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The artillery were occasionally exercised to fire with ball...
I have entered into these details in order to point out their resemblance to our militia and volunteer system, as well as to shew the prodigious effects produced from them ; which have been substantially corroborated by an authority respected by every lover of truth, honour, unbounded genius, and exalted patriotism; by one who, in my hearing has repeatedly declared that the volunteer institution would prove the rock of our safety; a man, whom you knew and admired; who was the Tacitus of his age, and who will be the pride of human nature for ages to come; of whom I may say in the language of Quintilian, Hunc nemo in magnis sublimitate, in parvis proprietate, superaverit : Idem latus ac pressus, jucundus et gravis, tum copia tum brevitate mirabilis. This was M. Mallet du Pan...)
In the second week of the month of February 1798, a mournful year for Swisserland, the Diet of the Cantons had collected their militia, which, by a double contingent, formed an army of 26,000 men, filled with enthusiasm in their cause, con
UDI fidence in their chiefs, love for their laws, and hope in their arms, and the protection of Providencé. A religious elevation of mind was united to the emotions of patriotism and honour. “What
might not have been done with such men, animated with such impassioned sentiments ?" says Mallet du Pan. The five demon3 of the Directory had already 45,000 of their best troops under General Brune, in the heart of the country. The Bernese army, under the brave and unfortunate General d'Erlach, amounted to twenty-five thousand men, including 550 dragoons, and a corps of new levied Hussars, such as I have already described. They had no engineers, or staff officers of any great experience. “But, although,” according to the above mentioned writer, " destitute of every thing necessary to carry on the operations of war, they were inspired with courage, and made up their minds to supply their "want of experience by an impetuous and decisive attack. Here, Sir, is an additional confirmation of the truth of my theorem, which we shall presently see demonstrated by an illustrious fact, that ought to reách and animate the soul of every British volunteer.'
The rest of the Helvetic contingents, led by true-hearted officers, arrived daily, but in a very incomplete state; Zurich having sent only 1500, Uri 600, Schwitz, Glaris, and Unterwalden, each 400; Appenzell, and the town of St. Gall, scarcely 350; Lucerne 1200, with orders to cover the frontiers of their own canton only ; Fribourg and Soleure, being menaced as well as Berne, retained their troops on their own territories; Zug did not send a man; the contingents of Basle and Schaff; housen consisted in insolent deputations, to solicit submission to the ordinances of the directorial Sultans. These different contingents, which did not amount altogether to 5,500 men, had received orders to form the second line, and to remain on the defensive. It was now the 25th of February. General Schawenbourg, another of the French Agas, with 22,000 janissaries from the army of the Rhine, had in this interval, formed a junction with General Brune, making the whole of the French force amount to forTY SIX THOUSAND veteran troops, enured to conquest. The whole force of Swisserland opposed to them amounted only to 26,000 men, 20,000 of whom had been under arms only twenty days, and covered an extent of country stretching thirty five leagues. Before the expiration of the truce, the monster Schawenbourg attacked the castle of Dornach. It held out, however, notwithstanding the disadvantages of a sudden assault, for twentyfour hours. In the night of the 1st of March, 1800 the French conducted by several Swiss traitors, sur
founded the post of Lengnau, between Buren and Soleure, which was defended by 7:50 mountaineers of Oberland, under the brave Wourstembergeur, The little battalion, though surprized, defended themselves as became volunteers; 200 of them were either wounded or killed, but 800 of their enemies bit the dust. Three thousand French assassins, headed by Schawenbourg, presented themselves before Soleure; the timid magistracy opened its gates; and the French advanced. A battalion of 500 Bernese being in the city, the peasants and the loyal rallied around it, and flew to the gates, which they closed in despite of their enemies. Confounded at this unexpected resistance, the enemy, commenced a bombardment. As the city had no ramparts, its defenders could no longer retard its fall. The Bernese troops, carrying away with them 30 pieces of cannon, and followed by the peasants and young patricians; retreated in good order in the face of the enemy, and occupied a position at St. Gines, on the little river Sensen, three leagues from Berne, which they maintained against
Incensed at the temporizing policy of the government, and poisoned by seduction, the right division of the Swiss army, composed chiefly of the Militia of Argovia, dis
banded. The division of the center which had withstood and repulsed the army in several engagements, became mutinous. A tumultuous retreat took place; confidence being destroyed, insubordination at its height, and authority without respect, the troops chose their own ground. The left division, by the prudence of Col. de Watteville retreated without loss and in order on the posts of Guminen, Laupen, and Newenegg. As to the rest of the Helvetic contingents, they remained immoveable in the second line, refusing every intreaty to advance, and considering themselves as spectators merely. At length, the Senate of Berne, awakened from its supine infatuation by the perfidy of the French, and the sense of public danger, decreed the Landsthurm.* This resource, now that the foe was at their gates, served only to increase the general confusion. Every thing was fast going to ruin; but all was not yet lost. Even this returning spirit of vigour would have saved Swisserland, had not an accursed fatality induced them to suspend the public authority on the 4th of March, and elect in its stead a provisional
A perogative resembling that of his Majesty's for calling out all his subjects.