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wishes of the respective parties, that the examination might terminate in their favour. The remarkable fervour with which the royalists expretled their hope of its repeal, sufficiently indicated how much they expected it would militate for them, while the apprehensions of the republicans, lest it should be repeated, manifested equally their conviction, how strongly this would operate to their detriment.
This fermentation of the public mind carried the weight of the strongest argument with those who were entrusted with this great decision. The elatedness of the royal party, on the bare possibility of a repeal, clearly pointed out the danger of it to llie commonwealth, and admonished, its well-wishers to oppose luch a measure with all their might. The members of the committee of examination, being staunch republicans, could not fail to perceive the question before them in the fame light. They did not therefore hesitate to pronounce explicrtly a verdict conformable to the opinion of their parly, which was thereby released from a state os the deepest anxiety on the issue of this business.
There were, however, some very fir.cere republicans in both the councils, who disapproved of this l?av, and exerted their abilities for its repeal. They argued that it made no difference between the relations of real enemies to the revolution, who had abandoned their country, out of hatred to the system introduced by that event, and the relations of individuals who had sied from the tyranny that had deluged France with proscriptions and murders. Such a flight ought not, in the clearest equity, to be accounted
Eunishable. The law should have een pointed at those chiefly whose crimes had rendered them objects of abhorrence to all parties; and who, having been tried and condemned for them, had been shielded from punishment, by the amnesty extended to them by that law, in defiance of equity and the general sense os the public, which loudly demanded that thev should be made examples of, as guilty of plunders and assassinations that had filled the nation with dread and horror. Were such men to be excepted from the rigour of a law which ought to have been made for them alone, instead of falling upon (he innocent? Was it reconcileable with reason and propriety, that such men should be promoted to posts of honour and authority? but the fact was, that the period when this law took place was marked by the terrors that hung over those who, though they reprobated, did not dare lo refuse their assent to it. The constitution, though framed and accepted, stood yet upon a tottering foundation. The most upright men in the convention felt themlelves indanger from that violent party still prevailing, and with which they had no other expedient to compromise for their own safety, than consenting to this inequitabe law, in hope however of some auspicious opportunity to repeal it. This opportunity was arrived, and every motive concurred to induce the legislature to rescind an act replete with cruelty and scandal. It was well known, that those, whom it affected, had been falsely held out to the public, as enemies to the state, and their names, together with those of their relations, wantonly inserted in the list of emigrants, while 8 »' it was notorious (hat many of the nnturtunate individuals, thus traduced, were locked" up in prisons, where calumny and suspicion were ut that tyrannical period sufficient reasons to confine and to treat them with the most unfeeling barbarity. Bat were it only out os respect for ilx- rights of the people at large, a law should be abrogated, that took from them the constitutional right us chafing to places and dignities in t6e Irate, those whom they reputed worthy of fheir confidence. To deny Mb this right, was to abridge them of their liberties in a most efetial point. To plead the safety of the nation was the language of rinmnv, and would justify every species of despotism. What crimes M not been committed by the Quinary tribunals, erected on the pretence of punishing the foes to the revolution?
To these, and other arguments, in favour of a repeal, it was replied, bv the supporters of the law, that it palled at a time when it was deemed JndKpensiWe for the preservation os the national freedom, and (he security os the constitution just established. Its numerous and active enemies were every where in motion, and striving with all their «i<ht to set the people against it. Surprcions were warrantable motives to exclude those on whom they fell, tt a time when so many were justly Inspected, from stations of power antitrust, wherein they might have acted Ib hostile a part to the comnjonweaitbi Would it have been ^udent to expose it to such danger »f home, while menaced by so many toes from abroad? Allowing that a number of individuals suffered uirijftly by this law, was not this a Bach less inconvenience than to Vol. XXXVIII.
throw tlie whole nation at once into the hands of so many concealed enemies? But the suffering, so bitterly complained of, amounted only (o a temporary suspension of their rights, of which they would undergo the deprivation, no longer than the short space that might elapse till the restoration of general tranquillity. As soon as'peace was re-established, both at home and abroad, the suspension of all privileges would cease, and every man be placed on the completest footing of equality, in respect of pretensions to public employments. But till that period, it were the height of imprudence to place confidence in any but the tried friends to the commonwealth. The promotion of others would unavoidably excite fears and jealousies. With what prospect of impartial justice could the relations of emigrants be entrusted with the execution of the severe, but neceliary, laws enacted against them? Instances might occur, in the present situation of things, when not only the liberty and property, but the very life of the dearest relative would be at stake: was it to be expected that the ties of consanguinity would not have their influence op these occasions, and that a man coolly and dete/mjnafely would doom another to death, whble life was as dear to him as his own? In this light, the law, lo violently reprobated, was in fact humane and merciful: it exempted individuals from those terrible conflicts between the feelings of nature, and the dictates of duty, wherein they could neither yield to the one nor to the other, without incuring the imputation of betraying their trust, or of wanting humanity. When these various circumf M j stances stances were duly considered, it must appear that the repeal of the law in question would be attended evidently with so many inconveniences, that no judicious and unbiassed person could require it. The interest os the public was not, in truth, more concerned in maintaining that law in its full vigour, than that of private families: both would equally suffer from its abolition. It would often happen that justice would not be done to the public, or that by doing it, men would embitter the remainder of their lives, and become objects cither of general resentment or compassion. It being clear, therefore, that much more evil than good, must slow from the repeal of the law; and the security of the state being, at the fame time, a motive that ought to supersede all others, that law could not with any propriety be abrogated. It was, at the lame time, much to be suspected, that many of those, who recommended such a measure, acted from sinister motives, as nothing could be a stronger proof of its impropriety, than the satisfaction universally expressed, by the royalists, at such a question being brought before the two councils.
