Category Archives: France

Item of the Day: Journal During a Residence in France (1794)

Full Title: A Journal During a Residence in France, from the Beginning of August, to the Middle of December, 1792. To which is added, An Account of the Most Remarkable Events that Happened at Paris from that Time to the Death of the Late King of France. By John Moore, M.D. A New Edition Corrected. Vol. I. London: Printed for G. G. and J. Robinson, Paternoster-Row, 1794.

 

August 8

A debate of geat expectation took place this day in the National Assembly —A committee of twelve members were some time since apointed to deliberate on the conduct of M. de la Fayette. —Jean de Brie made the report, in which he greatly blamed the conduct of the General, in having calumniated and menaced the National Assembly; in having had the design to march his army against Paris; and in having assumed unconstitutional power: and the reported concluded by proposing a decree of accusation.

The discourse of Jean de Brie was greatly applauded by the audience in the tribunes. M. Baublanc made an able and eloquent defence of the General’s conduct; but when he proposed the previous question on Jean de Brie’s motion, the people in the galleries raised the most vilent exclamations and murmurs, which were, however, balanced by the applause of the majority of the Assembly.

Brissot spoke next, and added new force to the reasoning of Jean de Brie. When the decree of accusation was put to the vote, it was rejected by a majority of near 200.

This occasioned fresh murmurs in the galleries, and violent agitation in the Assembly.

As this was considered as a trial of strenght between the parties, it is to be presumed that the majority of the Assembly is with the Court; and that in future debates it will rather augment than dimish, as is usually the case in the British Houses of Parliament after a very great majority in favour of either party. The minority, however, seem to have the people with them. I am told indeed that those noisy people in the galleries are hired; but this does not account to me for the cry being all on one side. The partisons of the Court, one would imagine, might hire applauders as well as the other. . . .

 

Leave a comment

Filed under 1790's, France, French Revolution, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Travel Literature

Item of the Day: Letter from Charles Carroll to James McHenry (1800)

Full Title: Manuscript letter from Charles Carroll to Secretary of War, James McHenry, November 4, 1800.

 

Annapolis, 4th Nov. 1800

I regret my absence form this city when Mr. Caldwell brought your letter of the 21st past, as it deprived me of shewing those attentions & that civility to which his character & his connection with you justly entitled him.

I hoped to have had the pleasure of a visit from you at the Manor. I wished much to see you to discourse on a variety of subjects & particularly on the present critical situation of this country. The President remarks that we are fallen upon evil times. I fear a great part of the evil may be attributed to his shifting conduct, his passions, his indescretion, vanity & jealousy. I had a high opinion of Mr. Adams, & still I believe him to be an honest man, but his integrity cannot compensate for his weaknesses, which unfit him for his present station. With a competition for places & power between the friends & opposers of the administration the only object of the contest, it would be a matter of indifference to me by what party the governt. should be administered. If Mr. Adams should be reelected I fear our Constitution would be more injured by his unruly passions, anitpathies & jealousy, than by the whimsies of Jefferson. I am not acquainted with the characters of the leaders of the opposition but it is to be apprehanded [sic], that to obtain & retain power they might sacrifice the true interests & real independence of this country to France. Judge Duvall says that now well informed man can doubt of there being a british faction among us wishing to establish a monarchy in lieu of a republican govent. If he unites the north I own I am not one of the number of the well informed. I know of no such faction; if it exists & is endeavouring to effect such a change, its attempts should be crushed. If our country should continue to be the sport of parties, if the mass of the people should be exasperated & roused to pillage the more wealthy, social order will be subverted, anarchy will follow, succeeded by despotism; these changes have in that order of succession taken place in France. Yet the men so far as I am informed, who stile themselves republicans, very generally wish success to France; in other words, the friends of freedom here are the friends of Bounaparte, who has established by a military force the most despotic government in Europe; how are we to reconcile this contradiciton of their avowed principles? Is their aversion to the English constitution the cause of this inconsistency? Do they consider the naval power of that nation as the strongest barrier to the revolutionary arts by which all the rulers of France, each in their turn, have endeavoured & are endeavouring to weaken & subvert all othe governments, that France may establish an influence over all, & thus become too powerful? They dare not avow the sentiments, yet their wishes & their conduct point to it. I wish the british to retain the empire of the seas, while the rulers of France are activated by such motives; the decided naval superiority of Britain is ye only effectual check to ye ambition of that republick; the true interests and independence of this country require that those rival nations should be balanced.

If the people of this coutnry were united it would have nothing to fear from foreign powers; but unhappily this is not the case. Many of the opposers of the present administration, I suspect want a change of the federal constitution; if that should be altered or weakened so as to be rendered a dead letter, it will not answer the purposes of its formation and will expire from mere inanity: other confederacies will start up & ye scene of ye Grecian states after an interval of more than two thousand years will be renewed on this contintent, & some Philip or Bounaparte will met the whole of them into one mass of despotism.

