Imágenes de páginas

have proved totally abortive; and the establishment of the rule of Bonaparte within France, is therefore no longer doubtful. At Bourdeaux the duchess of Angoulême made some heroic efforts to arrest the progress of revolt; but in vain. The troops of the line, and even the national guards, proved here, as elsewhere, unfaithful; and although a few devoted adherents ventured to oppose force to the torrent, they were overborne after a brief resistance, and the duchess with difficulty effected her escape on board a British frigate, which has brought her in safety to England. The duke, her husband, had collected a body of 6000 men, in the south of France, with which it seemed to be his purpose to endeavour to establish himself at Lyons. But he was met by a superior force, and obliged to capitulate. His personal safety was secured by the capitulation, and he was permitted to embark at Cette. Louis XVIII. has fixed his residence at Ghent. His councils are directed by the Duke of Feltre, Counts Blacas, Jancourt, Lally Tollendal, and Viscount Chateaubriand. Marshals Marmont and Victor are also said to be with him. He has thence issued various ordonnances, forbidding the payment of taxes, or obedience to the conscription; and requiring all his faithful subjects to quit the service of Bonaparte.

In the mean time, Bonaparte appears to be employing the utmost energies of his mind in preparing to meet the dangers which threaten him. He has issued a variety of papers, the object of which is to justify the conduct he has pursued, in resuming the reins of empire; to form, if possible, a party favourable to him out of France; and above all, to make his cause that of the French Nation.

He attempts to justify his conduct in returning to France, by enumerating various breaches, on the part of the allies, of the Treaty of Fontainblean.

He labours to excite an interest in his favour in foreign countries, by as-, suming a tone of great moderation, by disclaiming all future attempts at conquest, or revolution, or personal aggrandizement (a disclaimer which is sufficiently falsified by the transactions in Italy); by professing an anxious desire of peace; by availing himself of the varions causes of discontent which exist in different parts of Europe; and at the same time, by insinuating, that without

the ant

[ocr errors]

power as that of France, a system of spo liation and oppression would be adopted by the allies, fatal to the independence and security of nations. The re-establishment of the Austrian and Sardinian power in Italy; the conduct pursued respecting Genoa; the bad faith alleged to have been observed towards the King of Naples; the intended dissolution of the Saxon monarchy, and the actual annexation of a part of its dominions to Prussia, furnish topics which he well knows how to turn to his own purposes. That the Italians, indeed, are almost universally favourable to his cause, cannot be doubted. The deep and irreconcileable hatred which they feel towards Austria in particular, and the indignation they entertain against the allies generally, for having disappointed their hopes of independence, and having consigned them over, without any regard to their own wishes, to governments which they detest, will probably produce a very extensive rising throughout the whole of the Transalpine Provinces; and on this result Bonaparte has been able to calculate with tolerable certainty. Saxony, however, is not likely to be accessible in the same degree with Italy, to the operation of his arts and insinuations. The Saxons are a reflecting and a moral people; and whatever just grounds of complaint they may conceive to have been afforded to them by the conduct of the allies, we scarcely think they will hesitate between an adherence to their cause and the risk of again fraternizing with Bonaparte. With respect to Belgium, our expectations are far less sanguine. The general feeling of its population, we fear, is adverse to the Dutch supremacy, and favourable to an union with France; and no means will of course be left unemployed to prepare them for seizing the first opportunity of manifesting their real sentiments.-But it is upon the public opinion of this country that Bonaparte appears most anxious to produce an impression favourable to his views. He is fully aware of the influence of our free press, and free parliamentary discussions, as well as of our party spirit, not only on the measures of Government, but on the feelings and sentiments both of this nation and of the civilized world. Hence, doubtless, in part, the new tone which he has assumed on the subject of conquest; and the professed imitation of the British Constitution, in the new

Constitution be is about to vive to

[ocr errors]

France. Hence also the disappearance of all those tirades against the ambition and selfishness of England which used to fill the pages, of his official papers, and those appeals to our love of national liberty and independence, to our high sense of justice, and our disinterested humanity, which have been substituted in their stead. Hence, above all, that Decree in which we cannot but exult, from whatever motives it may have pro ceeded, which has marked his re entrance into the capital of France, by the total abolition of the French Slave Trade.*

Could we believe these various der monstrations of a friendly feeling towards this country to be sincere; could we believe that Bonaparte is actuated by a real desire to cultivate the arts ofpeace, and that he had been so far impressed by the lessons of adversity as to determine to employ his recovered power, no longer in the pursuit of those projects. of ungoverned ambition, which have covered the civilized world with misery and desolation; but in promoting the general tranquillity and happiness of mankind; we should have far less doubt than we now entertain as to the course which this country is bound in

The following is the Decree :→→→ "From the date of the publication of the pre- duty to pursue. But it would be dif sent Decree the trade in Negroes is abolished. No expedition shall be allowed for this commerce, neither in the ports of France, nor in those of our Colonies.

