Veluti in Speculo.




THE Letters, of which the following sheets contain a translation, were addressed to an Inhabitant of Ame­rica, much about the time when the United States were threatened with a Revolution, upon the same princi­ples, with that which they describe, but which the spirit of the Government, and the enlightened zeal of the Peo­ple repressed, before the unhappy experience of Geneva had shewn the real nature and ultimate consequences of it. They are the more worthy of attention, as the Author actually negociated, and signed the Treaty men­tioned in the first letter, with General Montesquiou; and was an eye-witness to the first part of the Revolu­tion, which the violation of that Treaty by the French introduced. To the present Edition, he has added some important facts, which either had not taken place, or were not known in England, when the former Editions were published, as well as some explanatory notes, which, he hopes, will not be thought unnecessary to an English reader.

When the Translator first read these Letters, he thought it would not be mis-spending his time, to employ a few hours, in giving those who do not understand the French language, an opportunity of receiving from them, some share of the pleasure and instruction they had afforded [Page iv]himself; and he was the more encouraged to undertake the task, as he observed an unusual concurrence of opinion in those who had read them, that a translation might, at the present period, be as useful, as the originals themselves are interesting.

In truth, the new political doctrines which have, for some time past, been propagated in Europe, are so well contrived to impose upon the imaginations, and to mis­lead even the virtues of those who listen to them, that it is not to be wondered at, if some, in this country, have received them with approbation, and at first perhaps have felt a wish to see them reduced to practice. To such, it is hoped that these Letters will be instructive, as they exhibit the result of the experiment in a country, in which it is impossible to say, that it was not fairly tried. They shew, as clearly as History can illustrate any pro­position whatever, that the only object of those who pro­pagate such doctrines, is, and ever will be, the attain­ment of their own selfish purposes; that Liberty, Equality, and the Rights of Man, are terms adopted by them, merely to gain credit with the People; and that every Revolution effected upon their principles, must end as that of Geneva has ended, by putting all the power and all the wealth of the State into the hands of a few, who riot on the spoils of their Country, while the Sovereign People is left to amuse the cravings of hunger, and the agonies of remorse, with the rattles of Universal Suffrage, and perfect political Equality.

[Page v] It is true, that the scale on which the experiment was tried, is? small one; but it is, perhaps, on that account better calculated to shew the action of the several parts, and their connexion with each other.

It is certainly some excuse for the friends of the Con­stitution and the people of property in Geneva, that they were borne down by the irresistible weight of a Power which had previously determined, that no effort of theirs to preserve their Constitution, should be effectual. But no such apology can ever be offered for the people of this Country: if the Constitution, and with the Consti­tution, the Liberty of Great Britain, ever fall a sacrifice to the doctrines of Jacobinism, it must be her own fault. She has within herself a principle of security, which, if vigorously exerted, will enable her to ride through the storm, that threatens to wreck her neighbours. That prin­ciple is the active union, and steady co-operation of all ranks of People in the Kingdom, to watch with vigilance and repress with severity, the slightest attempt to intro­duce, under whatever pretext, or for whatever purpose, any part of that baleful system into it.

In so short a space of time as eighteen months did the Revolutionary Pestilence reduce the once-happy and flourishing Geneva, to a state of anarchy, misery, and depopulation, of which modern History affords no other example. And let not the people of this country forget that the first symptom of the contagion was the adoption [Page vi]and use of the term Citizen: from the familiar establish­ment of that term, it proceeded to the right of Uni­versal Suffrage, which was soon followed by the Meet­ing of a National Convention, as the Convention was suc­ceeded by a Central Club, and this Central Club by the erection of a Revolutionary Tribunal, which, after suspending the actual Government of the Country, and plundering, banishing, or putting to death, almost every man of property or principle within its reach, has at length established a system of despotism, whose wanton tyranny, and unprovoked cruelties, as completely refute the assertion, that the barbarities perpetrated in France are to be imputed solely to the combination formed against her, as the share taken by that Power in the petty Revolution of Geneva, exposes the impudent hypocrisy of the pretence, that she never interferes in the domestic concerns of other Nations.


AN account of the melancholy events which have lately taken place in Geneva, naturally addresses itself to you. You have ever taken the liveliest interest in the affairs of that Republic, and are perfectly acquainted with the history of those long and painful exertions by which she originally acquired, and had, till now, preserved her Liberty. To you therefore a narrative of the manner in which she has, perhaps for ever, lost it, cannot be uninteresting; and may the fate of the most democratical, and, at the same time, one of the most happy States in the Old World, teach the inhabitants of the New, how feeble a barrier separates liberty from licentiousness, and how inevitably the abuse of a blessing leads to the loss of it!

I need not inform you, Sir, that, after a long struggle, the Constitutional Party at Geneva was obliged to yield, in 1782, to the irresistible power of the Count de Ver­gennes. That Minister took infinitely greater pains to crush democracy, at Geneva, than to establish it, at the same period, in America: his intrigues, however, were defeated, and he was obliged to resort to more violent means. Some of the troops which had served in America, marched into the town, and after driving away the principal defenders of our fundamental Constitution, erected on the ruins of it, not indeed an hereditary Aristocracy, but a form of Government, of which it is enough to say, that it required the constant support of foreign force, to maintain it against the declared aversion of by far the greater part of the people of Geneva. It was impossible, however, that such a system could last longer than the Minister who framed it; and accordingly, upon the death of De Vergennes, the very men whose ambition he thought he had been gratifying in doing what he had done, concurred almost unanimously in [Page 2]destroying it. Our ancient Republican Constitution was triumphantly restored; its advocates were recalled, and reinstated in their offices; and the long contest between the people and the administrative bodies, completely ter­minated in favour of the former.

This happy event was begun in 1789, and completed in 1791, and is in many respects one of the most important in our history. It restored the cordial union, which had formerly pervaded every part of the State.* Our com­merce and manufactures flourished; and our University, the copious spring of all our past and present enjoyments, communicated a spirit of exertion and enterprise to the arts and sciences, which was not exceeded, in the most populous and extensive kingdoms. Such was, and such indeed had been the prosperity of Geneva, that, within the present century, our population had doubled, our wealth had increased in a ten-fold proportion, knowledge was very generally diffused, and foreigners saw with equal pleasure and astonishment, that in a district, whose inha­bitants did not exceed thirty thousand, there were, at the same period, as many men of eminence in the arts, in [Page 3]polite literature, and in science, as in any one of the three northern kingdoms of Europe: Such were the conse­quences of freedom and a good system of education.

But this pleasing prospect was of very short duration; and our liberty had hardly begun to recover from the blow it had lately received, when another attack was made upon it from the same quarter, but under a different name; it was made under the sacred name of Liberty itself, and with it has, I fear, for ever destroyed all the respectable qualities, and elevated virtues, which nourish and support it. In short, the French had no sooner resolved, in 1792, to attack the King of Sardinia, than we received intelli­gence from Paris, on which we could depend, that General Montesquiou; who was to command the expedition against him, had received secret orders, of a nature very hostile to Geneva. These orders were given by the Brissotins, who, it is well known, had projected a plan of surrounding France with a zone of Republics, formed on the same prin­ciples with itself. Savoy was destined to form one of those Republics, and Geneva was to be a capital of it; an honour, which it was to purchase, at the expence of its own newly-recovered Constitution.

[Page 4] The Swiss, our ancient and faithful Allies, prepared to share our danger; and the moment they were applied to, sent 1600 men to our assistance. Indeed no time was to be lost; for General Montesquiou advanced towards Geneva the very day after that on which he entered Savoy. His orders (which have since been published) were, that, as the possession of Geneva was essential to the security of Savoy, be was to enter it, (by force if necessary) and take 20,000 muskets which were in it, and of which the French Republic was in need. *

Our Allies, however, had time enough to throw them­selves into the town, before the French had completely sur­rounded it. On the 5th day of October 1792, the Depu­ties, whom we had sent to enquire into the cause of this unexpected attack, were told by the French Commander, ‘That the Government of Geneva had insulted the French Republic, by calling in the aid of the Swiss, to repel an attack which was never intended to be made, and which nothing but that step had suggested; that the Magistrates of Geneva were (perhaps without meaning it) the abettors of the enemies of France, and (as a proof of their ill-will towards her) had permitted some of the Emigrants to settle in Geneva, and others to pass through it, in making their retreat into other countries.’

To this charge our Deputies answered, that distrust is the only security of the weak, in their intercourse with the strong. They appealed to a letter written by one of the French Ministers several days before the application to the Swiss, in which, without seeming to think it probable, or even possible, that the Genevese would make any resistance; and as if his intention had been to prepare them for sub­mission, [Page 5]he informed them of the resolutions taken against them.—They justified their application to the Swiss, by many precedents; and shewed, that whenever Savoy be­came the scene of war, Geneva had always claimed, and as regularly received, their assistance; that the right of taking that step, which, after all, was only a precaution to prevent possible evil, was acknowledged in many solemn treaties, of which France herself was the guarantee, and had never given offence to any of her Monarchs, not even to Lewis XIV. in whose reign it had been resorted to, as often as was thought necessary; and as a farther proof of the innocence of our intentions, they reminded the General, that we were at that moment the only sovereign State which had acknow­ledged the French Republic; that, at the very beginning of the Revolution, we had opened our granaries, for the relief of one of their districts, against the pressure of a scarcity, to which we ourselves were equally imposed; and that, when that district was apprehensive of a kind of counter-revolution, and had applied to us for assistance, we had furnished it with arms, which so far from being returned to us, as had been solemnly promised, were now to be employed against us.

These arguments, unanswerable as they were, would have been of little avail, had they not been supported by all the influence, and all the abilities of the upright and honourable man, to whom they were addressed. In his report to the French Ministry, he stated the danger, as well as folly, of involving France in a dispute with the whole Helvetic Body, which would certainly exert all its force to repel an attack, that, considering the comparative strength of the two parties, would do so little honour to the magnanimity of the assailants. He represented this so strongly, that his orders were countermanded, and he was directed to negociate an amicable arrangement, in which he was to use his whole address against us, and at all events, to conclude the negociation in the same manner as if he had made himself master of the town by force, by leaving a French garrison behind him. He again remonstrated, and at length received full powers: a treaty was concluded on the 22d of October, on terms equally honourable to both parties, [Page 6]by which, after stating, that the misunderstanding which had taken place between the two Republics, had been explained in the fullest and most satisfactory manner, it was agreed, that the French army should retire to the distance of ten leagues, and the Republic dismiss the troops of its allies.

As soon as the treaty was signed, the French Resident returned into the town, and in the name of the nation he represented, gave us the most solemn assurances of unalterable friendship. In consequence of these assurances, we not only ratified, but had actually begun to fulfil the treaty on our part, when we were informed that the French Ministry re­fused to sanction it, unless some clauses were inserted, which Mr. Genest * was sent to negociate. We were, as you may imagine, surprised at such conduct; but by the advice of our Allies, and on considering the nature of our situation, we accepted of the additional articles, and a new treaty was signed. But what was our astonishment, when we were again informed, that this second treaty, which Le Brun, the Minister for foreign affairs, considered as unexceptionable, and earnestly pressed the Convention to ratify, was, after many affected delays, violently attacked on the 21st of No­vember, by Brissot, at the head of the Diplomatic Com­mittee, and stigmatized as an igneminious capitulation? [Page 7]The consequence of this attack was, that the Convention refused to ratify it, and by a short decree peremptorily re­quired of us to dismiss the troops of the Swiss by the 1st of December; in which case, it promised that those of France should respect our independence and evacuate our territory, if any part of it had been occupied by them.

The language of Brissot on this occasion is perhaps the most striking instance afforded by the whole Revolution, of the real nature and genuine character of the principles on which the French conduct themselves, in their intercourse with other nations.

‘In truth, says he, the Republic of Geneva either has, or has not confidence in our integrity. If she has, she will be satisfied with our bare promise to respect her in­dependence: if she has not, the formality of a treaty can­not add to her security. But whether she has or has not that confidence, a free people must not suffer its honour to be called in question.—In another place he goes further, and says, Geneva must expect no peace, until perfect po­litical equality is naturalized within her walls. She must expect no treaty with us but the introduction and estab­lishment of our principles. Such is the revolution which [Page 8]we presume, which we feel it a duty to recommend to Geneva. Undoubtedly France will never forget her principle of not interfering in the domestic affairs of other nations. But France must never forget her oath to relieve all nations from oppression, and to inform all nations of their rights. There must be a Revolution in Geneva, or there will be a Counter-Revolution in France.

