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have refumed it if, delivered from the yoke of fanguinary demagogues, you could, in this decifive fitting, fhrink from the task of fecuring the public weal, and the falvation of the country."

Other members made fome obfervations of the fame tendency with the fpeech of the prefident; and the prefident himfelf, anxious to keep up the fame tone, joined in the converfation, for there was no debate, till the report was brought up from the committee: when the chairman of the committee, Cabanis, addrelled the council in a fpeech, the fpirit of which will fufficiently appear from its exordium and conclufion. "The time of management," he faid, "little expedients, and halfmeasures were paft. The committee would difclofe to the council the naked truth, without difguife. It was commiffioned for the purpofe of propofing effective measures. It had trodden every timid fentiment under foot, and boldly declared what alone, in their judgement was fitted to fecure liberty, confolidate the republic, and to make the people happy in the enjoyment of thofe bleffings that belonged to them." After a copious developement and illuftration of thefe ideas, he concluded with the following recapitulation. "It is impoffible but the conftitution of the year 3 muft involve the ruin of liberty, and that very speedily; or that our actual fituation fhould not be quickly followed by the diffolution of the French nation. It is, therefore, indifpenfably neceffary that this conftitution fhould undergo alterations. But thefe alterations cannot be made, nor a reorganization of the ftate effected otherwife than by means of a provifional go


vernment: and that which your committee proposes appears to me, not only the beft, but the only one poffible to be adopted in the prefent circumftances." Cabanis was followed by

Boulay de la Meurthe, who did not hesitate to declare, that, in order to bring about the change recommended, the revolution which had just taken place, had been for fome time concerted. It was intended, however, to have been effected only by moral and conftitutional means; the fame means by which it had, in fact, been accomplished in the council of elders. But the fury and madnefs of a violent faction in the council of five hundred, which had been their torment for a long time, had obftru&ted the progrefs of moral and conftitutional influence, in their affembly. This faction had fet its face against all deliberations and free difcuffion, and by its tyrannical proceedings forced the well-intentioned members, which formed a majority, to quit the place of their meeting. The council of the real reprefentatives of the people had, by their violence, been diffolved and converted into an unconftitutional, and feditious mob; and the French legiflature and nation muft have fallen into all the horrors of civil war, if it had not been for the firmnefs and forefight of him whom the law had vefted with a power of maintaining order in the present great movement. Difembarraffed, as they now were, from violence and tyranny, they might reflect calmly on the measures proper to be taken for faving the finking republic. That peace fhould not have been made before the establishment of a conftitutional government, was not to be wondered

wondered at. The domination of ject of its true interefts, to fay-I confine myfelf to the juft rights which I hold of nature and my own courage: refpe&t mine, and I will refpect yours. Let us both fubmit to the empire of that natural law which ought to be a bond of union among all nations; and let us not pretend to any other influence than that fuperiority which is the natural refult of wisdom and induftry. Before the eighteenth of Fructidor, (fourth of September,) of the year 5, the French government prefented to its fovereign relations nothing but a precarious exiflence, and there was not any power that would treat with it. After the great event of that day, the whole power being concentrated in the hands of the directory, the legiflative body was, in a manner, defunct. Treaties of peace were violated, and war was every where waged, without their having any participation either in its origin or conduct. The fame direc tory, after alarming all Europe, and deftroying a number of governments at pleasure, was found incapable of making either war, or peace, or of establishing itself. It was accordingly diffolved by a breath on the thirtieth of Prairial, (eighteenth of June,) to make way for other men, who might have other views, or fall before an oppofite influence. Thus it was evident that the government had no fixed principles that could give perfona! fecurity, or guarantee any eftablished order of affairs. A food-gate was opened to individual wills and particular paffions, to the ephemeral and fucceffive triumphs of particular paffions. If, for want of a fixed and permanent fyftem of foreign policy, it was difficult to make any fure treaty of peace, what fe[D]

