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The Reign of George III. (Continued.) page 3


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La Fayette then proceeded to the palace, where he sought to induce the king and queen to avail themselves of his presence to escape to the army whilst there was time; believing that he could command a sufficient number of the uncorrupted national guards, or of grenadiers of the section Filles St. Thomas, to protect him on the way. He told them that he was come to devote himself to them; but he was received with the utmost coldness. The most abusive expressions were repeated around him amongst the groups of courtiers; the king had the royal family around him, and they declared that they were convinced that there was no safety for them but in the constitution. " Never," says La Fayette, "did Louis appear to express himself with more confidence than on this occasion. He added, that he considered that it would be very fortunate if the Austrians were defeated. It so happened that the king was next day to review four thousand men of the national guard. La Fayette asked permission to accompany him, apprising him, at the same time, of his intention, as soon as his majesty had retired, of addressing the troops. But the court did everything in its power to thwart La Fayette, and Petion, the mayor, countermanded the review an hour before daybreak."

There can be little doubt that the court had apprised Petion of the intentions of La Fayette, in order that ho might defeat them. In short, the king and the queen had the utmost suspicion of the general at the moment when he seems to have been sincerely desirous to make reparation for the mischief he had done, by too promptly sending after them to Varennes. Deeply mortified, he retired from the palace to his own house, where he found a detachment of national guards drawn up, who received him with acclamations, and planted a tree of liberty before his door. They kept guard there all night, or, as he himself in his Memoirs confesses, the jacobins might have destroyed him, for having come with the design to destroy them. During the evening and night a considerable body of the leading Feuillants assembled at his house, and it was discussed what was the best to be done. Lally-Tollendal boldly proposed to march with the faithful portion of the national guards against the jacobins - who were, at the same time, assembled in great force at their club, and were sending their emissaries through Paris, to keep the sans-culottes on the alert - and to disperse them at the point of the bayonet, wall up the doors of the club, and prevent them reassembling there. The terror that the jacobins were in shows that, had the king been in earnest to escape through the means of La Fayette, and had there been a portion of the national guards devoted enough to the cause, Louis might yet have been saved. But the officers of the more constitutional part of the guards asked the king whether he wished them to support the plans of La Fayette whilst he was in Paris, and he answered, decidedly, " No!" To others who detailed to him La Fayette's scheme, he replied that it would be very good if they could count on the national guards. The court party had, in fact, no faith either in La Fayette or the guards.

Thus disappointed by the court, La Fayette was nevertheless anxious to strike his proposed blow at the jacobins. The following day, the 29th, he proposed that those who were in favour of the design should meet in the evening in the Champs Elysees, but when the time arrived there were only about thirty individuals come. It was clear that there was no party which dared to cope with the jacobins, yet this fierce sect had been terribly alarmed. They had, on the night of the 28th, gone to Dumouriez, entreated him to put himself at their head, and march against La Fayette, by which means they would greatly outnumber the guard, disperse them, and kill the general. Dumouriez refused to co-operate in this assassin work, and the principal jacobins fled and hid themselves. La Fayette remained another day in Paris, clinging to the last hope of prevailing on the king to avail himself of the last opportunity, and, finding that vain, he addressed another letter to the national assembly, enjoining them, with all the energy that he possessed, to extinguish the jacobin and the Gironde factions, who would otherwise extinguish it. He then took his departure for the army.