‘The only question, therefore, for your consideration, is whether a free people either can or ought to bind itself by Treaties, and whether every Treaty is not as unnecessary with Republics, as it is indecent with every other form of Government which does not derive its authority immediately from the People. * On the manner in which this question [Page 9]is answered, the fate not only of our own Revolution, but of those which are to follow it, will depend.

It is to be observed, that with a view to prepare the minds of the public for this Report, and to give an appear­ance of decency to so gross a violation of the Law of Nations, the Brissotin party had taken care, some days before, to ob­tain an order from the Convention to arrest Montesquiou, and to bring him to Paris, to answer for his conduct.*

Unfortunately, that part of their demands which related to the dismission of the Swiss, it was no longer in our power to dispute; as our Allies had, on the faith of the two treaties, suspended their military preparations, and recalled the greater part of their troops. The necessity of our situa­tion left us no choice; we consented therefore to the de­parture [Page 10]of the rest, and flattered ourselves that our oppres­sors would be satisfied, and that we had now nothing more to apprehend.

But we were mistaken; a danger, much greater than any we had encountered, threatened us. General Montesquiou, having had the good fortune to make his escape, informed us, that it was the determination of the French Ministry, to leave no means untried, for effecting a Revolution at Geneva, on the same principles as that of France; and that we had no alternative but to anticipate them, or feel the consequences of their interference.

It was difficult for us to conceive, how we could make our Government more democratical, than it then was; since every free-man of Geneva exercised, in his own person, those powers, which the French, from their numbers, had [Page 11]been obliged to intrust to representatives. But unfortunately for us, the Brissotins, who then were the prevailing party at Paris, had lately succeeded in removing the distinction between active and inactive citizens; and repealing the law which reserved the civil and military offices of the country, as well as the right of electing to them, to those who had some property in it; a wise and salutary principle, and which, if it had been steadily maintained, would, undoubt­edly, have prevented a great deal of the misery and distress, which the violation of it has brought upon France.

But having destroyed that important distinction in their own Constitution, the Brissotins soon found out an effectual mode of overturning it in ours; for as, by our Constitution, none were admitted into the General Assembly, but such as inherited, or had acquired the title of Citizen, they raised a clamour against that distinction, and branded the Assembly itself with the epithets of aristocratical and hereditary, which they had contrived to make so odious. So far, however, was that Body from deserving those epithets, that, as has been already mentioned, more than two thirds of the Gene­vese were, at that moment, members of it, and any of the rest might be admitted into it, upon payment of a fine so small,* as in fact to be below the rate necessary for securing the independence of an elector, much more of a member of the Legislature itself.

The Natives, who, as I have already observed, were at Geneva what the class of inactive Citizens was in France, had, on the late invasion, shewn themselves extremely zea­lous in the defence of the Republic: and, indeed, with the exception of about fifty individuals, partly Citizens and partly Natives, who on the approach of the French had basely deserted their posts, on pretence that, as friends to liberty, they ought not to oppose them—with this small exception, all the Genevese breathed, on that occasion, the same affectionate attachment to their coun­try, [Page 12]and were all animated with the same intrepid resolution of dying in its defence. Indeed, the patriotic spirit shown on that occasion, is one of the most brilliant, as I fear it is one of the last instances of the display of that virtue, to be found in our history; for, no sooner was it understood that war was declared against us, for having passed the first decree, by which Government had been directed to call in the 1600 Swiss, than a second decree was made, and sent, by order of the General Assembly, to the French General, by which it was empowered to call in, as many more, as it might think necessary; and, on being informed, that the French Ministry affected to treat those decrees as contrivances of our magistrates, who, they insisted, should be punished for such perverse and traitorous behaviour, the whole body of our national militia met, in arms, on the 10th day of October, and communicated to those Magistrates, its entire approbation of their conduct, to­gether with the most solemn assurances of the firmest support.*

But the plan of our invaders was now changed, and measures, less violent, but more sure, adopted; which have completely succeeded in destroying the liberty and happiness of Geneva. No sooner did the Natives disco­ver, from what passed in the Convention, as well as from [Page 13]other sources of information, that the French had given up all thoughts of punishing the Magistrates, or of taking possession of the town by force, and had, or affected to have, no other object than that of establishing the right of universal suffrage, and of procuring the admission of all the Genevese, without distinction, to the enjoyment of perfect political equality, than they began, in the most open man­ner, to echo the language of the Convention, and to assert their right to what it intended to give them. They also began, in imitation of the French, to address each other by the title of Citizen, to wear the Red Cap, to sing the favourite Parisian songs, and to make preparations for supporting their claims by force. In these views, some of the Citizens supported them; and either from motives of ambition, or from being themselves the dupes of the fascinating system of what has been called the Rights of Man, put themselves at their head. The soldiers of the French army, who were still encamped in the neighbour­hood, fanned the flames; and some of the officers actu­ally made secret offers of their assistance. Such, Sir, was the origin of that revolutionary delirium, the effect of which has been, gradually to introduce, among us, all the miseries of anarchy; and, in less than two years, has plunged our once-happy Republic into all the horrors, and all the crimes, which the fertile invention of Popular Tyranny can suggest.

The Magistrates, alarmed at this new kind of danger, which seemed to threaten, either the Constitution, or the political independence of the State, or perhaps both, re­solved to secure at least the latter, and immediately pub­lished a proposal to admit all the inhabitants of the Republic, whether aliens or natives, that is to say, descend­ants of aliens, into the General Assembly, without dis­tinction, and without fine; and to take the opinion of the whole Body, thus constituted, on the propriety of further alterations. This proposal, which was made by the Little and Great Councils, on the 1st of December, only wanted the assent of the General Assembly itself (which it would undoubtedly have received) to have the force of law; but in the mean time, the enemies of our hap­piness [Page 14]took indefatigable pains, to represent to the Natives, how humiliating it would be for them, to receive, as a favour, what was their natural and indefeasible right, and which it was an additional insult to restore to them, by the forms of the very Constitution, that had wrested it from them.

This doctrine spread so rapidly, and took such root in the minds of the Natives, that without waiting for the meeting of the Assembly, which was fixed for the 6th of December, they ran to arms on the night of the 4th; and besides declaring themselves entitled to the rights in question, they insisted that, in order to secure the posses­sion of them, every department of the State should be filled by individuals of their own party, and that a National Convention should be immediately summoned, for the purpose of introducing the new principles, into every part of the Constitution.

It is a certain fact, that this faction did not then amount to a fourth part of the inhabitants of Geneva; and our Magistrates have, more than once, been severely blamed, by those who either do not know, or do not advert to all the circumstances of the case, for not immediately dis­persing it by force. The truth is, that nothing but the fear of the probable consequences, prevented their doing so: for, ever since the French had taken possession of Sa­voy, we had been completely surrounded by the territory of France; her troops, in direct violation, even of the last treaty, were still at our gates: the decree of the Conven­tion, which ordered all the French Generals to relieve the people of every country from the tyranny of oppression, had just been received, and proclaimed, by the troops in our neighbourhood; the most violent of the Natives openly avowed their intention to take advantage of that decree, if necessary; and the French army only waited for the slightest appearance of commotion, to enter the City, where it was sure of finding many friends, and where, by its intrigues, it had in fact already established a sort of ad­vanced guard.

It was under these circumstances, and in order to pre­serve, it possible, the political independence of their [Page 15]country, that the minority of the Genevese gave way to the minority. The members of the Little and Great Councils voluntarily resigned their places to the chiefs of the new party, (most of whom were among those who left their posts at the approach of the French), and in resigning them, required no other engagement from their successors, than that they should maintain peace and good order, and pre­serve the independence of the Republic.* As this trans­action, violent as it was, took place in a more quiet manner than the French army expected, it was disappointed in its hopes of a tumult, which had been the immediate object of all its cabals, and which would have given it an opportunity of entering the town, and, under pretence of assisting the oppressed, making us, in the end, a branch of their own Republic.

In this manner, did the powerful Republic of France, in its very infancy, disgrace its arms, by turning them against the petty Democracy of Geneva; and, in this manner, when it substituted negociation for force, did it disgrace its diplomatic character, by expressly instructing its Mi­nister, to exert his whole address, and by openly violating two solemn treaties, on the faith of which we had disarmed ourselves, and dismissed our allies. In this manner did it, in direct contradiction to its own principles, overturn a Constitution which was certainly the most democratical then known, and which had been adopted by the almost unanimous voice of those who lived under it: and in this [Page 16]manner was an inconsiderable State, which, in desence of its constitution, had dared to oppose force by force, con­demned for that offence, by its vindictive neighbour, to fall a sacrifice to the basest treachery. As a part of the detestable plan, the French Resident waited immediately upon the new Magistrates, and informed them, that he would lose no time in announcing to his Constituents the glorious event which had just taken place; and, while he amused them with professions of admiration and esteem, General Kellerman secretly drew an additional body of troops round the town, in hopes of an opportunity of entering it.

The members of the new Government were now com­pletely in possession of the administration; and notwith­standing the manner in which they had come into power, it is extremely probable that, like the party in France to whom they were indebted for it, they never would have engaged in such an undertaking, had they not been con­fident of being able to stop at whatever point they pleased, and to prevent their followers and adherents from going further than they wished or meant them to go: for, it must be allowed, that many of them were men of some property, and even of some education; and if we except a few acts of violence, done under the forms of justice, and natu­rally to be expected at extraordinary periods, and some enormities of the populace, which, there is reason to suspect, were committed at the instigation of particular individuals in Administration, they were in general active in their efforts to preserve the independence of their country, as well as its internal quiet.

It is equally true, however, that they had several consider­able obstacles to struggle with. In the first place, they had to encounter the decline of trade and manufactures, the consequences of the ruin of such families as had invested their property in the French funds, and the incredible consumption of the public revenue, which was almost ex­hausted in salaries to the 120 members of the Convention, and to the new Magistrates, whose needy circumstances rendered a large allowance absolutely necessary. In the next place, they had to oppose the intrigues and artifices of [Page 17]the French Resident,* who caballed against them in the most open manner, and the contempt and distrust of Bris­sot's successors, who, while they loaded them with fraternal embraces, and other outward marks of affection, never would consider them as true confederates; and, notwithstanding their title of Revolutionary Government, treated them with a degree of freedom, which they never dared to assume toward the other branches of the Helvetic Union, who, by steadily adhering to their ancient Constitutions, have never received, or exposed themselves to receive, the smallest mark of disrespect. Besides this, they had to fight against a new faction, formed out of the refuse of their own, and divided into two clubs, called the Marseillese and the Mountaineers. These clubs were not very numerous; but they were notoriously under the influence and direction of the French Resident; both professed the new doctrines to their utmost extent, and both (but particularly the latter) seemed prepared to imitate the conduct of those who had carried them the farthest in France, and even to surrender themselves and their country into their hands.

So strongly, however, was the great body of the Gene­vese attached to the idea of national independence, and so grateful did they feel, even to the new administration, for its efforts to maintain it, that they forgave the manner in which it had come into power, and overlooked both the faults it had already committed, and those into which its incapacity, the violence of party, or the peculiar difficul­ties of its situation, daily and hourly led it. On more than one occasion, the very Magistrates whose offices they had usurped, came forward to assist and guide them; and [Page 18]some of them were even prevailed upon, to become mem­bers of the new Convention, which met on the 25th of February, 1793, and was composed of 120 members. If sat for about a year, and unfortunately, like that in Paris, soon fell under the controul of a Club, which had borrowed both its principles and its language from the Jacobins, to whom it had applied for a copy of their rules, and forms, and whose importance it affected to assume, on all occasions.

During the sitting of the Convention, the friends of the old Constitution experienced, from the rabble of Revolu­tionists, every species of indignity, and insult, which the capricious malice of men without education, and without property, could invent. Those pretended reformers pa­raded the streets, in the evening, with cudgels in their hands, and attacked, and severely beat, such as they thought averse to their system: nor did the Government take any effectual steps, to prevent these excesses, which were continued, for a considerable time, and were never punished, though the country house of an Ex-Magistrate, who had been Commander in Chief during the late inva­sion, was pillaged for several days, and another person assassinated in open day-light, because he had worn a white cap, instead of a red one. It is unnecessary, and would be tedious, to enumerate all the mean cruelties which the disciples of the new school of Equality prac­tised: it is enough to say, that a description of them would present a picture of Popular tyranny, as provoking by its insolence, as the scenes which succeeded them were shocking, by their barbarity.

