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Reign of George III. (Continued.) page 6


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A most formidable attack was made this year on the territories of the king of Sardinia. Vittor Amadeo had pre- pared for the reception of the French on the side on which he expected them - namely, by fortifying the passes of the Alps leading from Savoy and Nice, of which they were already in possession; but the wily and unprincipled republicans had a plan in contemplation which he little anticipated. They were under a treaty of neutrality with the State of Genoa, notwithstanding which, they determined to march through it, and thus take the Sardinians by surprise. They therefore issued a manifesto, which they had printed at Nice, pretending that they knew that the tyrant kings were meditating the seizure of the states of the Genoese republic, to band them over to the king of Sardinia, so that he might be able, through them, to invade France. This manifesto was signed by the commissioners of what was now called the army of Italy, the younger Robespierre, Saliceti, a Corsican, and Ricord. It was in vain for the Genoese to remonstrate; they had already been fiercely menaced by the convention themselves, which vowed to lay Genoa in ashes, because the English had been allowed to seize French ships on the coasts and in the harbours of the Genoese republic - a circumstance which the Genoese had no power to prevent. They had only been excused by the payment of four millions of livres, which thus furnished a fund for the army about to invade Italy.

Accordingly, in the beginning of April, whilst the Sardinians were expecting the French to attack the passes of the Savoy and Alps, sixteen thousand of them appeared at Mentone - a town in the little state of Monaco, on the western frontier of Genoa. Dumorbion, who was in command, sent forward general Arena, a Corsican, to inform count Spinola, the governor of Ventimiglia, that he was at band, and demanded a free passage through that town. Spinola protested, as he was bound to do, but he could do no more, and, on the morning of the 6th of April, Dumorbion's army marched in, led by Arena, and followed by Massena. So far from the Genoese garrison showing any hostility, the soldiers mounted the tricolor cockade. By possession of this frontier of the Genoese State, the French had not only a free descent upon the Piedmontese territory, but they had thus turned some of the king of Sardinia's most important positions in the Alps. The plan of this manœuvre is attributed to Napoleon Buonaparte, who was already raised to the rank of brigadier of artillery, and was serving with this army. From this point the invaders divided into three sections: one wheeling to the left, seized the marquisate of Dolceaqua, driving out the feeble Piedmontese garrison; the second Struck through the heart of the mountains, drove the astonished Piedmontese garrison from the Coldelle Forche, opening a direct way to the most important of all the king of Sardinia's fortresses, Saorgio, and which he had so long maintained against all their efforts; the third division, under Massena, took the way along the sea-coast, seized the little port of San Remo, which really belonged to the Genoese, and then fell upon Oneglia, which they had nearly reduced to a heap of ruins in 1792. This was the only seaport by which the Sardinians could keep open a communication with the Mediterranean, and, consequently, with their allies, the English. The inhabitants, who had been busily employed in rebuilding their town, notwithstanding the horrors committed there by the French two years before, resolved to defend it. The Piedmontese garrison was small, but the inhabitants and the sailors from the ships in the harbour joined them; they manned the walls, and made a gallant resistance. But Massena, though at a frightful loss, succeeded in forcing an entrance. The inhabitants fled to the mountains, rather than endure again the tender mercies of the French, and Massena took possession of the deserted town. He thence marched on Loano, and was proceeding towards Ormea, when he was stopped at the bridge of Nava by the garrison of Oneglia, which had again posted itself there, and was supported by fifteen hundred Austrians. The artillery of Massena tore open a passage for him, and he advanced to Garresio and Bagnasco, being thus in possession of the whole valley of the Tanaro, the great highway into Piedmont, with the exception of the single fortress of Ceva. Massena then issued manifestoes, denouncing the most terrible treatment to all who should attempt to obstruct his progress, and making equal promises of favour to such as should abandon their king, and put themselves under the protection of the amiable French republic.

