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CHAPTER XXXIX. - Gouverneur Morris, The Diary and Letters of Gouverneur Morris, vol. 2 
The Diary and Letters of Gouverneur Morris, Minister of the United States to France; Member of the Constitutional Convention, ed. Anne Cary Morris (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1888). 2 vols. Vol. 2.
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Morris sees the society of various towns on the Continent. Count Rumford. Conversation with him. The Elector of Bavaria. Presented at Court. Ratisbon. Affairs of Switzerland. Stuttgart. Frankfort. Conversation with Mr. Crauford. A drive with Count d’Aspre. Movements of the armies. M. de Görtz and the citizen Trielhard. Mr. Crauford’s interesting communications. Riot in Vienna. General Holtze. Bonaparte goes to Rastadt. Cobenzel made Austrian Minister of State. Count Cobenzel goes to Rastadt to negotiate for peace with Bonaparte. Information received from Prince de Reusse. Conversation with the Elector. Dines with the Duchess of Cumberland. Ukase of the Russian Emperor. Mr. Crauford’s history of how he became acquainted with Simolin. Affairs in Paris in 1792 of which Crauford was cognizant.
Seeing thus from within the society of the towns in the various countries of Europe, and thoroughly enjoying life and his friends, Morris whiled away the months, it would seem, with rather a dread of the necessary effort it required to cross the Atlantic. He had let the pleasant months of the previous summer go by, and, now that winter had again set in, he concluded to gain all the information and see all the places of interest possible, and watch the progress of events for some months longer. Late in December he left Ratisbon and went to Munich. Here again he fell in with friends.
“The Baron de Closini is’ here,” he says, in the diary for December 30th, “whom I knew in America, where he served as aide-de-camp to General Rochambeau. He gives me un peu la carte du pays. I call on Count Rumford.∗ I ask him how it happens that the country I rode over remains uncultivated. He tells me that there are vast forests of pine throughout Bavaria which bear the marks of precedent cultivation; that this is beyond question the finest country in Europe, but ever since the Thirty Years’ War everything possible has been done to ruin it by unwise laws and administration, as one proof of which, among many which he might mention, he gives this: That there are some thirty odd thousand farms in Bavaria, many of which are considerable; whenever a farmer becomes bankrupt and quits the farm, before another can take it he must subject himself to the payment of all arrearages, so that every year which the farm is unoccupied the reason for leaving it waste becomes stronger, so that now there are above four thousand of these farms without tenants. The Count goes on to tell me his situation here as to the confidence reposed in him by the Elector. He brought him into his views of reform by holding out that history never fails to do justice to sovereigns—recording their acts of beneficence and branding them for the neglect of their important duties. According to the Count, it is from the love of honest fame that the Elector has been stimulated to the amelioration and embellishment of his country, to which he had but little personal attachment, and, being without heirs and not too well disposed to his successor, could not, from any regard to posterity, be led into the labor and vexation of reform. He states to me how, by degrees, since the commencement of the fourteenth century, the existing nobles, or rather ennobled, who are by no means descendants of the ancient nobility (all of whose privileges, with a single exception, have, by purchase or escheat, merged in the ducal crown) have arrogated, from the weakness of the chief, privileges and exemptions to which they are not entitled, and under the name of the States oppress and defraud the people; so that at length the abuses are become equally numerous and enormous, from whence has resulted the impoverishment and depopulation of this excellent country. Among the abuses, he mentions as one that on his arrival here there was a regiment of cavalry which had five field officers and only three horses. The Elector’s ministers are so much sold to the States that in his own private chancery he could not get, during six weeks, a paper copied which he was to sign. The States, in the mean time, were informed of its contents, and came forward with an impeachment against the minister who had framed it for high treason. The Elector, whom he describes as timid, being informed that they were arrived in procession to present the address containing the impeachment, rode out, by Rumford’s advice, a-hunting, to gain a day. Rumford immediately went into the chancery and threatened the secretary that, if the papers were not copied and on the Elector’s table ready for his signature by eight o’clock next morning, he should lose his place. The secretary represented the impossibility, for it was not yet begun. Rumford ordered in the clerks, caused it to be distributed among the number necessary, and then reiterated his threat, with the addition that if it were not ready at eight he should be no more secretary at nine. To the Elector’s surprise this paper, which, addressed to the States, demonstrated the nullity of the claims they made and pointed out their various and manifest usurpations, was ready at the hour, and was immediately signed and transmitted, so that their impeachment (calculated to prevent the blow, seeing that the Elector could not sign and transmit the work of one accused as a traitor) lost its object. Next day, by Rumford’s advice, the Elector, as Vicar of the Empire, ennobled the minister, who was of plebeian extraction, for his important services rendered to the public.
“M. de Werneck speaks to me of Count Rumford as a man with much genius and information, and the zeal and activity of a projector; is apt to neglect a business when once he has brought it to its point of maturity; moreover, as of a man extremely vain, who is the hero of his own panegyric. Indeed, I could not help remarking this morning that the Count takes his full share of the praise which history is to lavish on the Elector for all the good things done and doing in Bavaria. M. de Werneck lets me see that his brother has an inclination to get placed here, and considers the Count as an obstacle. He tells me that the Count had told him he had, in the expectation of being snatched away by death before his operations should be completed, prepared and printed a few copies of his vindication. In this he proves, according to his account of the matter, that he had, in his management of the military, increased the effective force, mended the condition of the soldier, and yet lessened the expense. He had expressed a desire to see this performance, and received a promise that it should be communicated; but this promise, though repeatedly renewed, has not yet been complied with. The Count’s enemies say that when he came into office there were nine hundred thousand florins in the military chest, that the effective force has been greatly reduced, that the chest is in debt, and all the magazines are empty. Rumford told me this morning that he is perfectly well with the successor to the Electorate.”
“This morning [January 1st] Count Rumford calls, and takes me to Court, to assist at the grand couvert of the Elector, which, like all other things of that sort, is dull. Go again to Court in the evening, which is its grand gala—a concert and cards. The Elector, notwithstanding his age, goes through the representation very well. Rumford tells me of the great marks of attachment shown to him by the people, and how well he has deserved them. I believe more of the latter than of the former. My valetde-chambre tells me, after I get home, that as yet he has heard nothing about him but abuse, and mentions the deficit in the military chest, etc., which M. Werneck stated yesterday. He says, moreover, that he is accused of selling, for his own private emolument, the produce of the labor performed by poor people maintained at the public expense.”
