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in the British conftitution, went before a measure, and if he could prevent any bill from coming into parliament, he would be an abfolute monarch. "If this opinion be juft, what must be the importance of the preliminary negative of the executive power in the new French conftitution? That scheme reduces the influence of the people on those who are ftyled their reprefentatives, almost to nothing. Not only have the legiflators no fympathies, no connections with the people: they have not the power, if they were the immediate reprefentatives of the nation, to adopt a fingle law for promoting their advantage, or remedying their grievances. The executive power alone is to feel, to think, to fuggeft. Every meafure of public liberty, and of national utility, muft originate with that anthority whofe defigns every wife legiflator has contemplated with inceffant jealoufy, whole wifdom he has ever thought it neceflary to fupport by authoritative counfel, whole mifconduct and incapacity he has thought it indifpenfable to correct by fenatorial advice, and by legiflative controul. There was no contrivance by which the reprefentatives could draw fupport from the people, even if there did exift between them a community of interefts and fentiment: nothing by which the people might be aided through the reprefentative body. There was no provifion for the liberty of the prefs, none to enable the people to meet and confider the mealures of government. While the principal members of adminiftration were relieved from all refponfibility, the minifters were not to be liable to impeachment, until the validity of the charges of any
illegal acts or warrants figned by them, fhould first be recognized by the fenate, and all of them then admitted by the legislative body. The influence of the executive with the legiflative powers must always be fufficient to procure impunity to its inftruments. In truth, it was faid, there was nothing in this government but a magiftracy invested with unlimited power. The reft of the appendages were calculated for its convenience, and not given for the purpofe of independent and liberal affiftance, or if neceffary, of adequate controul. The chief magiftrate was, indeed, a king, invefted with royal prerogatives. He was the fountain of honour and emolument. He was the fource from which every favour must be expected. He was the inftrument to punish or protect. His fatellite councils, whatever fantastical appellations they might affume, were nothing: they gave neither light nor heat in the fyftem; they_neither warmed nor beautified. They begot no love; they difpenfed no favours; they infpired no confidence; they attracted no admiration. They were the fource of nothing liberal, nothing munificent, nothing beneficial. They did not emanate from the people; they did not belong to the nation; they could not fix its hopes, or be the depofitaries of its withes. They acted only by the fufferance of the king."
On the other hand, on this fubjet which was fo interefting to all Europe, it was faid, " that any conftitution that poffeffed in itfelf the power of repreffing anarchy, compofing the agitated mafs, and retaining men in fociety, was preferable to that flate of difcord and distraction
diffraction which accompanied, or flowed from the preceding revolutions. There is nothing of human contrivance that is perfect. Free governments tend to one great evil, and arbitrary governments to another. The great evil incident to a democratical government, is turbulence, endlefs innovation, and civil convulfions. The great evil incident to arbitrary governments is of an oppofite nature. It is monotonous and fad, but conftant, ftable, and permanent. Whatever evils might arife out of the new government, ftill fluctuation and infability would be none of them. As the evils of democracy were felt fo feverely, it was natural, and by no means improper to have re courfe to the only remedy which was to be found and if bad confequences, from adopting that remedy, fhould arife hereafter, none could arife worfe than what the French people had fuffered fince 1789 and even a refpite from fuffering, for a time, was not a thing to be defpifed. There was every reafon to hope that Buonaparte would mingle his power with moderation, benignity, and all the arts of a humane and generous policy. After fo liberal a fhare of power as was neceflarily vefted, for the ftrength and stability of the government, in the hands of the firft conful, it could not be expected that any confiderable participation in political privileges could remain to French citizens at large, or the great body of the people; yet, in truth, the political fituation of that numerous body was greatly improved in comparilon of what it had been under the monarchy. As, on the one hand it was neceffary to be a French citizen in order to hold any office, high or low, in the state;
fo, on the other hand, there was not any citizen fo humble in fortune as to be excluded from a poffibility and chance of rifing by merit to the moft honourable and important ftations, or even from the actual exercife of fome fmall degree of political power."
Whatever may be thought of the political expediency of framing fo unlimited a government, certain it is, that the name of a king or emperor alone was wanting to Buonaparte. With a fenate appointed by himfelf, and recruited from year to year by his fole influence; the nomination to all offices, civil, political, military and naval; the command and diftribution of the whole military and naval force of the empire; the power of foreign nego. ciation on peace, war, and commerce; a complete though indirect control over the treafury; the fole privilege of propofing laws, and withdrawing them in any ftage of deliberation and difcuffion;-with all thefe and other means of influence and command, poffeffed by the firft conful, he held in his hand as ftrong, and perhaps from the fhew of liberty, even ftronger reins of government than any Afiatic defpot. The former conftitutions, framed fince 1789, refembled a ftage-coach, crowded with paflengers on the top and box, and holding in their hands both the whip and the reins. They were top-heavy and could not but be overturned; they were inverted pyramids trembling on their fummits. The new conftitution bore a refemblance to a pyramid refting on its base, and culminating into a proper apex. It would certainly be difficult to overfet this pyramid by external impulfion. Whether it may not be torn in pieces by the internal powder of passion, remains
yet to be tried. It is certainly a very extraordinary and curious experiment It appears to wear certain prominent features both of ancient and modern times. Confuls fenates, tribunes, municipalities, and other particulars, carry back our views to Roman hiftory. Trial by jury and political reprefentation belong to modern Europe.