At the same time that these movements were being executed, other strong bodies of the French were advancing through the mountains from Nice and Savoy to co-operate. That from Nice carried the Piedmontese forts on the Col de Tende, as well as the strong mountain fortress of Raus, which had repulsed them the year before, and were now approaching Saorgio, whither, also, was converging the division which had made its way by the Col delle Forche; and, to complete the isolation of this important fort, Massena also advanced with a column by another way which his march had opened. When these various armies approached Saorgio, they drove back the Piedmoutese general Colli, and commenced a regular blockade. Colli left word to the commandant, Sant Amore, to defend the fortress till he could bring up fresh forces from Turin, which, from its strong position, might easily be done. But Sant Amore, either struck with panic, or bribed by the French, capitulated at the beginning of May, and thus left another great road open to Turin. The French, who were in possession of Saorgio, soon made themselves masters of the whole of the Col de Tende, the loftiest region of those maritime Alps. Vittor Amadeo had thus lost one half of his territories and mountain passes. Sant Amore and some other officers were tried for treason and shot, and he summoned his people to arm en masse, to resist the invaders. He called on Naples, on Austria, and Venetia, to aid him to repel the jacobin French, who would otherwise overrun and republicanise all Italy. Unfortunately, Austria and Naples felt themselves equally menaced by the French without, and their principles of sans-culotteism within; and Venice was at this moment amused by the hollow courtesies and promises of the French, through their ambassador, Lallemand. The king of Sardinia called in vain; even his own subjects in the towns were seduced, to a great degree, by the French ideas. He mustered all the forces that he could to resist the republican army, called the army of the Alps, which was approaching by Mont Cenis and St. Bernard. This army had already driven back the Piedmontese and Austrian garrisons that lay in their way, and were in full march through the valley of Aosta leading directly down upon Piedmont, when it was met by the Sardinian troops, under command of the king's eldest son, the duke of. Montferrat, who beat it back into the hills.

But another division of these French, who seemed as numerous as the frogs which invaded Egypt, and who marched on as imperturbably as so many fiends to demonise the whole earth, descended from the loftiest summits of the Alps, by fort Mirabocca, which they took, and passed on through the valley of Lucerna to Bobbio, and were approaching the strong fortress of Pinerol, when they were mat by other regiments of Piedmontese, and repulsed and chased back into the mountains.

It was the month of May when general Dumas, with the army of the Alps, had forced his way through the defiles of Mont Cenis. The Piedmontese garrisons of the forts there had fled without much resistance, astonished and confounded at seeing the French appear on the loftiest heights around them. The French pursued their retreating troops as far as Susa, led on by jacobinised Savoyards, who hated the Piedmontese. But Dumas, finding that strong forces of Piedmontese and Austrians, under the king of Sardinia, and the Austrian general Wallis, were drawn up at the foot of the Alps, did not venture to descend into the plains. Another body of the army of Italy were delayed some time in the Genoese territory, whilst Buonaparte was employed in sounding the condition and intentions of the people of Genoa. This division, however, in September, crossed the Appenines into Piedmont, and attacked the allies at Cairo, where they were strongly posted. The commanders of the French in this action were Dumorbion, Massena, Laharpe, and Buonaparte, attended by the commissioners Saliceti, Albitte, and Buonaroti, a descendant of Michael Angelo, but a thoroughly jacobinised republican. The French were bravely resisted, and forced back to the foot of the Appenines. From some cause, however, whether of false intelligence of another army of French approaching, or from a belief that they should be cut off by the autumnal floods from the Arqui, on the other side of the Bormida, where their magazines were, in the night the allies had retreated across the river, to the great amazement of the French the next day. Finding the country as far as Cairo and all around it left open, the republicans gave loose to all their usual lust and cruelty. They plundered the towns and villages, ravaged the country, burnt and trod down the vineyards, and treated the peasantry and their wives and daughters with the most horrible license. Having reduced the district to a desert, they retreated across the Appenines, and took up their quarters at Vado, for the winter; ready next spring to pour down from all quarters again on the plains of Italy. All the alpine passes were in their hands, and Italy was doomed to drink the cup of misery from these apostles of liberty, equality, and fraternity, who seemed inspired at once with the incessant activity and malignity of the hosts of hell.