Though the Convention affected to preserve some of the forms of the old Constitution, yet, in order to deserve the pompous name it had assumed, it thought itself bound to make a complete, and radical change in its principles; and in treating the petty abuses of a small Republic, to act as if they had been called upon to correct the invete­rate corruptions, and deep-rooted errors of an ancient and extensive Monarchy. Despotism, said one of the leading members of it, is a fiery meteor, which scorches the soil over which it passes. Even such bombast as this had [Page 19]its effect upon the distempered minds of those to whom it was addressed, and was received with universal applause.

In order to ingratiate themselves with the French, one of their first steps was to abolish the Great Council, and to trans­fer a portion of the power of the Little Council to the Gene­ral Assembly, by which means they destroyed the equili­brium between the executive and legislative branches, which the ancient Constitution had provided with so much care: but, on the other hand, it must be acknowledged that, in the laws they framed, they shewed great regard to personal security, and even established the Trial by Jury. Perhaps, it would have been well to enquire, whether that noble institution (which one of the greatest nations of Europe considers as the most sacred of all its rights, and its best security for the enjoyment of the rest) is equally suited to so small a State, as Geneva, where it is so diffi­cult to prevent the influence of personal feelings, and pri­vate considerations: but the introduction of it shewed, at least, the goodness of their intentions.

It must not be imagined, however, that a Demo­cracy, so unlimited as this, was approved by the greater part of those who submitted to it. The People at large had not forgot the sound principles in which they had been educated; they knew perfectly well, that some degree of restraint is essential to the very existence of liberty, and were extremely attached to the balances of the Old Constitution; consequently every artifice was practised, that could secure the ratification of the New, by the General Assembly. The authors of it affected to assume the tone of friendship and confidence, towards those who, they knew, disapproved of it, and intreated them to give it their support, if not from conviction of its goodness, at least, to defeat the schemes of both the foreign, and the domestic enemies of the public peace, who, if it was rejected, would not fail to convert its want of success into an opportunity of creating general confusion; but more particularly for the purpose of disap­pointing the inferior agents of the Revolution, who began to shew a spirit of insubordination and turbulence, incom­patible with any social order whatever, and only to be [Page 20]repelled, by the appearance of union, and general sub­mission to the new system. They assured them, that it would amply provide for the security both of the persons and of the property of those who were to live under it, which, in the present situation of the Republic, was of more importance than the preservation of any particular system.

This language was so specious, and was accompanied by promises, apparently so sincere, that they to whom it was ad­dressed, though they still adhered to their principles, with­drew their opposition; and, for the sake of peace, or perhaps as choosing the least of two evils, agreed to sup­port the new Constitution.

It was accordingly proposed, and adopted, in a Gene­ral Assembly on the 5th of February 1794, by 4,200 voices against 200; and as a farther proof of the conci­liatory disposition, and amicable intentions of those who supported it, the new offices were entirely filled up with its avowed friends. Nor was this all; for as the war, in which almost the whole of Europe was involved, had considerably affected the Watch-making business, which is the principal support of the poor in Geneva; and as the stagnation of trade, as well as the habits of indolence, into which a great many of the workmen had been thrown by the Revolution, had reduced the lower classes of the People to considerable distress, very general subscriptions were made by all those in easy circumstances, to keep them in employment until the market should be again open.

By such generous and disinterested conduct, the Repub­lic seemed likely to weather the storm, which had wrecked her more powerful neighbour. The Swiss, who, for eighteen months past, had renounced every kind of official communication with us, thought they saw what the history of the world had produced no other instance of, the Go­vernment of a Country suddenly and completely dissolved, and Anarchy not the consequence. Astonished at such a phaenomenon, they yielded to the repeated and earnest solicitations of some of the deposed Magistrates, and consented to correspond with their successors, who now [Page 21]assumed the title of Constitutional Government. In short, the new Administration seemed to gain strength every day, and to be better qualified for the dis­charge of their functions: even those who disapproved of the manner in which they had come into power, were ready to support them against every attack. The greatest part of those who had abandoned Ge­neva, for fear of the excesses, into which, it was natu­ral to expect, that men unaccustomed to authority would run, gradually returned to it, and implicitly trusted to the assurances they received, that the Revolution was completed, and that they might depend on finding, under its protection, safety for their persons, and security for their property.

But, alas! the whole was a delusion; and in an instant, the malignant genius of France again blasted all our hopes.

An advocate of the name of Bousquet, who had taken an active part in the usurpation of 1792, and been elected a Magistrate, was soon afterwards sent in a public charac­ter to Paris. During his stay there, he imbibed from the leaders of the Jacobins (to whom his mission gave him constant access) all the poison of their principles, and re­turned, after a year's absence, to Geneva, full of theories of sedition and revolution, and impatient to put them in prac­tice. With this view, he immediately joined the Marseil­lese and the Mountaineers, whom he found perfectly dis­ciplined, and prepared for any enterprise, by the industry of Soulavie. He immediately opened his plan, which consisted of five principal objects. First, to wean the lower classes of the people from the confidence they placed in such Members of the new Government, as had any character for integrity, by accusing them of being secretly leagued with the Rich, or at least of savouring and screen­ing them: Secondly, to strip his colleagues, and even the General Assembly itself, of their authority, and to transfer all their powers to a few of his own partisans, under the title of Revolutionary Government; Thirdly, to erect a Revolutionary Tribunal, which would soon rid him of all those from whom he had any thing to fear; and by the resentment which the effusion of blood, as well as the [Page 22]loss of their property, would naturally occasion in the bosoms of the injured, make the retreat of his partisans impossible: Fourthly, to adopt the French system of making Terror the order of the day, so as to carry it into every class and description of men, and make the smaller number masters of the greater: Lastly, to hold up the esta­blished religion as an object of ridicule and contempt.

The material parts of this plan, extensive and difficult as it seems, were executed in a single night. Indeed the author of it had no time to lose, as it was absolutely necessary that it should be carried into execution, before a proposal, then in contemplation, for laying another assessment on the people of property, could be made. For, as there was no doubt that the proposal would be received without opposition, the success of it would pre­vent any clamour being raised against that description of men, and, at the same time, restore to the Administration, some part of the vigour which it had lost, by its improvi­dent management of the public finances.

This, therefore, was the critical moment; and Bousquet began the execution of his plan, by spreading reports of conspiracies to effect a counter-revolution, and to re­peat at Geneva, the horrors which had been committed in la Vendée; and by taking every opportunity of declaring publicly, that, even though the Rich could be brought to consent to the proposed assessments, (which he strongly insinuated they would not) yet, in his opinion, there were means of relieving the miseries of the People, much more effectual, than that of exempting them from the payment of taxes. "The Rich," he said, ‘had too long wasted, in their own selfish pleasures, that which ought to be applied to the maintenance, and comfort of the Poor; too long had they been suffered to insult them by their wanton extravagance, and even by the wretched pit­tances of alms which they affectedly distributed. The destruction of the pernicious spirit of Aristocracy, which had pervaded the Laws and Constitution, would answer no purpose, and would but palliate the evil, if it was suffered still to influence the conduct and the sentiments [Page 23]of the Rich: nor would any thing short of complete eradication answer any useful purpose.’

The minds of the multitude being thus prepared, the night of the 18th of July 1794 (being the eve of the day on which the new assessments were to be proposed) was cho­sen for the execution of the plot. The whole plan was laid, all the parts were assigned, every agent was at his station, and the victims marked out: in the midst of the night, the Conspirators ran to arms, seized the artillery of the Town, and entered, by means of false keys, into the houses of such of the Citizens, as, they apprehended, might be inclined to oppose force to force, and disarmed them before they knew what was intended against them. To disguise their intentions the more completely, they put two of the new Syndics under arrest, who have since been anxious to have it believed, that the blow was so sudden as well as violent, that it was impossible for Go­vernment to ward it off, which it would not have failed to do, had it been aware of it in time. But there are not wanting men of very good information, and of unques­tionable veracity, who assert, in the most unqualified man­ner, that the Magistrates were well acquainted with what was to happen, and wanted neither courage nor strength to prevent it, had they been desirous of it; but that, in fact, the detention of the two Syndics (which lasted but a few hours) was a farce, contrived between them and Bous­quet; * and though they had not taken a direct and active part in the execution of the plot, they were still to be con­sidered as accomplices in it; and, besides other reasons, knew that its success would relieve them, from the disa­greeable necessity of giving in their accounts, and exposing the shameless manner, in which they had wasted the pub­lic treasure.

However this may be, it is certain that Government took no step to defeat the plot, or even to prevent the shocking lengths to which it was carried. From the nature of the attack, one would have supposed that the city had been stormed by a foreign Enemy; but the sys­tematic [Page 24]regularity with which it was conducted, together with the perfect knowledge the plunderers shewed, of the places in which the objects of their pillage were deposited, soon convinced the unhappy sufferers that their Enemies lived within the same walls, and, in many instances, under the same roof with themselves. The Conspirators were divided into small bodies well armed, did not affect to pro­duce the authority by which they acted, left seals on what was too heavy to be carried off, and took care to include some of the poorer, and more obscure Citizens, among those whom they put into confinement. But with so little regard to humanity were these domiciliary visits con­ducted, that though the heat of the weather was excessive, the prisons were crowded with the aged, the infirm, the diseased; and even with some who were torn from their beds in the height of malignant fevers. This work of horror was executed in a few hours, by not more than a hundred wretches, one half of whom were foreigners; but it had the effect which Bousquet expected, and he was joined the next day, by the rest of the populace, by every man of unfixed principles or of desperate fortune, and by not a few of an opposite description, who vainly hoped, that by appearing to countenance what had been done, they might acquire an influence over the perpetrators, sufficient to prevent the execution of what was still intended.

Bousquet now collected all his associates together, and addressing them by the title of Revolutionary Nation, pro­posed, that a daily allowance should be paid to those patriots, who should persevere in the great work they had undertaken. He observed, that it was only by deter­mined and vigorous measures, both at home and abroad, that the French had secured such brilliant success, in their glorious struggles against Despotism; that these measures, severe as they might appear, were as easily to be reconciled to pure morality, as to sound policy; and, both in their principle and in their effects, justified those, with which, he should propose to begin the reign of liberty, and virtue in Geneva. The Constitutional Government was then formally suspended, and the whole Executive and Legis­lative power of the State, committed to a provisional Re­volutionary Tribunal, of which Bousquet was of course [Page 25]made President. The number of persons who were taken into custody, increased every hour, and by the industry of Soulavie, who had given orders in all the neighbouring French districts, that such of the inhabitants of Geneva as retired to any of them should be obliged to return, it soon amounted to near 600 persons; among whom were most of the Magistrates who had been deposed from their offices in 1792, many of the Professors, and almost the whole of the Clergy, a body of men who did honour to their coun­try and to human nature, by their talents, their know­ledge, their mild and tolerant spirit, and the spotless purity of their lives. Lest any of the latter should escape, they were pursued even into the churches, which, in spite of the threats they heard on all sides, of being treated as the priests had been treated in Paris, on the 2d of Septem­ber, those venerable men had entered, for the purpose of imploring the mercy of Heaven upon their distracted coun­try. In this manner, was the horrible sentence formerly pronounced by Brissot, sulfilled to its utmost extent: There must be a Revolution in Geneva, or there will be a Counter-Revolution in France. *

In the midst however of these shocking scenes, some few circumstances shewed, that the native character of the Genevese was not to be depraved but by degrees. Some of the Revolutionists could not refrain from tears, when they were ordered to be the gaolers of their countrymen, and, in more than one instance, declared, that they envied their situation, and, if possible, would gladly exchange with them. But these, as well as many other expressions of regret and remorse, were of little avail to the unhappy victims, whose adversaries were too watchful to leave them any means either of escape or resistance. One gene­rous effort, indeed, was made by the women of Geneva (for the experiment was too hazardous for men to en­gage in), who, to the number of two thousand, went in a body to the Revolutionary Tribunal, to intercede for them; but their tears and entreaties had no other effect, than that of exposing them to the brutal ridicule of the Judges, who ordered the fire-engines to be got ready, in [Page 26]order to administer what they profanely called, the rights of Civic Baptism.

This feeble obstacle being removed, the Tribunal eagerly entered upon the discharge of its functions, and ordered eight of the prisoners to be brought up to trial, in which number, express directions were given to include the Ex-syndic Cayla, who had distinguished himself by the intrepid spirit with which he had opposed the former Revolution, the Ex-counsellor Prevost, whose principal offence was, that he had taken part in the negociation with General Montesquiou, and the Advocate De Roche­mont.

