Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub

his arrival, his Majesty was to have published a proclamation, enjoining all the Emigrants immediately to return into the kingdom, and commanding the Princes, Officers, and all Gentlemen, able to bear arms, personally to attend the King in the town to be appointed, in order to join with his Majesty in the defence of the State, the whole, under pain of being deemed traitors to their King and Country, and of being prosecuted as such. That these orders might be executed without delay, the Count d'Arlois was to be informed of the King's plán before-hand, by a confidential person, to be fixed upon by M. de Montmorin.

• After these first operations, a new Council was to be formed, and composed of Ministers chosen among persons most distinguished for their knowledge, energy, and monarchical principles. The King, attended by the Marquis de Bouillé, was to review his army, shew himself every day to the soldiers, and inspire their former loyalty, by often speaking to them kindly and conhdently. At the same time, his Majesty was to negociate with the Emperor, obtain an armistice, summon the Assembly to Metz or Valenciennes, to consult with them upon the demands of the Powers, and concert the conditions of peace.

· The Queen remaining at Paris, was to render herself popular by letters to the Emperor and to the King of Naples, in order to separate them from the coalition, and they were to be written in a manner to produce the most beneficial effect. M. de Montmorin was also to remain at Paris, to treat with the principal members of the Assembly, to preserve the means of influence, and to direct them as occasion might require.

• It was not to be presumed that the Assembly, when summoned by the King, would refuse to attend his person ; the populace, in that case, would have compelled them to go; and thousands of addresses would have poured in from all parts to demand their dissolution. Previous to their arrival, or to thcir being superseded by new Deputies, appointed in the same manner as the former ones, that is to say, by the Bailiwick Assemblies, which the King might have convoked for that purpose, in compliance with the numerous petitions that might have been obtained from all the provinces, his Majesty's Council, and that of the Emperor, might have concerted the conditions upon which the Powers were to insist.

• These conditions, amongst which was to be the disarming and disbanding of the National Guard, were to be of such a nature that the King could not subscribe to them without the consent of the Assembly, nor the Assembly without consulting the wishes of their constituents, that is to say, the Bailiwick Assemblies; the convocation of which, loudly demanded by the people, by the army, and by innumerable peritions, would become inevitable.

· These Assemblies, contrived to be convoked on the same day throughout the kingdom, were to be consulted not only respecting the demands of the different Powers, but respecting the plan of a declaration drawn up according to the desires contained in the majority of the instructions to the Deputies, and which was no more than a summary of the ancient Monarchical Government, cleared from all

its abuses, and improved on principles the most prudent and the most proper to secure the stability of the French Constitution.

* This declaration, fultiling all wishes and realizing all hopes, except those of the factions and brigands, could not fail to be every where received with the most unanimous transports of joy. The Bailiwick Assemblies were to direct their Representatives to present the King with the homage of the general gratitude; and vote immediately the taxes necessary for the wants of the State, according to his Majesty's desire.

« Thus would there have been an end to the Assembly, the Revolution, civil commotions, and war with the Powers of Europe. The King, after having settled the conditions of peace with them, was to set off to the capital; there would he arrive in the midst of universal acclamations of joy, love, and happiness, and find, at last, his good city of Paris, those good Frenchmen of old times, that good people who idolized their Kings.'

In the next chapter, we are informed that the King had conceived a design for his deliverance different from any that had been proposed to him, and of which his Ministers were ignorant; that, in consequence, Count Alphonse de Durfort was sent on a secret mission; and that the Count d'Artois held a conference with the Emperor at Mantua, where the plan of rescuing the King was decided. M. Bertrand assures us that the following is a faithful extract from this plan:

“ The Emperor shall order 35,000 men to march towards the frontiers of Flanders and Hainault, ard at the same time the troops of the Circles, to the number of 15,000 men, shall proceed to Alsace. The same number of Swiss shall appear on the frontiers of the Lyonnois and Franche Compté; the King of Sardinia upon that of Dauphiné with 15,000 men. Spain has already assembled 12,000 men in Catalonia, and will raise them to 20,000 troops, to threaten the southern provinces. These different armies will form a mass of about 100,000 men, which shall march in five columns to the several frontiers borderiag on the different States. To these armies shall be joined the regiments remaining loyal, the armed volunteers who may be relied on, and all the malcontents of the provinces.

“ The Emperor is assured of the good disposition of the King of Prussia ; and liis Imperial Majesty has himself undertaken the direct correspondence with the Court of Berlin. The King of England as Elecior of Hanover also desires to enter into the coalition, which must be kept a profound secret till the instant of the explosion : for which reason care must be taken to prevent any partial insurrection in the Interior.

“ All being thus arranged for the end of July, the declaration of the House of Bourbon shall appear; it shall be signed by the King of Spain, the King of Naples, the Infant of Parma, and the Princes of the Blood that are ai liberty. The Manifesto of the Powers engaged in the coalition shall appear immediately after.

.. Although

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Although the Emperor is the soul and leader of the enterprise, it would most probably place the Queen in a perilous situation if he should appear as the prime mover ; for this plan would be certainly attributed to the House of Austria, and the Assembly will use their urmost endeavours to render it odious to the people.

“ The Emperor is going to write to the King of Spain to haster his preparations, and to exhort him to sign without delay the declaration of the House of Bourbon. The King and Queen of Naples, who are acquainted with it, only wait the signature of Spain to affix theirs.

“ The intentions of the King of Sardinia are excellent : he only waits the Emperor's signal. The Diet pf Ratisbon, who have received the decree for a commission, are about to take their last resolutions.

“ The neutrality of England may be relied upon.

