Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

us.

[ocr errors]

not ill-timed—and that it ought to have been It is true, that, in this present work, which the given, as it was given, before the enemy had time author professedly designed for an appeal to fofully to mature and accomplish their plans, for reign nations and posterity, he has dressed up the reducing us to the condition of France, as that philosophy of his own faction in as decent a garb condition is faithfully and without exaggeration as he could to make her appearance in publick; described in the following work. We now have but through every disguise her hideous figure may our arms in our hands; we have the means of be distinctly seen. If, however, the reader still opposing the sense, the courage, and the resources, wishes to see her in all her naked deformity, I of England to the deepest, the most craftily de- would further refer him to a private letter of vised, the best combined, and the most extensive Brissot, written towards the end of the last year, design, that ever was carried on, since the begin- and quoted in a late very able pamphlet of Mallet ning of the world, against all property, all order, du Pan. “ We must" (says our philosopher) all religion, all law, and all real freedom. set fire to the four corners of Europe ;” in that

The reader is requested to attend to the part of alone is our safety. Dumourier cannot suit this pamphlet which relates to the conduct of the I always distrusted him.

Miranda is jacobins, with regard to the Austrian Netherlands, “ the general for us : he understands the revo

, which they call Belgia or Belgium. It is from lutionary power, he has courage, lights, &c.”* page seventy-two to page eighty-four of this Here every thing is fairly avowed in plain translation. Here the views and designs upon guage. The triumph of philosophy is the universal all their neighbours are fully displayed. Here conflagration of Europe; the only real dissa

; the whole mystery of their ferocious politicks is tisfaction with Dumourier is a suspicion of his laid

open with the utmost clearness. Here the moderation; and the secret motive of that premanner, in which they would treat every nation, ference which in this very pamphlet the author into which they could introduce their doctrines gives to Miranda, though without assigning his and influence, is distinctly marked. We see that reasons, is declared to be the superiour fitness of no nation was out of danger, and we see what that foreign adventurer for the purposes of subverthe danger was with which every nation was sion and destruction.—On the other hand, if there threatened. The writer of this pamphlet throws can be any man in this country so hardy as to unthe blame of several of the most violent of the dertake the defence or the apology of the present proceedings on the other party. He and his monstrous usurpers of France; and if it should be friends, at the time alluded to, had a majority in said in their favour, that it is not just to credit the National Assembly. He admits that neither he the charges of their enemy Brissot against them, nor they ever publickly opposed these measures ; who have actually tried and condemned him on but he attributes their silence to a fear of ren- the very same charges among others; we are dering themselves suspected. It is most certain, luckily supplied with the best possible evidence in that, whether from fear, or from approbation, they support of this part of his book against them : never discovered any dislike of those proceedings it comes from among themselves. Camille Destill Dumourier was driven from the Netherlands. moulins published the “ History of the Brissotins" But whatever their motive was, it is plain that the in answer to this very address of Brissot. It was most violent is, and since the Revolution has the counter-manifesto of the last Holy Revolution always been, the predominant party.

of the thirty-first of May; and the flagitious If Europe could not be saved without our in- orthodoxy of his writings at that period has been terposition, (most certainly it could not,) I am sure admitted in the late scrutiny of him by the jacobin there is not an Englishman who would not blush club, when they saved him from that guillotine to be left out of the general effort made in favour “ which he grazed.” In the beginning of his of the general safety. But we are not secondary work he displays “the task of glory," as he calls parties in this war; we are principals in the dan- it, which presented itself at the opening of the ger, and ought to be principals in the exertion. Convention. All is summed up in two points : If any Englishman asks whether the designs of “ to create the French republick, and to disorgathe French assassins are confined to the spot of “nize Europe ; perhaps to purge it of its tyrants, Europe which they actually desolate, the citizen " by the eruption of the volcanick principles of Brissot, the author of this book, and the author equality.”+ The coincidence is exact ; the of the declaration of war against England, will proof is complete and irresistible. give him his answer. He will find in this book, In a cause like this, and in a time like the that the republicans are divided into factions, full present, there is no neutrality. They who are not of the most furious and destructive animosity actively, and with decision and energy, against against each other : but he will find also that jacobinism, are its partisans. They who do not there is one point in which they perfectly agreedread it, love it. It cannot be viewed with --that they are all enemies alike to the govern- indifference. It is a thing made to produce a ment of all other nations, and only contend with powerful impression on the feelings. Such is the each other about the means of propagating their nature of jacobinism, such is the nature of man, tenets, and extending their empire by conquest. that this system must be regarded either with en

