« AnteriorContinuar »
tron social order, and promoting the happiness of nations. Your brother, the Emperor Joseph, when scarcely seated on the Impe. rial throne, impressed on the general mind throughout his vast dominions, a philosophic movement which made superstition tremble to its deepest foundations, and prepared the introduction of several useful changes in every branch of administration ; and this head of the Empire was proud to boast of having drawn his information and his knowledge from the philosophical writers of France. Leopold, his and your brother, Madam, exhibited, in very çircumscribed dominions, the most illustrious examples to the imitation of great empires; and France may well claim the right of thinking that she was not inactive or unanxious in promoting the good which mankind has derived from the economical principles adopted by that Prince, who took a pleasure in bearing her this honourable testimony.
These recollections, Madam, are the only ones which I shall find deeply engraven on your heart. The ambassador of the French republic entertains a hope that the pacific communications which he has just made, will drown the remembrance of prejudices that arose from events ill related in France itself, and still more disfigured by all the tongues that have repeated them in Europe : by partaking in these truly august sentiments with your husband, you will render yourself still more dear to his heart, and you will concur, Madam, in perpetuating between two nations, a peace which may influence, in more than one respect, the peace of all the other nations of Europe.
Petersburgh, May 15. RE it hereby known to all whom it may concern, to all Eu• rope, and the whole world, that his Imperial Rullian Majesty, Paul 1. has ordered the following proclamation to be issued by me, Prince Alexander Besborodko, first minister and chancellor of his Imperial Majesty :
In consequence of the notification of the Executive Directory of the French republic, of the 23d of Nivole, in the 6th year, importing, “ That if any ship be suffered to pass through the Sound with English commodities, of whatever nation it may be, 11 thall be considered as a formal declaration of war againit the French nation;" his Imperial Majesty, Paul I. has been gracia cully pleased to order twenty-two ships of the line, and two bundred and 6fty gallies, under the command of Admiral Kruse, and M. de Litta, Knight of Malta, to proceed to the Sound, to proiect trade in general against the manifest oppression of the Disectory, as such a proceeding is evidently contrary to the rights of M 2
palions. nations. His Russian Majesty gives his Imperial word to protect the freedom of trade with all his power, both by sea and land, which he hereby requires the diplomatic corps to make known and proclaim.
Message from the Executive Direclory to the Council of Elders, of the
24th May. Citizens Representatives, ENGLAND has hazarded a new expedition, which has ended
only in its disgrace. On the morning of the 19th of May, an English fleet appeared before Ostend, and bombarded that city violently. Protected by the fire of the feet, their boats disembarked 4000 men, who took poffeflion of the thore, threw up batteries there, and attempted to blow up the sluices of the Sas de Sleyken, and the gates of Ostend. The enemy fummoned the place to surrender within half an hour. The garrison consisted only of thirty men. “ You shall never become masters of the port which is entrusted to me,” faid the brave commander, Muscar, “ until my garrison and I shall be buried in the ruins." Republicans are unable to confine them. selves to defensive operations. On the 20th, at break of day, 300 men only of the 46th and 94th demi-brigades, conducted by Keller, commandant of the square of Bruges, marched to the English column. They attacked with an ardour and an intrepi. dity which partook of the nature of a prodigy :-the courage of republicans always increafes in proportion to the number of their enemies. The entrenchment thrown up against them foon gave way; and after two hours fighting, the English, being entirely routed, threw down their așıns. The bombardment which had recommenced, ceased; from 1500 to 1800 prisoners were taken : eight pieces of cannon, two howitzers, and a great number of muskets of the enemy, remain in our power. The rest of the enemy re-embarked with precipitation, having lost a great number of men, who were drowned in their attempting to escape,
The commandant of the British artillery was killed : one of their major-generals had his thigh taken off ; another, together with 800 officers, as well superior as inferior, are prisoners. In short, the troops who had been disembarked were, according to the accounts of the prisoners themselves, the flower of the English army: they had been selected for the occasion ; and among them were four companies of the guards, and the whole regiment of the Prince of Wales.
You will hardly repress your, indignation, citizens representatives, at learning that the plans of the enemy were seconded by
of art. Thall not sof the ot thould beonfidero
traitors at Oftend. The cries of « Long live King George! Brave English !?' were heard there, the national cockade was insuited, and the arms of the volunteers employed in manning. the batteries, for want of artillerymen, were broken by some traitors. These atrocious acts shall not remain unpunished ; but it cannot be denied, that the flow progress of the ordinary tribunals is insufficient to the punishment of those who should be struck down with the rapidity of the thunderbolt. You will consider, citizens representatives, of the propriety of declaring, by a law, that the traitors who by any means give encouragement, during an attack, to the enemies of the republic, shall be tried by a military commillion.
The Directory invites you to take this message into your earliest consideration.
(Signed) Merlin, President.
