Imagens das páginas
[ocr errors]

very, had at length profited by the unite with the naval force of Spain, salutary lessons and noble examples and to act jointly for the restoraset them by the English; and had tion of the royal authority in imitated with a spirit and success France to the exercise of its forthat had excited the admiration of mer prerogatives.

This strange all Europe ; and would probably report gained such credit, that it kindle an emulation of so illustrious influenced the conduct of multia precedent in all enlightened peo- tudes in all classes. It raised a ple, and rouze them in due time to strong spirit of jealousy in the seaa laudable imitation of the two first faring people, who warmly maninations in the universe. Such was fested their resolution to oppose the opinion entertained at this time with all their might any enterprize of the French revolution, not only that tended to injure the constituby a majority of the French nation, tion established by the National but by many people in every nation Assembly. Besides the designs imin Europe.

puted to England and Spain, others The National Assembly received were suspected on the part of the with uncommon applause the in- Emperor. The conduct of Prussia telligence of the warm participation was recollected on this occasion. in this formal establishment of li. As the Prussian monarch had esberty in France, expressed by the poused the cause of his sister in various clubs and societies in Eng- Holland during the disputes beland, instituted for the support and tween the Stadtholder and the parpropagation of the principles of ty that opposed him, so it was affreedom. The sentiments con- firmed the Emperor had secretly tained in the several discourses de resolved to act in the present con. livered in these meetings, were, by flict in France between the royal the majority of the assembly, de- and the constitutional parties. clared to be congenial with their What in some measure corroborarown, and to form the truest motives ed these surmises, a body of Ausof a solid amity and conciliation trian troops, on its march to the between the people of England and Low Countries, had demanded and France. There were others, how- obtained a free passage through ever, who alleged that the arma- some French towns on the fronments fitting out by the English tiers of the kingdom, which hapwere objects of too much magni- pened at this time to be in a situatude to be viewed with tranquillity. tion wholly defenceless. Another The old enmity, so long subsisting circumstance contributed to the between both nations, was not so confirmation of these alarms.The far extinguished as to have eradi- Prince of Condé had published a cated the inclination of the English manifesto, directed to the malconto act an hostile part to France tents in France, inviting them to when opportunities invited them take up arms against the National to do it effectually. Ideas of this Assembly, and assuring them of benature were suggested by a report, ing speedily and strongly supported. which had been industriously circu- These incidents appeared so melated, that the fleets equipped in nacing, that it was moved in the England, on the pretence of a war National Assembly to call the Mi. with Spain, were intended for a far nister at War to account for the different purpose; which was, to permission granted to the Austrian

troops ;

troops; and to sequestrate the es- lebrated declaration made by the tates of the Prince of Condé, un. National Assembly on this occasion. less he disavowed the manifesto It was received with much satisimputed to him*. Both these pro. faction by the temperate part of posals, however, were negatived, the French, and at that time formto the extreme indignation of the ing a great majority of the French popular party; which complained nation, which was totally averse to ihat an undue influence subsisted in a war with England. Exclusively the assembly in favour of the parti- of the mischiefs unavoidably atzans of the ancient government, tending hostilities, the majority and defeated every measure that dreaded the authority which would was necessary for the safety of the necessarily accrue to the court from present constitution.

the immense patronage that must In the mean time the assembly of co'rse be lodged in the royal was occupied with deliberations on hands. The power of bestowing the propriety of assisting Spain in so many commissions and places in the contest wherein that kingdom the navy and the army, would inwas involved with England. After fallibly prove such a temptation in a variety of debates, it was at length the present circumstances of the determined that the fleet should be kingdom, as would not be resisted augmented to forty-five ships of the by those who disapproved of the line. The motives on which this revolution, and who could not, determination was formed, were at therefore, consistently with its prethe same time conceived in such servation, be intrusted with so materms, as to leave it undecided whe- ny means of bringing it into the ther France meant to espouse ex

