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anxiously expecting their release, while he was amusing himself with circumnavigating New Holland, drinking coffee with the Dutch governour of Amboyna, or composing memoirs on the commerce, population, and religion of that settlement. We are most willing to bestow on the memory of M. Dentrecasteaux that character to which he appears justly entitled—that of a truly good and honourable man; but we should ill acquit ourselves of the duty which we owe to the publick were we to admit that the choice of his sovereign, on the present occasion, was the most happy; or that the admiral fulfilled the expectations of the unfortunate monarch whose confidence in his “ talents, resolution, and prudence,” led him to imagine that he would be able—“ de perfectionner la description du globe, et d’accroitre les connoissances humaines.” When M. Rossel holds out the discovery of Dentrecasteaux's channel, and of a few degrees of the barren coast of Nuyt's land, to be of such magnitude, as to induce the British admiralty in 1797 and 1798 to ground a voyage on the information contained in the vice admiral’s journal, we cannot believe him to be serious. In fact no such expedition, as he afterwards confesses, was sent out in either of those years. In 1801, captain Flinders sailed from England in the Investigator for the purpose of completing the survey of New Holland, and especially of the coast of the great gulf of Carpentaria, which is diametrically opposite to that part of New Holland where the French frigates carried on their operations. Our remarks on the remaining part of the work must be very brief. In the first volume an appendix is subjoined to the account of the voyage, containing a scientifick statement of the method employed in laying down the charts and plans of the great atlas, illustrated by a numVol. Iv. > .
them) at least a hundred feet high
whereas in all the other views they
have given of this island some of them taken within a few cables length of the shore, there is plenty of fire, and smoke, but not a single shrub to brake the barren uniformity of the surface. The second instance, is the chart of New Caledonia, which we are assured is constructed “avec la plus grande precision,” and from observations that were taken with the greatest attention and exactitude, particularly in the vicinity of Havre Trompeur. Now we know from captain Kent’s observations, made during his stay of six weeks in Port St. Vincent, that there is not one line of truth in that part of the chart of New Caledonia, as laid down in this atlas. Captain Kent found one of the finest harbours in the world; the French declare positively that there is no
harbour. Captain Kent says that the distance of the reef from the coast is from four to eight miles; the French assert, from accurate and repeated observations, that it never exceeds three miles, and frequently runs nearer to the coast. Captain Kent says that within the reef, and between it and the coast, are a number of islands, not only at Port St. Vincent, but on each side of it, forming, as he conjectures, other harbours. The French have not laid down one single island in the vicinity of this harbour, nor on the whole line of coast from the S. E. to the N. W. extremity of New Caledonia, except a few near the middle, obviously placed at random; yet the mountains and promontories are all shaded down to the coast as if they had been accurately measured and actually surveyed.
FROM THE LITERARY PANORAMA.
The Real State of France, in the Year 1809; with an Account of the Treatment of the Prisoners of War, and Persons otherwise detained in France. By Charles Sturt, Esq. late M. P. for Bridport. Resident in France before the War, and detained nearly seven Years as a Hostage. 8vo. pp. 168, price 5s. London, 1810.
NOTHING could be more apropos to meet the eulogia of Mr. Byeriy, on Buonaparte, than this publication of Mr. Sturt. It was proper that this “Real State of France” should be authenticated by the writer, and thus we have testimony against testimony, and witness against witness. Mr. Byerly says “Buonafarte is adored,” Mr. Sturt says “he is detested.” A few who prosper by the system of favouritism may applaud his measures, but the nation at large abhors both his government and his crimes. Opinions so diametrically opposite, we shall not attempt to reconcile; yet we think that a consideration of the places visited by these gentlemen, respectively, would afford a hint of assistance in that undertaking. Mr. By
guess) to the provinces; and these, as we know, are far enough from enjoying those golden times which soi-disant philosophers promised them without let, hindrance, or molestation. Mr. Sturt apologizes for the il arrangement and confusion of his pamphlet. “To elegance of style, or even to correctness,” says he, “I renounce all claim—but I claim credit for the truth of my statements.” “I have seen the misery and distress I describe with my own eyes.” He proceeds to exhibit the weaknesses of the Corsican hero: but these we pass, as founded on the inductions of reasoning, and as presenting nothing new. We also pass Mr. S's exposal of the French exfosés; the false boasts of the progress of works at the ports, &c. because the “American,” in our last number, sufficiently confutes whatever the minister of finances has vented on those subjects; yet we cannot help recording the fate of Fort Napoleon, at Cherbourg. “Two years ago it was overwhelmed by a tempest, which swept away the whole garrison, consisting of about five hundred souls, who all perished in sight of their families and countrymen.” Nevertheless, another fort is building on the same spot! We proceed, without further introduction, to the assertions of Mr. S. on the present state of France. “The complete stagnation of commerce in every city, town, and village; the serious augmentation of every necessary of life; the vast increase in the wages of labour, the oppressive and vexatious effects of the droits réunis; the dreadful conscriptions pursued with unrelenting severity; have given rise to such a general discontent, that the death of Buonaparte is devoutly wished for; his name is feared and abhorred by every reflecting Frenchman, by all who are not enjoying pensions or lucrative employments under his tyrannical power. The severe and arbitrary restrictions laid on the little commerce that remains; the overbearing insolence and extortion of his numerous customhouse officers, paralize all the efforts of trade in the interiour of France.