“Count Rumford calls this morning [January 3d], and takes me to see the English garden he has made adjoining to this city. He began by draining a piece of ground belonging to the Elector, which he has since laid out with great judgment, and has some things in petto as an additional improvement which will be equally ornamental and advantageous. He has in the farm which he has established as part of this garden some handsome cattle, which he has bred from Swiss stock. He shows me two projected entrances to the town, one of which is to be cut through the palace some years hence. The other will be finished in a year or two, and is very handsome. Round the town he has made a very fine esplanade, the history of which is curious. Before his last journey to England he had confided his intention to some one, who let it out, and his enemies, determined, though to the public injury, to do him an unkindness, built several things of slight material in the way, so that when he returned he found his plan effectually frustrated. But when the French came hither, the Regency, finding themselves reduced to great straits, applied to him, according to orders they had received from the Elector at his departure. Rumford took advantage of that circumstance to execute his scheme, while at the same time he kept the French and Austrian troops from entering the town; everything round was knocked down and levelled, so that now the approaches are much better, and the whole is more clean and airy. We go then to the Military Academy, which is on a good establishment. Young people are here lodged, fed, clothed, and educated for fifteen guineas per annum. They learn Latin, German and French, geometry, and other branches of the mathematics needful to military men; dancing, fencing, drawing and music. The kitchen is very curious, and very worthy of imitation. I see several dinners sent out to officers and citizens, who are supplied from hence at the rate of fifteen kreuzers or one forty-fourth of a louis d’or, say, of a pound sterling, or about five to five and a half pence. This is a kind of perquisite to the cook, who supplies the students at the same price per day, receiving gratis the use of the kitchen and utensils with the needful fuel. Rumford tells me the price was some time ago only half a louis per month, or eleven kreuzers per day. The articles sent out for these eleven kreuzers were a beef-soup, with three dumplings made of flour, crumbs of bread, egg, and chopped ham, each about the size of a very large hen’s egg; a portion of turnips cut fine and stewed in a brown gravy, on the top of which was about half a pound of boiled beef, or bouilli. Another dish consisted in near half a pound of bœuf à la mode, with a very rich, thick sauce in abundance; finally, there was a good cut of apple tart, large enough to cover the quarter of the inside of a common plate. In short, there was more food, excepting bread, than I could, I think, eat in a single day, much less in one dinner. Count Rumford gives orders to prepare for our reception at the workhouse to-morrow. M. de Werneck calls on me in the evening, and we read together part of a printed account made by Rumford of his four years’ administration of the army. Notwithstanding this account, which is perfectly clear and correct, certified after full examination to the council, to whom it was submitted for that purpose, his enemies circulate busily the whisper of maladministration. At dinner, speaking of General Werneck, an officer who is present says he is certainly a man of talents, but not so attentive as he might be to duty, being much given to play, and thence led to too great intimacy with people of a certain sort, and instances that the bank at Frankfort, the croupiers, etc., most of which are très mauvais sujets, are his property. His fondness for and success in play, I knew. This keeping of a table I don’t at all like. It is said that the Austrians, in general, play, etc., but the circumstance of a public bank seems to be peculiar to him.”
“This morning [January 5th] Count Rumford calls, and we go out together. By way of avoiding a crowd of market-people in the direct road, we make a circle round part of the town, by which means I see the mountains lying between this and Tyrol, which are very cragged, and deceive me much, for the air happens to be so clear that they appear like broken ridges of moderate height in the neighborhood; but my companion tells me that they are sixteen leagues’ distance, and adds that the finest country on earth is that which lies at the foot of them. The river is very rapid here, and the water of a greenish color but very clear. Count Rumford mentions contrivances for muskets by which he can load and fire fourteen times while the Prussian troops load and fire four. To prove the astonishing velocity, he cites a thing which happened in the presence of the Elector and his Court at a hunt. He fired at a hare and missed it, then loaded, fired, and killed the same hare with the same gun. He says further that he has invented a gun from which he shoots an arrow, and by calculation it can, with an elevation of forty-five degrees, be projected three miles. He drove it through twelve inch-boards, one behind the other, which, says he, is all that can be done by a six-pound shot. These inventions he will not communicate to the world, particularly the latter, being too dangerous. We arrive at the workhouse and see the kitchen, which is wonderful. In general, the regularity, cleanness, and economy of this house surpass anything I ever saw. The poor who are maintained here are employed busily, and have cheerful countenances. These people earn their living and they are happy. Long may he be happy who has made them so. I taste of the soup given to the poor. It is very good, and I see the crowd sit down to eat it with good appetite. The portion of bread, he tells me, is generally taken home by them for their supper. There are about one thousand people fed here, at the annual expense of about four hundred guineas, including everything. The contrivances for saving cloth, linen, leather, etc., in making clothes, the arrangements to prevent fraud, and to keep the accounts for the regiments, etc., are all admirable. We go from hence to a hospital for old poor people, from whence there is a fine view of the town. The chambers here are so warm that I cannot stand them. We go on to the house fitting up, under Count Rumford’s direction, for poor children. This house was built by the States for ladies to live in privately, and is the most superb building in Munich. The idea is the most extraordinary that I ever remember to have met with. It was further intended for the education of those young scions of nobility which had been furtively taken from the noble stock. In England this would be called a strong legislative declaration of unchasteness. Whatever may have been the intention of these wise men of Gotham, it will certainly afford an interesting spectacle when filled up with poor children receiving good raiment and good education at the expense of—their own labor well applied.”
“Dress and go to Court, where I dine [January 6th]. Mention to the Elector, who converses with me on my yesterday’s excursion, that His Highness ought to have consigned to some record the state in which he found this country, lest posterity should, on seeing the improvements, doubt of the situation in which he found it. This is like flattery, but, in the first place, it is founded on fact; secondly, it is no small instance of benevolence to have labored for the amelioration of a country for a successor whom he dislikes. Neither of these, however, though they justify, would have induced this observation. I meant to encourage him in the pursuit of laudable objects, and if anything I can say should have the smallest tendency to produce that effect it is well said. At dinner I sit next to the Electress, who has a clear, ready comprehension and a good share of genius. She is not happy, and is well content that her dissatisfaction should be known. After dinner, the Elector inquires about Lafayette, and I set his character in what I think the fair light. Go from Court to see Count Rumford, and sit with him a good while. He reads me his day’s labors, in which he has reasoned himself into a belief that the life is, as Moses says, in the blood, and that it consists, which Moses does not say, in the operation of heat and cold and the movement which, as a fluid, must be produced in it by the distribution and succession of these accidents. My solution of all such abstruse questions is that things are so and so because God pleases that it should be so. The ladder of Science is infinite, and the steps which man can mount are few and uncertain, but could he get even to the top it would only lead him more immediately into the presence of the Almighty. So that the most acute of all philosophers must end, with Newton, where I begin. We at length fall on politics. He tells me the French are assembling a considerable force along the former line of demarcation, and that the Prince of Hesse has quitted Berlin in high dudgeon, and sent back all his orders, dignities, etc.; ‘which,’ says Rumford, ‘I consider as a game to preserve his neutrality, and therefore as a sign of war. Russia, moreover, has ordered the recruiting of one hundred thousand men, but the Emperor, says he, is a madman. He seems to take pains, in his rage for reform, to do unpleasant things in the most disagreeable manner.’”
On the 9th of January Morris returned to Ratisbon, and remained there until the 23d of February. During the journey to Ratisbon he fell in with a train of wagons of the reserve artillery of the Austrian army. This delayed him some time; but, “on the whole,” he says, “I am well off to have got safely here, for it wanted but little to have thrown me into the Danube in trying to pass the train of wagons. Pass the evening with the Princess. It is said the French have possessed themselves of Basle, and declared war against the Swiss Cantons. The French Government have ordered the seizure and confiscation of all English goods in France, and also the capture and condemnation of all vessels coming from an English port, or having English goods on board. This is a premium to British navigators, and an attack upon all neutral powers.”