These events will be hastened by the pretended philosophy of France; divine revelation has been scoffed at by the Philosophers of the present day, the immortality of the soul treated as the dreams of fools, or the invention of knaves, & death has been declared by public authority an eternal sleep; these opinions are gaining ground amont us & silently saping the foundations of religion & encouragement of good, the terror of evildoers and the consolation of the poor, the miserable, and the distressed. Remove the hope & dread of future reward & punishment, the most powerful restraint on wicked action, & ye strongest inducement to virtuous ones is done away. Virtue, it may be said, is its own reward; I believe it to be so, and even in this life the only soruce of happiness, and this intimate & necessary connection between virtue & happiness here, & between vice & misery, is to my mind one of the surest pledge of happiness or misery in a future state of existence. But how few practice virtue merely for its own reward? Some of happy dispositon & temperament, calm reflecting men, exempt in a great degree form the turbulance of passions may be vituous for vitrtue’s sake. Small however is the number who are guided by reason alone, & who can always subject their passions to its dictates. He can thust act may be said to be virtuous, but reason is often inlisted on the side of the passions, or at best, when most waanted, is weakest. Hence the necessity of a superior motive for acting virtuously; Now, what motive can be stronger than ye belief, founded on revelation, that a virtuous life will be rewarded by a happy immortality? Without mortals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore, who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime & pure, which denounces against the wicked eternal misery, & insures to the good eternal happiness are underming the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free government.

If there be force in this reasoning what judgement ought we to form of our pretended republicans, who admire & applaud the proceedings of the revolutionary France!

These disclaimers in favor of freedom and equality act in such a questionable shape that I cannot help suspecting their sincerity.

This is a long & preaching letter and I fear a tedious & dull one, but you wished to know my sentiments about the present parties & impending fate of our country, and I could not give them without developing the reasons for my opinion. You see that I almost despair of the Commonwealth. The end of every legitimate government is the security of life, liberty and property: if this country is to be revolutionised none of these will be secure. Perhaps the leaders of the opposition, when they get into office, may be content to let the Constitution remain as it is, & may pursue the policy & measures of Washington’s administration, but what will become in that case of their consistency? Patriots you will say are not always consistent; granted, yet other patriots and opposers will arise to arraign this inconsistency, & the storm once raised, who will stop its fury?

Celui que met un pein a la fureur des flots

Sait aussi des mechans arreter les complots

My only hope is in that being who educes good out of evil. May he in his abundant mercy incline the hearts of our countrymen to tpeace, justice and concord.

I have read Mr. Hamilton’s pamphlet; the drift of its publication at this time I conjecture was not so mcuh with a view of vindicating his character as to prevent the electors in Massachusetts from scattering their votes in order to secure the election of Mr. Adams in preference to Mr. Pinckney. All with whom I have conversed, blame however Mr. Hamilton and consider his publication as ill timed, altho I pay a deference to the opinions of others, whose motives I know to be good, yet I cannot help differing from them in this instance. The assertions of the pamphlet I take it for granted are true, and if true, surely it must be admitted that Mr. Adams is not fit to be president, and his unfitness should be made known to the electors, and ye public. I conceive it a species of treason to conceal from the publick his incapacity . . .

Although your remaining rather a spectator of than an actor in the passing scenes is founded on a proper motive, yet you will find it impossible to retain an neutral character, nor do I think it fit you should. We ought all, each in our several spheres, to endeavour to set the publick mind right, & to administer antodotes to the poison that is widely spreading throughout the country.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1800's, Early Republic, Elections, Federalists, Foreign Relations, France, Great Britain, John Adams, Politics, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, United States

Item of the Day: The New Book of Chronicles [1789]

Full Title: The New Book of Chronicles; Delineating in Eccentrical Sketches of the Times a Variety of Modern Characters of the Great and Small Vulgar. London: Printed for T. Massey, Snow-Hill, and sold by all the booksellers of Great Britain, [1789].

 

CHAPTER III.

ARGUMENT.

In those days the fire burned in Gallia, as the multitude mused on their mighty Monarch.

2.  Behold, the fury of the flame spread far and wide even until it reached the region of captivity,

3.  Called in the Hebrew tongue the Tophet of Tyranny but by the Gauls the Bastile.

4.  Lo, in that horrible pit were found the Records of Royal Rebellion, written with the blood of the brave asserters of Liberty.

5.  On that day the Grand Monarch much marveled, and humbled himself before the Lord, and all the people of the Provinces.

6.  Then fled the Queen and hid herself in a solitary Sanctuary,

7.  Which proved not an asylym, for the assembly of the nation for her head offered three hundred thousand livres.

8.  In the mean time the enraged multitude seized the Governour of the Bastile, and put him to Death, who dealt with him as he deserved.

9.  The Commandant also was pushed by the people within the reach of the tyrant, whose slave he had been.

10. And behold, when the frightful king had done to these twain even as they had done to the prisoners of the dungeon, they descended to the shades of Erebus,

11. Not meeting in all the way the place which the priests of Rome call Purgatory, even the place of fools.

12. Now it came to pass, as these slaves of authority arrived at the gate of Pandoemonium,

13. That behold Brownrig the wife of Lucifer looked out at a window over the portal of the unhallowed hall.

14. And she cried with a loud voice, saying, behold, my brethren of the Bastile knock at the door, open it unto them.

15. As the high harlot of hell spake, lo the gates opened wide to the harsh sound of ten thousand hogs making melody in the Museum of Mawby.

16. And when forty and five infernals had whipped the slaves into the hall of justice, they stood before Eacus, Minos, and Rhadamanthus.

