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Reign of George III. (Continued.) page 2

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But, in fact, the strongest argument with the Prussian monarch was necessity. His army was perishing of starvation and disease, whilst half-a-dozen armies were collecting around him, so that his way homewards would soon be cut off. On the 30th of September he accordingly ordered the tents on La Lune to be struck at midnight, and the retreat to begin. At daylight, Dumouriez, informed of the evacuation, ordered forward general Dampier to occupy La Lune, but the deserted camp was found so full of the remains of horses and men dead of disease, that it was not deemed safe to remain on the ground. The Prussians made their way through the forest of Argonne, by the pass of Grand- Prey, and Dumouriez has been accused of letting them escape almost unmolested. In his defence, he stated that Kellermann and other officers continued their insubordination, thus paralysing his efforts; whilst the Prussians, still very strong, though incapable of advancing, from want of supplies, made their retreat in good order, and severely punished general Dillon, the only general who pursued them with any zeal.

Once through the forest, the Prussians were not lightly to be attacked; and, indeed, Dumouriez thought it most politic to allow them to take themselves off as soon and as far as possible: and, on their part, the allies were in no disposition to linger. Oppressed by famine and disease, and utterly disgusted with the emigrants, who had led them to suffering and disgrace, they made the best of their way to the Rhine, and, at the end of October, reached Coblente, a miserable spectacle, reduced from eighty thousand, who had entered France three months before, confident of victory and fame, to fifty thousand humbled and emaciated men. If Dumouriez had had that unity and subordination amongst his generals which he had not, he would have been able, by a forced march, to outstrip the allies, cut them off from the Rhine, and scarcely a thousand of them would probably have escaped. The blame thrown upon him for not thus inflicting a terrible chastisement, appears unmerited, after the causes of weakness which we have seen in his army.

It was probably to remedy this, as much as for the indulgence of a vanity peculiarly French, that Dumouriez set out for Paris, after the retreat of the allies. He was contemplating an immediate campaign against the Austrians in Flanders, and it was absolutely necessary that he should have his authority as commander-in-chief confirmed by the ministry and assembly; it was equally necessary that he should be promptly supported by these authorities in his military proceedings; and he knew very well that he had left almost every party and person offended with him, for one cause or another. He had offended the ministers and the Girondists, by turning out the very Gironde ministers who were now in again; he had deeply incensed the jacobins, by showing some favour to the royal family; and there was hardly a leader in the great parties whom he had not offended by his plain speaking, and by setting at defiance their injunctions. It was necessary, in the moment of success, to endeavour to heal all these wounds.

He arrived in Paris on the 11th of October, and was well received by the ministers, Servan, Roland, and their colleagues, who appeared willing to forget the past; he was equally well received by the convention, which he flattered by presenting to it a standard taken from the emigrants; he was surrounded by applauding members, and, too politic to make complaints in his speech detailing the glories of the defeat of the Prussians, he even praised Kellermann. The jacobins were prepared to frown on him for his reception by the ministers and the convention; but he hastened to present himself at their club, where he was received by Danton, Collot d'Herbois, Chabot, Fabre d'Eglantine, and others, with open arms. Danton presided, and the cordiality with which he welcomed the successful general communicated itself to the whole club. Collot d'Herbois, the ex-player, made a speech, in thorough theatric style, and in reply to Dumouriez's speech, in which he said, before the month was out, he would march with sixty thousand men to attack kings, and save the people from tyranny; he told him that he was not a general made by a king, but by the people, and that he must destroy kings and raise peoples. He compared him to Themistocles; warned him of probable ingratitude, such as Themistocles suffered; but that it was a glorious mission, and that he must ever remember Themistocles. He reminded him that he had let off the king of Prussia too easily, but that he must doubly punish the emperor of Austria, and he finished by exclaiming, "At Brussels, liberty will spring up under thy feet! citizens, maidens, children will throng around them. ' Oh! what happiness art thou about to enjoy, Dumouriez! My wife is from Brussels; she, too, will embrace thee!"

