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The Reign of George III. - (Continued.) page 28

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This extraordinary transaction took place on the 31st of August, and on the 3rd of September the king wrote an autograph letter to Bouille, thanking him for his gallant conduct, by which, he said, he had saved France. Hearing, too, that Bouille had had a favourite horse shot under him, he sent him a fine one of his own, which he had ridden, begging him to accept it for his sake. But, on the other hand, the jacobins, both in their club and the assembly, raised the most terrible outcries at this suppression of the insurrection. They declared that it was a massacre of patriots by the royalists and aristocrats for defending the liberties of their country. They denounced Bouille as a traitor. Robespierre demanded that a fresh deputation from Nancy should be heard at the bar of the assembly, and this deputation declared that the soldiers had only risen to defend themselves and the town against the plots of the aristocrats; that many of them had been dismissed only to replace them by unpatriotic soldiers, who were in the interest of the aristocrats, and that these aristocrats and unpatriotic soldiers had attacked the people of the town before the garrison mutinied. But the assembly firmly persisted in asserting that such insurrection could not be permitted, or it would undermine the conduct of the whole army, and even La layette, who, in the opening of the revolution, had declared insurrection to be the most sacred of duties, now moved and carried a vote of thanks to Bouille. Robespierre opposed these measures vehemently, and menaced the assembly with the possibility of seeing all the patriotic soldiers ranged on one side, and all those who had sold themselves to despotism and aristocracy on the other, under Bouille. In fact, he menaced them with civil war. But the thunder of Mirabeau silenced this arch jacobin, and not only were these measures passed, but a commission was sent to Nancy to try and punish the guilty, and to restore tranquillity. Bouille received an extension of his command from the king. He now had military rule from the borders of Switzerland to the Sambrd, comprehending the greatest part of the frontiers. As he had more reliance on the cavalry than he had on the infantry, he fixed his head-quarters on the banks of the Seille, which flows into the Moselle, because he had plains for the manoeuvring of his horse, and meadows for forage, and was defended in his rear by impassable marshes. He was resolved to take no step against the constitution; but he deemed it of vital importance that the king should escape, and he held himself in readiness to aid him in the attempt. Had Louis possessed the spirit of his queen and this devoted general, he would, long ago, have been beyond the reach of the insulting enemies called "his" people.

Under the influence of La Fayette, Bailly, and the municipality, a day of mourning was resolved to be held in the Champ de Mars for the soldiers who had fallen in defence of the constitution. The galleries, the triumphal arch, and the altar of the nation, now converted into a tomb, emblazoned with inscriptions in gold letters and surmounted by cypresses, all these formerly festive objects were now covered with black cloth. The priests performed mass for the dead in albs and tricolor sashes. La Fayette, Bailly, and the authorities of the municipality were all there, and crowds of spectators, but the jacobins were absent, and their journals poured forth the fiercest diatribes against the city magistrates and all who were concerned in celebrating the obsequies of the heroes of order. Marat, who was becoming every day more truculent, declared that it would have been a great deal better if the money thus spent had been given to the poor. This modern Judas, who was so extremely sympathetic for the poor, when he had some particular scheme of vengeance in his head, assured the public that the soldiers who had been massacred at Nancy by Bouille were the defenders of the poor. " The poor," he said, " are the only class that are patriots - the only ones who are honest. The canaille of the court say they are the refuse of mankind; but, in the eyes of the discerning and philosophical, they are the only sound portion of society. As for these new departmental governments and these municipalities patronised by the assembly, they are composed of nothing but the putrid remains of the old bodies, who are carrying infection into the reign of liberty, and keeping up an understanding with the government by tricks and signs, like cutpurses at a fair." And he then appealed to Divine Providence to take pity on his poor children, and to select his most exterminating curses for the race of municipal and aristocratical vermin, and to extirpate them. The reign of jacobinism was fast drawing on, when such wretches as Marat and Robespierre should wallow in blood. This Marat, one of those monsters that out-monster all fiction, however rabid, was a native of Baudry, in Switzerland. He had studied medicine and anatomy, and perhaps, in such pursuits, had acquired his burning thirst for human blood. He was a quack vendor of medicines in Paris when the revolution broke out. He was also the author of a work called " Man; or Principles and Laws," showing the material influence of soul and body on each other. On the commencement of the revolution, he began a paper called L'Ami du Peuple, in which he vented his inextinguishable fury against all classes in the state except the veriest scum of the population, who lead and admired his ferocious writings. In his person, Marat was as ugly and deformed as his soul was. His very aspect terrified children; and such was his cowardice that, whilst launching daily his denunciations against others, and when he became president of the convention, as he did, bringing their heads to the guillotin, he slept in a cave in the profoundest secresy. All this, however, did not save him from the avenging dagger of Charlotte Corday.

