free ebooks

A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793,

Yet the convention in their debates


It

is impossible to reflect on a country in such a situation, without abhorring the authors of it, and dreading the propagation of their doctrines. I hope they neither have imitators nor admirers in England; yet the convention in their debates, the Jacobins, and all the French newspapers, seem so sanguine in their expectation, and so positive in their assertions of an English revolution, that I occasionally, and in spite of myself, feel a vague but serious solicitude, which I should not have supposed the apprehension of any political evil could inspre. I know the good sense and information of my countrymen offer a powerful resource against the love of change and metaphysical subtilties; but, it is certain, the French government have much depended on the spirit of party, and the zeal of their propagandistes. They talk of a British convention, of a conventional army, and, in short, all France seem prepared to see their neighbours involved in the same disastrous system with themselves. The people are not a little supported in this error by the extracts that are given them from your orators in the House of Commons, which teem with nothing but complaints against the oppression of their own country, and enthusiastic admiration of French liberty. We read and wonder--collate the Bill of Rights with the Code Revolutionnaire, and again fear what we cannot give credit to.

Since the reports I allude to have gained ground, I have been forcibly stricken

by a difference in the character of the two nations. At the prospect of a revolution, all the French who could conveniently leave the country, fled; and those that remained (except adventurers and the banditti that were their accomplices) studiously avoided taking any part. But so little are our countrymen affected with this selfish apathy, that I am told there is scarcely one here who, amidst all his present sufferings, does not seem to regret his absence from England, more on account of not being able to oppose this threatened attack on our constitution, than for any personal motive.--The example before them must, doubtless, tend to increase this sentiment of genuine patriotism; for whoever came to France with but a single grain of it in his composition, must return with more than enough to constitute an hundred patriots, whose hatred of despotism is only a principle, and who have never felt its effects.--Adieu.

February 2, 1794.

The factions which have chosen to give France the appellation of a republic, seem to have judged, and with some reason, that though it might answer their purpose to amuse the people with specious theories of freedom, their habits and ideas were far from requiring that these fine schemes should be carried into practice. I know of no example equal to the submission of the French at this moment; and if "departed spirits were permitted to review the world," the shades of Richelieu or Louvois might hover with envy round the Committee of Public Welfare, and regret the undaring moderation of their own politics.

How shall I explain to an Englishman the doctrine of universal requisition? I rejoice that you can imagine nothing like it.--After establishing, as a general principle, that the whole country is at the disposal of government, succeeding decrees have made specific claims on almost every body, and every thing. The tailors, shoemakers,* bakers, smiths, sadlers, and many other trades, are all in requisition--carts, horses, and carriages of every kind, are in requisition--the stables and cellars are put in requisition for the extraction of saltpetre, and the houses to lodge soldiers, or to be converted into prisons.


eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us

freefictionbooks.org is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 freefictionbooks.org - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us