See the translation of Mallet du Pan's work, printed for See the translation of the History of the Brissotins, by CaOwen, page 53.

mille Desmoulins, printed for Owen, p. 2.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

thusiastick admiration, or with the highest degree may not have the worst intentions will see, that of detestation, resentment, and horrour.

the principles, the plans, the manners, the morals, Another great lesson may be taught by this and the whole system, of France are altogether as book, and by the fortune of the author, and his adverse to the formation and duration of any raparty : I mean a lesson drawn from the conse- tional scheme of a republick, as they are to that quences of engaging in daring innovations, from of a monarchy absolute or limited.' It is indeed a hope that we may be able to limit their mis- a system which can only answer the purposes of chievous operation at our pleasure, and by our robbers and murderers. policy to secure ourselves against the effect of the The translator has only to say for himself, that evil examples we hold out to the world. This he has found some difficulty in this version. His lesson is-taught through almost all the important original author, through haste perhaps, or through pages of history; but never has it been taught so the perturbation of a mind filled with a great and clearly and so awfully as at this hour. The arduous enterprise, is often obscure. There are revolutionists who have just suffered an ignomi- some passages too, in which his language requires nious death, under the sentence of the revolution to be first translated into French, at least into such ary tribunal, (a tribunal composed of those with French as the academy would in former times whom they had triumphed in the total destruction have tolerated. He writes with great force and of the ancient government,) were by no means vivacity; but the language, like every thing ordinary men, or without very considerable talents else in his country, has undergone a revolution. and resources. But with all their talents and re- The translator thought it best to be as literal as sources, and the apparent momentary extent of possible ; conceiving such a translation would their power, we see the fate of their projects, their perhaps be the most fit to convey the author's power, and their persons. We see before our peculiar mode of thinking. In this way the eyes the absurdity of thinking to establish order translator has no credit for style ; but he makes upon principles of confusion, or, with the materials it up in fidelity. Indeed the facts and observaand instruments of rebellion, to build up a solid tions are so much more important than the style, and stable government.

that no apology is wanted for producing them in Such partisans of a republick amongst us as any intelligible manner.

APPENDIX.

[The address of M. Brissot to his Constituents being now almost forgotten, it has been thought right to add, as an Appendix, that part of it to which Mr. Burke points our particular attention, and upon which he so forcibly comments in his Preface.)

**** Three sorts of anarchy have ruined our of right, would establish equality of fact? This is affairs in Belgium.

universal equality, the scourge of society, as the The anarchy of the administration of Paché, other is the support of society. An anarchical which has completely disorganized the supply of doctrine which would level all things, talents, and our armies : which by that disorganization re- ignorance, virtues, and vices, places, usages, and duced the army of Ďumourier to stop in the services; a doctrine which begot that fatal promiddle of its conquests; which struck it motion-ject of organizing the army, presented by Dubois less through the months of November and De- de Crance, to which it will be indebted for a comcember; which hindered it from joining Bournon- plete disorganization. ville and Custine, and from forcing the Prussians Mark the date of the presentation of the system and Austrians to repass the Rhine, and afterwards of this equality of fact, entire equality. It had from putting themselves into a condition to invade been projected and decreed even at the very openHolland sooner than they did.

ing of the Dutch campaign. If any project could To this state of ministerial anarchy, it is neces- encourage the want of discipline in the soldiers, sary to join that other anarchy which disorga- any scheme could disgust and banish good officers, nized the troops, and occasioned their habits of and throw all things into confusion at the moment pillage; and lastly, that anarchy which created when order alone could give victory, it is this prothe revolutionary power, and forced the union to ject, in truth so stubbornly defended by the anarchFrance of the countries we had invaded, before ists, and transplanted into their ordinary tacticks. things were ripe for such a measure.

