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acquired by the National Assembly Lyons sécured those persons who could not, however, suppress or lay under suspicion of being condaunt the spirit of its opponents. cerned in it; and the National AsIn defiance of menaces and danger, sembly, on reading this intelligence the disaffected still continued to decreed that the civic oath should hold their meetings, wherein they immediately be administered to all expressed their enmity with the individuals of the royal blood, and most unlimited rancour. It was to all persons in public stations, or principally in the southern parts of on the pension list, under pain of the kingdom that this bold spirit forfeiting their income and privimade its appearance : here the ad- leges, if they refused or neglected to herents to the noblesse and the take it. churchmen were the most nume This conspiracy seemed to have rous; and they were continually been formed upon a very extenwatching for opportunities of ef- sive plan. The French emigrants fecting a change of affairs in their in Italy had opened a large corresfavour. They even carried their pondence with their well-wishers daringness so far, as publicly to es in France, in more than one pro. tablish clubs in opposition to those vince. In that of Auvergne, their that supportedthe presentmeasures. friends were so numerous, that a At Aix, the chief city of Provence, strong party, consisting entirely of they formed one which was inti- noblesse, set out from thence for tuled, “the Society of Friends to the Lyons, in expectation of being supKing and Clergy." The proceed- ported by a formidable insurrection; ings of this ociety were so offen- but hearing on their way that the sive to another, styled “The Consti- design had been discovered, they tutional Club," that it resolved, by thought it safest to disband and fly force, to impose silence on the for- homewards : this body was so conmer. This produced a quarrel, siderable, that in the hurry and wherein the partisans of both bore precipitation of their flight, they a share. Notwithstanding the in- left behind them upwards of 300 terposition of the magistracy, all horses. Designs of a similar nature endeavours to quell it were inef- had been some time carried on with fectual. An outrageous mob arose, profound secrecy in the country of and seized three gentlemen pointed Avignon, belonging to the Pope. out as aristocrats, whom in their But it transpired at last, that prepafury they instantly put to death, in rations were making to arm upspite of all supplications for mercy. wards of 50,000 men. The court The principal cause of the rage of of Turin was considered as the the revolutionary mobs at this pe- chief abettor and assistant in these riod, was, a report strongly founded, matters. The court of Rome bethat a design was in agitation to in. held at the same time the transactroduce the exiled princes of the tions in France with the deepest blood into the city of Lyons, anxiety and terror. Whether from where a number of their adherents bigotry or interested motives, it were ready to join them, and to strongly reprobated the alteration take up arms against the National in that kingdom relating to the Assembly. The municipality of church. The examples of those
countries which had shaken off the of the king of France might have Romish yoke, raised the strongest been at this juncture, the popularapprehension that they would be ity of this edict was such, that he imitated by a nation which was was too prudent to disapprove of it. justly reputed as enlightened as any. He informed the Pope, that he in Europe. This motive obliged could not refuse his assent to an act that circumspectful court to tempo. 80 warmly enforced by the approrize, and to refrain from that im- bation of the public; and that he petuous severity with which it had confided in the prudence and mos been used in former days to hurl deration of the papal councils for its spiritual thunders on those parts the preservation of harmony beof Christendom that were disobe. tween the Roman and Gallican dient to its dictates, It was churches. through the unseasonable violence The court of Rome had not for and precipitation of the conclave, many years been addressed in such that England was lost to the holy, a manner by any of the princes of see by the establishment of the Re- its communion. It occasioned une formation. This was a circum- common anxiety among the adhestance anxiously recalled, and stre- rents to the Pope, both at Rome nuously dwelt upon in the councils and in other parts. The liberty of and deliberations held at Rome thinking, which had long reigned upon the affairs of France.
