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The Reign of George III. - (Continued.) page 20

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This scene lasted for eight hours before the royal family arrived at the Place de Greve. The mayor, Bailly, received them at the barrier of Paris, and conducted them to the Hotel de Ville. So soon as they had passed the barrier, the numerous procession were joined by the whole leviathan mob of Paris, calculated at two hundred thousand men! It was night, and the crushing and shouting throngs prevented the royal carriage from more than merely moving all the way from the barrier to the Place de Greve. At the Hotel de Ville, Moreau de St. Mery addressed the king in a long speech, congratulating him on his happy arrival amongst his people - his loving children of the capital. The poor tired and dispirited king replied that he always came with confidence amongst his people. Bailly repeated the words in a loud tone to the people, but omitted the words " with confidence," whereupon the queen said, with much spirit, " Sir, add with confidence;" so Bailly replied, " Gentlemen, m hearing it from the lips of the queen, you are happier than if I had not made that mistake." The king was then exhibited on the balcony to the mob, with a huge tricolour cockade in his hat, at which sight, in French fashion, the monkey-tiger mass hugged and kissed each other and danced for joy. It was eleven o'clock at night before the poor miserable royal captives were conducted by La Fayette to their appointed prison - for such it was, in fact - the great palace of their ancestors, the Tuileries, which had been uninhabited for a century, and had not been prepared for their reception. There they were left, after this most harassing and alarming time, in those huge, desolate rooms, with their more desolate hearts. The Parisian national guards were posted around the palace, and La Fayette, as their commander, was made responsible for the royal persons. The nobles were anxious to have the king conveyed to some fortress, that they might exercise despotism in his name. The popular party, on the other hand, wished to hold him safe amongst them, as the certain pledge of the accomplished constitution. Hence the aristocrats, in their chagrin, styled La Fayette a gaoler; but he was a gaoler for the preservation of the constitution and the crown. The fickle people had not yet conceived the idea of their own sublime sovereignty.

From the moment that the nobles separated from the king they began to disperse into the provinces and abroad. The day of the king's entrance into Paris was the first day of this emigration of the noblesse; and the first day of emigration was the commencement of the utter ruin of the aristocracy. They had been the most ready to propose rash measures to the king; now that they were separated from him, they fell away like so many branches lopped from a tree. They had no principle of cohesion in themselves, and continued not to stand together and do battle for their own cause, or the cause of the monarchy, but to disperse more and more. As in England, the moment that Charles I. was put down they lost all power, and sank into utter insignificance, so here. Their strength consisted in wielding the kingly power in the royal name; that gone, they had no power. The world saw it, and despised them. The chief emigration of the nobles was to Turin, where the count D'Artois had taken refuge with his father-in-law. They were continually endeavouring to rouse insurrection in the southern provinces of France. The queen trusted more to Austria, and the king hoped for salvation, but he did not know whence. Such was the condition of the court, which was closely watched by the revolutionists.

The revolutionary party was from this moment triumphant. The leaders of it, however, were much divided amongst themselves. The duke of Orleans had a party which would gladly have seen him substituted as a sort of protector for the king; but a protector very much in their own hands. This was the party of the Palais Royal. But the rest of the revolutionists had no faith in the duke's abilities or principles. It was said that he and Mirabeau understood each other - and that was more true than those persons intended. Mirabeau knew and despised Orleans, though he continued to talk familiarly with him. Mirabeau, though detesting the aristocracy, because they had rejected him, and resolved to destroy them as a class, was a firm monarchist, and used the people to maintain his power to save the throne. He had an immense ambition, and trusted one day to become prime minister - a second Richelieu. At the very time that the public thought Mirabeau and Orleans in league, Mirabeau was struggling with a frightful poverty and state of debt which Orleans could at once have removed, and would, had there been such alliance. On the other hand, La Fayette and Mirabeau were agreed as to the maintenance of the monarchy, and both of them cultivated the favour of the people to enable them to save the throne; but they agreed in no other point. Mirabeau despised La Fayette for his vanity and his sentimental notions, and called him Cromwell Grandison, an admirable title; but, at the same time, Mirabeau was envious of the immense popularity of La Fayette, and La Fayette had no faith in the principles of the debauchee Mirabeau. La Fayette and Bailly were the heads of the monarchical, and yet constitutional party- This party was always a little in advance of the revolution, and rested chiefly on the middle class, whilst addressing and flattering the masses in order to guide them. Mirabeau, La Fayette, and Bailly applied themselves to this class, and were, the one its orator, the other its general, and the third its magistrate; though Mirabeau was, in reality, apart from La Fayette and Bailly, who were the real heads of the middle class. The 14th of July - the day of the fall of the Bastille - had been the triumph of the middle class, though it was won by the very lowest. The constituency was its assembly; the national guard its armed force; the mayoralty its popular power. There was another party equally monarchical, differing essentially from Mirabeau, in that it would maintain a reformed aristocracy, in a second chamber. The heads of this party were Mounier, Lally-Tollendal, Duport, Barnave, and Alexander Lamethe. Duport planned their measures, and Barnave and Lamethe supported them in the assembly. Such now was the state of parties. On the royal side were the emigrants, the queen looking to Austria, and hoping to escape to the army under Bouille, in the Austrian Netherlands; the king with no determinate views; and Necker struggling to carry on the government, but, as a statesman, wholly incompetent to the crisis. On the revolutionary side, ranged, in various ranks, and with various views, Mirabeau, La Fayette, Barnave, Lamethe, &c.; and beyond them the vast mass of the lowest people, incited by such men as Robespierre, Marat, Danton, Desmoulins, and others, soon destined to assume a more hideous and gigantic shape.