a few men, facceffively overthrown by others, prefented no ftability of principles and views, no guarantee for the ftate, any more than protection and fecurity for individuals. The conftitution of the 3d year, from which, at first glance, more might have been expected, had not been attended with more ftability and fecurity; nay, perhaps, even with lefs. True it was, they had made fome partial treaties; they had agreed to a peace on the continent, and, in order to confolidate it, fent deputies to a general congrefs. But thofe treaties, thofe diplomatical conferences, feemed only to have given birth to a new war, more ferocions and fanguinary than ever. This has been afcribed to the bad faith of our enemies, the private paffions and falfe views of certain individuals, who had made a bad use of their power and influence in the republic. But were thele the only, or even the principal, caufes? This he thought there was reafon to doubt. Was not the renewal of the war rather to be afcribed to the want of found and truly republican principles in the conduct of France, towards foreign nations? Was not the French futh ciently great, powerful, and victoTious, to fay to other nations Thele are my juft rights: I have proved that it is not in your power to ravish them from me; that, in the prefent conteft, the risks incurred are greater on your fide than Ours; and thus that ye have as great an intereft in peace, as we have. If, on the one hand, the French ration does not poffefs fufficient firength for holding fuch language: is it not fufficiently enlightened, on the other, on the fubVOL. XLII.


curity had the people for domestic happiness? It was notorious, that perfonal fecurity might be easily compromifed, and that the greater part of property was in a ftate of infecurity; that all bargains, commerce, and ufeful arts, were in a ftate of ftagnation, that there was no longer any confidence between man and man; that the people were vexed and tormented in every way that was poffible; that their mifery was fo great, and their oppreffion fo complete, that they durft lcarcely to complain, and that thofe who faw the causes of thofe evils, had not courage either to make them known, or to point out the remedies. What was the principal caufe of this deficiency of civil liberty and domeftic happinefs? The imperfections and vices of their focial organization. As government was inftituted only for the good of the governed, and that public liberty was nothing elfe than the means of fecuring individual liberty, it was evident that if this laft had no exiftence; if the mafs of the governed refigned themselves to their fate, in filent fubmiffion and paffive obedience, it was because there was no effectual mode of obtaining juftice; because the developement of the political powers was imperfect

and vicious.

From the continued violations of the conftitutional law, refpecting the exercise of the fovereignty of the people, either by the undue influence of the executive government, or that of factions eager to convert its power to their own ufe, the orator pafled on to that want of harmony which had been visible among the public functionaries, whole refpective authorities were without any line of demarcation,

without any legal and co-ercive means of preventing their mutual invafions on public liberty, or the refpective faculties which had been delegated to them by the conftitutional charter. The line of demarcation between the legislative and executive powers, fhould have been clearly marked. There was no provifion that could prevent the legislative body from trefpaffing on thofe limits, if fuch were its intention. This laft body, poffeffing the exclufive right of interpreting the conftitution, became the only competent judge between itfelf and the other powers, and had the only right of calling them to account. The independency of the refpective powers was, therefore, either not reciprocal, or not fufficiently guaranteed. As to government, when the different ideas annexed to that word are confidered, it will be found to be all uncertainty, embarraffment, and contradiction: if taken in the most extenfive fenfe of the word, as embracing both the legiflative and executive powers, these two authorities, fo far from going hand in hand together, were almost always in confiant oppofition, prefenting the fpectacle of two furious enemies, continually aiming at each other's ruin. With regard to the executive government, the adminiftrators were continually in a ftate of mutation, according to the will of the party alternately predominant, and continually occupied, not about the good of the people, but how to confolidate their triumph over their adverfaries. In fine, is there a fingle part of the public fervice which is organized, or that proceeds in a regular and invariable movement? No! every thing is in confufion; and all our


efforts to get out of it only ferve to plunge us deeper and deeper in the jarring chaos. Is it furpriz ing, then, that neither public nor private liberty has yet exifted in France; that all command, and none obey; and that there is nothing but the mere phantom of a government?

But if the fource of all our calamities be the faulty conftitution of our government, what muft we do to remove them? conftruct a new political edifice that fhall be folid and durable. The bafis, or general principles of the conftitution were good. They were the principles of every republican government: the fovereignty of the people; the unity of the republic; an equality of rights, liberty, and the voice of the people declared by reprefentation. But the conftitutional fuperftructure, formed on thofe foundations, was effentially vicious, as experience had demonftrated. They must rife again, he faid, to the fublimity of thole fundamental principles, and in them only fee the conftitution, and their obligation to fupport it. To fhew any anxious adherence to mere regulations, to the technical part of the conftitution, would be a fuperftitious and fatal fcrupulofity. It would tend to a diffolution of the political fabric, and be, in fact, a violation of the oath of fidelity they had taken to the republic. This falutary truth must be undauntedly brought to view and firmly contemplated. It was a truth, recognized by all enlightened and honeft men; nor was it a matter that admitted of any doubt in the minds and confciences of thofe demagogues by whom the councils had been to long tormented. They were as fenfible as they themfelves