most imminent danger. There plicitly the cause of Spain orno. The were also other serious causes that preservation and security of the militated against a rupture with French commerce and colonies in England, or indeed with any other the critical situation of Europe, power. The kingdom still contiwere assigned as the chief reasons: nued to be agitated with internal all views of conquest and aggran- commotions of the most sanguidizement were utterly disclaimed nary nature. They were chiefly in the connexion that was allowed occasioned by the continual susa to remain between France and picions that subsisted between the Spain, and which was specified to royal and popular parties, and be inerely defensive, and contracted which broke out into disputes that for the sole end of promoting ge- were frequently attended with great neral peace on the strictest princi- bloodshed. The jealousy between , ples of equity:

the royal and popular parties comSuch was the purport of the ce

municated itself to such of the lower


* Ideas of liberty were so universally diffused at this time among all ranks, that the Prince of Condé, in a reply which he made to these proceedings, protested, the the love of liberty was in his blood; in allusion to the revolt of his great-grandfather. The friends of monarchy were anxious to disclaim any inclination to despotism. In fact, there was nothing more at heart with the King and Royal Family, than to satisfy the people by every reasonable concession. Vol. XXXIII.


classes as were, through the tem- Meanwhile the armament voted
pestuousness of the times, reduced by the assembly was carried on at
to penury and hardships. A dis- Brest with as much diligence as the
orderly spirit arose, which became pecuniary circumstances of the
so outrageous, that in several parts kingdom would admit; but it was
mobs were collected by ill design- accompanied with continual mur-
ing people, for the purposes of riot murs and tokens of discontent
and plunder ; and would have care among the seamen; who conceived
ried their designs into execution, that their officers were too much
had not timely succours arrived for inclined to the royal party to be
the protection of those places ex. trusted at a time when every mea.
posed to their depredations. These sure inimical to the present govern-
domestic confusions were aggra. ment, ought to be guarded against
vated by the intelligence brought with the utmost vigilance.
to the National Assembly of the The National Assembly could
continual disturbances still prevail. not be displeased at these proofs of
ing in the French islands in the West attachment from a class of people
Indies. The people of colour, who whose numbers and utility render-
formed a large portion of the inha. ed them of the highest importance.
bitants, were determined to throw But the necessity of having a pow.
off the yoke of that absolute power erful fleet, occasioned on the other
which was exercised over them by hand no small anxiety at the tumul.
the white people. But those who tuous and turbulent proceedings
were the chief proprietors of the resulting from such a disposition.
estates in those settlements, dread. The friends to the old government
ing the result of such an emancipa- insisted that nothing would restore
tion, were resolutely bent to oppose order and obedience in the navy,
any innovations : hence arose dis- but the re-establishment of the roy-
putes that terminated in the blood- al power in its former plenitude ;
iest hostilities.

but they were vehemently opposed In the midst of these disorders by the popular party; which prothe National Assembly was taken posed that, in compliance with the up with consultations how to reme- temper of the times, the national dy the various complaints that were colours should henceforth be hoisted occasioned by the stagnation of busic in the navy in lieu of the white pess in many parts of the kingdom, flag. This proposal occasioned one and in perfecting the regulations of the most violent debates that for an impartial administration of ever was known in the assembly. justice, and the enforcement of the M. Mirabeau, who supported the police. Among the many decrees introduction of the national co. that were enacted for this end, that lours, was loaded with reproaches which best deserves to be recorded, by his adversaries ; but the popular is the abrogation of that oppressive party prevailed: and it was decreed law by which the effects of foreign- at his instigation, that not only ers dying in France were appropri- those colours should be used, but ated to the crown*, August 1790. that the sailors should hereafter

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


* The Scotch and Swiss were excepted from this law.

unite with their other countrymen tempt in its favour might be atin the acclamation of " Live the tended with success. With this Nation, the Law, and the King," design it was moved by M. Duval This was one of the most remark. Depresminil, one of the warmest able triumphs of the popular over adherents to the 'court, that the the royal party. It was attended King should be restored to his forwith salutary consequences in the mer power ; that the princes of the navy, where the seamen shortly blood, and all who were in exile in after returned to their duty, and consequence of the revolution, cherfully complied with the regu- should forthwith be recalled; and lations that had been enacted; to that the proceedings against the which others were added for a more enemies of the constitution should regular and speedy payment of their be annulled. For this purpose the wages, and a larger allowance of King should be supplicated to grant provisions.

