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which means all official as well as nal design. The investigation of legislative power, would ultimately this matter was referred to the centre in that body. A scheme of committee of reports ; which, after this nature was however so, unpo- a long examination, declared, that pular, as being, evidently repug- neither the Duke of Orleans nor nant to the fundamental principles M. Mirabeau had incurred any of the constitution, that if it was criminality by their respective con
, in the contemplation of the lead- duct on that occasion. The proing men of the popular party, they priety of this verdict was warmly were too prudent to manifest it. contested by their adversaries; but Suspecting the ministry of too the Duke of Orleans insisted, that much condescendence for the royal the chief cause of the outrageous party, they rather sought to obviate behaviour of the mob of those two the consequences of such a dispo- days, was their persuasion of a plot sition, than openly to invade the to carry off the Kingt. This, he ministerial functions ; which would alleged, together with the wretched in fact have been a direct invasion condition to which they were reof the executive power.
duced by the scarcity of provisions It behoved them vow to proceed at that disastrous time, which they with the more caution, that heavy attributed to the machinations of charges were brouglit against their the Court-party, had rendered them partizans. A strict and minute desperate, and fitted them for any. inquiry had been instituted res- mischief. He threatened, at the pecting the transactions of the 5th same time, to prosecute his accusers and 6th of October the preceding as guilty of perjury. year. Upwards of 300 depositions The suspicions thrown out had been made relative to that against the heads of the popular
Several of them_tended party, were further aided by the spistrongly to criminate the Duke of rit of discontent that actuated many Orleans and M. Mirabeau, as prin- parts of the kingdom. The disso- . cipal authors and promoters of the lution of the parliaments, and the disorders that had been committed suppression of the nobility were seon those two days. The Duke of verely complained of by the agOrleans was represented as aspiring grieved parties. Their numbers to the sovereign authority in the and influence were still dreaded, state*; and M. Mirabeau as the though they were deprived of osinstigator and abettor of his crimi- tensible power; nor did they omit
Under the title of Regent, or perhaps Lieutenant-General of the kingdom. They would declare the King imbecile, and his brothers traitors.
t On the 5th of October the King received warning of the design of Orleans, while he was hunting the stag, his favourite diversion. Some of his servants, alarmed at the danger, had provided carriages for his escape : which he might have effected without any difficulty, as the people at a small distance from Paris were attached to the King, and would not have suffered him to he arrested. But Louis XVI. who was an affectionate husband and father, rather than abandon his wife and children, chose to return to Versailles. The cause assigned for this conduct, by his enemies, that he wanted sufficient spirit or courage, is a malicious falsehood. The King was naturally intrepid and fearless.
any occasion of venting their dis- nals guilty of high treason; andą, satisfaction, and of expressing their decree passed to arrest the memreadiness to concur in any project bers of the parliament of Toulouse that might replace them in their concerned in
concerned in the declarations, lost situation. The National As. against the National Assembly, and sembly were thoroughly aware of to bring them before this tribunal. this disposition ; but as it aimed at This determination was highly apa conciliation of all parties, without plauded by the popular party. recurring to violent methods, it The city of Paris took this occasion silently connived at the complaints to request the assembly to inform of these two orders of men ; leaving the King that his ministers no lonto time the cure of the mortifica
ger possessed the confidence of the tion they felt at the loss of their nation, and that it would at the authority and privileges.
