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they have at least the sense to know how to appreciate the value of such an attempt.
If we would attach the Belgians to us, we must at least enlighten their minds by good writings ; we must send to them missionaries, and not despotick commissioners *. We ought to give them time to see; to perceive by themselves the advantages of liberty; the unhappy effects of superstition; the fatal spirit of priesthood. And whilst we waited for this moral revolution, we should have accepted the offers, which they incessantly repeated, to join to the French army an army of 50,000 men; to entertain them at their own expence; and to advance to France, the specie of which she stood in need.
But have we ever seen those fifty thousand soldiers, who were to join our army as soon as the standard of liberty should be displayed in Belgium? Have we ever seen those treasures which they were to count into our hands? Can we either accuse the sterility of their country, or the penury of their treasure, or the coldness of their love for liberty? No! despotism and anarchy, these are the benefits which we have transplanted into their soil. We
• They have not as yet proceeded farther with regard to the English dominions. Here we only see as yet the good writings of Paine, and of his learned associates, and the labours of the missionary clubs, and other zealous instructors. Translator. VOL. VII.
have acted, we have spoken like masters; and from that time we have found the Flemings nothing but jugglers, who made the grimace of liberty for money; or slaves, who in their hearts cursed their new tyrants. Our commissioners address them in this sort;
have nobles and priests among you, drive them out without delay, or we will “ neither be your brethren nor your patrons." They answered, give us but time; only leave to us the care of reforming these institutions. Our answer to them was, “ No! it must be at the mo: “ ment; it must be on the spot, or we will treat
you as enemies; we will abandon you to the resentment of the Austrians."
What could the disarmed Belgians object to all this, surrounded as they were by seventy thousand men? They had only to hold their tongues, and to bow down their heads before their masters ! They did hold their tongues, and their silence is received as a sincere and free assent.
Have not the strangest artifices been adopted to prevent that people from retreating, and to constrain them to an union? It was foreseen, that, as long as they were unable to effect an union, the states would preserve the supreme authority amongst themselves. Under pretence, therefore, of relieving the people, and of exercising the sovereignty in their right, at one stroke they
abolished all the duties and taxes, they shut up all the treasuries. From that time no more receipts, no more publick money, no means of paying the salaries of any man in office appointed by the states. Thus was anarchy organized amongst the people, that they might be compelled to throw themselves into our arms. It became necessary for those who administered their affairs, under the penalty of being exposed to sedition, and in order to avoid their throats being cut, to have recourse to the treasury of France. What did they find in this treasury ? ASSIGNATS.- These Assignats were advanced at par to Belgium. By these means, on the one hand, they naturalized this currency in that country; and on the other, they expected to make a good pecuniary transaction. Thus it is that covetousness cut its throat with its own hands. The Belgians have seen in this forced introduction of assignats, nothing but a double robbery; and they have only the more violently hated the union with France.
Recollect the solicitude of the Belgians on that subject. With what earnestness did they conjure you to take off a retroactive effect from these assignats, and to prevent them from being applied to the payment of debts that were contracted anterior to the union? Did not this language energetically enough 2 2
signify signify that they looked upon the assignats as a leprosy, and the union as a deadly contagion?
And yet what regard was paid to so just a demand ?: It was buried in the committee of finance. That committee wanted to make anarchy the means of an union. They only busied themselves in making the Belgick provinces subservient to their finances.
Cambon said loftily before the Belgians themselves: The Belgian war costs us hundreds of millions. Their ordinary revenues, and even some extraordinary taxes, will not answer to our reimbursements; and yet we have occasion for them. The mortgage of our assignats draws near its end. What must be done? Sell the church
property of Brabant. There is a mortgage of two thousand millions (eighty millions sterling.) How shall we get possession of them ? By an immediate union. Instantly they decreed this union. Men's minds were not disposed to it. What does it signify? Let us make them vote by means of money. Without delay, therefore, they secretly order the minister of foreign affairs to dispose of four or five hundred thousand livres (20,0001. sterling) to make the vagabonds of Brussels drunk, and to buy proselytes to the union in all the states. But even these means, it was said, will obtain but a weak minority in our favour. What does that signify ? Revolutions, said they, are maile only by minorities. It is the minority which has made the Revolution of France; it is a minority which has made the people triumph.
The Belgick provinces were not sufficient to satisfy the voracious cravings of this financial system. Cambon wanted to unite every thing, that he might sell every thing. Thus he forced the union of Savoy ; in the war with Holland, he saw nothing but gold to seize on, and assignats to sell at par*. Do not let us dissemble, said he one day to the committee of general defence, in presence even of the patriot deputies of Holland, you have no ecclesiastical goods to offer us for our indemnity.--IT IS A REVOLUTION IN THEIR COUNTERS AND IRON CHESTS T, that must be made amongst the Durch. The word was said, and the bankers Abema and Vanstaphorst understood it.
* The same thing will happen in Savoy. The persecution of the clergy has soured people's minds. The Commissaries represent them to us as good Frenchmen. I put them to the proof. Where are the legions? How, thirty thousand Savoyards--are they not armed to defend, in concert with us, their liberty? Brissot.
† Portefueille-is the word in the original. It signifies all movable property which may be represented in bonds, notes, bills, stocks, or any sort of publick or private securities. I do not know of a single word in English that answers it: I have therefore substituted that of Iron Chests, as coming nearest to the idca. Translator. z 3