« 上一頁繼續 »
At this meeting the af. under the name of aflignations, that Feb. 13th, jembly fuppreised all is affignats, on the church lands thus 1790.
monastic establishments confiscated, which were to be the for ever, and confiscated all their general security for all the paper lands; allowing, however, the pre- thus issued. From hence originated sent friars and nuns to continue in that inundation of assignats which the observance of their monastic have since deluged France and the vows; granting them some mode neighbouring countries; and which rate ftipends for maintenance; and have excited the astonishment of to the nuns, the special favour and Europe, through the extraordinary privilege, (which was indeed an act exertions which they have enabled of great humanity, independent of her to make. its justice) that they should not be It was a curious circumstance that removed from the convents in which Mirabeau, who had fo lately pubthey then resided, without their own lished a severe Philippic against the consent and free choice.
emperor Jofeph for the injustice of As the business of the clergy was his claim on the Scheldt, and in now brought nearly to a conclusion, which he particularly reprobated his at least with respect to fact, though conduct with respect to the plunder not entirely as to time, we shall pur- of the monafteries and convents in fue it to the end, leaving those in the Low Countries, Tould now, in termediate matters which occurred so short a period of time, have so in its course subject to further ob- totally departed from the sentiments servation. In the succeeding month, which he then avowed, that through of April, the assembly completed, the whole progress of the present their plan. They voted away, in business, he was, on every occasion, pursuance of their prior resolution the Itrongest and most determined of November, all the territorial pof- leader in, or supporter of all the viofessions of the church, deftining lent proceedings carried on against them in general, but not specific the French clergy. The following terms, to tne payment of the public sentence, addressed to the emperor, debt. They assigned to the church- in the treatise we have mentioned, men, in return, certain fixed pen- will serve to illustrate this conduct as fions, which though much smaller well as to justify the observation : than their former revenues, were, Despise the monks as much as you. perhaps, barely fufficient for their please, but do not rob them; for it existence; although not in any de- is unlawful to rob either the most gree suitable to their past habits, determined atheist or the most crecondition, or modes of living; many dulous capuchin friar." So much of them being necessarily of the first do men's sentiments vary with cirfamilies in the kingdom,and long used cumstances, even in questions of to fplendour, respect, and opulence. right or wrong, of justice or injufThe assembly likewise, at this time, tice! questions, which it might be began to issue to the creditors of the supposed did not admit of any change ate a new kind of paper money of opinion.
Ineffe ftual attempts made by the French privileged orders, for procuring new
dress or fuccour from the neighbouring continental powers. State of political affairs in Europe, which, with other causes, tended to produce that indifference with respect to France which now appeared. Courts of Madrid and Turin. Rash and impetuous proceedings, along with the contemptuous language used by the national assembly, serves continually to create new enemies abroad as well as at home. Wrong offeted to the German princes with respe&t to their posesions and rights in Alsace, embitters the whole empire against the new government, and implants deeply the seeds of future contention and war. West India colonies thrown into a state of the utmost diforder and confusion, and at length precipitated into the most dreadful scenes of desolation, conflagration, and massacre, which terminate in final deftruction, by a series of ill-judged and precipitate measures, of impolitic, impracticable, or contradictory decrees. Great disorders in the army. Soldiers throw off all fubordination and discipline. The people being now in posseffion of liberty, a desire of uncontrolled rule and fovereignty becomes the leading and general passion, a circumstance which serves greatly to unite them, and to strengthen the new system. The weak attempts of the royalists, and the continaal reports of plots, conspiracies, and invasions, cause such a general alarm, that the provinces associate and arm; so that France seems covered. with camps and armies. State of the aristocrates and parties adverse to government. Corsica annexed to France as part of the kingdom. Application from the court of Spain relative to the dispute with England, brings on a debate on the question, in whose hands the right of peace and war should be lodged. Second application from Spain brings on a change of the ministry. Mutiny of the fleet at Brest. Anacharis Clootz, introduces to the assembly his ambasadors from all mankind. Decree for abolishing all titles, and obliterating all memorials of nobility and
family distinction, for ever in France. Grand national confederation at Paris. Bloody contejt at Nancy. Mr. Neckar quits the kingdom, after various disgraces, and narrowly escaping the fury of the Parisians. Schism of the French clergy; the greater part of whom submit to the loss of their penfions, and to expulfion from their paftoral duties, rather than to tak ethe newly-prescribed oaths. TOTWITHSTANDING the ed in a little time to acquire fresh
immediate dismay produced activity and new, vigour, from a by the late act of the king, in ap- check which had at first impressed proving of all the proceedings of them with such visible confternation: the astembly, and in disclaiming for though, in order to strengthand reprobating all the measures en both, they wished to make pursued in his favour, the ruined their own cause common with that privileged orders foon recollected of the crowni, in every attempt for themselves; and instead of sinking the recovery of the loit, or the preunder that unexpected blow, feem- fervation of what remained of their
[ 1 2 ]
mutual rights, yet they considered been, through a long course of their own distinct interests as being years, in a state less capable of af. of too great a magnitude, and too fording the succour now demanded, immediate an importance, to be sa or in which the minds of the peocrificed to the weakness, the ca- ple, or the disposition of the loveprice, or to the personal terrors, of reigns, were less calculated for undertheir wretched, imprisoned sove- taking any enterprize, than at the reign.