in France among the literati, had The principal cause of solicitude of late been so extensively commuat this court, was the decree by nicated to all ranks and professions which the Assembly rested their of society, that it was evident the rights of electing their bishops in papal power in that kingdom stood the inhabitants of every diocese. on a very tottering foundation. This was evidently the most irreco: Many were the meetings that took verable wound ever given in France place among the cardinals and the to the spiritual power. It was in- principal dignitaries at Rome, on deed for that very reason the popu. the arduous business of recalling lar party was so resolute in adopt- France to its former obedience. ing, and the French nation at large But the wisest heads seemed of 80 ready to receive this decree. opinion, that unless the ideas of the Great was the consternation of th? French on matters of government court of Rome at a transaction could be altered, no reasonable exwhich utterly annihilated the vast pectation could be entertained of authority it had for so many centu. their returning to the former de ries possessed in France. After pendence on the church of Rome. many consultations, the Pope ad. These vigorous measures of the dressed a monitory letter to the Assembly did not however deter King of France; wherein that de- numbers of those ecclesiastics who cree was represented as a prelimi- adhered to the see of Rome, from nary measure to the dissolution of soliciting the king to withhold his all further ties between the church sanction to the decree that imof Rome and that of France. posed upon them the civic oath, unWhatever the private inclination til the matter had been referred to
the Pope. But the king thought expediency and necessity of imposit more advisable to coincide with ing this oath was zealously main. the wishes of his people.
tained by many clergymen who This application of the clergy had seats in the National Assembly, was violently reprobated by the It was not however without excespublic. As the civic oath was in sive displeasure that the court of nowise repugnant to the principles Rome beheld such a dereliction of of religion, the motives that in- its interests, among a body of men duced them to refuse it, were con- in whom it had so long experienced strued as proceeding from an at- the promptest acquiescence in all tachment to those privileges with its dictates. But it ought to have which they had been invested, un- known, that among the multitudes der the arbitrary system which they of ecclesiastics in France, there seemed so zealous to restore : but were many no less ready to emthese privileges were incompatible brace freedom of opinion in religiwith the obedience which they ous than in civil matters. owed to the state. It was to de- The next measure to this en. prive them of the pernicious inde-forcement of the civic oath, was to pendence they had so long and so 'procure the king's consent to the improperly enjoyed, and to reduce civil constitution, decreed for the them to the rank of other subjects, national clergy. Various endeathat this oath had been imposed vours were used to put a negative upon them in common with their on this act of the Assembly; but it fellow-citizens. They were at the insisted so firmly on its passing, and same time reminded of the well- the public seemed so determined in founded odium they must incur by its favour, that the king was at a denial of allegiance to that power length induced to signify his comthat paid them as professional in- pliance. The National Assembly structors of the community. No, had at the same time the satisfacthing, it was said, could convey a tion of receiving a solemn assurworse opinion of the priesthood, ance from the university of Paris, than their repugnance to give so that it would faithfully educate the reasonable a security for their good youth under its care in the princi. behaviour: it tended to insinuate ples of the established constitution. that the clergy were not to be This proved a material accession of trusted, as they seemed disposed strength to the popular party, as it to think they would be worse led the way to similar addresses from priests for being better citizens. the other universities of France."
