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THE PARROT; A REVOLUTIONARY ANECDOTE.

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FROM THE THIRD VOLUME OF LETTERS ON THE POLITICS OF FRANCE,' BY

A

HELEN MARIA WILLIAMS.

MONG the numbers who were facrificed to the barbarous caprices of Lebon (who has been emphatically called the Executioner of the North) fome were put to death upon pretence fo trivial, that nothing can perhaps furnish a stronger proof of the abfolute, the unblushing tyranny he exercifed, than the daring effrontery with which he infulted the understanding as well as the feelings of the people, in the motives he alledged for inflicting the punishment of death.

An old and gallant officer, for merly marquis of Viefville, had retired to end his days in privacy at a folitary fpot called. Steenmonde, in the department of the North. To this retreat he was accompanied by his daughter, an only child, who watched over the infirmities of his advanced age with unwearied tendernefs, and whofe filial piety fhed a ray of happiness on thofe years which have no pleasure in them. This venerable old man and his amiable daughter were the objects of general refpect and esteem. But virtue, which was a tacit reproach to the monsters who then devastated this unfortunate country, was as offenfive to them as the light of day to the fullen bird of darkness. It happened that this family had for twelve years paft been in poffeffion of a parrot, whom different perfons had taught its mimic leffons. The estate of the marquis was fituated on the limits of the German Empire; part of his grounds belonged to that territory, and the parrot had been inftructed to cry Vive l'empereur alfo to call the petit Louis,' the name of a young child who lived in the house. The agents of Lebon re ceived intelligence, that thofe for

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bidden words had been uttered by the parrot; the bird was denounced, feized as a criminal of importance, and depofited in the houfe of a revolutionary commiffary, where the feathered culprit repeated the guilty founds. The tidings fpread through the city, of the arreft of an audacious counter-revolutionary parrot, who boldly cried "Vive le foi!' and who, it was afferted, had even carried his effrontery to fuch a length as to exclaim, Vivent les prêtres! Vivent les nobles! So far we may fmile at the abfurdities of our tyrants; but that difpofition is converted into feelings of indignant horror, when we learn that an act of accufation was immediately iffued again ft Mr Viefville; his daughter, and her waiting. woman, who were dragged from their retirement, and led before the revolutionary tribunal,"

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The jury unanimously declared that thofe perfons were convicted of being the authors or accomplices of a confpiracy against liberty and the French people; and of unlawful refiftance to revolutionary and republican government; having affiduously taught a parrot to utter the deteftable phrafe of Vive le roi! Vive l'empereur! vivent nos prêtres! et vivent les nobles!" and, by fo doing, having provoked the re-establishment of royalty and of tyranny; for which reafons they were condemned to die.

The old man fummoned all his fortitude, and went to the scaffold with the calmness of innocence; often lifting up his head, which was bowed down with age, to gaze upon his admirable daughter, who met death with the fame courage, and who feemed to forget her own fituation in that of her beloved parent.

Such

Such are the crimes which cannot but excite horror in thofe who have lived at a distance from their fan guinary influence, but the reflection on which, to thofe who have been witneffes of their enormity, renders existence hateful.-Such are the mon

fters into which men are transformed by unlimited power; whether arrayed in imperial purple, and furrounded by pretorian guards; or wearing for a diadem a jacobin cap, and followed by an executioner and a revolutionary jury.

ANECDOTE OF FRANCIS II, THE PRESENT EMPEROR OF GERMANY.

[FROM GLEANINGS THROUGH WALES, HOLLAND AND WESTPHALIA,' BY MR PRATT.]

N

ONE of the princes of Germany have higher claims on the love of the people, or the eulogy of the modern bards, than the amiable and youthful monarch, who now fills the imperial throne. Of his warlike achievements, during the prefent campaign, the trump of fame has fufficiently informed you, but there is a trait of his heart in private and domestic life, which I receive from the moft unquestionable authority, and which will endear him to you more than a thousand victories.

Jofeph the fecond, who was an economist, left to Leopold, who did not live long enough, after he became emperor, to diffipate (them) an unincumbered diadem and immenfe treasures. Thefe all concentered in the prefent emperor, to whom was bequeathed the difpofal of them fo unconditionally, that the dowager Empress his mother was, in a manner, rather a dependent on his bounty, than poffeffed of powers in her self to claim as widow, wife, and mother. No fooner did the youth find himself thus dangerously placed, than he refolved to put it out of his own power to act unbecoming the fon of an Emprefs and Queen. Convening, therefore, his court and council, he appropriated an early day for his coronation, or rather nomination to the emperorship, the regular ceremony being performed long after at Frankfort, and he intreated the

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honour that the Queen dowager would affift at it. The affembly was brilliant, the young monarch rofe in the midft of it, and holding in his hand a feroll, thus addreffed himfelf to his minifters, in the prefence of thousands of his fubjects. I perceive a paffage of great importance is omitted in the will of my royal father. No fuitable, independent provifion has been made for my beloved and imperial mother. The long tried. virtue of that noble lady, the tender confidence and domeftic love, in which the lived with my father, convinces me, that it never could have been intended, that fo good a wife, fo kind a parent, and fo excellent a woman, could be left in a ftate of dependence on her fon. Much more likely is it that the fon fhould have been bequeathed to the commands, indulgence, and management of his mother. Or if it was intended that the fon fhould receive the whole revenue of the empire, it could only be in confidence that he would act as her agent, and fee that her private, her natural, and proper rights, were paid into her coffers with the least care and inconvenience to herfelf.

