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treat at last upon a footing of equa-. French, is incontestible, from the lity with that one, which, while it various publications of the time, remained unvanquished, would al- and no less from that remarkable ways prove an effectual obstacle to anxiety with which their rulers that plan of universal influence over canvassed every subject relating to all the governments of Europe, England. How to compass its dea abich France bad, since the unex- pression was the chief object of their recied success of its arms, kept con councils ; and every fortunate event tantly in view,
that befel them, in their numerous However the French might exult enterprizes, employed their consio the triumphant career of their deration in what manner to convert urmies, it plainly appeared, by the it to the detriment of England. entiments repeatedly expressed by Among the various means of obbe principal speakers of the conven- taining that important end, the an10n, and in the councils, and upon noyance of the English maritime all public occasions, to be their inti commerce had long been tried, cerhate persuasion, however averse to tainly not without some degree of Now it, that while England stood success : but in no degree sufficient is ground, they would never totally to weaken the naval power of Eng. ccomplish those mighty schemes of land, which continued to rule the onquest and influence. To exe seas in every quarter of the globe, ute them partially, would only in. with irresistible sway. It was intolve them in perpetual quarrels deed from this very circumstance, with those powers whose interest that France derived a multiplicity fequired their depression, and whose of arguments in its manifestos and cause England would never fail to exhortations, buth to its own people, support. Thus it was clear, that and to the other nations of Europe. unless the strength of this ancient Their tendency was to prove, that tival were effectually broken, and it England was the tyrant of the sea, were reduced to sue for peace on and that all the European powers such terms as France should dictate, were interested in repressing that the proposed effect of so many vicé tyranny. To effect this, they ought tories would be frustrated, as the to unite cordially with France, and humiliation of all its other enemies second its endeavours to restore the would not secure to the republic freedom of the seas, by abridging, those objects at which it avowedly through every means in their power, aimed. The prolongation of the the commercial resources of Engwas, in order to attain these, might land. The actual strength of its , be attended with such vicissitudes navy was so great, that it could not of fortune, as would entirely change at present be opposed with much the circumstances of affairs, and hope of success : but oiber meihods oblige the republic, in its curn, to might be used, not less eflectual in abate of its high pretensions, and their ultimate issue, and these were even to compound for its existence, in the option of every state.
That and the preservation of the ancient the power which commanded the
seas, commanded also the shores, That these ideas frequently oc and that Daval-power was of more Curred to the most sagacious of the importance than dominion at land,
limits of France.
had passed into a kind of political power at sea : to raise the naval maxim for ages. It was, in fact, power of France, and to undera a superiority of naval power that mine that of England, by excludsubverted the Roman empire. The ing her trade from the great inlets irruptions of the Gauls, the Cimbri, of Europe. This would give Eng. and Teutones, by land, were re. land a blow from which it would pelled, and might have been re not easily recover. It could not pelled bad they been repeated. fail to produce an immediate alteraThe necessity of subsistence drove tion in its commercial circumstances ; them quickly to the necessity of the depression of which would in. committing their fortune to the issue fallibly create a discouragement of a battle, in which the invaded and despondency in the English goderived an advantage over the in- vernment, that must induce it, at vaders from the possession, and from once, to remit of the haughtiness the knowledge of the country. But with wbich it exercised its vaval when the barbarians began to com- superiority over other nations. bine their military operations with Such was the purport of the va. naval expeditions ; when stores, as rious publications issued by authowell as troops, were poured upon rity, or proceeding from the many the Roman frontier, from the Baltic, individuals, who busied themselves the Dwina, the Elbe, the Danube, with compositions of this nature. and the Euxine seas, then, and not The impression which they made till then, they began to be wholly upon the generality of European irresistible. It was the maritime states, was very feeble. None, in. habits, and the naval power of the deed, appeared to pay them much Scandinavians, under the appella. attention, but those on which France tion of Normans, Danes, Picks, and possessed the forcible means of inother names, that enabled them, for Auence. The others were the space of six hundred years, to vinced, that the motives of the harrass, over-run, and rule the French, in those warm addresses to greater part of the sea-coasts of Eu. the continental powers, were dice rope. The trade of a pirate became tated by selfish views, and that, an honourable profession. The sons were they to succeed in overthrowof kings, at the head of pirates, ing the maritime power of England, sought and obtained at once settle. they would doubtless transfer it to ments and renown. Since the re- themselves, and employ it to the
vival of letters, the modern im- same ends to which they had so no. provements in arts and sciences, and toriously converted the superiority
ibe vast extension of commerce, the they had acquired at land. superior importance of naval power It was doubtless inconsistent, on seemed to be farther illustrated, and the ground of morality in the Engmore certainly established.
