History of the French Revolution from 1789 to 1814
F. A. M. Mignet

Part 3 out of 8

house of Bourbon had been on the throne, was the ally of France against
England. This, however, was a fallen power: confined to a corner of the
continent, oppressed by the system of Philip II., deprived by the Family
Compact of the only enemy that could keep it in action, by sea only had it
retained any of its ancient superiority. But France had other allies on
all sides of Austria: Sweden on the north; Poland and the Porte on the
east; in the south of Germany, Bavaria; Prussia on the west; and in Italy,
the kingdom of Naples. These powers, having reason to dread the
encroachments of Austria, were naturally the allies of her enemy.
Piedmont, placed between the two systems of alliance, sided, according to
circumstances and its interests, with either. Holland was united with
England or with France, as the party of the stadtholders or that of the
people prevailed in the republic. Switzerland was neutral.

In the last half of the eighteenth century, two powers had risen in the
north, Russia and Prussia. The latter had been changed from a simple
electorate into an important kingdom, by Frederick-William, who had given
it a treasure and an army; and by his son Frederick the Great, who had
made use of these to extend his territory. Russia, long unconnected with
the other states, had been more especially introduced into the politics of
Europe by Peter I. and Catharine II. The accession of these two powers
considerably modified the ancient alliances. In concert with the cabinet
of Vienna, Russia and Prussia had executed the first partition of Poland
in 1772; and after the death of Frederick the Great, the empress Catharine
and the emperor Joseph united in 1785 to effect that of European Turkey.

The cabinet of Versailles, weakened since the imprudent and unfortunate
Seven Years' War, had assisted at the partition of Poland without opposing
it, had raised no obstacle to the fall of the Ottoman empire, and even
allowed its ally, the republican party in Holland, to sink under the blows
of Prussia and England, without assisting it. The latter powers had in
1787 re-established by force the hereditary, stadtholderate of the United
Provinces. The only act which did honour to French policy, was the support
it had happily given to the emancipation of North America. The revolution
of 1789, while extending the moral influence of France, diminished still
more its diplomatic influence.

England, under the government of young Pitt, was alarmed in 1788 at the
ambitious projects of Russia, and united with Holland and Prussia to put
an end to them. Hostilities were on the point of commencing when the
emperor Joseph died, in February, 1790, and was succeeded by Leopold, who
in July accepted the convention of Reichenbach. This convention, by the
mediation of England, Russia, and Holland, settled the terms of the peace
between Austria and Turkey, which was signed definitively, on the 4th of
August, 1791, at Sistova; it at the same time provided for the
pacification of the Netherlands. Urged by England and Prussia, Catharine
II. also made peace with the Porte at Jassy, on the 29th of December,
1791. These negotiations, and the treaties they gave rise to, terminated
the political struggles of the eighteenth century, and left the powers
free to turn their attention to the French Revolution.

The princes of Europe, who had hitherto had no enemies but themselves,
viewed it in the light of a common foe. The ancient relations of war and
of alliance, already overlooked during the Seven Years' War, now ceased
entirely: Sweden united with Russia, and Prussia with Austria. There was
nothing now but the kings on one side, and people on the other, waiting
for the auxiliaries which its example, or the faults of princes might give
it. A general coalition was soon formed against the French revolution.
Austria engaged in it with the hope of aggrandizement, England to avenge
the American war, and to preserve itself from the spirit of the
revolution; Prussia to strengthen the threatened absolute power, and
profitably to engage its unemployed army; the German states to restore
feudal rights to some of their members who had been deprived of them, by
the abolition of the old régime in Alsace; the king of Sweden, who had
constituted himself the champion of arbitrary power, to re-establish it in
France, as he had just done in his own country; Russia, that it might
execute without trouble the partition of Poland, while the attention of
Europe was directed elsewhere; finally, all the sovereigns of the house of
Bourbon, from the interest of power and family attachments. The emigrants
encouraged them in these projects, and excited them to invasion. According
to them, France was without an army, or at least without leaders,
destitute of money, given up to disorder, weary of the assembly, disposed
to the ancient régime, and without either the means or the inclination to
defend itself. They flocked in crowds to take a share in the promised
short campaign, and formed into organized bodies under the prince de
Condé, at Worms, and the count d'Artois, at Coblentz.

The count d'Artois especially hastened the determination of the cabinets.
The emperor Leopold was in Italy, and the count repaired to him, with
Calonne as minister, and the count Alphonse de Durfort, who had been his
mediator with the court of the Tuileries, and who had brought him the
king's authority to treat with Leopold. The conference took place at
Mantua, and the count de Durfort returned, and delivered to Louis XVI. in
the name of the emperor, a secret declaration, in which was announced to
him the speedy assistance of the coalition. Austria was to advance thirty-
five thousand men on the frontier of Flanders; the German states, fifteen
thousand on Alsace; the Swiss, fifteen thousand on the Lyonese frontier;
the king of Sardinia, fifteen thousand on that of Dauphiné; Spain was to
augment its army in Catalonia to twenty thousand; Prussia was well
disposed in favour of the coalition, and the king of England was to take
part in it as elector of Hanover. All these troops were to move at the
same time, at the end of July; the house of Bourbon was then to make a
protest, and the powers were to publish a manifesto; until then, however,
it was essential to keep the design secret, to avoid all partial
insurrection, and to make no attempt at flight. Such was the result of the
conferences at Mantua on the 20th May, 1791.

Louis XVI., either from a desire not to place himself entirely at the
mercy of foreign powers, or dreading the ascendency which the count
d'Artois, should he return at the head of the victorious emigrants, would
assume over the government he had established, preferred restoring the
government alone. In general Bouillé he had a devoted and skilful
partisan, who at the same time condemned both emigration and the assembly,
and promised him refuge and support in his army. For some time past, a
secret correspondence had taken place between him and the king. Bouillé
prepared everything to receive him. He established a camp at Montmedy,
under the pretext of a movement of hostile troops on the frontier; he
placed detachments on the route the king was to take, to serve him for
escort, and as a motive was necessary for these arrangements, he alleged
that of protecting the money despatched for the payment of the troops.

The royal family on its side made every preparation for departure; very
few persons were informed of it, and no measures betrayed it. Louis XVI.
and the queen, on the contrary, pursued a line of conduct calculated to
silence suspicion; and on the night of the 20th of June, they issued at
the appointed hour from the château, one by one, in disguise. In this way
they eluded the vigilance of the guard, reached the Boulevard, where a
carriage awaited them, and took the road to Châlons and Montmedy.

On the following day the news of this escape threw Paris into
consternation; indignation soon became the prevailing sentiment; crowds
assembled, and the tumult increased. Those who had not prevented the
flight were accused of favouring it. Neither Bailly nor Lafayette escaped
the general mistrust. This event was considered the precursor of the
invasion of France, the triumph of the emigrants; the return of the
ancient régime, and a long civil war. But the conduct of the assembly soon
restored the public mind to calmness and security. It took every measure
which so difficult a conjuncture required. It summoned the ministers and
authorities to its bar; calmed the people by a proclamation; used proper
precautions to secure public tranquillity; seized on the executive power,
commissioned Montmorin, the minister of foreign affairs, to inform the
European powers of its pacific intentions; sent commissioners to secure
the favour of the troops, and receive their oath, no longer made in the
name of the king, but in that of the assembly, and lastly, issued an order
through the departments for the arrest of any one attempting to leave the
kingdom. "Thus, in less than four hours," says the marquis de Ferrières,
"the assembly was invested with every kind of power. The government went
on; public tranquillity did not experience the slightest shock; and Paris
and France learned from this experience, so fatal to royalty, that the
monarch is almost always a stranger to the government that exists in his

Meantime Louis XVI. and his family were drawing near the termination of
their journey. The success of the first days' journeys, the increasing
distance from Paris, rendered the king less reserved and more confident;
he had the imprudence to show himself, was recognised, and arrested at
Varennes on the 21st. The national guard were under arms instantly; the
officers of the detachments posted by Bouillé sought in vain to rescue the
king; the dragoons and hussars feared or refused to support them. Bouillé,
apprised of this fatal event, hastened himself at the head of a regiment
of cavalry. But it was too late; on reaching Varennes, he found that the
king had left it several hours before; his squadrons were tired, and
refused to advance. The national guard were on all sides under arms, and
after the failure of his enterprise, he had no alternative but to leave
the army and quit France.

The assembly, on hearing of the king's arrest, sent to him, as
commissioners, three of its members, Pétion, Latour-Maubourg, and Barnave.
They met the royal family at Epernay and returned with them. It was during
this journey, that Barnave, touched by the good sense of Louis XVI., the
fascinations of Marie Antoinette, and the fate of this fallen family,
conceived for it an earnest interest. From that day he gave it his
assiduous counsel and support. On reaching Paris the royal party passed
through an immense crowd, which expressed neither applause nor murmurs,
but observed a reproachful silence.

The king was provisionally suspended: he had had a guard set over him, as
had the queen; and commissioners were appointed to question him. Agitation
pervaded all parties. Some desired to retain the king on the throne,
notwithstanding his flight; others maintained, that he had abdicated by
condemning, in a manifesto addressed to the French on his departure, both
the revolution, and the acts which had emanated from him during that
period, which he termed a time of captivity.

The republican party now began to appear. Hitherto it had remained either
dependent or hidden, because it had been without any existence of its own,
or because it wanted a pretext for displaying itself. The struggle, which
lay at first between the assembly and the court, then between the
constitutionalists and the aristocrats, and latterly among the
constitutionalists themselves, was now about to commence between the
constitutionalists and the republicans. In times of revolution such is the
inevitable course of events. The partisans of the order newly established
then met and renounced differences of opinion which were detrimental to
their cause, even while the assembly was all powerful, but which had
become highly perilous, now that the emigration party threatened it on the
one hand, and the multitude on the other. Mirabeau was no more. The
Centre, on which this powerful man had relied, and which constituted the
least ambitious portion of the assembly, the most attached to principles,
might by joining the Lameths, re-establish Louis XVI. and constitutional
monarchy, and present a formidable opposition to the popular ebullition.

This alliance took place; the Lameth party came to an understanding with
André and the principal members of the Centre, made overtures to the
court, and opened the club of the Feuillants in opposition to that of the
Jacobins. But the latter could not want leaders; under Mirabeau, they had
contended against Mounier; under the Lameths against Mirabeau; under
Pétion and Robespierre, they contended against the Lameths. The party
which desired a second revolution had constantly supported the most
extreme actors in the revolution already accomplished, because this was
bringing within its reach the struggle and the victory. At this period,
from subordinate it had become independent; it no longer fought for others
and for opinions not its own, but for itself, and under its own banner.
The court, by its multiplied faults, its imprudent machinations, and,
lastly, by the flight of the monarch, had given it a sort of authority to
avow its object; and the Lameths, by forsaking it, had left it to its true

The Lameths, in their turn, underwent the reproaches of the multitude,
which saw only their alliance with the court, without examining its
conditions. But supported by all the constitutionalists, they were
strongest in the assembly; and they found it essential to establish the
king as soon as possible, in order to put a stop to a controversy which
threatened the new order, by authorizing the public party to demand the
abolition of the royal power while its suspension lasted. The
commissioners appointed to interrogate Louis XVI. dictated to him a
declaration, which they presented in his name to the assembly, and which
modified the injurious effect of his flight. The reporter declared, in the
name of the seven committees entrusted with the examination of this great
question, that there were no grounds for bringing Louis XVI. to trial, or
for pronouncing his dethronement. The discussion which followed this
report was long and animated; the efforts of the republican party,
notwithstanding their pertinacity, were unsuccessful. Most of their
orators spoke; they demanded deposition or a regency; that is to say,
popular government, or an approach towards it. Barnave, after meeting all
their arguments, finished his speech with these remarkable words:
"Regenerators of the empire, follow your course without deviation. You
have proved that you had courage to destroy the abuses of power; you have
proved that you possessed all that was requisite to substitute wise and
good institutions in their place; prove now that you have the wisdom to
protect and maintain these. The nation has just given a great evidence of
its strength and courage; it has displayed, solemnly and by a spontaneous
movement, all that it could oppose to the attacks which threatened it.
Continue the same precautions; let our boundaries, let our frontiers be
powerfully defended. But while we manifest our power, let us also prove
our moderation; let us present peace to the world, alarmed by the events
which take place amongst us; let us present an occasion for triumph to all
those who in foreign lands have taken an interest in our revolution. They
cry to us from all parts: you are powerful; be wise, be moderate, therein
will lie your highest glory. Thus will you prove that in various
circumstances you can employ various means, talents, and virtues."

The assembly sided with Barnave. But to pacify the people, and to provide
for the future safety of France, it decreed that the king should be
considered as abdicating, _de facto_, if he retracted the oath he had
taken to the constitution; if he headed an army for the purpose of making
war upon the nation, or permitted any one to do so in his name; and that,
in such case, become a simple citizen, he would cease to be inviolable,
and might be responsible for acts committed subsequent to his abdication.

