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CHA P. V.
First Cares and Employment of the French Directory.--Determination to
keep alive the Martial Spirit of the French Nation.-- And 'lo Eriend their Victories as far as posible. ---But, at the same Time to make a phew of Pacific Inclinations.---Preparations for W'ar on the Part of the Allies, Attempt towards Negociation between the French and the Allics àt Bufie, in Switzerland.-Rupture threatened between the 'rench and Swiss Cuna tons.-Prevented.-Plan of Directory for Military Operations.-Mani. Jefto of Charette.-Revital of the War in La Vendée.- New Complexion of this.- Total Defeat of the Infurgents. -Capture and Execution of Charette and Stoflet.--Manifesto of the Directory for Refraining the Crueliies of their Soldiers.-Lenient Measures.---Good Egeds of these.
URING the first months that no records afforded any precedent D
followed the constitution set- in their history. As these successes tled in France towards the conclusion were attributed to that enthusiasm of 1795, the chief care of the govern- which animated them in the cause ment was to render it respectable, of their country, and to the hatred and to impress the minds of men with which they professed for monarchy, a persuasion, that this great change it was the business of their rulers was calculated for the benefit of to perpetuate such a difpofition, by the nation. It was not difficult, affording it support and aliment; indeed, to persuade the public that and this they law would most efany system was preferable to that sectually be done, by representing uncertainty which had occasioned the enmity borne to France as inso many confufions. From this con- extinguished, and that notwithfideration, people at large willingly standing several of its enemies had acquiesced in the new arrange- openly laid down their arms, and ments, especially as they promiled agreed to conditions of peace, their to restore internal peace, by arning rancour was still the same. They had government with such extensive defifted from hostilities, it was said, power, to prevent the breaking out only from compulsivn, after repeated of ditiurbances. But the means to defeats, and from the dread which which chiefly the directory trusted they felt, that unless they complied for the fability of their honour was, with the requisitions prescribed by to keep alive that martial spirit a victorious and invincible enemy, which had pervaded, with fo ama juftly exasperated at their unprozing an efficacy, the whole mafs of voked aggression, he might give the the French nation, and enabled it fuller loose to a revenge, which to perform feats of arms, of which they were not able to renfi.
In order therefore to imprint the pair the loses sustained, towards the deeper in the minds of thole adver- close of the preceding campaign, on faries, whom they had already so the borders of the Rhine. There much humbled, the terror with loses happening so fortly after which they were already inspired, their prodigious fucceses in the the heads of the republic judged it low countries, and in Holland, had expedient to extend the insluence thewn that their enemies, however ottheir victorious arms, as far as frequently defeated, had not defortune seemed incline i to lavour creased in valour; and that, when them, and to compel their remain- well commanded, they were still a ing foes to accept of the bumiliating match for all the enthusiasm of the terms they had imposed upon the French. others, by reducing :hem to the like It was chiefly to
recover this distress.
fuperiority of military prowess, that From ideas of this kind flowed the directory was solicitous to place the lofty language Spoken upon all the numerous armies of the repuboccasions, both by the directory and lic on the most formidable footing. the two councils. As two-thirds of They had maintained, in the camthele were precisely the fame men paign of 1794, a contest with the who had governed France under the bravest veterans in Europe, and name of a convention, during tlie had proved more than equal' to. three preceding years, it was not them. By the fane reason it might to be expected tliat their disposi- be expected, that, the same spirit tions would alter with their new animating them, they would renew appellation ; and the other third, their victorious career, which apthough not allogeiher so violent in peared suspended, through unforetheir corduct, were influenced by feen canses, rather than terminated thofe republican principles, with by a turn of fortune in favour of out which no man could be reputed their enemies. a true Frenchman, and which, in It was however necessary to make truth, were indispensible to pro- a shew of pacific inclinations, withcure an individual either esteem or out which both their own people advancement in any post, civil or and foreign siates would be juilly military.
