« AnteriorContinuar »
as there was a kind of stagnation in regulations had placed them out of the collection of the revenue, aris. the reach of peculation and rapaing from the want of a sufficient city. She had, through wise alteranumber of proper agents and clerks, tions in her government, laid the there had arisen a deficit in the or- firmest foundation of national prosdinary income, to which the emis- perity; and notwithstanding the sion of assignats afforded only a tem- calumnious representations of her porary remedy. On the strength foreign or domestic enemies, was oftliese various operations, it wasex. now become a model for the future ultingly asserted that the Assembly imitation of all enlightened nations. had made the most auspicious pro- Such were the sentiments and gress in the execution of its designs. persuasions of the people of France France, said the revolutionists, had at the close of the year 1790. The successfully struggled against every friends to the revolution considered obstacle that hatred and perfidy it now as fixed upon an immoveable could oppose to the courage and basis; and its enemies were in so virtue of the nation. She had re. reduced a situation, that no danger trieved her finances from the ut- could reasonably be apprehended most confusion; and by prudent from them.
CH A P. VIII.
Dissatisfaction of the European Princes at the Proceedings of the French
National Assembly. Complaints of the German Princes. Letter from the Emperor to the King of France. An Augmentation of the French Army voted by the Assembly. Affairs of the King's Aunts. Tumult at Vincennes. Insurrection in Britanny. The King limited to the Nomination of Six Ministers. Apprehensions of Hostile Intentions to France from the Emperor and the other Absolute Sovereigns in Europe. The Assembly demands an Explanation of his Conduct, and orders Preparations to face its Enemies. Zeal of the Revolutionists for the Public Service. Consequences of the Decree for the Civic Oath. Ecclesiastical Affairs. M. Mirabeau President of the Assembly. His Address to the Deputation from the Quakers. Right of Primogeniture abolished. Sequestration. Dissatisfaction of the Pope at the New Arrangement of Churck. Affairs in France. Death of Mirabeau, Progress of the Assignats
. Confidence of the Assembly in their Strength and
Resources. Suspicions of the King's Designs. His Complaint of ill Treatment, and Declaration to the Public. Conduct of M. la Fayette to the National Guards. Menaces of the German Princes. Altercations with the Pope. Enmity ofthe Spanish Court to the Revolutionists. Suppression of the Duties on Provisions brought into Paris. Progress of the Assignats. Scarcity of Cash. Apprehensions from the Emigrants and Foreign Powers. "Message of the Assembly to the Prince of Condé. Claims of the German Princes taken into Consideration. Decrees against the Authority of the Pope. Various Decrees for the Security of the Assembly and the Constitutional Government of the Nation. Increasing Popularity of the Assembly. Discontents
of the People in Spain at the Government. Progress of the Spirit of Liberty in various Countries of Europe. Forwarded by the Exertions of the French. They become odious to Foreign Princes on that Account. Political Opinions current at this Period. Hopes and Projects of the Enemies of the Repolution. The King's Flight from Paris, and Recapture. Circunstances attending that Event. Conduct of the Assembly on this Occasion, Declarations of the King and Queen. Royal Manifesto.
Assembly's Reply. THE conduct and politics of the meet the approach of an enemy.
National Assembly, and its What was principally dreaded in uninterrupted successes, began at this conjuncture, was, that these this time to excite the serious at- foreign foes would be joined by the tention of most of the Sovereigns malcontents at home; though inin Europe, who appeared to be comparably less numerous than the highly averse to its proceedings, friends to the revolution. They and to consider it as a body of men consisted of resolute individuals inimical to the rights of all Sove. who had remained unsubdued in reigns (January 1791). Several of their principles amidst all threats, the petty Princes in Germany com- and who only waited the occasion plained that it violated the treaties of opposing the present governsubsisting between France and
the ment with some prospect of sucEmpire. At their desire the Emperor wrote to the King of France, The conduct of the violent royrequiring them to be punctually alists excited everywhere jealousies fulfilled, and requesting him to and suspicions. The machinations interpose his mediation for their of the Princes of the royal family due observance. By these treaties, abroad were no secret, and those some territorial rights in the pro- at home were equally mistrusted: a vinces of France bordering upon flagrant instance of the little confiGermany, principally in Lorrain dence reposed in them, happened and Alsatia, were vested in those in the case of the King's two aunts. Princes.