present. The mad ambition of the In this state they naturally turn- emperor Joseph, under the influence ed their eyes in the first instance to of the overwhelming power and their own refugee princes at the vast designs of Russia, to which he court of Turin, with whom they became to miserable a dupe, besides held a close correspondence, parti- the ruin and the spirit of revolt cularly from the southern pro- which it spread through his own vinces; but these ruined princes, vaft dominions, had in no small dewho were beholden to strangers gree deranged the general policy for shelter and subsistence, could af- of Europe ; for while several states ford no other means of support or were watching with apprehension aslıstance than the little which and dismay, the dreaded evils which might possibly be derived merely the farther progress and success of
from their names and rank; while the dangerous combination between this source, weak and confined as it 'these two mighty empires were cawould have been at best, was still pable of producing, others, who befarther narrowed, and reduced al- ing more powerful were less appremost to nothing, by the peculiar henfive of danger, were, however, unpopularity in which the rashness no less occupied in attending to the and imprudence of the count d’Ar- fame objects, in the hope of derivtois, had very unfortunately involv- ing fome benefit to themselves in ed that prince. The alarmed and the issue, from the possibly disasdistressed nobility did not, however, trous events, and from the unforereft here; they are said to have seen circumstances of disunion, been incessant in their applications which the course of so doubtful a to all the neighbouring continental pursuit, and of so impolitic and unpowers
for their interference in de natural an alliance, might be capalivering their king, and in aslifting ble of producing. While all spirit to establish in their wretched coun of adventure was thus effectually retry fome just and equitable form of ftrained in the centre and north of government, which, under the fanc- Europe, the court of Spain, so tion of a limited and well-regulated closely united in blood and alliance monarchy, might put an end to the with the king and government of present horrid scene of confusion France, was, at this critical seaand anarchy, while it afforded li- son, when the existence of the great betty of person, and security of pro- and parent stock of the Bourbon perty to every order and class of the line was more than at Atake, most people.
industriously involving herself in a But it happened unfortunately ridiculous squabble with England, with respect to the cause of the dif- the object of dispute scarcely bearwell ibat Europe seidom has ing or deserving a name ; and was t
wantonly and blindly rushing into to have implanted that principle in a contest which she was totally in order to afford fome Thelter or recapable of sustaining. On the other fuge, even in despite of power, to fide of the Mediterranean, the king the forlorn victims of oppreffion and of Sardinia, besides his being by distress. There seems much room nature a peaceable prince totally then for presuming, unless some indisposed to war, was not, from the more cogent cause can be produced, state of his finances, of his army, of than the insufferable vanity and arhis fortresses, or of any of the lead. rogance, which had ever marked ing requisites essential to such a de- the character of that people, whecision, in any condition to hazard ther collectively or individually, the experiment, even supposing that through all the days of their prof. his own disposition had prompted perity, was now, in the hard season him ever so strongly to the mea of their adversity, too well'rememsure.
