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Of all the old beaux and superannuated libertines, whose company I have had the misfortune of net being able to avoid, Roe. derer is the most affected, silly, and disgusting. His wrinkled face, and effeminate and childish air ; his assiduities about every woman of beauty or fashion; his confidence in his own merit, and his presumption in his own power, wear such a curious contrast, with his trembling hands, running eyes, and enervated person, that I have frequently been ready to laugh at him in his face, had not indignation silenced all other feeling. A light coloured wig covered a bald head ; his cheeks and eyelids are painted, and his teeth false ; and I have seen a woman faint away from the effect of his breath ; notwithstanding that he infects, with his musk and perfumes, a whole house, only with his presence. When in the ground floor, you may smell him in the attic story.
Paris, Seftember, 1805. MY LORD,
THE reciprocal jealousy and even interest of Austria, France and Russia, have hitherto prevented the tottering Turkish empire from being partitioned like Poland, or seized like Italy; to serve as indemnities, like the German empire, or to be shared, as re
ward to allies, like the empire of Mysore.
When we consider the anarchy that prevails both in the government, and among the subjects, as well in the capital, as in the provinces of the Ottoman Porte ; when we reflect on the mutiny and cowardice of its armies and navy, the ignorance and incapacity of its officers, and military and naval commanders, it is surprising indeed, as I have heard Talleyrand often declare, that more foreign political intrigues should be carried on at Constantinople alone, than in all other capitals of Europe, taken together. These intrigues, however, instead of doing honour to the sagacity and patriotism of the members of the Divan, expose only their corruption and imbecility ; and instead of indicating a dread of the strength of the Sublime Sultan, shows a knowledge of his weakness, of which the gold of the most wealthy, and the craft of the most subtil, by turns are striving to
profit. Beyond a doubt, the enmity of the Ottoman Porte can do more
mischief, than its friendship can do service. Its neutrality is always useful, while its alliance becomes frequently a burthen, and its support of no advantage. It is, therefore, more from a view of preventing evils, than from expectation of profit, that all other powers plot, cabal and bribe. The map of the Turkish empire, explains what may be thought absurd or nugatory in this assertion. As soon as war with Austria was resolved on by the Brissot faction, in 1792, emissaries were dispatched to Constantinople, to engage the Divan to invade the provinces of Austria and Russia ; thereby to create a diversion in favour of this country.— Our ambassador in Turkey at that time, Count de Choiseuil Gouffier, though an admirer of the revolution, was not a republican, and, therefore, secretly counteracted, what he officially seemed to wish to effect. The Imperial court succeeded, therefore, in establishing the neutrality of the Ottoman Porte, but Count de Choiseuil was proscribed by the Convention. As academician, he was, however, at St. Petersburgh, liberally recompensed, by Catharine II. for the services the ambassador had performed at Constantinople. In May, 1798, the Committee of Public Safety determined to expedite another embassy to the Grand Seignior, at the head of which was the famous intriguer, De Semonville; whose revolutionary diplomacy had, within three years, alarmed the courts of Madrid, Naples, and Turin, as well as the republican government of Genoa. His career towards Turkey was stopped in the Grison republic, on the 25th of July following, where he, with sixteen others of his suite, was arrested, and sent prisoners, first to Milan, and afterwards at Mantua. He carried with him
presents of inimense value, which were all seized by the Aus- .