a general amnesty for all that was During the agitation of this bu- past; and to give his royal assent to siness, another took place of no those proposals, which should be less consequence, and which seem- laid before him by the whole as. ed to revive the drooping spirits of sembly. So sudden and extraorthe opposite party. The royalists, dinary a motion could not fail to far from being discouraged at the excite the utmost astonishment in immense majority that approved all but those who were privy to it. of the rerolution, had resolved to An universal cry of wrath and inomit no exertions that might in any dignation burst from the popular shape thwart the measures of their side of the assembly. An immediantagonists. To thisend their friends ate arrest and imprisonment was and emissaries were employed in threatened to M. Depresminil, and disseminating throughout the king. he was represented as an incendidom a spirit of opposition to the ary, furious through despair, and ruling powers. It was chiefly among resolved at any rate to throw the the military that they were solici. house into confusion. Some of the tous to spread it; and they succeed- members considering, or affecting ed so far, that numbers of regiments to consider him as out of his senses, refused to admit persons reputed moved that his proposal should be friendly to the revolution ; dis- regarded as proceeding from insacharging at the same time all those nity, and as such consigned to obliwhom they suspected of such an vion. Depresminil's friends took attachment. The number of indi- fire at this insinuation; and, not viduals dismissed on this account, content with words, had recourse amounted to near thirty thousand; to violence. They rushed in a body as appeared by a representation laid upon the President, whom they before the National Assembly. As treated with great indignity, teara circumstance of this nature was a ing off his robes, and insulting him strong proof of the great interest in the grossest manner. Never the royal party retained in the ar- had the assembly witnessed a greatmy, it was determined by its prin- er scene of confusion : it lasted cipal supporters in the assembly, to above an hour; and it was with make trial how far a spirited at much difficulty that the moderate



among the members could prevail action, and therefore undeserving on the others to break


the meet- of the confidence of the nation, and ing with any remains of decency. unfit to occupy their stations.

The consequence of this riot was A motion was even made in the a duel between M. Cazales, its National Assembly for their reprincipal promoter, and M. Bare moval; and though negatived, it nave, one of the staunchest friends left a powerful impression to their to the popular party; and who prejudice in the minds of multiwounded his antagonist in a dan- tudes. gerous manner. Great was the As M. Neckar, the chief memalarm excited in the public mind by ber of the ministry, had already rethis event. It exhibited the invin- signed his employment, stung by cible determination of the royal neglect, and despairing probably party to persist at all hazards in the of ever being able to accomplish prosecution of every possible plan the restoration of the finances, his for the restoration of the former coadjutors in office were now no government; and it operated as a less desirous of relinquishing their warning to the popular party to re- places. When they found themmain incessantly on its guard against selves liable to imputations injurious the intrigues of enemies who were to their character, they addressed a not to be deterred by threats or letter to the King, wherein they dangers, nor to be allured by invi- complained of the suspicions untations or promises, from abiding der which they laboured, and reby their resolution never to accept quested him to accept their reof any terms of reconciliation. signation. The situation of the Nor indeed was it to be expected, King was peculiarly critical. The that men, who had lost not only present ministry, which he had their privileges, and part of their formed at the æra of the revolution, fortune, by the suppression of feu. had acted with so much circumdal duties, but employments either spection as to have hitherto rein the church or the law, could be tained at once the good opinion of easily reconciled to the revolution. the public, and the royal approbaSuch was the idea now more than tion. To change it at a crisis of ever entertained of the royal party discontent and turbulence was throughout France. Every man highly dangerous, from the obvious suspected of favouring it was view. difficulty of doing it in such a maned with additional hatred by the ner as to please all parties. The popular party: his conduct was popular party were shrewdly suswatched as that of an insidious ene- pected of intending to substitute the my, and no reliance placed on his committee of finance, composed warmest professions of amity or sub- entirely of its most devoted memmission to the present constitution. bers, to the department intrusted But the most pernicious conse

with the administration of the quence of this unseasonable pro- fioances. The object of this meaposal was, that it raised a strong sure was, to pave

the mistrust and jealousy of the King's substitution of all the committees ministers, who were by numbers in the National Assembly to the represented as privy to this transe other departments in the state, by

[ocr errors]

way for

« AnteriorContinuar »