On the day that this decree was adopted by the assembly, the leaders of
the republican party excited the multitude against it. But the hall in
which it sat was surrounded by the national guard, and it could not be
assailed or intimidated. The agitators unable to prevent the passing of
the decree, aroused the people against it. They drew up a petition, in
which they denied the competency of the assembly; appealed from it to the
sovereignty of the nation, treated Louis XVI. as deposed since his flight,
and demanded a substitute for him. This petition, drawn up by Brissot,
author of the _Patriote Français_, and president of the _Comité des
Recherches_ of Paris, was carried, on the 17th of July, to the altar of
the country in the Champ de Mars: an immense crowd flocked to sign it. The
assembly, apprized of what was taking place, summoned the municipal
authorities to its bar, and directed them to preserve the public
tranquillity. Lafayette marched against the crowd, and in the first
instance succeeded in dispersing it without bloodshed. The municipal
officers took up their quarters in the Invalides; but the same day the
crowd returned in greater numbers, and with more determination. Danton and
Camille Desmoulins harangued them from the altar of the country. Two
Invalides, supposed to be spies, were massacred and their heads stuck on
pikes. The insurrection became alarming. Lafayette again repaired to the
Champ de Mars, at the head of twelve hundred of the national guard. Bailly
accompanied him, and had the red banner unfurled. The crowd was then
summoned to disperse in the name of the law; it refused to retire, and,
contemning authority, shouted, "Down with the red flag!" and assailed the
national guard with stones. Lafayette ordered his men to fire, but in the
air. The crowd was not intimidated with this, and resumed the attack;
compelled by the obstinacy of the insurgents, Lafayette then ordered
another discharge, a real and effective one. The terrified multitude fled,
leaving many dead on the field. The disturbances now ceased, order was
restored; but blood had flown, and the people never forgave Bailly or
Lafayette the cruel necessity to which the crowd had driven them. This was
a regular combat, in which the republican party, not as yet sufficiently
strong or established, was defeated by the constitutional monarchy party.
The attempt of the Champ de Mars was the prelude of the popular movements
which led to the 10th of August.

While this was passing in the assembly and at Paris, the emigrants, whom
the flight of Louis XVI. had elated with hope, were thrown into
consternation at his arrest. _Monsieur_, who had fled at the same time as
his brother, and with better fortune, arrived alone at Brussels with the
powers and title of regent. The emigrants thenceforth relied only on the
assistance of Europe; the officers quitted their colours; two hundred and
ninety members of the assembly protested against its decrees; in order to
legitimatize invasion, Bouillé wrote a threatening letter, in the
inconceivable hope of intimidating the assembly, and at the same time to
take upon himself the sole responsibility of the flight of Louis XVI.;
finally, the emperor, the king of Prussia, and the count d'Artois met at
Pilnitz, where they made the famous declaration of the 27th of August,
preparatory to the invasion of France, and which, far from improving the
condition of the king, would have imperilled him, had not the assembly, in
its wisdom, continued to follow out its new designs, regardless at once of
the clamours of the multitude at home, and the foreign powers.

In the declaration of Pilnitz, the sovereigns considered the cause of
Louis XVI. as their own. They required that he should be free to go where
he pleased, that is to say, to repair to them that he should be restored
to his throne; that the assembly should be dissolved, and that the princes
of the empire having possessions in Alsace, should be reinstated in their
feudal rights In case of refusal, they threatened France with a war in
which all the powers who were guarantees for the French monarchy would
concur. This declaration, so far from discouraging, only served to
irritate the assembly and the people. Men asked only another, what right
the princes of Europe had to interfere in the government of France; by
what right they gave orders to great people, and imposed conditions upon
it; and since the sovereigns appealed to force, the people of France
prepared to resist them. The frontiers were put in a state of defence; the
hundred thousand men of the national guard were enrolled, and they awaited
in calm serenity the attack of the enemy, well convinced that the French
people, on their own soil and in a state of revolution, would be

Meantime, the assembly approached the close of its labours; civil
relations, public taxation, the nature of crimes, their prosecution, and
their punishment, had been by it as wisely regulated as were the public
and constitutional relations of the country. Equality had been introduced
into the laws of inheritance, into taxation, and into punishments; nothing
remained but to unite all the constitutional decrees into a body and
submit them to the king for his approval. The assembly was growing weary
of its labours and of its dissensions; the people itself, who in France
ever become tired of that which continues beyond a certain time, desired a
new national representation; the convocation of the electoral colleges was
therefore fixed for the 5th of August. Unfortunately, the members of the
present assembly could not form part of the succeeding one; this had been
decided before the flight to Varennes. In this important question, the
assembly had been drawn away by the rivalry of some, the disinterestedness
of others, the desire for anarchy on the part of the aristocrats, and of
domination on that of the republicans. Vainly did Duport exclaim: "While
every one is pestering us with new principles of all sorts, how is it
overlooked that stability is also a principle of government? Is France,
whose children are so ardent and changeable, to be exposed every two years
to a revolution in her laws and opinions?" This was the desire of the
privileged classes and the Jacobins, though with different views. In all
such matters, the constituent assembly was deceived or overruled; when the
ministry was in question, it decided, in opposition to Mirabeau, that no
deputy could hold office; on the subject of re-election, it decided, in
opposition to its own members, that it could not take place; in the same
spirit, it prohibited their accepting, for four years, any post offered
them by the prince. This mania of disinterestedness soon induced Lafayette
to divest himself of the command of the national guard, and Bailly to
resign the mayoralty. Thus this remarkable epoch entirely annihilated the
constituent body.

The collection of the constitutional decrees into one body led to the idea
of revising them. But this idea of revision gave great dissatisfaction,
and was almost of no effect; it was not desirable to render the
constitution more aristocratic by after measures, lest the multitude
should require it to be made more popular. To limit the sovereignty of the
nation, and, at the same time, not to overlook it, the assembly declared
that France had a right to revise its constitution, but that it was
prudent not to exercise this right for thirty years.

The act of the constitution was presented to the king by sixty deputies;
the suspension being taken off, Louis XVI. resumed the exercise of his
power; and the guard the law had given him was placed under his own
command. Thus restored to freedom, the constitution was submitted to him.
After examining it for several days, "I accept the constitution," he wrote
to the assembly; "I engage to maintain it at home, to defend it from all
attacks from abroad; and to cause its execution by all the means it places
at my disposal. I declare, that being informed of the attachment of the
great majority of the people to the constitution, I renounce my claim to
assist in the work, and that being responsible to the nation alone, no
other person, now that I have made this renunciation, has a right to

This letter excited general approbation. Lafayette demanded and procured
an amnesty in favour of those who were under prosecution for favouring the
king's flight, or for proceedings against the revolution. Next day the
king came in person to accept the constitution in the assembly. The
populace attended him thither with acclamations; he was the object of the
enthusiasm of the deputies and spectators, and he regained that day the
confidence and affection of his subjects. The 29th of September was fixed
for the closing of the assembly; the king was present; his speech was
often interrupted by applause, and when he said, "For you, gentlemen, who
during a long and arduous career have displayed such indefatigable zeal,
there remains one duty to fulfil when you have returned to your homes over
the country: to explain to your fellow-citizens the true meaning of the
laws you have made for them; to counsel those who slight them; to clarify
and unite all opinions by the example you shall afford of your love of
order, and of submission to the laws." Cries of "Yes! yes!" were uttered
by all the deputies with one common voice. "I rely on your being the
interpreters of my sentiments to your fellow-citizens." "Yes! yes!" "Tell
them all that the king will always be their first and most faithful
friend; that he needs their love; that he can only be happy with them and
by their means; the hope of contributing to their happiness will sustain
my courage, as the satisfaction of having succeeded will be my sweetest

"It is a speech worthy of Henry IV.," said a voice, and the king left the
hall amidst the loudest testimonials of love.

Then Thouret, in a loud voice, and addressing the people, exclaimed: "The
constituent assembly pronounces its mission accomplished, and that its
sittings now terminate." Thus closed this first and glorious assembly of
the nation. It was courageous, intelligent, just, and had but one passion
--a passion for law. It accomplished, in two years, by its efforts, and
with indefatigable perseverance, the greatest revolution ever witnessed by
one generation of men. Amidst its labours, it repressed despotism and
anarchy, by frustrating the conspiracies of the aristocracy and
maintaining the multitude in subordination. Its only fault was that it did
not confide the guidance of the revolution to those who were its authors;
it divested itself of power, like those legislators of antiquity who
exiled themselves from their country after giving it a constitution. A new
assembly did not apply itself to consolidating its work, and the
revolution, which ought to have been finished, was recommenced.

The constitution of 1791 was based on principles adapted to the ideas and
situation of France. This constitution was the work of the middle class,
then the strongest; for, as is well known, the predominant force ever
takes possession of institutions. When it belongs to one man alone, it is
despotism; when to several, it is privilege; when to all, it is right;
this last state is the limit, as it is the origin, of society. France had
at length attained it, after passing through feudalism, which was the
aristocratic institution, and absolute power, which was the monarchical
institution. Equality was consecrated among the citizens, and delegation
recognised among the powers; such were to be, under the new system, the
condition of men, and the form of government.

In this constitution the people was the source of all powers, but it
exercised none; it was entrusted only with election in the first instance,
and its magistrates were selected by men chosen from among the enlightened
portions of the community. The latter constituted the assembly, the law
courts, the public offices, the corporations, the militia, and thus
possessed all the force and all the power of the state. It alone was fit
to exercise them, because it alone had the intelligence necessary for the
conduct of government. The people was not yet sufficiently advanced to
participate in power, consequently, it was only by accident, and in the
most casual and evanescent manner, that power fell into its hands; but it
received civic education, and was disciplined to government in the primary
assemblies, according to the true aim of society, which is not to confer
its advantages as a patrimony on one particular class, but to make all
share in them, when all are capable of acquiring them. This was the
leading characteristic of the constitution of 1791; as each, by degrees,
became competent to enjoy the right, he was admitted to it; it extended
its limits with the extension of civilization, which every day calls a
greater number of men to the administration of the state. In this way it
had established true equality, whose real character is admissibility, as
that of inequality is exclusion. In rendering power transferable by
election, it made it a public magistracy; whilst privilege, in rendering
it hereditary by transmission, makes it private property.

The constitution of 1791 established homogeneous powers which corresponded
among themselves, and thus reciprocally restrained each other; still, it
must be confessed, the royal authority was too subordinate to popular
power. It is never otherwise: sovereignty, from whatever source derived,
gives itself a feeble counterpoise when it limits itself. A constituent
assembly enfeebles royalty; a king who is a legislator limits the
prerogatives of an assembly.

This constitution was, however, less democratic than that of the United
States, which had been practicable, despite the extent of the territory,
proving that it is not the form of institutions, but the assent which they
obtain, or the dissent which they excite, which permits or hinders their
establishment. In a new country, after a revolution of independence, as in
America, any constitution is possible; there is but one hostile party,
that of the metropolis, and when that is overcome, the struggle ceases,
because defeat leads to its expulsion. It is not so with social
revolutions among nations who have long been in existence. Changes attack
interests, interests form parties, parties enter into contest, and the
more victory spreads the greater grows opposition. This is what happened
in France. The work of the constituent assembly perished less from its
defects than from the attacks of faction. Placed between the aristocracy
and the multitude, it was attacked by the one and invaded by the other.
The latter would not have become sovereign, had not civil war and the
foreign coalition called for its intervention and aid. To defend the
country, it became necessary that it should govern it; then it effected
its revolution, as the middle class had effected its own. It had its 14th
of July in the 10th of August; its constituent assembly, the convention;
its government, which was the committee of public safety; yet, as we shall
see, without emigration there would have been no republic.




The new assembly opened its session on the 1st October, 1791. It declared
itself immediately _the national legislative assembly_. From its first
appearance, it had occasion to display its attachment to the actual state
of things, and the respect it felt for the authors of French liberty. The
book of the constitution was solemnly presented to it by the archivist
Camus, accompanied by twelve of the oldest members of the national
representation. The assembly received the constitutional act standing and
uncovered, and on it took the oath, amidst the acclamations of the people
who occupied the tribunes, "_to live free or perish!_" A vote of thanks
was given by it to the members of the constituent assembly, and it then
prepared to commence its labours.

But its first relations with the king had not the same character of union
and confidence. The court, doubtless hoping to regain under the
legislative, the superior position which it had lost under the constituent
assembly, did not employ sufficient management towards a susceptible and
anxious popular authority, which was then considered the first of the
state. The assembly sent a deputation of sixty of its members to the king
to announce its opening. The king did not receive them in person, and sent
word by the minister of justice that he could not give them audience till
noon on the following day. This unceremonious dismissal, and the indirect
communication between the national representatives and the prince, by
means of a minister, hurt the deputation excessively. Accordingly, when
the audience took place, Duchastel, who headed the deputation, said to him
laconically: "Sire, the national legislative assembly is sitting; we are
deputed to inform you of this." Louis XVI. replied still more drily: "I
cannot visit you before Friday." This conduct of the court towards the
assembly was impolitic, and little calculated to conciliate the affection
of the people.