PROCLAMATION. LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY. Batavians, SINCE it is but too manifest that the revolution which the vic
torious arms of the French effected in the year 1795, has been either openly counteracted or secretly undermined by those whom you have chosen to support and confirm it ; fince the unity and indivisibility of the sovereignty of the people, the consolidations of the debts of the provinces, the equality of the civic rights and duties, the abolition, in this respect, of all distinctions between ranks and stations, and lastly, the entire separation of the church from the state, have been continually, some in a more and others in a less open manner, the apples of difcord in the present times ; liuce the voice of truth and the welfare of the whole people have been obliged to yield to error, and provisional or personal self-interest ; and since, lastly, the constant clathing of opposite and contradictory principles, has enfeebled all the branches of political administration, and threatens to render perpetual the unsettled and uncertain state of revolution ; it must certainly be the wish of all, that a powerful, steady, and well-adjusted authority, Ihould at length put an end to all these uncertainties, divisions, and contradictory principles, prevent their destructive consequences, and establish a wise form of government, founded on the acknowledge ment of the great truths above mentioned, and confirmed by justice and prudence.
You flattered yourselves thrat these principles would be restored on the 22d of January last, and in whatever light you might at first view the events of that day, you were willing to excuse the
irregularity of the proceeding, from the state of affairs, and the necellity of the circumstances, and to support the authority of the new intermediary administration, the constituent assembly representing the Batavian republic. You only required proof that the events of that day were not the acts of a faction, bui the triumph of tque principles, tending to promote the welfare of the people.
Under these conditions you were willing to place unlimited confidence in the intermediary adıninistration, and transinit the names of your patriots with unbounded gratitude to the latelt posterity.
Şuch, Batavians, was your generous and noble conduct; but foon it appeared that the spirit of the new intermediary adminiftration had no tendency to render all former differences forgotten, by just and generous measures. Soon it appeared, that, instead of a restoration of principles, you had obtained a change of persons, by a revolution similar, in that respect, to all the former which your commonwealth had suffered during more than two centuries, but much more dangerous than them all, fince, by the precipitation and ignorance of the authors of it, every thing was overturned, and the country rendered a prey to anarchy and tyranny, in a manner of which its history affords no example. Not merely were the heads of the federative aristocratic administration excluded from the direction of affairs, but ignorance and disguised selfinterest contrived to render suspected almost every person of abilities and merit in the country. Worthy men, and even such as had continually declared themselves the friends of the 'principles now established, and who had been constantly devoted to the interests of the people, but who had shown too much spirit to be flaves of a faction, or idolize individuals, were excluded both from the provincial and general administrations, which were filled with men whose conduct had rendered them contemptible in the eyes of the nation, or who, at least, had no other merit than that of being the blind supporters of a faction.
There is not a more certain sign of the approaching fall of a ftate, than when justice is publicly violated. Exiles return secretly into the country-sentences which had been pronounced against offences, and prosecutions against persons accused, were annulled. At the same time the seekers after offices, a race of men destructive to every nation, thrust from their places a great number of upright and able men throughout the whole country; and the order to remove those who were unfit to remain in their posts and employments, was enforced in the most arbitrary manner.
Such, Batavians, were the proceedings of some anarchists, who every where flocked together, and who were favoured by the majority of the members of the constituted assembly, and by the
executive executive power, either because these latter were weak enough to promise themselves a durable support from them, or because they had not suificient strength to oppose them; they so far extended their influence, that many of those who had been members of the last national assembly, and who had down themselves devoted to the principles of the revolution, whose only offences were, that they would not, without your previous assent, annul the federative go. vernment sanctioned by the national assembly, were declared to have lost the confidence of the people, and to be deprived of their right of voting.
The measures of safety, as they were called, should have had for their object the annihilation of all factions, without distinction : but they were, for the most part, carried into execution in fo partial and arbitrary a manner, that the whole nation was rendered adverse to the order of things. All freedom of speech was taken away, and many resolutions too evidently flowed from the corrupt sources of revenge and private interest. The motto of unity and indivisibility should have united the whole nation, and excited all to combine and sacrifice their individual advantage for the general good of the country; but in such a manner were these terms employed, as to transform them into a perfect tyranny; and the transaction of the 22d of January, by the ignorance and precipitation with which it was conducted, became the object of general contempt, aversion, and ridicule.
At length, Batavians, the constituent assembly presented to you the plan of a constitution for your acceptance, and from that time began an avowed disregard of the established principles ; the spirit of the intermediary administration was no longer disguised, and your grievances reached their utmost height.
Faithful Batavians! the principles themselves had not been in danger, had the new executive directory, established by the constitution, been chosen as that constitution prescribes. Would the constitution have been less freely accepted, had the meeting of the primary assemblies not been so long delayed? Was it necessary that emissaries, such as the men before mentioned, should be einployed on this occafion? Was it necessary to entrust to them the dangerous power of depriving citizens of the right of voting? Was not this a violent attack on the sovereignty of the people, not justified by the urgent neceflity pleaded in some other cases?
And as if all this were not sufficient, the injury offered to the insulted sovereignty of the people, on the 4th May lalt, was still greater. Then, after the acceptance of the constitution, and when the will of the people had been expressly declared, with respect to the manner in which their representatives in their legillative body should be chosen, the majority of the members of the constituent assembly, by their own authority alone, declared tbemselves the legillative body of the Batavian people, leaving