'In the latter cafe, I hope I fhould be found, throughout my reign, a faithful fteward of my dear parentand of the people; and, fuppofing for a moment, this cafe poffible, I cannot be infenfible to the exalted affection and esteem the late EmperE 2

or

or and King must have for me, that he could, after his death, confide the fortunes of fuch a wife to the truft of his fon. But human nature is fo frail, and the truft is fo awful, that I tremble while I poffefs it; and cannot, indeed, be eafy, till I have difburdened myfelf of the weight it impofes. To this end, my loving friends, minifters and fubjects, I have herein bound myfelf, (fhewing the fcroll) by an inftrument of the laft folemnity, to become refponfible in a yearly fum fuited to her rank, although inferior to her defervings. And I have, as nearly as may be, made this difpofition from my private funds, and from fources the leaft likely to infringe on, or to affect, the treasures of the ftate, which I hold in truft alfo,-for the honour of my empire, and the profperity of Auftria; yet I confider myfelf as called upon by my fubjects to explain, account for, and justify every expenditure, before I make an arrangement in favour of any part of my own family: but I feel, at the fame time, that it is an act of duty and juftice on my part, which will be crowned by the fanction of all my people.

Here then, madam, continued the royal youth, dropping on his knee as he defcended from his throne, and

prefenting the fcroll-here is the deed by which I relieve myself from an infupportable burden, the idea of your Majefty's becoming the victim of a fon's weakness, indifcretion, or ingratitude: and you will find that I have, by the fame act, taken the liberty to appoint you the guardian of my youth, in all that can properly be called (if any thing can) my private fortunes. I retain in my hand the public treafures, because the weight of them would, from the multiplicity of demands, be attended with fatigue to you; but I fhall not fail, from time to time, as exigences may arife, to derive benefit, in their application, from your known wifdom, goodness. of heart and judgement, and your love of the empire.'

With regard to the public, one might very reafonably expect from fuch an outfet, what has happened in the progrefs of the reign of this monarch; we were prepared for his having almoft emptied the coffers of: his private property, and almoft stript his palace of his furniture, many of its neceffaries, and all its luxuries, before he invited the affiftance of his. people to carry on this unparalleled

war.

A MADAGASCAR SONG

A Mother was dragging her only into the fhades of fragrant trees; I

daughter to the beach, in order

to fell her to the white men.

O mother, thy bofom bore me; I was the first fruit of thy love; what crime have I committed to deferve a life of flavery? I alleviate the forrows of thy age. For thee I labour the ground; for thee I gather flowers; for thee I enfnare the fifh of the food. I have defended thee from the cold; I have borne thee, when it was hot,

watched thee while thou flumbereft, and drove away from thy face the ftings of the moskitoes. O mother, what will become of thee, when thou haft me no longer? The money thou received will not give thee another daughter; thou wilt die in mifery, and my bittereft grief will be, that I cannot affift thee. O mother, fell not thy only daughter!

In vain did the implore! She was

fold

*This is not feigned, but perfectly genuine. The chevalier de Parny, who refided a long time at Madagafcar, tranflated it, with others, into French, and from that tranflation the present is made.

fold, was loaded with chains, con- her dear parent and country for ducted to the ship; and conveyed from

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ever.

AN ACCOUNT OF THE LIFE OF ABBE SIEYES.

MANUEL JOSEPH SIEYES was born at Frejus, in the department of. Var, the 3d of May, 1748. He was the 5th child of his parents, who had two more after him. His firft ftudies commenced in the house of his father, under a preceptor; who, at the fame time, took his pupil to the College of the Jefuits, to receive, public leffons with the other children of the town. The Jefuits took notice of this fcholar. They propofed to his father to fend him to their great feminary at Lyons, one of the best establishments for education they had in France. It was at the time of the commencement of that quarrel which, in its confequences, produced the abolition of that Society. The father of Sieyes refifted the advice of the reverend fathers, and the bishop of the place, which joined them. He fent his fon to finish his claffes at the College des Doctrinaires, at Draguignan, a town of fome note in the fame department.

traordinary that he fhould have com tracted a fort of favage melancholy. accompanied with the most ftoic indifference as to his perfon and his future fituation. He was destined to bid farewell to happinefs; he was out of nature; the love of ftudy only could charm him. His attention became ftrongly directed to books and the fciences. In this manner paffed, without interruption, ten years. of his life, till the expiration of what, in the Sorbonne, is called the courfe of licence.