The assembly approved of the cold manner assumed by the deputation, and
soon indulged in an act of reprisal. The ceremony with which the king was
to be received among them was arranged according to preceding laws. A
fauteuil in the form of a throne was reserved for him; they used towards
him the titles of _sire_ and _majesty_, and the deputies, standing and
uncovered on his entrance, were to sit down, put on their hats, and rise
again, following with deference all the movements of the prince. Some
restless and exaggerated minds considered this condescension unworthy of a
sovereign assembly. The deputy Grangeneuve required that the words _sire_
and _majesty_ should be replaced by the "more constitutional and finer"
title of _king of the French_. Couthon strongly enforced this motion, and
proposed that a simple fauteuil should be assigned to the king, exactly
like the president's. These motions excited some slight disapprobation on
the part of a few members, but the greater number received them eagerly.
"It gives me pleasure to suppose," said Guadet, "that the French people
will always venerate the simple fauteuil upon which sits the president of
the national representatives, much more than the gilded fauteuil where
sits the head of the executive power. I will say nothing, gentlemen, of
the titles of _sire_ and _majesty_. It astonishes me to find the national
assembly deliberating whether they shall be retained. The word _sire_
signifies seigneur; it belonged to the feudal system, which has ceased to
exist. As for the term _majesty_, it should only be employed in speaking
of God and of the people."

The previous question was demanded, but feebly; these motions were put to
the vote, and carried by a considerable majority. Yet, as this decree
appeared hostile, the constitutional opinion pronounced itself against it,
and censured this too excessive rigour in the application of principles.
On the following day those who had demanded the previous question moved
that the decisions of the day before should be abandoned. A report was
circulated, at the same time, that the king would not enter the assembly
if the decree were maintained; and the decree was revoked. These petty
skirmishes between two powers who had to fear usurpations, assumptions,
and more especially ill will between them, terminated here on this
occasion, and all recollection of them was effaced by the presence of
Louis XVI. in the legislative body, where he was received with the
greatest respect and the most lively enthusiasm.

General pacification formed the chief topic of his speech. He pointed out
to the assembly the subjects that ought to attract its attention,--
finance, civil law, commerce, trade, and the consolidation of the new
government; he promised to employ his influence to restore order and
discipline in the army, to put the kingdom in a state of defence, and to
diffuse ideas respecting the French revolution, calculated to re-establish
a good understanding in Europe. He added the following words, which were
received with much applause: "Gentlemen, in order that your important
labours, as well as your zeal, may produce all the good which may be
expected from them, a constant harmony and unchanging confidence should
reign between the legislative body and the king. The enemies of our peace
seek but too eagerly to disunite us, but let love of country cement our
union, and let public interest make us inseparable! Thus public power may
develop itself without obstacle; government will not be harassed by vain
fears; the possessions and faith of each will be equally protected, and no
pretext will remain for any one to live apart from a country where the
laws are in vigour, and where the rights of all are respected."
Unfortunately there were two classes, without the revolution, that would
not enter into composition with it, and whose efforts in Europe and the
interior of France were to prevent the realization of these wise and
pacific words. As soon as there are displaced parties in a state, a
struggle will result, and measures of hostility must be taken against
them. Accordingly, the internal troubles, fomented by non-juring priests,
the military assemblings of emigrants, and the preparations for the
coalition, soon drove the legislative assembly further than the
constitution allowed, and than it itself had proposed.

The composition of this assembly was completely popular. The prevailing
ideas being in favour of the revolution, the court, nobility, and clergy
had exercised no influence over the elections. There were not in this
assembly, as in the preceding, partisans of absolute power and of
privilege. The two fractions of the Left who had separated towards the
close of the constituent assembly were again brought face to face; but no
longer in the same proportion of number and strength. The popular minority
of the previous assembly became the majority in this. The prohibition
against electing representatives already tried, the necessity of choosing
deputies from those most distinguished by their conduct and opinions, and
especially the active influence of the clubs, led to this result. Opinions
and parties soon became known. As in the constituent assembly there was a
Right, a Centre, a Left, but of a perfectly different character.

The Right, composed of firm and absolute constitutionalists, composed the
Feuillant party. Its principal speakers were Dumas, Ramond, Vaublanc,
Beugnot, etc. It had some relations with the court, through Barnave,
Duport, and Alexander Lameth, who were its former leaders; but whose
counsels were rarely followed by Louis XVI., who gave himself up with more
confidence to the advice of those immediately around him. Out of doors, it
supported itself on the club of the Feuillants and upon the bourgeoisie.
The national guard, the army, the directory of the department, and in
general all the constituted authorities, were favourable to it. But this
party, which no longer prevailed in the assembly, soon lost a post quite
as essential, that of the municipality, which was occupied by its
adversaries of the Left.

These formed the party called Girondist, and which in the revolution only
formed an intermediate party between the middle class and the multitude.
It had then no subversive project; but it was disposed to defend the
revolution in every way, and in this differed from the constitutionalists
who would only defend it with the law. At its head were the brilliant
orators of the Gironde, [Footnote: The name of the river Garonne, after
its confluence with the Dordogne.] who gave their name to the party,
Vergniaud, Guadet, Gensonné, and the Provençal Isnard, who had a style of
still more impassioned eloquence than theirs. Its chief leader was
Brissot, who, a member of the corporation of Paris during the last
session, had subsequently become a member of the assembly. The opinions of
Brissot, who advocated a complete reform; his great activity of mind,
which he developed at once in the journal the _Patriote_, in the tribune
of the assembly, and at the club of the Jacobins; his exact and extensive
knowledge of the position of foreign powers, gave him great ascendancy at
the moment of a struggle between parties, and of a war with Europe.
Condorcet possessed influence of another description; he owed this to his
profound ideas, to his superior reason, which almost procured him the
place of Sieyès in this second revolutionary generation. Pétion, of a calm
and determined character, was the active man of this party. His tranquil
brow, his fluent elocution, his acquaintance with the people, soon
procured for him the municipal magistracy, which Bailly had discharged for
the middle class.

The Left had in the assembly the nucleus of a party more extreme than
itself, and the members of which, such as Chabot, Bazire, Merlin, were to
the Girondists what Pétion, Buzot, Robespierre, had been to the Left of
the constituent. This was the commencement of the democratic faction
which, without, served as auxiliary to the Gironde, and which managed the
clubs and the multitude. Robespierre in the society of the Jacobins, where
he established his sway after leaving the assembly; Danton, Camille
Desmoulins, and Fabre-d'Eglantine at the Cordeliers, where they had
founded a club of innovators more extreme than the Jacobins, composed of
men of the bourgeoisie; the brewer Santerre in the faubourgs, where the
popular power lay; were the true chiefs of this faction, which depended on
one whole class, and aspired at founding its own régime.

The Centre of the legislative assembly was sincerely attached to the new
order of things. It had almost the same opinions, the same inclination for
moderation as the Centre of the constituent assembly; but its power was
very different: it was no longer at the head of a class established, and
by the aid of which it could master all the extreme parties. Public
dangers, making the want of exalted opinions and parties from without
again felt, completely annulled the Centre. It was soon won over to the
strongest side, the fate of all moderate parties, and the Left swayed it.

The situation of the assembly was very difficult. Its predecessor had left
it parties which it evidently could not pacify. From the beginning of the
session it was obliged to turn its attention to these, and that in
opposing them. Emigration was making an alarming progress: the king's two
brothers, the prince de Condé and the duke de Bourbon, had protested
against Louis XVI. accepting the constitutional act, that is, against the
only means of accommodation; they had said that the king could not
alienate the rights of the ancient monarchy; and their protest,
circulating throughout France, had produced a great effect on their
partisans. Officers quitted the armies, the nobility their châteaux, whole
companies deserted to enlist on the frontiers. Distaffs were sent to those
who wavered; and those who did not emigrate were threatened with the loss
of the position when the nobility should return victorious. In the
Austrian Low Countries and the bordering electorates, there was formed
what was called _La France extérieure_. The counterrevolution was openly
preparing at Brussels, Worms, and Coblentz, under the protection and even
with the assistance of foreign courts. The ambassadors of the emigrants
were received, while those of the French government were dismissed, ill
received, or even thrown into prison, as in the case of M. Duveryer.
French merchants and travellers suspected of patriotism and attachment to
the revolution were scouted throughout Europe. Several powers had declared
themselves without disguise: of this number were Sweden, Russia, and
Spain; the latter at that time being governed by the marquis Florida-
Blanca, a man entirely devoted to the emigrant party. At the same time,
Prussia kept its army prepared for war: the lines of the Spanish and
Sardinian troops increased on our Alpine and Pyrenean frontiers, and
Gustavus was assembling a Swedish army.

The dissentient ecclesiastics left nothing undone which might produce a
diversion in favour of the emigrants at home. "Priests, and especially
bishops," says the marquis de Ferrières, "employed all the resources of
fanaticism to excite the people, in town and country, against the civil
constitution of the clergy." Bishops ordered the priests no longer to
perform divine service in the same church with the constitutional priests,
for fear the people might confound the two. "Independently," he adds, "of
circular letters written to the curés, instructions intended for the
people were circulated through the country. They said that the sacraments
could not be effectually administered by the constitutional priests, whom
they called _Intruders_, and that every one attending their ministrations
became by their presence guilty of a mortal sin; that those who were
married by Intruders, were not married; that they brought a curse upon
themselves and upon their children; that no one should have communication
with them, or with those separated from the church; that the municipal
officers who installed them, like them became apostates; that the moment
of their installation all bell-ringers and sextons ought to resign their
situations.... These fanatical addresses produced the effect which the
bishops expected. Religious disturbances broke out on all sides."

Insurrection more especially broke out in Calvados, Gevaudan, and La
Vendée. These districts were ill-disposed towards the revolution, because
they contained few of the middle and intelligent classes, and because the
populace, up to that time, had been kept in a state of dependence on the
nobility and clergy. The Girondists, taking alarm, wished to adopt
rigorous measures against emigration and the dissentient priests, who
attacked the new order of things. Brissot proposed putting a stop to
emigration, by giving up the mild system hitherto observed towards it. He
divided the emigrants into three classes:--1st. The principal leaders, and
at their head the brothers of the king. 2ndly. Public functionaries who
forsook their posts and country, and sought to entice their colleagues.
3rdly. Private individuals, who, to preserve life, or from an aversion to
the revolution, or from other motives, left their native land, without
taking arms against it. He required that severe laws should be put in
force against the first two classes; but thought it would be good policy
to be indulgent towards the last. With respect to non-juring
ecclesiastics and agitators, some of the Girondists proposed to confine
themselves to a stricter surveillance; others thought there was only one
safe line of conduct to be pursued towards them: that the spirit of
sedition could only be quelled by banishing them from the country. "All
attempts at conciliation," said the impetuous Isnard, "will henceforth be
in vain. What, I ask, has been the consequence of these reiterated
pardons? The daring of your foes has increased with your indulgence; they
will only cease to injure you when deprived of the means of doing so. They
must be conquerors or conquered. On this point all must agree; the man who
will not see this great truth is, in my opinion, politically blind."

The constitutionalists were opposed to all these measures; they did not
deny the danger, but they considered such laws arbitrary. They said,
before everything it was necessary to respect the constitution, and from
that time to confine themselves to precautionary measures; that it was
sufficient to keep on the defensive against the emigrants; and to wait, in
order to punish the dissentient priests, till they discovered actual
conspiracies on their part. They recommended that the law should not be
violated even towards enemies, for fear that once engaging in such a
course, it should be impossible to arrest that course, and so the
revolution be lost, like the ancient régime, through its injustice. But
the assembly, which deemed the safety of the state more important than the
strict observance of the law, which saw danger in hesitation, and which,
moreover, was influenced by passions which lead to expeditious measures,
was not stopped by these considerations. With common consent it again, on
the 30th of October, passed a decree relative to the eldest brother of the
king, Louis-Stanislaus-Xavier. This prince was required, in the terms of
the constitution, to return to France in two months, or at the expiration
of that period he would be considered to have forfeited his rights as
regent. But agreement ceased as to the decrees against emigrants and
priests. On the 9th of November the assembly resolved, that the French
gathered together beyond the frontiers were suspected of conspiracy
against their country; that if they remained assembled on the 1st of
January, 1792, they would be treated as conspirators, be punishable by
death, and that after condemnation to death for contumacy, the proceeds of
their estates were to be confiscated to the nation, always without
prejudice to the rights of their wives, children, and lawful creditors. On
the 29th of the same month it passed a similar decree respecting the
dissentient priests. They were obliged to take the civic oath, under pain
of being deprived of their pensions and suspected of revolt against the
law. If they still refused they were to be closely watched; and if any
religious disturbances took place in their parishes, they were to be taken
to the chief town of the department, and if found to have taken any part
in exciting disobedience, they were liable to imprisonment.