No sooner did the terrified factionists know of his having left Paris, than they issued in renewed fury from their retreats, knocked down the tree of liberty before his house, and set their sans-culottes hordes to burn him in effigy. Nor did they confine themselves to such empty expressions of their malice. They sent after him troops of desperadoes, who would have murdered him on his journey, had he not been accompanied by a strong body of his friends. Failing in this, they dispatched companies to his camp, to preach up mutiny and assassination to his soldiers. At the same time, the jacobins and Girondists opened a fierce outcry against La Fayette in the assembly. Isnard expressed his astonishment that he had not been seized at once at the bar of the house, and committed to the prison at Orleans. Jean Debrie brought up a report of the extraordinary committee, recommending a declaration that the country was in danger. Deputations from the sections appeared at the bar, demanding that La Fayette should be seized in the midst of his army as a traitor; that the staff of the national guards - which consisted of

Feuillants and aristocrats - should be disbanded, and that the patriots, with their pikes, should be incorporated with the national guards. Petion, instead of quieting the populace, placarded the walls of Paris with the ominous words: - "Citizens, the storm is preparing!" This roused the mob to fury against La Fayette's party; they were attacked in the streets, and several of them were wounded.

The court alarmed - not without sufficient cause - by the progress of events, instead of attempting to fly, urged the rapid approach of the allied army. The king had dispatched Mallet du Pan as early as May to Vienna, to urge the advance of the Austrians and Prussians. He had recommended the allies to send a proclamation before them, declaring that the allies entered France with peaceable intentions; that they did not attribute the assaults on the king's prerogatives and property to the French nation, but to a lawless faction, whom they called on the well-disposed to assist them in putting down. He desired them to promise the assembling of a congress, where all interests might be adjusted. At the same time, they were to hold the assembly, the municipality, and the officers of the national guards responsible for the safety of the king and his family. It had been well had the allies adopted this wise and moderate tone in the proclamation which they did eventually issue.

In the early part of July it was known at the Tuileries that the Prussians had marched on Coblentz, to the number of eighty thousand men, all old soldiers of the great Frederick, and commanded by the duke of Brunswick, the nephew of Frederick, who had won so much distinction in the seven years' war. Marshal Luckner, not deeming himself strong enough to resist this force, had retired upon Lille and Valenciennes. The court was in high spirits; the queen told her ladies, in confidence, that the allies would be in Paris in six weeks. She had their route, and said that on such a day they would be at Verdun; at such a day at Lille, which they meant to lay siege to. But the news was equally well known to the assembly, though it received no intelligence of the kind from the court. On the 3rd of July Vergniaud announced that the army of the north was in retreat before the Austrians, and that the Prussians were about to burst into France with fire and fury. These armies, he said, declared that they were acting for Louis XVI., and he demanded that the king should be dethroned at once. Condorcet, a few days afterwards, proposed, as necessary measures for the defence of the country, the summoning the confederates to the capital, the impeachment of ministers, the abolition of the civil list, and the reconciliation of the jacobins and the Girondists. This last idea was immediately seized on by Lamourette, the bishop of Lyons. He declared that, if they could only agree amongst themselves, there was nothing else that they need fear. "Oh!" he exclaimed, " he who should succeed in uniting you, that man would be the real conqueror of Austria and of Coblentz! It is daily alleged that, at the point to which things have been carried, your reunion is impossible. It is a calumny, there is nothing irreconcileable but guilt and virtue I Gentlemen, the public weal is in your hands; why do you delay carrying it into operation? What is it that the two factions of the assembly charge each other with? One accuses the other of wishing to modify the constitution by the hands of foreigners; and the latter accuses the former of wanting to overthrow the constitution and to establish a republic. Well, gentlemen, hurl one and the same anathema against a republic and the two chambers. Devote them to general execration by a last and irrevocable oath. Let us swear to have but one spirit - one sentiment. Let us swear everlasting fraternity. Let the enemy know that what we will, we all will, and the country is saved!"

