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The Reign of George III. - (Continued.) page 7


Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 <7> 8 9 10

This was the day after the storming of the Tuileries. The new ministry had been formed the day before, the civil List suspended, and the ministers commanded to take their Orders from the assembly. Jean Debrie had proposed universal suffrage, which was adopted, and Choudieu had proposed a camp to be formed under the walls of Paris, to which all patriots, of town or country, who chose should repair; that the gunners who had been so active at the Tuileries should plant their cannon on Montmartre, and the assembly remain in permanent session.

On the second morning, after the royal family had been introduced to their box, the assembly was informed that the people were pulling down the equestrian statue of Henry IV. on the Pont Neuf, and the statue of Louis XIY. on the Place Vendôme. This was also approved, on the principle of tearing up the roots of all royal prejudices. Petion, at the head of a deputation from the commune, presented himself to congratulate the assembly on the triumphs of the popular cause, declaring the last decrees of that body blest, and that the people would now repose on the laws! Arena, a deputy from Corsica, called the attention of the members to the Swiss who had been taken prisoners yesterday, and had received no food whatever for thirty hours. Then came the gensdarmes to denounce their officers as corrupt aristocrats, and they were allowed to choose their own officers, and this privilege was gradually extended to the whole army. Guadet proposed regulations for the calling of the new convention, and carried not only these, but that the convention should assemble on the 20th of September, ever. should no more than two hundred members have arrived. Guadet, by these acts, was sealing the doom of himself and all the Gironde party.

The sitting continuing, on Sunday, the 12th, Anacharsis Clootz, the orator of mankind, appeared at the bar of the assembly; for every fresh day of violence called out of their retreats the maddest of the revolutionists. He was attended by a strange set of sans-culotte Germans, whom he described as the most enlightened men of their nation, and announced that prince Henry of Prussia, the king's brother, and various other princes, nobles, and generals, were ardent admirers of the révolution, and of the philosophy of Voltaire and Rousseau. The Temple having been appointed the prison of the royal family, and the charge of the captives being given to the mayor, Petion, and the commune, it was ordered that no one should have access to them without a pass signed by the mayor, or by Santerre, the commandant-general. These proceedings were continually interrupted by crowds of patriots and patriotesses, who came to revile the king and queen, to demand their instant deposition and trial, and a court-martial, to execute vengeance on the men who had dared to fire on the people.

On Monday, the miserable royal family being again dragged to their box in the assembly, Robespierre presented himself at the head of a deputation of jacobins, to demand that a pyramid should be erected on the spot in the Place Vendôme, whence the statue of Louis XIV. had been removed, to the honour of the brave men who died fighting for liberty on the 10th. This proposition was received with clamorous applause by both the galleries and the house, and was oddly enough referred to the committee of public instruction. In the evening the royal family were con- ducted to their dismal lodgings in the Temple. Petion rode in the carriage with them, on the pretence that they would otherwise be torn to pieces by the people. They were accompanied by a body of national guards, and by crowds of pikemen, and were compelled to halt for a considerable time at the Place Vendôme, that they might see the ruins of the statue of their ancestor, the "grand monarque." The miserable captives were thrust into three or four small rooms in a little tower, where people of all sorts had to pass through the sleeping apartments of the king, and of madame Elizabeth and the princess royal, at the same time that they were constantly exposed to the vile language and execrations of the low mobs which assembled under their windows; to insult them. Madame Campan applied to Petion to be allowed to attend her royal mistress; but he not only refused, but threatened to send her to the prison of La Force, to which the princess Lamballe was already sent, for haviug voluntarily gone to attend on the queen. Madame de Tourzel and the few other attendants were sent away, and no one left but Cléry, the faithful valet-de-chambre, to wait on the whole group.