How could they expect that there should exist Who could, however, doubt the frightful evils any discipline, any subordination, when even in the that were occasioned in our armies by that doctrine camp they permit motions, censures, and denunof anarchy, which under the shadow of equality ciations of officers, and of generals ? Does not

a

a

such a disorder destroy all the respect that is due intentions made the majority of the Assembly adopt to superiours, and all the mutual confidence with it; they would plant the tree of liberty in a foreign out which success cannot be hoped for? For the soil, under the shade of a people already free. spirit of distrust makes the soldier suspicious, and To the eyes of the people of Belgium it seemed intimidates the general. The first discerns treason but the mask of a new, foreign tyranny. This in every danger; the second, always placed be- opinion was erroneous; I will suppose it for a tween the necessity of conquest, and the image of moment; but still this opinion of Belgium deservthe scaffold, dares not raise himself to bold concep-ed to be considered. In general we have always tion, and those heights of courage which electrify considered our own opinions, and our own intenan army and ensure victory. Turenne, in our tions, rather than the people whose cause we detime, would have carried his head to the scaffold; fend. We have given those people a will ; that is for he was sometimes beat: but the reason why he to say, we have more than ever alienated them more frequently conquered was, that his discipline from liberty. was severe: it was, that his soldiers, confiding in his How could the Belgick people believe themtalents, never muttered discontent instead of fight- selves free, since we exercise for them, and over ing.-Without reciprocal confidence between the them, the rights of sovereignty; when without soldier and the general, there can be no army, no consulting them, we suppress, all in a mass, their victory, especially in a free government.

ancient usages, their abuses, their prejudices, those Is it not to the same system of anarchy, of equa- classes of society which without doubt are contrary lization, and want of subordination, which has been to the spirit of liberty, but the utility of whose derecommended in some clubs, and defended even in struction was not as yet proved to them ? - How the Convention, that we owe the pillages, the mur-could they believe themselves free, and sovereign, ders, the enormities of all kinds, which it was diffi- when we made them take such an oath as we cult for the officers to put a stop to, from the gene- thought fit, as a test to give them the right of ral spirit of insubordination ; excesses which have voting? How could they believe themselves free, rendered the French name odious to the Belgians? when openly despising their religious worship, Again, is it not to this system of anarchy, and ot which religious worship that superstitious people robbery, that we are indebted for the revolutionary valued beyond their liberty, beyond even their power, which has so justly aggravated the hatred life; when we proscribed their priests; when we of the Belgians against France ?

banished them from their assemblies, where they What did enlightened republicans think before were in the practice of seeing them govern; when the tenth of August, men who wished for liberty, we seized their revenues, their domains, and riches, not only for their own country, but for all to the profit of the nation; when we carried to the Europe? They believed that they could gene- very censer those hands which they regarded as rally establish it, by exciting the governed against profane ? Doubtless these operations were founded the governors, in letting the people see the facility on principles; but those principles ought to have and the advantages of such insurrections. had the consent of the Belgians before they were

But how can the people be led to that point ? carried into practice; otherwise they necessarily By the example of good government established become our most cruel enemies. among us; by the example of order; by the care Arrived ourselves at the last bounds of liberty of spreading nothing but moral ideas among them; and equality, trampling under our feet all human to respect their properties and their rights; to superstitions, (after, however, a four years war with respect their prejudices, even when we combat them,) we attempt all at once to raise, to the same them; by disinterestedness in defending the peo- eminence, men, strangers even to the first elemenple, by a zeal to extend the spirit of liberty tary principles of liberty, and plunged for fifteen amongst them.

