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The Reign of George III. - (Continued.) page 30

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The journalists made a fierce war on the mouchards, or spies, of La Fayette and Bailly. Spy was at war with spy, such was now become the condition of things betwixt the municipal body and the chiefs of the national guards, and the sequel to the revolution, as Marat called it - that is, the second stage of it - fast hurrying into the reign of terror. Kabers, a man declared to be a mouchard of La Fayette and Bailly, was seized by the mob, and hanged at a lanterne in the Faubourg St. Antoine. La Fayette himself was insulted there. Marat and the journalists denounced as mouchards Hulin, one of the heroes of the Bastille; Maillard, the messenger, who had led the women to Versailles on the 5th of November; Geoffroy and Masson, officers of La Fayette; Bouillard, an artilleryman; Millet, a sculptor; Ride, a turner; Leblanc, a farrier; Dubois, a locksmith; Gösset, an advocate; Reole, a linendraper; Ettienne, a ci-devant abbé, and others. They printed their exact addresses, that the mob might know where to find them, and did all but plainly say - murder them. At the same time, Marat addressed a most insolent letter to the king, declaring that his ministers were the greatest rogues, perfidious scoundrels, and traitors; that he himself was like all other kings, full of cunning, lying, imposture, perfidy, treachery, assassination, poison, and parricide; that Heaven had thought it worth while to work a miracle, and destroy the king-nature in him, - and that he was constantly stimulated by his wife to bring the Austrians in on them, and plotting with the refugee princes to deluge the country in blood; in short, that he was, if not a perfidious deceiver, a stupid automaton. His paper continually presented such topics as the following: - " Necessity of a general insurrection like that of the 14th of July last;" " Necessity of a general rising; " " Revolt of the king against the constitution;" " Civil war inevitable."

Prudhomme, in his Journal des Revolutions de Pans, went even further, and recommended the murder of the king and all other tyrants. He recommended the formation of a battalion of a hundred young men, sworn to the destruction of tyrants, in emulation of the deeds of Harmodius and Aristogiton, of Scsevola, and the two Brutuses. All this was suffered to circulate unchecked by the assembly; but at length these rabid writers turned on the assembly itself; an order was issued to seize the papers of Marat, Freron, and some others of the frantic journalists, but it failed from want of courage to brave the wrath of the multitude, and the journalists became more daring and menacing than ever.

Amid all this furore of the clubs and the journalists, who really domineered over France, there were not wanting specimens of that extraordinary display of melodramatic sentiment which is so essentially French. The abbé Fauchet established what was called the Social Circle, in which there was a strange medley of Christianity, freemasonry, and republicanism. The object was to found a confederation of mankind for the establishment of truth, liberty, and universal happiness. The abbé was elected as the attorney-general of truth; Paris, as the centre of civilisation, was to be the capital of humanity. Invitations were to be issued to the good and wise of every country, and as the principle was so evidently for the progress and felicity of the world, there was no doubt but that the invitation would be at once accepted. The leading members of the Social Circle were Fauchet, Condorcet, Bonville, a bookseller, the count Goupil de Prefeln, Mailly de Chateau Regnaud, Prudhomme. These were all freemasons, and they proposed to correspond with all the masonic lodges in the world, in order to obtain the best rules for their constitution and for society in general. The members met in the circus in the Palais Royal, and there Fauchet delivered the inaugural address, on the 13th of October, to four or five thousand persons, many of them leading deputies of the assembly. On the 22nd of October a second meeting was held, at which eight thousand persons are said to have attended. Prefeln was elected president, and secretaries and other officers were appointed. At this meeting Fauchet spoke slightingly of Voltaire, but applauded the Social Contract of Rousseau, and thought it would furnish much valuable matter for the laws and constitution of the proposed improved state of society. The abbé praised Christianity, as the religion made for all mankind, the basis of which was love to one another; that it was the only religion on earth which had that solid foundation; and this, as it may be supposed, greatly scandalised the majority of the spectators, who had been indoctrinated with the new philosophy, which renounced religion altogether as an old and effete superstition.

