« PreviousContinue »
Hocbe. You wrong me. It is not a
It is not a portion, but a wife, that I seek.
Dechaux. Pardon, citizen general, the observation which I now make. It is customary, when a person proposes himself as a husband, that the parents of the woman whom he demands should receive some information concerning him.
Hoche. That information will be short and simple. I was born near Versailles ; my mother died soon after my birth; my father is still living at Paris ; my name is Lazarus Hoche, and I have been a soldier from the age of fixteen.
Dechaux. But my daughter is very young, not yet fifteen.
Hoche. I wish for a young mind, one that I may form myself. Your daughter appears to pofíefs all the qualities which I defire. I conclude, citizen Dechaux, from all your observations, that I thall be your son-in-law.
Dechaux. Citizen general, you have taken your father- ' in-law by affault.
Hoche. After having heard all your remarks, I have only one to make. Is your daughter's heart at liberty?
Dechaux. I believe so.
Hoche. I request an hour's conversation with her, to assure myself of that point.
That hour fufficed to convince Hoche that her heart was free, and that she was disposed to love him. A few days completely determined the affair, and he became a husband.
But these were the calamitous days of the revolution, when those men who had assumed the supreme power indulged every mean and wicked paflion, and exercised all the enormities of tyranny. The ablest and most active friends of liberty were involved in the common danger. Hoche had a powerful and unforgiving enemy: it was St.-Juit. He had refused to communicate a particular military plan to.that commissioner, because, he said, fecrely was necessary, St.- Just was offended: he was also displeased because, when the armies of the Moselle and Rhine had effected a junction, he had wished to give the chief command to Pichegru, while the other commissioners infifted on the appointment of Hoche. St.-Juft was obliged to yield; but, in his reports of the subsequent successes to the convention, he endeavoured to rob Hoche of his glory; and Pichegru, it is said, meanly sought to appropriate to himself the chief merit of the exploits. Hoche wrote to the committee of public safety, requesting the members to examine his cora respondence with Pichegru and his official orders, and ascertain who it was that planned and executed those im.: portant actions.
While only the English journals did justice to this able general, St.-Just was busy in plotting his destruction. He was nominated general of the army of Italy; but, when he went to take the command, he was arrested at Nice. A confinement in the Conciergerie was the reward of his services. Among other books, he had the Epistles of Seneca in prison : one sentence particularly struck him:
Non fumus in ullius poteftate, cum mors in noftrâ poteftate eft.' It appeared to him worth whole volumes of philosophy; he called it the whole code of courage, and was often heard to say, that the man was no republican who did not cherish in his heart the resolution of being fuperior to the power of all tyrants.
It was not, however, solely in the philosophy of the Stoics, that Hoche sought confolation during his imprisonment. Though he had hitherto been remarkable for temperance, he now drank to excess, and, it is said, intrigued with women, irreproachable before their confinement, who could find no better comfort. His conversation was now all levity; and he spake in bons-mets. There remains a curious paper, written at this time, in which he has delineated with some humour the characters of his fellowprisoners.
The fall of Robespierre restored Hoche to liberty; and, after fome delay, he obtained a command in La Vendée.
This department, in which so many generals had failed of success, was to Hoche a new theatre of glory. He did not employ terror alone against the insurgents : he protected the peasants, he conciliated their regard, he hunted down Charette, he conquered at Quiberon, and restored La Vendée to tranquillity and to the republic.
The expedition to Ireland, the favourite project of Hoche, was at length undertaken. A little while before he failed, an attempt was made at Rennes to assassinate him; but the pistol missed him, and the man was seized. Hoche sent money to the wife and children of the offender. The man's fate is not mentioned; but it is said, that on examination he was found to be a person of quality. The fieet failed to Ireland ; but the winds preserved that kingdom, or the rebellion might have been now a revolution.
On his return, Hoche was appointed to the command of the army of the Sambre and Meuse, then disorganized and crowded with effeminate officers. He reftored its discipline and spirit ; he conquered at Neuwied; and his career was only stopped by intelligence of the signature of preliminaries of peace with the emperor.
That contest which terminated in the banishment of Pichegru and his associates deeply interested Hoche. Hc
was in the confidence of Barras, and was of opinion that the safety of the commonwealth depended upon vigorous measures. He did not long live to enjoy the success of the republican party; an illness, the effect, it is surmised, of poison, preyed upon him ; and in September, 1797, to use the expressions of his biographer, he retired from life, regretted and honoured by his friends and by the republic, and lamented also by his horse, and his dog Pitt.'.
The abbé St-Pierre requires three things to constitute a great man : 1, a great motive, or a great defire of promoting the public good; 2. great difficulties overcome, as well by the perseverance of a patient and courageous mind, as by the talents of a just and comprehensive genius, fertile in expedients; 3. great advantages procured to the public in general, or to his country in particular. The reader may judge whether general Hoche accomplished these three conditions.
The second volume contains the official correspondence of Hoche. He seems to have accommodated his ityle to the fashion of the times, and, when fans-culotterie was the order of the day, to have remembered the blackguardisins of the stable. But his mind was daily advancing; and, when we" recollect the low station from which he rose, and his early age at his death, we may justly rank him among the greateit men whom the republic has produced.
Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire du Jacobinisme, par M.
l'Abbé Barruel. Quatrième Partie. 1798. Memoirs illustrating the History of Jacobinism, by the Abbé.
Barruel. Vol. IV. 8vo. De Boffe. IN
N our last survey of the abbé Barruel's memoirs *, we concluded that his labours were at an end. For, although, in his third volume, after giving a history of the illuminés, he promised to examine how far fuccefs had attended their steps, and what share their machinations had in the revolution of France, by engendering Jacobinism, it occurred to us that the labours of professor Robison, by anticipating this part of the subject, rendered it unnecessary for the abbé to write the volume which now lies before us. In this, however, he proceeds to a detail, illustrated by copious extracts, of the origin and progress of free-masonry, evidently using the same materials that the professor employed, and following nearly the same arrangement. With this fubject our readers may be presumed to be sufficiently acquainted from the profeffor's work, although he is by no
means fo acute in his observations, or so candid in his statements, as the abbé.
In our account of his proofs of a con. spiracy *,' we offered various objections, and animadverted on his defect of evidence. The abbé, unfortunately for Mr. Robison, furnishes us with a new ground of objection. He observes, that, although they both used the same materials, the public will see a remarkable difference between their quotations. He accounts for the difference by saying, that Mr. Robison adopted the easier, though the more hazardous, of two methods of quotation, combining in one paragraph what his memory might have compiled
In the present volume, we find a more authentic and perfect account of illuminism (to use an expreffion of the abbé) and its connexion with free-masonry, than the profeffor has given. We proceed to exhibit a sketch of its most material contents.
In the first place, M. Barruel finds every measure of the French, revolution in the preceding plots. Beginning with the meeting of the states-general, he observes, that the difciples of Montesquieu and Rousseau had declared, as early as the year 1771, that it was only by a general assembly of national deputies, that man could be re-established in his primitive rights of equality and liberty, and the people in their imprescriptible rights of legislative sovereignty.' About the same time also, the fophifts had pronounced that the great obstacle to the acquisition of thote rights, was the ancient distinction of three orders, the clergy, nobility, and commons.' It was therefore thought expedient, as one of the primary means of effecting a revolution, to obtain a convocation of the ftates-general, and to abolish in those very states the distinction of orders. In the event, Necker was the chief agent of the conspirators. The abbé does not fcruple to consider that minister as the principal cause of all the disasters of the revolution. In the several articles of the declaration of the rights of man, he discovers the essence of the three conspiracies. Those which declare that all men are equal and free, that the fovereignty resides in the nation, and that the king is only the organ of the general will, are the fame which were pronounced by Montesquieu, d'Argenson, Rousseau, and Voltaire, and by all the fophifts in their Lycea, all the free-masons in their secret lodges, and all the illuminés in their dens.
In the formation of the national guards, the conspiracy proceeded exactly as it was pre-concerted. In a letter pub
lished in the second volume of these memoirs, and attributed - to Montesquieu, are these words : " What progress might
we not make, if we were delivered from foreign and mer
cenary soldiers. A national army would declare for liberty.' The sophists, adds the abbé, made this remark thirty years ago : the conspirators had not forgotten it, and the national guards were quickly formed. In this manner, as in a book of prophesy, our author traces every branch of the revolutionary system. We shall select one example, in which he profesies to give the real motives for the death of the king
( The feet advances to the consummation of its mysteries. But that Louis, who was king, still exists; and the adepts had not been trained in vain, in the den of Kadosh, to trample crowns under foot, and to cut off the heads of kings. It was proper that atrocious sports fhould be fucceeded by real vengeance. Robespierre advances : let us leave him with his executioners ; he is only the wild beast let loose by the fect. It is not he that devours Louis, but the feet : in Louis himself we distinguish the victim, pursued by the sect. It is not his person that the conspirators hate; the Jacobins themselves would have loved and revered Louis XVI. if he had not been king. They made his head fall, when they destroyed the statues of the good and great Henry; there were no other titles left for them to hate. He was king; and it was requisite that whatever evinced the existence of kings, all their monuments, all their emblems, should be configned to destruction. It was not against Louis, but againit royalty, that this war of Vandalism was declared. They called Louis XVI. a tyrant i they call him fo ftill; but they know very well in what senie they use the word. They, as well as all their fophifts, pronounce every king a tyrant. They know that Louis XVI. during the nineteen years of his reign, granted many pardons, and never figned a warrant for the death of a single man; and such is not the reign of a tyrant.' They know, that, when he came to the throne, he gave up to his subjects the tribute due on that event; and that he abolished, in favour of the people, the corvées, and the torture both with respect to convicts and suspected persons. These are not the edicts of a tyrant.' After other honourable testi monies to the character of Louis, and foine quotations from the speeches of his judges, the abbé observes, that, if the chief cause of the death of that monarch is not fufficiently manifest from what has been said, we may recur to the club of sophists, in which fociety Condorcet exprefled his cona fident hopes, that the time would come when the fun would shine only on freemen, and when kings and priests would exist only in history, or on the theatre. It is therefore not to be doubted, that Louis was put to death because he was a king; the daughter of the Cæfars perished also be