hundred years in ignorance and superstition; we This system was at first followed.* Excellent wished to force men to see, when a thick cataract pamphlets from the pen of Condorcet prepared the covered their eyes, even before we had removed people for liberty; the tenth of August, the re- that cataract; we would force men to see, whose publican decrees, the battle of Valmy, the retreat dullness of character had raised a mist before their of the Prussians, the victory of Jenappe, all spoke eyes, and before that character was altered. in favour of France; all was rapidly destroyed by Do you believe that the doctrine which now the revolutionary power. Without doubt, good prevails in France would have found many parti

• The most seditious libels upon all governments, in order to excite insurrection in Spain, Holland, and other countries. Translator.

It may not be amiss, once for all, to remark on the style of all the philosophical politicians of France. Without any distinction in the several sects and parties, they agree in treating all nations who will not conform their government, laws, manners, and religion, to the new Franch fashion, as a herd of slaves. They consider the content with which men live under those governments as stupidity, and all attachment to religion as the effects of the grossest ignorance.

The people of the Netherlands, by their constitution, are as much entitled to be called free, as any nation upon earth. The Austrian government (until some wild attempts the emperour Joseph made on the French principle, but which have been since abandoned by the court of Vienna) has been remarkably mild.

No people were more at their ease than the Flemish subjects, particularly the lower classes. It is curious to hear this great oculist talk of couching the cataract by which the Netherlands were blinded, and hindered from seeing, in its proper colours, the beautiful vision of the French Republick, which he has himself painted with so masterly, a hand. That people must needs be dull, blind, and brutalized by fifteen hundred years of superstition, (the time elapsed since the introduction of Christianity amongst them,) who could prefer their former state to the present state of France! The reader will remark, that the only difference between Brissot and his adversaries, is in the mode of bringing other nations into the pale of the French Republick. They would abolish the order and classes of society, and all religion at a stroke ; Brissot would have just the same thing done, but with more address and management. Translator.

sans among us in 1789 ? No; a revolution in the standard of liberty should be displayed in ideas, and in prejudices, is not made with that Belgium ? Have we ever seen those treasures which rapidity; it moves gradually : it does not es- they were to count into our hands ? Can we either calade.

accuse the sterility of their country, or the penury Philosophy does not inspire by violence, nor by of their treasure, or the coldness of their love for seduction, nor is it the sword that begets love of liberty ? No! despotism and anarchy, these are liberty.

the benefits which we have transplanted into their Joseph the Second also borrowed the language soil. We have acted, we have spoken like masters; of philosophy, when he wished to suppress the and from that time we have found the Flemings monks in Belgium, and to seize upon their reve- nothing but jugglers, who made the grimace of nues. There was seen on him a mask only of liberty for money; or slaves, who in their hearts philosophy, covering the hideous countenance of cursed their new tyrants. Our commissioners a greedy despot; and the people ran to arms. address them in this sort; you have nobles and Nothing better than another kind of despotism has priests among you, drive them out without debeen seen in the revolutionary power.

lay, or we will neither be your brethren nor. We have seen, in the commissioners of the your patrons.” They answered, give us but National Convention, nothing but pro-consuls | time; only leave to us the care of reforming these working the mine of Belgium for the profit of the institutions. Our answer to them was, “ No! it French nation ; seeking to conquer it for the so- “ must be at the moment; it must be on the spot, vereign of Paris ; either to aggrandize his empire, or we will treat you as enemies; we will abanor to share the burdens of the debts, and furnish “don you to the resentment of the Austrians." a rich prize to the robbers who domineered in What could the disarmed Belgians object to all France.