trians. Among them were four superb coaches, highly finished, varnished and gilt ; what in common carriages is iron or brass, was here gold or silver gilt. Two large chests were filled "with stuff of gold brocade, India gold muslins and shawls, and laces of very great value. Eighty thousand louis-d'ors (80,000l.) in ready money: a service of gold plate of twenty covers, which
formerly belonged to the kings of France ; two small boxes sull of diamonds and brilliants, the intrinsic worth of which was estimated at 48 millions of livres, (2,000,000l.) and a great number of jewels; among others, the crown-diamond, called here, the Regent's, and in your country, the Pitt diamond, fell, with other riches, into the hands of the captors. Notwithstanding this loss, and this disappointment, we contrived in vain, to purchase the hostility of the Turks against our enemies, though with the sa. crifice of no less a sum (according to the report of St. Just, in 1794) than seventy millions of livres (3,000,000l.) These official statements, prove the means, which our so-often-extolled economical and moral republican governments have employed in their negotiations. After the invasion of Egypt, in time of peace, by Buonaparte, the Sultan became at last convinced of the sincerity of our prosessions of friendship, which he returned with a declaration of war. The preliminaries of peace with your country, in October, 18O 1, were, however, soon followed with a renewal of our former joriendly intercourse with the Ottoman Porte. The voyage of Sebastiani into Egypt and Syria, in the autumn of 1802, showed that our tenderness for the inhabitants of these countries had not diminished; and that we soon intended to confer on them, new hugs of fraternity. Your pretensions to Malta impeded our prospects in the East, and your obstinacy obliged us to postpone our so well-planned schemes of encroachment. It was then first, that Buonaparte selected for his representative to the Grand Seignior, General Brune, commonly called by Moreau, Macdonald, and other competent judges of military merit, an intriguer at the head of armies, and a warrior in time offieace, when scated in the council-chamber. This Brune was, before the revolution, a journeyman printer, and married to a washer-woman, whose industry and labour, alone prevented him from starving, for he was as vicious as idle. The money he gained when he chose to work, was generally squandered away in brothels, among prostitutes. To supply his excesses, he had even recourse to dishonest means, and was shut up in the prison of Bicetere, for robbing his master of types and of paper,
In the beginning of the revolution, his very crimes made him an acceptable associate of Marat, who, with the money advanced by the Orleans faction, bought him a printing-office, and he printed the so dreadfully well-known journal, called L'Amie du Peofile. From the principles of this atrocious paper, and from those of his sanguinary patron, he formed his own political creed. He distinguished himself frequently at the clubs of the Cordeliers, and of the Jacobins by his extravagant motions, and by provoking laws of proscription against a wealth he did not possess, and against a rank he would have dishonoured, but did not see without envy. On the 30th of June, 1791, he said, in the former of these clubs, “We hear, every where, complaints of poverty; were not our eyes so often disgusted with the sight of unnatural riches, our hearts would not so often be shocked at the unnatural sufferings of humanity. The blessings of our revolution will never be felt by the world, until we are in France on a level, with regard to rank as well as to fortune. I, for my part, know too well the dignity of human nature, ever to bow to a superior; but, brothers, and friends, it is not enough that we are all politically equal we must also be all equally rich, or equally poor—we must either all strive to become men of property, or reduce men of property tobecome Sans-Culottes. Believe me, the aristocracy of property is more dangerous than the aristocracy of prerogative or fanaticism, because it is more common. Here is a list sent to L'Amie du Peuhle, but of which prudence yet prohibits the publication. It contains the names of all the men of property of Paris, and of the department of the Seine, the amount of their fortunes, and a proposal how to reduce and divide it among our patriots. Of its great utility, in the moment when we have been striking out grand blows, nobody dares doubt ; I therefore move, that a brotherly letter be sent to every society of our brothers and friends, in the provinces, inviting each of them to compose one of similar contents, and of similar tendency, in their own districts, with what remarks they think proper to affix, and to forward them to us, to be deposited in the mother club, after taking copies of them for the archives of their own society.” His motion was decreed. Two days afterwards he again ascended the tribune. “You approved,” said he, “ of what measures I lately proposed against the aristocracy of property ; I will now tell you of ano
ther aristocracy which we must also crush—I mean that of religion, and of the clergy. Their supports are folly, cowardice, and ignorance. All priests are to be proscribed, and punished as criminals, and despised as impostors or idiots; and all altars must be reduced to dust, as unnecessary. To prepare the public mind for such events, we must enlighten it; which can only be done by disseminating extracts from L’Amie du Peuple, and other filiilosofhical publications. I have here some ballads of my own composition, which have been sung in my quarter; where all superstitious persons have already trembled, and all fanatics
are raving. If you think proper, I will, for a mere trifle, print
twenty thousand copies of them, to be distributed and disseminat-