The king sanctioned the first decree respecting his brother; he put his
veto on the other two. A short time before he had disavowed emigration by
public measures, and he had written to the emigrant princes recalling them
to the kingdom. He invited them to return in the name of the tranquillity
of France, and of the attachment and obedience they owed to him as their
brother and their king. "I shall," said he, in concluding the letter,
"always be grateful to you for saving me the necessity of acting in
opposition to you, through the invariable resolution I have made to
maintain what I have announced." These wise invitations had led to no
result: but Louis XVI., while he condemned the conduct of the emigrants,
would not give his consent to the measures taken against them. In refusing
his sanction he was supported by the friends of the constitution and the
directory of the department. This support was not without use to him, at a
time when, in the eyes of the people, he appeared to be an accomplice of
emigration, when he provoked the dissatisfaction of the Girondists, and
separated himself from the assembly. He should have united closely with
it, since he invoked the constitution against the emigrants in his
letters, and against the revolutionist, by the exercise of his
prerogative. His position could only become strong by sincerely falling in
with the first revolution, and making his own cause one with that of the

But the court was not so resigned; it still expected better times, and was
thus prevented from pursuing an invariable line of conduct, and induced to
seek grounds for hope in every quarter. Now and then disposed to favour
the intervention of foreign powers, it continued to correspond with
Europe; it intrigued with its ministers against the popular party, and
made use of the Feuillants against the Girondists, though with much
distrust. At this period its chief resource was in the petty schemes of
Bertrand de Moleville, who directed the council; who had established a
_French club_, the members of which he paid; who purchased the applause of
the tribunes of the assembly, hoping by this imitation of the revolution
to conquer the true revolution, his object being to deceive parties, and
annul the effects of the constitution by observing it literally.

By this line of conduct the court had even the imprudence to weaken the
constitutionalists, whom it ought to have reinforced; at their expense it
favoured the election of Pétion to the mayoralty. Through the
disinterestedness with which the preceding assembly had been seized, all
who had held popular posts under it successively gave them up. On the 18th
of October, Lafayette resigned the command of the national guard, and
Bailly had just retired from the mayoralty. The constitutional party
proposed that Lafayette should replace him in this first post of the
state, which, by permitting or restraining insurrections, delivered Paris
into the power of him who occupied it. Till then it had been in the hands
of the constitutionalists, who, by this means, had repressed the rising of
the Champ de Mars. They had lost the direction of the assembly, the
command of the national guard; they now lost the corporation. The court
gave to Pétion, the Girondist candidate, all the votes at its disposal.
"M. de Lafayette," observed the queen to Bertrand de Moleville, "only
wishes to be mayor of Paris in order to become mayor of the palace. Pétion
is a jacobin, a republican, but he is a fool, incapable of ever leading a
party." On the 4th of November, Pétion was elected mayor by a majority of
6708 votes in a total of 10,632.

The Girondists, in whose favour this nomination became decisive, did not
content themselves with the acquisition of the mayoralty. France could not
remain long in this dangerous and provisional state. The decrees which,
justly or otherwise, were to provide for the defence of the revolution,
and which had been rejected by the king, were not replaced by any
government measure; the ministry manifested either unwillingness or sheer
indifference. The Girondists, accordingly, accused Delessart, the minister
for foreign affairs, of compromising the honour and safety of the nation
by the tone of his negotiations with foreign powers, by his
procrastination, and want of skill. They also warmly attacked Duportail,
the war minister, and Bertrand de Moleville, minister of the marine, for
neglecting to put the coasts and frontiers in a state of defence. The
conduct of the Electors of Trèves, Mayence, and the bishop of Spires, who
favoured the military preparations of the emigrants, more especially
excited the national indignation. The diplomatic committee proposed a
declaration to the king, that the nation would view with satisfaction a
requisition by him to the neighbouring princes to disperse the military
gatherings within three weeks, and his assembling the forces necessary to
make them respect international law. By this important measure, they also
wished to make Louis XVI. enter into a solemn engagement, and signify to
the diet of Ratisbon, as well as to the other courts of Europe, the firm
intentions of France.

Isnard ascended the tribune to support this proposition. "Let us," said
he, "in this crisis, rise to the full elevation of our mission; let us
speak to the ministers, to the king, to all Europe, with the firmness that
becomes us. Let us tell our ministers, that hitherto the nation is not
well satisfied with the conduct of any of them; that henceforth they will
have no choice but between public gratitude and the vengeance of the laws;
and that by the word responsibility we understand death. Let us tell the
king that it is his interest to defend the constitution; that he only
reigns by the people and for the people; that the nation is his sovereign,
and that he is subject to the law. Let us tell Europe, that if the French
people once draw the sword, they will throw away the scabbard, and will
not raise it again till it may be crowned with the laurels of victory;
that if cabinets engage kings in a war against the people, we will engage
the people in a mortal warfare against kings. Let us tell them, that all
the fights the people shall fight at the order of despots"--here he was
interrupted by loud applause--"Do not applaud," he cried--"do not applaud;
respect my enthusiasm; it is that of liberty! Let us say to Europe, that
all the fights which the people shall fight at the command of despots,
resemble the blows that two friends, excited by a perfidious instigator,
inflict on each other in darkness. When light arrives, they throw down
their arms, embrace, and chastise their deceiver. So will it be if, when
foreign armies are contending with ours, the light of philosophy shine
upon them. The nations will embrace in the presence of dethroned tyrants--
of the earth consoled, of Heaven satisfied."

The assembly unanimously, and with transport, passed the proposed measure,
and, on the 29th of November, sent a message to the king. Vaublanc was the
leader of the deputation. "Sire," said he to Louis XVI., "the national
assembly had scarcely glanced at the state of the nation ere it saw that
the troubles which still agitate it arise from the criminal preparations
of French emigrants. Their audacity is encouraged by German princes, who
trample under foot the treaties between them and France, and affect to
forget that they are indebted to this empire for the treaty of Westphalia,
which secured their rights and their safety. These hostile preparations,
these threats of invasion, will require armaments absorbing immense sums,
which the nation would joyfully pay over to its creditors. It is for you,
sire, to make them desist; it is for you to address to foreign powers the
language befitting the king of the French. Tell them, that wherever
preparations are permitted to be made against France, there France
recognises only foes; that we will religiously observe our oath to make no
conquests; that we offer them the good neighbourship, the inviolable
friendship of a free and powerful people; that we will respect their laws,
their customs, and their constitutions; but that we will have our own
respected! Tell them, that if princes of Germany continue to favour
preparations directed against the French, the French will carry into their
territories, not indeed fire and sword, but liberty. It is for them to
calculate the consequences of this awakening of nations."

Louis XVI. replied, that he would give the fullest consideration to the
message of the assembly; and in a few days he came in person to announce
his resolutions on the subject. They were conformable with the general
wish. The king said, amidst vehement applause, that he would cause it to
be declared to the elector of Trèves and the other electors, that, unless
all gatherings and hostile preparations on the part of the French
emigrants in their states ceased before the 15th of January, he would
consider them as enemies. He added, that he would write to the emperor to
engage him, as chief of the empire, to interpose his authority for the
purpose of averting the calamities which the lengthened resistance of a
few members of the Germanic body would occasion. "If these declarations
are not heeded, then, gentlemen," said he, "it will only remain for me to
propose war--war, which a people who have solemnly renounced conquest,
never declares without necessity, but which a free and generous nation
will undertake and carry on when its honour and safety require it."

The steps taken by the king with the princes of the empire were supported
by military preparations. On the 6th of December a new minister of war
replaced Duportail; Narbonne, taken from the Feuillants, young, active,
ambitious of distinguishing himself by the triumph of his party and the
defence of the revolution, repaired immediately to the frontiers. A
hundred and fifty thousand men were placed in requisition; for this object
the assembly voted an extraordinary supply of twenty millions of francs;
three armies were formed under the command of Rochambeau, Luckner, and
Lafayette; finally, a decree was passed impeaching _Monsieur_, the count
d'Artois, and the prince de Condé as conspirators against the general
safety of the state and of the constitution. Their property was
sequestrated, and the period previously fixed on for _Monsieur's_ return
to the kingdom having expired, he was deprived of his claim to the

The elector of Trèves engaged to disperse the gatherings, and not to allow
them in future. It was, however, but the shadow of a dispersion. Austria
ordered marshal Bender to defend the elector if he were attacked, and
ratified the conclusions of the diet of Ratisbon, which required the
restoration of the princes' possessions; refused to sanction any pecuniary
indemnity for the loss of their rights, and only left France the
alternative of restoring feudalism in Alsace, or war. These two measures
of the cabinet of Vienna were by no means pacific. Its troops advanced
towards the frontiers of France, and gave further proof that it would not
be safe to trust to its neutrality. It had fifty thousand men in the
Netherlands; six thousand posted in Breisgau; and thirty thousand men on
their way from Bohemia. This powerful army of observation might at any
moment be converted into an army of attack.

The assembly felt that it was urgently necessary to bring the emperor to a
decision. It looked on the electors as merely his agents, and on the
emigrants as his instruments; for the prince von Kaunitz recognised as
legitimate "the league of sovereigns united for the safety and honour of
crowns." The Girondists, therefore, wished to anticipate this dangerous
adversary, in order not to give him time for more mature preparations.
They required from him, before the 10th of February, a definite and
precise explanation of his real intentions with regard to France. They at
the same time proceeded against those ministers on whom they could not
rely in the event of war. The incapacity of Delessart, and the intrigues
of Moleville especially, gave room for attack; Narbonne was alone spared.
They were aided by the divisions of the council, which was partly
aristocratic in Bertrand de Moleville, Delessart, etc., and partly
constitutional, in Narbonne, and Cahier de Gerville, minister of the
interior. Men so opposed in character and intentions could scarcely be
expected to agree; Bertrand de Moleville had warm contests with Narbonne,
who wished his colleagues to adopt a frank, decided line of conduct, and
to make the assembly the fulcrum of the throne. Narbonne succumbed in this
struggle, and his dismissal involved the disorganization of the ministry.
The Girondists threw the blame upon Bertrand de Moleville and Delessart;
the former had the address to exonerate himself; but the latter was
brought before the high court of Orleans.

The king, intimidated by the assaults of the assembly upon the members of
his council, and more especially by the impeachment of Delessart, had no
resource but to select his new ministers from amongst the victorious
party. An alliance with the actual rulers of the revolution could alone
save liberty and the throne, by restoring concord between the assembly,
the supreme authority, and the municipality; and if this union had been
maintained, the Girondists would have effected with the court that which,
after the rupture itself, they considered they could only effect without
it. The members of the new ministry were:--minister of the marine,
Lacoste; of finance, Clavière; of justice, Duranton; of war, de Grave,
soon afterwards replaced by Servan; of foreign affairs, Dumouriez; of the
interior, Roland. The two latter were the most important and most
remarkable men in the cabinet.

Dumouriez was forty-seven years of age when the revolution began; he had
lived till then immersed in intrigue, and he retained his old habits too
closely at an epoch when he should have employed small means only to aid
great ones, instead of supplying their place. The first part of his
political life was spent in seeking those by whom he might rise: the
second, those by whom he might maintain his position. A courtier up to
1789, a constitutionalist under the first assembly, a Girondist under the
second, a Jacobin under the republic, he was eminently a man of
circumstances. But he had all the resources of great men; an enterprising
character, indefatigable activity, a ready, sure, and extensive
perception, impetuosity of action, and an extraordinary confidence of
success; he was, moreover, open, easy, witty, daring; adapted alike for
arms and for factions, full of expedients, wonderfully ready, and, in
difficult positions, versed in the art of stooping to conquer. It is true
that his great qualities were weakened by defects; he was rash, flighty,
full of inconsistency of thought and action, owing to his continual thirst
for movement and machination. But his great defect was the total absence
of a political conviction. In times of revolution, nothing can be done for
liberty or power by him who is not decidedly of one party or another, and
when he is ambitious, unless he see further than the immediate objects of
that party, and have a stronger will than his colleagues. This it was made
Cromwell; this it was made Buonaparte; while Dumouriez, the employed of
all parties, thought he could get the better of them all by intriguing. He
wanted the passion of his time: that which completes a man, and alone
enables him to sway.

Roland was the opposite of Dumouriez; his was a character which Liberty
found ready formed, as if moulded by herself. Roland had simple manners,
austere morals, tried opinions; enthusiastically attached to liberty, he
was capable of disinterestedly devoting to her cause his whole life, or of
perishing for her, without ostentation and without regret. A man worthy of
being born in a republic, but out of place in a revolution, and ill
adapted for the agitation and struggle of parties; his talents were not
superior, his temper somewhat uncompliant; he was unskilled in the
knowledge and management of men; and though laborious, well informed, and
active, he would have produced little effect but for his wife. All he
wanted she had for him; force, ability, elevation, foresight. Madame
Roland was the soul of the Gironde; it was at her house that those
brilliant and courageous men assembled to discuss the necessities and
dangers of their country; it was she who stimulated to action those whom
she saw were qualified for action, and who encouraged to the tribune those
whom she knew to be eloquent.

