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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 emigrations verament. 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 li. forded
forded an opportunity to the enëberty, 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 exclu. the 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 larger 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 prerogarive in the appointment of mi- widely diffused, and were se acnisters. 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 vestly 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 imitatunity 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 bad 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 iis affairs on those of him.' Surmises of this sort were other countries, apd rendered the
character of its inhabitants less lia- numbers of those who offered them ble to be copied. The English selves for the public service were were, during a long time, consider immense. Notwithstanding that ed as a peculiar and extraordinary their discipline was not comparable people, and their government as a
to that of the imperial troops, yet singularity, which was indeed a na. experience has shewn that those tural subject of speculation, but not who place their chief reliance upon an example to be imitated in prac. that circumstance are frequently tice.
disappointed. But had only the Such was the idea entertained regular forces in France been em. formerly by most foreigners, and ployed, they were sufficiently nucarefully propagated by those who merous to face those of its enemies. disapproved of the English consti- They amounted at this time to about tution. But the case of France two hundred thousand men ; the being evidently quite different, half of which was stationed on the the impressions resulting from frontiers towards Alsatia and the the changes in that Kingdom Low Countries. were justly dreaded; and it was Whether it was with a design to not surprising that those who re- put the French off their guard, or probated them should exert their that no hostilities were intended utmost vigilance to arrest their pro. against them, the National Assemgress.
bly received an official information Aware of this hostile disposition from the ministry, that such pacific in most of their neighbours, the assurances were given by the foNational Assembly was deeply so. reign courts as appeared deserving licitous to put the frontiers of of trust; but the assembly did not France in a defensible condition, seem inclined to build upon them, particularly towards Germany; and and determined not to relax in the to require at the same time, with vigilance with which it watched the proper spirit, that the Emperor motions of its enemies abroad, and should assign the reason for his as the more dangerous machinations sembling such a number of troops of those at home. in those parts.
Meanwhile 'the decree of the So fully satisfied were the French National Assembly enjoining the of an intended attack from that civic oath to be administered to prince, as soon as he thought him- ecclesiastics, occasioned many of self duly prepared, that no sort of them to be deprived of their livprecautions were omitted for de- ings. It had been so framed as to fence. Peculiar signals were in- affect only clergymen doing public vented, by which it was reported duty; no others were obliged to that intelligence in twelve hours take it, nor was any other punishcould be received from, or forward- ment inflicted on recusants than a ed to the extremities of the king- simple deprivation of their office, of dom. The partisans of the revo. which their disobedience of the Jution displayed on this occasion injunction was construed into a much alacrity and promptitude in formal resignation. What is very coming forward to action; the remarkable, though it may be easily
accounted for, the resistance of the and the dignity with which he clergy was far less, and their ready filled his station. As soon as it compliance with the ruling power was apprehended at Rome that his greater in the metropolis than in disobedience of the National Asany other part of the kingdom; sembly's decree would occasion a so that while the purest and most dismission from his employments, zealous Catholics most earnestly ex- it was resolved at a meeting of 'horted every soul to be subject to cardinals to indemnify him for the the higher powers (*) the clergy loss he might incur through such a of the most pliant principles were deprivation, by a pension of ade- . the readiest to recommend “ obe- quate amount. Many other dig. dience to the powers that be, by nified clergymen were sentenced to their example." The people of deprivation for a like refusal ; and Paris were also the most determin- nearly all the episcopal sees being ed of any in carrying the decree vacated in this manner, they were into the strictest execution. The in consequence filled up by popu. truth was, that being the most en- lar elections, on the same principle lightened of all the French, and as the parishes. This was certainly therefore the least subservient to an innovation of the most decisive the doctrine of passive obedience, nature, as it altered the whole they readily perceived the inutility, system of the hierarchy, and tendor rather the impropriety of leav. ed, from the most submissive ading either temporal or spiritual herents to courts and princes, to matters to the jurisdiction of a fo- render them the firmest assertors of reign tribunal; nor did the muni. the people's liberties. cipality of Paris consider the paro- In this light the policy of the chial government of the city as any National Assembly operated more ways independent of the civil ma- for the interest of the popular party gistrates: On this principle it reduced than any measure it had yet adopt. the number of parishes from sixty ed. It gained the concurrence of to about thirty, forming them nearly a body of men, whose influence into equal divisions. To the credit would hence forward be necessarily of the inhabitants, the rectorships directed to the maintenance of the and clerical functions were placed constitution ; and, what was no less on a liberal and munificent footing. essential, it weakened proportion
The most conspicuous of those ably the adverse party, by detachdignitaries in the Gallican church ing from it those who otherwise who rejected the civic oath, was would have proved its very warmest Cardinal Bernis, celebrated for his supporters. It ought however to ministry under Lewis XV. He be noticed, that in this objection of was at this time ambassador at the the non-complying clergy, they court of Rome, and in high favour were not bereft of the means of with the Pope and the grandees of subsistence : an allowance was asthe Roman church, as well as justly signed to them, which, though not esteemed by all classes for the ex- plentiful, still preserved them from oellence of his personal character, want. This was the more deserv
ing • Rom xiii. I.
ing of attention, as men are apt in interpose between God and the their religious dissentions to lay human mind. These various proaside all generosity, and even com- ceedings, so repugnant to the late passion for those who differ from notions and practices, filled the adthem. It was happy therefore for herents to these with the utmost the discarded clergy that the Na. indignation ; but the popular party tional Assembly was composed of approved of them with the loudest men who copsidered theirs as a applause, and made it apparent that civil case: bad it consisted of they were perfectly conformable to priests, or of incividuals actuated their ideas and wishes. by religious enthusiasm, it is highly As a farther gratification of what probable the clergy would have been it understood to be the general deireated with much more severity. sire of the French nation, the As
This destruction of the power sembly resolved to pass a decree, formerly exercised by the church, long recommended to the public was carried on with the more reso by the friends to republican prinlution, and effected with the greater ciples :- this was, to abolish the facility, that it was accompanied right of primogeniture; by which by a measure highly acceptable to means alone it was said the feudal the nation, and long desired in system had been so long upheld to France. This was an unreserved the oppression of the many, and concession of freedom of opinion the tyranny of the few: this, it in religious matters to all that pro. was asserted, would give the finishfessed subjection and fidelity to the ing blow to despotism of every state; the Quakers, a sect hitherto kind: not only the crown would little known in France but by re- henceforth be limited, but the port, were on this occasion placed power of individuals, who had hion the same footing of toleration therto engrossed the wealth of which is granted them in England. whole families, and lorded it over The behaviour of M. Mirabeau, the rest of the community, would when the decree for this indul. also be at an end, and the native gence passed, was very remarkable; rights of every member of a family he had just been raised to the chair would be duly respected. of the president, an honour of Actuated by these maxims, which which he had long been desirous. were loudly extolled, as forming the He had often said, it ought to be securest foundation of liberty, the the summit of a freeman's ambi- National Assembly determined that tion. The discourse he delivered the property of parents should be to the deputation of the Quakers divided between their posterity of abounded with the most liberal both sexes, in equal proportions to sentiments, expressed with that bril- each of them, conformably to the liancy which was peculiar to him. idea of diminishing personal inAmong other particulars he asserted fluence by the reduction of private that the intercourse of man with property. The public began about the Supreme Being is independent this time to turn its attention to of political institutions; and that the immense lordships and domains no government should presume to still in the possession of those in