“At Madame de Hohenthäl’s assembly [January 19th] I learn that the Swiss are determined to assert their independence, and have proposed anew the oath of Union, discussed since two centuries; also that they have demanded a categoric answer from the Directory as to the kind of neutrality which they are to expect from France.”
“Pass the evening [January 25th] at Court, where there is, as usual, a concert. The rabies politica sets people’s tongues going, so that the murmur almost drowns the voice of Madame de Hohenthal during her song. On the whole, there seems much dulness in our social atmosphere. The Comte de Pfaffenhosen tells me here some anecdotes of the Director Barras. At the request of his uncle he had made up a match for him with a young lady who, being sister to the unfortunate Madame de la Motte, lost her future husband by the affair of the collar.∗ He then, at the renewed request of the same uncle, negotiated another marriage for him, and took the Vicomte de Barras down into the country to see and be seen. Here a too great intimacy was discovered with his servant, and the projected marriage broken off. Last June my relater went to Paris in pursuit of a paymaster who had robbed him, and addressed himself to Barras, who received him well, and assisted him, and who finally pressed him to remain in Paris. ‘Here,’ says Barras, I have no friend, and I much want one.’ The ci-devant payeur is now an officer of the Directorial Guard and eats at the table of his master, patron, lover—who, notwithstanding that connection, to which he is faithful, indulges in licentious frolics with the other sex most freely. Barras is led by his secretary and faiseur, one Lombard, being himself a very shallow fellow—so much so that my informant used to write letters for him to his intended wives. The stories told of his Asiatic luxury are false, and, as to his circumstances, he was so poor as not to be able to pay fifty louis which Pfaffenhosen had formerly advanced for him. He lives by running in debt. My informant says that he took great pains to discover the sentiments of the people in Paris, from the Directory downwards, and that, with the exception of Barras and Charles de la Croix, they were universally royalists; that is to say, all those with whom he conversed. Letters from Italy state the condition of Rome to be deplorable; a general consternation prevails, and the people are, if not attached to their sovereign, at least indisposed to his enemies. The news from Rastadt purport that the King of Prussia and the French are perfectly well together. It seems evident that the French mean, if they can, to overturn the Swiss Constitution, or, rather, the separate constitutions and the general league. Insurrections, their usual precursors, have taken place in the Pays de Vaud. It is said that the new French agent sent to Hamburg is to demand of them and the other Hanse towns fourteen millions of livres, and also the confiscation of all British goods, and, generally, of all British property in their dominion.”
“To-day [February 2d] we are informed that Austria, Prussia, and France are agreed to the manner in which Germany shall be disposed of, and that in consequence of it the congress at Rastadt will soon be dissolved. General Werneck tells me that M. de Metternich has received an anonymous letter informing him that, if the left bank of the Rhine is ceded to France, the Emperor and King of Prussia will not survive that cession a fortnight. The Grand Doyen Comte de Thurn tells me that Berne had presented a long mémoire to the Courts of Vienna and Berlin on the situation and views of France, with the means of reducing her power, now become dangerous to all Europe. These Courts have sent that memorial to the Directory, which occasioned the order to the commissaries from Berne to quit Paris.”
“The affairs of Switzerland seem to be [February 7th] in a bad way. At supper, last Sunday, Mr. Bacher told me that they had no idea of joining the Pays de Vaud to France, but meant to make of all Switzerland a new Republic (une et indivisible), like the Cisalpine.”
“Accounts from Switzerland [February 9th] show that the French force and French intrigues have produced their effect, so that Switzerland will henceforth be melted into a single representative democracy.∗ This, by concentring their councils and force, will make them a dangerous, or, at least, a troublesome neighbor to France.”
“Dine at Court [February 18th]. Mr. Alopus tells me the King of Prussia has made advances to the Imperial Cabinet on the present crisis, to which a complimentary reply has been made. He thinks that Austria is completely exhausted, and, from the sense of weakness, reduced to a stanch dependence on France. He thinks that this weakness, however, results rather from the imbecility of the Cabinet than any defect of means in the country. I believe that a more vigorous Cabinet would adopt more vigorous measures, but I incline to think that, in the present good understanding with France, interest has as much to say as apprehension. Be that, however, as it may, peace is of more consequence to that monarchy than anything which can be got by war. Pass the evening at Court.”
“Dine at the Comte de Hohenthäl’s [February 20th], and announce my departure to the society. Take tea at the Princess’s, and go to a masquerade, where I express to the Princess my regret at taking leave of the society here; that I am really affected by the necessity of leaving, but that my heart remains behind.”
“Last night I reached Stuttgart, and this morning [March 2d] walk out and call on the Baron de Rieger. He has just come through France, and gives a description of it as very highly cultivated, full of abuses, Paris more brilliant and more vicious than before, the same exterior politeness and prévenance to strangers, the posts well served, the roads out of repair, the innkeepers more extortionate than ever. Mr. Arbuthnot lodges in the same inn with me. He is waiting to carry the news of the delivery of the Duchess to England. He tells me that our minister at the Court of St. James’s is very much liked; that the King speaks to him more than to anybody else. Cela s’entend.”
“Attend a concert at Court [March 4th], and play at commerce with the Duchess.”
“This morning [March 5th] we go in one of the Duke’s carriages to Ludwigsburg, and take a déjeuné dinatoire prepared in the palace for Mr. Arbuthnot, who is to see everything in order that he may give a good account of it to the King—the King; for his daughter, who is much attached to him, is far from being so great an admirer of her royal mother. Most of the children are fond of him, which in my opinion proves in his favor. This palace of Ludwigsburg is large, and like to become the ducal residence. He means to build an English garden, and he has grounds which will suit for that purpose. Walk a good deal, and on our return sit down about five o’clock to a second dinner at Mr. Arbuthnot’s.”
“There is no company at Court to-day [March 8th], on account of the illness of the Duchess Dowager.”
“The Duchess Dowager is dead [March 9th], and my horse continues lame. The latter is the greater misfortune, and both may be perhaps attributed to the doctor. He said that to cure the horse radically he must make him apparently worse. The Court doctor related to us yesterday evening a conversation with the Duke, who, having asked him to declare on his conscience what he thought of his mother’s situation, answered: ‘If Her Highness were a citizen’s wife I should say that she might live two months, or die in two hours. The last is quite as likely as the first.’”
“They had advices here yesterday [March 10th] that the French had been defeated in Switzerland, but it appears to-day that they are in possession of Berne. They have then accomplished the task of extending themselves from the German Ocean to the head of the Adriatic, including everything round by the British Channel, the Atlantic, and Mediterranean, except Portugal and Naples. They are in full march for the former, and the latter cannot exist one moment after their will to crush them shall be declared. This empire is too rapidly and widely extended to put on a solid existence, but there is every means of extensive mischief. The North and South of Europe must now stand marshalled against each other; resource is in favor of the latter, but the former have, if united, more means of exertion.”
