« VorigeDoorgaan »
laft ten years, has been made by the nations. The rulers of ftates and kingdoms have been taught the danger tyranny; the people, that of anarchy; the financier, that even commercial advantages may be too dearly purchased; the politican and ftate finan, that durable power confifts not fo much in extended territory, as compacted dominion, flourishing population, and, above all, in juftice: juftice in the conduct of governments external as well as internal.
We are henceforth, we hope, and doubt not, for many years, to be called from the miferies and horrors of war to progreflive improvement in all the arts of peace; a nobler, as well as more pleafing and profitable career of ambition, among civilized nations, than that of conqueft. The energy of our ingenious and lively neighbours will return to the arts and fciences with an elaftic force, proportioned to the mifguided ardour that has too long propelled them to the enfanguined field of battle. Their improvements will be our gain, as ours alfo will be theirs. May all civilized nations confociate and co-operate for the general good; for leffening calamities, increafing comforts, and advancing human nature to greater and greater excellence, both intellectual and moral!
It will of courfe become our bufinefs to watch and trace the progrefs or the viciffitudes of arts and fciences, the condition of fociety, and public opinion: a task, though more pleafing, yet not perhaps lefs difficult, than to defcribe the effects of public councils, and military operations; which, being marked by bolder and palpable lines, are more eafily difcerned, and more clearly comprehended.
For the YEAR 1800.
Return of Buonaparte from Egypt to France.-His Letter to the Army of Egypt.-The Companions of his Voyage.-Arrives at Corfica.-And at Frejus in Provence.-Enthufiafiic Joy with which he was every where received.-Proceeds by Lyons to Paris.-Hopes and Confidence of the Parifians, and in general all the French centered on this military Chief Situation of the French Republic at this Period, external and internal.State of Parties.-War in the Western Departments.-Weakness and Halfmeafures of Government.—New political Changes meditated by Abbé Sieyes. -Perfonal Interview between the Abbé and Buonaparte.—Buonaparte careffed and courted by all Parties.-The Army alone courted by him.-He favours and joins the moderate Party-Character of Abbe Sieyes.- And of Buonaparte.-Splendid Feaft given in Honour of Buonaparte.-Project for a Change in the Government and Conftitution.-Neceffarily communicated to confiderable Numbers of the Members of both Councils.-Yet kept Secret till the Moment of Explosion.—The Council of Elders empowered by the Conflitution of 1795 to transport the Legislature whenever it should think Proper to any Commune within a certain Difance of Paris.-ComVOL. XLII. [B] · mand
mand of the French Troops in and near Paris, vefted, by the Council of Elders, in Buonaparte.-Tranflation of the Legislative Bodies, and the Direclory to St. Cloud.
Y what fpecial combination of circumftances, and what private confiderations Buonaparte was induced to quit Egypt, and return to France, and particularly whether it was in confequence of a fecret correlpondence, and concert with that fubtle and reftlefs projector of conftitutions, abbé Sieyes, or other politicians, is not yet known: nor could it be expected that it fhould have yet been revealed.There is not, however, the leaft reafon for doubting the truth of his general declaration to the army, at Alexandria, on the twenty-third of Auguft, 1799, "That he had determined immediately to return to France, in confequence of news from Europe." The fubftance of the intelligence to which he alluded is well enough understood. The adminiftration of the French republic was corrupt, weak, unpopular, and odious, and her armies difcomfited in Germany and Italy, by the Auftrians and Ruffians. To repair both thefe misfortunes, and in repairing them to acquire additional power and glory, it may reafonably be prefumed, was the leading principle in the conduct of Buonaparte. In the execution of this defign there was an invincible neceffity of the most impenetrable fecrecy. Until the moment of his
departure he concealed it from the army, and even from the perfons whom he chole to accompany him. The moft diftinguished among thefe, were general Berthier, chief of the ftaff; Lannes and Murat, generals of divifion; Marmont, the general of brigade; Andreoffi, the general of artillery; the chief of brigade, Beffieres, who commanded his guides; the three philofophers Bertholet, Mongé, and Arnaud; great number of officers, feveral Mammalukes, and his guides.
Buonaparte, having communicated his defign to general Berthier, and him only, gave orders to viceadmiral Gantheaume, to arm and get ready two frigates, together with two floops, the one of the kind called an Avifo, the other a Tartane. This being done, he addreffed a fealed letter to all those whom he intended to take with him, with inftructions not to open it till a certain day, at a given hour, and at a certain point on the feaflore.
The day appointed was the twenty-fecond of. Auguft. All thofe who had received the letter attended at the appointed place, and opened the letter, in which they found an order for their immediate embarkation. They did not lofe a moment but left their bag
His letter to the army, on fo interefting an occafion, our readers may wish to fee at full length. As it is but fhort we fhall here infert it: "In confequence of the news from Europe, I have determined immediately to return to France I leave the command of the army to general Kleber. They shall hear from me speedily. This is all I can fay to them at prefent. It grieves me to the heart to part from the brave men to whom I am fo tenderly attached. But it will be only for an inftant; and the general I leave at their head, is in full poffeffion of the confidence of the government, and of mine."
gage in their lodgings, and their horfes on the fhore. Having arrived on board the hips prepared for the voyage, their names were called over. Two ftrangers were found among them and relanded. They then weighed anchor and fet fail, but contrary winds did not permit them to get out of the road of Aboukir till the twenty-fourth of Auguft.
