate the arrears of the national debt, and to re-establish, or rather to create anew, the public credit, which must always be attached to the engagements of the republic.”
Citizen Barras, the president of the Directory, thus replied to the deputation:
s Citizens-The Executive Dire&ory, witnessing every day zhe virtues of the French people, is not astonished at the patriotic devotion which has produced the propositions so truly republican as those you have now made to your country; but it applauds with emotion that sentiment of liberty which has at this moment conducted you hither.
“ The insolent pride of the English government, which flatters itself with the chimera that there exists no longer any national spirit in France, may mark this day as the epoch of its approaching humiliation. Your conduct predicts what the valour of republican arms will execute; and Europe, attentive to this great event, cannot fail to be struck with ihat contrast which the people of the two nations present--the one funk under the fiscal oppresLion of a tyrannic government--the other, after eight years of sevolution, and at the end of an ever memorable war, offering spontaneously to the country their wealth, the tributes of their industry, and thus displaying the extent of their resources. If the armies of France have already proved that the republic is invin. cible, her merchants now prove that her means are inexhaustible, and that, in this generous struggle, warriors and citizens have alike acquired incontestable claiins on the national gratitude.
“ It was worthy of you, citizens, to impose silence, by this great act of civism, on those malevolent persons who tax our commercial citizens with indifference, as if the just and legitimate war, which France maintains, had not for one of its principal objects the preservation and the extenfion of commerce. This írivolous reproach is still one of the crimes of England, and one of the means of ber exclusive ambition; but the perfidious designs
of the despots of the ocean are penetrated. They would confent, perhaps, to acknowledge the sovereignty of the French people, if
the French people would consent to allow them to exercise their • tyranny on the seas. The establishinent of the French republic is : the continual subject of their wild declamations; but in their
powerless rage they tremble at the opening of the Scheldt, and the free navigation of the Rhine: they are enraged to see all the ports of the Mediterranean open to our thips and fleets.
“ Citizens, doubt not that all republicans will hasten to second your patriotic efforts. All hearts jealous of the national glory, rejoice at your proposition in every corner of France. Every town whose commerce has been suspended, and whose manufactures have ceased in consequence of the war, will haften to imitate you. Like you, they are animated by the love of the country. Like you, they have long and cruel injuries to avenge; and in the enthusiasm with which you will inspire them, they will be inflamed with the desire of having it in their power to say, We alfa have given a blow to our implacable enemy!
“ Thus we appear to proceed rapidly towards the perfection of republican manners, since they have already produced among us such great examples of devotion, as would have been sufficient to have illustrated the best times of the ancient republics. But what do I say? We surpass them in magnanimity. Imminent dangers prescribed the efforts of their patriotisın ; but in the French republic the whole desire of emancipating Europe from a fameful domination is sufficient to inflame your hearts.
“ The Executive Directory will haften, citizens, to transmit - your address to the legislative body. Anticipated already by fame,
the faithful representatives of the people burn with the noble impatience of welcoming it with the applause which it so juftly dederves. They are convinced with the members of the Directory, that the splendour of the republic depends upon the fplendour of commerce. Rely, then, upon the invariable protection of the Jegillators and of the Directory, as well as upon the admiration and the gratitude of France.”
Shouts of Live the republic! Live the liberty of the feas! refounded from every part of the hall; and the military inulic played Ca Ira.
The president gave the speaker of the deputation the fraternal embrace, amidst universal plaudits, and the most lively demonftrations. of public approbation.
The Directory retired fome time into the hall of the ministers, and held a private conference with the deputation.
On the return of the Directory, the deliberations recommenced upon the important address of the merchants of Paris; and a meilage was sent to both Councils, inviting them to take the pro. posed measure into their immediate consideration.