authorised to accuse them of a Another view, it may be pre- wanton and lawless ambition, and fumed, that stimulated the members more intent to gratify their private of the directory, who were all men thirst of false glory, at the expence of tried parts and courage, was the of their country, thian studious to defire of proving to their country- restore the blessings of peace, now inen the fuperiority of individuals become the earnest with of all placed at the head of the state, parties. purely on account of their abilities, While the rulers of the republic to perfons promoted through fa- were thus employed, the allied pour, or the acivantitious circum- powers were no Tels occupied in fiances of birth and family. preparing for the renewal of holiia
But a motive still more cogent, lites, little hoping that any sincere both with them and the nation at efforts for the obtaining of peace targe, was the earnest defire to re- were likely to proceed from the
French; and convinced, that until their inveteracy to this country, they thould experience farther re
and their readinels to engage in reries, they would still continue any attempt to its detriment, espea indexible in the determination they cially at the present period, when had folemnly formed, to annex their they were stimulated by the ‘molt acquisitions in the low countries, violent resentment at the interfcand on the left-lide of the Rhine, rence of the British ministry in the irrevocably to the dominions of the affairs of their country, and its enrepublic,
deavours to restore the monarchy A resolution of this pature pre- they had folemnly proferihed. coded at once all ideas of peace.
In this conflict of adverse projects, The retention of those fertile and both the republic and its enemies Spacions provinces could not be were equally anxious however, co submitted to without an evident appear inclined to peace, conformalteration of the political system of ably to the loudly-expreiled wishes Europe, of which France would of their respective people, and, in poliels a controul, that would per- truth, of all the people in Europe, petually difturb the pence, if not who, either direcily or indirectly, endanger the lafety of all its neiglin felt themselves involved in the rain bours.
ous consequences of this fatal conThe poffeßion of Blgium by the test. various branches of the Austrian The French, in the mean time, family, during more than three cen having, by the dint of negociations, turies, had to far habituated the as well as of their arms, brought inhabitants to their domination, some of the principal members of that, notwithstanding the opprellions the coalition into their own terms, they liad occasionally exercised over flattered themselves with the exthem, they still retained a willing. pectation of becoming equally fucnels to return to their obedience, cessful with the others, and hold provided they could liave been fe- out language promilory of equitable cured in the enjoyment of their conditions, in order to allure them ancient customs and liberties. to treat,
The Auftrian minifiry was duly Balle, a city of note, in Switzer. sensible of this disposition, and pre- land, was now become the centre lerved, of course, the hope of re- of political transactions between the covering, by fonie fortunate calual- different powers, whole diplomatiy ly, this richest portion of its inherit- agents had fised upon it as the ance. The British ministry was no most convenient place of relidence, lels bent on the restoration of the on account of its lituation between Auftrian Netherlands to their fur- the Belligerent parties, in a country mer owner. The acceision of such allowed to be neutral. The prisiimmense and valuable territories 10 cipal negociator, on the part of the France, ip to close a proximity, and French, was the celebrated citizen almost in fight of the shores of this Barthelemy, at that time in high illandwas an object of serious credit woh the directory, for the alarm, and called up the attention le vices he laid rendered the goof all men whore Hected on the senetil il France, in the freailes restleis character of the French, that this wien confided to his management, and the issue of which they could hardly infist upon more had been so advantageous to the mortifying terms, nor the allies be republic
more disgraced. To this gentleman application The directory seemed at this pewas made, on the eighth of March, riod resolutely Getermined to act by Mr. Wickham, the British envoy with a high band, and to set all the to the Swiss Cantons, in order to enemies of the republic at defiance. found the real dispositions of the It intimated to the magistracy of French government. The object Basle, that a rumour was spread, in communicating the propofitions purporting a design in that city directed to the French agent, was, and canton to favour the irruption to ascertain, by his anfwer, whether of the imperialists through its territhe directory were desirous to nego- tories, and that a great part of the ciate with Great Britain and its helvetic body concurred in this deallies, on moderate and honourable fign; which was a manifest infracconditions, and would agree to the tion of the neutrality they had enmeeting of a congress for this pur- gaged to observe between France pose, and whether, at the fame time, and its aggreflors. An explanation it would specify tlte conditions on was demanded in so haughty and which it would treat, or point out peremptory a style, that the regency any other method of treating. of Base felt itlelf highly offended,
The anlwer received from M. and returned so spirited an answer Barthelemy, in the name of the di- to the directory, that they dispatchrectory, was, that it felt the sincerest ed another melage much more fedefite to terminate the war on fuch vere than the first, requiring an imconditions as Frar:c'e could reason- mediate explanation of the rumour ably accept, and which were (peci- in question, and accompanied with fied in the answer; but one of these menacing insinuations, in case all positively inlisted on the retention hosiile intentions were not disavowof the Austrian dominions in the ed. The cantons were so deeply low countries; alligning, as a reason, involved in this business, that being their formal annexation to the re- unwilling to come to a forınal ruppublic, by a conlilutional decree [ure withi fo formidable an antagothat could not be revoked.