this, surrounded as they were by seventy thousand Do you believe the Belgians have ever been men? They had only to hold their tongues, and the dupes of those well-rounded periods, which to bow down their heads before their masters ! they vented in the pulpit, in order to familiarize They did hold their tongues, and their silence is them to the idea of an union with France ? Do received as a sincere and free assent. you believe they were ever imposed upon by those Have not the strangest artifices been adopted votes and resolutions, made by what is called ac- to prevent that people from retreating, and to clamation, for their union, of which corruption constrain them to an union ? It was foreseen, that, paid one part,* and fear forced the remainder ? as long as they were unable to effect an union, Who, at this time of day, is unacquainted with the states would preserve the supreme authority the springs and wires of their miserable puppet amongst themselves. Under pretence, therefore, show? Who does not know the farces of primary of relieving the people, and of exercising the assemblies, composed of a president, of a secre- sovereignty in their right, at one stroke they tary, and of some assistants, whose day's work abolished all the duties and taxes, they shut up was paid for ? No; it is not by means which be- all the treasuries. From that time no more relong only to thieves and despots, that the founda-ceipts, no more publick money, no more means tions of liberty can be laid in an enslaved country. of paying the salaries of any man in office apIt is not by those means, that a new-born repub- pointed by the states. Thus was anarchy organlick, a people who know not yet the elements of ized amongst the people, that they might be republican governments, can be united to us. compelled to throw themselves into our arms. It Even slaves do not suffer themselves to be seduced became necessary for those who administered their by such artifices; and if they have not the strength affairs, under the penalty of being exposed to to resist, they have at least the sense to know how sedition, and in order to avoid their throats being to appreciate the value of such an attempt. cut, to have recourse to the treasury of France.

If we would attach the Belgians to us, we must What did they find in this treasury? ASSIGat least enlighten their minds by good writings ; NATS.—These Assignats were advanced at we must send to them missionaries, and not des- par to Belgium. By these means, on the one potick commissioners. We ought to give them hand, they neutralized this currency in that countime to see; to perceive by themselves the ad- try; and on the other, they expected to make vantages of liberty; the unhappy effects of super- a good pecuniary transaction. Thus it is that stition ; the fatal spirit of priesthood. And whilst covetousness cut its throat with its own hands. we waited for this moral revolution, we should have The Belgians have seen in this forced introducaccepted the offers, which they incessantly repeated, tion of assignats, nothing but a double robbery ; to join to the French army an army of 50,000 and they have only the more violently hated the men; to entertain them at their own expence; union with France. and to advance to France the specie of which she Recollect the solicitude of the Belgians on that stood in need.

subject. With what earnestness did they conjure But have we ever seen those fifty thousand you to take off a retroactive effect from these assoldiers, who were to join our army as soon as signats, and to prevent them from being applied

a

[ocr errors]

See the Correspondence of Dumourier, especially the letter of the 12th of March.

† They have not as yet proceeded farther with regard to the

English dominions. Here we only see as yet the good writings of Paine, and of his learned associates, and the labours of the missionary clubs, and other zealous instructors. Translator.

to the payment of debts that were contracted an- which gave France an execution on their goods ; terior to the union ?

do you believe, that those patriots would not have Did not this language energetically enough liked better to have remained under the governsignify that they looked upon the assignats as a ment of the Stadtholder, who took from them leprosy, and the union as a deadly contagion ? no more than a fixed portion of their property,

And yet what regard was paid to so just a de- than to pass under that of a revolutionary power, mand ? It was buried in the committee of finance. which would make a complete revolution in their That committee wanted to make anarchy the bureaus and strong boxes, and reduce them to means of an union. They only busied themselves wretchedness and rags ? I Robbery, and anarchy, in making the Belgick provinces subservient to instead of encouraging, will always stifle revotheir finances.