Danton, who had blackened his reputation with all honourable men by his share in the murders of September, paraded Dumouriez through Paris as a hero almost equal to himself. The general left no stone unturned to win favour. He visited the circles of the Girondists, though he felt that madame Roland and her admirers had no confidence in him. He visited the society of artists, who were, almost to a man, jacobins, and they gave him a great entertainment. All went well, and Dumouriez was about to return to the army in high spirits, when a strange apparition presented itself in the midst of this very fête of the artists. It was Marat, in his usual filthy attire, and equally filthy person. He was attended by two jacobin members of the convention, Bentabolle and Monteau. Marat, with a never-ceasing malice and envy, had successively attacked every one who had risen in popular favour - Mirabeau, Bailly, La Fayette, Petion, the Girondists. His soul was now blackened with envy at Dumouriez's success and applauses. When he reached the house of mademoiselle Candeille, a celebrated woman of that day, where the entertainment was given, he found a great array of carriages drawn up, which inflamed his spleen, and Santerre, with a detachment of national guards, protecting the festivities. He pushed his way through, and asked for Dumouriez. At his appearance there was a general sensation, and a number of persons quitted the place in all haste. Marat made his way up to Dumouriez, and loudly accused him of having punished two battalions of volunteers, the Mauconseils and the republicans, for having murdered four Prussian deserters in cold blood. Marat declared the volunteers good patriots, and the so-called Prussians to be emigrants. Dumouriez, eyeing the monster with contempt, said, " Aha! so you are the man they call Marat! " He passed a disdainful glance over him from head to foot, turned his back on him, and left him. Marat, in his account of the interview, states that Dumouriez said more than this, referring him to the convention for any information on the subject; but he confesses that he then turned his back upon him - an insult only to be washed out of the soul of Marat with blood. Dumouriez, however, paid more respect to the other two deputies.

After four days, Dumouriez quitted Paris, and returned to the army. His visit had in part succeeded, in part failed. His reconciliation with the jacobins and the Girondists was, after all, but hollow. Neither party had confidence in him as devoted to their interests, but he had obtained from the executive council an approval of his plans for the military operations. He himself was to drive the Austrians from the Netherlands, and secure Belgium as an addition to France. This was openly avowed, notwithstanding the repeated assurances of the national assembly that France renounced all ideas of conquest. Montesquieu was to maintain his position along the Alps; and here again, in direct violation of all the protestations of the revolutionary government, he was to secure Nice and Savoy as additions to France. Biron was to be reinforced, in order to guard the Rhine from Basle to Landau. Kellermann was to do what Dumouriez in vain had before commanded him - march rapidly betwixt Luxembourg and Treves, hasten to Coblentz, and, if possible, yet intercept the retreat of the Prussians. Custine and Meusnier were to support these operations, and make an active invasion of Germany. Such were the settled plans of aggression adopted by the conquest-renouncing republicans - the apostles of liberty to all nations!

Dumouriez obtained more than this: that the great body of volunteers who were to join the camp at Paris should all be sent to swell his army for the invasion of Flanders; besides which, that his troops, who were destitute of almost everything, should receive shoes and greatcoats, and that six thousand million of francs should be sent for their pay. Thus reinforced, Dumouriez arrived at Valenciennes on the 27th of October, and prepared to follow the Austrian commander, Saxe-Teschen, who had been in vain bombarding Lille. On the 5th of November, being still further reinforced by another body of troops under D'Harville, he overtook Saxe-Teschen at Jemappe. The Austrians were strongly posted, but were only about fifteen thousand men opposed to the sixty thousand French; yet they made a vigorous resistance. The battle raged from early in the morning till two o'clock at noon, when the Austrians gave way. They retired, however, in good order; and Dumouriez, who had led his forces into the field singing the Marseillais hymn, did not again make much pursuit. This time, he alleged as the cause, that the French army, in taking possession of the Austrian camp at Jemappe, were seized with a fear that the hill was undermined, and that they would all be blown into the air. They fled out of it; and besides this, he said, the generals again showed insubordination, and would not give chase. Upwards of two thousand men are said to have fallen on each side. The battle opened all Flanders to the French; Tournay opened its gates to Labourdonnaye, and Courtrai, Menin, and Bruges sent deputies to meet and welcome Dumouriez. Other towns rapidly followed their example. The country had been already jacobinised, and now fancied it was going to enjoy liberty and equality in alliance with the French. The people were soon undeceived. The French had no intention of anything but, under those pretences, of subduing and preying on the surrounding nations. Flanders had speedy proofs of what every country where the French came had to expect. Jacobin commissioners arrived from the convention to levy contributions for the maintenance of the army, as if they were a conquered people. Dumouriez issued an order, on entering Mons, for the clergy to advance one year's income for the same purpose. Saxe-Teschen and old marshal Bender evacuated Brussels, and on the 14th Dumouriez entered and took up his head - quarters there, lie there made heavy forced loans, and soon after arrived what was styled "a committee of purchases" from Paris, headed by Bidermann, the banker, and partner of Clavières, minister of finance. This committee, on which were several Jews, made all the bargains for the army, and paid for them - not in gold, but in the worthless assignats of France. The Belgians remonstrated and resisted, but in vain. The soldiers were paid in hard cash; but speculators, who swarmed in the track of the army, gave them three times their amount in assignats; and they exacted, under threats, and often under blows, the full nominal value of these assignats from the tradesmen.