Previoufly to his departure, Buonaparte left a letter addreffed to general Kleber, with orders that it fhould not be opened for twentyfour hours after his quitting the land. This letter contained his appointment to the chief command of the army of all Egypt, during the ablence of Buonaparte, and an order for conferring the command of Upper Egypt on general Deffaix. On leaving the anchorage of Aboukir, the fmall French fquadron could defcry but one frigate, and they arrived at Ajaccio, in Corfica, on the thirtieth of September.There they were detained by contrary winds till the fixth of October. On the fixth they were but ten leagues diftant from Toulon, when, in the evening, they perceived an English fquadron of eight fail. The question now propofed in council was, whether they thould fail back to Corfica, or attempt to make the fhore. Buonaparte foon decided it. Recolle&ing, perhaps, the encouraging words of Julius Cæfar to his mariners in circumftances alfo of danger, he faid, "Be not alarmed, fortune will not abandon me, let us make directly for the coaft." Signals were made accordingly, and the frigates veered immediately eastward. The Avilo, not perceiving the fignals, remained behind in the midft of the ene
my's fleet. But the ship that carried Buonaparte, with crowded fails, was foon out of danger. The other three fhips, about nine in the morning of the leventh, came to anchor near St. Rapheau, which, about noon, the crews were permitted to enter. About two, Buonaparte, with his companions and fuite, arrived at Frejus, a fmall fea-port of Provence, amidst an immenfe concourle of people, who haftened to behold him from the neighbouring country. The moment they landed, they fell down, in imitation of a cuftom among the Greek and Roman generals, and embraced the ground, which they called the Land of Liberty. Traniports of enthufiaftic joy broke out among the fpectators on every fide, and nothing was heard but cries of vive la Republique vive Buonaparte. The magiftates of Frejus went out to meet them, and received them with a kind of triumphal honours,
The generals Lannes and Murat, both wounded, fet out from St. Rapheau with all the crews for Toulon, from whence, fome days thereafter, they proceeded to Paris.
It was certainly a piece of great good fortune that Buonaparte and his companions fhould effect their efcape through fo many hoftile fhips of war, Rulian, Turkish, and English. His greatest dangers, however, were encountered during the two firft days after his embark ation, when he was prevented by contrary winds from getting out of the road of Aboukir. The army muft have fuppofed that he was only going to reconnoitre fome part of the coaft, or for concerting and planning fome fecret expedition. There was not a little danger of his real defign, in the courfe of those two days being difcovered; in [B 2]
which cafe there was alfo fome danger of the army ftopping him, and demanding an explanation of his conduct; fo that the return of Buonaparte, as well as 'his expedition to Egypt, and tranfactions there, were ftrongly tinctured with the marvelous. If there were in reality a divinity of fortune, there could be no doubt that Buonaparte is one of her greateft favourites, as he himfelf is very ready to acknowledge.
At fix o'clock in the evening of the feventeenth of October, this celebrated chief left Frejus, and proceeded to Paris, in company with general Berthier and the three members of the national inftitute already mentioned. The courier who had been difpatched before him, to announce his arrival to the directory, and to prepare relays of horfes for his journey, called out for them every where in his name, and from every town and village the people rushed out to meet him, and accompanied him beyond their refpective communities: fo immenle was the crowd, even in the roads, that the carriages found it difficult to go forward. In every place through which he paffed, from Frejus to Paris, there were at night illuminations. At Lyons,
when it was known that he was to pafs that city, nothing was omitted that could be imagined, in order to testify the joy of the citizens, and give him a fplendid reception. A fhort theatrical piece, called the Hero's Return, was compofed and reprefented immediately. The per
formers read their parts, not hav ing had time to commit them to memory. On his appearance at the theatre, he was received with thunders of applaufe, and when he went out of the houfe, the audience followed him home to his lodgings. On the day after his aṛrival in Paris, he had a private audience of the directory. All the ftreets and allies leading to the Luxembourg were crowded with fpectators. Buonaparte teftified a lively fenfibility to the demonftrations with which he was every where furrounded of the public joy and gladness. In his way to and from the directorial palace, he obferved among the fpectators feveral foldiers who had ferved under him in his campaigns in Italy. These men he called to him, wherever he perceived them, and gave them his hand, with expreffions of goodwill and friendship. He wore a great coat with a Turkish sabre. His hair was cut very fhort, and the climate of Egypt had changed the natural palenets of his face, info a dart complexion, which improved his appearance. On leaving the directory he paid vifits to the minifters of war and marine, and other perfens of confequence in the fervice of the republic.
Thefe particulars will not be cenfured as too minute, when we reflect on the intereft which the French nation felt in Buonaparte at this time, and how much that univerfal enthufiafm, in favour of this fingle man, contributed to the important fcenes with which it was
It is a queftion of not a little curiofity, what is the reafon why Buonaparte affects to confider himself as under the peculiar protection of fortune? When he had to do with barbarians, to talk of fate and fortune, might not be bad policy? But in fortune he has expreffed his confidence to the French army, and even the French nation and legiflature, who, if they are not even deifts, are much lefs polytheifts.