“In some few districts the agriculture appears to be improving; but by far the greater proportion of France, shows a poverty and a negligence in the general cultivation of the lands, that strongly marks the weak state of commerce, and the great want of capital. Still there are a few merchants, who, in consequence of their political sentiments, meet with great support from the usurper, and are permitted to carry on a considerable commerce, no withstanding his senseless decrees of Milan and Berlin
“In the villages, scarcely a cottage can you enter, without beholding the fathers and mothers of families bewailing the loss of a beloved child, dragged to the armies. Several assured me they had lost three, four, or five children of the age of seventeen or eighteen, and after all, some had at last an only child wrested from them by the conscription. As for the cultivated fields, there the sturdy youth is not to be seen, but old and infirm men, with old women scarcely able to support the fatigue of ploughing, tilling, and reaping their lands, perform all the labours of agriculture. For hundreds of leagues, that population formerly so remarkable in France, has disappeared. You may travel through her villages, through her towns even, and see a vast defalcation, and in the field scarcely a peasant.”
The incessant conscriptions have produced this. We have repeatedly described some of the evils attendant on that scourge of humanity. Mr. S. affirms that “hundreds of conscripts have had recourse to the desperate measure of destroying the organs of hearing, or of sight;”—we have known them purposely injured, to avoid serving; but we affirm no further. To such a pitch had this arisen, says Mr. S.
“The medical men, often in easy circumstances, sold a powder to these brave youths, that produced a temporary blindness if applied to the eye, and if applied to any open wound, an inflammation and swelling of the limb, that often endangered the life of the wretched lad, and notwithstanding heavy fines and severe imprisonment, in some instances for life, the government cannot stop it. These are facts, many of which come within my knowledge.
“When the unfortunate young men are collected together, they are often sent chained by the neck and hands, and driven Hike condemned criminals to the different places of rendezvous. “If any thing further were necessary to prove the wretched situation of the French people, her decrease of population, and her want of commerce, it would be sufficient to allude to what is seen at her churches, her fairs, her publick fetes, and the numerous amusements in which the lower classes used to indulge. You meet there with scarcely anything but old age and infirmity; at their Trivolis where they dance, and which are always conducted with great decorum, no youths are to be seen, excepting a few who, through bribery, may have escaped the conscription. Ask the women where the young men are They one and all answer, gone to be butchered." This is no secret; this is no untruth; they speak feelingly, for many are parents, sisters, or lovers of those absent youths dragged to the armies. In their fêtes, the absence of young men is strikingly conspicuous, and there is always a prodigious disproportion of females to the males. This is too evident to escape the notice of the most careless observer. “If the finances of France are so flourishing; if her internal commerce is so rapidly improving, why are her numerous works suspended ? If France fail not in population, why are the prisoners of war obliged to labour on these works at a price not sufficient to support them, and how does it happen that the moment they are exchanged, all these labours are suspended ? This, however, is the case, with the exception of a few maimed men, who are compelled to wait for months before they can obtain their pitiful wages. The injury and injustice they suffer may be easily conceived; for they are cempelled to have credit for the bread their families consume from small and miserable shops, who cannot from their poverty give long credit. The sad consequences of this state of things the poor man soon feels, by his property being sold, and himself driven into the army, if he be fit for that service. If not, he and his family must seek refuge
in one of the wretched poor-houses, where they soon become victims of disease. “ Nothing is more visible in all the towns of France, than the failure of commerce; the coffeehouses are empty, the restaurateurs are unable to keep up their establishments, as travellers are few in number, and compelled to be rigidly economical. The very expense of fire is scarce covered by their receipts. As to the best kinds of wine, the price is so increased that few Frenchmen indulge themselves in drinking them. Sugar and coffee are not within the reach of the publick, who suf. fer endless privations from the want of commerce. “The little commerce they had on the continent, as well as with England, received such a check by these absurd measures, that failures took place in every great commercial town, and many of the great houses were forced to apply to the government for aid. The manufactories are equally distressed. The price of labour owing to the want of hands and the pro: digious expense at which the raw material is procured, has occasioned such an enormous augmentation in the price of the manufactured article itself, that none but the very rich can purchase it. Numbers of the new cotton manufactories have failed. The machinery collected from England at a great expense, and introduced into France by many who call themselves patriots, and friends to their country are on sale.”