The court named this ministry, which was appointed during the month of
March, _le Ministère Sans-Culotte_. The first time Roland appeared at the
château with strings in his shoes and a round hat, contrary to etiquette,
the master of the ceremonies refused to admit him. Obliged, however, to
give way, he said, despairingly, to Dumouriez, pointing to Roland: "_Ah,
sir--no buckles in his shoes_." "Ah, sir, all is lost," replied Dumouriez,
with an air of the most sympathising gravity. Such were the trifles which
still occupied the attention of the court. The first step of the new
ministry was war. The position of France was becoming more and more
dangerous; everything was to be feared from the enmity of Europe. Leopold
was dead, and this event was calculated to accelerate the decision of the
cabinet of Vienna. His young successor, Francis II., was likely to be less
pacific or less prudent than he. Moreover, Austria was assembling its
troops, forming camps, and appointing generals; it had violated the
territory of Bâle, and placed a garrison in Porentruy, to secure for
itself the entry of the department of Doubs. There could be no doubt as to
its projects. The gatherings at Coblenz had recommenced to a greater
extent than before; the cabinet of Vienna had only temporarily dispersed
the emigrants assembled in the Belgian provinces, in order to prevent the
invasion of that country, at a time when it was not yet ready to repel
invasion; it had, however, merely sought to save appearances, and had
allowed a staff of general officers, in full uniform, and with the white
cockade, to remain at Brussels. Finally, the reply of the prince von
Kaunitz to the required explanations was by no means satisfactory. He even
refused to negotiate directly, and the baron von Cobenzl was commissioned
to reply, that Austria would not depart from the required conditions
already set forth. The re-establishment of the monarchy on the basis of
the royal sitting of the 23rd of June; the restitution of its property to
the clergy; of the territory of Alsace, with all their rights, to the
German princes; of Avignon and the Venaissin to the pope; such was the
_ultimatum_ of Austria. All accord was now impossible; peace could no
longer be maintained. France was threatened with the fate which Holland
had just experienced, and perhaps with that of Poland. The sole question
now was whether to wait for or to initiate war, whether to profit by the
enthusiasm of the people or to allow that enthusiasm to cool. The true
author of war is not he who declares it, but he who renders it necessary.

On the 20th of April, Louis XVI. went to the assembly, attended by all his
ministers. "I come, gentlemen," said he, "to the national assembly for one
of the most important objects that can occupy the representatives of the
nation. My minister for foreign affairs will read to you the report drawn
up in our council, as to our political situation." Dumouriez then rose. He
set forth the grounds of complaint that France had against the house of
Austria; the object of the conferences of Mantua, Reichenbach and Pilnitz;
the coalition it had formed against the French revolution; its armaments
becoming more and more considerable; the open protection it afforded to
bodies of emigrants; the imperious tone and the undisguised
procrastination of its negotiations, lastly, the intolerable conditions of
its _ultimatum_; and, after a long series of considerations, founded on
the hostile conduct of the king of Hungary and Bohemia (Francis II. was
not yet elected emperor); on the urgent circumstances of the nation; on
its formally declared resolution to endure no insult, no encroachment on
its rights; on the honour and good faith of Louis XVI., the depositary of
the dignity and safety of France; he demanded war against Austria. Louis
XVI. then said, in a voice slightly tremulous: "You have heard, gentlemen,
the result of my negotiations with the court of Vienna. The conclusions of
the report are based upon the unanimous opinion of my council; I have
myself adopted them. They are conformable with the wishes often expressed
to me by the national assembly, and with the sentiments frequently
testified by bodies of citizens in different parts of the kingdom; all
prefer war, to witnessing the continuance of insult to the French people,
and danger threatening the national existence. It was my duty first to try
every means of maintaining peace. Having failed in these efforts, I now
come, according to the terms of the constitution, to propose to the
national assembly war against the king of Hungary and Bohemia." The king's
address was received with some applause, but the solemnity of the
circumstances, and the grandeur of the decision, filled every bosom with
silent and concentrated emotion. As soon as the king had withdrawn, the
assembly voted an extraordinary sitting for the evening. In that sitting
war was almost unanimously decided upon. Thus was undertaken, against the
chief of the confederate powers, that war which was protracted throughout
a quarter of a century, which victoriously established the revolution, and
which changed the whole face of Europe.

All France received the announcement with joy. War gave a new movement to
the people already so much excited. Districts, municipalities, popular
societies, wrote addresses; men were enrolled, voluntary gifts offered,
pikes forged, and the nation seemed to rise up to await Europe, or to
attack it. But enthusiasm, which ensures victory in the end, does not at
first supply the place of organization. Accordingly, at the opening of the
campaign, the regular troops were all that could be relied upon until the
new levies were trained. This was the state of the forces. The vast
frontier, from Dunkirk to Huninguen, was divided into three great military
districts. On the left, from Dunkirk to Philippeville, the army of the
north, of about forty thousand foot, and eight thousand horse, was under
the orders of marshal de Rochambeau. Lafayette commanded the army of the
centre, composed of forty-five thousand foot, and seven thousand horse,
and occupying the district between Philippeville and the lines of
Weissemberg. Lastly, the army of the Rhine, consisting of thirty-five
thousand foot, and eight thousand horse, extending from the lines of
Weissemberg to Bâle, was under the command of marshal Luckner. The
frontier of the Alps and Pyrenees was confided to general Montesquiou,
whose army was inconsiderable; but this part of France was not as yet in

The marshal de Rochambeau was of opinion that it would be prudent to
remain on the defensive, and simply to guard the frontiers. Dumouriez, on
the contrary, wished to take the initiative in action, as they had done in
declaring war, so as to profit by the advantage of being first prepared.
He was very enterprising, and as, although minister of foreign affairs, he
directed the military operations, his plan was adopted. It consisted of a
rapid invasion of Belgium. This province had, in 1790, essayed to throw
off the Austrian yoke, but, after a brief victory, was subdued by superior
force. Dumouriez imagined that the Brabant patriots would favour the
attack of the French, as a means of freedom for themselves. With this
view, he combined a triple invasion. The two generals, Theobald Dillon,
and Biron, who commanded in Flanders under Rochambeau, received orders to
advance, the one with four thousand men from Lille upon Tournai--the
other, with ten thousand, from Valenciennes upon Mons. At the same time,
Lafayette, with a part of his army, quitted Metz, and advanced by forced
marches upon Namur, by Stenai, Sedan, Mézières, and Givet. But this plan
implied in the soldiers a discipline which they had not of course as yet
acquired, and on the part of the chiefs a concert very difficult to
obtain; besides, the invading columns were not strong enough for such an
enterprise. Theobald Dillon had scarcely passed the frontier, when, on
meeting the first enemy on the 28th of April, a panic terror seized upon
the troops. The cry of _sauve qui peut_ ran through the ranks, and the
general was carried off, and massacred by his troops. Much the same thing
took place, under the same circumstances, in the corps of Biron, who was
obliged to retreat in disorder to his previous position. The sudden and
concurrent flight of these two columns must be attributed either to fear
of the enemy, on the part of troops who had never before stood fire, or to
a distrust of their leaders, or to traitors who sounded the alarm of

Lafayette, on arriving at Bouvines, after travelling fifty leagues of bad
roads in two or three days, learnt the disasters of Valenciennes and
Lille; he at once saw that the object of the invasion had failed; and he
justly thought that the best course would be to effect a retreat.
Rochambeau complained of the precipitate and incongruous nature of the
measures which had been in the most absolute manner prescribed to him. As
he did not choose to remain a passive machine, obliged to fill, at the
will of the ministers, a post which he himself ought to have the full
direction of, he resigned. From that moment the French army resumed the
defensive. The frontier was divided into two general commands only, the
one intrusted to Lafayette, extending from the sea to Longwy, and the
other, from the Moselle to the Jura, being confided to Luckner. Lafayette
placed his left under the command of Arthur Dillon, and with his right
reached to Luckner, who had Biron as his lieutenant on the Rhine. In this
position they awaited the allies.

Meantime, the first checks increased the rupture between the Feuillants
and the Girondists. The generals ascribed them to the plans of Dumouriez,
the ministry attributed them to the manner in which its plans had been
executed by the generals, who, having been appointed by Narbonne, were of
the constitutional party. The Jacobins, on the other hand, accused the
anti-revolutionists of having occasioned the flight by the cry of _sauve
qui peut!_ Their joy, which they did not conceal, the declared hope of
soon seeing the confederates in Paris, the emigrants returned, and the
ancient regime restored, confirmed these suspicions. It was thought that
the court, which had increased the household troops from eighteen hundred
to six thousand men, and these carefully selected anti-revolutionists,
acted in concert with the coalition. The public denounced, under the name
of _comité Autrichien_, a secret committee, the very existence of which
could not be proved, and mistrust was at its height.

The assembly at once took decided measures. It had entered upon the career
of war, and it was thenceforth condemned to regulate its conduct far more
with reference to the public safety than with regard to the mere justice
of the case. It resolved upon sitting permanently; it discharged the
household troops; on account of the increase of religious disturbances, it
passed a decree exiling refractory priests, so that it might not have at
the same time to combat a coalition and to appease revolts. To repair the
late defeats, and to have an army of reserve near the capital, it voted on
the 8th of June, and on the motion of the minister for war, Servan, the
formation of a camp outside Paris of twenty thousand men drawn from the
provinces. It also sought to excite the public mind by revolutionary
fêtes, and began to enroll the multitude and arm them with pikes,
conceiving that no assistance could be superfluous in such a moment of

All these measures were not carried without opposition from the
constitutionalists. They opposed the establishment of the camp of twenty
thousand men, which they regarded as the army of a party directed against
the national guard and the throne. The staff of the former protested, and
the recomposition of this body was immediately effected in accordance with
the views of the dominant party. Companies armed with pikes were
introduced into the new national guard. The constitutionalists were still
more dissatisfied with this measure, which introduced a lower class into
their ranks, and which seemed to them to aim at superseding the
bourgeoisie by the populace. Finally, they openly condemned the banishment
of the priests, which in their opinion was nothing less than proscription.

Louis XVI. had for some time past manifested a coolness towards his
ministers, who on their part had been more exacting with him. They urged
him to admit about him priests who had taken the oath, in order to set an
example in favour of the constitutional religion, and to remove pretexts
for religious agitation; he steadily refused this, determined as he was to
make no further religious concession. These last decrees had put an end to
his concord with the Gironde; for several days he did not mention the
subject, much less make known his intentions respecting it. It was on this
occasion that Roland addressed to him his celebrated letter on his
constitutional duties, and entreated him to calm the public mind, and to
establish his authority, by becoming frankly the king of the revolution.
This letter still more highly irritated Louis XVI., already disposed to
break with the Girondists. He was supported in this by Dumouriez, who,
forsaking his party, had formed with Duranton and Lacoste, a division in
the ministry against Roland, Servan, and Clavière. But, able as well as
ambitious, Dumouriez advised Louis, while dismissing the ministers of whom
he had to complain, to sanction their decrees, in order to make himself
popular. He described that against the priests as a precaution in their
favour, exile probably removing them from a proscription still more fatal;
he undertook to prevent any revolutionary consequences from the camp of
twenty thousand men, by marching off each battalion to the army
immediately upon its arrival at the camp. On these conditions, Dumouriez
took upon himself the post of minister for war, and sustained the attacks
of his own party. The king dismissed his ministers on the 13th of June,
rejected the decrees on the 29th, and Dumouriez set out for the army,
after having rendered himself an object of suspicion. The assembly
declared that Roland, Servan, and Clavière carried with them the regrets
of the nation.

The king selected his new ministers from among the Feuillants. Scipio
Chambonnas was appointed minister of foreign affairs; Terrier de Monceil,
of the interior; Beaulieu, of finance; Lajarre, of war; Lacoste and
Duranton remained provisionally ministers of justice and of the marine.
All these men were without reputation or credit, and their party itself
was approaching the term of its existence. The constitutional situation,
during which it was to sway, was changing more and more decidedly into a
revolutionary situation. How could a legal and moderate party maintain
itself between two extreme and belligerent parties, one of which was
advancing from without to destroy the revolution, while the other was
resolved to defend it at any cost? The Feuillants became superfluous in
such a conjuncture. The king, perceiving their weakness, now seemed to
place his reliance upon Europe alone, and sent Mallet-Dupan on a secret
mission to the coalition.

Meantime, all those who had been outstripped by the popular tide, and who
belonged to the first period of the revolution, united to second this
slight retrograde movement. The monarchists, at whose head were Lally-
Tollendal and Malouet, two of the principal members of the Mounier and
Necker party; Feuillants, directed by the old triumvirate, Duport, Lameth,
and Barnave; lastly, Lafayette, who had immense reputation as a
constitutionalist, tried to put down the clubs, and to re-establish legal
order and the power of the king. The Jacobins made great exertions at this
period; their influence was becoming enormous; they were at the head of
the party of the populace. To oppose them, to check them, the old party of
the bourgeoisie was required; but this was disorganised, and its influence
grew daily weaker and weaker. In order to revive its courage and strength,
Lafayette, on the 16th of June, addressed from the camp at Maubeuge a
letter to the assembly, in which he denounced the Jacobin faction,
required the cessation of the clubs, the independence and confirmation of
the constitutional throne, and urged the assembly in his own name, in that
of his army, in that of all the friends of liberty, only to adopt such
measures for the public welfare as were sanctioned by law. This letter
gave rise to warm debates between the Right and Left in the assembly.
Though dictated only by pure and disinterested motives, it appeared,
coming as it did from a young general at the head of his army, a
proceeding _à la Cromwell_, and from that moment Lafayette's reputation,
hitherto respected by his opponents, became the object of attack. In fact,
considering it merely in a political point of view, this step was
imprudent. The Gironde, driven from the ministry, stopped in its measures
for the public good, needed no further goading; and, on the other hand, it
was quite undesirable that Lafayette, even for the benefit of his party,
should use his influence.