During this long interval, he had not attended to the theological and pretended philofophical ftudies of the univerfity of Paris, more than was neceffary to pass the ordinary ex-' aminations and thefes. Urged by his difpofition, or perhaps in compliance with the mere want of entertainment to fill his time, and exert his activity, he ran through, without diftinction or regularity, every department of literature, ftudied the mathematics and natural philofophy, and endeavoured to initiate himself into the arts, particularly mufic. An involuntary inclination, neverthelefs, led him to meditation. He was much attached to works of metaphyfics and morality; and has often faid, that no books had ever afforded him more lively fatisfaction than those of Locke, Condillac, and Bonnet. In them he faw men having the fame intereft, the fame instinct, and bufied upon one common object.

Sieyes faw the greater number of his companions leave the college, to enter into the schools of artillery or military engineering. He longed to follow the fame course, and wrote to his parents with all the ardour of youthful paffion. In anfwer he was recalled home: he was destined to the ecclefiaftic state. The Bishop of Frejus had feduced his father with the promise of speedy advancement. This induced him to confider the weak state of health of the boy, which feemed to justify the project. Young His fuperiors had, according to Sieyes was lent to Paris, to the fe- their cuftom, inspected his reading minary of St Sulpice, to go through and his writings. They had found the courses of philosophy and theo- among his papers fome fcientific prology. jects of confiderable novelty. They He was then in his fourteenth configned in their regifter the followyear; but in a fituation fo contrarying note: Sieyes fhews a difpofi to his natural difpofition, it is not ex-tion of fome Atrength for the sci46 ences:

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ences: but it is to be feared, that "his private reading may give him a tafte for the new pbilofophical "principles." They comforted themfelves, however, by obferving his decided love of retirement and study, the fimplicity of his manners and his character, which even then appeared to be practically philofophical. "You may make him, they once wrote to his bishop, a canon, as he is a gen« tleman, and a man of information. "But we must advise you, that he is "by no means fit for the ecclefiafti"cal miniftry."

Sieyes, having finished his licence in the Sorbonne, neglected the formality of the doctor's bonnet,and entered the world at the age of twentyfour.

Part of the year 1773 and 1774 was employed in cultivating mufic, then at the period of a revolution at Paris, and partly in refuting the fyf tem of the Economifts. He made, or fuppofed he had made, in thofe years, important refearches concerning the irregular proceedings of the human mind, in philosophy, metaphyfics, language, and intellectual methods.

He departed in 1775 for Brittany, with a bishop who was going to be inftailed; and who, in order to carry Sieyes with him had procured him the Brevet de joyeux avenement on his cathedral. A fhort time after taking poffeffion of his canonicate, he was at liberty to return to Paris. He was indebted for this to one of the titles or brevets given at Verfailles, by virtue of which the revenues of his benefice could be received at Paris. An opportunity prefented of changing his fituation. He be came fucceffively vicar general, canon, and chancellor of the church of Chartres. In the midst of these mutations there is nothing worthy of remark, except his extreme care to avoid interfering in any minifterial duty. He never preached: he never took confeffion;

he avoided all the functions, and all the occafions which might hold him forward manifeftly as a clergyman.

At that time the clergy of France was divided into two kinds or claf. fes of individuals, the ecclefiaftics preachers and the ecclefiaftics adminiftrators, Sieyes was at moft of the fecond clafs. He was deputy to the States of Bretagne, for the diocefe where he had his firft benefice; and on this occafion we may remark, that, nothing could equal the indignation he brought from this affembly, against the fhameful oppreffion in which the nobleffe held the unhappy third ftate of the people.

At that time he had a permanent adminiftrative employment at Paris. He was counsellor commiffary nominated by the diocefe of Chartres to the fuperior chamber of the clergy of France.

When the Provincial Affembly of Orleans was formed, Sieyes had fome reputation for his adminiftrative knowledge. He was nominated a member, not by the advice of the Minifter, but of those already elected. He gave proofs of fome capacity for bufinefs, and a patriotic difpofition: fo that he was ftrongly invited by the affembly to take the prefidency of the intermediary commiffion. He performed the functions for a fhort time.

On the day when the chambers were exiled to Troyes, Sieyes gave the advice to go inftantly to the palace, to arrest and hang the Minister, who figned orders evidently arbitrary, illegal, and profcribed by the people. But his advice did not prevail.

It was during his leifure in the country, where he was in the habit of paffing two-thirds of the year, that he compofed, in the fummer of 1788, towards the end of the ministry of Cardinal Loménie, his Vues fur les Moyens d' Exécution dont les Représen-" tans de la France pourront difpofer in

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