lutions. Cambon said loftily before the Belgians them- But why, they object to me, have not you and selves : The Belgian war costs us hundreds of mil- your friends chosen to expose these measures in lions. Their ordinary revenues, and even some the rostrum of the National Convention? Why extraordinary taxes, will not answer to our reim- have you not opposed yourself to all these fatal bursements; and yet we have occasion for them. projects of union ? The mortgage of our assignats draws near its There are two answers to make here, one general, end. What must be done? Sell the church

pro- one particular. perty of Brabant. There is a mortgage of two You complain of the silence of honest men ! thousand millions (eighty millions sterling). You quite forget, then, honest men are the objects How shall we get possession of them ? By an of your suspicion. Suspicion, if it does not stain immediate union. Instantly they decreed this the soul of a courageous man, at least arrests his union. Men's minds were not disposed to it. thoughts in their passage to his lips. The suspiWhat does it signify? Let us make them vote cions of a good citizen freeze those men, whom the by means of

money. Without delay, therefore, calumny of the wicked could not stop in their they secretly order the minister of foreign affairs progress. to dispose of four or five hundred thousand livres You complain of their silence! You forget, (20,0001. sterling) to make the vagabonds of then, that you have often established an insulting Brussels drunk, and to buy proselytes to the equality between them and men covered with union in all the states. But even these means, it crimes, and made up of ignominy.was said, will obtain but a weak minority in You forget, then, that you have twenty times our favour. What does that signify ? Revolutions, left them covered with opprobrium by your said they, are made only by minorities. It is galleries.the minority which has made the Revolution of You forget, then, that you have not thought France; it is a minority which has made the yourselves sufficiently powerful to impose silence people triumph.

upon these galleries. The Belgick provinces were not sufficient to What ought a wise man to do in the midst of satisfy the voracious cravings of this financial sys- these circumstances ? He is silent. He waits the tem. Cambon wanted to unite every thing, that moment when the passions give way; he waits till he might sell every thing. Thus he forced the reason shall preside, and till the multitude shall union of Savoy; in the war with Holland, he saw listen to her voice. nothing but gold to seize on, and assignats to sell What have been the tacticks displayed during at par.* Do not let us dissemble, said he one day all these unions ? Cambon, incapable of political to the committee of general defence, in presence calculation, boasting his ignorance in the diploeven of the patriot deputies of Holland, you have matick, flattering the ignorant multitude, lendno ecclesiastical goods to offer us for our indem- ing his name and popularity to the anarchists, nity.—IT IS A REVOLUTION IN THEIR seconded by their vociferations, denounced inCOUNTERS AND IRON CHESTS, † that cessantly as counter-revolutionists, those intelmust be made amongst the Dutch. The word was ligent persons who were desirous, at least, of said, and the bankers Abema and Vanstaphorst having things discussed. To oppose the acts of understood it.

union, appeared to Cambon an overt act of Do you think that that word has not been treason. The wish so much as to reflect and to worth an army to the Stadtholder, that it has not deliberate, was in his eyes a great crime. cooled the ardour of the Dutch patriots, that it calumniated our intentions. The voice of every has not commanded the vigorous defence of Wil deputy, especially my voice, would infallibly liamstadt ?

have been stifled. There were spies on the very Do you believe that the patriots of Amster- monosyllables that escaped our lips. dam, when they read the preparatory decree

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

He

• The same thing will happen in Savoy. The persecution of movable property which may be represented in bonds, notes, the clergy has soured people's minds. "The Commissaries re- bills, stocks, or any sort of públick or private securities. I do present them to us as good Frenchmen. I put them to the not know of a single word in English that answers it: I have proof. Where are the legions? How, thirty thousand Savoy. therefore substituted that of Iron Chests, as coming nearest to the ards-are they not armed to defend, in concert with us, their liberty? Brissot.

1 In the original letter, les reduire à la Sansculoterie. Portefueille-is the word in the original. It signifies all

*****

idea

Translator.

END OF VOL. I.

« AnteriorContinuar »