Morris journeyed (March 12th) on through the Black Forest to Heidelberg, and thence to Frankfort, where he arrived on March 16th. “Take tea,” he says, “with the Duchess of Cumberland. She has had bad news of her sister, who had lost every farthing at play, and a letter from Mayence has come which announces her suicide. She cut her throat, but it was expected she would recover. She, by virtue of the powers confided by the Duchess, had made away with her plate to the amount of £12,000. The estimated loss is £20,000. The Duchess receives company, to keep up the appearance of gayety.”
“Mr. Crauford tells me [March 23d] that when Marshal Claerfayt left this place to go to Vienna he proved to him, by the map on the table, that if the French were prevented from coming into Italy they would be obliged to submit to the terms of peace which might be offered to them, and that the Austrians, by opening the campaign on the Rhine in the month of April, would have great advantages over the French, who could not begin till May. Speaking of the French campaign in Germany, he says that they expected a co-operation of Prussia. This may be, but I do not believe that it was promised. The Prince de Reusse, who is of the society to-night, criminates Prussia for all that is past. I undertake to exculpate that Court, by observing that the origin of the dissension between them and Austria was the refusal of the latter to declare its eventual objects in the war. After some conversation Mr. Crauford, in confirmation of what I had said, relates a conversation he had at Brussels with Lord A—, then returning from the combined armies, which he had quitted from the conviction that nothing would be done, because the Prussian ministers had all told him that the immediate object, whatever it might be, could easily be effected, but that nothing decisive could take place, from the obstinate silence of Austria as to its views, which Prussia could not blindly assist in furthering without being told what they were. The Prince de Reusse hereupon (to exculpate the Austrian Cabinet) tells us that he saw all the despatches and was privy to the whole affair, in which the blame must be laid to Count Lehrbach. Comparing this with what Mr. Alopus told me of his conduct at a subsequent period, it seems to follow either that he betrayed the interests of his Court, or that his instructions were dictated by the most profound perfidy. All those who know M. de Thugut intimately agree in declaring that he is cunning, indolent, and false in the extreme. His countenance confirms this idea, and perhaps gave rise to it. Time and facts must decide on the justice of it.”
“Take Count d’Aspre to ride to-day [March 30th], and during the ride the conversation turned on General Werneck. D’Aspre acknowledges that he dislikes him very much, and gives as a reason that he is not only a gambler, but a dishonest gambler; that he is meanly avaricious, that he is a petty intrigant, false, deceitful, profoundly immoral. He acknowledges that he is brave as a soldier, but wants the firmness and decision of a general. He says that he is a vain boaster of female favors, and that he may attribute his ruin to the liberties his vanity took with the Queen of Naples, which her daughter the Empress resents in a high degree. He says Alvinzi is the best general they have, but is unfortunate. The retreat of the army under Claerfayt is mentioned, and the part which Werneck had in it. D’Aspre, who commanded the rear-guard tells me that Werneck’s disposition was very bad; and that he owed to accident only that he was not cut to pieces; that he, D’Aspre, lost the greater part of his rear-guard; that Werneck was guilty next day of a breach of orders, in which he risked the loss of all his baggage without reason, and that he, D’Aspre, retired by the route which Werneck ought to have taken without any loss, and saved the baggage, which would otherwise have fallen into the enemy’s hands. D’Aspre’s account is so accurate that he forces my belief. He speaks (as, indeed, do all who know him) very highly of Mack. He tells me that he has been assured by French officers that Bonaparte is deficient in courage, and that in the great affair where he gained such a miraculous victory against Alvinzi he had already called a council to consider whether his army should lay down their arms, when a negro, galloping off at the head of four hundred horse, either from the effect of terror or in a fit of desperation, struck a panic into the Austrian irregulars, who had performed acts of heroic bravery and were already chanting victory. This communicated itself to the whole line, etc.”
“Dine at the table d’hôte at home to-day [April 11th]. General Gontreuil sits next me, and tells me that he escaped the pursuit of the Municipaux in Brussels by the accident of having been delayed a day longer than he expected at Mons. He came as a fugitive through Flanders, etc., and brought with him only two shirts and the coat on his back, having left carriage, cash, clothes, etc., behind. He says that until he declared his intention to continue in the Austrian service all went well, but from that moment the officers of government did him all kinds of mischief. He says the people both of France and Flanders are very miserable and unhappy, the peasantry not ill off, the country of France better cultivated than before, the oppression of the government great beyond all idea which can be formed of it. He inveighs against the French.
General Hotze,∗ whom I meet at Mr. Crauford’s, tells me [April 12th] that the Emperor has only forty-three thousand men along his Italian frontier, but that they may be easily re-enforced to one hundred thousand from Tyrol and Dalmatia. Mr. Crauford mentions the demand of the French on the King of Savoy for permission to march thirty thousand men through his country into Italy. The Imperial court is now occupied in trying to obtain from the French an execution of that part of the treaty which relates to the Brabanters. After dinner Mr. Crauford and I take an airing together, and while we are driving he complains of the conduct of Sir Morton Eden during the war. His want of ability has proved materially injurious. He has even neglected and contemned the advice given him. When Beaulieu was appointed to the command in Italy, an express was sent to request he would prevent it, because of the utter and acknowledged incapacity of that officer. His answer was that he knew the party opposed to Beaulieu and was well aware that envy was the inseparable companion of superior merit. When he was requested to oppose the subsequent appointment of Würmser, as a man who had outlived the very moderate share of abilities he once possessed, he answered that the appointment of so able and gallant a soldier must be considered as a proof of his Imperial Majesty’s determination to prosecute the war with vigor. He remarks on the incapacity of Lord Elgin to conduct the affairs committed to him at Berlin, and states to me that Mr. Whitworth, the minister at St. Petersburg, is a very gallant soldier, and totally unqualified for a diplomatic character. He says he is quite out of spirits from what General Hotze has told him respecting the French intrigues for two years in Switzerland, and the evidence of similar intrigues in this quarter. He mentions to me what Gontreuil has told him, viz., that in a conversation with St. Foix and Beaumarchais at the Bishop d’Autun’s, St. Foix said that if the greater powers of Europe should form a league against France, they might yet put a stop to the torrent which would otherwise overwhelm them; but Beaumarchais contended that it was now too late, and they recommended it to Gontreuil to continue in France, and send back his commission.”
