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of livres. Part of this sum was in. to secure any farther detriment, tended to redeem the assignats in cir- ordained the last instalment, which culation at the rate of thirty of these was the fourth part of the purchase, for one of the former; and the lands to be paid in specie. on sale were to be mortgaged, as a Thus the speculators were too security for the payment of the re- tally deceived in their calculations thaining part. The purchasers of these of the profit they had expected : the lands were to pay for them by in. more indeed as private land sold at stalments; and, as the property dis- a cheaper rate than public: but as posed of was a solid and visible they were chiefly monied men, and asset; it was hoped that the new much of their opulence had arisen emission would retain its original from their successful speculations value. The directory insisted in during the public distress, as their the most serious terms on the imme. losses were unheeded, and the condiate want of this supply, for the duct of government, however irrecarrying on of the war, and the ser- gular and arbitrary, passed uncenvice of the current year.
sured. The various failures of the French So great, in the mean time, were government in its pecuniary opera- the difficulties of the republic, that, tions, had so much discouraged the according to a statement of the respeculators in these matters, that it venue, made at this time by the was highly necessary to hold out committee of finances, the whole of every encouragement to them. On it amounted to no more than five the decline of the assignats, a paper, hundred millions of livres, while known by the name of rescriptions, the expenditure was not less than had been given for advances to go- one thousand. The directory was vernment, and made payable in spe. fully sensible that in such a situation cie at a fixed period : but this too the buldest, as well as the most pru. had lost its credit, by non-payment. dent measures must be resorted to, The new fabrication, which went and that no alternative remained, by the name of mandats, lost, at but either of finishing the contest its first issuing, one-fourth of its with the enemies of France, on nominal value, and was reduced disadvantageous conditions, or of shortly after to one-fifin. It con- straining the authority and power of tinued to decrease, and fell at last government to the farthest extent to the bare proportion of one-lenth. ihat could be borne with, or subSo heavy a loss alarmed the di- mitted to, regardless of the dissatisrectory, as, at that rate, the na- faction and murmurs that such a tional property, which was paid for conduct would in all likelihood ocin mandats, must of course be sold casion. for one-tenth of its value. It came France was, at this period, nearly to ibe determination to shorten the exhausted of all extraordinary means periods of payment, in order to die of levying money. The sale of na. minish thereby the quantity of man- tional property, which was almost dats in circulation, which would the only one remaining, bad been raise tbe worth of those that had decreed. This measure however had remained : but this expedient did not not yet taken place in the Austrian saucb restore it, and government, Netherlands, incorporated
ing the industrious part of tbe com- As they had bút lately been ousted 156] ANNUAL REGISTER, 1796. with France, which had hitherto a numerous class of individuals, abstained from loading this country wholly heedless for the purposes of with such burdens as might prove society. offensive to its inhabitants. But As these represen:ations were the exigences of the republic were founded in truth, and as the mids now become so urgent, that the dia of the people in Belgium had of rectory thought itself entitled to put late undergone material alterations so rich a portion of ibe empire un in their opinions of things, they der the same requisitions as France were not unwilling to admit the vaitself. This could not be con- lidity of the reasonings alleged in strued into oppression of the natives, vindication of the measures proas they would only be placed on the posed by the French, and the supsame footing as the French, with pression of religious houses, together whom they now formed one nation, with the sale of their lands, for the united in views and interests, aud use of the state, took place accordhaving the same enemies to combat, ingly. by whom, if subdued, they would The resources arising from this experience in common the same ill ample fund, aided by the imposition treatment, and relapse into that of some new taxes, rendered supstate of slavery, from wbich they portable by an equitable repartition; had both taken such pains 10 eman and more than all, by an exact and cipate themselves.