17. Howbeit, Belial blushed, Moloch grew mad, Satan saddened his countenance, and all the peers proclaimed a fast, when they were told that their kingdom was falling.

18. On that day the King caused all the regions of his dominions to be hung with sable, and commanded also the court to appear in the hue of hell, saying:

19. Peradventure the mercers and drapers of London may open a trade hither, through the medium of the taylors.

20. And when he had caused his servants to set before the keepers of the Bastile the bread which Belial had baken and the beer of his brewing,

21. At the motion of his sceptre seven of the infernal phalanx thrust them into the fiery furnace;

22. And it came to pass, when the door was shut that the whole herd of hardned fiends fell into a fit of festivity, rejoicing to hear the roar of the _____s.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under 1780's, Foreign Relations, France, French Revolution, Great Britain, Political Commentary, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: Speech of the President of the United States to Congress (May 16, 1797)

Found In: State Papers and Publick Documents of the United States from the Accession of George Washington to the Presidency, Exhibiting a Complete View of our Foreign Relations since that Time. 1797. Boston: Printed and published by T. B. Wait & Sons, David Hale, agent for the States of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, 1815.

 

SPEECH OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO CONGRESS. MAY 16, 1797.

Gentlemen of the Senate, and

Gentlemen of the House of Representatives,

The personal inconveniences to the members of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives, in leaving their families and private affairs, at this season of the year, are so obvious, that I the more regret the extraordinary occasion which has rendered the convention of Congress indispensable.

It would have afforded me the highest satisfaction to have been able to congratulate you on a restoration of peace to the nations of Europe, whose animosities have endangered our tranquillity: but we have still abundant casue of gratitude to the Supreme Dispenser of national blessings for general health and promising seasons; for domestick and social  happiness; for the rapid progress and ample acquisitions of industry through extensive territories; for civil, political, and religious liberty. While other states are desolated with foreign war, or convulsed with intestine divisions, the United States present the pleasing prospect of a nation governed by mild and equal laws, generally satisfied with the possession of their rights; neither envying the advantages nor fearing the power of other nations; solicitious only for the maintenance of order and justice and the preservation of liberty; increasing daily in their attachment to a system of government, in proportion to their experience of its utility; yielding a ready and general obedience to laws flowing from the reason, and resting on the only solid foundation, the affections of the people.

It is with extreme regret that I shall be obliged to turn your thoughts to other circumstances, which admonish us that some of these felicities may not be lasting; but if the tide of our prosperity is full, and a reflux commencing, a vigilant circumspection becomes us, that we may meet our reverses with fortitude, and extricate ourselves from their consequences, with all the skill we possess, and all the efforts in our power.

In giving to Congress information of the state of the Union, and recommending to their consideration such measures as appear to me to be necessary or expedient, according to my constitutional duty, the cause and the objects of the present extraordinary session will be explained.

After the President of the United States received information that the French government had expressed serious discontents at some proceedings of the government of these states, said to affect the interests of France, he thought it expedient to send to that country a new minister, fully instructed to enter on such amicable discussions, and to give such candid explanations as might happily remove the discontents and suspicions of the French government, and vindicate the conduct of the United States. —For this purpose he selected from among his fellow-citizens a character, whose integrity, talents, experience, and services, had placed him in the rank of the most esteemed and respected in the nation. The direct object of his mission was expressed in his letter of credence to the French Republick; being “to maintain that good understanding, which from the commencement of the alliance had subsisted between the two nations; and to efface unfavourable impressions, banish suspicions, and restore that cordiality which was at once the evidence and pledge of a friendly union:” and his instructions were to the same effect “faithfully to represent the dispositon of the government and people of the United States, (their dispositon being one) to remove jealousies, and obiate complaints, by showing that they were groundless; to restore that mutual confidence which had been so unfortunately and injuriously imparied; and to explain the relative interests of both countries, and the real sentiments of his own.” . . .

 

Leave a comment

Filed under 1790's, Congress, Early Republic, Foreign Relations, France, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Washington

Item of the Day: Bougainville’s Voyage (1772)

Full Title:  A Voyage Round the World.  Performed by Order of His Most Christian Majesty, In the Years 1766, 1767, 1768, and 1769.  By Lewis De Bougainville, Colonel of Foot, and Commodore of the Expedition in the Frigate La Boudeuse, and the Store-ship L’Etoile.  Translated from the French by John Reinhold Forster, F. A. S.  Dublin:  Printed for J. Exshaw, H. Saunders, J. Potts, W. Sleater, D. Chamberlaine, E. Lynch, J. Williams, R. Moncrieffe, T. Walker, and C. Jenkins.  MDCCLXXII.

A Voyage Round the World.  Part the First.  Departure from France–clearing the Straits of Magalhaens. 

Chap. I.

Departure of the Boudeuse from Nantes; puts in at Brest; run from Brest to Montevideo; junction with the Spanish frigates, intended for taking possession of the Malouines, or Falkland’s islands.