“Mr. Crauford comes [April 16th], and tells me he is informed from very good authority that the day before yesterday a smart altercation took place between M. de Goertz and the citizen Treilhard.∗ M. de Goertz† called, and opened the conversation by observing that the French procrastinated so much the conclusion of the definitive treaty that it gave ground to the assertions of some persons pretending to be well informed, that they had views to the subversion of all the governments in Germany. Treilhard replied that such persons were liars and unworthy of all credit. Goertz affected to be pleased with this declaration, but, as if not quite thoroughly convinced, drew from his pocket a paper containing the plan in detail for revolutionizing the Empire. Treilhard, surprised but not abashed, asserted that it was a vile forgery, upon which the other expressed great pleasure and requested a written declaration that it was false. Treilhard now hesitated, and declined. When pressed he refused, and, Goertz declaring that his master would be under the necessity of exerting all the means in his power to counteract the attempts of France, Treilhard, whose choler was now fully roused by the wrathful manner of his antagonist, told him haughtily, ‘Monsieur, nous ne sommes pas, à cette heure, à craindre ce que pourra faire votre maître.’ ‘Monsieur,’ replied Goertz, ‘j’ai donc ma réponse.’ The sovereigns of Europe seem to have the choice of risking all upon the great game of war, or perishing like rats drowned in their holes. General Gontreuil, who sat next me at dinner gave a different version of the conversation which Crauford repeated to me. He stated the conversation as between St. Foix, Beaumarchais, and himself only, and that they agreed it was now too late for a coalition to do anything against France. Mr. Crauford also communicated to me an anecdote on the subject of M. de Lehrbach which is important in various points of view. M. de Hardenberg, after he had concluded the treaty of Basle, had an interview at Huningen with Barthélemy, Pichegru, and Merlin de Thionville, and, he thinks (but in this he must be mistaken) Tallien. It was agreed to put the Dauphin on the throne and constitute themselves a Council of Regency, to consist of themselves and their friends; to maintain all the existing laws against emigration, etc. Hardenberg made the most solemn promises not to communicate this secret except to the King his master, but on his way to Berlin gave a rendezvous to Albiné, the favorite and probable successor of the Elector of Mayence, to whom he communicated it in confidence. Prussia, being very desirous at that time of having the vote of Mayence, Albiné, who had always tried to keep fair with both Austria and Prussia, asked an interview with De Lehrbach, who unfortunately reached Frankfort the same day with Hardenberg, and told it to him, also in confidence. Lehrbach, outrageous, asked an interview for the next day with Crauford, and told it to him, desiring he would immediately transmit the intelligence to the British Court, and observing that this council, appointed under the influence of Prussia, would throw the whole power of France into the hands of the Court of Berlin; that he had already dispatched a courier with the intelligence and his observations on it to Vienna, and would take care to make it known to all the cabinets of Europe. Crauford told him that he was not surprised at his warmth, thought he had done right in transmitting the intelligence to his Court, and, having some connection with the ministers of Britain, would, since he requested it, give them the same information. In respect to the thing itself, Crauford observed to him that he could not but view the matter in another light; that as to the future influence of Prussia on the French counsels it must depend on circumstances, but beyond all question the Regency would not feel themselves bound any longer than might be necessary to their own views. Consequently the danger apprehended by M. de Lehrbach appeared to him both remote and uncertain, but the projected change would be attended with great and immediate advantage to all Europe; that it would be a complete and effectual answer to all those wild principles of anarchy which the French had propagated. The demonstrated necessity of returning to a monarchic form of government, in order to rescue themselves from the miseries inflicted under the pretence of liberty and equality, would form a better security to the thrones they had attempted to overturn than a thousand victories. For these reasons he thought that if the apprehended danger were much greater than it appeared the advantage more than overbalanced it. After these observations Lehrbach became convinced, and promised not to divulge any further the secret, but that very afternoon communicated it to the Russian minister, and the next morning to Schwartzkopf, the Hanoverian resident, desiring him to transmit it to the Regency. The French, finding themselves betrayed, were of course obliged to renounce their project; but the measures they had taken could not be recalled, so that the sudden death of the child became necessary, and M. Hardenberg may thank his own weakness, Albiné’s duplicity, and Lehrbach’s madness for all the mischief resulting from that second murder, which cannot in fairness be laid to the doors of those by whom it was commanded. This conversation was in the month of June, 1795.”
“Mr. Crauford [April 18th] tells me that the Duke de Biron came hither disguised to request that the King of Prussia would re-establish the King of France. Perhaps it was this visit which brought him to the guillotine. It is indeed not improbable that, among the many executions which took place under what is called the reign of Robespierre, some were just. On the present occasion the Committee, convinced of the Duke’s treason, might have found it impossible and, at any rate, highly impolitic, to bring forward the proof of it.”
“The post from Vienna brings accounts [April 20th] that the French ambassador, Bernadotte, has left the city in consequence of a riot among the people in which the standard planted before his door was pulled down and destroyed. The police had entreated him not to give this cause of offence or, at least, to give them time to reconcile the people to it, but he refused in a high tone. One of his aides-de-camp advanced, it is said, with his sword drawn. against the mob, and but for the timely interference of the military the whole of them might have been destroyed. He demanded satisfaction of the Court, and the Emperor replied that he, who had a right to demand, could not think of giving satisfaction, upon which Bernadotte asked for passports, and set off the next morning. His obstinacy on this occasion implies that he acted from the impulse of his government, and hence is to be drawn the conclusion that they wish to renew the war as a pretext (I presume) for attacking Naples. Mr. Crauford tells me that M. de Hohenlohe has been some time at Vienna, and held frequent conferences with M. de Thugut.”
“General Hotze calls on me this morning [April 28th]. He has deferred his departure in consequence of a letter received last night from Switzerland. The Cantons of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwald are determined on defending themselves, and have requested him to come and command them. Instead of setting off, therefore, he comes to ask my advice. He considers their efforts as unavailing, unless they can be supplied with bread and salt. I recommend it to him to write to the Baron de Thugut, and, informing him of the state of things, urge an immediate supply of these articles; to reply to the invitation of his countrymen that he will come as soon as he shall have been able to obtain means needful for their defence, in the procuring of which he is occupied, and then to set off immediately for Vienna; to state to the Imperial Cabinet the vast importance of the object, and, should they fear to compromise themselves, obtain what he wants from the English minister. He likes every part of this advice except going to Vienna, to which he objects from the feebleness of that Cabinet and the necessity he was under before of keeping himself concealed. He agrees, however, to go as far as Würzburg, in the way to Vienna, instead of going to Fulda, in the way to Hamburg. I think he is a little undecided in his character, and certainly does not feel that high spirit of freedom which renders all difficulties light to him who, hearing, feels the voice of his country. Dine at home in consequence of some expressions dropped by Colonel Malcolm, who desires an interview. He tells me his mission from the Court of St. James’s, which is a strange, disjointed thing. He is coupled with M. Jolivé, a young Geneva merchant, who holds the purse-strings which may be opened only to the Government of Berne, now dissolved. He also desires my advice. I tell him that the first object is to secure £10,000, then to set off for Augsburg, and confer there with the avouè Stiger; to contract with traders for the delivery of grain and salt at different places in the resisting cantons, and inform the persons to whom it is delivered that the King of England, as first magistrate of a free people, has seen with great sensibility those efforts which are worthy of their ancestors, and learned at the same time that the want of necessaries might render their courage unavailing; that His Majesty had in consequence taken immediate measures to send them a small present supply, as a proof of his affection, until measures can be taken for their more effectual relief. As the colonel is in a state of anxiety and indecision, I propose to bring Crauford into council, which he seizes with eagerness. Crauford approves highly of the measure, and says if it were an object of only £3,000 he would himself advance the money. So the Colonel goes out to look for M. Jolivé, and see if he can be induced to come forward on this occasion with the needful credit. I doubt whether he has the credit. After this I call on the Elector of Cologne, who considers a renewal of the war as unavoidable, though the period may be removed for some months. He tells me it is not true, as I had been made to believe, that Claerfayt’s indecision proceeded from the orders of the Court; that his conduct in Flanders arose from a phrase in the Emperor’s letter to the Prince de Cobourg, in which he was desired to deliver over the command of the army to General Claerfayt or other senior officer, whence he concluded that he did not enjoy the confidence of the Cabinet, and would, if unfortunate, be sacrificed. Afterwards the Elector saw a letter from the Emperor to Claerfayt directing him, even at any great risk, to cross the Rhine and relieve Luxembourg, which Claerfayt declined, fearing the Prussians under Hohenlohe, and sent an officer to expostulate.”