mist as the French republic, they A reply, founded upon an argu- judged it prudent' to give them the ment, which proved no more than completest assurante of their detera decided refolation never to part mination to preserve the striclest with these acquisitions, without al. neutrality. A minister of an acleging in fact any other motive ceptable character was deputed to than their will, displayed an arro- Paris : this was Mr. Ochs, a gengance in the directory, in the opi- tleman of principles favourable to nion of their enemies, that instantly the revolution. He fettled all difput a stop to all farther attempts to ferences to the satisfaction of both negociate. No alternative, it was parties; and Switzerland was de. now said, reinained to these but to livered from apprehensions of hoyield unconditionally to their cle- ftility. mands, or to try the fortune of This transallion took place to arms. Were this to prove adverle, wards the end of March and be
ginning ginning of April, when the French hands of government from those were preparing for the ensuing exertions, without which the war campaign, and seemed resolved to on the frontiers of France could pursue the most active and vigorous not be carried on with any
decisive measures against the remaining fuceels, and must probably be promembers of the coalition.
tracted in such a manner as inight ; The directory had three objects afford time and opportunities to the in contemplation; an invasion of foe of recovering from his past ditGermany, another of Italy, and the afters, and regaining the ground he complete reduction of domestic in- had lost. furgents. Of these laft it entertain- Fully determined to remain cbiur.... ed the greatest apprehension, from ly, if not entirely, on the defenlive, the desperate resolution they had until the interior of France should hitherto displayed, and the unyield-be wholly pacified, or the oppor, ing perseverance with which they nents of the republic effectually dif... continued to oppose the repeated abled, the directory pitched upon attempts to reduce them. The seve- one of the ablest men in the com-t. rity exercised towards all who monwealth to carry this resolve were suspected of favouring them, into execution. This was the cele-; instead of relaxing the attachment brated general Hoche, whose milie. of their adherents, served, on the tary talents and succesles were at. contrary, to increase it; and the that time inferior to those of no urfhaken fidelity they observed in officer in the French service. Hie. concealing those designs and plans of was invested with the chief com: the insurgents to which they were mand in the departments that were, privy, and in which they co-operated in a state of infurrecton; and, hap., with unabated zeal, afifted and ani- pily for his employers, acquitted mated their refifiance to a degree himself in a short space of time to that seldom failed to enable them to their highest satisfaction. recover from their defeats and loiles, The resistance of the insurgents and to take the field with fresh was not conducted on their former. courage and resources.
plan : they had, as it were, con=1 Previously then to the great enter- sumed that stock of zeal and dem prizes meditated against Italy and votion to the royal cause, which Germany, the directory thought it had produced such amaling effects, indispensible to clear France of its and rendered them so long the terror internal enemies. Their connections of the republican armies. The pa.. with the most formidable and dan- cification concluded with the go-:: gerous rivals of Crance, the English, verminent of France by Charette, made it evident, that while the royal and the other chiefs of the insurparty fubfisted unsubdued, it would gents, had deprived him in a great ; probably, as it had done in the measure of the influence which he, preceding year, throw such embar- with a number of resolute leaders; fassments in the military operations, had exercised over them; and when. intended against foreign enemies, they determined to excite another : as would clog and imperie the plans insurrection they found an alteration proposed; and, aided by the fleets in the dilpolition of the commonalty, and forces of England, tie up the that loon made it apparent how