The Tribunal sat in the Town Hall: the Judges took their places with the slieves of their shirts tucked up, like butchers, their legs and breasts naked, sabres at their sides, pistols in their girdles, and bottles and glasses on the table. Some of the Judges could not support a sight so truly diabolical; two were taken out in a sort of fainting fit, and four others permitted to retire. The rest kept their places, and proceeded to the discharge of their functions, in the midst of drunkenness, low witticisms, and indecent buffoonery. Add power to passion, says an Author of great candour, when speaking of transactions in Rome, exactly similar to those I am now describing in Geneva, add power to passion, and there is no wild beast so savage as man. *

Although there was no direct charge against these re­spectable men, nor the slightest evidence produced of any plan of a Counter-Revolution, which had been the pretext for taking arms, nor any question asked, in any degree relative to it, yet the trial of the eight lasted till the next morning (the 26th of July); and on opening the ballot­boxes, in which the opinions of the Judges were collected, it was found, that only two, neither of them Magistrates, were capitally convicted.

When this circumstance was known, the Marseillese and Mountaineers, impatient for blood, surrounded the Tribunal, with threats of vengeance against the perfidious Judges, who had acted so inconsistently with their former professions, and proposed to make an immediate massacre [Page 27]of all the prisoners. The Judges affected to be alarmed, and the next day returned to the Bench, and, amidst the clamours and howlings of the Galleries, gave their opinions, not by ballot, as before, but openly; the consequence of which was, that seven of the eight were condemned to die, by the very men who, but the day before, had acquirted six of them; and who, on both occasions, called the Al­mighty to witness the purity with which they gave their sentence.

The Revolutionary Nation to whom an appeal was re­served, immediately assembled, in arms, to consider the sentence of the seven persons condemned; and though, under pretence of purifying the Assembly, the leaders of the Revolution had carefully excluded from it, all whom they suspected, either of integrity, or humanity, there was still a decided majority for sparing the lives of Cayla, Pre­vost, and de Rochemont.

This third decision, so different from what they expected, increased the rage of the brutal Janisaries of the Revo­lution. They reviled it as the consequence of Aristocra­tical influence, and Aristocratical principles, and refused to abide by it.—They vented their execrations and me­naces indiscriminately, and actually attempted to destroy two or three of their own party, who called upon the by­standers to support the sovereignty of the people, and not suffer it to be insulted with impunity. Nor was this all: they sent armed Deputies to the Tribunal, to complain that false patriots had artfully mixed themselves, on this occasion, with the real lovers of their country, and dis­appointed their hopes; to insist that the sentence of the three Aristocrats, who had been acquitted, should be annulled, and to declare, that, if this request was refused or delayed, they would repair to the prison, and do them­selves justice.

The number of those who held this language was con­siderable, and their menaces frightful. They were all provided with arms and ammunition; it was night; and those who disapproved of their measures, were either too much terrified to oppose them, or too disunited and dis­trustful of each other to attempt it. These circumstances [Page 28]were abundantly sufficient in the opinion of the Revolu­tionary Tribunal, to justify it in assuming a new Jurisdic­tion, and reversing the sentence passed by the people at large;* they instantly delivered up the seven prisoners to the executioners who came to demand them.

These illustrious victims died in a manner, worthy of the cause, in which they suffered, and with all the dignity which religion, innocence and virtue can give. They refused to have their eyes covered; and their murderers, instead of dispatching them all at the same shot, were careful to make a second necessary. Cayla was the only one who spoke; I should die with pleasure, said he, could I hope that my death would restore peace and liberty to my unhappy country. The executioners tore in pieces a written paper, which De Rochement, a young Advocate of the most pro­mising hopes, entreated them to deliver, after his death; to his family.—But Prevost contrived to drop a letter [Page 29]which he had written with a pencil, and which exhibits a striking picture of the calm heroisin, and amiable tender­ness of his disposition.—No man, said he, loses so much in dying, as I do. I return my most grateful thanks to my dear Wife, for all the happiness, for which I have been indebted to her; and I intreat her never to forget, that her hushand dies in the most honourable of causes; and, in spite of the delusion which occasions his untimely end, will be esteemed and regretted by all good Men.—My dear Mother: how little is the satisfaction You ever received from me, compared with the sorrow which has overtaken your vene­rable old age! Weep for your Son; but let it comfort you to recollect, that he always walked in the paths of honour-Honour has always guided him, and will guide him, to the last moment of his life.—And let not my unhappy fate, my dear Son, deter you from following my example. Let strict integrity, and an invincible attachment to your Country, be the rules of your life, though your father's adherence to them has shortened his days. But let me conjure You never to engage in public affairs, &c.*

Though one crime naturally leads to another; and though the experience of all History shews, that the blood which has been already spilt, is, with the savage multitude, a reason for spilling more; yet some people hoped, that its fury was satiated, or at least, that the Swiss would inter­pose, and prevent further horrors. But the bloody tra­gedy had been acted with too much expedition, and too much fury to give them time to interfere, even if their interference could have been effectual. This however did not prevent the Bailiff (or Chief Magistrate) of that part of the territory of the Canton of Berne, which hes nearest to Geneva, from writing a letter to one of the Syndics, to assure him that the whole Helvetic Union saw with horror, and detestation, the preparations that were [Page 30]making, for the effusion of blood, at Geneva; and to conjure the deluded people of that Republic, to recollect themselves, and desist before it was too late.

The Syndic to whom the letter was addressed, took care not to communicate it to the People; and, in his answer to the Bailiff, excused himself, by assuring him, that it would have been dangerous to do so, as the determi­nation of the majority had already, in one instance, been over­ruled; and you will easily understand, said he, the delicate nature of our situation, and your heart is formed, to sympa­thize with us, when you recollect the dangers and difficulties to which the Constitutional Government is exposed.

This answer, artful as it was, did not impose upon the sagacious Swiss. They saw clearly, that this pretended Constitutional Government, if it was not the author, was at least an accomplice, in the enormities it affected to con­demn:* and while they generously afforded an hospitable asylum to those who had the good fortune to make their escape from its fury, they, at the same time, took advan­tage of the impressions of horror, which the transactions at Geneva had made upon the minds of their subjects, to publish the following Proclamation, which, as it gives a very correct, and at the same time, a very concise picture of the scenes I have attempted to describe, is the only State Paper I shall give You the trouble of reading at length.


You cannot be ignorant of the melancholy events, which have lately taken place in Geneva. That Repub­lic, [Page 31]in whose welfare, both as allies, and as neighbours, we have taken so long the strongest, and most affectionate interest, is overwhelmed by calamities, perfectly new in their kind, and in extent, duration, and consequences, beyond the eye of Man to trace.

At the very moment when We, and our Neighbours, the Canton of Zurich, were told in form by the new Government of Geneva, that the Revolution was com­pleted; that peace and tranquillity would be the imme­diate consequence of the new System, and that all former differences were at an end; We learn that a band of lawless Men has attacked, and, by main force, com­pletely overthrown, in that Republic, all public Li­berty, and all private security. Houses have been forcibly entered, without lawful authority; the Inha­bitants of them, violently dragged out of them, arbi­tratily detained, and illegally imprisoned. The Minis­ters of Religion have been attacked in a City, which called itself one of the bulwarks of the Reformation, in a manner, that threatens Religion itself.—In the midst of this general confusion, some individuals have been put to death, against the wishes of a decided Majority of their Judges. Plots are laid against the lives, the liber­ty, and the property of others, without regard to the sanctity of oaths, or the established forms and setled maxims of Law; and the Inhabitants in general are at the mercy of Usurpers, who dispose of the lives and fortunes of their Countrymen, with no other rule of conduct, than their own tyrannical caprice.

We see with the liveliest sorrow, the wretched situ­ation of a State, which has ever been an object of inte­rest to us, and from its local position, must ever engage the attention of the Helvetic Body. But our sorrow is lost in indignation, when We hear, that some of our own subjects have taken a part in transactions so cri­minal. Our anxiety for the safety, and honour of our country, will not permit us to suffer such men to return to, or remain in it. We therefore order, that such of them as are not at present within our territories, do not presume to enter them; and that those who have engaged [Page 32]in such enormities, and are within our jurisdiction, be immediately apprehended, in order to receive the pu­nishment their crimes deserve.

We have no doubt but that our Dear and Faithful Fellow-citizens will participate these sentiments with us, and will exert themselves, to give effect to this Procla­mation. Above all, We indulge a confident hope, that the sight of the disasters which have overwhelmed Geneva will teach them to set a just value on those impartial laws, which, with a mild and beneficent Religion, have so long secured to us the enjoyment of public peace, of private security, and of all the blessings which Almighty God so liberally bestows on those He loves, and which, We trust, He will continue to shed on us, as He shed them on our forefathers, if, like them, We confide in his goodness, and endeavour to deserve the continuance of it, by our obedience to his Laws, and our unshaken love of our Country.


This truly paternal admonition had the effect it deserved, on that part of the territory of Berne, which lies the nearest to us; for those of the inhabitants, on whom the artifices which had succeeded so fatally in Geneva, had been prac­tised with some degree of effect, have since candidly acknow­ledged, that the fate of the Genevese brought them back to a sense of their interest, and duty.

In the mean time, under pretence of Economy, but in truth, to conceal the extent of the horrors that had been, and still were to be perpetrated; the Revolutionary Tribu­nal issued an order forbidding the use of mourning, for a year to come. This was soon followed by another, for lowering the interest of money, and for annulling all leases; by the last of which regulations, they not only relieved the lower classes, from the payment of rents, which, from the depreciated value of property, were become too high, but in fact levied a heavy fine upon those people of pro­perty, [Page 33]whom they had hitherto had no pretence for at­tacking.

They also renewed their domiciliary visits, leaving no more than twelve ounces of plate to any individual; and because the French had consiscated the property of such of their own Emigrants, as had borne arms against the new Republic, these faithful imitators summoned most of the Genevese who happened to be absent, when the late tragic scenes were acted, to return immediately, under the same penalty, and ordered all persons whose fortunes exceeded 800 l. sterling, to give in an account of them within a week, in order that they might be assessed in proportion to their property and to their patriotism: and, to crown the whole, they assigned several churches as places of meeting for the different Clubs; they reduced the usual divine Service to a very small number of Offices, and permitted the ceremony of Marriage, and the administration of the Sacrament of Baptism, to be performed by the civil Ma­gistrate.

The Revolutionary Tribunal having thus prepared the way for new enterprises, and made a satisfactory trial of the obedience of its subjects, by threatening all, who pre­sumed to express the slightest disapprobation of its mea­sures, with what it called a Revolutionary punishment, re­sumed the proceedings, which it had suspended only until it could satisfy itself, whether the Nation was suffi­ciently accustomed to the sight of blood, to bear the further effusion of it. After banishing some soldiers of the Garrison, who had generously refused to act as execu­tioners on the late occasion, it selected four other victims; three of whom had been Magistrates.

One of them, named Naville Gallatin, was a man of great talents, and defended himself with such eloquence and strength of argument, that one of his Judges, in giving sentence against him, said,—I have two consciences; one of which tells me You are innocent; but the other tells me, You must die, that the State may be saved.—When I die, answered the intrepid Magistrate, the State will lose a great Citizen. [Page 34]The expression is bold, but perfectly characterises his ele­vated and undaunted spirit.

And now, continued he, when sentence of death was passed on him, now mark the fate which awaits You and Your accomplices; for You must not hope that guilt like yours, can go unpunished. You will find that all the ties of Social Order, which you have broken to attain your ends, will again be broken by those, who succeed You in your crimes, and in Your power: new factions will be formed against you, out of your own; and as You have united, like wild beasts, in pursuing your prey, so, like wild beasts, You will tear each other to pieces, in dividing it. Thus will you avenge the cause of those, who have fallen, and are yet to fall sacrifices, to your avarice and ambition. To them, as well as to me, the prospect of approaching Immortalit, robs Death of all its terrors; but to You the last moments of life will be embittered by reflections, more poignant than any tortures You can inflict. The innocent blood you have shed will be heard against You, and You will die without daring to implore the pardon of Heaven. *

[Page 35] So great was the reputation of this Magistrate, and so highly was he reverenced by the Revolutionists themselves, that though they had given up their right to review the sentences of the Revolutionary Tribunal, yet, on this occasion, they shewed an earnest wish to resume it, in order to save his life; and they actually affembled for that purpose. But before they could take the necessary steps, the Tribunal had an intimation of their intention; and to disappoint it, they promised, in the most solemn manner, that no execution should take place that night. In breach, however of the promise, they contrived that the execu­tioners should come and demand him; and he, in the middle of the night, was shot, with the ex-syndic Fatio, on a remote part of the Ramparts.

