« PreviousContinue »
which he is a stranger. War, without doubt, 9th Oct.-Conscription of 1814,
and preceding years... France. History presented not any example Conscription of 1815.
..160,000 of a great nation incessantly precipitated 15th Nov.-Recall of years 1811 to
300,000 against its will into enterprises constantly in- 1814.. creasing in hazard and distress. The world January 1813-Officers of cavalry has now seen, with astonishment, mingled equipped............ with terror, a civilized people compelled to 1814_Levies en masse organized....143,000 exchange its happiness and repose for the wandering life of barbarous hordes; the ties
1,300,000 of families have been broken ;, fathers have grown old far from their children; and chil- Fortunately, these last levies could not be dren have been hurried off to die 400 leagues fully executed. The war had not time to from their fathers. No hope of return sooth- cut off all those who had joined the standards. ed this frightful separation; habit had caused But this simple statement of the requisitions, it to be regarded as eternal; and the peasants enforced on the population during an interval of Brittany, after conducting their sons to of from 14 to 16 months, suffices to give the place of separation, have been seen to re- an idea what the losses of the nation must turn to their churches to put up for them by have been during the last 22 years. Many anticipation the prayers
for the dead! causes contributed, however, to repair these It is impossible to estimate the horrible losses; the improvement of the condition of consumption of men by the late government; the country by the division of the great landfatigue and sickness carried off as many as ed properties, the equal distribution of inhebattle; the enterprises were so vast and so ritances, and the progress of vaccination, were rapid, that every thing was sacrificed to the the most powerful. It was by ineans of the desire of ensuring success; there was no re- influence of these causes, and by exaggeratgularity in the service of the hospitals -none ing their success, that efforts were made to in providing subsistence on the marches; the hide from the nation the extent of its sabrave soldiers whose valour constituted the crifices. The greater the number of men glory of France, and who gave incessantly that were snatched away from France, the new proofs of their energy and patience, more studiously was it endeavoured to prove sustaining the national honour with so much that she courted this frightful destruction.brilliancy, saw themselves deserted amidst But, even if the accounts placed under view their sufferings, and abandoned, without re- had been correct, the only result would have source, to calamities which they were unable been, that the number of births should cause to support. The goodness of the French the number of deaths to be regarded with was insufficient to supply this cruel negli- indifference! But another argument was, to gence; and levies of men, which, under point out in the conscription itself a source other circumstances would have formed great of increasing population-an impure source armies
, disappeared in this manner without which introduced disorder and immorality taking part in any engagement. Hence into marriages concluded with precipitation arose the necessity of multiplying levies and imprudence. Hence a multitude of unwithout number, to replace incessantly by fortunate families, of ridiculous or indecent new armies the almost total annihilation of connexions; so that many men, of the lower the armies preceding: The amount of the orders of the people, soon become weary
of Calls ordered since the end of the Russian what they had embraced only to shelter them. campaign is frightful
selves from the conscription, threw themselves 11th January, 1813......
.350,000 once more in the way of the dangers they had 3d April-Guards of honour.. 10,000 sought to avoid, and offered themselves as
Ist battal. of national guards....... 80,000 substitutes, to escape misery which they had
90,000 not foreseen, or to break ties so ill assorted. 24th August.-Army of Spain......... 30,000 How could they, besides, overlook the re
flection, that although, by multiplying these The mines in France have very sensibly deplorable marriages, the conscription should increased. Our territory now presents 478 have increased the number of births, it took mines of every different kind now working, annually away from France a great number which employ 17,000 workmen, and produce of those full-grown men; who constitute the to France a raw material to the value of real strength of a nation? The facts prove 26,800,000 francs, and to the state a revenue clearly the truth of so natural a consequence.
of 251,000 francs. This revenue has been The population under the age of 20 years applied to the payment of the administration fell off, but increased above that age. Thus, of the mines. But this particular fund, while the government attacked the sources which on the 1st of Jan. last amounted to of the national prosperity, it displayed in- 700,000 francs, has been employed by the cessantly in pompous array those remnants government in defraying the expenses of the of resource that maintained a struggle against Yet in the midst of these continual its wasteful measures; it studied to conceal vexations, this changeable and tyrannical lethe evil which it did, under the good, not of gislation, our fields have been cultivated, our its production, which was yet undestroyed. mines worked, and our flocks even preserved Master of a country where long labours had and ameliorated. Certainly nothing more amassed great treasures, where civilization evidently proves the industry of our nation, had made the happiest progress, where in-' and its happy disposition for the first of all dustry and commerce had for the 60 previ- the arts, than the progress of its agriculture ous years made a wonderful spring; it seized under an oppressive government. all the fruits of the industry of so many ge- Our cotton manufactures are stated to emñerations, and of the experience of so many ploy 400,000 persons, and a capital of 100 ages, at one time to promote its lamentable millions. Those of Rouen have already condesigns, and at another to cover the sad siderably revived. The linen manufactures waste of its influence. The simple account of Laval and Bretagne suffered much by the of the present state of the realm will imme- war with Spain, where they found their prindiately exhibit the inherent prosperity of the cipal market. Those of silk experienced the nation struggling against a destroying prin- same fate. Their produce also passed through ciple, incessantly attacked, often struck with Spain to America and the colonies; but that terrible wounds, and perpetually drawing channel was soon closed; Italy alone remainfrom itself resources always insufficient. ed for them. But what may we not hope to
Under the head of agriculture the prospect gain by the renewal of our communications is more flattering. The cultivation of land with all Europe?