bered by those neighbours, whom Under these circumstances it so they had heretofore treated with the happened, that scarcely in any age most supreme and mortifying conancient or modern, whether among tempt. refined or half civilized nations, any
But the overweening confidence, similar body of men, so suddenly the rash and imperious language, involved in the most pitiable ftate with the precipitate determinations of degradation and ruin, ever ex of the national assembly, were fully cited lo little sympathy, or ever met competent to the creation of enewith so cold and forbidding a recep- mies abroad as well as at home, who tion, as the French nobility expe- might otherwise have been friends, rienced upon this occasion in all or at least indifferent spectators. In the neighbouring countries. They their rage for the total overthrow were, almost without exception, and abolition of the feudal system, every where beheld with a preju. they had paid as little regard to the diced and malignant, rather than a rights and interests of foreigners, as kind or benevolent eye; and even they had done in all cases with rewhile they yet pofféffed money, spect to those of their own nobility found it difficult to procure shelter. and clergy. The duke of WirtemIt would be in vain to attribute this berg, the prince of Deuxponts, with general public dislike (for it was many other German princes both much stronger than mere indiffer- fecular and ecclefiaftical, held great ence) to political causes or motives, possessions in Alsace, and other proany more than to the particular dis- vinces, which France had heretoposition of sovereigns. For, although fore wrenched from the empire in the human mind willingly makes the days of its troubles and distress, nany great sacrifices to laws, to go- and which these princes held by the vernment, and to power, it is by no same original tenure that they did means disposed to resign its sympa- their other estates more immediately thies or antipathies to the will or at home. Thefe several districts, opinion of others; and perhaps less with all the ancient rights apperso to its rulers than to any. In taining to them, were, in the year whatever interests the heart it is ex- 1648, after the forcible transfer of tremely tenacious; nature seeming paramount dominion by arms hait
already taken place, farther se. ness. Upon this, as well as upon cured, confirmed, and guaranteed every other occafion in which the to the possessors, in the strongest subject was at all mentioned, the manner, by the celebrated treaty national assembly affected to treat of Westphalia, to which France her- the rights and claims, as well as the self was a contracting party, and persons and condition of the fofrom which alone he can derive reign princes with the most infufany legal, title or claim to the pro- ferable contempt; nor did their vinces in question, of which these great bond of right and security, lesser fiefs compose a considerable the treaty of Weltphalia, which is part. Yet these rights, so authen- considered as the Magna Charta of tically confirmed and guaranteed, the Germanic empire, and held by had been, without the smallest ex that people as little less than sacred, planation or ceremony, totally set meet with any greater respect. aside and subverted, by the simple This occasioned a general outcry decree of a new and unheard-of against the French, and particularly body of men, who suddenly called against the conduct of their assemthemselves a French assembly, while bly, in Germany; while the injured a captive king, in violation of trea- princes, no less irritated perhaps by ties by which he was personally, the injurious treatment which they and his country through him di- received, than by their immediate rectly bound, and in direct contra- losses, were incessant in their applidiction to his own opinion and ad- cations, both individually and col. vice publicly communicated to that lectively, to the diet of the empire assembly, was compelled, most un- for protection and redress. The willingly, to give his fanction to diet took up the business with great this violation and wrong.
spirit; and though the untoward We have already seen the indig- ftate of public affairs did not yet afnation excited in the assembly, just ford leisure to the great powers of the before the king's removal from empire to take such an active share Versailles, upon receiving his let- in the business as might give immeter, in which he had ventured to diate efficacy to its proceedings and expoftulate, in the gentlest terms, intentions, it was by no means the upon the impolicy and danger, as less sensible of the injury and wrong, well as the flagrant injustice, of this, and of the insult thereby offered to and of some others of their acts, the whole Germanic body. It is which had been then haftily de not indeed improbable, that the creed; we have likewise feen, that vexatious inability of enforcing its at ten o'clock at night, in the midst resolutions which the diet now exof that dreadful tumult, in which perienced, served much to increase his life apparently hurg by a single its indignation and resentment. We hair, he was obliged, without com- accordingly find, that the diet bement, explanation, or reserve, to came and continued exceedingly give his fanction to this decree, as adverse, and avowedly disposed to well as to that which established and be hostile to the new French goconfirmed the revolution, and to all vernment, which they considered as others which were then in readi- commencing its career by a flagrant 9