"There shall not be introduced, to be sold in our Colonies, any Negro the produce of this trade, whether French or Foreign.

"Any infraction of this Decree shall be punish. ed with the confiscation of the ship and cargo, which shall be pronounced by onr courts, and tribunals.

"However, the ship owners who may have fitted out expeditions for this trade, before the publication of the present Decree may sell their cargoes on the Colonies."

The reflections which appeared in the Frenchnewspapers on the publication of the above, will afford a remarkable exemplification of the eager desire which we have attributed to the French Government of conciliating the favourable regards of the people of this country to the change which has taken place.

"The enlightened friends of humanity have long demanded the abolition of the Slave Trade: this salutary measure was expected from a government which made the highest pretensions to justice and morality. This measure appeared so conformable to religion, that it was hoped it would meet no opposition in the councils of a prince subjected to the influence of certain Abbes, who spoke much of their morality and religious zeal. Experience, however, soon convinced us that these protestations proceeded from the mouth, and not the heart. Government stipulated for the continuance of the trade during five years, in the hope that after that period circumstances would enable them to perpetuate this traffic in slaves, against which public opinion in Europe was every day more strongly pronouncing itself.

"It was in vain that enlightened and judicious men endeavoured to produce the conviction that this trade was condemned not only by humanity and religion, but also that it was contrary to the maxims of sound policy. They proved that the slave trade would be an eternal obstacle to the restoration of commercial and friendly connections with St. Domingo, and that it was impossible to replace men under the yoke who had fought for their liberty, and enjoyed it for so many years. The ministerial hired writers replied to these reasonings by declamation and abuse. encouragement which they received announced clearly enough the ulterior intentions of Govern. An order of the police prohibited the editors of newspapers from enlightening the public as to the Slave Trade question; and there, remains ticle on this enbiect which



ficult under any circumstances, and in the face of the recent occurrences in Italy impossible, to give credit to Bonaparte for any such motives. The mea sures of Murat cannot be independent of Bonaparte: they have manifestly been concerted with him; and if we look at the dates of the various steps in his progress towards the open rupture which he has at length consummated, we have at once a complete falsification of the pacific professions of Bonaparte, Whether Murat can or cannot plead, that the conduct which has been pur

was suppressed by the censorship, and which we shall publish in a few days.

"It was reserved for the Emperor to pronounce the definitive abolition of this disgraceful traffic, to thus give a striking testimony of respect for the sacred principles of morality, and to acquire a new, claim. to the gratitude of the friends of liberty. The partisans of liberal ideas, who are so numerous in Great Britain, will doubtless applaud this great act of humanity. The only rivalry which can hereafter subsist between France and England, is that of deciding which of the two nations shall make the greatest progress in the science of government, and in the art of rendering nations free and happy.

"The Decree abolishing the Slave Trade will put an end to all the uneasiness which exists in regard to St. Domingo. There was reason to fear that the late government was at one time desirous of subjugating by force of arms, a popu lation determined on resistance. Now the idea is altogether relinquished of exhausting the public, treasury in an attempt to re-establish slavery in St. Domingo. The Government which wishes to remain at peace with all powers is occupied with objects of the highest importance to the happiness of the Freach people. It is preparing a true cons stitution, which will guarantee the rights of all, and will place under the safeguard of positive laws the security of persons and property.France, thus re-constituted as a free nation, will think only of the conquests of peace, of industry, and the arts: she will arm herself only to defend, her independence and rights; but then all the citizens will become soldiers, and will be invinci ble, guided by the tutelary genius who is come to oppose the return of barbarism, and to reca¡ us to liberty and honour."

sued towardshim by the allies, fully justi. fies bis aggression, is a point which we mean not now to discuss. All we mean to infer from what is now brought to light of his plans and purposes, is, that Bonaparte must have been actually committed to war before he was apprized that any hostile declaration had as yet issued against him from Vienna; and that, therefore, all his amicable overtures, all his loud professions of an intention to maintain inviolable the stipulations of the Treaty of Paris, must have been made with the view either of gaining time, or of detaching from the ranks opposed to him a part of the general confederacy of Europe.