and the breeding of cattle have of late years In 1787 the manufactures at Lyons kept ! been better understood. The proprietors of at work 15,000 looms; uuring the late war
vineyards have suffered dreadfully, however, that number was reduced to 8000; but
stable and liberal laws, can alone inspire mei.
cantile men with sufficient confidence to ern- of our coasts, and the complete exhaustion of bark without apprehension in their useful our arsenals. The remonstrances of the most pursuits.
enlightened men, and of the most experienThe public exchequer suffered in an equal ced mariners, and the evidence of facts, were degree, and it was difficult to meet the ex- incapable of checking those foolish enterpenditure in spite of the contributions. The prises, those violent measures, which belong. budget of the minister of the interior for ed to a plan of domination oppressive in all 1812 amounted to 150 millions, and in 1813 its parts. Thus, in 1804, the projected invato 140 millions, of which the exchequer never sion of England was pompously announced. contributed more than from 58 to 60 millions, Ports which had never yet been entered, ex the surplus being raised by special duties and cept by fishing-boats and packets, were imimposts.
mediately converted into vast maritime arse The public works have produced some nals; immense works were commenced on a movements of real utility; but most of them beach which the winds and tides were inces. originated solely in vain ostentation. The santly covering with sand; forts, batteries, roads were neglected, and the sums destined magazines, workshops, were erected; thoufor their repair were diverted to other pur- sands of ships were built and bought up on poses.
The canals are in a better state, but all the coasts of the ocean, and in the interior the works far from finished. That of Bur- of the rivers, without considering how they gundy, which has already cost 12 millions, should go to the place of rendezvous; Paris will require five more ; and that of the Quraq, itself saw a dock-yard formed within its walls; undertaken on too expensive a scale, will yet and the most valuable materials were emwant at least 13 millions. The works for the ployed in the construction of these vessels, embellishment of the capital, though of a less which were not even fit for their destination. useful description, will not be abandoned ; And what now remains of all these armathe total expense of them is estimated at ments ? The wrecks of some of the vessels, 53,500,000 francs, and more than 24 millions and accounts, which prove that for the suchave already been laid out on them. All cessive creation and destruction of this monthese objects fall under the superintendance strous and useless flotilla, upwards of 150 of the minister of the interior, the arrears of millions have been sacrificed since 1803.whose department are not yet ascertained. All our arsenals are completely dilapidated. but are computed at from 40 to 50 millions. The immense naval stores collected by Louis
As to the department of the minister at XVI. are squandered, and during the last war, it exhibits, especially for the last three fifteen years France has lost, in ill-judged campaigns, a real chaos. On the 1st of May expeditions, 43 ships of the line, 82 frigates, last, the land forces of France amounted to 176 corvettes, and 62 transports and packets, 520,000 men, exclusively of 122,597 retired, which could not be replaced at an expence or on half-pay, and 160,000 prisoners return- of 200 millions. As the arsenals were neing from foreign countries. The war of 1812 glected, so the ships also were stripped of real and 1813 destroyed, in artillery and ammu- seamen, whose places were supplied with nition, a capital of 250 millions; and the for- conscripts, while they themselves received tified places in the countries ceded by France the organization of regiments of the line, and had, since 1804, cost her 115 millions. The lost in camps their professional habits and expenditure of this department wouldamount, attachments, according to the scale of last year, to 740 In respect to finances it resulted that the millions.