The assembly having received repeated assurances of the tranquillity of the city, and that it could exercise perfect independence of vote, had removed to Paris, and taken up its sittings for the time in the abandoned palace of the archbishop of Paris. But in this locale it showed but as a fragment of its former self. There was a great diminution of the noblesse and the clergy, who had withdrawn after the scenes they had witnessed, and especially the last. Mounier, Lally-Tollendal, the abbé Maury, and Cazales, a captain of dragoons, but one of the most eloquent men of the assembly, had disappeared. Cazales and Maury had retired soon after the 14th of July, but they soon resumed their places again; but Mounier and Lally-Tollendal never more. Mounier retired to his native Dauphiny, horrified at the sanguinary scenes of the 5th and 6th of August. He assembled the states of the province, but a decree of the assembly caused it to be dissolved without resistance. Mounier, however, had henceforth lost the confidence of the people; and, being suspected by the assembly of fresh designs against it, he was compelled to quit France, and became a teacher of French in Germany. He wrote a book " On the Causes which have prevented the French becoming a free People," in which it has been well observed that he omitted the chief, if not the only, cause - the character of the nation. Lally- Tollendal sought safety in England, and there published a " Letter to a Friend," in which he also enumerated the causes of his abandoning that revolution of which he had been so effectual a promoter. " I was no longer able," he wrote, " to endure the horror I felt at the sight of that blood in Versailles - -those heads - that queen nearly assassinated; that king carried off as a slave, entering Paris in the midst of his assassins; that cry of ' All the bishops to the lanterne!' at the moment the king was entering his capital with two prelates of his council with him; that musket which I saw fired into one of the queen's carriages, and then M. Bailly calling that a glorious day; the assembly having coolly declared in the morning that it was incompatible with its dignity to go and surround the king; M. Mirabeau observing, with impunity, in that assembly, that the vessel of the state, far from being impeded in its course, would rush forward more rapidly than ever to regeneration; M. Barnave laughing with him whilst streams of blood were flowing around us; the virtuous Mounier miraculously escaping from twenty assassins who were anxious to make an additional trophy of his head. These were they which made me swear never more to set foot in that cavern of anthropophagi, where I had no longer strength to raise my voice; where, for the last six weeks, I had raised it in vain. I, Mounier, and all virtuous men, were of opinion that the last effort we had to make for the public welfare was to leave that assembly. A man may brave death once - he may face it many times when his courage can be of use to his country - but no power under heaven, no public or private opinion, shall condemn me to suffer uselessly a thousand deaths a minute, and to perish of despair and rage in the midst of triumphs and curses which I have been unable to prevent. They will proscribe me; they will confiscate my property; but I will dig the earth for my bread, and will see them no more!"

These noble and honourable men have been blamed for their desertion of the cause of the revolution; but what reason could be advanced for this contrary to that which they gave? Their efforts were useless, and history confirms this assertion by showing that, had they remained, it would only have been to perish under the guillotine, as so many of their compeers did, in the general and mutual butchery which followed.