“Colonel Malcolm calls [April 29th], and says that M. Jolivé cannot take on him the needful advances; so this falls to the ground. Go after dinner to Offenbach, and find the Prince de Reusse in bed with a fever.”
“It is said [May 3d] that the party of Barras is now uppermost in France, and Bonaparte goes in consequence to Rastadt. This comes in a letter from a well-informed person to M. de Vrinz. The French Government, I hear, grows uneasy at the prospect of an alliance between Prussia and the two Emperors, and a letter from Berlin mentions a regular demand made by the Directory on the Prussian administration to declare what part the King would take in case of a rupture between France and Austria, adding that under present circumstances the Directory could not permit Prussia to preserve an apparent neutrality.”
“Colonel d’Aspre calls [May 8th], and tells me that Thugut is appointed commissary of the newly annexed territories, and Cobenzel∗ is placed at the head of the administration, from which he augurs pacific intentions at the Imperial Court. He confirms an account I had formerly heard, viz., that Cobenzel showed great firmness in the conclusion of the treaty at Campo Formio, and had actually sent off a courier with orders to commence hostilities after Bonaparte had left him in wrath, and after his return and the final agreement a counter-order was despatched, but D’Aspre and his Court were already two hours on their march before this counter-order reached them. Dine at the Sandhoff, and pass the evening at Madame de Vrinz’s. M. de Formé, who comes in, has received letters which announce great loss by the French in forcing the passes at Appenzell, and that the Swiss peasantry are in general rising against them; also that the French have not at present more than twenty-five thousand men in Switzerland. Sup at Mr. Crauford’s. He tells me that M. de Cobenzel showed (as he has been told) condescension towards the French deputation at Rastadt, amounting even to meanness, wherefore he apprehends his appointment to be a Commissioner to the Directory. M. Chamôt, who comes in, tells us that this appointment is announced already in the Moniteur, which arrived yesterday, and Thugut’s attachment to England assigned as the cause. D’Aspre told me that when Cobenzel left Rastadt he was extremely embittered against the French commissioners for the indignities they had heaped upon him.”
“To-day [May 9th], after dinner, I visit the Elector of Cologne. He has received official advice of the appointment of M. de Cobenzel, ad interim, but he reserves his place of ambassador at Rastadt. The Elector considers this an indication of pacific sentiment. Is it not an indication of weakness, and of the Christian virtue, poorness of spirit? Advices are received that the Swiss, after great slaughter of their enemies, shut up in one of the valleys, reduced them to a capitulation, by which the French agree to leave them masters of their own conduct and the liberty to adopt such form of government as they may think proper. Mr. Crauford told me this morning that while Jourdan was on his march into Franconia the aide-de-camp left behind, and who, a high Jacobin, was charged with the secret service, used to boast that he did as much for the Republic as any of her generals, and one day read to a person who called on him the extract of a letter from Vienna which announced the continuation of the war as the result of a conference between the Baron de Thugut and the Emperor, in consequence of a courier which had arrived from London. This person, casting his eye on the letter, saw that it contained information of the views and intentions of the Cabinet. At a previous period advice was received from Basle, said to come from the Chancellerie of M. Barthélemy, that orders were issued for the march of twenty-five thousand men under Würmser. The Prince Charles, then in Frankfort, was asked whether this was true. He said that he knew nothing of it, and did not believe it. Next day he received the advice by a carrier from Vienna. To all this he adds another anecdote, viz., that such convincing proofs were given to M. de Mercy of the treachery of General Fischer, adjutant-general of the Prince de Cobourg, that he waited on the Prince and laid them before him. This weak man, instead of putting the traitor under arrest and bringing him to trial, contented himself with sending the intelligence to Vienna, and the Court thereupon removed Fischer from the adjutancy in Flanders to that of Italy. Some time after he had been there he shot himself, finding, as Crauford supposes, that his tricks were again discovered. Crauford tells me, in the evening, that he has had this afternoon a long conversation with the Elector on the subject of the present change at Vienna. His Highness thinks it important that Thugut should continue in the Council, because he possesses a degree of firmness which some others want. He attributes the ill-success of the war to bad military appointments, and these to the zeal of Thugut, who, ignorant in that line, and ardently desirous to bring matters to a speedy termination, had taken up men hastily on the recommendation of others without consulting the Maréchal de Lacy, who alone could be a competent judge of their abilities. Crauford does not seem to have been struck with the irony of the word zeal. Colonel D’Aspre said to me this morning that, in consequence of reiterated applications from Bonaparte, Count Cobenzel is to meet him at Rastadt for the purpose of terminating the negotiations for peace; that the Directory post-pone till that be settled their demand of satisfaction for the affair of Bernadotte, and that the Emperor is resolved to risk all consequences rather than give any such satisfaction. Advices are received of the submission of the little cantons. They agree to adopt the constitution on condition that they pay no contributions, and that no French troops come among them. It is said that M. Cobenzel, who is arrived at Rastadt, and expects Bonaparte in a very short time, is directed to recur to the principles of the treaty of Leoben. He is to object to the cession of the left bank of the Rhine. A positive refusal is to be given to the late demand of a post opposite Huningen, of Rehl, of Cassel, and Ehrenbreitstein, and, in case the French recalcitrate, war is to be the consequence, the Courts of Vienna and Berlin being come at length to a good understanding together. I incline to think that this is rather the wish of those who relate it than the history of facts. The Duchess of Cumberland says, in reply to the whole, that the Landgrave of Cassel has lately purchased Imperial paper; sufficient proof that he, who is very well informed, does not believe in war, which could not but depreciate it.”
“It stands confirmed [May 14th] that the deputation of the Empire are determined to refuse the last demand made by the French. This looks more like a good understanding between Berlin and Vienna than anything which has yet appeared. The Prince Repnin has been prevented from going to the former by his bad health. The sending of one in such high confidence seems to augur on the part of Paul a disposition to be busy.”