lish nation, to arraign the amIt was not among the least strik, bition and tyranny of the French, ing instances of that fertility of while they themselves, pursued imagination which supported the schemes of tyranny and ambition French under all difficulties, that on the main ocean, and in every they found means, as they con- quarter of the globe. If the French ceived, to oppose power al land (0 were plunderers at land, the Eng.
lish were plunderers on too many the advantages resulting from a occasions, and dictators at sea. Still, commerce with England bad grahowever, they had done no more dually superseded the fear of offende in the present war, than what had ing against this prohibition ; and it been authorized by long established was little attended to at this time. custom ; and under every restraint, A weighty motive for not enforcing & commercial correspondence with it was, the necessity of giving vent England had been, experimentally, to the cargoes of the English vese found extremely profitable. If their sels captured by the French privaindustry enabled them to derive be. teers. But after the government Defit from oiher nations, these also in Holland had come to the deterreceived no less profit from them. mination of forbidding the entry of An exclusion of their trade would English goods, it thought itself the redound, therefore, equally to the better entitled to require the adopdetriment of both parties.
tion of the like measure in France, Foiled in their endeavours to shut as Holland, in adopting it, had comall the European poris against the plied with the requisition of the English, the French determined, French government. This appeared bowever, to exclude them from so unanswerable a mode of reason. those of which they had the com- ing, that the directory, bowever mand. A proclamation had been disinclined to compliance, found itissued by the English government, self under the necessity of giving permitting the exportation of mer satisfac:ion to the Dutch confede chandize to Flanders and Holland. rates, who were so determined as to But the Dutch convention was die admit of no denial, that they tbreatrected to publish a counter procla- ened to rescind their resolutions, mation, prohibiting the importation unless the same were taken by the of goods from England, under se French government. vere penalties ; and enjoining the The regulations proposed on this people of the united provinces to occasion were very severe; they renonuce all commerce with a na not only prohibited the importtion that had treated them so ini- ation of English merchandize in fu. mically, and whose intentions were ture, but ordained the re-exportato deprive the Dutch republic of its tion of what had been imported. trade, after depriving it of its an
Harsh methods were, at the same cient freedom, by the forcible esta- time, adopted, to secure the obserblishment of a stadtholder. Having vance of these regulations; and expelled a sovereign imposed upon though they were unacceptable to them against their consent, they multitudes, so intent was ihe legiswere bound in duty and honour to lature on diminishing the resources refuse all connections with those of England, that the prohibitory who were endeavouring to subject decree, together with the heavy them again to bis yoke.
penalties annexed to its infringe. A similar prohibition of English ment, was carried by a large mamanufactures bad taken place in jority. France
, during the administration Great were the expectations of of Roberspierre, and bad for some the enemies to England, that this time been strictly enforced. But exclusion of its merchandize and
manufactures would, in a short time, which, while it continued open, reduce it to such distress, as 10 dise would always prove an inlet for able it from carrying on the war, English goods to all parts of Gerand oblige it to subinit tu any coni many: and ihe princes and states of ditions, for the sake of recovering the empire were no ways disposed 10 its trade. It cannot be denied grality, the French with an exclusion that appearances militaied strongly of the English from that only mediin favour of these consequences. uin of commercial communication Spain and Italy, two capital marts between Germany and the uther for the sale of English commodities, trading countries in Europe. especially the first, were now al The disappointment of ihe French most entirely slut to their admission. government, in the sanguine hope it Genoa and Leghorn, the two prin- lrad entertained of destroying inse cipal seats of the trade between commerce, and through it ihe finan. England and Italy, were under the ces of England, was farther aggraimmediale controul of France; the vated by the disorder of its owl. former was compelled, through the Notwithstanding the indefatigable terror of its arms, to exclude Eng- efforts used 10 place them on a fooiland from its ports, by a formal ing of stability, teinpurary expedia treaty to that purpose ; and the lat. ents were still the only props of go. ter was in the possession of a French vernment, which had no fixed prosgarrison. Corsica was, at the same pect of supporting itself by viber lime, no longer in the hands of the than precarious and uncertain English : but Naples and the papal means. But as these could not again terri'ories still remained open to be resorted to, the state still reverted them in Italy; and Portugal af. to the dangerous situation it had just forded an ample chanoel for the in- escaped, and was liable to experitroduction of every article of com ence still greater difficulties, from merce from England, not only into this successive abridgment of its that kingdom, but also into Spain, remaining resources. its adjoining neighbour, with which In this alarming situation the dia its immediate communication would rectory resolved to call a meeling of always procure either an open or the great bankers and merchants, clandestine entrance for English to consult with them on the means of merchandize of all kinds.
