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the Pope. But the king thought it more advisable to coincide with the wishes of his people.
This application of the clergy was violently reprobated by the public. As the civic oath was in nowise repugnant to the principles of religion, the motives that in duced them to refuse it, were construed as proceeding from an attachment to those privileges with which they had been invested, under the arbitrary system which they seemed so zealous to restore: but these privileges were incompatible with the obedience which they owed to the state. It was to deprive them of the pernicious independence they had so long and so improperly enjoyed, and to reduce them to the rank of other subjects, that this oath had been imposed upon them in common with their fellow-citizens. They were at the same time reminded of the wellfounded odium they must incur by a denial of allegiance to that power that paid them as professional instructors of the community. Nothing, it was said, could convey a worse opinion of the priesthood, than their repugnance to give so reasonable a security for their good behaviour: it tended to insinuate that the clergy were not to be trusted, as they seemed disposed to think they would be worse priests for being better citizens.
By the tenor of the civic oath prescribed to the French clergy, they swore to watch with diligence over the flock committed to their charge; to be faithful to the nation, the law, and the king; to main tain, to the utmost of their power, the constitution of the kingdom; and particularly to observe the decrees relating to the clergy. The
expediency and necessity of imposing this oath was zealously maintained by many clergymen who had seats in the National Assembly. It was not however without excessive displeasure that the court of Rome beheld such a dereliction of its interests, among a body of men in whom it had so long experienced the promptest acquiescence in all its dictates. But it ought to have known, that among the multitudes of ecclesiastics in France, there were many no less ready to embrace freedom of opinion in religious than in civil matters.
The next measure to this enforcement of the civic oath, was to procure the king's consent to the civil constitution, decreed for the national clergy. Various endeavours were used to put a negative on this act of the Assembly; but it insisted so firmly on its passing, and the public seemed so determined in its favour, that the king was at length induced to signify his compliance. The National Assembly had at the same time the satisfaction of receiving a solemn assurance from the university of Paris, that it would faithfully educate the youth under its care in the principles of the established constitution. This proved a material accession of strength to the popular party, as it led the way to similar addresses from the other universities of France. That body had no less reason to be satisfied with the intelligence that came from the neighbouring countries, of the warm approbation bestowed on the new constitution, by the French who were settled in those parts; and how zealous they were in the maintenance and propagation of the principles on which it was founded. In many places
they had solemnly met and taken the civic oath.
But the successes of the revolutionists could not depress the courage of the royal party; they still continued undaunted, and daily exhibited a spirit that was not to be broken by any disappointment. They seemed rather to derive fresh resolution from their constant defeats; and displayed a daringness in their words and conduct that shewed they were proof against all intimidation, and that convinced their enemies they were determined to keep no measures with them.
Among the various quarrels which were produced by these reciprocal animosities, one took place between Messrs. Castries and Lameth *, that was attended with very dangerous consequences. The latter of these gentlemen, who was a warm member of the popular party, was dangerously wounded in a duel by the former, who was a zealous royalist. In revenge, his house was demolished; and himself escaped with difficulty from the fury of the multitude, who imagined the court-party had concerted this method to take off the principal champions of the revolution. The partizans of the court were, on the other hand, equally violent in those few places where they happened to bear the most influence.
The defence of religion became the motive or pretext of several bloody transactions. The inhabitants of a city in the province of Languedoc, denounced immediate death to the purchasers of the ecclesiastical estates, ordered for sale by the National Assembly: three gentlemen, or who were reported to be such, were murdered, it was said, by an outrageous mob..
These violent proceedings very strongly proved how radically fixed the minds of multitudes were in their primitive habits and notions; and that time and forbearance only would convert them to the opinions propagated with so much industry by the promoters of the new regulations in ecclesiastical matters. It behoved, therefore, the National Assembly to proceed with the utmost caution in the prosecution of a business that threatened to be emtremely dangerous wherever it thwarted long-established ideas. For this reason, the enforcement of the measures resolved upon was first directed to those parts of France only that manifested a disposition, or at least no marked averseness, to receive them. But it was not only in the government of the church that changes were carried forward with so much determination :another department, once almost as formidable, was now brought under
* Of the Lameths there are four brothers. The eldest never took any share in public affairs. The parts acted on the political theatre by the other three, have been important. They have always been united in the strictest bonds of harmony, confidence, and affection, as well as by the ties of blood. They have never swerved from their principles, from motives of either ambition or interest: nor indeed have they ever been charged with such deviation. Alexander is endowed with the
greatest talents. But the whole of the three are equally distinguished by fidelity in friendship, and a sacred regard to their word, and to the truth. These men are entitled to a high place among the honourable victims of the French revolution. As to their family, it is one of the noblest in France. The celebrated Mareschal de Broglio is their maternal uncle.