Many others would probably have suffered the same fate, but saved themselves, by well-applied pecuniary sacrifices; and the power of the Tribunal having at [Page 36]length expired, the Judges of it resigned their authority, after having held it about a fortnight; in which period, they tried and pronounced sentence on 508 prisoners; of whom,

37were sentenced to death and forfeiture of all their property, 26 of whom were condemned for non­appearance.
94to perpetual exile, and forfeiture of all their pro­perty.
4to exile for different periods.
264to confinement, for different periods, in their own houses.
10to imprisonment for life, in the house of correction.
7to imprisonment in the same place, for different periods.
71were removed from their Offices, or severely repri­manded; and,
21were acquitted; but only two received any compen­sation for what they had undergone.

At last, said the Judges, in the report they made pre­vious to resigning their offices, at last the People is avenged. In discharging, continued they, the painful and important duties imposed upon us, we have followed no general Rules, we have been guided by no Legal principles. ‘And now that the Revolution is completely established, per­mit us to declare our ideas, of what our Country re­quires of all its Citizens: it requires of them the prac­tice of all the Social and Civic Virtues; it requires of them the purest Morality, the most undeviating inte­grity, both in their private transactions, and in their public duties. In short, it requires that we be com­pletely regenerated.—In vain shall we have lopped off the abuses, that naturally shoot from excessive wealth; unless we establish Justice, Probity, and Virtue, not in words, but by actions, and by the irresistible force of example, Corruption will again rear her Hydra head.’ &c. &c. &c.

[Page 37] When language like this, is heard from such men, on such an occasion; when to other crimes, is added the hy­pocritical affection of conscience and principle, what hope is there of remorse? What expectation of a return to jus­tice and humanity? Alas! the unfortunate Genevese have no hope, no expectation, but that feeble one, that the fate of Roberspierre may be a warning to his imitators, and that, since compunction cannot, fear may produce some mitigation of their cruelty.

But however this may be, Geneva is no longer what it was, a very few months ago: it is a new city standing on the ruins of the old one; instead of peace, security, indus­try, content, and all the hapiness which attends the prac­tice of virtue, nothing is to be seen but pillage, murder, and all the crimes, and all the misery, which the dissolution of social ties, lets it upon the human species. Such is the train of evils, which the adoption of the Jacobinical philo­sophy, has introduced into Geneva: what must the effects of that System be, upon other countries, when we see those it has produced upon a nation, which, in the midst of its former intestine commotions, constantly revered the rights of property, and shuddered at the sight of blood!

That a people so wise, so temperate, so much accus­tomed to Liberty, and so well acquainted with the convul­sions which the enjoyment of it too often occasions, should so suddenly have abandoned its native character and assu­med a new one, cannot but be matter of surprise to every attentive reader, and certainly calls for some explanation. The limits of a letter do not permit me to go into a long detail, though the subject is worthy of the minutest investi­gation. I shall therefore briefly state, that I do not hesitate to impute the whole of that strange depravation of the cha­racter of my Countrymen, to the effect of a combination borrowed by them of the French, from whence La Fayette, too late, and in vain, predicted that anarchy and disorder which has since so universally prevailed in every depart­ment of his Country: I mean that combination, which, by gradually imparting power to those who were not respon­sible for the use of it, at last left those responsible for the [Page 38]use of it, from whose hands it had been wrested.—As the attention of your Countrymen will, no doubt, be much engaged in discussing the probable consequences of the new self-created popular societies, or Clubs, and particularly the dangers resulting from any association amongst them, I shall be more particular in explaining my meaning.

Cicero ascribes the duration of the Republican form of Government in Rome, to the institution of the office of Tribune; the very office which seems so often to have en­dangered the existence of the Government, but which, though established for the purpose of resisting the usurpa­tions of the Senate, in its operation effectually restrained the extravagancies of the people, by making the Plebeian Magistrates responsible for them.—The history of Geneva abounds with illustrations of the truth of Cicero's obser­vation. During the struggle of Parties, which so fre­quently distracted that little Republic, we constantly see that the rights of property and of persons, were preserved with religious care, and that the blessings of social order, were equally the objects of reverence with both. This can be ascribed to no other cause than the union of power and responsibility in those who were appointed the Chiefs of both Parties, and remained so during the whole contest. Even the moderation which was observed for the first six months after the Revolution, or rather Usurpation of 1792, is to be referred to no other cause. But from that period, when the inferior Demagogues, who were of too little consequence to be members of either the Government or the Convention, began, in imitation of the Jacobins at Paris, to collect all their Democratical Clubs, and unite them into one great Central Club, under the direction of a weekly President, the whole fabric of Government and of social order was shaken to its base, because the whole power of the State thereby fell into the hands of a capri­cious mob, which either had no chiefs at all, or had such as were not permanent, and consequently not subject to the smallest degree of responsibility.

The new Magistrates had undoubtedly no suspicion of the shock, which the erection of this great Central Club, [Page 39]would finally give to their authority; nor were they sensible of it, until the General Assembly, which, under the old Con­stitution of Geneva, seldom met, and had merely a power of adopting or rejecting, by a simple affirmative or nega­tive, the new Laws proposed to it, was superseded by another Body partially constituted, daily assembled, and assuming the power of deliberating and proposing new measures, as well as of censuring those adopted by Admi­nistration. The resolves of this new Body soon became orders which the Government did not dare to disobey, and for which nevertheless, it was still considered as responsible, though the individuals at whose suggestions those resolves had been taken were never inquired after.—When the Magistrates discovered the insignificancy to which they were thus reduced, they tried to restore themselves to some share of their former importance, by endeavouring to put themselves at the head of the Central Club, which was now in fact the head of the Republic: But it was now too late; the chief power and influence of that Body was in a continual state of fluctuation, and the public mind so entirely alienated and perverted, that they had no means of obtaining even a hearing, but by declaiming against the moderation of the Government, or of the Convention. From invectives of this sort, they soon proceeded to pro­posals of the most extravagant nature; they openly circu­lated alarming reports of the machinations of the Aristo­cratical party, and recommended alterations, which, they said, would not fail to restore the Golden Age.

The consequences of thus intermixing the despotism of the rabble, with the dominion of the people, were such as might naturally be expected: habits of indolence, the distress occasioned by those habits, a sort of perpetual in­toxication of the public mind, and the most alarming instability both of political and moral principle.—These mischiess were the more extensive, as, for the first time in Geneva, young men under age procured an admission into that Club, and after emancipating themselves there from the restraints of paternal authority, (which might perhaps have supplied for some time the decline of public authority) acquired a decided superiority over those of a more ad­vanced [Page 40]age and more sober judgment. Nay, so powerful was the delirium which then pervaded the public mind, that, since the institution of Trial by Jury took place, not one of them dared to convict any member of the Club, of any infringement of the public peace, however flagrant and atrocious it might be, and however solicitous Govern­ment might be for their punishment. It was the more impossible not to foresee that the impunity attending lesser crimes, would inevitably encourage the perpetration of greater ones, as on each of these acquittals, it was easy to observe the triumphs of the Central Club, which now gradually fell under the influence of a new set of leaders of desperate fortunes, who only surpassed each other by the violence of their respective motions, and who were alto­gether irresponsible.

Such was the degenerated state of the Central Club, when Bousquet was informed that it was ripe for the adop­tion and execution of his great and extensive plans of sub­version and revolution, the daring wickedness of which, was the circumstance the most likely to ensure their success. The manner in which the event justified his expectations, has been already related; and from the exact similarity between his measures, resulting from such dangerous associ­ations, and those of the Jacobins at Paris, as well as between the consequences of each, is irrefutably proved, the wisdom of that Axiom in Politics, that Liberty can only be secure where power and responsibility are united.

Such have been for Geneva the consequences of the violation of that salutary principle, that in one point only do we still discover the true Genevese character; I mean in the jealous vigilance, with which both the oppressors and the oppressed, watch over their political independence, and have hitherto protected it from the treachery of France. Doubtless, the leaders of the Revolution find it more convenient to insult, and plunder their defenceless Coun­trymen at home, than to be put in Requisition, and draughted into the armies of the Ocean, the Rhine, and the Pyrenees: but plunder must have an end; and when the booty is spent, what will then remain for them, but to sell their unhappy country to the highest bidder?

[Page 41] If it be painful to You, Sir, to read this description, how much more so is it for a Genevan to write it? So painful is it, that I should hardly have undertaken the task, had I not been informed, that some of my unhappy Coun­trymen are about to embark for America, in confidence of finding there, the liberty and security, which they have lost at home.—Permit me, Sir, to recommend those un­fortunate Exiles to your protection, and to the humanity of your Countrymen; and be assured, that for the hospi­tality, and generous assistance, You hold forth to them, You will receive an ample return, of a kind which the Americans prize the most: The Genevese who settle among You, will bring You habits of acting and of thinking, truly Republican, and perfectly conformable to your own: They will bring You an enlightened zeal for liberty, an habitual submission to equal and impartial Laws, an awful reverence for Religion, and a sacred regard for Property: But above all, Sir, they will bring You that dread of the interference of foreign Powers, which their melancholy experience has taught them, and a profound respect for those essential, and fundamental forms of the Constitution, which, in free States, are the strongest safe­guards of Liberty.

I am, Sir, &c. &c.

THE Revolution of Geneva seems to take a milder turn, than might have been expected; owing, perhaps, to a change in the temper and disposition of the French, who appear to be relaxing from their system of severity, or, more probably, to the return of the Genevese to their natu­ral character. Whatever be the cause, it is certain, that the latter begin to feel some remorse for what they have done; and openly avow their regret for having so long imitated, and (to say the truth) in every point but one, surpassed the former.

In one point indeed, and in one point only, the French are still without a rival; for out of no less than 508 per­sons, on whom different sentences were passed, on the late occasion, there was but one Woman, who was condemned to be imprisoned for life, for having given assistance, and forwarded letters, to some French Emigrants; and it is more than probable, that even this sentence was obtained by the influence and intrigues of the French Resident. In every other respect, the Genevese have gone far beyond their model. One of the Judges, for instance, of the Revolutionary Tribunal, is said to have left the bench, in order to assist in executing the unfortunate Magistrates, whom he had just condemned. In the same manner, those who sentenced the Syndic Cayla to death, had the audacity to reckon, among his crimes, the large sums, which he had long been in the habit of distributing among the Poor, with a view (as was alledged) of corrupting them. His bounty was, indeed, improperly applied, since the very objects of it were those, who clamoured the loudest for his death, and actually obtained it. They are now sorry that they did so: their sorrow, however, does not pro­ceed from remorse only, but is the consequence of an event, [Page 43]which they little expected, and for which they were wholly unprepared.

You recollect, Sir, that the second Revolution, which took place on the 18th of July, 1794, was, in a great measure, effected by the two Clubs of the Marseillese and Mountaineers. Those Clubs were composed of the very dregs of the populace, and consequently, could only be tools in the hands of others. But no sooner was the second Revolution completely effected, than they who had conducted the former, adopted it, and with a view, either of securing their own safety, or perhaps of sharing the plunder, immediately endeavoured to put themselves at the head of it.

Of course, their first object was, to strip the French Resident of his influence. And in truth it was time to do so; for there was now no doubt, that the only object of that Minister, in forming the interest he had acquired among the Mountaineers, was to govern and guide them himself, and, by their means, ultimately to incorporate Geneva with France.

But this Coalition, however unexpected, was not brought about so expeditiously, as to escape the penetration of Soulavie; who no sooner discovered it, than he deter­mined immediately to hasten to the execution of his plan.

At this critical moment, happened the fall, and imme­diately afterwards, the death of Roberspierre, whose crea­ture he was; an event which seemed completely to blast his hopes; for his rivals were instantly joined by all the Genevese, who still wished to preserve the independence of their Country. The first consequence of that event, was a formal complaint lodged against him, with the French Ministry, by the Syndics and Council.*

[Page 44] Desperate, however, as his situation was, he resolved to make one more effort, to save himself, and he soon found the opportunity he wanted.

[Page 45] The daily allowance, which had been distributed for about three weeks, among the Clubs, and which had cost the State 300 louis-d'ors a day, had been lately withdrawn, to the great dissatisfaction of the Marseillese and Moun­taineers, but particularly of the latter, who were thereby deprived of a resource which, while it lasted, had made it unnecessary for them to return to their former employ­ments. To resume them now, was a measure they were not at all inclined to; and their ill-humour increased, as they began to feel the pressure of distress.