Whilst the French armies had been carrying bloodshed and misery into all the countries around them, their brethren at home had been equally busy in pushing forward those mutual hatreds which appeared likely to end in the extermination of the whole race of revolutionists. The Girondists being destroyed, now divisions showed themselves in those who had hitherto been allies - Robespierre and his coadjutors. Hébert, Chaumette, Clootz, Ronsin, and others, began to raise their heels against their chief, and their chief doomed every one of them to the guillotine. Robespierre, a nice calculator, believed that there was a majority of the republicans who thought they had gone too far in abolishing the Deity and setting up the goddess of Reason, whose temples had already become the temples of Venus. Robespierre, therefore, declared in the jacobin club, that if the Divinity did not exist, a wise legislator would have invented one, to keep the people in some degree of restraint. Perceiving that this assertion found an echo, he proceeded to denounce Hébert and his associates, who were acting in secret concert with Pitt, and the other foreign enemies of France, to bring the country into odium with the whole civilised world by their odious atheism, the root of the severance of society. He was supported in these views by Camille Desmoulins, Fabre d'Eglantine, Philippeaux, and others of the Cordeliers. Danton joined them against Hébert, and Desmoulins commenced a new journal called " The Old Cordelier," to show that these new Cordeliers, Hébert, Chaumette, Momoro, &c., had departed from all the true principles of the club. He represented them as Converting France into precisely the same condition that Rome was in under Tiberias, when every prominent or worthy man was denominated as suspect, and that such denunciation was equivalent to death. This immediately produced a fierce recrimination from Hébert and his coadjutors, who accused Robespierre, Desmoulins, Danton, and their adherents, of moderatism, an accusation which had hitherto been tantamount to destruction. They eulogised Marat at the expense of Robespierre, declaring that that great man had never favoured aristocrats and traitors, and, if living, would at once have put down this detestable moderatism. Hébert had a great majority in the Cordelier club, and in the commune. Chaumette was procureur-general, Hébert was his deputy, and mayor Pache was on his farm. Rousin's revolutionary army, of whom four thousand still remained in Paris, were Hèbertists; and every exertion was made by Hébert and his party to rouse the faubourgs against Robespierre, Danton, and Camille Desmoulins. Their agents, conspicuous amongst whom was printer Momoro, whose wife had acted the goddess of Reason, were busy in the faubourgs, and in the Cordelier club, where they covered up the tablet of the Rights of Man with crape. So formidable appeared the Hèbertist party, that Robespierre, Couthon, and others of that party, as usual, hid themselves, pretending to be ill. In the meantime, the Hèbertists and the Dantonists were furious against each other, and Robespierre watched them secretly from his concealment, seeing in their disunion the means of crushing them all at the fitting moment.

All the time the guillotine was actively at work. In the month of January of this year it severed eighty-three heads in Paris alone. The committals of leaders of the two factions of Hèbertist and Dantonists went on mutually. Fabre d'Eglantine committed Marnel, a Hèbertist, to prison, on a charge of forgery; the Hèbertists of the committee of public safety released him, and imprisoned Fabre d'Eglantine himself on the same charge, with the additional one of being an agent of Pitt. The father-in-law of Camille Desmoulins was also arrested as suspect. The Dantonists repaid the obligation by imprisoning Ronsin, Vincent, and other Hèbertists. Danton, however, interceded for these two, and they were released, but D'Eglantine was retained in custody.

On the 5th of February Robespierre reappeared in the convention, thinking it time to strike a blow at both these contending factions. He declared that both moderates and ultra-revolutionists were equally bad, equally traitors. The convention - which might be to-day for Hèbertists, to-morrow for Dantonists, and the next day Robespierreists, but was always for blood - immediately applauded Robespierre's speech, and ordered it to be printed and circulated, not only through France, but in all languages throughout the world. This was a note that was sure to arouse all the sans-culotte, blood-thirsty leeches throughout the country. Innumerable denunciations of both Hèbertists and Dantonists poured in from the country and the Paris sections. Danton, in alarm, sought out Robespierre, and endeavoured to conciliate him, but in vain. He represented how impolitic it was going on Spilling the blood of both innocent and guilt-y. " Eh? " growled out Robespierre, " innocent with the guilty! Who told you that a single innocent person has perished? " "Do you hear that?" said Danton to his friends. "Not one innocent person has perished! " He withdrew with no slight foreboding, yet still incredulous that any one would dare to attack a man who had been so prominent a revolutionist as himself. There was yet time for his party to coalesce with the equally menaced Hèbertists, and to over- whelm Robespierre; but these two parties were too mortally hostile to each other to unite and ward off the common danger. Their principles of perfect freedom and of perfect purgation were driving them irresistibly on to mutual destruction.

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