In February 1764, France began to make a settlement on the Isles of Malouines.  Spain reclaimed these isles as belonging to the continent of South America; and her right to them having been acknowledged by the king, I received orders to deliver our settlement to the Spaniards, and to proceed to the East Indies by crossing the South Seas between the Tropics.  For this expedition I received the command of the frigate la Boudeuse, of twenty-six twelve pounders, and I was to be joined at the Malouines by the store-ship l’Etoile, which was intended to bring me the provisions necessary for a voyage of such length, and to follow me during the whole expedition.  Several circumstances retarded the junction of this store-vessel, and consequently made my whole voyage near eight months longer than it would otherwise have been. 

In the beginning of November, 1766, I went to Nantes, where the Boudeuse had just been built, and where M. Duclos Guyot, a captain of a fireship, my second officer was fitting her out.  The 5th of this month we came down from Painbeuf to Mindin, to finish the equipment of her; and on the 15th we sailed from this road for the river de la Plata.  There I was to find two Spanish frigates, called le Esmeralda and le Liebre, that had left Ferrol the 17th of October, and whose commander was ordered to receive the Isles Malouines, or Falkland’s islands, in the name of his Catholic majesty.

The 17th in the morning we suffered a sudden gust of wind from W. S. W. to N. W. it grew more violent in the night, which we passed under our bare poles, with our lower-yards lowered, the clue of the fore sail, under which we tried before, having been carried away.  The 18th, at four in the morning, our fore-top-mast broke about the middle of its height; the main-top-mast resisted till eight o-clock, when it broke in the cap, and carried away the head of the main mast.  This last event made it impossible to continue our voyage, and I determined to put into Brest, where we arrived the 21st of November.

This squall of wind, and the confusion it had occasioned, gave me room to make the following observation upon the state and qualities of the frigate which I commanded.

1. The prodigious tumbling home of her top-timbers, leaving too little open to the angles which the shrouds make with the masts, the latter were not sufficiently supported. 

2. The preceding fault became of more consequence by the nature of the ballast, which we had been obliged to take in, on account of the prodigious quantity of provisions we had stowed.  Forty tons of ballast, distibuted on both sides of the kelson, and at a short distance from it, and a dozen twelve-pounders placed at the bottom of the pump-well (we had only fourteen upon deck) added a considerable weight, which being much below the center of gravity, and almost entirely rested upon the kelson, put the masts in danger, if there had been any rolling.   

Leave a comment

Filed under 1770's, Explorations, France, Posted by Matthew Williams, South America, Travel, Travel Literature

Item of the Day: Cui bono? (1781)

Full Title: Cui Bono? Or, An Inquiry, What Benefits Can Arise Either to the English or the Americans, the French, Spaniards, or Dutch, from the Greatest Victories, or Successes, in the Present War? Being a Series of Letters, Addressed to Monsieur Necker, Late Controller General of the Finances of France. By Josiah Tucker, D.D. Dean of Glocester. Glocester: Printed by R. Raikes, for T. Cadell, in the Strand; Sold also by Evans and Hazell, in Glocester, M.DCC.LXXXI. [1781]

LETTER I.

TO MONSIEUR NECKER.

Cui Bono?

SIR,

A MAN who has distinguished himself in such critical Times as the present, in the difficult and envied Station of Controller-General of the Finances of France, is certain of being attacked, and as sure of being defended, by Multitudes of Writers. You have experienced the Effects of both Parties; and are, perhaps, by this Time, sufficiently cloyed with the Flattery of the one, and grown callous to the Censures of the other. Therefore it is natural for you to conclude, that when any other Writer is bringing your Name again before the Public, he is only repeating what you have so often heard. —But if you, Sir, will honour these Letters with a careful Perusal, you will find hardly one Thing in them similar to what you have read before, and yet many of them, perhaps, not unworthy of your serious Attention.

As I wish to treat you with all the Respect due to your distinguished Character; and as my Aim, in the Prosecution of my Subject, is entirely the Good of Mankind; I presume it is unnecessary, as a Stranger to your Person, to apologize for the Liberty I take in thus addressing you. And here allow me to observe, that I was favoured with the Correspondence of your Predecessor, Mons. Turgot, both during the Time he was in Office, and after his Resignation; —and that I am the same Person, of whose Writings Mons. Necker himself has sometimes condescended to make mention; and more particularly at that Juncture, when the idle Project of invading England, became the general Topic of Conversation throughout Europe.

Setting, therefore, all Apologies aside, and endeavouring to divest myself of national Partialities, and local Prejudices, to the utmost of my Power, I now enter on the Work proposed, not as an Englishman, but as a Citizen of the World; not as having an inbred Antipathy against France, but as a Friend of the whole human Species.

Whatever were your private Views, either of Interest, or of Honour, in publishing your Compte Rendu, the Example you have set deserves universal Commendation. And it is greatly to be wished, that it were made a fundamental Law in all arbitrary Governments, that each Minister, in the grand Departments of Trust and Power, should publish annual Accounts of his respective Administration; —Accounts I mean, which could stand the Test of an open and impartial Scrutiny, free from those false Colourings, and wilful Misrepresentations, with which yours have been so frequently and expressly charged; and from which I fear you have not yet been able to clear yourself to general Satisfaction.