Many other particulars, such as the immense glut of wheat; the payment of taxes in money, whether or not it can be obtained; the imprisoned state of literature, and the falsifications of the press [even the translation of Mr. Fox's work was falsified] the devastations committed by the French armies, &c. we pass as not new to our readers; but we believe that we have not hitherto presented them with a portrait of the Gens
* This expression is more literally true, than either the speaker or Mr. S. intends. We have spared our readers the pain of perusing accounts of this nature, that have reached us from the highest authority. We shall only mention two; one of them related the slaughter of three hundred French conscripts in the bloom of life and manhood, led in pairs to the slaughter-house, where cattle were usually slain, and treated in a like manner: the other was of no less than seven hundred French conducted to a similar death on a much later occasion. Humanity shudders at these facts; and what says policy to the loss of the rising generation, in the mad pursuits of insatiable am
STURT'S REAL STATE OF FRANCE.
d'armes, which are the present real rulers of France. Let Mr. S. draw this picture for us.
“One of the most formidable engines of tyranny in France is the military police, called the Gend’armes. They excite the dread and hatred of the whole nation. Their employment is to search for murderers, thieves, conscripts, and they are also employed to execute the dreadful orders of Buonaparte. This increases that fear, hatred, and contempt, so universally felt; unprincipled in general, of course corrupt and treacherous, they accept your bribe, and betray you afterwards; however, their establishment is too important for the safety of the tyrant’s power to be put down, for it is chiefly this honourable corps that secures him on his usurped throne. In every town, city, village, or commune throughout the departments, these instruments of tyranny are established, and being, in general, artful men, and very poor, they exercise a tyranny equal to their ruler. To every coffeehouse, and every place of publick amusement, they have access, under the pretence of preserving peace and order. They establish idle and worthless people, in every publick house and hotel, as spies, who make their reports, often from pique and malice, or to prove their zeal. The same system is established by seducing the servants of every family to report what is said attable, of whatever nature. These reports, true or false, are sent to the minister of police, who, without notice, and even without inquiry, sends an order to arrest the whole family, often in the dead of the night. This dreadful tyranny is exercised so instantaneously that the unhappy people are never aware of the blow until it is struck. If any observations have been made on Buonaparte or his government; or on his favourites, they never see the light again, nor can a friend trace them out. “Another description of police more terrible even than the gend’armerie, is employed by Fouche, minister of police, whose sanguinary deeds are still fresh in the memory of all those who have read the events of the frightful revolution. These men travel through every city, town, and village of a department, and are supplied with money, that they may attend publick places, being men better dressed, better educated, and often wearing the insignia
of the légion d'honneur, they insinuate themselves into society, and freely abuse the government, Buonaparte, and his favourites in the hopes of entrapping the unwary. Having given his information, the miscreant leaves the district for another, and the unfortunate family are after some months seized in the accustomed manner, and conveyed to the dungeons of Paris, or to some strong fortress in the departments, and never heard of any more.* The wretch who informs removes to some other department, the moment he becomes suspected or known.”
Other parts of this pamphlet relate the manoeuvres of general Wirion, and sundry assistants to pillage the English prisoners of war. We cannot commend the conduct of our countrymen. Like fools, they lay themselves too open to knaves. Have any other prisoners been so overreached 2 Austrians ? Prussians ? They were not worth the powder and shot of ingenious villany; and why must John Bull’s cullibility render him the proper prey to Gallick cormorants : We nevertheless recommend Mr. S’s narration to the consideration of the British publick. It is truly disgraceful to the great nation.
We conclude with a word or two in reference to the great man himself.
“There was not a well informed Frenchman who did not know the tyrant had been attacked with a violent and singular malady, distinguished by the name of Catalipse [Catalepsy..] which leaves the object in whatever attitude he may be in at the time, deprived of sight, of hearing, of speech, and of motion. Buonaparte was discovered in his chamber by one of his greatest favourites seized with this extraordinary malady, and remained for several hours deprived of every function of life, but that of breathing. His confidential physician was sent for by a telegraphick despatch, not as the Moniteur impudently asserted to attend a disorder which the army laboured under. Such, indeed, was Coversait's [Corvisart] cagerness to ar
* This in part explains why the tyrant acknowledges he is obliged to erect EIGHT new bastilles, because it is not convenient to try these state prisoners.