“I take Mr. Crauford to ride with me after dinner [May 15th], and he tells me the purport of information received from the Prince de Reusse. His correspondent at Vienna told him that, the majority of the Council being opposed to Thugut, he told the Emperor that the French meant to attack him as soon as they should have got rid of what now occupies them, wherefore it would be proper to prepare for war; that since His Majesty was induced to entertain a different opinion his continuance in office could not be useful, and might be pernicious. Upon representations of this sort, frequently repeated, the Emperor consented to receive his resignation. I read this thing a little differently. I conclude that Cobenzel had been told by the French deputation at Rastadt that the Directory could not consider the Emperor as disposed to be on good terms with them so long as he kept in his service Thugut, whom they consider as sold to England; that, of course, until he should be dismissed they could not act towards the Imperial Court as they otherwise might, etc.; that upon a representation of this to the Emperor by Cobenzel His Majesty has asked Thugut whether, in effect, he was (as represented) disposed to a war with France, and then, Thugut declaring he was and assigning his reasons, the Emperor has signified to him that unless he would adopt a different opinion he could not retain him in his service. The conversation given out to the public is, I presume, an arrangement to save the Emperor’s dignity (an object which is not effected), and contrived by Thugut, who is a very cunning fellow, to answer the double purpose of securing the support of England and the pension, if he receives one, while he has all the chances of a future misunderstanding with France, in spite of the submissions which may be made to avoid it. On the whole, it seems pretty clear that Hotze’s idea of his Court is perfectly just, and that the leading feature is weakness.”
“After dinner [May 16th] I go to Offenbach to visit the Prince and Princess de Reusse. He takes me a ride through the forest of Yssenburg. His letters from Vienna announce that the Courts of Vienna and Berlin are well together. The first act of Cobenzel’s administration (or, rather, the first step after his arrival at Vienna) was to send the Prince de Reusse full powers to treat with the Prussian Cabinet. Cobenzel has orders to insist that the Pope have an establishment somewhere; that the French do not hold an inch of ground on the right bank of the Rhine, and that they evacuate Switzerland. These the Prince considers as sine qua non of treaty. While we are walking a person overtakes us, and I am not a little surprised to see the Chevalier de Graave. He comes from Switzerland, where he has been, as I had heard, a commission-man of British merchants, which he denies, and yet, from what he afterwards says, it seems to be the fact, for he tells me he is waiting here to receive and despatch some goods. He says the Directory were (as he was informed) much alarmed, at the time the affairs of Switzerland were in suspense, lest Austria and Prussia should interfere. This I think likely, though I do not consider the Chevalier’s means of information as the best, nor his mind as the most distinguishing. I call on the Elector, who shows me a copy of a circular from Thugut announcing that His Majesty, having thought proper to employ the Comte de Cobenzel in an important mission, he has resumed the conduct of affairs during the Count’s absence. The Elector tells me that Cobenzel had a conference with Mack, to prepare the military operations in case the negotiation should fall through, and has brought with him the presents to be made to the French mission on the conclusion of the peace. Utroque paratus.”
“At supper, at Madame Sullivan’s, we have the Marquis de Grimaldi, a Venetian, who spent some time at Petersburg, and knew M. de Cobenzel there. He speaks of him as a lively, pleasant, weak man; totally unfit to be charged with the affairs of a country as first minister. Madame Sullivan, who knows Thugut intimately, says that he will not return to the helm; that he has no motive to induce him, being neither avaricious nor ambitious, but very lazy. Mr. Crauford tells me some anecdotes of Cobenzel’s conduct at Rastadt little suited to the dignity of his master. Mr. Duff, Lord Fife’s son, who was there, used now and then to embarrass him by making up in the presence of the French deputation. Cobenzel had the weakness to express to him and his companion his regret that he could not, under the existing circumstances, show them all the attention which he wished. Metternich, who was always a poor creature, was, and is, equally servile. Trielhard, who learned and observed what was doing, and who is not remarkable for his gentleness, said of them: ‘Ce sont de plates betes; ils nous craignent et nous haïssent.”
“Go [May 19th] to Wilhelmbad, and dine with the Duchess of Cumberland. A cook she had borrowed from the Elector is taken ill, so we dine from the gargotier, and our dinner is better than when prepared by the faiseur of his Royal Highness. This leads to a conversation respecting the quantum which the Elector swallows in the space of four and twenty hours. Miss Lawley recounts sundry surprising coups de goutte; that which strikes me as most simple and easy to be remembered is taken from a breakfast he gave lately, and at which he ate up a lamb. Go after dinner to visit the Princesse Héréditaire of Cassel. Her insipid husband is at his regiment. It is said from Rastadt that the Austrian and Prussian ministers hold in concert a firmer language to the French deputation. Conversing with Mr. Crauford on the state of past affairs, he tells me of a proposition made by leading men in the Low Countries to furnish every means in their power for the purpose of taking Lille, which was alone to cover their country. The offer was rejected with wanting haughtiness amounting to insult. In the battle of Tournay, where the French left ten thousand men on the field, the Duke of York, who commanded the left wing, sent there repeated messages begging permission to attack, but the Emperor repeatedly refused, so that the enemy were permitted to retire quietly to Lille; and during the action General — proposed to Mack, as a thing which could not have escaped him, the placing a battery of heavy cannon at a spot which would enfilade the French, but Mack, who was nominally quartermaster-general, shrugged up his shoulders, the meaning of which was that, in effect, he had no command; and it appeared afterwards that the Prince de Waldeck was charged with his department. In the battle of Fluenes the Austrians gained a victory, but Prince Charles was not permitted to advance and push the French into the Sambre, a thing unavoidable, and in the night the Austrians were ordered to retreat. In short, it appears evident that the Imperial Cabinet was resolved to abandon the Low Countries, preserving always the appearance of being forced into that measure. It is not probable that they were bribed by the French, but it is certain that a conduct more treacherous to their allies, their subjects, and their army can hardly be imagined.”
“Mr. Crauford calls [May 26th], and shows in a newspaper the ukase of the Russian Emperor by which a fleet of ships and galleys is to be sent to the Belt to protect the free commerce of the Baltic against the attempts of France to bully Denmark. He mentions to me, also, a failure of the British, which is announced in the gazettes, but which I can scarcely believe, as it purports a descent near Ostend, where they must have been morally sure of meeting a considerable force of their enemy. The Abbé Delille is at Mr. Crauford’s. He is, as usual, gay, simple, and good-humored.”
“To-day [May 29th] it is reported that the English have done their enemies great mischief at Ostend and Dunkerque. It is also published, since two days, that they have been repulsed with a loss of near two thousand men. Quœre. A person in the service of France, who dined at the table d’hôte, entered into conversation with me, and told me that Bonaparte, at the head of forty thousand men, takes possession of Egypt, ceded by the Grand Seigneur, and then marches by Arabia over the desert to Bassora, at the head of the Persian Gulf, and so across Persia to India. He has secured proper intelligences on his route, etc. M. Cobenzel goes to France to meet M. François Neufchateau, a new step towards the putting off of Imperial dignity. It is said that the English have blown up part of the dike and laid a considerable district of West Flanders under water.