same time appoint a special court But while the majority seemed. for the examination of offenders to acquiesce in what they could not against the constitution, and reprevent, numbers boldly asserted strain ministers from quitting the their former rights. Among these realm, or even the metropolis, until the parliament of Toulouse signal- their conduct in office had been ized itself in the most conspicuous duly investigated. and spirited manner. In defiance Encouraged by these testimonies of the danger to which it would be of the general determination to exposed by such an act of temerity, support them, the Assembly emit ventured explicitly to condemn, braced this opportunity to confirm in the most pointed and harshest their decrees relating to the civic terms, the proceedings of the Na- oath. It ordained, that all persons tional Assembly. Such, however, employed in the public service was the attachment of the people to abroad, should transmit to the Asthe Assembly, that a great number sembly, certificates of their having of the municipalities in the neigh- taken that oath, under the penalty bourhood of Toulouse, embodied of dismission from their places. their! militia with a determination But notwithstanding the irresistible to ioflict the heaviest chastisements hand with which the National As. on the parliament of that city. Nor sembly carried all its measures, vawas it without the strongest remon
rious individuals had the courage strances of the more considerate openly to resist them. That loftiamong them, that they were pre- ness of spirit which had so long vailed on to desist from such a re- characterized the French nobility solution, and to leave the decision prompted numbers of them to deof so weighty a matter to the Na- clare their sentiments with no less tional Assembly. This body, explicitness than the parliaments equally astonished and incensed at of Toulouse. This was the more such a manifest contempt of its au- deserving of notice, that they acted thority, thought it necessary to singly and without that reciprocal make an example of the most re- encouragement which is found in fractory. A tribunal was immedi- a body of men formally concurring ately formed for the trial of crimi- in the same opinion. Among those noblemen who distinguished them- would be seconded by numbers ; selves in this manner, none was who, though not enemies to the more conspicuous than the Duke revolution, still dreaded to venture of Fitz James, grandson to the ce- much in pecuniary schemes, that, lebrated Duke of Berwick, the na- if unsuccessful, might increase the tural son to our unhappy James II. difficulties under which the nation He addressed a letter to the King, so heavily laboured. Compelled, wherein he avowed, with the ut- however, by necessity, they promost firmness and decision, his re- posed a fabrication of paper money, solution to abide by the interest of to the amount of 50,000,0001, sterthe throne, and to maintain the ling, to be issued in the state notes, royal authority against all opposers. called assignats; the securityofwhich This letter was conceived in terms was to rest on the sale of as much of remarkably nervous and elegant, the national property, already deand did great honour to the illus. creed to be sold by auction, as trious writer.
would produce an equivalent to In the mean time, the National that amount. The date of tbis im. Assembly was anxiously intent on portant measure, pregnant with utthe means of restoring the finances ter ruin to the monarchy and endand credit of the kingdom. The less revolution, was, September ill success that had attended the 1790. It was not without a long endeavours of M. Neckar, ren and animated contest that this modered the public extremely mis- tion was carried. M. Mirabeau trustful of the several schemes that exerted his talents on this occasion were successively proposed: the re- in the most forcible manner : but putation he had borne, of an able the indispensable necessity of profinancier, operated as a material dis- viding for the immediate demands couragement, when it was consi- and wants of the public, was the dered, that notwithstanding his ex- main argument that prevailed in the perience in this department, his re- Assembly. Such was the eagerness peated efforts had been fruitless. of people to learn the decision of It was certainly time to bring the this matter, and their wishes that pecuniary affairs of the state into it might prove favourable to the some order. So fluctuating and popular party, that all Paris, as it precarious were the resources aris- were, crowded to the doors of the ing from the ordinary revenue, that house of Assembly, and testified by the receipt for the month of Au. the loudest acclamations, how gust had yielded a sum not less deeply it participated in the sucthan 40,000,000 short of the ex. cess of the motion. These pecupenditure during that period. niary transactions were attended
The heads of the popular party with the strictest researches into the were convinced that bold med nature and administration of all sures alone were adequate to the the civil and religious establishre-establishment of the national ments in every part of the kingfinances. It was here they chiefly dom. Among the particulars that apprehended an opposition from were brought to light in consethe adverse party, which threatened quence of these inquiries, it may to be the more formidable that it not be amiss to mention the num
