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"The confuls declare, moreover, that the liberty of religious worship is guaranteed by the conftitution; that no magiftrate dares to offer it any violence; that no man dares to fay to another-you fhall exercife fuch and fuch a mode of worship, on fuch and fuch a day.
"The law of the twentieth of May, 1795, which leaves to the citizens the free ufe of the edifices destined to religious purposes, fhall be faithfully fulfilled. All the departments ought to be equally under the authority of general laws. But the first magiftrates will extend their efpecial cares, and take a particular intereft in the agriculture, manufactures, and commerce of thofe that have fuffered the greatest calamities. Government will pardon and fhew grace to the penitent. Their forgivenefs and indulgence will be unlimited. But it will ftrike thofe who, after this declaration, shall dare to refift the fovereign will of the nation.
"Frenchmen, inhabitants of the departments of the weft, rally round the conftitution, which invefts the magiftrates whom it has created with the power, and made it their duty to protect the citizens; which fecures them equally from the inftability of the laws, and from their feverity. Let thole who with the profperity of France feparate themfelves from thofe who perfift in their efforts to feduce them, in order to deliver them over to the chains of tyranny and the domination of the fironger. Let the good inhabitants of the country return to their fire-fides, and refume their ufeful labours. And let them be
on their guard against the infinuations of thofe who would throw them again into feudal flavery. If, after all the measures just taken by government, there fhould yet be found men daring enough to provoke a civil war, there would remain to the chief magiftrates only the melancholy but neceflary duty of fubduing them by force. But we, even all of us, will henceforth fecl only one fentiment: the love of our country. The minifters of the god of peace will be the first movers of reconciliation and concord. Let them fpeak to their hearts the language which they have learnt in the fchool of their mafter. Let them repair to the temples, again opened to them, to offer, together with their fellow-citizens, the facrifice which will expiate the crimes of war, and the blood which it fhed." This proclamation was dated the twentyfifth of December, 1799. On the fame day, Buonaparte addreffed the French foldiers as follows: "In promifing peace to the French nation, I was your organ. I know your valour. You are the men who have conquered Holland, the Rhine, Italy, and made peace under the walls of aftonifhed Vienna.
Soldiers, it is no longer your bufinefs to defend your frontiers: you are now to invade the states of your enemies. There is not one among you who have made different campaigns, but who knows that the molt eflential duty of a foldier, is, with patience and conftancy, to fuffer privations. Several years of a bad government are not to be repaired in one day.
"It will be a pleasure to me, in the character of first magistrate, to proclaim to the nation the corps, that, by its difcipline and valour,
shall best deserve to be hailed as the fupport of their country
"Soldiers, in due time, I fhall be in the midst of you; and aftoniflied Europe hall recollect that you are a race of brave men."
Hedoville, commander-in-chief of the French army of England, in the fame fpirit of reconciliation, which influenced the conduct and dictated the proclamations of Buonaparte, iffued orders to the troops under his command, from Nantz, on the twenty-feventh of December, 1799, to obferve, with the ftricteft exactness, the conditions of the armistice. He difcharged them from making any attack whatever, or upon any pretence, on either bodies of armed men or individuals. They were ordered to abftain from all requifitions, except of things neceffary to the fubfiftence of the French cantonments and garrifons and requifitions, even of thefe, were not to be enforced by arms. It was true that the depredations committed every where, by the miferable banditti, in fpite of the fufpenfion of arms, and who were for the most part disobédient to their chiefs, were grounds of recrimmation and reprifal. But it was proper to fuffer thefe for a time. A fhort fpace would decide what was to be done on this point, and the whole of the queflion relating to the western departments. At the fame time he enjoined the firicleft vigilance over the motions of the foreign enemy. The gene ral officers were ordered to eftablish, by night and day, frequent and numerous patroles all along the coafts. If the English fhould land, the French general officers were to hold themfelves in readiness to execute the orders they fhould receive.
No foldier was permitted to appear alone, or at a diftance from the troop or body to which he belonged.