restoring the pecuniary credit of the Thus, on a considerate examina. nation, and circular letters were distion of the consequences resulting patched to them for that purpose. from this famous decree, they did not On the tenth of December a mesmeet the expectations of those who sage of a most pressing nature was framed it. It was found that as pow sent to the council of five hundred. er shut one door against commerce It was seriously urged by the di. luxury opened another. Little was rectory, to come without delay to the diminution of the English trade to the assi-tance of the state, the wants the southern parts of Europe, while of which were sucb, that if not in. in the north it remained uninterrupi- mediately relieved, it would be exed. From this quarter it was that pused to certain ruin. The only reEngland drew the most essential arti- medy that could be proposed, in this cles il wanted. Hamburgh was a port, extremity, was, to authorize the di.
rectory 10 receive the last instalment speedily healed, by the discretion of due on the sale of the national do. buch parties, might be productive mains, amounting to eighty millions, of ibe most serious evils. The ne. and which, being payable in specie, cessity of acting in concert preventmight be appropnated with effect to ed farther aliercation : but the tbe extinction of the debis that lay council of five hundred became exmost heavy on government, and the tremely watchful of the motious of liquidation of which appeared the the directory, and resolved to con. most indispensible.
fine it with the utmost strictness, tu This message was communicated the powers assigned to it by the con. to a secret committee of the coun. stitution. cil of five bundred: but contrary to During the cruel administration the expectations of the directory, it of Roberspierre, multitudes had fied was treated with slight, and as un to foreign countries, or concealed . deserving of attention. Equally themselves in various astonished and offended at this re- France, in order to escape the fate ception of a message, from which tar that would otherwise have attended different effects had been hoped, them. The revolutionary committhe directory published this trans- tees of the districts to which they aćtion upon the tollowing day, as an belonged, actuated by ibe barbarous appeal to ihe public on the conduct spirit of the times, had entered the of the council. But this step was names of these unhappy persons on judged to have been too hastily the list of emigrants, by which they laken. It seemed intended to bring were subjected to the punishments the council into disgrace, as re enacted by the law, against indifusing to concur with the directory viduals of this description. After in a necessary measure, and it evi- the overthrow of this sanguinary dently tended to occasion a variance system, several decrees had been between these two branches of yo- passed, to rescue those who had suf. vernmen', an evil that ought of all fered unjustly, through its tyranny, olbers to be the most studiously from the wretched condition to avoided in the present circumsiances which they had been reduced. of the nation.
Those who had expatriated themThe committee, thus brought for- selves since the last of May, 1793, ward before the public, exculpated when this dreadful system comitself for the rejection of this mes. menced, were permitted to return sage, by asserting that it represented to their country, and those who had the staie in a much more alarming been falsely entered on the list situation than consisted with reality. of emigrants, were cleared from the Through care and economy all dif- penalties annexed to emigration. ficulties might be removed, and the But, in the numbers that appealed directory had been no less faulty in to the laws, enacted to reinstate in exaggerating the difficulties of the their rights those who had been unnation, than imprudent in making justly deprived of them, i here were them known to the world.
many who came strictly under the · It was with much concern that the denomination of emigrants, but public bebeld a rupture between the who found means, though partiality legislature and the executive de or bribery, to procure testimonials partment, wbicb, unless it were of their not having left France be