They had received his permission The King communicated this to retire to Rome, in order, as it letter to the Assembly, informing was alleged by those who were them, however, that the purport of well affected to them, to live there it was pacific, and that no hostile in more tranquillity than they intentions were entertained against could enjoy in their own country: France by the Princes of the em- it was strenuously insisted on by pire. But such was the apprehen- others, that they were deep in the sion of malevolence from that quar- plot which had been concerted at ter, that an addition of 100,000 Lyons, and were for that reason men was immediately voted for the hastening to secure themselves from army, and every species of pre. the resentment of the public, as a paration was directed to be made discovery had been made of all the upon the frontiers, in order to parties concerned*. The King • These particulars are not to be confounded with
the horrors which took place at Lyons, about two years after, under the tyranny of Robespierre.
on their departure had given notice dom ; where, if proofs had been of it to the assembly, expressing bis brought of their participating in expectation that their journey that affair, it might have proved would ineet with no obstructions ; difficult to preserve them from the but they were thrice stopped by ill treatment of the multitude. So the magistraies of the places through great, in fact, was the fury of the which they were travelling, and populace at Paris on the first news of twice liberated by the intervention their setting out, that they crowded of some officers and soldiers. This into the garden of the Thuilleries, flight of the king's aunts, as it was and demanded of the king that he termed, was taken up very seriously would send immediate orders for by the Assembly ; where it was pro- their return. They grew at length
. posed to pass a law, to determine so outrageous, that the magistracy how far it might be the right of of Paris was obliged to call in royal personages to travel out of the national guards, in order to the kingdom. It was while they disperse it. were deliberating on this matter (February 20th, 1791). This that intelligence was brought that incident was succeeded by another the princesses had, by a party of the still more alarming. Some repairs military, been released from those being ordered to the castle of Vinwho had arrested them, and were cennes, in the neighbourhood of continuing their journey. Fired Paris, the multitude were seized at this contempt of the civil autho- with an apprehension that it was to rity, they ordered a prosecution of be converted into another Bastile. the offenders, and passed a formal They repared thither in crowds, censure on the secretary of state fully determined to demolish it, who had countersigned the king's when the national guards arrived passport to his aunts, as he knew in time to quell the insurrection. the case was under deliberation. As soon, however, as the peoplewere They did not however think proper informed of their mistake, they deto authorize the detention of those sisted and withdrew; but when that princesses ; and it was at length de- body of national guards, which had clared, though not without a vio. been dispatched from the Thuilleries lent and tumultuous debate, that to Vincennes, returned, the gates no law existed, empowering any were shut against them.
They person to detain them. In conse- quickly however forced them open, quence of this declaration they and found the place filled with perwere permitted to leave the king- sons armed with swords an:1 pistols, dom,
and who said they were come to This, was one of the most critical protect the royal family. This aloccurrences that had fallen out since legation did not prevent the nathe revolution. Though numbers tional guards from insisting they suspected those ladies of being should immediately withdraw, and privy and aiding to the conspiracy resign the king to their own proat Lyons, yet respect for their tection. The consequence of this high rank and sex induced people transaction was, that none but the to wish them safe out of the king officers of the royal household and VOL. XXXIII,
their attendants were afterwards which actuated numbers, the most admitted into the palace, until the terrible effects were to be appretime when the constitution was hended. A temporary tribunal was completely formed and accepted. therefore instituted for the imme.