improvidence of the late rulers of France The navy has for 14 years been weakened has produced during the last 13 years, a deficit by the very means which have been used to of 1,645,469,000 francs (abouť 66,800,0001.) give it the appearance of strength. The go- Public morals have been neglected, the best vernment considered our seamen as merely institutions have been corrupted, every bad recruits for the land forces a system which passion has been stimulated, and there exists - has led to the annihilation of the population a general selfishness and egotism. Such was
the dark and gloomy picture drawn by the ed necessary for the reform of the criminals ; minister of the interior. This report was an assistant and six inspectors to be placed succeeded by a message to the chamber of under him: these different offices to be gradeputies on the subject of national schools. tuitous. The minister of the interior to During the time of Buonaparte, almost all make a report every month of the state of the schools in France, at least those which the prison; and besides that, a commission, were most patronized by government, were composed of a counsellor of state and two entirely confined to a military education: masters of request, and another composed of instruction in the duties of civil life, and of three members of the court of session, to visit society, as well as in religion, was entirely it twice a year, and to give in the result of neglected. Perhaps Louis might have bene- their observations on all the details of its fited the rising generation much more effec- management and effects; the director-general tually than by the establishment of ecclesi. to furnish them with all the requisite aid and astical schools. Indeed here in England, information; and also, at the end of each where the people do every thing of this kind, year, to give a moral and detailed account of and the government nothing, we are apt to the state of the prison, and an account of the consider the interference of government as receipts and expenses: this account, after it objectionable in many respects; but in France, had been verified and approved by the miniwhere the government has long been in the ster of the interior, to be laid before the king habit of regulating and interfering in cases and the public. This wise and salutary plan where the public mind, if it were independent seems to have originated with one of the most and enlightened, would act for itself, the enlightened and benevolent men in France, case is
different; and we ought to con- the duke de la Rochefoucault, who was apsider the endeavour of Louis for the esta- pointed director-general of The Prison of blishment of ecclesiastical schools, with re- Experiment. ference to the habits and opinions prevalent In this, as well as in most of the other plans in France. In this view, it was undoubt- and measures of the new government, there edly well calculated to supply that country is one feature which deserves particular nowith a well regulated priesthood, and repress tice; we allude to the express declaration, the growing irreligion. The protestants, that the public should be informed of the also, were not wanting in their endeavours effects of all these plans and measures : a to restore to France the blessings of morality proof that the new government considered the and religion; and as they now can publicly people of France of much more consequence profess and defend their tenets, much good than they were ever considered before. may be expected.
Still, however, notwithstanding the peaceAnother ordinance of Louis was much less able disposition of Louis, there were in objectionable, and at the same time equally France too many restless spirits, and too necessary: this related to the regulation of the great a fondness for national glory the prisons in such a manner as might correct the consequence was, that the hope of regaining, vicious habits of criminals condemned by the at least, part of what he had been obliged to sentence of the tribunals, and prepare them, give up by the peace of Paris, still animated by order, labour, and moral and religious in- the public mind. This feeling was so strong struction, to return peaceful and useful mem- and powerful, that it overcame the sense of bers of society, when their periods of impri- justice and humanity. By the treaty of Paris, sonment were terminated. For the purpose the French were to be permitted to carry on of effecting this desirable end, all prisoners the slave trade for a certain number of years ; condemned for crimes, under 20 years of This clause gave great offence, and excited age, were directed to be collected together indignation in England; to such a dein one prison, to be called The Prison of Ex- gree, that the Prince Regent gave inperiment; the director of which was to be structions to lord Castlereagh, his minister charged with the superintendance of its po at the congress of Vienna, to endeavour to dice, and of the labour and instruction deem- put a stop to this nefarious traffic immedi.
ately. The French ascribed this feeling our mothers, and children, will never be effac-
more distinguished by their writings than by
noble use of the ascendency of victory, noti“In that attitude we expected that Buona- fied its resolution to the other states with parte, the enemy of the world, would attack which it concluded treaties: we call upon
all us, either by force of arms, or by perfidy- philanthropists, upon all men, and upon the his accustomed means. We have not forgot whole world, and ask what people, after 25 that, after the peace of Amiens, his first ob- years of conflicts, and after having conquered ject was to enter on that famous expedition their liberty and their independence, would for our extermination.
consent to lay down their arms, for the purpose “ But the God of armies, who raises and of again becoming the sport and the victims overturns thrones according to his will, did of their cruel oppressors? The last of the not, in his justice, consent that this oppressor Haytians will yield up his last sigh sooner of nations should accomplish his horrible de- than renounce his independence. sign. We hope that his fall will give repose “ We will not do any power the injustice to the world, we hope that the return of of supposing that it entertains the chimerical those liberal and re-animating sentiments project of establishing its sway in Hayti by which influence the European powers, will force of arms. The power that would under induce them to acknowledge the indepen- take such an enterprise would have to march dence of a people who require only the en- for a long time over ruins and dead bodies ; joyment of peace and commerce, the object and afte having wasted all its means, if it of all civilized nations.
could attain its object, what advantage would • It will be in vain to attempt again, by it derive from the loss of so much blood and means of force or seduction, to reduce us treasure ? It iş not presumptuous to supunder a foreign dominion. The absurd pose that his majesty Louis XVIII. followmaxim of deceiving men in order to governing the impulse of that philanthropic spirit them is no longer dangerous to us. Taught that reigns in his family, after the example by experience, we have acquired the aid of of his unfortunate brother Louis XVI. in his truth, of reason, and of force. We shall no political conduct towards the United States longer be the victims of credulity; we can- of America, will imitate that monarch in not forget that attempts have already been acknowledging the independence of Hayti. made to take away our liberty. The pain. This would not only be an act of justice, but ful recollection of the horrible punishments a reparation of the evils which we have sufwhich precipitated into the grave our fathers, fered from the French government.