But waving every Thing of this Nature, (because I do not intend to be either your Advocate, or your Accuser) and taking for granted, what you do not wish to conceal, that the grand Design of the Government, under which you live, in ordering your Account to be made Public, was to shew the World, that France had so many Resources still remaining, as would exhaust and ruin England in the Progress of this war; —I will here suppose, for Argument Sake, that every Thing has succeeded, or shall succeed according to the warmest Wishes of the most bigotted Frenchman, Poor England is no more! Non modo delenda, sed penitus deleta est Carthage! In short, the Lillies of France, like the Eagles of Rome, are every where triumphant!

Well, my good Sir, after all this Expence and Trouble, after so much Hurry and Confusion in subduing this devoted Island, after such repeated Victories, and immortal Fame, —will you permit us to rest a while, and to take a Breath: —And since the French have now raised their Nation to this Pinnacle of Glory, let us pause a little, to view the extended Prospect so far below us? —This is all the Boon I ask, and in granting this, I hope we shall be induced to think in the next Place, (for we have not yet thought upon the Matter) what would be the inevitable Consequences of these mighty Revolutions, now so ardently desired by every Frenchman, were Providence to permit them to pass.

Such a Subject is surely of Importance, to the Welfare and Happiness of Mankind. And this is the Subject I propose for the ensuing Letter. In the mean Time, I own I am under a strong Temptation to add a few Words concerning the infatuated Conduct of my own Country-men, the English, in the former War, as a Warning and Memento [sic] to future Politicians.

Almost thirty Years ago, when the Colonists in America were at least fifty to one more in Number than the Handful of Men, who could have invaded them from Canada, —I say, when these fifty undaunted Heroes, of the true English Breed, pretended to be afraid of one Frenchman — Common Sense might have taught us to have suspected the Truth of such pretended Fears; — Common Sense also might have suggested the Expediency of pausing a while, and of examining into Facts, particualry relating to the Fur-trade, before we rushed into Hostilities on such weak and frivolous Pretences: —Lastly, Common Sense might have told us that it would be bad Policy to put these turbulent and factious Colonies above Controul, (if we really thought them worth the keeping) and of placing them in that very State of Independance [sic], which they had ever wished for, and had been constantly aiming at. —I say, Common Sense might have suggested all these Things, if we had not disdained to ask the Advice of such a Counsellor. Nay more; —there was a Man at that very Time, who remonstrated strongly against the Absurdity, not to say Injustice of such Proceedings. —He shewed, with an Evidence not attempted to be invalidated, that the Americans had not assigned a sufficient Cause for going to War for their Sakes; —and that their pretended Dangers either of being driven into the Sea, or of being put between two Fires (the constant Cry, and Clamour at that Juncture in all our Public Papers) were mere Imposture, and Grimace. —And what is beyond all, he offered to prove from the English Custom-House Books of Entries or Imports, that the Quantity of Furs brought into England from America was almost double to what it had been in former Times, instead of being monopolized (as was asserted) by the French: —Though I must own, that had this really been the Case, it would have been something new in the Annals of the World, that a great Nation, and a civilized People had made War on another Natin, because the latter had bought more Skins of Cats, Foxes, Badgers, and of such Sort of Vermin, than the former had been able to do. —Lastly the same Person ventured to foretel in the most direct Terms, that the driving of the French from the English back Settlements would be the Signal to the Colonies, to meditate a general Revolt. But alas! he was preaching to the Winds and Waves: —Some would not vouchsafe an Answer to his Letters; —others were pleased to tell him that the American Colonists were better Judges of their own Dangers, than he had any Right to pretend to be; —and that the Reflections cast upon them for harbouring thoughts of Independance, and of planning Schemes of Rebellion, were base and scandalous, and utterly void of Foundation. Moreover, not a few plainly declared, that whosoeve should attempt to raise such Suspicions against the best of loyal Subjects, the faithful Americans, could be no other than a Spy in Disguise, and a Pensioner to France. (You, Sir, who so justly complain, that the several Pensions on the French List amount to the enormous Sum of Twenty-eight Millions of Livres, or about £.1,272,727. Sterling; —you, I say, can best tell, whether you have met with the Name of Tucker among the long Roll of English Mock Patriots, and French Pensioners.)

Now, as we have such a recent Example, before our Eyes of those fatal Consequences, which might have been prevented by a cool and timely Reflection; it is to be hoped, that the like blind, infatuated Part will not be acted over again; —but that the Powers at War will take Warning by the past, and consider, ‘ere it is too late, what would be the Effects of the present furious Contests, were they even to be crowned with all that Brilliancy and Success, which their own fond Hearts can wish, or desire.

With these Sentiments, and with just Esteem for your great Talents, I have the Honour to be,

SIR,

Your most obedient,

Humble Servant,

J.T.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under 1780's, Eighteenth century, England, Europe, Foreign Relations, France, Great Britain, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Revolution

Item of the Day: The History of Jacobinism (1798)

Full Title: The History of Jacobinism, Its Crimes, Cruelties and Perfidies, from the Commencement of the French Revolution, to the Death of Robespierre: Comprising An Inquiry into the Manner of Disseminating, under the Appearance of Philosophy and Virtue, Principles which are equally subversive of Order, Virtue, Religion, Liberty and Happiness. Vol. II. By William Playfair. London: Printed for J. Wright, 1798.

CHAP. X.