But there is another object, which he seems to have still more at heart, than Even that of conciliating the goodwill of a portion of the population of Europe; we mean that of inducing France to espouse his cause as her own. And in this object, we apprehend, he will be more successful. The means by which he labours to accomplish it, are, inflam Ang the passions and alarming the fears of the people. It is with this view, doubtless, that he has taken into his alliance, and even into his councils, the most distinguished leaders of the Jacobin party; that he has accredited maxims of government and legislation, which are of the most liberal description; that he has affected a kind of republican simplicity; and that he has laboured to impress upon the minds of the people the sure prospect, in case the allies should succeed, of the humiliation, disgrace, and perhaps dismemberment of France, and to connect with the restoration of the Bourbons, the certain revival of feudal privileges, the inevitable extinction of the rights of property acquired by the national sales, and the re-establishment, in their former plenitude of power and oppressive exaction, of the Romish hierarchy. He labours to make the people feel, that it is his supremacy alone which can protect them from these evils. Should he be crushed, there will be no measure to the retribution which the expatriated and exasperated princes, and priests, and nobles, will then think themselves justified in requiring. They will then glut their vengeance.-These are topics addressed to the great mass of the population of all classes, and which cannot fail, with such a people as the French, to produce a powerful effect. But Bonaparte's grand reliance is doubtless on the army. This tremen

dous instrument of evil is devoted to his purposes. The soldiery have fully imbibed his spirit; and to this may be attributed, not only his almost miraculous restoration to the throne which he had abdicated, but the necessity in which he is placed, if he would retain that throne, of avenging past defeat and disgrace, and surrounding himself with fresh trophies of military glory. On this point, an eloquent journalist has expressed, with so much force, all we feel, that we cannot better convey to our readers the sentiments we would wish to communicate, than by employing his words.

"If the peace of the world is again to be sacrified to the gratification of individual ambition; if, as we have learned to fear, the little gleam of tranquillity with which we have been mocked is about to be swallowed up in the returning cloud of war; if blood is again to flow, and devastation to spread over the fairest portion of the civilized world, it is to the unhappy diffusion and prevalence of the military character that we shall be indebted for this dreadful catastrophe. It is because France had become a great barrack of discontented soldiers, languishing in inaction, and eager for pillage and promotion; because her intrigues and her conquests, her conscriptions and her legions of honour, had accustomed the predominant part of the population to the deeper and more animating game of war, with its hazards and its triumphs, its disasters and its glories, and estranged their hearts from the natural feelings and duties of `reasonable beings that they have flocked anew to the bloody and dazzling standard of a leader, who has no pretext for raising it but his own personal aggrandizement, nor any allurements to hold out but to the sanguinary and unprincipled ambition of military adventurers. It is sickening to be obliged to look again upon such

scenes and to think that this new harvest of calamity and desolation has been prepared by the busy and eager hands of those who are to reap it. France is not misled now by any splendid illusion of liberty or virtue: she invites disor der and despotism with her eyes open; and openly proclaims war against the independence of her neighbours, without any other pretext than the gratification of her own inordinate vanity and ambition."-Edinburgh Review.

It was our intention to have discussed at some length the important question

of peace or war, which appeared to hang, in some degree, on the decision of this Government. But that question appears to be already decided.-Much might doubtless have been urged on both sides of that momentous discussion; and we were prepared to state fairly, what appeared to us the conflicting arguments, which had produced no small degree of doubt and hesitation in our own minds, as to the course which it was just and expedient for this country to pursue; and which certainly had on the whole inclined us to prefer the hazards of peace, confessedly tremendous as they are, to those of war.

But more recent occurrences have scarcely, we fear, left us an alternative. We appear to be committed, beyond the possibility of retracting, in this awful and vital contest; and what we have now to consider is rather the terms on which we shall consent to be again at peace, than whether we shall enter into a state of war. Deferring, however, for the present, the consideration of this question, we would confine ourselves to one suggestion; and that is, that our Government should take care to have it


Accounts have been received of the capture of Mobile, in Louisiana, by the force under General Lambert and Admiral Cochrane. The happy termination of the war with America, an event which spread great joy throughout the United States, renders this conquest of small moment.