The Gironde wished, for its own safety and that of the nation, to recover
power, without, however, departing from constitutional means. Its object
was not, as at a later period, to dethrone the king, but to bring him back
amongst them. For this purpose it had recourse to the imperious petitions
of the multitude. Since the declaration of war, petitioners had appeared
in arms at the bar of the national assembly, had offered their services in
defence of the country, and had obtained permission to march armed through
the house. This concession was blameable, neutralizing all the laws
against military gatherings; but both parties found themselves in an
extraordinary position, and each employed illegal means; the court having
recourse to Europe, and the Gironde to the people. The latter was in a
state of great agitation. The leaders of the Faubourgs, among whom were
the deputy Chabot, Santerre, Legendre, a butcher, Gonchon, the marquis de
Saint Hurugue, prepared them, during several days, for a revolutionary
outbreak, similar to the one which failed at the Champ de Mars. The 20th
of June was approaching, the anniversary of the oath of the Tennis-court.
Under the pretext of celebrating this memorable day by a civic fête, and
of planting a May-pole in honour of liberty, an assemblage of about eight
thousand men left the Faubourgs Saint Antoine and Saint Marceau, on the
20th of June, and took their way to the assembly.

Roederer, the recorder, brought the tidings to the assembly, but in the
meantime the mob had reached the doors of the hall. Their leaders asked
permission to present a petition, and to defile before the assembly. A
violent debate arose between the Right, who were unwilling to admit the
armed petitioners, and the Left, who, on the ground of custom, wished to
receive them, Vergniaud declared that the assembly would violate every
principle by admitting armed bands among them; but, considering actual
circumstances, he also declared that it was impossible to deny a request
in the present case, that had been granted in so many others. It was
difficult not to yield to the desires of an enthusiastic and vast
multitude, when seconded by a majority of the representatives. The crowd
already thronged the passages, when the assembly decided that the
petitioners should be admitted to the bar. The deputation was introduced.
The spokesman expressed himself in threatening language. He said that the
people were astir; that they were ready to make use of great means--the
means comprised in the declaration of rights, _resistance of oppression_;
that the dissentient members of the assembly, if there were any, _would
purge the world of liberty_, and would repair to Coblentz; then returning
to the true design of this insurrectional petition, he added: "The
executive power is not in union with you; we require no other proof of it
than the dismissal of the patriot ministers. It is thus, then, that the
happiness of a free nation shall depend on the caprice of a king! But
should this king have any other will than that of the law? The people will
have it so, and the life of the people is as valuable as that of crowned
despots. That life is the genealogical tree of the nation, and the feeble
reed must bend before this sturdy oak! We complain, gentlemen, of the
inactivity of our armies; we require of you to penetrate into the cause of
this; if it spring from the executive power, let that power be destroyed!"

The assembly answered the petitioners that it would take their request
into consideration; it then urged them to respect the law and legal
authorities, and allowed them to defile before it. This procession,
amounting to thirty thousand persons, comprising women, children, national
guards, and men armed with pikes, among whom waved revolutionary banners
and symbols, sang, as they traversed the hall, the famous chorus, _Ca
ira_, and cried: "Vive la nation!" "Vivent les sans-culottes!" "A bas le
veto!" It was led by Santerre and the marquis de Saint Hurugue. On leaving
the assembly, it proceeded to the château, headed by the petitioners.

The outer doors were opened at the king's command; the multitude rushed
into the interior. They ascended to the apartments, and while forcing the
doors with hatchets, the king ordered them to be opened, and appeared
before them, accompanied by a few persons. The mob stopped a moment before
him; but those who were outside, not being awed by the presence of the
king, continued to advance. Louis XVI. was prudently placed in the recess
of a window. He never displayed more courage than on this deplorable day.
Surrounded by national guards, who formed a barrier against the mob,
seated on a chair placed on a table, that he might breathe more freely and
be seen by the people, he preserved a calm and firm demeanour. In reply to
the cries that arose on all sides for the sanction of the decrees, he
said: "This is neither the mode nor the moment to obtain it of me." Having
the courage to refuse the essential object of the meeting, he thought he
ought not to reject a symbol, meaningless for him, but in the eyes of the
people, that of liberty; he placed on his head a red cap presented to him
on the top of a pike. The multitude were quite satisfied with this
condescension. A moment or two afterwards, they loaded him with applause,
as, almost suffocated with hunger and thirst, he drank off, without
hesitation, a glass of wine presented to him by a half-drunken workman. In
the meantime, Vergniaud, Isnard, and a few deputies of the Gironde, had
hastened thither to protect the king, to address the people, and put an
end to these indecent scenes. The assembly, which had just risen from a
sitting, met again in haste, terrified at this outbreak, and despatched
several successive deputations to Louis XVI. by way of protection. At
length, Pétion, the mayor, himself arrived; he mounted a chair, harangued
the people, urged them to retire without tumult, and the people obeyed.
These singular insurgents, whose only aim was to obtain decrees and
ministers, retired without having exceeded their mission, but without
discharging it.

The events of the 20th of June excited the friends of the constitution
against its authors. The violation of the royal residence, the insults
offered to Louis XVI., the illegality of a petition presented amidst the
violence of the multitude, and the display of arms, were subjects of
serious censure against the popular party. The latter saw itself reduced
for a moment to the defensive; besides being guilty of a riot, it had
undergone a complete check. The constitutionalists assumed the tone and
superiority of an offended and predominant party; but this lasted only a
short time, for they were not seconded by the court. The national guard
offered to Louis XVI. to remain assembled round his person; the duc de la
Rochefoucauld-Liancourt, who commanded at Rouen, wished to convey him to
his troops, who were devoted to his cause. Lafayette proposed to take him
to Compiègne, and place him at the head of his army; but Louis XVI.
declined all these offers. He conceived that the agitators would be
disgusted at the failure of their last attempt; and, as he hoped for
deliverance from the coalition of European powers, rendered more active by
the events of the 20th of June, he was unwilling to make use of the
constitutionalists, because he would have been obliged to treat with them.

Lafayette, however, attempted to make a last effort in favour of legal
monarchy. After having provided for the command of his army, and collected
addresses protesting against the late events, he started for Paris, and on
the 28th of June he unexpectedly presented himself at the bar of the
assembly. He required in his name, as well as in that of his army, the
punishment of the insurrectionists of the 20th of June, and the
destruction of the Jacobin party. His proceeding excited various
sentiments in the assembly. The Right warmly applauded it, but the Left
protested against his conduct. Guadet proposed that an inquiry should be
made as to his culpability in leaving his army and coming to dictate laws
to the assembly. Some remains of respect prevented the latter from
following Guadet's advice; and after tumultuous debates, Lafayette was
admitted to the honours of the sitting, but this was all on the part of
the assembly. Lafayette then turned to the national guard, that had so
long been devoted to him, and hoped with its aid to close the clubs,
disperse the Jacobins, restore to Louis XVI. the authority which the law
gave him, and again establish the constitution. The revolutionists were
astounded, and dreaded everything from the daring and activity of this
adversary of the Champ de Mars. But the court, which feared the triumph of
the constitutionalists, caused Lafayette's projects to fail; he had
appointed a review, which it contrived to prevent by its influence over
the officers of the royalist battalions. The grenadiers and chasseurs,
picked companies still better disposed than the rest, were to assemble at
his residence and proceed against the clubs; scarcely thirty men came.
Having thus vainly attempted to rally in the cause of the constitution,
and the common defence, the court and the national guard, and finding
himself deserted by those he came to assist, Lafayette returned to his
army, after having lost what little influence and popularity remained to
him. This attempt was the last symptom of life in the constitutional

The assembly naturally returned to the situation of France, which had not
changed. The extraordinary commission of twelve presented, through
Pastoret, an unsatisfactory picture of the state and divisions of party.
Jean Debry, in the name of the same commission, proposed that the assembly
should secure the tranquillity of the people, now greatly disturbed, by
declaring that when the crisis became imminent, the assembly would declare
_the country is in danger_; and that it would then take measures for the
public safety. The debate opened upon this important subject. Vergniaud,
in a speech which deeply moved the assembly, drew a vivid picture of all
the perils to which the country was at that moment exposed. He said that
it was in the name of the king that the emigrants were assembled, that the
sovereigns of Europe had formed a coalition, that foreign armies were
marching on our frontiers, and that internal disturbances were taking
place. He accused him of checking the national zeal by his refusals, and
of giving France up to the coalition. He quoted the article of the
constitution by which it was declared that "if the king placed himself at
the head of an army and directed its force against the nation, or if he
did not formally oppose such an enterprise, undertaken in his name, he
should be considered as having abdicated the throne." Supposing, then,
that Louis XVI. voluntarily opposed the means of defending the country, in
that case, said he: "have we not a right to say to him: 'O king, who
thought, no doubt, with the tyrant Lysander, that truth was of no more
worth than falsehood, and that men were to be amused by oaths, as children
are diverted by toys; who only feigned obedience to the laws that you
might better preserve the power that enables you to defy them; and who
only feigned love for the constitution that it might not precipitate you
from the throne on which you felt bound to remain in order to destroy the
constitution, do you expect to deceive us by hypocritical protestations?
Do you think to deceive us as to our misfortunes by the art of your
excuses? Was it defending us to oppose to foreign soldiers forces whose
known inferiority admitted of no doubt as to their defeat? To set aside
projects for strengthening the interior? Was it defending us not to check
a general who was violating the constitution, while you repressed the
courage of those who sought to serve it? Did the constitution leave you
the choice of ministers for our happiness or our ruin? Did it place you at
the head of our army for our glory or our shame? Did it give you the right
of sanction, a civil list and so many prerogatives, constitutionally to
lose the empire and the constitution? No! no! man! whom the generosity of
the French could not affect, whom the love of despotism alone actuates,
you are now nothing to the constitution you have so unworthily violated,
and to the people you have so basely betrayed!'"

The only resource of the Gironde, in its present situation, was the
abdication of the king; Vergniaud, it is true, as yet only expressed
himself ambiguously, but all the popular party attributed to Louis XVI.
projects which Vergniaud had only expressed in the form of suppositions.
In a few days, Brissot expressed himself more openly. "Our peril," said
he, "exceeds all that past ages have witnessed. The country is in danger,
not because we are in want of troops, not because those troops want
courage, or that our frontiers are badly fortified, and our resources
scanty. No, it is in danger, because its force is paralysed. And who has
paralysed it? A man--one man, the man whom the constitution has made its
chief, and whom perfidious advisers have made its foe. You are told to
fear the kings of Hungary and Prussia; I say, the chief force of these
kings is at the court, and it is there that we must first conquer them.
They tell you to strike the dissentient priests throughout the kingdom. I
tell you to strike at the Tuileries, that is, to fell all the priests with
a single blow; you are told to prosecute all factious and intriguing
conspirators; they will all disappear if you once knock loud enough at the
door of the cabinet of the Tuileries, for that cabinet is the point to
which all these threads tend, where every scheme is plotted, and whence
every impulse proceeds. The nation is the plaything of this cabinet. This
is the secret of our position, this is the source of the evil, and here
the remedy must be applied."

In this way the Gironde prepared the assembly for the question of
deposition. But the great question concerning the danger of the country
was first terminated. The three united committees declared that it was
necessary to take measures for the public safety, and on the 5th July the
assembly pronounced the solemn declaration: _Citizens, the country is in
danger!_ All the civil authorities immediately established themselves _en
surveillance permanente_. All citizens able to bear arms, and having
already served in the national guard, were placed in active service; every
one was obliged to make known what arms and ammunition he possessed; pikes
were given to those who were unable to procure guns; battalions of
volunteers were enrolled on the public squares, in the midst of which
banners were placed, bearing the words--"Citizens, the country is in
danger!" and a camp was formed at Soissons. These measures of defence, now
become indispensable, raised the revolutionary enthusiasm to the highest
pitch. It was especially observable on the anniversary of the 14th of
July, when the sentiments of the multitude and the federates from the
departments were manifested without reserve. Pétion was the object of the
people's idolatry, and had all the honours of the federation. A few days
before, he had been dismissed, on account of his conduct on the 20th of
June by the directory of the department and the council; but the assembly
had restored him to his functions, and the only cry on the day of the
federation was: "_Pétion or death!_" A few battalions of the national
guard, such as that of the Filles-Saint-Thomas, still betrayed attachment
to the court; they became the object of popular resentment and mistrust. A
disturbance was excited in the Champs Élysées between the grenadiers of
the Filles-Saint-Thomas and the federates of Marseilles, in which some
grenadiers were wounded. Every day the crisis became more imminent; the
party in favour of war could no longer endure that of the constitution.
Attacks against Lafayette multiplied; he was censured in the journals,
denounced in the assembly. At length hostilities began. The club of the
Feuillants was closed; the grenadier and chasseur companies of the
national guard which formed the force of the bourgeoisie were disbanded;
the soldiers of the line, and a portion of the Swiss, were sent away from
Paris, and open preparations were made for the catastrophe of the 10th of

The progress of the Prussians and the famous manifesto of Brunswick
contributed to hasten this movement. Prussia had joined Austria and the
German princes against France. This coalition, to which the court of Turin
joined itself, was formidable, though it did not comprise all the powers
that were to have joined it at first. The death of Gustavus, appointed at
first commander of the invading army, detached Sweden; the substitution of
the count d'Aranda, a prudent and moderate man, for the minister Florida-
Blanca, prevented Spain from entering it; Russia and England secretly
approved the attacks of the European league, without as yet co-operating
with it. After the military operations already mentioned, they watched
each other rather than fought. During the interval, Lafayette had inspired
his army with good habits of discipline and devotedness; and Dumouriez,
stationed under Luckner at the camp of Maulde, had inured the troops
confided to him by petty engagements and daily successes. In this way they
had formed the nucleus of a good army; a desirable thing, as they required
organization and confidence to repel the approaching invasion of the
coalesced powers.