A multiplicity of other arguments were alleged by the contending parties, in which the public joined with an earnestnels that shewed how much all men were convinced of the importance of the subject in debate. But the report of the committee seemed to carry an influence that could not, and ought not to be resisted. This was the opinion of the people at large, even more than of the council of five hundred, as the question against
the repeal was carried by a majority of only forty-four.
The minority, encouraged by this evidence of their strength, resolved, if it were not able to compass the repeal of the law of the third of Brumaire, (25th October, 1795 ;) so lo modify its provisions, as to direct them equally at the partisans and. instruments of the terrorists and jacobins; and the royalists, who, aster taking up arms against the republic, had submitted and been pardoned. The proposal ossuch an amendment proved highly exasperating to the supporters of that law, who asserted, that sufficient moderation had been shewn in exempting from its opera, tion the actors and abetters in the insurrection against the conventional decrees for the re-elections. But the general disposition of the council was so strongly marked by impartiality on this occasion, that the amendment was carried, to the great surprize of the public; the majority of which, though decidedlf inclined to measures of lenity, iva> fearful of that preponderance of Jacobinism, which had hitherto exerted so irresistable. an influence over all the proceedings of the legiflature.
The council of elders would willingly have consented to the total repeal of the law of the third Brumaire, and embraced, therefore, with readiness, an opportunity ot mitigating its severity, by assenting to the amendment made by the council of five hundred.
This alteration of that severe law proved a matter os unexpected triumph to the moderate partv, which constituted a large majoriiy of the nation. The exclusion from post? os emolument, or of power,
was a heavy blow on that sanguinary faction, which had ruled by terror. It lost thereby a multitude us its agents, whose crimes now rendered them ineligible to public employments, and many were, on the fame account, obliged to vacate those which they possessed.
The discerning part of the public ],x)ked upon this event, as a species of revolution, and formed the strongest hope that it would promote a reconciliation between the friends to a republican government, and those to a limited monarchy. Liberty being equally the aim »f
both, it appeared not improbable that, if the latter could' be satisfied of an earnest determination in the ruling powers to put an end to oppressive measures, the little prospect, that now remained of subverting the established government, would induce them to submit to it, rather than renew those attempts to restore their own system, which had so repeatedly sailed, not more through the rashness or incapacity of those who had conducted them, than the general repugnance of the nation to join them upon those occasions.
Effects expected in Francs from a growing Spirit of Moderation.—The Chief Object in the Councils of France, how to Break or to Weaken the Power of England.—Plan of the French for that End.—Means for Restoring the Pecuniary Credit of the French Republic.—A Rupture threatened between the French Councils and Executive Directory.—Prevailed by the necessity of their ailing in Concert.—The legislature Invade the Province of the Directory, hy the Appointment of a Committee for judging in Cafes of Appeals from Emigrants.—Loftiness of the Directory.—Humbled by the IVifi Economy and Firmness of the United Stales of America.—-lealoufies and Disputes beJween the French and Ameritans.—And an open Rupture.
rF",HE spirit os lenity that seemed A to have arisen, and been nourished by the new constitution, began to operate powerfully in its savour, and to gain it daily fresh adherents. The people in France appeared in general cxtreimely willing lo support it, hoping (hat the period os internal confusions would thereby be acceleralcd, and (hat the European powers leagued against them, when they sound that unanimity was re-established among the French, would cease to prosecute the war for the restoration os the house of Bourbon to the throne of France, against the manifest will of the nation.
The heads of the republic were now deeply occupied in the concerting of means to counteract the measures of that power, on the indefatigable efforts' of which all the others depended for the support of their own. It was with unfeigned mortification that France beheld
that power unshaken and undiminished in the midst of the disaster? that had befallen the other parts of the coalition. That invincible spirit, which had so many ages accompanied the councils and the arms of England, and enabled it to maintain so many contests with France, had, in the present, displayed greater energy than ever, and impresled several os the soundest politicians with an idea, that however the French republic might for a while diffuse, the terror of its arms among the neighbouring states, the perlevering courage of the English, aided by their immense opulence, would finally weary out the endeavours of the French toretain the acquisitions they had m,ade; and, that notwithstanding the republic itself might remain, it would, on the issue of the terrible trial it had stood, be compelled to remit os the pretensions it had formed to prescribe terms of peace to all its numerous enemies, and to