rigid economy, introduced into every Such were the motives laid be- channel of expenditure, supplied fore the people of the Austrian the five hundred millions wanted, in Netherlands, lo induce them to co. addition to the revenue, and enincide with the design of the French abled the government to provide government, to decree the sale of for the demands of the those valuable tracts of land, be- year. come the public property in that The difficulties experienced by country, by the suppression of the the French government in matters numerous and opulent monastic of finance, great as they were, did orders. Exclusively of these mo not equal those that continually obtives, which were of considerable structed the indefatigable endeaweight with that part of the vours to preserve internal tranquillipeople which were well affected ty. The inextinguishable animosit; to the French, had a precedent to of the opposite parties, that distrac. plead of great efficacy in the minds ted the nation, seemed to increase even of those who retained an at. by failure and disappointment in tachment to the religious establish their respective projects, and 10 doments in their country. This was rive, as it were, new vigour from the the general willingness of the ca. repeated suppression of their attholic powers to retain no other than tempts to overturn the established the parochial and secular clergy, government." and to suppress all conyentual in The jacobin party, though 'not stitutions, as the incentives and re 'more active than the royalists, ceptacles of idleness, and burden- sisted of men of far superior parts
, munity, with the maintenance of from the seat of power, they :00
rished a spirit of revenge which affray between the royalists and the prompted chem to endless efforts to republicans. But the council of regain the mastery. In the mean five hundred ordered an inquiry to while, their expulsion bad not been , be made, which detected the perCumplete. Many of their parti. fidy of the commissary, in consezans sıill remained in places of quence of which, the forced trust: the legislature counted many elections of magistrales, that bad among its members, and the di- been made by the jacobin party, rectury itself had one of their well. were annulled, and proper measures wishers.
taken to prevent them from disa Emboldened by these circumstan- turbing the peace of that municipaces, and unintimidated by the dis. lity. covery and suppression of the dread But the jacobins were not the only ful conspiracy, headed by Babeuf, disturbers of the public tranquillity. they had the audacity to frame ano. The royalists, however just their ther, at a distance from the capital, cause, frequently disgraced it by buping, if successful, to rally around the ridiculous zeal which they the insurgents, the numerous jaco. manifested in its support. Actuated bins still remaining in those parts, by those illiterate and bigoted priests,
The place where the insurrection that swarm in France, they formed broke out was Marseilles, a city themselves into bands that assumed famous, in the annals of the revolu. the appellation of companions of tiori, for tumults and disturbances. Jesus and the king. They fell upon On the nineteenth of July, while those, who, during the reign of the citizens were occupied in the terrorism, had persecuted and treated annual election of their magistrates, them with barbarity, on whom the jacobins assembled in multitudes, they exercised the most unmerciful armed with a variety of weapons. retaliation. Affrays of this nature They ran through the streets, ex often happened, especially in the claiming live the mountain and the south of France, where the vinconstitution of ninety-three. A dictive disposition of the inhabiparty of them rushed into the hall of tants is api 10 lead them into exelection, from whence they drove cesses of a fatal tendency, from the the citizens, and murdered all who duration and obstinacy of their reopposed them.
sentment. As the plan of this basty insur It was easier, however, to crush rection was ill contrived, it had no both the spirit and the insurrections
consequence than to throw of the royalists, than of the jaco. the city of Marseilles into a tempo- bins. The former were usually exrary confusion. It appeared, how- cited to action through their im: ever, that the interest of the jaco- plicit submission to the advice and bins, in that place, had more strength exhortation of the refractory eccleand patronage than had been ima- siastics : but the latter acted from gined. The commissary of the die the unsubdued and incessant impulse Tectory, in his dispatches to govern. of their own principles, the very ment, instead of laying before it nature of which rendered them inthe criminal behaviour of the jaco dependent of the opinion of others, bins, represented the whole as an and perpetually excited them to
action, without needing any other duced, by whose medium they vainly stimulation. Men of this cha. imagined the majority of the te racter are not easily tamed into sub- mainder would be brought over to jection to those who differ from them. When they thought they them in sentiments, and are much were sufficiently prepared, they emmore ready to rise in opposition to bodied themselves, to the number them, than those who are governed of five or six hundred, and marched by the dictates of others.