The duke of Brunswick directed it. He had the chief command of the enemy's
army, composed of seventy thousand Prussians, and sixty-eight thousand
Austrians, Hessians, or emigrants. The plan of invasion was as follows:--
The duke of Brunswick with the Prussians, was to pass the Rhine at
Coblentz, ascend the left bank of the Moselle, attack the French frontier
by its central and most accessible point, and advance on the capital by
way of Longwy, Verdun, and Châlons. The prince von Hohenlohe on his left,
was to advance in the direction of Metz and Thionville, with the Hessians
and a body of emigrants; while general Clairfayt, with the Austrians and
another body of emigrants, was to overthrow Lafayette, stationed before
Sedan and Mézieres, cross the Meuse, and march upon Paris by Rheims and
Soissons. Thus the centre and two wings were to make a concentrated
advance on the capital from the Moselle, the Rhine, and the Netherlands.
Other detachments stationed on the frontier of the Rhine and the extreme
northern frontier, were to attack our troops on these sides and facilitate
the central invasion.

On the 26th of July, when the army began to move from Coblentz, the duke
of Brunswick published a manifesto in the name of the emperor and the king
of Prussia. He reproached _those who had usurped the reins of
administration in France_, with having disturbed order and overturned the
legitimate government; with having used daily-renewed violence against the
king and his family; with having arbitrarily suppressed the rights and
possessions of the German princes in Alsace and Lorraine; and, finally,
with having crowned the measure by declaring an unjust war against his
majesty the emperor, and attacking his provinces in the Netherlands. He
declared that the allied sovereigns were advancing to put an end to
anarchy in France, to arrest the attacks made on the altar and the throne;
to restore to the king the security and liberty he was deprived of, and to
place him in a condition to exercise his legitimate authority. He
consequently rendered the national guard and the authorities responsible
for all the disorders that should arise until the arrival of the troops of
the coalition. He summoned them to return to their ancient fidelity. He
said that the inhabitants of towns, _who dared to stand on the defensive_,
should instantly be punished as rebels, with the rigour of war, and their
houses demolished or burned; that if the city of Paris did not restore the
king to full liberty, and render him due respect, the princes of the
coalition would make the members of the national assembly, of the
department, of the district, the corporation, and the national guard,
personally responsible with their heads, to be tried by martial-law, and
without hope of pardon; and that if the château were attacked or insulted,
the princes would inflict an exemplary and never-to-be-forgotten
vengeance, by delivering Paris over to military execution, and total
subversion. He promised, on the other hand, if the inhabitants of Paris
would promptly obey the orders of the coalition, to secure for them the
mediation of the allied princes with Louis XVI. for the pardon of their
offences and errors.

This fiery and impolitic manifesto, which disguised neither the designs of
the emigrants nor those of Europe, which treated a great nation with a
truly extraordinary tone of command and contempt, which openly announced
to it all the miseries of an invasion, and, moreover, vengeance and
despotism, excited a national insurrection. It more than anything else
hastened the fall of the throne, and prevented the success of the
coalition. There was but one wish, one cry of resistance, from one end of
France to the other; and whoever had not joined in it, would have been
looked on as guilty of impiety towards his country and the sacred cause of
its independence. The popular party, placed in the necessity of
conquering, saw no other way than that of annihilating the power of the
king, and in order to annihilate it, than that of dethroning him. But in
this party, every one wished to attain the end in his own way: the Gironde
by a decree of the assembly; the leaders of the multitude by an
insurrection. Danton, Robespierre, Camille Desmoulins, Fabre-d'Eglantine,
Marat, etc., were a displaced faction requiring a revolution that would
raise it from the midst of the people to the assembly and the corporation.
They were the true leaders of the new movement about to take place by the
means of the lower class of society against the middle class, to which the
Girondists belonged by their habits and position. A division arose from
that day between those who only wished to suppress the court in the
existing order of things, and those who wished to introduce the multitude.
The latter could not fall in with the tardiness of discussion. Agitated by
every revolutionary passion, they disposed themselves for an attack by
force of arms, the preparations for which were made openly, and a long
time beforehand.

Their enterprise had been projected and suspended several times. On the
26th of July, an insurrection was to break out; but it was badly
contrived, and Pétion prevented it. When the federates from Marseilles
arrived, on their way to the camp at Soissons, the faubourgs were to meet
them, and then repair, unexpectedly, to the château. This insurrection
also failed. Yet the arrival of the Marseillais encouraged the agitators
of the capital, and conferences were held at Charenton between them and
the federal leaders for the overthrow of the throne. The sections were
much agitated; that of Mauconseil was the first to declare itself in a
state of insurrection, and notified this to the assembly. The dethronement
was discussed in the clubs, and on the 3rd of August, the mayor Pétion
came to solicit it of the legislative body, in the name of the commune and
of the sections. The petition was referred to the extraordinary commission
of twelve. On the 8th, the accusation of Lafayette was discussed. Some
remains of courage induced the majority to support him, and not without
danger. He was acquitted; but all who had voted for him were hissed,
pursued, and ill treated by the people at the breaking up of the sitting.

The following day the excitement was extreme. The assembly learned by the
letters of a large number of deputies, that the day before on leaving the
house they had been ill used, and threatened with death, for voting the
acquittal of Lafayette. Vaublanc announced that a crowd had invested and
searched his house in pursuit of him. Girardin exclaimed: "Discussion is
impossible, without perfect liberty of opinion; I declare to my
constituents that I cannot deliberate if the legislative body does not
secure me liberty and safety." Vaublanc earnestly urged that the assembly
should take the strongest measures to secure respect to the law. He also
required that the federates, who were defended by the Girondists, should
be sent without delay to Soissons. During these debates the president
received a message from de Joly, minister of justice. He announced that
the mischief was at its height, and the people urged to every kind of
excess. He gave an account of those committed the evening before, not only
against the deputies, but against many other persons. "I have," said the
minister, "denounced these attacks in the criminal court; but law is
powerless; and I am impelled by honour and probity to inform you, that
without the promptest assistance of the legislative body, the government
can no longer be responsible." In the meantime, it was announced that the
section of the Quinze-vingts had declared that, if the dethronement were
not pronounced that very day, at midnight they would sound the tocsin,
would beat the générale and attack the château. This decision had been
transmitted to the forty-eight sections, and all had approved it, except
one. The assembly summoned the recorder of the department, who assured
them of his good-will, but his inability; and the mayor, who replied that,
at a time when the sections had resumed their sovereignty, he could only
exercise over the people the influence of persuasion. The assembly broke
up without adopting any measures.

The insurgents fixed the attack on the château for the morning of the 10th
of August. On the 8th, the Marseillais had been transferred from their
barracks in the Rue Blanche to the Cordeliers, with their arms, cannon,
and standard. They had received five thousand ball cartridges, which had
been distributed to them by command of the commissioner of police. The
principal scene of the insurrection was the Faubourg Saint Antoine. In the
evening, after a very stormy sitting, the Jacobins repaired thither in
procession; the insurrection was then organized. It was decided to
dissolve the department; to dismiss Pétion, in order to withdraw him from
the duties of his place, and all responsibility; and, finally, to replace
the general council of the present commune by an insurrectional
municipality. Agitators repaired at the same time to the sections of the
faubourgs and to the barracks of the federate Marseillais and Bretons.

The court had been apprised of the danger for some time, and had placed
itself in a state of defence. At this juncture, it probably thought it was
not only able to resist, but also entirely to re-establish itself. The
interior of the château was occupied by Swiss, to the number of eight or
nine hundred, by officers of the disbanded guard, and by a troop of
gentlemen and royalists, who had offered their services, armed with
sabres, swords, and pistols. Mandat, the general-in-chief of the national
guard, had repaired to the château, with his staff, to defend it; he had
given orders to the battalions most attached to the constitution to take
arms. The ministers were also with the king; the recorder of the
department had gone thither in the evening at the command of the king, who
had also sent for Pétion, to ascertain from him the state of Paris, and
obtain an authorization to repel force by force.

At midnight, the tocsin sounded; the générale was beaten. The insurgents
assembled, and fell into their ranks; the members of the sections broke up
the municipality, and named a provisional council of the commune, which
proceeded to the Hôtel de Ville to direct the insurrection. The battalions
of the national guard, on their side, took the route to the château, and
were stationed in the court, or at the principal posts, with the mounted
gendarmerie; artillerymen occupied the avenues of the Tuileries, with
their pieces; while the Swiss and volunteers guarded the apartments. The
defence was in the best condition.

Some deputies, meanwhile, aroused by the tocsin, had hurried to the hall
of the legislative body, and had opened the sitting under the
presidentship of Vergniaud. Hearing that Pétion was at the Tuileries, and
presuming he was detained there, and wanted to be released, they sent for
him to the bar of the assembly, to give an account of the state of Paris.
On receiving this order, he left the château; he appeared before the
assembly, where a deputation again inquired for him, also supposing him to
be a prisoner at the Tuileries. With this deputation he returned to the
Hôtel de Ville, where he was placed under a guard of three hundred men by
the new commune. The latter, unwilling to allow any other authority on
this day of disorder than the insurrectional authorities, early in the
morning sent for the commandant Mandat, to know what arrangements were
made at the château. Mandat hesitated to obey; yet, as he did not know
that the municipality had been changed, and as his duty required him to
obey its orders, on a second call which he received from the commune, he
proceeded to the Hôtel de Ville. On perceiving new faces as he entered, he
turned pale. He was accused of authorizing the troops to fire on the
people. He became agitated, and was ordered to the Abbaye, and the mob
murdered him as he was leaving, on the steps of the Hôtel de Ville. The
commune immediately conferred the command of the national guard on

The court was thus deprived of its most determined and influential
defender. The presence of Mandat, and the order he had received to employ
force in case of need, were necessary to induce the national guard to
fight. The sight of the nobles and royalists had lessened its zeal. Mandat
himself, previous to his departure, had urged the queen in vain to dismiss
this troop, which the constitutionalists considered as a troop of

About four in the morning the queen summoned Roederer, the recorder of the
department, who had passed the night at the Tuileries, and inquired what
was to be done under these circumstances? Roederer replied, that he
thought it necessary that the king and the royal family should proceed to
the national assembly. "You propose," said Dubouchage, "to take the king
to his foes." Roederer replied, that, two days before, four hundred
members of that assembly out of six hundred, had pronounced in favour of
Lafayette; and that he had only proposed this plan as the least dangerous.
The queen then said, in a very positive tone: "Sir, we have forces here:
it is at length time to know who is to prevail, the king and the
constitution, or faction?" "In that case, madam," rejoined Roederer, "let
us see what arrangements have been made for resistance." Laschenaye, who
commanded in the absence of Mandat, was sent for. He was asked if he had
taken measures to prevent the crowd from arriving at the château? If he
had guarded the Carrousel? He replied in the affirmative; and, addressing
the queen, he said, in a tone of anger: "I must not allow you to remain in
ignorance, madam, that the apartments are filled with people of all kinds,
who very much impede the service, and prevent free access to the king, a
circumstance which creates dissatisfaction among the national guard."
"This is out of season," replied the queen; "I will answer for those who
are here; they will advance first or last, in the ranks, as you please;
they are ready for all that is necessary; they are sure men." They
contented themselves with sending the two ministers, Joly and Champion to
the assembly to apprise it of the danger, and ask for its assistance and
for commissioners. [Footnote: _Chronique des Cinquante Jours_, par P. L.
Roederer, a writer of the most scrupulous accuracy.]