Besides this monstrous oppression, under plea of seizing the effects of French emigrants, citizens were plundered of money, jewels, pictures, and valuable furniture; and wagons were soon seen, loaded with works of art and vertû, on their way to Paris - a system which became universal in the French campaigns all over Europe. To make the matter worse, the jacobinised sans culottes of Belgium were let loose against what were called the aristocrats - the people of property, and they were thus doubly plundered. In vain did the astonished sufferers appeal to Dumouriez for redress; he declared that he had no power in such matters, they must appeal to the convention; but the convention paid no attention to such complaints; and a still greater number of adventurers, ruined by the revolution at home, or afraid of their lives there, flocked after the French armies, and pursued a lucrative trade in the robbery and extortion of the unfortunate peoples who received a visit from the Gallic armies of freedom and fraternity.

Dumouriez advanced to Mechlin, having dispatched Labourdonnaye to lay siege to Antwerp and Valence, and to reduce Namur. At Mechlin he found a great store of arms and ammunition, which enabled him to equip whole flocks of volunteers who came after him from France. On the 22nd he again overtook Saxe-Teschen at Tirlemont, where he made another stout resistance, and then retired to Liege, where the Austrians made another stand on the 27th. They were repulsed, but with heavy loss on both sides; and soon after, Antwerp and Valence having surrendered, all the Austrian Netherlands, except Luxembourg, were in the hands of France within a single month. The jacobins of Liege outdid those of other towns in their violence against the so-called aristocrats, and the French plundered all alike. Danton and Lacroix arrived as commissioners from the convention, and levied heavy contributions in its name, plundered the churches and the municipalities, and sent away loads of valuable pictures, carvings, plate, and rich furniture. They stirred up the sans culottes to imitate the Parisians in massacreing the wealthy citizens. Instead of relief and liberty, the Belgians found their country converted into a hell upon earth by their French friends.

Dumouriez sent forward Miranda, a Peruvian, who had superseded Labourdonnaye at Antwerp, to reduce Ruremonde, and to enter Holland by the seizure of Maestricht; but the convention were not yet prepared for this invasion of Holland, and Dumouriez pushed on to Aix-la-Chapelle, where he again defeated the Austrians on the 7th of December, and, levying heavy contributions there, took up his winter quarters in the ancient city of Charlemagne, and within little more than a day's march of the Rhine.

Whilst Dumouriez had thus overrun the Netherlands, other French generals had been equally pushing on aggressions. Custine, with about twenty thousand men, had marched upon the German towns on the Rhine; had taken Speir, Worms, and Mayence by the 21st of October. These towns abounded with democrats, who had imbibed the grand doctrine of the " rights of man," and laboured, to their cost, under the same delusion as the Belgians - that the French were coming solely for their liberation and advantage. Custine advanced to Frankfort-on-the-Maine, which he plundered without mercy. Custine called loudly for co-operation from Kellermann; but Kellermann not complying, he was superseded by Beurnonville, who was ordered to take Treves. He attempted it, but too late in the season, and failed. Custine, who had advanced too far from the main army to support his position, still, however, garrisoned Frankfort with two thousand men, and took up his own quarters at Ober Yssel and Hainburg, a little below ankfort, in the commencement of December.

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