The assembly were in the mean diate trial of those who should be time deliberating on the means of guilty of rebellious acts against goputting a stop to the emigrationsvernment. that were the continual subject of The suspicions that were daily complaint. But however desirous increasing, and from which none of to accomplish this object, it ap- the royal blood were exempt, afpeared so inimical to personal lie forded an opportunity to the eneberty, that it met with an unsur- mies of the prerogatives hitherto mountable opposition.
exercised by the crown, to propose Tidings of a more serious nature that the king should be limited to were now laid before them. The the nomination of six ministers province of Britanny was repre- only, who were to be the ostensible sented as in a state of actual rebel- depositaries of his authority, and lion. The decrees relating to the answerable for his public conduct. clergy were insulted and opposed In order to prevent unnecessary with the utmost rancour; consider- procrastination in passing judgment able sums had been subscribed, in on their merits or delinquencies, favour of those clergymen who de- they were to be accountable during clared against the acts of the Na- the space of a year only, after quittional Assembly: and crowds had ting their respective offices. This gathered in several places, reprobat. latter regulation was framed with
, ing them as impious and clamour- a view to bring the guilty to justice ing for their repeal. They insisted as expeditiously as possible. These at the same time on the supremacy ministers were to be placed at the of the pope, and denounced all head of six different departments. purchasers of church-property, as The first was that of justice, which guilty of sacrilege. But their fury was to preside over all the others. was not exhaled in words alone: It was afterwards settled, that the Priests, it was said, having in the oldest minister should preside as warmth of infatuation exhorted the premier of the departments; and inhabitants of the district to revenge not the minister of justice excluthe cause of religion on those who sively: the possessor of this office had profaned it, a deluded mob was to act as prime minister, and to proceeded towards the town of enjoy a large salary than the rest. Vannes with the most fatal inten- The other departments were, the tions ; but they were happily re- internal government of the kingpulsed by a body of national guards, dom, colonies, marine finance, assisted by a regiment of regulars and foreign business. This profortunately at hand. As disorders posal was received with great of this kind were threatened in approbation by the popular party, many places,the Assembly resolved but warmly opposed by those to adopt the speediest methods of who disapproved of any further prevention, as from the enthusiasm limitation of the royal preroga
tive in the appointment of mi- widely diffused, and were so ac, nisters. It appeared indeed of so ceptable to his enemies in those much importance, that its sup- countries, that they seemed earporters did not insist on its passing nestly desirous of such a quarrel until it had evidently obtained the breaking out, pot doubting that it concurrence of the public at large. would produce the effects above This, however, was soon after so mentioned, strongly manifested in its favour, But the emperor was not the that it was adopted and carried into only potentate inimical to the sysexecution without delay.
tem prevailing in France. The In the mean time, great appre- other princes in Germany viewed hensions were entertained on the it no less with an hateful eye; as it side of the empire. The Emperor, held up to their own people an exit was well known, beheld with ample which, it was apprehended, unrestrained indignation, all that they might imitate. Hence they had been done in France in favour were anxious to co-operate for the of the revolution. Nothing, it was extinction of a spirit so dangerous firmly believed, prevented him to their personal interests; and from entering immediately into which, if not suppressed in time, active measures against France, but would probably, sooner or later, find the consciousness of the danger its way into Germany, and be prothat would attend them. His sub- ductive of the same consequences as jects in the Netherlands had been in France itself. reduced to obedience; but this The French were intimately was in a great measure owing to persuaded of the aversion borne their own dissentions : had the no- them by every arbitrary prince in bility and clergy united cordially Europe. The proximity of their with the other orders, they would, country to those under absolute it has been thought by able judges, governments, its extensiveness, have formed such a union of force strength and celebrity, the long as would have effectually resisted all established custom among Europeefforts. Pondering on these cir- ans of making it the chief object of cumstances, and fearful of giving their travels, and its ways
and an exasperated people any oppor- fashions the model of their imita. tunity of resentment, he wisely ab- tion,-all these motives combined, stained from hostilities with a nation rendered them the most dangerous newly emancipated from despotism, of neighbours to the despotic rulers and full of the animation which usu- of the surrounding nations. The ally accompanies men under that cir- example of the English had uncumstance. Nor was it improbable doubtedly long been highly odious that, in case of a rupture with the to these : but the situation of EngFrench, these would instantly have land was not sufficiently centrical invited the inhabitants of the Aus- to cause much alarm among them. trian provinces in the low coun- Its insular position on the extremi. tries to unite with them, and to ty of Europe diminished the inmake one common cause against fluence of its affairs on those of him.' Surmises of this sort were other countries, and rendered the