“In various conversations M. Faugas has given me to understand that, in his opinion, France can only be happy under a monarchical form of government, and that her long convulsions must terminate there; that no peace can be expected for her or for other nations so long as the great criminals are in possession of power; and these he afterwards explains to mean those who voted for the death of the King. Sarivilliere Lepaux, who was one of them, and with whom he is in habits of confidential intercourse, he describes as an honest man stung with remorse. Carnot called on him, knowing his intimacy with Lepaux, to entreat he would use his influence with his friend and prevent him from joining the other two Directors against him and Barthélemy. ‘Tell him,’ says Carnot, ‘it is impossible that he should consider me as a royalist; tell him that, by their present persecution, they labor to make Europe forget my crimes.’ Lepaux, after the great stroke of their 18th Fructidor,∗ heard of Carnot’s visit and inquired about it; Faugas acknowledged the fact, and related the subject of the conversation, declaring that he had refused meddling and had not, for that reason, repeated it. Lepaux told him he ought to have charged himself with that commission. ‘In effect,’ says he, ‘I do not believe in the pretended conspiracy, but our conduct was dictated by a sense of self-preservation; had we remained quiet we were undone.’ To this Faugas replied: ‘Have you reflected that in violating the Constitution you impose on yourselves the necessity of frequent violations? Do you consider that the Jacobins, whom you have made use of on this occasion, are your mortal enemies, and should they, by these or other means, get into power they will accomplish your ruin?’ ‘We would not give place to secondary considerations—the great object was to save ourselves. Should the dangers arrive which you seem to apprehend, we must take such measures as prudence may dictate under the existing circumstances.’ Faugas tells us that the Directory is, in fact, divided into two parties, mortal enemies to each other; that Rewbell has far more understanding and address than his opponents, but is covered by the general contempt and detestation of his countrymen. Barras, he says, is now well advised by Bonaparte, whom Faugas considers as a very able man. The expedition he has just undertaken will, says Faugas, if successful, cover him with glory, and at any rate secure him against a new Fructidor, should any such arrive.”
“The British gazette to-day [June 8th] gives an account of the expedition sent against Flanders, which has produced its effect by destroying the Canal of Bruges, but the troops are lost because the weather was such that they could not re-embark. They were therefore surrounded by a host of enemies, and compelled, after a gallant resistance, to surrender. Mr. Crauford gives me the history of how he became acquainted with M. Simolin,∗ in answer to a question of mine to that effect. Mr. Crauford says he came to Paris in December, 1791, and continued there till April, 1792. By the by, this is nearly the time in which I was absent from it. He endeavored to persuade the King and Dauphin to leave France—a thing which he says the British Government desired as a means of saving the King, and even the monarchy. Crauford saw the royal consorts two or three times a week regularly, and the plan of the flight was arranged; but the Queen changed her mind, as usual, and declared she would never separate her fortunes from those of the King. This determination, so often resumed or, rather, as I think, instilled, proved her ruin. While that affair was in agitation the King expressed a wish to send some person to the Emperor and Empress of Russia to request they would not listen to the wild project of his brother’s, which could not but terminate in his ruin and that of his family. His Majesty wished also to send off various papers which might, if discovered, prove ruinous to individuals, and which, nevertheless, he wished to preserve. Crauford mentioned Simolin as a proper person; was charged to sound him on the subject. Simolin promised, had an interview on the subject, and was penetrated by the affecting manner in which the King mentioned the necessity he was under of applying on so delicate a subject to the minister of a foreign court. In effect, it was a hard measure. Simolin went to Vienna, and Leopold adopted the plan chalked out to him. Simolin spent two hours in his cabinet the evening on which he was attacked by his last illness. The Empress approved of his conduct in charging himself with the commission, directed him to come on to Petersburg, and received him most graciously. She read the affecting letters which the King and Queen—especially the latter—had written, but without showing the least emotion; neither did she, in consequence of them, or of anything Simolin could say, alter her conduct in the least. Crauford says he has often thought on this subject, and lost himself as to the cause of her pertinacity. Sometimes he is led to attribute it to a story told her of offensive expressions used on her subject by the Queen; sometimes to a desire that France might be incapacitated from opposing her ambitious views on the side of Constantinople, etc. I tell him that there seems to be a much simpler reason, parallel to cursory observation. She could not but have observed that weakness was the predominant trait of character both in the King and Queen. She knew, also, in common with all Europe, that His Majesty’s brethren contended for the principles of divine, indefeasible right in kings. The Empress, from her character and from the circumstances in which she was placed, had less disposition than any other person to admit the rights of subjects to modify the supreme power. This seems to me the sufficient clew for unravelling not only that part of her conduct, but, indeed, her whole system as to the French Revolution.
“We have to-night, at Madame Sullivan’s birthday party, a large number of guests, among whom is an Italian improvisatore, who is great in his art. He spouts verses on any subject extempore, in a kind of recitation where the measure of the lines may easily (I think) be lengthened or shortened. He has, however, considerable genius, and gives to Bethman a sharp reprimand for indecorous treatment, two days ago, at his house.”
“A report is in town [June 13th] that Admiral Nelson has beaten the French fleet in the Mediterranean, and taken Bonaparte prisoner.”
[∗]Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford, natural philosopher and economist, born at Woburn, Mass., 1752 or 1753. He began life as a schoolmaster, at Rumford, now Concord. Sent, in 1775, as bearer of despatches to England, to Lord George Germain, who appointed him a clerk of the Foreign Office, he became, in 1780, Under Secretary of State. In 1784 he went to Munich, and became aide-de-camp and chamberlain to the reigning Prince of Bavaria. He subsequently became a lieutenant-general, commander-in-chief, minister of war, and, in 1790, a Count of the Holy Roman Empire. His power and influence at the Court of Bavaria ceased with the life of the Elector, in 1799. In 1798 he went to London, and formed the plan of the Royal Institution of London, which was founded about 1800. He died at Auteuil in 1814.
[∗]Allusion is here made to the famous affair of the diamond necklace, in which drama the principal actors were a queen, a prince of the House of Rohan, and a courtesan, and the proceedings of which exposed royalty to many blows and many scandals.
[∗]The Helvetic Republic was a single commonwealth in which the cantons were no more than departments. The new republic did not suit the Swiss, and in 1803 Bonaparte gave them a better constitution, keeping Switzerland almost wholly dependent on France, but, on the whole, treating it differently from other countries of which the government had been more feudal.
[∗]David von Hotze, an Austrian general, commanded the army which was opposed to Masséna in Switzerland in 1799. He was killed in battle near Zurich in September, 1799.
[∗]Jean Baptiste Count Treilhard, one of the Directory from May, 1798, to June, 1799.
[†]Johann Goertz Count of Schlitz, grand master of the wardrobe to Frederick William II. of Prussia.
[∗]Count Louis von Cobenzel, an Austrian diplomatist, ambassador to Russia in 1780, signed the treaty of Campo Formio in 1797, negotiated the treaty of Lunéville in 1801, and became a minister of state at Vienna.
[∗]The republican triumph of the 18th Fructidor (September 4), 1797.
[∗]Johann Mathias Simolin, an eminent diplomatist, who was employed by Catharine of Russia on important missions to Austria, Denmark, Sweden, and England.