Page images
PDF
EPUB

longer; that France must have a king :" adding, “ that, since the battle of Gemappe, he had wept over his success in so bad a cause.”

On the return of the commissioners to Paris, fufpicion being converted into certainty, general Dumouriez was summoned to appear at the bar of the Convention, and M. Bournonville' appointed to supersede him. Four new commissioners also were deputed to the army of the north, with powers to fufpend and arrest all officers who should fall under their suspicion. On their arrival at Lisle, March 28, the commissioners transmitted their orders to general Dumouriez, to appear before them, and anfwer the charges against him. But the general had already fully arranged his plan, and the Rubicon was passed. He replied, therefore, « that, in the present exigent circumstances, he could not leave the army for a moment; that when he did enter Lille, it would be in order to purge it of traitors; and that he valued his head too much to submit to an arbitrary tribunal."

The commissioners now adopted the daring resolution to proceed to the camp ; but they found by experience how dangerous was the attempt to seize the person of a general at the head of his army. On the 1st of April they arrived, in

company with M. Bournonville, at St. Amand, the headquarters of general Dumouriez; and, being admitted to his presence, explained to him the object of their mission. After a long conference, the general, finding them inflexible in their purpose, gave the signal for a body of soldiers who were in waiting, and ordered M. Bournonville and the four commissioners, in the number of whom was the noted M. Camus, immediately to be conveyed to general Clairfait's head-quarters at Tournay, to be kept as hostages for the safety of the royal family.

Notwithstanding the great popularity of general Dumouriez, symptoms soon appeared in the army of extreme disfatisfaction at this act of treachery and violence. On the morning of the 3d, Dumouriez repaired to the camp of Maulde, and harangued the troops, amidst the murmurs of many of the battalions. On the next day he departed with his suite for Condé, which fortress, with Valenciennes, he had engaged to put into the hands of the Austrians : but on the road he received intelligence that it would not be safe for him to enter the place; and, in making his retreat, he fell in with a column of volunteer guards, who called to him to surrender : but the general, trusting to the swiftness of his horse, made, with great difficulty, his escape to the quarters of general Mack, through a dreadful discharge of mufquetry. His example was followed by general Lamorlière, the duc de Chartres, son of the duke of Orléans, and a few hundreds of private soldiers only out of the numerous army which he had commanded with such brilliant success. On the very next day appeared a proclamation from general Dumouriez, containing a recapitulation of his services to the French republic, a glowing picture of the outrages of the jacobins, and of the mischiefs to be apprehended from a continuation of anarchy in France ; concluding with an exhortation to the French to restore the constitution of 1791, and a declaration on oath that he bore arms only for that purpose.

This proclamation was accompanied by a very judicious manifesto on the part of the prince of Cobourg, now commander-in-chief of the armies of Austria. After passing some encomiums on the patriotic views of general Dumouriez, it announced, “ that the allied powers were no longer to be considered as principals, but merely as auxiliaries, in the war; that they had no other object than to co-operate with the general in giving to France her constitutional king, and the constitution phe formed for herself.On his word of honour he pledged himself, “ that' he would not come upon the French territory to make conquests, but solely for the ends above specified:” and his serene highness declared further, “ that any strong places which

{hould be put into his hands would be confidered as facred deposits, to be delivered up when the constitutional government in France should be restored.”

Such was the wise and generous policy of this heroic commander. But, by this time, Antwerp, Breda, and the other conquests of France on the Dutch frontier were evacuated ; and a new and dazzling scene of ambition and aggrandisement began once more to open to the view of the allied powers. On the 8th of April a grand council was held at Antwerp, at which were present the prince of Orange, accompanied by the grand-pensionary Vander Spiegel, the prince of Cobourg, counts Metternich, Staremberg, &c. with the Prussaan, Spanish, and Neapolitan ambaffadors. Here the whole plan of operations was completely changed, and the prince of Cobourg was most reluctantly compelled to give the sanction of his name to a proclamation of the 9th of April, virtually rescinding all which was contained in that of the 5th.

