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1'tte Havghtinefs of the Directory towards different Nations.—Particular/y ttx-erds the Dutch, whom they consider, net as Confederates, but a conquered People.—Moderation of the Republic and preponderiiig Party in the United Provinces.—Batatian Convention.—Its Proceedings;—Affairs of Geneva. —Meeting of the National Institute of France.—Considered as an auspicious Omen of the Return of Peace and Reign of the Arts.—And Liberty of Tuinking and Publishing on all Sub/eels.—The Alliance between the Church endMonarcliy of France, in the End, ruinous to both.—The nest', or conjliiutional, Clergy avow their Assent to the Separation of the Church from the State.—Yet venture to condemn some Things set/led, or approved, by the republican Government.—But which they considered as adverse to the Digni/i/ and Interests of the ecclesiastical Order.—The Settlement of ecclesiastical Affairs considered by the Generality of the Frcncli as a,Matter of great Importance.
THE irritable temper of the directory was experienced by other governments beside the American. The court of Stockholm, which had, since the death of the late lung Gustavus, explicitly re nounced his projects against the French republic, and manifested favourable dispositions to it, had lately undergone an evident alteration. Some attributed this to the intrigues of Russia; others to the resentment of the Swedish government at the duplicity of the French, who had paid the subsidy they owed to Sweden, in drafts upon the Dutch republic, which they were conscious would not be honoured. Another motive of dissatisfaction to the directory was, the recall of baron Stiiel, the Swedish ambassador, a friend to the republic, and the replacing him by Mr. Renhausen, a gentleman noted for his attachment to the po8
litics of Russia. The court ol Sweden gave the directory to understand, that were he to be refused admission, the French envoy at Stockholm, would be treated precisely in the (ame manner. But the directory ordered him, nevertheless, to quit Paris; not, however, without expressing the highest respect for the Swedish nation, the good-will of which it still sought to retain, notwithstanding this variance with its government. The French envoy al that court was, at the fame time, directed to leave it; his residence there being no longer consistent with the honour of Fiance, to the interest of which that court was become manifestly inimical, by its subserviency to Russia, the declared enemy to the French republic.
The king of Sardinia's ambasta
dor had, in like manner, experinced
the displeasure of the directory, for
expressing Ms regret at (.lie precipitation with which his master had concluded the treaty of peace with Prance; the terms of which, he said, would have been much less severe, had he waited for the more favourable opportunities that followed it. For having uttered words of that import, he was ordered to quit (he territory of the republic. The Tuscan envoy was difmisted in the fame manner, on account of the particular zeal he had testified in behalf of Lewis XVI.'s daughter, when (lie was permitted to leave Trance.
The court of Rome, when compelled bv the victories of Buonaparte to solicit a suspension of arms, fiad sent commissioners to Paris, to negociate a peace: but, in hope that the numerous reinforcements, which were coming from Gc/many to the Imperial army, would enable it to recover its losses, and expel the French from Italy, they studiously protracted the negociation, on pretence that they were not furnished with sufficient powers to conclude a definitive treaty. It was not till the successes of the French had put an end to these hopes, that they appeared desirous, as well as empowered, to come to a conclusion. Btit (he directory, for answer, signified their immediate dismission.
Notwithstanding the resolute and decisive conduct adoplcd by the directory, they found it necesiarv to abate of their peremptorinefs with the Dutch; who, though strongly determined to remain united in interest with France, were not the left resolved to retain their national independence. The party that favoured and had called in the French, had done it solely with' the view of securing (heir assistance lor the Up1
preffion of the siadtholderfhip, in which they hud been formally promised the concurrence of the French republic. They were, for this motive, Ib zealous for the success of iln arms, that, during the campaign of 1794-, (hey had projectedan insurrection in the principal towns of the Seven United Provinces, while the republican armies should advance, with ail speed, to their support. Having communicated their designs to the French government,- they doubted not of its readiness to second them, and prepared accordingly to execute the plans which they had formed in virtue of that expectation. But the uninterrupted career of victory, that had given In decided a superiority to the French over all their enemies, had also elated them in such a manner, that, looking upon the co-operation of their party, in Holland, as no longer of that importance which it had hitherto appeared to be, they now received its applications with a coldness, which plainly indicated that they considered the Dutch as a people that must submit to their own terms, and whom they now proposed to treat rather as being subdued by the arms of the French, than as confederated in the (ame cause.
