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the annals of the Revolution, it was postponed. When the issue arrived, the faction found to its cost it had no party among the public. It had sought its own disasters, and was left to suffer the consequences. Foreign enemies, as well as those of the interior, if any such there be, ought to see, in the event of this day, that all expectation of aid from any part of the public, in support of a counter-revolution, is delusion. In a state of security, the thoughtless, who trembled at terror, may laugh at principles of liberty (for they have laughed); but it is one thing to indulge a foolish laugh, it is quite another thing to surrender liberty.
Considering the event of the 18th Fructidor in a political light, it is one of those that is justifiable only on the supreme law of absolute necessity, and it is the necessity abstracted from the event, that is to be deplored. The event itself is a matter of joy. Whether the manoeuvres in the Council of Five Hundred were the conspiracy of a few, aided by the perverseness of many, or whether it had a deeper root, the dangers were the same. It was impossible to go on. Every thing was at stake, and all national business was at a stand. The case reduced itself to a simple alternative:—Shall the Republic be destroyed by the darksome manoeuvres of a faction, or shall it be preserved by an extraneous act?
During the American Revolution, and that after the State Constitutions were established, particular cases arose that rendered it necessary to act in a manner that would have been treasonable in a state of peace. At one time Congress invested General Washington with dictatorial power. At another time, the Government of Pennsylvania suspended itself, and declared martial law. It was the necessity of the times only that made the apology of those extraneous measures. But who was it that produced the necessity of an extraneous measure in France? A faction, and that in the face of prosperity and success. Its conduct is without apology, and it is on the faction only that the extraneous measure has fallen. The public has suffered no inconvenience. If there are some men more disposed than others not to act severely, I have a right to place myself in that class; the whole of my political life invariably proves it; yet I cannot see, taking all parts of the case together, what else, or what better, could have been done, than has been done. It was a great stroke, applied in a great crisis, that crushed in an instant, and without the loss of a life, all the hopes of the enemy, and restored tranquillity to the interior.
The event war ushered in by the discharge of two cannon at four in the morning, and was the only noise that was heard throughout the day. It naturally excited a movement among the Parisians to inquire the cause. They soon learned it; and the countenance they carried was easy to be interpreted. It was that of a people who, for some time past, had been oppressed with apprehensions of some direful event, and who felt themselves suddenly relieved by finding what it was. Every one went about his business, or followed his curiosity in quietude. It resembled the cheerful tranquility of the day when Louis XVI. absconded in 1791; and, like that day, it served to open the eyes of the nation."
TO THE COUNCIL OF FIVE HUNDRED.
Citizens Representatives, Though it is not convenient to me, in the present situation of my affairs, to subscribe to the loan towards the descent upon England, my economy permits me to make a small patriotic donation. I send an hundred livres, and with it all the wishes of my heart for the success of the descent, and a voluntary offer of any service I can render to promote it.
There will be no lasting peace for France, nor for the world, until the tyranny and corruption of the English Government be abolished, and England, like Italy, become a sister Republic. As to those men, whether in England, Scotland, or Ireland, who, like Robespiere in France, are covered with crimes, they, like him, have no other resource than in committing more; but the mass of the people are friends to liberty; tyranny and taxation oppress them, but they merit to be free.
Accept, Citizens Representatives, the congratulations of an ancient colleague in the dangers we have passed, and on the happy prospect before us.
Safety and respect,
FROM 'THE CASTLE IN THE AIR,' TO 'THE LITTLE CORNER OF THE WORLn.'
Memory, like a beauty that is always present to hear herself flattered, is flattered by every oue. But the absent and silent goddess, Forgetfulness, has no votaries, and is never thought of: yet we owe her much. She is the goddess of ease, though not of pleasure.
When the mind is like a room hung with black, and every corner of it crouded with the most horrid images imagination can create, this kind speechless goddess of a maid, Forgetfulness, is following us night and day with her opium wand, and gently touching first one, and then another, benumbs them into rest, and at last glides them away with the silence of a departing shadow. It is thus the tortured mind is restored to the calm condition of ease and fitted for happiness.
