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The Reign of George III. - (Continued.) page 35


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The king made no answer. Madame Elizabeth begged him to explain the meaning of this. Still he kept silence. I quickly withdrew. In a few minutes, the queen came to me, and told me that it was the king who, out of tenderness for her, had caused the whole edition printed from the manuscript which had been offered to her, to be bought up, and that M. de Laporte could not devise any more secret way of annihilating the work than to cause it to be burnt at Sevres, among two hundred workmen, of whom, at least, one hundred and eighty were jacobins."

Such was the simple cause of all this alarm. But the assembly made the most of it. Bazire, one of the members who had been arrested by Lariviere, declared that the assembly and the country were in danger; that he would prove that the constitutional guard allowed to the king had been corrupted by the introduction of unsworn priests, servants of the expelled aristocrats, and men who had been with the emigrants at Coblentz; that they were not to be trusted; that there was a design to carry off the king, and that it was intended to be done whilst the people were celebrating the fete of liberty; that the city guard ought to be doubled every night, and that the mayor should be ordered to report every morning the state of the city. The assembly declared itself in permanent session.

The scenes which now took place in. this permanent session were of a kind which exceeded almost everything which had been seen in that place since the revolution began. The jacobins and Girondists appeared mad with fury against the constitutionalists, and with the thirst of blood. The Girondists were unconsciously sharpening the axe of the guillotine for their own necks by joining Robespierre, Danton, and Marat, in sowing the most deadly suspicions. Petion, on the 29th of May, made his first report to the assembly; declared that plots were rife amongst their enemies in the heart of Paris, and he called on them to in timidate their foes by severe measures. Bazire declared the king's guard rotten with aristocracy and anti-revolutionism. He demanded the impeachment of the duke de Brissac, the commander of the guard, who had dared, he said, to put a cock and a royal crown on the hilts of the men's swords. The aristocrat officers, he said, had shouted, " The Austrians have taken Valenciennes. Bravo! They will be in Paris in fifteen days, and we will meet them with the white flag, the king's own colour!" He added that they had been trying to corrupt a number of young guardsmen, and induce them to join the emigrants at Coblentz; amongst them, Joachim Murat, the son of the post-master and innkeeper of La Bastede, near Cahors. This Murat was destined to become the king of Naples. Whilst Bazire was making these declarations, some soldiers from the Invalides appeared at the bar of the house, and accused M. Sombreuil, the governor of the Hotel des Invalides, of having given some very suspicious orders - namely, that the soldiers on guard round the Hotel at night should give up their posts to the king's guards or the national guards, and that it was plain that it was meant to massacre all the patriots in Paris. Though the very idea was ludicrous - the king's guard not reaching two thousand men, and the national guards of Paris and places adjacent exceeding a hundred thousand, with half a million of armed people to support them - the assembly and the galleries went into a paroxysm of fury indescribable. The shouting and stamping were tremendous. A fierce debate ensued. A crowd of patriots, armed with pikes, with red nightcaps stuck on them, came in, with drums beating and flags flying, swearing they would stand to the death in defence of the assembly. M. Sombreuil was summoned to the bar, and interrogated in a most insulting style. He replied that the simple cause of his order was to maintain a guard round the hospital, because its chapel had been entered and sacrilegiously robbed of its plate; but that, wishing to avoid any collision with the national guard or the king's guard, he had commanded that, if by any chance any of these came that way, the guard should retire into the court. The assembly seemed to doubt about the robbery, and asked why he put a guard around the place without orders from his superiors. Sombreuil replied that, had he put them there a little sooner, he might have saved the plate from the scoundrels of Paris, whom he described as of unexampled audacity. He was ordered to withdraw; but the unfortunate Brissac, the commander of the royal guard, was, on the motion of Bazire, which was supported by the Girondists, Guadet, Vergniaud, Gensonne, and others, ordered to be sent to the prison of Orleans, where he was, like so many others, massacred in September. The Girondists were as fierce for denunciations of all persons opposed to them as Robespierre himself. Guadet declared that "suspicions were enough to justify a decree of accusation against any citizen." Fatal words! which he and his colleagues must have reflected on bitterly when they themselves, the victims of these suspicions, were on their way to the guillotine. Spies were now in full employment, and the armed rabble surrounded daily the Tuileries, singing "Ca ira," and dancing the "Carmagnole." The king shed tears when the duke de Brissac was dragged to prison. He had more cause to weep for himself and his family.