This second period of the French revolution which now begun, shews in all its extent the misfortunes and crimes that result from encouraging men to rebel against legitimate authority. The reign of the people was now fairly established, and the first operation was to massacre all the Swiss guards who fell into their hands. Numbers were murdered and mutilated in detail, but the large column which had been taken was conducted to the Hotel de Ville, and, according to the custom (begun with Bertier and Foulon two years ago), they were all massacred at the foot of the stairs, and in presence of the self-created, usurping magistrates. These murders were all approved of and protected upon the great scale, but the assembly pretended to preach respect to persons and property, when any particular occasion occured that might shew something like regard to justice without deranging the main plan of exterminating its enemies. As cruelty and humanity are incompatible with each other, and cannot lodge in the same breast, the assembly, the leaders of the revolt, and those who conducted it, must drop all claim to one or other of these qualities, and certainly it is not to that of cruelty; we are, therefore, justified in considering the cases in which they deviated from their general line of conduct, as unwilling sacrifices made to the shrine of justice and humanity, in order to blind the spectators with respect to the extent of their atrocities.

The new common council of Paris was now become the executive power, with Petion at its head and the rabble at its command; the assembly having consented to act the part of a passive instrument, and to decree whatever the populace, set on by the municipality, demanded, all power might be said to be lodged in the mayor and his consorts, who were the leaders of the Jacobin and Cordelier clubs.

The municipal officers were formidable from their violence of disposition, as well as from their great number; selected from the different quarters of Paris, they had spies, connections, and enemies in every part of that large and populous city. A part of this number remained at the Hotel de Ville to deliberate and send off orders, and the remainder were dispatched to see them executed. The barriers had all been shut at an early hour in the morning to prevent their victims from escaping, as well as to prevent the departments of the kingdom from hearing the history of what was going on till all should be finished. In this they imitated the first leaders of the insurrection, who did precisley the same things on the fourteenth of July; but as the democrats of the present day, they were pursued with unrelenting vengeance, for they had been popular once, and might be formidable now. . . .

 

Leave a comment

Filed under 1790's, France, French Revolution, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Revolution

Item of the Day: Williams’ Tour in Switzerland (1798)

Full Title: A Tour in Switzerland; or A View of the Present State of the Governments and Manners of those Cantons: With Comparative Sketches of the Present State of Paris. By Helen Maria Williams. Vol. I. London: Printed For G. G. and J. Robinson, Paternoster-Row. MDCCXCVIII.

PREFACE.

In presenting to the Public a View of Switzerland, a country of which so much has been already written, it may perhaps become me to clear myself of the charge of presumption. The descriptive parts of this journal were rapidly traced with the ardor of a fond imagination, eager to seize the vivid colouring of the moment ere it fled, and give permanence to the emotions of admiration, while the solemn enthusiasm beat high in my bosom; but when the sensations excited by those views of majestic grandeur had subsided, I recollected, with regret, that the paths which I had delighted to tread had been trodden before; and that the objects on which I had gazed with astonishment had been already described. It is true, that the sketch I have penciled of that sublime scenery, however rude, will be found to be an original drawing, copied from nature, and not from books; yet I should scarcely have presumed to obtrude that unfinished outline on the public eye, if the other parts of my journal offered nothing new to its observation. It is the present moral situation of Switzerland that justifies the appearance of these volumes, in which an attempt is made to trace the important effects which the French Revolution has produced in that country, and which are about to unfold a new aera in its history. The governmetns of Switzerland, placed within reach of the electrical fire of that Revolution, flashing around all their borders, behold the subtle spark, which finds a conductor in the human heart, escaping beyond its prescribed limits, and feel its strong concussion in every agitated nerve.

I have endeavoured to give an additional interest to my journal, by connecting the view of the manners and customs of the Swiss towns, with a comparative picture of the present state of Paris; and I offer this Work to the Public with far less hope from the experience of its past indulgence, than solicitude to obtain its future favor […]

CHAP. I.

During the period of that new species of tyranny which assumed the name of revolutionary government, I was not merely involved in the common danger which threatened every individual in France, but had claims to particular proscription. It was not only remembered by many of the satellites of Robespierre, that I had been a friend of the Gironde, of Madame Roland, matyred names which it was death to pronounce, but that I had written a work, published in England, in which I had traced, without reserve, the characters of our oppressors; whose ferocious purposes I had often heard developed with the glowing eloquence of Vergniaud, and the indignant energy of La Source. No danger could be more imminent than that of living under the very tyranny which I had the perilous honour of having been one of the first to deprecate, and to proclaim.

In this situation an opportunity presented itself of obtaining a passport for Switzerland–A passport!–they who can judge of all the blessedness that word unfolds, are not those who, at a safe distance from the government of Robespierre, have heard of its terrific influence, but those who were placed within its savage grasp. Alas! at the moment of my escape, how many, immured in the dungeons of the tyrant, vainly wished to purchase, at the price of all they possessed, the privilege of forsaking a country, composed only of executioners and of victims!

The road from Paris to Basil leads for the most part along a level country, which displays a picture of fertility, but few scenes of beauty or grandeur, except a branch of the Vosges, which we traversed near Belfort, and whose swelling mountains, presenting faint traces of those we were going to contemplate, we saw bounding our horizon, and stretching along the plains of Alsace.