were, that the prefent order of affairs could not be of any longer duration. The only difference between these demagogues and themfelves was, a change in the conftitution fhould be operated by the jacobins, or by men of probity and enlightened underftandings. They wifhed to take advantage of the prefent agitation, and to govern France as in 1793: whilst all prefent were anxious for the establishment of well-regulated liberty, a liberty productive of happinefs.

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We," faid this orator for the committee of five," with liberty for all: they only for themfelves. We with to nationalize the republic, they to eftablish only their own party. They were eager to introduce a new caft of nobility, which would be fo much the more infupportable than the old, which we have deftroyed, that it would have comprehended only the most ignorant, the most immoral, and the vileft portion of the nation. If, therefore, the prefent ftate of things can no longer fubfift, we must deftroy it and replace it by another, which fhall raife the republic out of the abys in which it was on the point of being buried. But can this new order of affairs be definitive? no: it is impoffible to frame a perfect conftitution in a moment. In its creation we cannot exercise too much reflection. We must take the time, and use the precautions neceflary for its eftabliment, and form the inftruments by which this may be accomplished. We must have fomething provifional and intermediary; and this is, precifely, what will be prefented to you in the project now to be fubmitted to your deliberation. It creates an executive power, compofed of three [D 2]



read over twie, was adopted and carried to the council of elders, by whom allo, alter fome fight opposition, it was adopted and fanc tired. The project was detailed in the bellowing articles:

men, to be difingfred by the zame of errills, ar 1 who, by the purity of their morals, their talents, and the glory of their name, wil revive probic anflence, give energy an i promptitude to z'i parts of the exccutive goremment, and by fuccess, prepare the way for a fill and horo table peace. The two legiûative bodies are journe el, and leave two commilions for fupplying their place, on any urgent occation of police, leziñation, or finance. Such are the leading priciples of the project for an interealty government now fubmited to your confideration. It feemed necellary to the great end of the great polical movement that Bas juft taken place. At this crifis, repretentatives of the people, you will form a correct judgement of the 3tual pofition of the republic. You will elevate your minds to the grand views of a found and enlarged policy. There is an end of liberty if you have not courage to act a generous and magnanimous part." This fpeech, by Boulay de la Mea.the, who had 'o much fignalized his zeal and talents, in opposition to tyranny and oppreffion, and who was a man not only of fine parts, but of unblemished character, and which was a kind of preamble to the new government, drew univerful attention not only in France but the neighbouring nations: as it feemed not only to give a profpectus of the conflitution to be established, but alfo of the fpirit in which it was to be conducted: a spirit of peace, moderation, juftice, and a respect for the rights of nations. It was no doubt intended to betpeak favour to the confuls, both with the French and other nations. The project being formally prefented by ano ther member of the commiftion, and

Art. 1. There is no longer any executive directory, and the following perfors are no longer members of the rational reprefentation, on account of the exceifes and the violent attempts which they have unik mmly made, and particularly the greater part of them in the fitting of this morning: [Here the names of the members, to the num ber of fixty-one were mentioned.] Art. 2. The legitlative body create provitionally an executive confular commition, compofed of citizens Sieyes and Roger Dacos, late directors, and Buonaparte, general. They shall bear the name of Confils of the French Republic.-Art. 3. This commitñion is invefted with the full powers of the directory, and especially commiffioned to organize order in all parts of the adminiftration, to re-establith internal tranquillity, and to procure an honourable and folid peace. -Art. 4. It is authorized to fend delegates, with a power limited according to its own power.-Art. 5. The legiflative body is adjourned to the twentieth of February. It is to meet at that period in full power at Paris.-Art. 6. During the adjourn ment of the legislative body, the members fhall preferve their indemnity and their conftitutional fecurity.-Art. 7. They may, without lofing their quality as reprefentatives of the people, be employed as minifters, diplomatic agents, delegates of the executive confular com niffion, and in all other civil functions. They are even invited in the name of the public good to


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