France appeared at this time, it muft be confeffed, in a situation truly dangerous. She was now in a state of open war with Austria, Pruffia, Great Britain, Holland, Spain, Sardinia, and the Sicilies : her principal army had been driven, by a series of unsuccessful attacks, from all her recent conquests; and was now, by defection of its commander, in a state of complete disorganization : the Imperialists, assisted by the efforts of England and Holland, were established in great force on the frontier. On the side of the Rhine, the Prussians, under the duke of Brunswic, threatened the important city of Mentz: and, what was per, haps still more alarming to the French government, a most formidable insurrection at this period broke out in the ancient provinces of Britanny and Poitou, now distinguished by the names of the departments of La Vendée and La Loire. After gaining various advantages over the troops sent against them by the Convention, the insurgents, who professed to act under, the authority of Monsieur (the count de

Provence,)

Provence,) as regent of France, they held the city of Nantz itself in a state of Gege ; and the situation of the revolted provinces being highly favorable to their designs, and enabling them to receive fupplies to any amount, and with the utmost facility, from England there appeared little probability of their suppression.

The extremę elation of the court of London in particular, at this moment, displayed itself most conspicuously in 2 fingular memorial presented by lord Aukland, April the 5th, to the States General,* in which his lordship stated, in allusion to the capture of M. Camus and the other Conventional commissioners, that the divine vengeance, for the atrocious crime which had been by their High Mightinesses with horror foreseen, seemed not to have been tardy. « Some of these detestable regicides are now,” said hiş lordship, “ in such a situation, that they can be subjected to thę sword of the law; the rest are still in the midst of a people whom they have plunged into an abyss of evils, and for whom famine, anarchy, and civil war, așe about to prepare new calamities. In short, every thing that we fee happen induces us to consider as not far diftant the end of these wretches, whose madness and atrocitics have filled with terror and indignation all those who respect the principles of religion, morality, and humanity. The underligned, therefore, submit to the enlightened judgment and wisdom of your High Mightinesses, whether it would not be proper to employ all the means in your power to prohibit from entering your states in Europe, or your colonies, all those members of the pretended National Convention, or of the pretended Executive Council, who have, directly or indirectly, participated in the said crime; and, if they sħould be discovered

and

* It is true that count Staremberg, the imperial ambaffador at the Hague, also signed the memorial; but, from the shortness of the interval that had elapsed, it evideatly could not have been in consequence of orders from his court.

and arrested, to deliver them up to justice, that they may serve as a lesson and example to mankind."-To this fanguinary memorial the superior wisdom and humanity of the Dutch government declined any reply; but it remains a striking historic proof of the similar temper and disposition which frequently actuates those who appear to differ most widely in their principles. The spirit of Popery is not confined to those who bear the name of Papists, nor the spirit of Jacobinism to those who are branded with the appellation of Jacobins.

The political creed of the court of London at this period may be clearly traced in a sermon preached before the house of Lords, January 30, 1793, by Dr. Horseley, bishop of St. David's, containing sentiments for which, in the reign of William III. he would have been deprived of his bishopric; but for which, in that of George III. he was shortly after promoted to the superior see of Rochester." God, to his own secret purpose," says this genuine successor of Sibthorp and Manwaring, directs the worst actions of tyrants no less than the best of godly princes : man's abuse, therefore, of his delegated authority, is to be borne by resignation, like any other of God's judgments. The opposition of the individual to the fovereign power is an opposition to God's providential are rangements. In governments which are the worst administered, the sovereign power, for the most part, is a terror not to good works, but to the evil; and, upon the whole, far more beneficial than detrimental to the subject. But this general good of government cannot be secured upon any other terms than the submission of the individual to what may be called its extraordinary evils. St. Paul represents the earthly sovereign as the viceregent of God, accountable for misconduct to his heavenly master, but entitled to obedience from the subjects.”

The energy of the French Convention displayed itself in a most extraordinary manner in the midst of the present circumstances of embarrassment and distress. New com

millioners

« PreviousContinue »