On the 31st of May the assembly terminated its permanent session. During this rabid period, it had dissolved the king's guard; but with the view of keeping up the alarm, the Girondist Vergniaud declared that they were only dispersed through Paris to spread disaffection, thus pointing them out to the suspicions and pikes of the patriots. Nor did the assembly separate without passing terrible decrees against treachery and cowardice in the army, and against all persons taking up their residence in Paris without passports. Every inn-keeper or lodging-house keeper was forbidden, under severe penalties, to take in any one without such passport; and every one was bound to furnish lists of the inmates of their houses.

In the jacobin club Robespierre continued his exertions to destroy La Fayette, against whom he had a mortal hatred, and to drive every man of any birth or station out of the army. He inserted a discourse delivered at the jacobin club in his newspaper, " On the Means of Making War Successfully." This was not only to purge the French army of everything aristocratic, but to circulate the rights of man amongst the Belgians and Germans, by which these nations might be induced to rise against those classes, and exterminate them; and then the common people would fraternise with the common people of France. A more monstrous doctrine never issued from the mind of man. Camille Desmoulins and others heaped the most deadly accusations on La Fayette.

The jacobins then commenced open war on the Girondists. Tallien denounced citizen Roland. St. Hurugue declared that the Girondists were corrupting the clubs by giving government places to their members; and Robespierre supported this by saying that not even the members of the mother society had been proof against these seductions. The club demanded measures not only against the Gironde, but against the unsworn priests; and Legendre, a butcher, recommended to send them out in flat-bottomed boats to sea and sink them. This was doubtless the fruitful idea afterwards adopted, of drowning priests and others in flat-bottomed boats in the Seine. Robespierre, finally, denounced the Girondists as the greatest curse of France, and singled out by name especially Brissot, Condorcet, Guadet, Vergniaud, Gensonne, the Rolands, and others. He asserted that, by their corruptions since in office, they had done more to deprave the public mind, to damage the revolution, and to restore despotism and aristocracy, than all the royalists together.

At this moment the Girondists hit upon a measure which, by a singular blindness, put a weapon into the hands of the jacobins, and sealed their own destruction.. They proposed, through Servan, the minister of war, to form a federal camp a little to the north of Paris, by having five federalists sent up from every canton of France, who should meet in the Champ de Mars on the 14th of July, the anniversary of the taking of the Bastille. This camp would, at least, amount to twenty thousand men. The jacobins, in an astonishment of joy, rapturously caught at this proposition, for they knew that every man of this body must be a red-hot jacobin. The motion was carried immediately. Dumouriez, who had not been consulted on the proposal, was thunderstruck; he assured the king and council that not twenty thousand, but forty thousand jacobins would obey the summons; that the consequence would be the destruction of the Girondists, and, ere long, of the throne. The Girondists now saw their error; but it was too late. Dumouriez told the king that, being passed by the assembly, there was nothing for it but to sign it; and also a decree, which followed on its heels, for the banishment of all the unsworn priests. Louis hung back in alarm; and at this instant, Roland committed another gross absurdity, by reading to the king, in full council, a letter, really drawn up by madame Roland. In this letter - which Roland had three days before privately sent to the king, assuring him that it should remain known only to themselves - he told the king that it was useless endeavouring to withhold his assent to the two decrees, and that the revolution would be completed in blood, if not prevented by measures still possible. The king was highly incensed at the conduct of Roland, and at the tone of the letter. He immediately dismissed Roland, Clavieres, and Servan, retaining Dumouriez, Lacoste, and Duranthon, and appointing Morgues as minister of the interior, and Beaulieu for the finances. Roland, to fill up the measure of his folly and his treachery to the king, wrote to the assembly announcing his dismissal from the ministry, and inclosing his letter to Louis, The letter was read amid the acclamations of the assembly, was ordered to be printed and circulated throughout France, and it was decreed that Roland, Clavieres, and Servan retired from the ministry amid the regrets of the nation. Such was the end of the Gironde cabinet, and such the ominous condition of France at the midsummer of 1792.

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Pictures for The Reign of George III. - (Continued.) page 35

Russian sledge driver
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Taking the civic Oath
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Death of Mirabeau
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Porte St. Denis
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View of Notre Dame
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Royal family of France
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St. Jacques De La Boucherie
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Forest of the Gironde
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Danton
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National Assembly
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Lighthouse of Cordovan
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Madame Roland
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La Vendee
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William Wilberforce
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Assassination of Gustavus III
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Sans Culottes
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