The particular period of the Roman hiftory that the legiflators appear to have had more efpecially under their eye, is that of Auguftus Cælar; between whofe fituation, circumstances, and conduct, and thofe of the French conful, the readers of history cannot fail to difcover feveral ftriking parallels.
The new conftitution was prefented to the acceptance of the French citizens, whether in their refpective communes or the armies. In each commune, and in each regiment there was opened a book for acceptance or non-acceptance: the conftitution was almoft univerfally acquiefced in, not with alacrity and enthufiafm, but from a wearinefs and painful recollection of the times of the other conftitutions. In a few weeks the registers were returned, and the conftitution was found to have been accepted by an immenfe majority of the people.
Mean while, the confuls, prefuming, with reafon on the fpeedy acceptance of the confutation, took poffellion of the government, of which they gave official notice to the confervative fenate, on the twenty-feventh of Decembe, 1799. Abbé Sieyes retired from the confulate to the confervative fenate. The legislative commiflions were inftructed not only to make an offer to him, but to pafs a law for compelling the abbe to accept the cftate of Cione, a national domain, of
6001. fterling a year. This act of national gratitude was generally underfood to be a contrivance of Buonaparte's for lowering, and indeed humbling Sieyes in the eyes of the French nation. The decree for compelling the abbé to accept the eftate, without convincing any one that compulfion was at all neceffary, only ferved to call it more to recollection that the abbé had degraded himself in accepting what an elevated and generous fpirit would not have accepted, and could not be compelled to do it; fince it was in his power, on the very next day, if he had chofen, to have given it back to the nation, if not directly, yet in a thousand forms of public benefit which fo fertile a genius could be at no lofs to devise. Befides this domain, abbé Sieyes enjoyed his office of fenator for life, with the penfion annexed as above stated. The ex-conful Ducos, whofe only merit was faid to be that he prevented the other two confuls from joftling one another, was rewarded with a fimilar appointment. Buonaparte, with kingly power, was the firft grand conful for the period of ten years, at the expiration of which he might be re-elected. Cambreres, a lawyer, who like other lawyers, had been an organ to all parties, was appointed fecond conful for the fame term; and Lebrun, a man of bufinefs, a poet, and who had been an avowed loyalift, was appointed third conful for the period of five years. Gaudin was appointed minifter of finance, and Reinhard of foreign relations; but he was in a few weeks fucceeded by Talleyrand. It has already been mentioned that Berthier was minifter at war, and Fouché of police. The refidence of the firti conful was in the palace of the
Thulleries; the fame fuite of apartments that had been occupied by the late unfortunate king and queen of France. The two exconfuls, Sieyes and Ducos, now fenators, and the two confuls, Cambaceres and Lebrun, were intrusted with the nomination of a majority of the fenate. Their choice in ge
neral fell on men of unexceptionable characters. As foon as the fenate was filled up, it proceeded to the nomination of the tribunes and the legislative body. The council of state, chofen by the first conful, was generally allowed to unite great talents with the most perfect integrity.
The Return of Buonaparte from Egypt, the leading Event in the Hiftory of 1800.-The vast and unbounded Power vefied in him by the new Conftitution.-General Expectations and Prefages.-Able and prudent Conduct of Buonaparte.-The Juice and Moderation of his Government.-His Solicitude to pacify and tranquillize France.-Means adopted for this Purpoje. -Both of Perfuafion and Force.-War in the weflern Departments.—Armiflice.-The War renewed.-Overtures from Buonaparte for Peace with England. Rejected.
HETHER we contemplate the great affairs of nations in a political or military point of view, the return of Buouaparte to France, in the beginning of October, 1799, is the grand and leading event in the hiftory of 1800, and that which, more than any other, influenced the ftate and condition, not only of France, Italy, and Germany, but of every other in Europe. Who could have becountry lieved that a fimple fub-lieutenant of artillery, a ftranger to France, by name and by birth, was deftined to govern this great empire, and to give the law, in a manner, to all the continent, in defiance of reafon, juftice, the hereditary rights of the legitimate princes of the realm, and the combined efforts of fo great a number of loyalifis in the interior of the kingdom, and all the great powers of Europe? There is not any one in the world who could have imagined the poffibility of an event fo extraordinary. forgotten by a nation, ever in motion, incapable of reft, and always
taken up with objects prefent to their fenfes, and new to their imaginations, he was fuddenly exalted and abfolute as any of the French to an authority, at leaft as ample kings. He was invefted with the power of taxation, the power of the fword, the power of war and peace, the unlimited power of commanding the refources, and dif pofing of the lives and fortunes of furnished with the means of creaevery man in France. He was ting an army, by converting every man, who was of age to bear arms, fence of his own country, or carryinto a foldier, whether for the deing war into the country of an enemy.
He had no rival to thwart his meafures, no colleague to divide his operations, no liberty of fpeaking powers, no council to controul his or writing for the expreffion of public opinion, to check or influence his conduct and, to crown the whole, his power, refting apparently on the foundations of popuFrom fuch a man, invefted with lar election and democratic fway.