I found Basil crouded with strangers of all ranks, and all nations, being, at that period, when general hostility had barred the passes from one country to another, almost the only spot left open for the transactions of commerce, the asylum of the fugitives, and the dawning negociations of peace.

The first view of Switzerland awakened my enthusiasm most powerfully–“At length,” though I, “am I going to contemplate that interesting country, of which I have never heard without emotion!–I am going to gaze upon images of nature; images of which the idea has so often swelled my imagination, but which my eyes have never yet beheld.–I am going to repose my wearied spirit on those sublime objects–to sooth my desponding heart with the hope that the moral disorder I have witnessed shall be rectified, while I gaze on nature in all her admirable perfections; and how delightful a transition shall I find in the picture of social happiness which Switzerland presents! I shall no longer see liberty profaned and violated; here she smiles upon the hills, and decorates the vallies, and finds, in the uncorrupted simplicity of this people, a firmer barrier than in the cragginess of their rocks, or the snows of their Glaciers!”

Such were my meditations when I first set my foot on the soil of Switzerland […]

Leave a comment

Filed under 1790's, Europe, France, French Revolution, Posted by Matthew Williams, Travel Literature

Item of the Day: History of a French Louse, Chapter II (1779)

[For the first chapter of this text, see: https://18thcenturyreadingroom.wordpress.com/2006/03/15/item-of-the-day-history-of-a-french-louse-1779/]

Full Title: History of a French Louse, or The Spy of a New Species, in France and England: Containing a Description of the most remarkable Personages in those Kingdoms. Giving A Key to the Chief Events of the Year 1779, and those which are to happen in 1780. Translated from the Fourth Edition of the revised and corrected Paris Copy. London: T. Becket, Adelphi, Strand. MDCCLXXIX.

CHAP. II.

He takes shelter in the head of a clerk to the parliament of Paris. A description of this new habitation. He removes to the countess of L.A.B.

As for us, pierced as we were with fear, and perishing with hunger, we knew not which way to turn, when it was our happiness to see a companion of my mistress, and one of her lovers, enter the room. They had just been celebrating a new marriage.

As I was afraid that this new comer would reduce us to the same state where we were entertained before, I resolved to make my retreat to the head of her gallant; but only two of my daughters entered it with me, my other children being so weak and exhausted that they could not follow me. I recommended them to their good fortune; and being able to give them no further help, let them slip wholly out of my mind, having my own much business to do, and much danger to escape.

The forest in which we made our abode was very different from that from which we had been driven; it was not an immense plantation of lofty trees, like that which decorated my former mistress; it was a forest laid waste, where nothing could be seen but a few shrubs, which, though not half grown, wanted juice and nutriment. In this barren and ungrateful soil they were short and few, and those few had withered till they were white and dry. These shrubs had likewise a form very different from that which trees of the same kind would have had; for those which grew on the outside of this poor forest had undergone some violent impression which made them twist into a round. In the middle of this region there was a smooth vacancy of circular form, on which, for reasons I cannot tell, unless it were to preserve the vegetation of the part from too great heat or cold, my new landlord put every morning a cover, black and shining, through which neither sun nor rain could find their way.  

It was a little higher than this spot where I and my two daughters took refuge; here we lived as in a desart [sic], finding none of our own species, and being at a loss for proper nourishment, we were obliged to content ourselves with a thick and greasy substance, which I found afterwards to be bear’s fat, and which would have been neither disagreeable nor unwholesome, had it not been mixed with musk and amber, of which the scent was so strong, that it seized our heads, and made us sickly.

My poor wife being dead of the plague, which had made such havoc in our community, I was obliged in this wild country to divide my bed and my heart between my two daughters.

We began already to form a new establishment and an infant colony, when my landlord, who was considered as the favourite of the first president, and whose denomination was the Abbe Appletree, consellor to the parliament of Paris, being invited to dinner with the president, was set at table near the mistress of the house and a pretty delicate girl, who played off many airs, and to whom he seemed to pay much attention; as his various modes of expressing tenderness and respect kept my landlord in a state of constant gesticulation, I had all the difficulty in the world to keep upon his head. I clung as fast as I could to one of his hairs; but by an accident, not to be foreseen, the hair itself quitted its root, and fell, with me upon it, upon the gown of my pretty neighbor. Out of this vexatious state how was I to get? Finding nothing else within my power, I thought it most prudent to go into concealment, by quitting the bough on which I hung, and which had been the occasion of my fall. For this determination I had the more reason, as the lady’s gown was of a mouse colour, and the hair was white, so that it would have been no hard matter to have discovered me. I hid myself, therefore, in one of the folds of her tippet, and was not long before I had reason to think well of my own contrivance. The hair fell down upon the carpet, and servant set his foot upon it, a foot so bulky and heavy as would have crushed me over and over. In this retreat I was forced to wait, and see what accident would happen to my advantage, when in the evening my new mistress went in her carriage to court, and she was presented next day to the king, queen, and royal family. 

Leave a comment

Filed under 1770's, France, Posted by Matthew Williams

Item of the Day: Letter from Mr. Adet to Mr. Pickering (15 November 1796)

Found In: State Papers and Publick Documents of the United States from the Accession of George Washington to the Presidency, Exhibiting a Complete View of our Foreign Relations since that Time. [Vol. II.] 1797. Boston: Printed and published by T.B. Waite & Sons; David Hale, agent for the States of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, 1815.