They complained of having been amused with the hope, that, as soon as the new division of Property was made, every Patriot would have a comfortable subsistence. They saw with indignation, that their plunder was either wasted, or put out of their reach, as soon as it was collected; and as it was impossible either to sell, or to let the splendid houses, which had been confiscated, both within the walls of the City, and in the neighbourhood, they insisted on having them divided, and distributed in shares. Far, also, from joining the majority of the Friends of the Revolution, in blaming the conduct and designs of the French Resident, the Mountaineers flocked in great numbers to his house; supported him against the most popular Members of the Government; and insisted upon knowing the reasons of the misunderstanding between him and them, which, they said, was too prejudicial to the interests of the Republic, to be kept a secret.

But however they might regret, in private, that the Revolution had not had the effect of making Geneva, a part of the French Republic, they were not yet bold enough, openly to assign that as the reason of their dissa­tisfaction. They made no scruple, however, of declaring loudly, that the vengeance of the nation was not yet satis­fied; and insisted, that the Revolutionary Tribunal should resume its functions, and bring to justice, between five and six hundred more persons, who, they said, had been hitherto spared, though clearly guilty, and in which num­ber, they at last expressly, and by name, included those Revolutionists, who were known to be the most attached to the preservation of the National independence, as well as [Page 46]some, whom Soulavie pointed out to them, as his own per­sonal enemies, and who were, in fact, the principal Mem­bers of the Government, but whom he chose to call by the name of Temporisers and Moderates. These last were particularly obnoxious to the Mountaineers, and had in­curred their most violent hatred, by constantly checking them, whenever, after the completion of the first Revolu­tion, that undisciplined and savage mob wanted to horry on to a second, before Bousquet arrived to point out the proper time for beginning it.

These threats of personal danger roused the Members of the Constitutional Government, and induced them, though still to a certain degree under suspension, to resume the authority they had affected to want on the 18th of July. The rest of the Revolutionary Clubs were immediately called together, and in one of them, the feelings of the Members excited by a speech, in which the mask was so completely laid aside, that it would be unpardonable not to lay some passages of it before you.

"I maintain," said the Revolutionist who delivered it, ‘that the scheme of erecting a new Revolutionary Tri­bunal, can have originated only in an enemy to the inde­pendence of our Country: nor can it meet with support, but from the most deluded, or from those who are too indolent to return to their former employments, and who know, that until the tranquillity of the State is restored, they must be continued in arms, and consequently, sup­ported at the public expence. For what but the com­pletest ignorance, or the most wicked malice, can suggest any apprehensions now, from what was once the Aristo­cratical party in Geneva, and which the loss of its wealth, and the fall of Monarchy in France, have completely reduced to insignificance, without power at home, or in­fluence abroad? &c.’

‘France has made Justice the Order of the day: yet in Geneva, which should be a City of Brothers, there are men to be found, who still thirst for blood, and call for the establishment of another Revolutionary Tribunal, with no limit to its authority, but its own capricious will. Is there no reason to fear, that the respectable Powers, on [Page 47]whom we depend for our subsistence, and for the pro­sperity of our trade, and who have already so strongly marked their disapprobation of our conduct, will no longer suppress their indignation? And should that be the case, is there no reason to fear that Geneva, the native Country of Rousseau,—Geneva, whose Citizens had, by their calm and temperate behaviour, even in the midst of intestine discords, by the purity of their morals, by their piety, by the brilliancy of their talents, and the extent of their knowledge, obtained the esteem and respect of all Europe,—that Geneva may lose its independence, and no longer be permitted to call herself free? Let us in­stantly reject a proposal so dangerous,’ &c.

This harangue was very much applauded, and when printed, revived the courage of all those who had been con­cerned in effecting the first Revolution, as well as of those who, though equally averse to the first and second, had, from motives of fear or prudence, submitted to both. They immediately resolved to arm themselves, but to receive no pay; to revive the Revolutionary Tribunal, but at the same time, to direct its severity, not against those who were falsely called and treated as Aristocrates, but towards those, who were endeavouring, under the mask of Patriotism, to involve their Country in farther confusion, and to give up its independence.

Having, by these measures, obtained a decided supe­riority, they still proceeded with great caution, and were particularly careful not to alarm the Marseillese, who were more numerous, and, if possible, more eager for blood than the Mountaineers; but at the same time, more under the controul of their Leaders, less in the habit of looking up to the French Resident, and more attached to the idea of National independence. By this conduct, they detached them by degrees from their former Associates, the Moun­taineers; who, being thus abandoned, were surrounded, disarmed, and thrown into prison, without offering to make the slightest resistance; though, when they clamoured for the death of the acquitted Magistrates, the very men, who now mastered them so easily, affected to consider them as invincible.

[Page 48] The new Tribunal, which consisted of the same Mem­bers as before, was very careful, however, in the exercise of its authority, to spare such of the Mountaineers, as had distinguished themselves by their zeal on the former occasion; and endeavoured to divert the public indigna­tion from them, by calling for accusations against such of the more wealthy Citizens, as had hitherto escaped, and were still incorrigible Enemies of the Revolution. But the whole body of Revolutionists saw through the artifice, and on the 25th of August, being the very day after that, on which the Tribunal was erected, presented the following address to it.

Yesterday, Citizens, You received an order from 2135 of your Countrymen, to form Yourselves into a Revolutionary Tribunal, and to try the criminals, who had been imprisoned the preceding morning; and what have You done? Nothing. We are tired of such slow, such equivocal conduct; and we now come to inform You, that unless You proceed to the discharge of your duty by noon, we will make You answerable for the consequences. Let the first of your Members, who shall dare to draw off your attention from the exercise of your functions, be immediately put under arrest: let the Mountaineers be disarmed: let the Address which has been found among their papers, be communicated to all the Citizens: and let the disturbers of the public peace, meet the punishment they deserve, before the day is over."

(Signed) GIRARD, Secretary.

When the books and papers of the Mountaineers were seized, the plan of an Address to the People, was found among them, the object of which was, to bring about a third Revolution. It espoused the quarrel of the French Resident, in the openest manner, and asked in plain terms, how long the Enemies of the French Nation were to insult it with impunity?

This address (which was evidently drawn up by Sou­lavie)* was directly calculated to put the Revolutionists [Page 49]themselves into confusion, and force them to throw them­selves into the arms of France; though it affected to treat the imputation of any such design, as a gross and slan­derous falsehood. It has been said, that by means of a chemical process, some of the names which had been signed to this paper and afterwards erased, were restored; and that, among others, was that of Soulavie. However this may have been, the confessions of such of the Moun­taineers, as were taken into custody, left no doubt of the nature of that Minister's views and conduct.

During these transactions, Mr. Reybaz, the Genevese Minister in France, a man of real merit, and very highly esteemed in Paris, (whom no one suspects of approving the conduct of his new Constituents, though all were sur­prised that he continued to fill his situation under them) being perfectly apprised of the scheme, that was formed against the independence of his Country, took advantage of the fall of Roberspierre, to defeat it.—He not only prevailed upon those, who succeeded Roberspierre, to dis­avow the conduct of Soulavie, and to recall him with marks of displeasure; but he also obtained from the Con­vention, a new and solemn acknowledgement of the Independence of Geneva, and an allowance of the same honours to himself, as its representative, as had lately been granted to the Minister of the United States of America. In his official correspondence, he took particular care to let his Constituents know, that the account of the late Revolution, which they had intended, no doubt, for the perusal of Roberspierre, had reached his successors, at the very moment, when they had determined to adopt a line of conduct, the very reverse of his: that the principles on which they meant to act, were those of Justice, Huma­nity, and Moderation; and that their intention was to shew themselves, not more the foes of Aristocracy, than of Anarchy and Insubordination.

[Page 50] The state of affairs being thus so essentially altered, the Revolutionary Tribunal could no longer refuse to proceed to the trial of the Mountaineers. And although no positive evidence was adduced, of a plot to deliver up the City into the hands of the French, and though the individuals accused, made the most public and solemn declaration, that every step, for which they were now called to answer, was taken by the instigation, and under the immediate direction, of the very men, who were then sitting in judgment on them, yet four of that party received sen­tence of death. The Populace, who but six weeks before, had been the accomplices, and instruments of their crimes, heard the sentence with transport; and the Criminals met their fate in a manner as dastardly, as the behaviour of the Magistrates, whom they had murdered, was courageous and dignified. Thus has so small a State as Geneva, already proved, at the expence of the very men, who con­temptuously called the Revolution, an abortive one, the justness of the remark of a great Revolutionary Leader in France,* a few moments before he submitted to the Guillotine.—Every Revolution, said he, of the nature of ours, is like Saturn: it devours its own offspring.

Bousquet, the real head of the Mountaineer party, is still alive: but he lives in hourly apprehensions of sharing the fate of his accomplices. That Roberspierre of Geneva, who possesses all the vices, and none of the talents of his model, and who like him, ruled his country for a short time, with unlimited sway, has not been able to retain his usurped Authority.—That he might have a plausible pre­text, for no longer continuing a member of a Tribunal, whose cruelties he affected to condemn, he has, with equal dexterity and baseness, contrived to withdraw his name from the number of those who were to decide on the lives of their Countrymen, and to have it inserted in the Com­mission, to which the task of confiscating their property, was allotted: and now, equally dreading the vengeance of those he has ruined, and the contempt of those who shared his crimes, he is rapidly sinking into his original [Page 51]obscurity, and already verifies the prediction of one of his Countrymen (Mr. Chauvet), who, in a Letter from Lon­don, of the 15th of August, told him, that he would pre­serve only the shadow of authority, by submitting to acts of the basest compliance. "Those who overturn the Laws," continued he, ‘are Tyrants to-day, only to be Slaves to-morrow; and are suffered to exist, amidst the con­tempt of their associates, and the hatred of their rivals, only until they have satiated the avidity of the one, and prepared the way for the triumph of the other’ The Letter ended with these prophetic words: ‘I do not say, that political Crimes have always led to the ruin of those, who commit them; I do not say, that the popularity which is obtained by such means, is as unstable as it is contemptible: nor do I say, that a thousand accidents may change that Order of things, which now seems so favourable to You. But I say, that the hour is at hand, when you will envy the fate of those, who have fallen sacrifices to the Revolution you have effected,’ &c.

The punishment, which the inferior Agents of the late Revolution have already suffered, has encouraged the Genevese to hope, that the vengeance of Providence will soon overtake the principal Criminals, and afford the unhappy victims of their ambition, some alleviation of their misery, and perhaps, an opportunity of escaping from a City which is become the harbour of every crime. Some, indeed, have already obtained, by means of money, a commutation of their sentence of confinement to their own houses, into perpetual exile. And who can wonder, that they should consider it as an indulgence, that can hardly be bought too dearly, to be banished from a City, whose streets are reeking with the blood of innocent and virtuous men; where the hopes of plunder are the only bonds of an union, which the division of it must soon dissolve; where the populace was encouraged to pillage, in order to be taken into pay; and was kept in pay, in order to pillage; where property is lost to its owners, without enriching or satiating the robbers: a City, whose [Page 52]Inhabitants have suffered a handful of Foreigners* to govern them, to insult them, and even to infuse a portion of their own ferocity into them; where the blackest crimes appear without disguise, and the pure religion of the Country, with its venerable Ministers, is delivered over to an insolent and merciless persecution; where those who have already suffered, are perhaps less to be pitied than the survivors, who live in dreadful expectation of following their fate; where soon, nothing will be seen, but the miseries of the oppressed, and the tyranny of the oppres­sors; where the Rich are plundered, to feed the indolence, and inflame the avidity of the indigent; where Famine, Discord, Hatred, and Revenge, must soon appear, with all the horrors that usually accompany them; where the sacred name of Liberty has been for ever polluted, and where those, who are most afflicted at the calamities, of which they have suffered themselves to be made the instru­ments, see no means to escape, but by plunging into others, still more disastrous; and where, even if they were able, by an effort of virtuous Despair, to free them­selves from the yoke that galls them, the troops of France which surround them, would assuredly avenge the cause of their Tyrants, and inflict upon them a punishment, [Page 53]of which the World has already seen with horror an instance, in the fate of Lyons?

In short, Sir, Geneva, that was once so distinguished among the Cities of the Earth—Geneva, the seat of Reli­gion, of Morality, of Science, of Art and of Commerce, but above all, of Sacred Liberty—Geneva is irrecoverably lost: peace, security, and happiness, have for ever aban­doned her, and her miseries can only terminate with those of France. Happy, if like her wiser Neighbours, the Swiss, she had remained a silent spectator of the convul­sions, which have so long distracted that unfortunate Coun­try! But, as she has been seduced to imitate her conduct, she must participate her fate. The fall of Roberspierre at Paris, was immediately followed by the ruin of the Moun­taineers at Geneva; and every future struggle of faction in the former of those cities, will be equally felt in the latter. France is now her only Ally; and even the friendship of France would be lost, if the citizens of Geneva, impelled by remorse for what they have done, and remembering their former happiness, should make any efforts to recover that sober freedom, those wise and temperate Laws, which they have been sacrificing, during the last two years, on the altars of Revolutionary Anarchy.