Deputation after deputation appeared at the assembly, demanding that a new revolutionary tribunal should be instantly formed by one deputy from each section, to try and condemn all the traitors against the people, and that the king and queen should see all their satellites brought up and receive justice from this tribunal. Robespierre was loudest of all in demanding this, and it was declared that, unless it was granted, the tocsin should be sounded, and all Paris should demand it with arms in their hands. The assembly, though 10th to comply, were at length compelled; and this new and terrible tribunal, called " The Tribunal of the 17th of August," was the forerunner of the still more awful one, " The Tribunal Revolutionare." The very next day this tribunal was pronounced complete, so that it must have been already organised. Robespierre was appointed its president, but this he declined: he knew that his time was not yet come. He was busy in throwing all the power of the state into the hands of the commune, which he, and Danton under him, was to wield; and he was certain to be returned to the convention, so that shortly he would stand forth the real dictator of the country. The Girondists saw with terror the whole authority of the state rapidly con- verging into his hands. They hade an effort to check it- it was too late. Gensonné, Guadet, and Grangeneuve demanded that this new and provisory municipality should be dissolved, and that the old municipality, with Petion at its head, should be restored. The decree was passed, but it was a dead letter. Within the assembly the Gironde could still command a majority, but the authority of the assembly itself had expired. The commune, and, through the commune, the clubs, ruled out of doors. These parties paid to attention to the decree of the assembly further than to set it at defiance, and to issue Orders for the demolition of all traces of royalty in Paris; for the demolition of statues, triumphal arches, gateways, inscriptions - in short, what- ever commemorated the long glories of the monarchy. They issued, also, Orders for the arrest of all persons suspected of everything short of the rankest jacobinism, and proceeded to break into their dwellings, to seize their persons and their private papers, to be evidence against them before the new tribunal. Not only art, but personal security was in the daily process of destruction.

In vain did the Girondist members of the assembly protests and thunder against this absolutism, this new and intolerable tyranny of the commune; in vain did Vergniaud launch his once-admired eloquence against these deeds, and declare that the most solemn decrees of the assembly were treated with contempt. "I ask," he said, "the deputies of the eighty- three departments, whether they still consider themselves the representatives of the empire? whether they have energy enough to demand from the people of Paris respect and submission to the laws? I ask them who flatter themselves that they have thrown down all tyrannies, whether they will suffer a new despotism to arise amongst us? We have called to the bar the president of this new commune, that he might explain the motives of his conduct, but he has not deigned to appear, and I now demand that he be brought forcibly to this bar."

But the assembly had not the necessity of resorting to force; indeed, in such a course they would have been beaten, for the commune was the second power in the state, and had the first power - the mob - at its back; the assembly was a shadow. Petion presented himself, and was followed by a deputation of the commune, and M. Tallien, the secretary-general of the new commune, addressed the assembly in language which must have made every Girondist ear tingle. He told them that whatever the people and the commune had done, the assembly had approved; and that the people also approved all that the commune had done, and would maintain it with the sword; that they would repose confidence in the commune, and the commune alone. He said they might attack the commune if they pleased, but that they would find in attacking it they attacked the people, who would defend themselves; that they had put down all but thoroughly revolutionary journals, and had shut up the reactionary priests in a certain house, and, in a few days, would purge the country of them; a dark, but too fatal threat.

This startling address was followed by another from Manuel; by a fresh crowd of Citizens, announcing that the people all round were waiting outside, demanding permission to file through the hall; and, finally, appeared the president of the new commune, who spoke in still more defiant and unequivocal terms.

The assembly and the Girondists were prostrate before triumphant sans-culottism! The jacobin club now assumed Brutus the elder as its patron. Le Nain, a sculptor, presented it with a bust of that Roman anti-monarchist, which was received amid riotous acclamation. Manuel declared that the bust of the Roman purger of the soil of kings was the true ornament of that hall, in which the doom of Louis the Last was accomplished. Le Nain, quite awake to his own interests, recommended that every jacobin club in the empire - the word "kingdom " was now carefully avoided - should have its bust of Brutus, and he offered to furnish them at a cheap rate. His proposal was accepted, and a recommendation to that effect dispatched to every department. There was then a great cry for the judgment on Louis the Last. The federates marched in a body to the club, to declare that they would not proceed to the army till they had seen a just judgment executed on the king and queen; and not only so, but a terrible vengeance on all who had opposed the progress of liberty. It was clear that some awful massacre was approaching. The Girondists saw it in helpless prostration; the march of a whole infuriated people was, as it were, over their prostrate bodies; and Roland, the new minister of the interior, reported that there was a frightful conspiracy against order and liberty extending over the whole country.