The effect was instantaneous. All rose up with loud acclamations, swore destruction to any project for changing the constitution, either by two chambers or a republic, and concluded by throwing themselves into each other's arms. Those who attacked and those who defended La Fayette, the veto, the civil list, the factions and the traitors, were all embracing each other. All distinctions ceased; Pastoret and Cordorcet, who, the day before, were loading one another with abuse in the public papers, were seen locked in each other's arms; right and left were annihilated; Dumas was beside Basire, Jaucourt next to Merlin, Tho- mond to Chabot. Thiers asks, "Could this be a piece of hypocritical acting?" And he replies, "No, certainly not." We, too, say, "No, certainly not;" it is merely another ebullition of French sentiment, as sudden as a flash of lightning, and as evanescent. The same evening, the assembly was informed that the department had suspended Petion and Manuel. Petion, undoubtedly, deserved suspension as well as Manuel. He might certainly have prevented the commotion of the 20th of June, as he afterwards prevented others; but the moment was inauspicious to suspend these magistrates. The reconcilement of the morning was at once at an end. All the passions of the different parties were instantly revived. The king referred the sanction of this suspension to the assembly; the assembly referred it back. The reconciliation was forgotten; petitions poured in demanding the liberation of Petion or death! Grangeneuve, a deputy, who had been insulted demanded the punishment of the perpetrator of the outrage. Brissot, whilst professing regard for the reconciliation, called for the discussion of the question of the forfeiture of the crown. Notwithstanding this, the assembly decreed that all the administrative bodies of Paris,, and all the judicial bodies, should be summoned to the bar, to hear of the reconciliation, and to publish it to the citizens. A deputation was dispatched to the Tuileries to inform the king. It returned, saying, the king would come in person to offer his congratulations. The king soon after arrived, attended by all his ministers. He was received with cries of "Vive le Roi!" - it was for the last time. He described what happiness it gave him, and the president replied that it would crush the tyrants that were coalescing against France; and then Louis, who would have dreaded that of all things, had he believed it, returned, amid fresh cries of "Vive le Roi!" and that was the last act of the farce of reconciliation. That evening the assembly was deafened by the cries of raging crowds who surrounded the house, demanding Petion, and that the president of the directory, who had suspended him, should be sent to Orleans. This ludicrous reconciliation, which scarcely lasted till the members quitted their seats, that day became known as Lamourette's kiss of peace, or Judas's kiss. The jacobins that evening attacked the reconciliation with their accustomed vigour of animosity. Billaud - Varennes said it reminded him of Nero embracing Germanicus, and Charles IX. giving his hand to Coligny before having him assassinated.

Brissot, on the morrow, denounced ministers in a most murderous speech; and the next day, the 10th of July, the ministers resigned, their lives having been threatened by the mobs who surrounded the assembly. The jacobins and Girondists received the news with thunders of applause; and the next day, the 11th, the assembly pronounced the Country in Danger, and issued an address to the nation, declaring itself in permanent session, calling on all municipal bodies and civil authorities to place themselves in permanent session, and ordered the whole people to arms, in order to resist the tyrants who were invading the country. Such were the instant results of this so-called reconciliation!

Like all bursts of French sentiment, it was immediately followed by fresh proofs of French atrocity. Bazire, in the assembly, demanded that all the juges-de-paix should be dismissed as aristocrats and royalists in disguise. The federates, whom the late minister had forbidden to approach the capital, were now marching up from all quarters, in spite of this prohibition, and the jacobins and Girondists were encouraging them to come. Various deputations from these federates announced themselves to the assembly, and, being admitted, harangued that body in a most republican style. On the 12th, whilst the assembly was arranging the programme of the grand anniversary of the fete of the 14th of July in the Champ de Mars, it was interrupted by several such deputations. One was from Marseilles, and an address from the council-general of that city was read, calling for the immediate dethronement of the king and for the abolition of royalty for ever. This had no doubt been drawn up by Barbaroux, and, probably, under the dictation of madame Roland. The constitutional members reprobated the sentiments of this address as most detestable, and in open contradiction to the solemn resolution passed on the Lamourette reconciliation, that no alteration should be made in the constitution. This was clamoured down by the galleries and by the deputations. It was a plain fact that the assembly, as well as the king, were in base slavery to the mob, which was rushing on to some terrible catastrophe. The president reminded the galleries that they had no right to express approbation or disapprobation, but all in vain.

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