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plexion, is of a martial temper; he loves the sol. diers, and is beloved by them; and the slow fluctuating politics of his uncle may be succeeded by a direct line of march to the gates of Stras. bourg and Paris. It is the opinion of the master movers in France (I know it most certainly) that their troops will not fight, that the people have lost all sense of patriotism, and that on the first discharge of an Austrian cannon the game is up. But what occasion for Austrians or Spaniards? the French are themselves their greatest enemies; four thousand Marseillois are marched against Arles and Avignon, the troupes de ligne are divided between the two .parties, and the flame of civil war will soon extend over the southern provinces. You have heard of the unworthy treatment of the Swiss regiment of Ernest. The canton of Berne has bravely recalled them, with a stout letter to the king of France, which must have been inserted in all the papers. I now come to the most unpleasant article—our home politics. Rosset and La Motte are condemned to fine and twenty years imprisonment in the fortress of Arbourg. We have not yet received their official sentence, nor is it believed that the proofs and proceedings against them will be published; an awkward circumstance, which it does not seem easy to justify. Some (though none of note) are taken up, several are fled, many more are suspected and suspicious. All are silent, but it is the silence of fear and discontent; and the secret hatred which rankled against government begins to point against the few who are known to be well affected. -I never knew any place so much changed as Lausanne, even since last year, and though you will not be much obliged to me for the motive, I begin very seriously to think of visiting Sheffield Place by the month of September next. Yet here again I am frightened by the dangers of a French, and the difficulties of a German route. You must send me an account of the passage from Dieppe to Brighton, with an itinerary of the Rhine, distances, expenses, &c. As usual, I just save the post, nor have I time to read my letter, which, after wasting the morning in deliberation, has been struck off in a heat since dinner. The views of Sheffield Place are just received ; they are admired, and shall be framed. Severy has spent the carnival at Turin. Trevor is only the best man in the world,
MR. GIBBON TO LADY ELIZABETH FOSTER, AT
Lausanne, November 8th, 1792. I REMEMBER it has been observed of Augustus and Cromwell, that they should never have been born, or never have died; and I am sometimes tempted to apply the same remark to certain beings of a softer nature ; who, after a short residence on the banks of the Lemon Lake, are now flown far away over the Alps and the Apennines, and have abandoned their votaries to the insipidity of common life. The remark, however, would be unreasonable, and the sentiment ungrateful. The pleasures of the summer, the
lighter and the graver moments of the society of petit Ouchy are indeed passed, perhaps never to return; but the remembrance of that delightful period is itself a pleasure, and I enjoy, I cherish the flattering persuasion that it is remembered with some satisfaction in the gallery of Florence, as well as in the library of Lausanne. Long before we were reduced to seek a refuge from the savages of Gaul, I had secretly indulged the thought, or at least the wish, of asking leave to attend mes bonnes amies over Mount Cenis, of basking once more in an Italian sun, and of paying once more my devotions to the Apollo of the Vatican. But my aged and gouty limbs would have failed me in the bold attempt of scaling St. Bernard, and I wanted patience to undertake the circumitineration of the Tirol. Your return to the Pays de Vaud next summer I hold to be extremely doubtful ; but my anxiety on that head is somewhat diminished by the sure and certain hope of our all meeting in England the ensuing winter. I flatter myself that the porter of Devonshire House will not be inexorable ; yet I am afraid of losing you amidst the smoke and tumult of fashionable London, in which the night is devoted to pleasure and the morning to sleep. My ambition may perhaps aspire to pass some hours in the palladian Chiswick, or even some days at Chatsworth ; but these princely mansions will not recall the freedom, the ease, the primitive solitude of dear little
• A villa near Lausanne, where the Duchess of Devonshire and Lady E. Foster resided. VOL. VI.
Ouchy. Indeed ! indeed ! your fair friend was made for something better than a duchess.
Although you most magnanimously abandoned us in the crisis of our fate, yet as you seem to interest yourself in the hopes and fears of this little country, it is my duty to inform you, that we still hang in a state of suspense ; inclining, however, rather to the side of hope than of despair. The garrison, and even the bourgeoise, of Geneva showed a vigorous resolution of defending the city; and our frontiers have been gradually covered with fifteen thousand intrepid Swiss. But the threats of a bombardment, the weight of expense, and above all, the victorious ascendant of the French republic; have abated much of the first heroic ardour. Monsieur de Montesquieu displayed a pacific, and even yielding, temper; and a treaty was signed, dismissing the Swiss garrison from Geneva, and removing the French troops to the distance of ten leagues. But this last condition, which is indeed objection. able, displeased the Convention, who refused to ratify the agreement. New conferences were held, new messengers have been dispatched, but unless they are determined to find or to make a subject of quarrel, it is probable that we shall purchase peace by submission. As Geneva has a very dangerous democratical party within her walls, and as the national guards are already allowed to enter the city, and to tamper with the inhabitants and the garrison; I will not insure that poor little republic from one week to another. For ourselves, the approaches of danger must be more gradual. I think we are now safe for this winter, and I no longer run to the window to see whether the French are coming. But with so many enemies without, and so many within, the government of Berne, and the tranquillity of this happy country, will be suspended by a very slender twig; and I begin to fear that Satan will drive me out of the possession of Paradise. My only comfort will be, that I shall bave been expelled by the power, and not seduced by the arts of the blackest demon in hell, the demon of democracy. Where indeed will this tremendous inundation, this conspiracy of numbers against rapk and properly, be finally stopped ? Europe seems to be universally tainted, and wherever the French can light a match, they may blow up a mine. Our only hope is now in their devouring one another; they are furious and hungry mon. sters, and war is almost declared between the Convention and the city of Paris, between the moderate republicans and the absolute levellers. A majority of the Convention wishes to spare the royal victims, but they must yield to the rage of the people and the thirst of popularity, and a few hours may produce a trial, a sentence, and a guillotine. M. Necker is publishing a pamphlet in defence of the august sufferers; but his feeble and tardy efforts will rather do credit to himself than service to his clients. You kindly ask after the situation of poor Severy. Alas! it is now hopeless; all his complaints are increased ; all bis resources are exhausted ; where nature cannot work, the effect of art is vain, and his best friends begin to wish him a quiet release. His wife, I had almost said his widow, is truly an