By the tenor of the civic oath That body had no less reason to be prescribed to the French clergy, satisfied with the intelligence that they swore to watch with diligence came from the neighbouring counover the flock committed to their tries, of the warm approbation becharge; to be faithful to the nation, stowed on the new constitution, by the law, and the king; to main- the French who were settled in tain, to the utmost of their power, those parts; and how zealous they the constitution of the kingdom; were in the maintenance and proand particularly to observe the de- pagation of the principles on which crees relating to the clergy. The it was founded. In many places
they had solemnly met and taken The defence of religion became the the civic oath,
motive or pretext of several bloody But the successes of the revolu- transactions. The inhabitants of a tionists could not depress the cou. city in the province of Languedoc, rage of the royal party; they still denounced immediate death to the continued undaunted, and daily ex. purchasers of the ecclesiastical eshibited a spirit that was not to be tates, ordered for sale by the Nabroken by any disappointment. tional Assembly: three gentlemen, They seemed rather to derive fresh or who were reported to be such, resolution from their constant de- were murdered, it was said, by an feats; and displayed a daringness in outrageous mob. their words and conduct that
These violent proceedings very shewed they were proof against all strongly proved how radically fixed intimidation, and that convinced the minds of multitudes were in their enemies they were determined their primitive habits and notions ; to keep no measures with them. and that time and forbearance only
Among the various quarrels would convert them to the opinions which were produced by these re- propagated with so much industry ciprocal animosities, one took place by the promoters of the new regubetween Messrs. Castries and La- lations in ecclesiastical matters. It meth *, that was attended with behoved, therefore, the National very dangerous consequences. The Assembly to proceed with the utlatter of these gentlemen, who was most caution in the prosecution of a warm member of the popular a business that threatened to be party, was dangerously wounded in emtremely dangerous wherever it, a duel by the former, who was a thwarted long-established ideas. zealous royalist. In revenge, his For this reason, the enforcement of house was demolished ; and himself the measures resolved upon was escaped with difficulty from the first directed to those parts of France fury of the multitude, who ima- only that manifested a disposition, gined the court-party had concerted or at least no marked averseness, to this method to take off the princi- receive them. But it was not only pal champions of the revolution. in the government of the church The partizans of the court were, on that changes were carried forward the other hand, equally violent in with so much determination :those few places where they hap- another department, once almost pened to bear the most influence. as formidable, was now brought
* 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 As. The sum required for their indemsembly, with a view to still greater nification was more than 50,000,000 alterations in it than in the former. of livres. As it was inconvenient This was the administration of at the present time, to appropriate justice, which now underwent à so much money to the intent procomplete reformation, and was posed, that sum was made part of transferred from the tribunals long the public debt, and the interest of in possession of that important it assigned to the proprietors of the branch of the civil power, and con- offices just abolished. signed to others moreconsistentwith These arrangements were highly the genius of the new government. acceptable to the public. They In executing this design, numbers were also viewed as indispensably of individuals possessed of employ- necessary for the safety of the Asments in the courts of law, were of sembly and the constitution itself, course dismissed. Through a as they silenced the clamours of a strange perversion of ideas, many numerous class of individuals whose of those employments were become influence and resentments might hereditary and saleable: this abuse, have created much confusion, had of which the nation justly com• they not received a due compensaplained as an intolerable grievance, tion for the losses to which they had been originally introduced in were compelled to submit for the the reign of Francis the First, a convenience and better ordering of prince in some respects generous the sale. and noble minded. The wars in In addition to these popular meawhich he was involved by his insa- sures, an object of the highest advantiable ambition, had so drained his tage and importance to the nation coffers and exhausted his resources, was laid before the Assembly. This that, forgetting the respect and duty was a calculation of the respective owing to his people, he publicly amounts of the public revenue unput up to sale the offices in the der the present and the late govern. courts of judicature, together with ment. According to the report of the privilege of selling or of be- the committee of taxes and impoqueathing them, as it suited the sitions, seven hundred and thirty convenience of the purchasers. millions were annually levied, anThus they were to all intents a pa- tecedently to the revolution; but trimony and personal estate. This since that event, no more than five custom was now of more than two hundred and sixty: a difference of hundred and fifty years standing. one hundred and seventy millions, The National Assembly, resolved It appeared also, at the same time, to put an end to this scandalous that the emission of the paper mopractice; but was aware at the same ney, termed Assignats, was put into time, of the impropriety of depriv- a due course of liquidation, pursuing individuals of their property. ant to their primitive plan; and In order, therefore, to reconcile that a million of them, which had public justice with private interest been returned, would forthwith be the determination was taken to re- publicly burned. Nevertheless, as imburse the possessors of those of the taxes were not paid with any fices, on their resignation of them. tolerable degree of regularity; and