Such were the dispositions of the French towards the. Dutch, when they, enterredthe United Provinces. The arbitrary manner, in which they imposed a multiplicity ofheavy . contributions upon the Dutch, wa highly exasperating to the nation: but they v»ere (oo prudent tuexalperate men, ;who were determined' toad as Gonquerors, and ;wli6m it ■ was impossible to resist. They submitted, therefore, with that phlegmatic patience, which characterize'. '*. tl*ur
I'ifm in difficulties, and usually enable? them to surmount the greatest, hv giving way to the storm while it Lisrs, and reserving themselves for those auspicious opportunities of retrieving their affairs, that so seldom bil the vigilant and undesponding.
In the mean time, the republican party, in Holland, resolved to condud itself with so much temper lo the adherents of that party, which it hadoppoled with lo much firmness and perseverance, that they should have no caule to complain of its having made an improper use of (he pmver it had newlv acquired. The efiediof this moderation were highfi beneficial to both parties. It Aliened the gTief of thole who had Ixcn deprived of the government of their countrv, and induced them i<i be less hostile to those who had taken their places: and it procured lot these a readiness in the generality ut people to consider them as actuated by patriotic motives, and in no wife by private animosity towards their antagonists.
This conduct was the more remarkable, that the inhabitants of the provinces, though a large majority, nu desirous of a change of government, differed materially in their opinions concerning that which was io succeed it. The party favouring lie ftadtholder was the least considerable. It consisted of the titled, ■>r noble families, still remaining in incUnited Provinces, and chieflydepcuded npon the inferior classes, and tic jrreat number of foreigners, for the nan part Germans, in the Dutch service. The mercantile and middle r lades, and generally the people of opulence and property, were inclined lo a republican system: but fcwein they differed among themfcitet as lo the platt to be adopted.
Several preferred the antecedent one, that had subsisted from the demise os William III. king of Great Britain and stadtholder, with such alteration as might secure it effectually from a re-establishment of that office, and render it more democratical: others recommended an immediate adoption of the precedents, which the French had fixed on as the most popular. These different parties contended with great warmth for the superior excellence of their various plans. But the necessity of fettling some form of government, brought them, at last, after long and violent dispute, to the determination of calling a national convention. The provinces of Zealand and Frizeland, the two most considerable in the Dutch republic, next to that of Holland, made a long and obstinate opposition to this proposal. But they were, at length, prevailed upon to concur with the others on its expediency.
The year 1795 was consumed in altercations of this nature. But as soon as the national convention met, which was on the first of March, 1796, all parties agreed on a resolution to declare war against Great Britain, which they considered as having chiefly occasioned the many calamities that had befallen the United Provinces for a course of years. Through its influence over the stadtholder> the strength of the state had been perfidiously withheld from acting in defence of the trade and shipping of the republic, and its interests wholly sacrificed to those of England. During the whole duration os the American war, this had been done in despite and contempt of continual remonstrances and solicitations from the most respectable citizens in the common* •
[ N J , wealth.
wealth. It was through the interference of England, leagued with Prussia, that the stadtholder, who had beeu expelled from the United Provinces was restored in defiance of the manifest will of the Dutch. Thus a governor wan imposed upon them, whom they could compare to no other than a lord-lieutenant of Ireland, or a stadtholder of some Prussian district. He was the mere agent of those two powers, by whose impulse he was guided, and by whose power he was upheld in his authority, which he exercised entirely according to their directions. Through their fatal influence, Holland had been precipitated into the present contest with France, against the well-known wishes of all the provinces, and upon pretexts quite foreign to their interest. While this influence lasted, Holland could be viewed in no other light than as a dependence of England and Prussia. It was, therefore, incumbent on the national convention, to put an end to this (lavish and ruinous connection with those two powers, but especially with England; which had, on the pretence of espousing the cause of the stadtholder, torn from the republic almost the whole of its possessions in the Indies and in America. What was still more insulting, the English ministry treated him avowedly as the sovereign of the Seven Provinces, though they must know that he was constitutionally no more than the captaingeneral of their armies, and the admiral-in-chief of their fleets. What was this but tvranny and usurpation in the extreme? The pretensions of Prussia were at end, by the treaty it had concluded with France: but those of England were in full vigour, and it eagerly (czijd every
opportunity of doing all the dama»r in its power to the people of tie United Provinces; who had, thenfore, the clearest right lo consider it as their most inveterate enemy. On these considerations, which were obvious to all impartial minds, the national convention ought to call forth the whole strength of the nation, and use every effort to recover what England had so unjustly taken from it, rather by surprize than real prowess.