— Facilis descensus Averni:
Sed revocare gradum, superasq. evadere ad auras,
Hic labor, hoc opus est.
Yours, &c.

THE appearance of moderation, which things seemed to wear at Geneva, when I last had the honour to address You, was soon laid aside; and we are now to see the Re­volution, in its genuine and original character, as a sys­tem of anarchy, devastation and plunder.

You may recollect, that at the date of my last letter, the Mountaineers were completely humbled; Soulavie was recalled, and the Convention had made declarations, which, if sincere, rendered all apprehensions of danger from the French, groundless. Under circumstances so favourable, the Revolutionary Tribunal thought it unneces­sary to wear the mask any longer. It declared it to be unjust, that its severity should be exercised on deluded patriots only; and thought it high time to take the cases of such of the Enemies of Liberty and Equality, as had been lately ordered not to leave their own houses, into consideration.

The number of persons of that description amounted to 343. They were principally of the class of Merchants, or, as the Revolutionists affected to call them, trading Aristocrats, and had attracted their notice, as being in their opinion, as rich, and more avaricious, than those they had already attacked.

It would seem, that for these two years past, the more virtuous and enlightened part of the Genevese have laboured under a sort of infatuation, which by an ill-timed spirit of moderation and forbearance, have drawn upon them the very dangers, they most wished to avoid. These very men, for instance, whose turn of persecution was now come, had been weak enough to believe, that the late military preparations were made with no other view than to provide for their safety, and the security of the National independence. They therefore had waited the event of the [Page 55]contest with anxiety, and had continued their prayers for those who were in the end successful, until they were informed, by the victors themselves, that they and their property were to be the fruits of the victory.

Although the Tribunal had declared in its first Report that the Nation was at last sufficiently avenged, [...] second, it asserted that the severities which had been exer­cised on the former occasion, had proved insufficient to repress all the enemies of public happiness *. It therefore [Page 56]recommmenced its operations, by committing the same enormities which it had accused the Mountaineers of in­tending to commit;* and though the pretence, under which so many persons were put into confinement, was to protect them, during the struggle which was likely to ensue, yet it is now well known, that the real reason of that measure was to prevent their taking part in that struggle, and to secure them and their property, as a reward of the victors; and it is more than probable, that the object of publishing the conciliatory speech, (quoted p. 46) which so vehemently inveighs against fur­ther severities, was to divert their attention from the new dangers, that hung over their heads.

[Page 57] In this third scene of the Tragedy, however, no lives were lost, though six pretended Aristocrats were sentenced to death; but being absent, they did not suffer: eighteen were banished for life, and the rest either confined, or de­prived of their political rights, for periods of different lengths.* The reason of the latter part of their sentence is obvious. The suffrages are given in the Assembly of the People, not openly, but by ballot; and as the Tri­bunal is perfectly aware of the real sentiments of the greater part of the Members of that Assembly, it takes great care not to call it together, until it has excluded from it, the greater part of those, of whose integrity it is afraid.

[Page 58] In the mean time, the powers of the General Assembly are intrusted to twenty-three Clubs, or Revolutionary Sections, in which, the Members give their votes vivâ voce, and in which none dare open their lips but those, to whom a state of tranquillity is a state of violence; and whose audacity increases with the timidity, and acqui­escence of the rest.

These twenty-three deliberative Republics, as they may be called, meet twice a day, and sometimes collectively, sometimes separately, form resolutions the most incon­sistent and contradictory: sometimes, they permit the workmen, who are under sentence of confinement to their own houses, to go to their shops three times a day; and immediately after they retract this permission. Sometimes they seem determined to sap the very foundation of the Edi­fice, by revolutionizing the principles of the rising generation; but when they observe, that not a single person of those engaged in the public education of youth, has adopted, or will adopt their system, they purpose to put them all into a provisional state of requisition, until they can supply their places, or do without them; for they already begin to clamour against the Arts and Sciences, as branches of Aristocracy. Sometimes, they openly avow their intention to unpeople their Country, and, in pursuance of that plan, permit all who wish to leave it, to retire with their effects; but the next day, they are alarmed at the number of Emigrants, and the quantity of property they take with them, and prohibit the departure or removal of either.

[Page 59] The question, which has hitherto most embarrassed the Revolutionists, is to determine, whether they shall conti­nue the administration of affairs in the hands of the Revo­lutionary Tribunal, or restore it to the Constitutional Go­vernment, which, though suspended, is not dissolved, nor without hopes of being able to resume its authority. For the present, it is agreed, that the Tribunal shall remain another month in office, under the title of National Liqui­datory Commission; with express orders to collect all the confiscated property, and apply it to the support of Esta­blishments for the encouragement of industry, the prevention of poverty, and the promotion of general happiness, * which, notwithstanding such effectual means to introduce it, is still, to the great astonishment of the lower classes of the People, as distant as ever.

But though the minds of the public are thus buoyed up with hopes of future happiness, they are not the less ex­posed to present remorse and anxiety. It is not in the power of their Leaders to conceal from them, that they are considered as a worthless and degenerate People, by every part of Europe. Holland, the ancient Ally of Geneva, looks upon the present Magistrates, as a set of Banditti, and in order to preserve the property of those, who are trembling under their tyranny, has put it into sequestration. Some of the principal trading Towns of Germany have prohibited all commercial intercourse with them. The Swiss have placed guards along their frontiers, to prevent the entrance of all persons concerned in the Revolution, or who were in arms while it was carrying on; and refuse them admittance with as much care, as if they were infected with the plague.

But though these are facts too notorious to be concealed, the present Government endeavours to persuade the deluded [Page 60]People, that, however they are abhorred by their imme­diate neighbours and connexions, they are not without friends and admirers, at a distance. For this purpose, on the first of last month, they gave orders for a Civic Feast, in which, in allusion to the compliment lately paid them by the French, and to shew themselves not unworthy of a comparison with the great Republic of the new World, they pompously displayed the American flag, and with great effrontery placed it next to their own. It was easy indeed, to see shame and remorse, painted on the countenance of every person present at the ceremony. But what are we to think of a People, which retains no quality of virtue, but the consciousness of guilt, nor any mark of courage, but the obstinacy of perseverance?

There is now hardly one Genevan of property, or educa­tion, who has not severely felt the effects of the Revolu­tion. In fact, if to the former 508 victims, we add the last 343, we shall find, that it has swept away nearly one half of those who composed the General assembly, before the late introduction of about 1000 Natives, and nearly the same number of Foreigners.

To complete the shocking picture, the French soldiers themselves, who were in some degree the instruments of the Revolution, could not refrain from tears, at the bare recital of some of the scenes, which took place in the course of it. In spite of the barbarous orders of Soulavie, the neighbouring Municipalities openly protected such as were fortunate enough to make their escape. Even the Leaders of the parties in Paris, the cruel authors of all our misery, affected to be moved at it, and either because they had not shared in the plunder, or because the Genevese had so far out-done them on their own principles, or perhaps because they were alarmed at the abhorrence, which these events have excited against their System, in every part of Switzer­land, Germany, Holland, and England, condemned the Revolution; and, if I am rightly informed, one of the Committees in Paris, has written to its imprudent and precipitate disciples, to put an end to excesses so injurious to the cause, and the Genevese Minister in France is indefatigable in his endeavours, to dissuade his Constitu­ents [Page 61]from imitating the measures of Roberspierre, which must, sooner or later, estrange from them the only Ally, their conduct has not already deprived them of.*

We have now a complete distinct view, of every part of the inundation which has overwhelmed the unfortunate Geneva. Beginning with the slight, and apparently unim­portant alteration made in the Constitution, by the intro­duction of the right of Universal Suffrage, in 1792, we may trace it through all the stages of gradually increasing violence, till it attained its full height of fury and devasta­tion, in 1794, and had completely swept away every rule of social order, and every vestige of social happiness.

The first intimation we had of its approach, was the adoption of the modest and benevolent term of Citizen, which the Authors of our ruin used in their intercourse with each other, and under colour of which, they succeeded in establishing an equality of political rights: but the pupils of the Jacobins, soon shewed themselves worthy of their masters, and, from the equalization of rights, proceeded with systematic regularity, through all the intermediate stages of plunder, proscription, and murder, to their great object, the Equalization of property.

[Page 62] It is extremely probable, that the Leaders of the Revo­lution were not, at first, aware of the consequences of what they were doing in 1792, or of the dangers to which the introduction of the French doctrines exposed them; and that, if it had been possible at that time to shew them the series of horrors, and crimes, into which they would be progressively led, they would have shuddered at the thought of what it is now their boast to have effected. But however this may be, it is at least certain, that the con­spiracy was at that period only in the bud; and it is easy [Page 63]to conceive, that under a Government so feeble as ours then was, it would have been difficult to establish the existence of it, by such evidence, as a Court of Justice requires. Not that this difficulty would, under any other circumstances than those, under which the old Govern­ment then stood, have justified it in not making the at­tempt; but the Reader will recollect, that we were then entirely surrounded by the territory of France, that her troops were at our gates, and waited only for such an opportunity as that measure would have afforded, to enter them, and violently annex our Republic to their own.

[Page 64] It is distressing to humanity to reflect, that a fate so melancholy should have been reserved for a city so distin­guished as Geneva was, for the generous and benevolent spirit of its inhabitants, and the alacrity with which those in easy circumstances always stepped forward to relieve the wants, and alleviate the distresses of their fellow-citizens; where, in short, the Syndic Cayla was not the only person, who devoted a large proportion of his income to the poor, and, in the administration of it, considered himself as only their Steward. Nor was the manner in which this bene­ficent spirit distributed its bounty, less amiable than the spirit itself. Pains were taken to anticipate the calls of Poverty, and its distresses were relieved, with the most attentive delicacy. It is a certain fact, that the Annual Fund, which was voluntarily provided at Geneva for the relief of the Poor, including public and private subscrip­tions, endowments, and donations of every kind, was seldom less, and not unfrequently, more than the whole revenue of the State; and that nearly a fifth part of the population of the Republic, was supported by the con­tributions of the rest;—of those, in short, who have since fallen sacrifices to the blind and brutal fury of the objects of their bounty.* Besides this, there was nothing in Geneva upon which the spirit of reform could operate; there was no rich and indolent Clergy to be plundered, no deep-rooted abuses to be removed, no feudal tenures to be abolished, no Bastille to be destroyed, no proud Nobility to be humbled: the wealthiest and most ancient families had no superiority of rank over the newest or poorest; the distinction of Patrician and Plebeian was unknown, and, by our fun­damental Laws, no Genevan could claim any pre-eminence over his fellow-citizens, except what he might derive from a temporary elevation to office by their free choice.

[Page 65] With respect to the application of the public Revenue; the scrupulous economy of the Magistrates who managed it, if inferior to any thing, was only inferior to their dis­interestedness, of which there needs no other proof, than the first step taken by their successors, was to double, and, in some instances, to treble the salaries of their offices; so that the salaries of the Councils and Magistrates, which had hitherto amounted to about 7000 Crowns only, were suddenly raised to 50000, that is to say, to a moiety of the whole annual revenue of the Republic: And yet these salaries, thus doubled and trebled, were insufficient to sup­port their extravagance, or satiate their rapacity. They have even confessed, that, in the course of the first seven weeks, they disbursed, that is to say, they dissipated, 17,000 louis-d'ors, and, consequently, that out of 37,000 louis-d'ors, which, they say, was the share of the public in the specie, goods, and plate, which had been confiscated, there are now only 20,000 remaining in the Revolutionary Treasury; though the whole 37,000 is a sum, very far short of what that share ought to have been. †

The smallness of the Theatre on which this Revolu­tionary Tragedy was acted, makes it, perhaps, more easy to comprehend the management, and connexion of the scenery exhibited in the course of it.

It cannot fail, therefore, to engage the attention of every man, who, like You, Sir, views with a philosophical eye, the wonderful changes with which the Revolutionary spirit threatens the Christian world, and in order to discover, if* [Page 66]possible, the termination of those changes, endeavours to trace them up to their first causes: and every such man must see with alarm, both for himself and for his fellow-crea­tures, that the most probable result of them will be, to prepare mankind, when they can no longer bear the capri­cious tyranny of the Mob, to submit, with the sullen pa­tience of despair, to the will of a single Despot.