to the camp in the Plain of GreThis conspicuously appeared in nelle, at a very small distance from that other attempt, which the jaco. Paris. They seemed to entertain no bins made to overthrow the establish- doubt of being joined by the troops ment, so very soon after having there, and confidently entered the failed in their late conspiracy. The camp, crying out, the constitution numbers that voted against the im- of ninety-three, and down with the peachment of Drouet, and his eva. two councils and the five tyrants. sion from confinement, plainly shew. At the head of this desperate body ed the influence of the jacobin fac- of men were three members of the tion. Relying on jis many con late convention, with as many gecealed partisans, a resolution was nerals who had been dismissed the taken, by the undiscovered accome service, and Drouet himself, it was plices of Babeuf in that conspiracy, said, not long escaped from bis! to rescue him and his associates from prison. They warmly exhorted the the hands of government, at the soldiers to join them, promising time when they were to be removed every remuneration that could be from their prison at Paris, and trans- required; but they were totally deferred to Vandame, for trial before ceived in their expectations. The the high criminal court.
soldiers remained true to their offiIn order to conceal from the pub- cers, and, at the word of command, lic the real actors in the intended fell upon the conspirators, who, unrescue, the jacobins assumed the ap- able to contend with such a force, pearance of royalists. They put on betook themselves to fight. Num. white cockades, displayed white bers were killed upon the spot, and colours, and every other token of about one hundred and thirty taken. royalism, and in this manner pro- They were tried as insurgents by ceeded in their enterprize: but they military commission. Sentence of were quickly discovered, and their death or banishment was passed project entirely frustrated. upon the most notoriously guilty,
Whether through neglect or con- and the others were discharged. nivance, no inquiry was made into The objects proposed by these this business. This induced the rash and furious conspirators, jacobins to meditate another plan, similar in every respect to those of and to take what they boped might Babeuf and his associates. Blood prove more efficient means to suc- and the extermination of all per. ceed. They collected as many of sons in power, those only excepted their most daring associates as could whom they considered as favourable be procured in the capital and its to their designs. vicinity. They tampered with the While the jacobins were intent soldiery, some of whom they se- upon those destructive schemes,
which, happily for France, were so amnesty, the report of which led to seasonably prevented, the govern- a variety of discussions relating to it, ment was preparing a law, by which and occasioned at last a proposal to it hoped to reconcile the parties repeal the very law of the third of that divided the nation, so far as to Brumaire, as bearing too inequitaextinguish the motives of terror bly upon those who were related ibat rendered so many Frenchmen to emigrants, whom it excluded enemies, tbrough necessity, of their from public offices, together with countrymen in power.
those who had been concerned in This law, from which such salu- the insurrection of last October, tary effects were expected to fow, against the decrees of the conven. was an act of universal amnesty, tion for the re-elections. which was to put an immediate These members of the legislature, stop to all prosecutions for revolu. who favoured the repeal of this law, tionary crimes and offences, com considered it as inconsistent with mitted since the commencement of the real principles of the constiluJuly, 1789, to the fourth of Bru. tion, by which no man ought to be maire, in the fourth year of the re- subjected to so heavy a punishment public, 1796. The only exceptions as the forfeiture of his civic rights, to this amnesty were chose con- without evident proof of his deserva tained in the law enacted in the last ing it. In consequence of the reasitting of the late convention, and sonings they used in support of this called the law of the third Bru. opinion, a committee was chosen to maire.
deliberate on the merits of this law, These exceptions were levelled at and whether it could, with safe
opposers of the new constitu- ty, be repealed at the present petion, transported priests, and emi. riod. grants, and those who had partici The public was, in the mean pated in the insurrection at Paris time, greatly divided in its opinion against the decree of the convention, on this question. Some pronounced ordaining the re-election of two. it at once a trial of strength bethirds of its members.
tween the royalists and the repubBut this law had always been licans. Were the law to be repeal. considered, by the impartial, as too ed, an inundation of the former indiscriminately favourable to the would infallibly take place in every adherents of the party which had department, and the restoration of framed it, as it not only put a stop monarchy would be the unavoidable to the proceedings against the agents consequence. of terrorism, but even against indi. The nation at large held itself siduals guilty of crimes, for which deeply concerned in the decision they had been sentenced to severe of this impuriant question, and and merited punishment, and whom waited for it with the utmost impait set at liberty in direct violation tience. The committee, appointed of all justice, and to the consterna to examine the advantages and illtion of all persons inclined to mo. consequences resulting from the law deration and pacific measures. alluded to, was considered as hold
A committee had been appointed ing in its hands the fate of the nato draw up the plan of this proposed tions. Loud and fervent were the