Robespierre, another chief monster of this revolution, was the son of a barrister at Arras. He was educated at the college of Louis le Grande, in Paris, and, like his father, adopted the profession of law. He was sent from Artois to the national assembly as their deputy. For some time, his insignificant person, his weak voice, and defective vision, rendered him of little influence in the assembly; but by perseverance, and by assuming a character of mildness and humanity, and by defending the poor and denouncing corruption, he gradually won popularity, and was called u The Incorruptible." He was closely associated, however, with the jacobin club, and the bloodhounds, Danton and Marat; and, no sooner did he obtain the opportunity, than he showed himself to be one of the most sanguinary wretches that ever disgraced the name of man.

The assembly, pressed by exhaustion of the public revenue, again put a large quantity of the church property into the market, and issued eight hundred millions of assignats upon the strength of it. Talleyrand made an elaborate speech showing the certain consequence of so immoderate an issue of paper-money; its depreciation; the consequent hoarding of gold, and the direct rise of price in all articles of life. Mirabeau, on the contrary, supported the issue. Necker opposed the measure in vain, for Necker was now become a mere cypher with all parties. He never had the diplomatic genius which he believed himself to possess. He had won the favour of the people by being the means of calling together the states-general; but the king and his fellow-ministers had no confidence in him, and the jacobins and Cordeliers had long ago ruined his fame with the once idolising people. Danton and Marat had not hesitated to accuse him of corruption and public pillage. The mob, who once hailed him as the saviour of the country, now howled at nights under his windows, and menaced him with the lanterne. Necker seized this opportunity of being overridden by the assembly, in the matter of the second issue of the assignats, to tender his resignation, and to get away in safety to his native mountains. His resignation was accepted with pleasure; and Necker addressed a characteristic letter to the assembly to announce his departure. He assumed the same air of patriotic vanity which he had always worn. UI leave," he said, u as the guarantee of my administration, my house in Paris, my country house, and my funds in the royal treasury, which, for a long time, have amounted to two million four hundred thousand livres, and ask only to withdraw the four hundred thousand livres which the state of my affairs renders necessary."

The fact was well known that at that moment he could not have sold his property, and that there was no money in the treasury to pay him. It was well for him to be able to escape scatheless; and, obtaining a passport from Bailly, and another from the king, he set out towards Switzerland along the road which, so short a time previous, he had traversed amid the frantic plaudits of the people, and with the elating idea that he was destined to retrieve the finances and save the country. Now not a voice was raised to lament his departure, and he was not allowed to quit the country without a serious alarm. He had arrived at Arcis-sur-Aube, accompanied by his wife and four friends, when the national guard of the place arrested the whole party, and would not allow them to proceed until they had obtained the permission of the national assembly. Though Necker had passports from the municipality of Paris and from the king, he had not one from the assembly, and, without that, the zealous officials thought the others worthless. The assembly, notwithstanding some of its members proposed that he should be brought back and examined as to the state of his accounts, sent him permission to proceed, and he got safely to Copet, on the lake of Geneva, where he survived till 1804, contemplating the course of the revolution, which swept away so many now playing a prominent part in it.