Such was the language of the republican party, in Holland, which, confiding in its strength, and ca the support of the French, was determined to improve to the utmost the opportunity that now offered, ot extinguissiing.radically,all the hopes and pretensions of the Orange lami!)-. In this determination, this party met with every encouragement from the directory, which anxiously stimulated it to form a constitution explicitly exclusive of a stadtholder.
The Dutch convention itself wu sufficiently averse to the re-esublissiment of this office, which, new-modelled as it had been, by England and Prussia, was become, i:i fact, a fovereignity. But brnrerei unanimous on this point, they varied on several others. The former independence of the Seven Province; on each other, and their separata and unconnected authority over their relpective tenitories and people, had so long subsisted without impairing the general union, that it appeared to many unneceslarv. if not dangerous, to make any alteration in this matter, as it would afle'l the mode of levying taxes, and burthen one province with the expences of another. To this it was replied, that a firm and judiflolublc . union. open and ostefible exercise os authority over this meeting. This would have invalidated their pro
union, which was the object principally required, could not be effected, while such a separation of interdbwaJ suffered to exist. It would open a door to perpetual variances, which might eventually endanger the very existence of the government they were about to establish, hv breaking the principal bond os unity on which it was to be foundel. Aster a multiplicity of debates L-ionthis lubject, the importance of ■ solid union os all the provinces, into one common state, appeared Co itvdispenfibleji that it was unanimooCf agreed to. on the first day of December, 1796. To remove the (I'j/ectinn that had principally stood in the way os this decision, a commission of the most respectable members os the convention was appointed to examine and state the former debts of the respective provinces, and to consider of the most equitable and satisfactory manner of liquidating them, bv providing for their extinction, and preserving, at the same time, uninjured, the rights and interests of all the parties concerned in this liquidation.
In all these transactions, the members of the Dutch convention were remarkably cautious in permitting no visible interference in their deliberations on the part of the French pivernment. Its secret influence was well known; but the preservation of every form and external indication of freedom, was judged indifpenfible.in orderto maintain the apparent dignity of the state,aiid, what wis of more consequence iri the eve ot' the discerning, to prevent the French themselves at any future period, from pleading a right of interfering, from any acknowledged precedent. The director,' was also very careful in abstaining from all
ceedings, and infringed the liberty which France boasted, of having restored to the Dutch,-in too glaring a manner, not to have excited their murmurs and resentment. For these reasons the directory affected every sentiment of respect for this national convention of the United Provinces, and treated it with every outward mark of their considering it as the representative of an independent nation.
But the regard shewn, bv France, to the republic of Holland, was measured solely by the consideration os its weight in the political scale, which, however depressed by circumstances, might still recover the level of its former importance. The directory did not extend the fame deference to those whom it deemed more subjected to its power. This was remarkably evinced in its conduct towards Geneval This litile republic had invariably remained attached to the interests of the revolution in France, ever since its first breaking out; and had gone hand in hand with it through all its variations. Relying en these proofs of its fidelity, it now requested the directory to confirm its independence, by making it a era use in the treaties between Fiance and other powers. But this request did not coincide with the views of the directory, which had, it seems, in contemplation the annexation of Gene\ a to the domin-'on of France. In pursuance os this project, an intimation was given to the Genevans, that their interest would be better cenf sited, and their freedom secured, by becoming! part of the French republic. TMs intimation was highly cjilgust[ X 2 ] ing