Division already existed between the defenders of the château, when Louis
XVI. passed them in review at five o'clock in the morning. He first
visited the interior posts, and found them animated by the best
intentions. He was accompanied by some members of his family, and appeared
extremely sad. "I will not," he said, "separate my cause from that of good
citizens; we will save ourselves or perish together." He then descended
into the yard, accompanied by some general officers. As soon as he
arrived, they beat to arms. The cry of "Vive le roi!" was heard, and was
repeated by the national guard; but the artillerymen, and the battalion of
the Croix Rouge replied by the cry of "Vive la nation!" At the same
instant, new battalions, armed with guns and pikes, defiled before the
king, and took their places upon the terrace of the Seine, crying; "Vive
la nation!" "Vive Pétion!" The king continued the review, not, however,
without feeling saddened by this omen. He was received with the strongest
evidences of devotion by the battalions of the Filles-Saint-Thomas, and
Petits-Pères, who occupied the terrace, extending the length of the
château. As he crossed the garden to visit the ports of the Pont Tournant,
the pike battalions pursued him with the cry of: "Down with the veto!"
"Down with the traitor!" and as he returned, they quitted their position,
placed themselves near the Pont Royal, and turned their cannon against the
château. Two other battalions stationed in the courts imitated them, and
established themselves on the Place du Carrousel in an attitude of attack.
On re-entering the château, the king was pale and dejected; and the queen
said, "All is lost! This kind of review has done more harm than good."

While all this was passing at the Tuileries, the insurgents were advancing
in several columns; they had passed the night in assembling, and becoming
organized. In the morning, they had forced the arsenal, and distributed
the arms. The column of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, about fifteen thousand
strong, and that of the Faubourg Saint Marceau, amounting to five
thousand, began to march about six. The crowd increased as they advanced.
Artillerymen had been placed on the Pont Neuf by the directory of the
department, in order to prevent the union of the insurgents from the two
sides of the river. But Manuel, the town clerk, had ordered them to be
withdrawn, and the passage was accordingly free. The vanguard of the
Faubourgs, composed of Marseillais and Breton federates, had already
arrived by the Rue Saint Honoré, stationed themselves in battle array on
the Carrousel, and turned their cannon against the château. De Joly and
Champion returned from the assembly, stating that the attendance was not
sufficient in number to debate; that it scarcely amounted to sixty or
eighty members, and that their proposition had not been heard. Then
Roederer, the recorder of the department, with the members of the
department, presented himself to the crowd, observing that so great a
multitude could not have access to the king, or to the national assembly,
and recommending them to nominate twenty deputies, and entrust them with
their requests. But they did not listen to him. He turned to the national
guard, reminded them of the article of the law, which enjoined them when
attacked, to repel force by force. A very small part of the national guard
seemed disposed to do so; and a discharge of cannon was the only reply of
the artillerymen. Roederer, seeing that the insurgents were everywhere
triumphant, that they were masters of the field, and that they disposed of
the multitude, and even of the troops, returned hastily to the château, at
the head of the executive directory.

The king held a council with the queen and ministers. A municipal officer
had just given the alarm by announcing that the columns of the insurgents
were advancing upon the Tuileries. "Well, and what do they want?" asked
Joly, keeper of the seals. "Abdication," replied the officer. "To be
pronounced by the assembly," added the minister. "And what will follow
abdication?" inquired the queen. The municipal officer bowed in silence.
At this moment Roederer arrived, and increased the alarm of the court by
announcing that the danger was extreme; that the insurgents would not be
treated with, and that the national guard could not be depended upon.
"Sire," said he, urgently, "your majesty has not five minutes to lose:
your only safety is in the national assembly; it is the opinion of the
department that you ought to repair thither without delay. There are not
sufficient men in the court to defend the château; nor are we sure of
them. At the mention of defence, the artillerymen discharged their
cannon." The king replied, at first, that he had not observed many people
on the Carrousel; and the queen rejoined with vivacity, that the king had
forces to defend the château. But, at the renewed urgency of Roederer, the
king after looking at him attentively for a few minutes, turned to the
queen, and said, as he rose: "Let us go." "Monsieur Roederer," said Madame
Elizabeth, addressing the recorder, "you answer for the life of the king?"
"Yes, madame, with my own," he replied. "I will walk immediately before

Louis XVI. left his chamber with his family, ministers, and the members of
the department, and announced to the persons assembled for the defence of
the château that he was going to the national assembly. He placed himself
between two ranks of national guards, summoned to escort him, and crossed
the apartments and garden of the Tuileries. A deputation of the assembly,
apprised of his approach, came to meet him: "Sire," said the president of
this deputation, "the assembly, eager to provide for your safety, offers
you and your family an asylum in its bosom." The procession resumed its
march, and had some difficulty in crossing the terrace of the Tuileries,
which was crowded with an animated mob, breathing forth threats and
insults. The king and his family had great difficulty in reaching the hall
of the assembly, where they took the seats reserved for the ministers.
"Gentlemen," said the king, "I come here to avoid a great crime; I think I
cannot be safer than with you." "Sire," replied Vergniaud, who filled the
chair, "you may rely on the firmness of the national assembly. Its members
have sworn to die in maintaining the rights of the people, and the
constituted authorities." The king then took his seat next the president.
But Chabot reminded him that the assembly could not deliberate in the
presence of the king, and Louis XVI. retired with his family and ministers
into the reporter's box behind the president, whence all that took place
could be seen and heard.

All motives for resistance ceased with the king's departure. The means of
defence had also been diminished by the departure of the national guards
who escorted the king. The gendarmerie left their posts, crying "Vive la
nation!" The national guard began to move in favour of the insurgents. But
the foes were confronted, and, although the cause was removed, the combat
nevertheless commenced. The column of the insurgents surrounded the
château. The Marseillais and Bretons who occupied the first rank had just
forced the Porte Royale on the Carrousel, and entered the court of the
château. They were led by an old subaltern, called Westermann, a friend of
Danton, and a very daring man. He ranged his force in battle array, and
approaching the artillerymen, induced them to join the Marseillais with
their pieces. The Swiss filled the windows of the château, and stood
motionless. The two bodies confronted each other for some time without
making an attack. A few of the assailants advanced amicably, and the Swiss
threw some cartridges from the windows in token of peace. They penetrated
as far as the vestibule, where they were met by other defenders of the
château. A barrier separated them. Here the combat began, but it is
unknown on which side it commenced. The Swiss discharged a murderous fire
on the assailants, who were dispersed. The Place du Carrousel was cleared.
But the Marseillais and Bretons soon returned with renewed force; the
Swiss were fired on by the cannon, and surrounded. They kept their posts
until they received orders from the king to cease firing. The exasperated
mob did not cease, however, to pursue them, and gave itself up to the most
sanguinary reprisals. It now became a massacre rather than a combat; and
the crowd perpetrated in the château all the excesses of victory.

All this time the assembly was in the greatest alarm. The first cannonade
filled them with consternation. As the firing became more frequent, the
agitation increased. At one moment, the members considered themselves
lost. An officer entering the hall, hastily exclaimed: "To your places,
legislators; we are forced!" A few rose to go out. "No, no," cried others,
"this is our post." The spectators in the gallery exclaimed instantly,
"Vive l'assemblée nationale!" and the assembly replied, "Vive la nation!"
Shouts of victory were then heard without, and the fate of monarchy was

The assembly instantly made a proclamation to restore tranquillity, and
implore the people to respect justice, their magistrates, the rights of
man, liberty, and equality. But the multitude and their chiefs had all the
power in their hands, and were determined to use it. The new municipality
came to assert its authority. It was preceded by three banners, inscribed
with the words, "Patrie, liberté, egalité." Its address was imperious, and
concluded by demanding the deposition of the king, and a national
convention. Deputations followed, and all expressed the same desire, or
rather issued the same command.

The assembly felt itself compelled to yield; it would not, however, take
upon itself the deposition of the king. Vergniaud ascended the tribune, in
the name of the commission of twelve, and said: "I am about to propose to
you a very rigorous measure; I appeal to the affliction of your hearts to
judge how necessary it is to adopt it immediately." This measure consisted
of the convocation of a national assembly, the dismissal of the ministers,
and the suspension of the king. The assembly adopted it unanimously. The
Girondist ministers were recalled; the celebrated decrees were carried
into execution, about four thousand non-juring priests were exiled, and
commissioners were despatched to the armies to make sure of them. Louis
XVI., to whom the assembly had at first assigned the Luxembourg as a
residence, was transferred as a prisoner to the Temple, by the all-
powerful commune, under the pretext that it could not otherwise be
answerable for the safety of his person. Finally, the 23rd of September
was appointed for opening the extraordinary assembly, destined to decide
the fate of royalty. But royalty had already fallen on the 10th of August,
that day marked by the insurrection of the multitude against the middle
classes and the constitutional throne, as the 14th of July had seen the
insurrection of the middle class against the privileged class and the
absolute power of the crown. On the 10th of August began the dictatorial
and arbitrary epoch of the revolution. Circumstances becoming more and
more difficult to encounter, a vast warfare arose, requiring still greater
energy than ever, and that energy irregular, because popular, rendered the
domination of the lower class restless, cruel, and oppressive. The nature
of the question was then entirely changed; it was no longer a matter of
liberty, but of public safety; and the conventional period, from the end
of the constitution of 1791, to the time when the constitution of the year
III. established the directory, was only a long campaign of the revolution
against parties and against Europe. It was scarcely possible it should be
otherwise. "The revolutionary movement once established," says M. de
Maîstre, in his _Considerations sur la France._ [Footnote: Lausanne,
1796.] "France and the monarchy could only be saved by Jacobinism. Our
grandchildren, who will care little for our sufferings, and will dance on
our graves, will laugh at our present ignorance; they will easily console
themselves for the excesses we have witnessed, and which will have
preserved the integrity of the finest of kingdoms."

The departments adhered to the events of the 10th of August. The army,
which shortly afterwards came under the influence of the revolution, was
at yet of constitutional royalist principles; but as the troops were
subordinate to parties, they would easily submit to the dominant opinion.
The generals, second in rank, such as Dumouriez, Custines, Biron,
Kellermann, and Labourdonnaie, were disposed to adopt the last changes.
They had not yet declared for any particular party, looking to the
revolution as a means of advancement. It was not the same with the two
generals in chief. Luckner floated undecided between the insurrection of
the 10th of August, which he termed, "a little accident that had happened
to Paris and his friend, Lafayette." The latter, head of the
constitutional party, firmly adhering to his oaths, wished still to defend
the overturned throne, and a constitution which no longer existed. He
commanded about thirty thousand men, who were devoted to his person and
his cause. His head-quarters were near Sedan. In his project of resistance
in favour of the constitution, he concerted with the municipality of that
town, and the directory of the department of Ardennes, to establish a
civil centre round which all the departments might rally. The three
commissioners, Kersaint, Antonelle, and Péraldy, sent by the legislature
to his army, were arrested and imprisoned in the tower of Sedan. The
reason assigned for this measure was, that the assembly having been
intimidated, the members who had accepted such a mission were necessarily
but the leaders or instruments of the faction which had subjugated the
national assembly and the king. The troops and the civil authorities then
renewed their oath to the constitution, and Lafayette endeavoured to
enlarge the circle of the insurrection of the army against the popular

General Lafayette at that moment thought, possibly, too much on the past,
on the law, and the common oath, and not enough on the really
extraordinary position in which France then was. He only saw the dearest
hopes of the friends of liberty destroyed, the usurpation of the state by
the multitude, and the anarchical reign of the Jacobins; he did not
perceive the fatality of a situation which rendered the triumph of the
latest comer in the revolution indispensable. It was scarcely possible
that the bourgeoisie, which had been strong enough to overthrow the old
system and the privileged classes, but which had reposed after that
victory, could resist the emigrants and all Europe. For this a new shock,
a new faith were necessary; there was need of a numerous, ardent,
inexhaustible class, as enthusiastic for the 10th of August, as the
bourgeoisie had been for the 14th of July. Lafayette could not associate
with this party; he had combated it, under the constituent assembly, at
the Champ de Mars, before and after the 20th of June. He could not
continue to play his former part, nor defend a cause just in itself, but
condemned by events, without compromising his country, and the results of
a revolution to which he was sincerely attached. His resistance, if
continued, would have given rise to a civil war between the people and the
army, at a time when it was not certain that the combination of all
parties would suffice against a foreign war.

It was the 19th of August, and the army of invasion having left Coblentz
on the 30th of July, was ascending the Moselle, and advancing on that
frontier. In consideration of the common danger, the troops were disposed
to resume their obedience to the assembly; Luckner, who at first approved
of Lafayette's views, retracted, weeping and swearing, before the
municipality of Metz; and Lafayette himself saw the necessity of yielding
to a more powerful destiny. He left his army, taking upon himself all the
responsibility of the whole insurrection. He was accompanied by Bureau-de-
Pusy, Latour-Maubourg, Alexander Lameth, and some officers of his staff.
He proceeded through the enemy's posts towards Holland, intending to go to
the United States, his adopted country. But he was discovered and arrested
with his companions. In violation of the rights of nations, he was treated
as a prisoner of war, and confined first in the dungeons of Magdeburg, and
then by the Austrians at Olmütz. The English parliament itself took steps
in his favour; but it was not until the treaty of Campo-Formio that
Bonaparte released him from prison. During four years of the hardest


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