Amongst other beautiful theories which the French occasionally promulgate, but always spoil in the carrying out, was that of the rights of women, which caught the imagination and deep womanly sympathies of Mary Wollstonecraft so vividly. A madame Palen D'Aelders, a Dutch lady, wrote an eloquent paper on the subject, which was read at one of the weekly meetings of the society, in which she referred to most of the celebrated women of antiquity to prove that women, under fair and equal principles of society, were capable of emulating men in the noblest actions, and in works of literature and legislation. The Society of the Social Circle, before long, gave way to that of the Theo-philanthropists, and the French enthusiasts in morals and social improvement continued to believe in the dawn of a happier era amid the rush of a moral chaos of profligacy and selfishness which was fast heralding the most frightful scenes of blood and savagery, under the name of reform, which ever horrified the world.

The declaration of atheistic principles by the most prominent revolutionists of Paris, and the seizure and sale of the church property in France, had had a disastrous effect on the Belgian revolution. The people of the Netherlands were devoted to the catholic church, and more under the influence of their priests than any other people of Europe. These proceedings, therefore, soon alienated the clergy, including the country cures, and the cry of " Down with the aristocracy!" soon added that class to the opponents of the revolution. Thus the very classes which had at first maintained the opposition to Austria, now separated from the democrats, who were corrupted by French propagandists, and declared that they preferred the offers of the emperor Leopold to the prospect of seeing themselves stripped of everything. Camille Desmoulins, in the jacobin club, had seriously proposed that a reward should be offered to every man who brought in the head of an Austrian, and that a tariff should be established of prices of Austrian heads, rising in value from the head of a simple lieutenant to that of a field-marshal, and from a minister to the emperor, the chief tyrant of all. When this French proposal was introduced into the Netherlands, the officers and aristocracy, who were averse to French principles, saw no security for a very long retention of their own heads. They, therefore, resigned the pleasing hope of rendering their country independent, and were ready to accept the liberal terms of the emperor, whose character rendered his promises thoroughly reliable. The democratic party maintained their patriotic assembly at Brussels, and in different towns they had similar ones. The army had also been partly jacobinised; but the bulk of it retained a firm attachment to their clergy, and to general Vandermersch, who expressed publicly his abhorrence of the new French principles of government and faith. The democratic congress of Brussels sent a body of so-called commissioners to seize him, and send him to Brussels; but Vandermersch, who had his army about him, seized them, and put them in prison. He then issued a proclamation, declaring that certain evil-disposed persons had arrived at Namur, with the intention of creating riots, and of promoting sedition in the army against the general officers; that he had arrested them, and was determined to support the catholic religion, and the civil and religious rights of the people. The united Belgian states and his own officers firmly supported him, and declared that any legislative or executive power claimed by the congress was usurped and void. The duke of Ursel was made head of the war department; Vandermersch, commander-in-chief, with prince D'Aremberg his second in command; and addresses were issued, inviting the provinces to co-operate with the army, for the maintenance of order.

The patriotic congress sent troops against Vandermersch, and there was the prospect of a civil war; but the jacobinised soldiers rose, seized their general, Vandermersch, and delivered him to the troops of the congress, who consigned him to the fortress at Antwerp. The prince D'Aremberg they could not reach, for he was in Paris, doing all in his power to promote the escape of Marie Antoinette; but they seized the duke of Ursel, who had fled to Flanders, denounced him as a traitor, though he had been one of the first to resist the usurpations of the emperor Joseph, and had spent a large fortune in the defence of the liberties of his country. He was pronounced innocent by the judges; nevertheless, the States of Flanders would not release him, but attempted to reverse the decision of the judges. They endeavoured forcibly to have him carried into Brabant, and delivered to his enemies, but a party of volunteers rescued him.