[Excerpted from pages 76-92]

Note from Mr. Adet, Minister Plenipotentiary of the French Republick, to Mr. Pickering, Secretary of State of the United States. Legation at Philadelphia.

The undersigned Minister Plenipotentiary of the French Republick, now fulfils to the Secretary of State of the United States, a painful but sacred duty. He claims, in the name of American honour, in the name of the faith of treaties, the execution of that contract which assured to the United States their existence, and which France regarded as the pledge of the most sacred union between two people, the freest upon earth: In a word, he announces to the Secretary of State the resolution of a government terrible to its enemies, but generous to its allies.

It would have been pleasing to the undersigned Minister Plenipotentiary to have only to express, on the present occasion, the attachment which his government bears to the American people, the vows which it forms for their prosperity, for their happiness. His heart therefore, is grieved at the circumstances, which impose upon him a different task. With regret he finds himself compelled to substitute the tone of reproach for the language of friendship. With regret also his government has ordered him to take that tone; but that very friendship has rendered it indispensable. Its obligations sacred to men, are as sacred to governments; and if a friend offended by a friend, can justly complain, the government of the United States, after the undersigned Minister Plenipotentiary shall have traced the catalogue of the grievances of the French Republick, will not be surprised to see the Executive Directory, manifesting their too just discontents.

When Europe rose up against the Republick at its birth, menaced it with all the horrours of war and famine; when on every side the French could not calculate upon any but enemies, their thoughts turned towards America: A sweet sentiment then mingled itself with those proud sentiments which the presence of danger, and the desire of repelling it, produced in their hearts. In America they saw friends. Those who went to brave tempests and death upon the ocean, forgot all dangers, in order to indulge the hope of visiting that American continent, where, for the first time, the French colours had been displayed in favour of liberty. Under the guarantee of the law of nations, under the protecting shade of a solemn treaty, they expected to find in the ports of the United States, an asylum as sure as at home; they thought, if I may use the expression, there to find a second country. The French government thought as they did. Oh hope, worthy of a faithful people, how has thou been deceived! So far from offering the French the succours which friendship might have given without compromitting it, the American government, in this respect, violated the letter of treaties.

The 17th article of the treaty of amity and commerce of 1778, states, that French vessels of war, and those of the United States, as well as those which shall have been armed for war by individuals of the two states, may freely conduct where they please, the prizes they shall have made upon their enemies, without being subject to any admiralty or other duty; without the said vessels, on entering into the harbours or ports of France, or of the United States, being liable to be arrested or seized, or the officers of those places taking cognizance of the validity of the said prizes; which may depart and may be conducted freely and in full liberty to the places expressed in their commissions, which the captains of said vessels shall be obliged to show: And that on the contrary, no shelter or refuge shall be given to those who shall have made prizes upon the French or Americans; and that if they should be forced by stress of weather or the danger of the sea, to enter, they shall be made to depart as soon as possible.

In contempt of these stipulations, the French privateers have been arrested in the United States, as well as their prizes; the tribunals have taken cognizance of the validity or invalidity of these prizes. It were vain to seek to justify these proceedings, under the pretext of the right of vindicating the compromitted neutrality of the United States. The facts about to be stated, will prove that this pretext has been the source of shocking persecutions against the French privateers, and that the conduct of the Federal Government, has been but a series of violations of the 17th article of the treaty of 1778. . . .

Alas! time has not yet demolished the fortifications with which the English roughened this country–nor those the Americans raised for their defence; their half rounded summits still appear in every quarter, amidst plains, on the tops of mountains. The traveller need not search for the ditch which served to encompass them; it is still open under his feet. Scattered ruins of houses laid waste, which the fire had partly respected, in order to leave monuments of British fury, are still to be found. –Men still exist, who can say, here a ferocious Englishman slaughtered my father; there my wife tore her bleeding daughter from the hands of an unbridled Englishman. Alas! the soldiers who fell under the sword of the Britons are not yet reduced to dust: the labourer, in turning up his field, still draws from the bosom of the earth their whitened bones; while the ploughman, with tears of tenderness and gratitude, still recollects that his fields, now covered with rich harvests, have been moistened with French blood; while every thing around the inhabitants of this country, animates them to speak of the tyranny of Great Britain and of the generosity of Frenchmen; when England has declared a war of death to that nation, to avenge herself for its having cemented with its blood the independence of the United States. –It was at this moment their government made a treaty of amity with their ancient tyrant, the implacable enemy of their ancient ally. O! Americans covered with noble scars! O! you who have so often flown to death and to victory with French soldiers! You who know those generous sentiments which distinguish the true warriour! Whose hearts have always vibrated with those of your companions in arms! Consult them to-day to know what they experience; recollect at the same time, that if magnanimous souls with liveliness resent an affront, they also know how to forget one. Let your government return to itself, and you will still find in Frenchmen faithful friends and generous allies.

Done at Philadelphia, the 25th Brumaire, 5th year of the French Republick, one and indivisible (15th November 1796, O.S.)

P.A. Adet

Leave a comment

Filed under 1790's, Early Republic, Foreign Relations, France, Neutral Rights, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Privateers, United States