La Fayette, spite of the scenes of the 5th and 6th of August, which had driven away these patriots, spite of his having seen himself compelled to follow the ferocious and almost cannibal mob, still blinded by his vanity, flattered himself that he could divert the storm of the revolution. Two days after the bringing of the king to Paris, Governeur Morris, the American, who was watching the revolution as a spectator, and therefore saw more of its tendency than the actors themselves, wrote to La Fayette to warn him against aiming at too much by his own exertions, and to induce him to try and unite the greatest number of men of talent and virtue in the affairs of government, and in defence of the king and constitution. He warned him that the men he was proposing to put into the ministry - Malesherbes, as keeper of the seals, and La Rochefoucauld, as minister of Paris - though virtuous men, were incapable of the duties of those offices. There was one man of talent against whom he warned him, on account of his bad character, Mirabeau; but he assured him that he must have talent, and must not expect altogether faultless possessors of it. He afterwards wrote to him a letter of very excellent advice. With a remarkable foresight, he told him what would be the fate of the assembly and of himself, unless great and immediate measures were used. But could any measures have prevented the frightful course of the revolution, urged on by such a people? "I am convinced," he said, "that the proposed constitution cannot serve for the government of this country; that the national assembly, late the object of enthusiastic attachment, will soon be treated with disrespect; that the extreme licentiousness of your people will render it indispensable to increase the royal authority; that, under such circumstances, the freedom and happiness of France must depend on the wisdom, integrity, and firmness of his majesty's councils, and, consequently, that the ablest and best men should be added to the present administration." He added that the moment was critical, and, if not seized, would produce the most irreparable mischiefs. For himself, he warned him to keep out of the ministry, but to keep himself to his command, which was almost more than enough for one man. "Your present command," he said, "must, of necessity, engross your time, and require undisputed attention, and, in consequence, you must fail in the duty either of minister or general." After showing him the embarrassments such a double appointment must inevitably bring, he added, "The jealousy and suspicion inseparable from tumultuous revolutions, and which have already been maliciously pointed against you, will certainly follow all your future steps, if you appear to be too strictly connected with the court. The foundation of your authority will thus crumble away, and you will fall, the object of your own astonishment." How wise must these counsels have appeared to La Fayette years afterwards, when he was overwhelmed with calumnies, and driven from his country for his best exertions! Now, La Fayette seems to have taken the advice so far as to refrain from being in the ministry, but ever after growing distant to the adviser.

The party of the duke of Orleans was strongly suspected of having excited the late march to Versailles, with the design of getting the king into their hands; some said to have the king assassinated, and out of the way. This party of the duke was always one of the mysteries of the revolution, much talked about, but little or nothing known of it. The duke had, indeed, his particular knot of friends, amongst whom was the marquis de Sillery Genlis, the husband of madame de Genlis, the well-known novelist; and Laclos, who was the duke's secretary, a man of infamous character, and author of a most infamous and obscene book, " Liaisons Dangereuses; " and other men of a like stamp. This man probably flattered Orleans with the idea that, were the royal family exiled or deposed, he, as next of blood, would succeed; but that the duke or his party coutemplated or did a tithe of the things attributed to them, is wholly unproved. On every occasion when a mob was raised, or a monstrous thing done, it was whispered about that it was through the agency of the duke and his party. Because he was rich, and had shown himself ready to take the side of the people, it was believed that the duke's money was employed to fire and stimulate all the agents and incendiaries of mischief. There is no doubt that the duke was an unprincipled debauchee, and would have been ready enough to reap advantage at the expense of the royal family; but there is no ground for believing that he or his party had the power or ability to concert and do a hundredth part of what was continually attributed to them. Orleans, having a bad reputation, and being wealthy, and a stickler for the revolution, may be said to have been the stalking-horse of all its movements; the truth being, that there needed no other Orleans than the ignorance, ferocity, and lawless passions of the French mob to accomplish all the horrors that were perpetrated. At this time, Mirabeau was said to be in league with Orleans, and to have been seen at the attack on Versailles, at four o'clock in the morning, in the thickest of the mob, with a sabre in his hand. Others declared that he had been recognised in the marble court, in a great riding-coat, and with his hat slouched over his face, directing the mob the way to the staircase leading to the queen's chamber. These stories were, no doubt, merely myths, but were believed for a time. It was said that it had been agreed betwixt them, that Orleans should be lieutenant of the kingdom and Mirabcau minister. La Fayette, though probably aware of the falsehood of these rumours, yet regarded the duke of Orleans as dangerous to the royal cause, and, if in nothing more, yet in giving occasion to so many reports, and thus furnishing pretexts for disturbances. He therefore resolved to have him away from Paris. He had an interview with him, and insisted on the necessity of his withdrawing from the kingdom for a time. The king, who was equally desirous that Orleans should absent himself, pretended to be forced into the measure, and wrote to the duke, saying it was absolutely necessary for him or La Fayette to withdraw; that the people would not consent to La Fayette retiring, and therefore he must, and he gave him a commission to England. The duke's friends, incensed at being deprived of their head, went to Mirabeau, and entreated him to denounce the force thus put upon Orleans by La Fayette. Mirabeau was about to consent, for he hated La Fayette, but his friends showed him the folly of meddling in the matter, by which he would, more than ever, be charged with being in league with Orleans. Mirabeau, therefore, remained silent, and the next morning, hearing that Orleans had agreed to go, exclaimed, "The fool is not worth the trouble that is taken about him!" Orleans withdrew to England.

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