Among the many salutary truths, which may be collected from the Revolution, of which I have given an imperfect, but, I hope, not an uninteresting sketch, the following appear to me to be entitled to the serious consideration of your Countrymen.

1. That a single Revolution, if conducted with mode­ration, and not carried too far, may sometimes prove the foundation of Liberty; but that a second, and all succes­sive Revolutions, are the certain bane and destruction of it; for the inevitable consequence of all such events, is to make the people indifferent to liberty; and indifference, we know, is soon succeeded by disgust, as disgust is easily increased into aversion.

2. That however a Nation may be accustomed to civil commotions, a Revolution, in the modern sense of the term, is certainly the greatest evil that can befall it.

3. That the first Authors of every such Revolution, are uniformly the second victims to it.

4. That the moral character of the most virtuous Na­tion, affords no security whatever, that Revolutionary Doctrines, if suffered to be propagated in it, will have a less pernicious influence upon its manners, than upon those of any other Nation. It is impossible that those doctrines can take root in any such Nation, without pro­ducing a complete, and radical change in its character. It is barely two months since the Genevese deservedly pos­sessed the reputation of a brave and humane People. One single night of Revolution, by putting the arms which had been wrested from the people of property, into the hands of those who possessed nothing, instantly changed the former into dastardly cowards, and the latter into ferocious beasts of prey.

[Page 67] 5. That wherever a Revolution upon French Principles makes its appearance, it will infallibly begin, at the very point at which the French ended; viz. by making terror the order of the day, by destroying religion, and the order of Society; and by exposing property to promis­cuous pillage, and the owners of it to proscription and destruction.

6. That the fate of the civilized part of the World, and indeed, of human nature itself, depends, at this critical moment, upon the conduct of the People of Property. They cannot now be ignorant of their danger; and they may be assured, that timidity and disunion are more ruinous to their cause than any exertions of their Enemies, and that the moment they suffer their resolution to be shaken, their ruin is inevitable.

7. That the new Revolutionary Doctrines are more destructive in free States than elsewhere; because free States have nothing to add to Liberty but the abuse of it, and consequently, nothing to adopt from such doctrines, but the excesses to which they lead.

8. That it is plain from the example of Geneva, that free States are the most exposed to the introduction of those principles; because it is in free States only, that the forms of Government, give an opportunity of turning liberty into licentiousness, and licentiousness into crimes of the deepest dye.

9. That every Nation which has the happiness to enjoy a temperate and well-regulated Liberty, may be assured, that the only means to preserve it, is to rise in a mass, and repress the first attempt to abuse it, with as much vigour as they would oppose the first encroachments of Power.

With these reflexions I shall close this melancholy narra­tive; and I am sure, Sir, it is unnecessary for me to describe to You, the feelings that rise in the bosom of a Genevan, who once fondly loved his country, when he feels himself bound by his duty as an Historian, and by the sacred regard he owes to truth, to hold up the conduct of that country, and the calamities that have followed from it, as a [Page 68]warning to the rest of mankind. That duty I have dis­charged to the best of my power, and my painful task is over. The Revolution is now complete; it has already assumed the general hue of all such events; and the history of Geneva will hereafter be the history of the great Planet to which she is become a satellite. Her boasted independence is now an empty sound; and her sons have nothing left, but to lament her fate in silence.

I am, &c.


BY the last accounts from Geneva, it appears, that since the fall of the Mountaineers and their pation Soulavic, all fears of an invasion from France are laid aside: that Na­tion entered on the 7th of last September into a new solemn engagement, to take no step that shall, in the smallest degree, affect the independence of its neighbour. For this engagement, however, we are not so much in­debted to any new principle of Justice operating on the minds of the French, as to their persuasion, that Geneva is in reality, though not in name, their own; and that their tools, the Revolutionists, have gone such lengths, and committed themselves so completely, as to be a much better garrison for them, than any number of their own troops could be.

The tyrants of that unfortunate city have therefore sheathed the sword, and now turn their whole attention to the prosecution of the system of quiet plunder, which their success has enabled them to establish. For this purpose, and either to introduce the equalizing principle more effectually, or perhaps to shew the world, how far they can go beyond their masters, they passed a Decree on the 28th of September, by which they laid the same enor­mously unjust tax, upon the Capital of every man's fortune, which the French financiers had been satisfied with levying upon one annual income only.

With this view, after dividing all the people of property into three Classes, which they distinguished by the names of Aristocrates, Indifferents, and Patriots, they applied to each of those classes, a scale of Assessment, proceeding in geometrical progression, by means of which each indivi­dual [Page 70]was rated, not according to the value of his Estate, but also according to an arbitrary estimate of his poli­tical opinions.—With respect to the first Class, the Assessment is made on all fortunes amounting to £. 300 sterling or upwards, and increases as they increase, till it reaches 40 per cent. on the Capital. Upon the Estates of the Indifferents, it begins at £. 300, but does not extend to more than 30 per cent. on the Capital.—The Estates of the Patriots are wholly exempted under the value of £. 300 sterling, and are liable only to the amount of £. 25 per cent. on capitals above that sum.

The projectors of this extraordinary measure, have not failed to represent it as suggested by necessity, and from its severity, not likely to be repeated. But it is affirmed that they have already in several instances violated their own rule; and even though they should adhere to it more strictly in future, it is easy to see that under this species of Agrarian Law, (the only one which a State possessed of so small a territory could adopt) the ruin of every Gene­van in easy circumstances is inevitable; and if it be con­tinued, every incitement to industry and honest exertion, must be removed; though the authors of it are not ashamed to assert, that in order to realize the good effects of it, it is absolutely necessary to support it by a general dispo­sition to industry. In a Republic, say they, that is well con­stituted, or desires to be so, indolence is a crime against the State, and is not too severely punished by infamy and banish­ment.

In the mean time, the consequence of the measure has been to reduce the little property that was left in land or houses, to half its value. The unhappy Proprietors pay what is demanded of them, without opposition or remonstrance, and are glad to purchase with what remains, leave to quit the abode of such jealous and rapacious Ty­ranny.*

[Page 71] On one account indeed, this increasing depopulation is desirable; but on another it is to be regretted, as it coincides with, and is indeed a part of, the plan of the Leaders of the Revolution, who rejoice at it, and consider it as the only means of confirming their triumph, and making their system permanent. Ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.

In the mean time, those Revolutionists whose fortunes brought them within the line of the Assessment, execrate a system which makes them the spoil of their own victory, and [Page 72]avow their discontent and disappointment in the most open manner. To appease them, and to divert their attention, an [Page 73]Extraordinary Commission was issued, to enquire into and punish all applications of any part of the public plun­der, to the use of particular individuals. But though this measure professed to fall on petty delinquents only; yet every man of reflexion saw at once that it was a farce; nor have the Commissioners yet dared to enter upon their offices, the principal criminals being afraid of setting so dangerous a precedent; and, on that account, determined to let smaller crimes go unpunished, however notorious.

Neither this partiality, nor the cause of it, have escaped the observation of the Revolutionists. They complain of it in terms of the strongest indignation. But an event has taken place much more alarming to the leaders, who, thinking that they had excluded all persons not of their party from the General Assembly, ventured, at last, to call it together for the purpose of electing a public Treasurer. The members, shocked at the enormous waste made in the finances, since the Revolution, rechose the former Treasurer, who was one of the Magistrates deposed in 1792. To the great mortification as well as astonishment of the Demagogues, he had at least 500 votes more than any other candidate; but he thought it prudent to decline so dangerous a preference. The Election of this Gentleman was the effect of an apprehension generally entertained by the Revolutionists, and expressly stated in a pamphlet published by one of them, that the leaders meant to make their retreat with the whole of the plunder. Let us take care, said he, not to entrust the management of our finances, of our last, our only resource, to such impure and blood­thirsty men. Let us, as we tender the very existence of our [Page 74]Country, watch with unremitted vigilance, over these men of blood, these bankrupts in character, as well as in fortune, and to prevent them, if possible, from adding the worst of sacrileges to the lift of their other enormities.

From this manner of treating their chiefs, it is plain that a very considerable number of the Revolutionists would gladly sacrifice the more violent of their accomplices, and lay upon their heads the punishment due to their own of­fences. The demagogues of course are alarmed to find that the Members of the General Assembly, whom they thought prepared to go any lengths with them, should take advantage of the mode of voting by ballot, to desert the principles they avow in the Clubs, and to give so con­vincing though indirect a proof, of their aversion to the Revolution.

In the midst of this scene of tyranny and devastation, the unfortunate victims flattered themselves that the new French Resident, when he presented his credentials, would take that opportunity of recommending to the imitation of Geneva, the system of moderation, at present adopted by the Convention; and that the influence of France, which had been so often and so fatally exerted against them, would for once be employed in their favour: but he con­tented himself with coldly censuring the conduct of his pre­decessor, and assuring them, that "as France will never permit other nations to interfere in its domestic concerns, so would it scrupulously abstain from intermeddling in those of other nations, particularly in those of an indepen­dent ally."

What an abominable mixture of cruelty, hypocrisy, and irony, on the part of a Nation, which, after openly violating every law, divine and human, and exerting all her strength to plunge us into an abyss of misery, of which modern History affords no other example, has waited for the last struggles of the expiring victim, to tell it with contemptuous cold­ness, that she can only be aspectator of its distress, and is restrained by the law of Nations from interfering with more than her wishes; though, at the same time, she re­fuses to give us so slight a proof of the existence of even [Page 75]those wishes, a recommendation of her own boasted mode­ration would afford?

To make the cruelty of such conduct still more poig­nant, and perhaps to diminish the abhorrence which their own barbarities have excited, by giving the imitation of them an air of ridicule, the French have lately thrown the Revolution of Geneva into the shape of a Farce, and exhibited it on one of the Paris Theatres! The Revo­lutionary Tribunal was represented exactly in the man­ner described in page 26—with every additional circum­stance that the ingenuity of malignant scorn could sug­gest, to heighten the effect.

Such is the manner in which France has completed her detestable work, in the small, but once most interesting Republic of Geneva! and such is the return of applause, of gratitude, and of fraternization, which she reserves for future converts to her system! May the dreadful lesson produce its due effect! and for the sake of human happiness, may the fate of one victim be sufficient to atone for the offence of those who still listen to her doctrines, and in spite of experience wish to adopt her principles, and imitate her conduct!

Feliciter sapit, qui alieno periculo sapit.

The last letters from Geneva, written about the middle of February, announce, that this unhappy City is still at the discretion of its oppressors, who, however, from several circumstances, now seem to be more and more apprehensive of the punishment justly due to their crimes. It is said, that Bousquet and his accomplices have already proceeded to im­pute to each other the perpetration of them; and that, not daring to shew themselves in the day-time for fear of being publicly insulted, they try, however, to keep up the spirits of such of their adherents, as they find to be fluctuating, by assuring them, that in France the system of terror, and the Jacobins, will soon be restored, as the only means by which that Republic can be maintained.

Mean time, the Revolutionists of Geneva who are the least corrupted in their principles, appear by degrees to attach themselves to the few honest men, who still have the courage not to despair entirely, although they want the spirit and vigour of mind, necessary for shaking off the [Page 76]yoke under which they groan: but hitherto, nothing has taken place, except a mixture of half-stifled remorse, laudable but ineffectual good wishes, and weak and ill-directed efforts, the care of carrying which into effect, they leave to Providence. In a word, the last Revolution of France has put a stop to that of Geneva, but hitherto has by no means given it any retrograde motion.

Thus the censure which the successors of Roberspierre seemed to throw upon the last Revolution of Geneva, appears, at present, to have been only an additional snare laid for the credulity of those who have been, and still are, the victims of it. They flattered themselves that the new Committees of Paris, fully apprised of the many and great evils, which their Republic had occasioned to ours, would readily have addressed some remonstrance on the subject to the Genevese Jacobins, which could not have failed to produce an instantaneous effect; the more so, as it was certainly expected by the Genevese, and, until now, has con­tributed to keep them in a state of inaction. But far from such Re­monstrance having ever been sent by the Committees of Paris, as soon as they heard that the Resident Adet, successor of Soulavie, appeared most deeply to deplore the work of his predecessor, and that his resent­ment, which he took no pains to hide, had begun to inspire the oppressed sufferers with a glimpse of hope, they recalled him to Paris, under the pretence of sending him Ambassador to America.

From thence one might conclude that the French Mission to Geneva is now calculated as a preliminary step to that of the United States. May the strength of their Government, our experience, and the pru­dence of their people, preserve them from reaping the bitter fruits that we have!...


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