On the 6th inst. a Message was presented to Parliament from the Prince Regent, announcing, that,in consequence of the recent occurrences in France, he had ordered his sea and land forces to be augmented, and that he would lose no time in concerting measures with his allies for the general and permanent security of Europe. In a conversation which followed, we were happy to hear Lord Castlereagh distinctly state, that there was no secret engagement in the Treaty of Paris to maintain the Bourbons on the throne of France; and in the treaty lately concluded with Austria, Russia, and Prussia, there is an express reserve on the part of Great Britain, as to this point. She reserves to herself that is to say, a right of judging whether it be proper to pursue the contest for the sake merely of their restoration.— We certainly think this a very important reservation, and we could have wished

distinctly understood, that in lavishing British blood and treasure for the freedom and independence of Europe, Great Britain must stipulate, that she shall not be made to contribute, in any degree, to the renewal of a French Slave Trade; to the re-establishment of the papal power; to the revival of the order of Jesuits; or to the rekindling of the fires of the Inquisition. If a satisfactory arrangement on these points were previously made, we should feel much less of des pondency in contemplating the issue of the approaching conflict, than we con.. fess we do at present. A cause which involves the defence of these institu tions cannot inspire with confidence those who regard the favour of Heaven as of infinitely more consequence than the strength of armies; and we, therefore, most earnestly desire, because we desire the prosperity of our country, and the peace and happiness of the world, that we were delivered at the very outset from the ruinous incumbrance of any alliance, which shall in volve us in the guilt of upholding such enormities.


that she had contrived to disembarrass herself of some other obligations which are in our view still more inconvenient. We have already alluded to them.Would it not be right, for instance, to make it the price of our aid, that France should maintain in full force the Abolition of the Slave Trade, and sanction the freedom of Hayti? Our limits will not allow us to say more on this point.

The Property Tax is of course to be revived. The price of the funds has fallen greatly, both here and in France. The price of gold is stationary in the latter country. Here it has risen from 41. 9s. to 51. 8s. an ounce.

Mr. Barham has brought a Bill into Parliament for rendering it penal to employ British capital, either directly or indirectly, in the Slave Trade: it is likely to pass without opposition.

A great mass of interesting papers on the subject of the Slave Trade, containing the substance of the various negociations, with a view to its abolition by foreign powers, which have been carri ed on since the month of August last, at Paris, Madrid, and Vienna has been presented to Parliament. We must defer an abstract of them to another opportunity.

For Answers to Correspondents, see 2d page of Blue Cover.



No. 161.]

MAY, 1815.

[No. 5. Vol. XIV.

[ocr errors]


To the Editor of the Christian Observer. HAVE thought that the following narration, translated from the Accounts of the Death of some of the Monks of La Trappe, might, notwithstanding its Catholic complexion, be interesting to some of your readers. I own it has interested myself; and it has suggested a few observations, which I have ventured to annex to it.

[blocks in formation]


The brother Benedict, of the diocese of Rouen, died five years and a half after his profession, the day of the fête of our father St. Bernard, aged 32 years. And as God visited him peculiarly with his grace in the progress of his disease, and at the time of his death, it has been thought desirable, in order both to recognise the mercy of Christ and for the edification of his community, to record the principal circumstances of his life and death.

He fell sick nearly four years before his death, of a disease upon his chest. And although, after that time, he was almost continually oppressed with a violent cough, with extreme pain, and with an intermitting fever, he never manifested either the smallest impatience of his suffering, or the smallest desire to be cured. About the Christmas of the year 1673, which preceded his death a few months, CHRIST. OBSERV, No. 161.

his disease increased. But he did not cease to discharge the peculiar offices prescribed to penitents in the monastery. The fever which seized him about the middle of Christmas did not prevent his following the same course of life he had long pursued. Five days after Easter, his disease having considerably advanced, the reverend Father Abbé ordered him to be conducted to the infirmary. There his fever immediately increased, his limbs inflamed, his cough became more violent, and the struggles in which he passed his nights quite exhausted him. Notwithstanding this, he continued to lie on his hard paillasse, till the moment when they removed him to the ashes, five hours before his death. He rose at four in the morning; he dined at the table of the infirmary, though his weakness was such that he was evidently unable to sustain the weight of his own head. During this time, nothing was to be discovered upon his countenance which did not evidence the most complete tranquillity. He had been remarkably ingenious, and had nothing about him which he had not both invented and executed. Three weeks before his death he said to the Father Abbé, that as he had been in the habit of constructing many things for the convenience of the monastery, and as it might be troublesome to the Abbé to discover and introduce workmen into the house at his death, he would on this account, if agreeable to the Abbé, instruct one of the brothers in his various arts. The Abbé having consented, he instructed a monk in less than a fortnight in the 2N

« AnteriorContinuar »