Buonaparte, having eftablifhed a new conftitution, and a new government; having proclaimed his defigns and views, founded, as he alleged, on principles of moderation, juftice, and peace to all French citizens and foldiers, to the royalifts, and to all the continental powers, had yet one ftep to take, in order either to accomplish a general peace, or to juftify the continuance of war. He ddreffed the following letter, dated the twenty-fifth of December, 1799, to the king of Great Britain and of Ireland:
"Called by the wifhes of the French nation, to occupy the first magiftracy of the republic, I think it proper, on entering into office, to make a direct communication of it to your majefty.
"The war, which, for eight years, has ravaged the four quarters of the world, muft it be eternal? Are there no means of coming to an understanding?
"How can the two moft enlightened nations of Europe, powerful and ftrong beyond what their independence requires, facrifice to ideas of vain greatness, the benefits of commerce, internal profperity, and the happinefs of families? How is it that they do not feel that peace is of the firft neceffity, as well as of the firft glory?
"Thefe fentiments cannot be foreign to the heart of your majefty, who reigns over a free nation, and with the fole view of making it happy.
"Your majefty will fee in this overture, only my fincere defire to contribute efficacioufly, for a fecond
time, to a general pacification, by a ftep, fpeedy, entirely of confidence, and difengaged from thofe forms which, neceflary, perhaps, to dif guile the dependence of weak states, prove, in those which are ftrong, only the mutual defire of deceiving oné another.
"France and England, by the abufe of their strength, may ftill, for a long time, for the misfortune of all nations, retard the period of their being exhaufted; but I will venture to fay it, the fate of all civilized nations depends on the termination of a war, which involves the whole world."
Without pretending to decide on the humanity or good faith of Buonaparte, we cannot help obferving that there is, in this epiftle, a brevity, a dignity, and plaufibility, that would not difgrace. any throne, or any prince accuftomed to, and not unworthy of, fovereign power. The answer of lord Grenville, the British minifter for foreign affairs, was very unlike to that of Buonaparte. Buonaparte's letter was full of good fenfe, equally free from republican fanaticifm, and courtly adulation. The anfwer of lord Grenville proves that a man may poffefs talents, and yet not always found judgement and difcretion. The fubftance of it was, that Buonaparte was not a perfon or character to be treated with; that he fhould acknowledge himself to be an ufurper; retract his principles; and refign the throne he now filled to a branch of the family of Bourbon. It avoided general principles, and, with a mixture of paffion and diplomatic pedantry, and petulance, entered into a detail of circum
ftances. But as lord Grenville's letter is given, at full length, among the State Papers in this volume, as well as the parts of the correfpondence on the French overture, and as that correfpondence became a subject of difcuffion in the British parliament, of which we shall presently give fome account, we fhall not, in this place, fay any thing more of that piece of diplomacy.
The chief conful made another attempt at negociation. In a letter addreffed, by Talleyrand, to lord Grenville, the conduct of France was vindicated from the cenfures of the English minifters for foreign relations; and it was proposed that a fufpenfion of arms fhould immediately take place, and plenipotentiaries be fent to Dunkirk, or any other convenient place of meeting. The reply to this fecond note of the French government was, in subftance, the fame with that to the firft, as will be feen in turning to the State Papers in this volume.— The fame dignity of moral and political fentiment, real or affected, that appeared in Buonaparte's communications to the British government, were confpicuous allo in a letter which he addreffed, nearly at the fame time, to the burgomafers of the free and imperial city of Hamburgh.