How dismal must the picture of life appear to the mind in that dreadful moment, when it resolves on darkness, and to die! One can scarcely believe such a choice was possible. Yet how many of the young and beautiful, timid in every thing else, and formed for delight, have shut their eyes upon the world, and made the waters their sepulchral bed! Ah! would they in that crisis, when life and death are both before them, and each within their reach, would they but think , or try to think, that Forgetfulness will come to their relief, and lull them into ease, they could stay their hand, and lay hold of life. But there is a necromancy in wretchedness that entombs the mind, and increases the misery, by shutting out every ray of light and hope. It makes the wretched falsely believe they will be wretched ever. It is the most fatal of all dangerous delusions; and it is only when this necromantic night-mare of the mind begins to vanish, by being resisted, that it is discovered to be but a tyrannic spectre. All grief, like all things else, will yield to the obliterating power of time. While despair is preying on the mind, time and its effects are preying on despair; and certain it is, the dismal vision will fade away, and ForgetFulness, with her sister Ease, will change the scene. Then let not the wretched be rash, but wait, painful as the struggle may be, the arrival of Forgetfulness; for it will certainly arrive.
I have twice been present at the scene of attempted suicide. 'I he one a love-distracted girl in England, the other of a patriotic friend in France; and as the circumstances of each are strongly pictured in my memory, I will relate them to you. They will in some measure corroborate what I have said of Forgetfulness.
About the year 1766, I was in Lincolnshire, in England,
and on a visit at the house of a widow lady, Mrs. E , at
a small village in the fens of that county. It was in summer ; and oue evening after supper, Mrs E and myself
went to take a turn in the garden. It was about eleven o'clock, and to avoid the night air of the fens, we were walking in a bower, shaded over with hazel-bushes. On a sudden, she screamed out, and cried " Lord! look, look!" I cast my eyes through the openings of the hazel-bushes, in the direction she was looking, and saw a white shapeless figure, without head or arms, moving along one of Jfee walks
at some distance from us. I quitted Mrs. E , and went
after it. When I got into the walk where the figure was, and was following it, it took up another walk. There was a holly bush in the corner of the two walks, which, it being night, I did not observe; and as I continued to step forward, the holly-bush came in a straight line between me and the figure, and I lost sight of it; and as I passed along one walk, and the figure the other, the holly bush still continued to intercept the view, so as to give the appearance that the figure had vanished. When I came to the corner of the two walks, I caught sight of it again, and coming up with it, I reached out my hand to touch it; and in the act of doing this the idea struck me, will my hand pass through the air, or shall I feel any thing? Less than a moment would decide this, and my hand rested on the shoulder of a human figure. I spoke, but do not recollect what I said. It answered in a low voice, "Pray let me alone." I then knew who it was. It was a young lady who was on a visit to
Mrs. E , and who, when we sat down to supper, said
she found herself extremely ill, and would go to bed. I called to Mrs. E——, who came, and I said to her, " It is
Miss N ." Mrs. E said, " My God! I hope you are
not going to do yourself any hurt;" for Mrs. E suspected
something. She replied with pathetic melancholy, " Life has not one pleasure for me." We got her into the house, and Mrs. E took her to sleep with her.
The case was, the man whom she expected to be married to, had forsaken her, and when she heard he was to be married to another, the shock appeared to her to be too great to be borne. She had retired, as I have said, to her room, and when she supposed all the family were gone to bed,
(which would have been the case, if Mrs. E and I had
not walked into the garden) she undressed herself, and tied her apron over her head; which descending below her waist gave her the shapeless figure I have spoken of.
Aided by the obscurity of almost midnight, and with this and a white under-petticoat and slippers, for she had taken out her buckles, and put them at the servant-maid's door, I suppose as a keep-sake, she came down stairs, and was going to drown herself in a pond at the bottom of the garden, towards which she was going when Mrs. E screamed out.
We found afterwards, that she had heard the scream, and that was the cause of her changing her walk.
By gentle usage, and leading her into subjects that might, without doing violence to her feelings, and without letting her see the direct intention of it, steal her as it were from the horror she was in, (and I felt a compassionate, earnest disposition to do it, for she was a good girl) she recovered her former cheerfulness, and was afterwards the happy wife, and the mother of a family.
The other case and the conclusion in my next.
In Paris, in 1793, I had lodgings in the Rue Fauxbourg, St. Denis, No. 63. They were the most agreeable for situation of any I ever had in Paris, except that they were too remote from the Convention, of which I was then a member. But this was recompensed by their being also remote from the alarms and confusion into which the interior of Paris was then often thrown. The news of those things used to arrive to us, as if we were in a state of tranquillity in the country. The house, which was enclosed by a wall and gateway from the street, was a good deal like an old mansion farm-house, and the court-yard was like a farm-yard stocked with fowls, ducks, turkies, and geese; which for amusement we used to feed out of the parlour window on the ground floor. There were some hutches for rabbits, and a sty with two pigs. Beyond, was a garden of more than an acre of ground, well laid out, and stocked with excellent fruit trees. The orange, apricot, and green-gage plum, were the best I ever tasted;