To prevent any of the Girondists, or any reactionists, escaping to the country, and forming a party there, the commune ordered all the city gates to be closed; the national guards to be on permanent duty at all points; that all the bronze statues of saints, and all metal crucifixes in the churches, should be seized and melted down for cannon; that all the iron railings of churches, and public and other buildings, should be converted into pikes; and all church bells and silver candlesticks should be coined into money, leaving only a bell or two in each parish. A strong guard attended the parties sent out to do this work of stripping the churches, and in some parishes resistance was made, and at the old church of Notre Dame a conflict took place, and blood was shed.

Marat had become a leading person in this new, jacobinised commune. He was appointed reporter of the proceedings at the Hôtel de Ville, and had a separate gallery or lodge of his own at its sittings. He, and Robespierre, and Danton, and Manuel carried everything they pleased, and matters now fast assumed a terrorist shape. This was called the first year of equality; the name of " monsieur" was abandoned in the proceedings and correspondence of the commune, and that of " citizen " substituted.

As the news of the allies advancing arrived, the wives and children of the emigrants were seized, and shut up in prison, and it was ordered that the lives of these defenceless persons should be held responsible for those of the patriots killed in the field. The Girondists endeavoured to influence the elections to the convention in Paris in their favour, but they found all their efforts useless.

Meantime, the news of the events of the 10th of August had reached the camp on the frontiers. The army there was still divided into three sections, under the command of La Fayette, Luckner, and Montesquieu. Luckner, who was getting old, and addicted to potations too deep, exhibited symptoms of superannuating; he laughed, drank wine, and talked when he should act. Dumouriez, who, on quitting the ministry, had gone to Luckner, and acted as lieutenant- general under him, had urged him to attack the Austrians quartered at Courtray, but had burned the suburbs and then retreated. This had been made a serious charge against the ministry the day before the dethronement. Luckner appointed Dumouriez to command one of the entrenched camps at Maulde; there he strongly fortified himself, and then made incursions into the quarters of the enemy. By this means he raised the troops under his command to a high degree of courage and discipline, whilst in all the other camps there reigned too much inactivity. He encouraged his men by stratagems that please Frenchmen; he induced the two daughters of a retired quartermaster to assume a military costume, and to go out with the troops in these incursions, and wrote accounts of the courage and exploits of these amazons.

La Fayette induced Luckner to change positions with him, so that he should have the northern position, and thus be nearer to Paris, in case the king should need help. Whilst they were making this cross movement, Dumouriez remained in his camp, lest he should lay open the country to the attack of the Austrians, under the duke of Saxe- Teschen. Luckner ordered him to march his twenty thousand troops to a new position; but Dumouriez neglected to do so, and called on general Arthur Dillon, at the head of another division, and some other officers, to hold a council of war at Valenciennes, in which he might justify his conduct. Luckner had now settled himself at Metz, and La Fayette at Sedan; and Dumouriez was on the point of being arrested for his disobedience, when three commissioners arrived at Sedan to announce what had occurred on the 10th of August, and to take a new oath from the army.

La Fayette caused the commissioners, through the mayor of Sedan, to be arrested. He declared that the assembly was no longer free, when it ordered the suspension of the king, but was the instrument of a faction. The commissioners were thrown into prison, and La Fayette charged himself with the responsibility of the act. He immediately caused his troops to take the oath anew to the king and constitution, and ordered all the officers under him to do the same. General count Dillon, who had had a brother massacred by his own soldiers, complied, and administered the oath to his forces; but Dumouriez, who knew too well the jacobinised condition of the soldiers, declined, or neglected to do it. He was looking forward, indeed, to command the army for the ultra-revolutionists, and to supersede La Fayette. Luckner, to whom La Fayette also wrote, recommending this measure, also neglected it. As for La Fayette himself, he was relying on a broken reed, on the seventy-five departments which adhered to his letter of the 16th of June.

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Pictures for The Reign of George III. - (Continued.) page 7

Camille Desmoulins
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Chateau de Versales
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The Royal family of France
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Boulevards of Paris
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Paris
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Upper Rhine
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