The ministry of France was now reduced to the utmost insignificance, and St. Priest and Latour du Pin soon after resigned, being in danger of being impeached by the assembly for keeping up a mischievous correspondence with the emigrants and the military chiefs. Count Montmorin alone remained in his dangerous post, and was one of the first victims of jacobin vengeance in the massacres of September of the following year. For the present, Montmorin, Molleville, Malouet, and a few others formed a sort of privy council, and concerted plans in the vain hope of strengthening the monarchy. Duport du Tertre was made keeper of the seals, and Duportrail, at the recommendation of La Fayette, was made head of the war department in place of Latour du Pin. Duportrail soon showed himself more inclined towards the popular party than his predecessor, and one of his first acts was to deprive Bouille of the independent liberty, which the king had conferred on him, of disposing the troops as he thought best - a power which Bouille was anxious to employ in favour of the king's escape.

The king had studied carefully and anxiously the history of the English revolution and the fate of Charles I. As he saw that Charles's taking arms to maintain his authority against the parliament had led to his execution, after a civil war, Louis - who had nothing of the spirit of Charles Stuart - had acquired a deep dread of anything which might lead to civil war. He regarded the attempt to escape, if unsuccessful, as fatal to himself and family; if successful, as the immediate cause of a civil war, the issue of which no man could foresee. He, therefore, more and more recoiled from all schemes of escape. But the queen took very different views. She regarded it as certain that to remain in France was to ultimately perish. The refugees she had no faith in, and was averse to receive reaction at their hands, certain that, should they succeed, they would become masters in their turn. Yet every day it was becoming more and more evident that the clubs, and through the clubs the mob, were gaining in power and audacity. The leaders of the clubs, Robespierre, Danton, Marat, and Desmoulins, taught the utmost contempt and execration for all ranks and classes above the mere rabble. She felt that it could not be long ere the assembly itself would be overwhelmed by the fanaticism of the republicans, and that there must be a deluge of bloodshed, in which the royal family would disappear first. During the sojourn of the court at St. Cloud, in the autumn of this year, she, therefore, entertained many plans of escape. The king would listen to none. Driven almost to despair, Marie Antoinette, catching at the faintest hope of rescue, now resolved on what she had hitherto recoiled from, an interview with Mirabeau.

This extraordinary man had for the greater part of the year been receiving a prodigal pension from the court, for his services in maintaining the royal cause in the assembly, and in devising and assisting in a plan of escape for the king. It was not only as a lover of monarchy, but as a greater lover of the assembly and the people, that Mirabeau could, under the circumstances of the country, hope to effect anything. A little too much enthusiasm on behalf of the monarch, and he would have lost all his popularity, and with it all his power for any purpose. He, in consequence, depended much more on the escape of the king to some place out of the reach of the assembly than on any efforts within that body. He therefore proposed that means should be devised for the king and royal family to escape to the army under Bouille, but that Louis should not place himself entirely in the power of Bouille, but should take up his residence at Lyons, whilst Bouille should encamp at Montmedly. From Lyons he proposed that the king should, by a proclamation, express to the nation his real views and feelings regarding the new constitution, which he never could do but at the risk of his head, so long as he was in the power of the assembly and of the mob. Mirabeau had artfully drawn from most of the deputies their private views, in writing, of the constitution, and in comparing them, he found that each one condemned some particular article, and thus, taken altogether, the body of deputies in reality condemned every article in it. He proposed that these private confessions should be appended to the king's proclamation, as the most telling reason why he did not approve more or less of the constitution, which was thus altogether condemned by the whole of the assembly which had passed it. This plan had been communicated to Bouille by a foreign prince on behalf of the court, and Bouille had been so much struck with it, that he recommended that every means should be used to secure the zealous exertions of Mirabeau in carrying out the plan, and he engaged himself to support it by all his power with the army.

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