Thus the country was torn by contending factions, and the army was divided; one part adhering to Vandermersch, and another to Vaneupen and Vandernoot, the democratic leaders. The emperor Leopold was not slack in availing himself of this internal distraction. He issued a fresh declaration, solemnly pledging himself to observe every article of the joyeuse entree; to restore to the states the constitution of which the emperor Joseph had deprived them, and to consign to oblivion all causes of offence which had taken place. At the same time, he marched a strong army, not less than thirty thousand men, to the Netherlands frontiers, under general Bender, who dispersed the emperor's proclamation through the country as he advanced. The patriots had applied to Holland, Prussia, England, and France for aid; but none of these countries, except France, could be expected to support a cause identified with the new levelling principles of the French revolution. The Dutch, indeed, were only too apprehensive that the French, once coalescing with the Belgians, would be only too ready to cross the frontiers into Holland. France, therefore, was the only country from which the patriots could expect assistance, and France gave them none. The French assembly was too completely overawed by the jacobins and the ultra-revolutionists, and too distrustful of the army, to venture on any such act. They were careful not even to mention the affairs of the Netherlands in their proceedings, though the jacobins clamorously reminded them of them. Night after night the subject was discussed in the club, and it was declared that if the Netherlanders and their patriot generals, Vaneupen and Vandernoot, were allowed to be trodden under the foot of Austria, the Netherlands would be converted into a bridge, over which the iron-shod hoofs of Austrian despotism would march into France. All was in vain; the assembly ignored the question, and only some of the rabble of the Paris democrats joined the army of Vaneupen and Vandernoot.

Meantime, Leopold had, in the month of October, entered into engagements with England, Holland, and Prussia, at the congress of Reichenbach, to observe all the conditions of his proclamations, and to govern the Netherlands according to the constitutions and charters in force in the time of his illustrious mother, Maria Theresa. Encouraged by these circumstances, all but the jacobinised troops fell away from Vaneupen and Vandernoot, and they continued to retreat as Bouille advanced. Schönfeldt, a Prussian, who commanded Vandernoot's division, deserted his post, and got away into Prussia, to the great discouragement of the democratic forces. On the 20th of November the congress of Brussels proposed to accept the emperor's third son, the archduke Charles, afterwards so distinguished for his military talents, as sovereign of the Netherlands, on condition that the country should remain independent of Austria. The proposal only received the answer from Bender, that, if the country did not submit by such a day, he would march to Brussels, and drive the congress out of the Netherlands. He continued to advance, and the congress dispersed at his approach, some of the members flying into Germany, others to Holland, but the majority to France. Bender entered Brussels on the 2nd of December, and the other cities quickly sent in their submission. The emperor faithfully kept his word in restoring the ancient constitution, charters, and privileges of the country, and on the 10th of December confirmed the convention of Reichenbach at the Hague with the plenipotentiaries of the three allied powers - Great Britain, Holland, and Prussia. There were some new articles introduced into this convention, one of which was that no laws should be introduced, or taxes levied, without the consent of the States; and another, that the troops should not be employed against the people, except in clear and direct maintenance of the law, and at the requisition of the civil magistrates.

The patriots of Paris were furious at this defeat of their efforts to revolutionise the Netherlands. They asserted that there was no barrier to prevent the Austrians marching into France; and, on the 19th of December, it is said that Marie Antoinette found under her plate, on sitting down to dinner, a paper, on which was written - " At the very first cannon that your brother fires against the French patriots, your head shall be sent to him." That this paper really was thus placed is probable enough, from the fact that the statement was published in all the jacobin papers; and they even made merry with the certainty that Louis XVI. was so completely watched that he could never escape. They, published a caricature of his flying in a carriage drawn by hares, but hedged in by a circle so complete that he would never be able to break through it; and Blanchard was represented as offering a conveyance in his balloon, as the only way that presented a possible escape out of France. Such was the state of France at the termination of 1790.

During this time the French propagandists had contrived to create disturbances in Poland, and to engage the Poles in a hopeless struggle for their freedom, the results of which we shall have occasion hereafter to narrate. The czarina Catherine still continued her war on the Ottoman empire. The Turks gained several advantages over the Russians on the shores of the Black Sea, and near the Danube; but they were severely repulsed in an attempt to drive the Russians from their conquests betwixt the Black and Caspian Seas, and suffered a terrible slaughter on the banks of the River Kuban. Then England, Prussia, Holland, and Austria, from the congress of Reichenbach, announced to Catherine that they were resolved not to permit further encroachments on Turkey; and the Russians themselves began to feel the necessity of a pause in these expensive expeditions, so that the war in this quarter evidently approached its temporary close.

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