The fenate of Hamburgh bad been, for fome time, involved in a conteft with the emperor of Ruffia, by furrendering the Irish rebel, Napper Tandy, and his accomplices, to the British government. In October, however, it had complied with the demand, and thus procured a removal of the embargo, to which Paul had fubjected the
See State Papers, p. 204.
fhips of the Hamburghers in his ports. The French government, incenfed at the furrender, ordered a fimilar embargo, and denounced against the petty ftate farther vengeance. The burgomafters fent to Buonaparte, about the middle of December, a fubmiffive and cringing letter of apology, excufe, and congratulation. They had fubmitted the matter, they faid, to the decifion of the king of Pruffia, in capacity of chief director of the circle of Lower Saxony, and as a guarantee of the neutrality of the North of Germany. His majefty perfifted in leaving it undecided. Their ruin, and utter annihilation, they faid, would have been the inevitable confequence, had they attempted a vain refiftance. The only means left for escaping this deftruction, was, to confide in the generofity of the French nation. They prefumed to hope that the chief conful, having maturely weighed the merits of their caufe, would not hesitate to fufpend the fevere measures which the directory had adopted, and ordered to be enforced against their town; and they concluded, with praying, that he would be pleafed to accept the homage of their profound refpect.
It is the fad lot of human kind, that, in large ftates, the bulk of the people poffefs little or no fare of political power; and that fmall ones do not enjoy political independence.
To the letter of the Hamburghers, fo like thofe of the small refractory ftates, reduced to obedience to the
Roman republic, Buonaparte gave the following anfwer, dated the thirtieth of December, 1799: "We have received your letter, gentlemen. It is no juftification of your conduct. It is by virtue and courage that states are preserved: cowardice and vice prove their ruin. You have violated the laws of hofpitality; fuch a violation would not have taken place among the barbarian hordes of the detert. Your fellow-` citizens will impute it to you as an eternal reproach.
"The two unfortunate men, whom you have given up, will die illuftrious; but their blood will be a fource of greater evils to their perfecutors than could be brought upon them by a whole army." But Buonaparte, himself, recognized the validity of the plea of weakness, urged by the burgomafter of Hamburgh, when he imperiously ordered the fenate to arreft the editors of the paper called the Cenfeur, printed at Hamburgh, and circulated through all the north of Germany. This paper made repeated and continual attacks on the French government, with the most unbounded freedom, One Burgoyne, citizen Burgoyne, as he called himfelf, on the twenty-first of July, demanded, in the name of his govern ment, the apprehenfion of the editors, Meffieurs Berlin and Mefmot, who were arrested accordingly by the magiftrate prefiding over the police of the city, taken into cuftody, and feals put upon their papers.
Meeting of Parliament.-Message from the King, respecting Overtures of Peace from the Confular Government of France.-Debates thereon in both Houfes.
OTH houfes of the British parliament, pursuant to adjournment, met on the 21st of January.' In the house of commous fome papers were laid on the table, and motions made and agreed to for the production of others. In the house of peers lord Grenville intimated that he would, the next day, bring down a meflage from his majefty, and at the fame time, by his majefty's command, lay certain important papers on their lordthips' table, to be taken into confideration on a future day. On January 22d, his majefty's motage was delivered accordingly. As the fapplies granted in the commencement of the prefent feflion had been calculated to provide only for the first months of the year, his majefty recommended it to the commons to make fuch farther provifion as they might judge neceflary under the prefent circumftances, for the feveral branches of the public fervice and for the vigorous profecution of the war. And on this occafion he had thought it proper to dire& that there fhould be laid before the houfe copies of communications
recently received from the enemy, and of the answers which had been returned thereto by his majefty's command.-Thefe communications and anfwers have been noticed in the last chapter.-His majefty had no obje& more at heart than that of contributing, as foon as the fituation of affairs fhould render it practicable, to the re-establishment of the general tranquillity of Europe, on a fure and folid foundation. And he relied on the continued fupport of his parliament, in fuch measures as might belt tend to confirm the fignal advantages which had been obtained to the common caufe, in the courfe of the laft campaign, and to conduct the great conteft in which his majefty was engaged to a safe and honourable conclution. After the papers mentioned in the king's meflage had been read, lord Grenville moved, that his majesty's meffage be taken into confideration, on Tuesday next," which was agreed
Lord Grenville then prefented a fecond meflage from his majefty, relating to the accommodation of the Ruffian auxiliary troops in his
* As the proceedings of what may be called the autumnal feffion of parliament, 799, related to the war in Holland, and some other matters of concern of the time, we gave an account of that feffion in our laft volume.