ber of seminaries and convents oc- from the former system of ruling ; cupied by Roman Catholics of the and disposed them strongly to op. British dominions, who were set- pose the royal party. tled in France, and had embraced During these proceedings, close atan ecclesiastical, or a monastic life. tention was paid to the armament These amounted to twenty-eight. intended for the assistance of Spain. The persons resident in them were It was carried on with uncommon computed at more than a thousand, vigour and expedition, from the muland their annual income attitude of seamen destitute of em15,0001. The representations that ployment in the mercantile shiphad been made in their favour by ping ; numbers of the most eminent the English Ambassador, were duly inerchants being either taken up attended to on this occasion, and with the internal disputes of the prevented their suppression. They places which they inhabited, or were confirmed in the enjoyment deterred by the disturbances in their of their possessions by a solemn de- colonies from carrying on their usual cree of the Assembly, which de- trade. It was remarked at the same clared them to be the exclusive time, that, notwithstanding the geproperty of British subjects. These neral repugnance of the French to various investigations into the state go to war with England, many of of the nation, brought to light the their politicians were ofopinion, that most undoubted, as well as mani- the family compact ought to be fold circumstances and proofs of punctually fulfilleu, were it only to that profusion with which it ap- prevent the English from obtaining peared that the revenues of the the uncontrolled sovereignty of the kingdom had been dissipated under seas. But this opinion was susthe late government. Previously pected by many, to originate from to the revolution, the public trea- the machinations of that in opposury was, it seems, considered in sition to the ruling party. Though many respects as the private patri- a multiplicity of reasonings were mony of the Royal Family : what. adduced to support it in the disever was required in their name, puting clubs at Paris, yet the genewas instantly delivered; there was rality of people imagined that the no settled regulation of any respec. court was at the bottom of those tive income, or it was merely no- measures that tended to make minal; no person daring to risk a France a party in the dispute berefusal of what was demanded. tween England and Spain ; and
This prodigality of the Court, that it hoped to derive from thence, which the strict inquiry into its opportunities of recovering much former expenses had laid open to of its former power, through the the public inspection, was now influence it would acquire from the more than ever become the sub- continual exercise of that authority ject of conversation and com- and command indispensably anplaints : and the wantonness with nexed to the executive power which the nation's money had been during the prosecution of hostililavished upon the meanest indivi- ties. duals, excited an indignation which In order the more effectually to greatly alienated the minds of men engage the French nation to coin
cide with those designs that were bly, that the antagonists of the inimical to England, the proceed- court found no difficulty in comings of the English in the East In- pelling those whom they suspected dies were painted in the most of too much attachment to it to alarming colours; and the necessity relinquish those employments that of guarding against the great supe- enabled them to exert their abilities riority which they had acquired in its favour. in those parts, was insisted on in The next step taken by the pothe warmest terms. With this pular party, in virtue of the power view, a deputation from Pondi- of which they felt themselves poscherry, the most important of the sessed, was to annul the collations French establishments in India, to church-livings that were not in waited upon the National Assem- conformity to the regulations made bly to remonstrate the defenceless by the assembly. This proved a situation of that settlement, and to most severe blow on the court and request that it might be put on a church-party;these collationsformrespectable footing, as well as the ing the strongest chain of the conother possessions of France in that nexion subsisting between theclergy part of the world. In compliance and the nobles, who were the princiwith these remonstrances, several pal collators. To humble the ecclevessels with warlikestores, escorted siastical body more decisively, and by some ships of force, were ordered to gratify at the same time the defor the East Indies. But the gene- sires of a very considerable portion rality of the French did not con- of the community, the national sider the English as inimically in- assembly determined, in pursuance clined to them, at a time when they of those ideas of universal tolerahad adopted political principles tion in religious matters, which which tended to prevent them were now prevalent, to restore to from entering into altercations their estates and possessions in with their neighbours, especially France, the descendants of those with a people whose particular in families that had been forced to terest it was that France should abandon them through the perseforswear those pursuits which had cution which they had endured in formerly rendered it so odious, and consequence of the revocation of should' cultivate a good under the edict of Nantes, during the standing with all Europe. It was reign of Louis the Fourteenth. The chiefly indeed, in consequence of decree for this purpose, October, the disapprobation the public ex- 1790, was worded as favourably to pressed of the readiness of ministry the remaining representatives of to adopt hostile ' measures, that those long exiled families as cirsome of its most active members cumstances would admit. It held judged it necessary, in condescend. out every facility and advantage ence to the popular opinion, to re- that could enable them to make sign their places notwithstanding good their respective claims to the the king's reluctance to part with inheritance of their ancestors. The them. The fact was, that the enlightened world very highly aproyal party had suffered such a di- plauded the liberality and justice of minution of interest in the assems this celebrated decree. The power.