under the consideration of the Assembly, with a view to still greater alterations in it than in the former. This was the administration of justice, which now underwent a complete reformation, and was transferred from the tribunals long in possession of that important branch of the civil power, and consigned to others moreconsistent with the genius of the new government. In executing this design, numbers of individuals possessed of employ. ments in the courts of law, were of course dismissed. Through a strange perversion of ideas, many of those employments were become hereditary and saleable: this abuse, of which the nation justly complained as an intolerable grievance, had been originally introduced in the reign of Francis the First, a prince in some respects generous and noble minded. The wars in which he was involved by his insa tiable ambition, had so drained his coffers and exhausted his resources, that, forgetting the respect and duty owing to his people, he publicly put up to sale the offices in the courts of judicature, together with the privilege of selling or of bequeathing them, as it suited the convenience of the purchasers. Thus they were to all intents a patrimony and personal estate. This custom was now of more than two hundred and fifty years standing. The National Assembly resolved to put an end to this scandalous practice; but was aware at the same time, of the impropriety of depriving individuals of their property. In order, therefore, to reconcile public justice with private interest the determination was taken to reimburse the possessors of those of fices, on their resignation of them.
The sum required for their indemnification was more than 50,000,000 of livres. As it was inconvenient at the present time, to appropriate so much money to the intent proposed, that sum was made part of the public debt, and the interest of it assigned to the proprietors of the offices just abolished.
These arrangements were highly acceptable to the public. They were also viewed as indispensably necessary for the safety of the Assembly and the constitution itself, as they silenced the clamours of a numerous class of individuals,whose influence and resentments might have created much confusion, had they not received a due compensation for the losses to which they were compelled to submit for the convenience and better ordering of the sale.
In addition to these popular measures, an object of the highest advantage and importance to the nation was laid before the Assembly. This was a calculation of the respective amounts of the public revenue under the present and the late government. According to the report of the committee of taxes and impositions, seven hundred and thirty millions were annually levied, antecedently to the revolution; but since that event, no more than five hundred and sixty: a difference of one hundred and seventy millions. It appeared also, at the same time, that the emission of the paper money, termed Assignats, was put into a due course of liquidation, pursuant to their primitive plan; and that a million of them, which had been returned, would forthwith be publicly burned. Nevertheless, as the taxes were not paid with any tolerable degree of regularity; and
as there was a kind of stagnation in the collection of the revenue, arising from the want of a sufficient number of proper agents and clerks, there had arisen a deficit in the ordinary income, to which the emission of assignats afforded only a temporary remedy. On the strength of these various operations, it wasexultingly asserted that the Assembly had made the most auspicious progress in the execution of its designs. France, said the revolutionists, had successfully struggled against every obstacle that hatred and perfidy could oppose to the courage and virtue of the nation. She had retrieved her finances from the utmost confusion; and by prudent
regulations had placed them out of the reach of peculation and rapacity. She had, through wise alterations in her government, laid the firmest foundation of national prosperity; and notwithstanding the calumnious representations of her foreign or domestic enemies, was now become a model for the future imitation of all enlightened nations.
Such were the sentiments and persuasions of the people of France at the close of the year 1790. The friends to the revolution considered it now as fixed upon an immoveable basis; and its enemies were in so reduced a situation, that no danger could reasonably be apprehended from them.
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 ChurchAffairs 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 of the 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 Revolution. The King's Flight from Paris, and Recapture. Circumstances attending that Event. Conduct of the Assembly on this Occasion. Declarations of the King and Queen. Royal Manifesto. Assembly's Reply.
HE conduct and politics of the National Assembly, and its uninterrupted successes, began at this time to excite the serious attention of most of the Sovereigns in Europe, who appeared to be highly averse to its proceedings, and to consider it as a body of men inimical to the rights of all Sovereigns (January 1791). Several of the petty Princes in Germany complained that it violated the treaties subsisting between France and the Empire. At their desire the Emperor wrote to the King of France, requiring them to be punctually fulfilled, and requesting him to interpose his mediation for their due observance. By these treaties, some territorial rights in the provinces of France bordering upon Germany, principally in Lorrain and Alsatia, were vested in those Princes.
The King communicated this letter to the Assembly, informing them, however, that the purport of it was pacific, and that no hostile intentions were entertained against France by the Princes of the empire. But such was the apprehension of malevolence from that quarter, that an addition of 100,000 men was immediately voted for the army, and every species of preparation was directed to be made upon the frontiers, in order to
meet the approach of an enemy. What was principally dreaded in this conjuncture, was, that these foreign foes would be joined by the malcontents at home; though incomparably less numerous than the friends to the revolution. They consisted of resolute individuals who had remained unsubdued in their principies amidst all threats, and who only waited the occasion of opposing the present government with some prospect of suc
The conduct of the violent royalists excited everywhere jealousies and suspicions. The machinations of the Princes of the royal family abroad were no secret, and those at home were equally mistrusted: a flagrant instance of the little confidence reposed in them, happened in the case of the King's two aunts. They had received his permission to retire to Rome, in order, as it was alleged by those who were well affected to them, to live there in more tranquillity than they could enjoy in their own country: it was strenuously insisted on by others, that they were deep in the plot which had been concerted at Lyons, and were for that reason hastening to secure themselves from the resentment of the public, as a discovery had been made of all the 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.