“ Every thing being thus concerted with the Powers, this plar ought to be considered as settled ; and care should be taken that it is not thwarted by jarring ideas. Their Majesties should carefully avoid dividing their confidence, and letting many into the secret; having already experienced that it only hurts, retards, and embarasses.

“ The Parliaments are necessary for the re-establishment of forms ; consequently a continual correspondence must be kept up with several Members of the Supreme Courts, to be able to reassemble them easily when the time comes.

“ Though hitherto it had been wished that their Majesties might themselves procure their liberty, the present situation of affairs makes it necessary to entreat them earnestly to drop the idea. Their position is very different from that in which they stood previous to the 18th of April, before the King had been compelled to go to the Assembly, and to cause the letter to be written to the Ambassadors. The only object that ought to take up their Majesties' attentiɔn, is to employ every possible means to increase their popularity, to take advantage of it when the time should come, and so that the people, alarmed at the approach of the foreign armies, should find their safety only in the King's mediation, and their submission to his Majesty's anthority. This is the Emperor's opinion. He depends solely on this plan of conduct for the success of the measures which he has adopted, and particularly requests that every other may be given up. What might happen to their Majesties, if in their flight they should not be able to escape a barbarous vigilance, makes him shudder with horror. His Imperial Majesty thinks that their Majesties’ surest course is the movement of the armies of the allied Powers, preceded by threatening manifestos.”

We have stated these particulars, that the reader may judge what reason the Annalist had for being offended with Mr. Fox, for his quotation in the House of Commons; concerning which we shall speak farther at the close of this article.

It is evident that the King and the National Assembly placed no confidence in each other; and, as the fear was mutual, so also was the duplicity. M. Bertrand very candidly acknow15

leges

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

: leges that the King was insincere in the declaration which he

made on his return to Paris, after his flight. « Neither (observes he) the profound veneration which I feel for the virtues of Louis XVI. nor the religious respect with which his misfortunes have veiled his errors, must tempt me to conceal that his faithful servants, the true friends of his glory and of his dignity, read with extreme sorrow in his declarations some passages, the sincerity of which it was impossible not to suspect. The mouths of kings should be at all times, and in all circumstances, the purest organs of truth and good faith.'—To this insincerity and want of firmness, the unfortunate Louis XVI. owed his misery. Had he been more open and fearless, he might possibly have preserved his life, and brought the Revolution within proper bounds :--but, after the horrors which have ensued, it is vain to speculate on possibilities.

A picture of the Revolution, and of the state of the different parties, while the King was deliberating on the acceptance of the Constitutional Act, is given in the following passage:

• The King's arrest formed a new æra in the Revolution, which may be regarded as the epocha of the disorganization of all the parties, one only excepted, which reaped an advantage from the fall of the others. The jacobins having endeavoured in vain to bring the King to a trial, and proclaim France a Republic, turned upon the Constitutionalists, who opposed it, drove them from their post, and took possession of it themselves. Brissot, who was then the soul of this club, and the chief of the secret committee, who directed its operations, judged very rightly that the Jacobins could not over: turn this weak Constitution by any other means than by adopting it.; and that it was by declaring themselves its guardians, they might discredit its authors, and succeed in destroying the remainder of Royalty, which the latter had left defenceless.

· The leaders of the Constitutional Party seeing themselves thus attacked, and in danger of being soon supplanted by the most ferocious Revolutionists, divided into two sects; one of them, hoping to retain the favour of the populace, preserved the appearance and language of the Jacobins, who, nevertheless, denounced them as traitors; the other party, still more odious to them, secretly attached themselves to the King, without adopting or proposing any measure to rescue him froin danger.

M. de la Fayette, immoveable in his respect for the rights of men, and in his confidence in the constitutional attachment of the Parisian National Guard, thought himself in a condition to triumph over the Republicans and what he called the intriguers of his party.

• The King's arrest was also followed by a division of the Royal Party: Some were for defending his cause to the last, others thought they should take no further part in the determinations of the Assembly; but this difference of opinion had produced no contest or bitternes; in the Coté-Droit; for on all important questions, that upon the two Chambers excepted, the Cité-Droit had been always 13

unanimous,

unanimous, so impossible was it for the honest partisans of a mild Monarchy, as well as those of an absolute one, to support the principles and revolutionary measures of the majority of the Assembly; but even this very agreement of the Royal Party as to the funda mental basis of the Monarchical Government produced no other effect on the multitude, than that of marking them all as the partisans of despotism, while their disagreement as to the system, left to none of their sub-divisions the consistency or force of a party. Thus, all disappeared, all sunk, before the sanguinary cohort of the Jacobins, who were already fabricating in their Clubs, the cata. strophes of the roth of August, the 2d of September, &c. &c. Their determinations each day acquired a greater degree of violenceto their war-cry The Constitution or Death, they had added the word Equality. To familiarise the people's minds to the ideas of hatred and vengeance, they confounded, and pointed out all their adversaries, under the denomination of Enemies to Liberty and Equality. At the same time they supported in the National Assembly every motion made by the members of the Coté-Droit, tending to its dissolution, because they were well assured that their successors would soon annihilate the vain phantom of Royalty which stood in their way.

« The Constitutionalists dispirited, found themselves, no longer able to hold the reins of the Revolution.

• The pure Royalists*, deceived by the hopes of a powerful coalition in favour of Louis XVI, looked forward to the dissolution of the Assembly, and very rarely attended the sittings. Several of them were even preparing to set off for Coblentz, should the King accept the Constitution.

• The less pure Royalists, denominated Monarchienst and Monarchistes }, were disgusted at the active part they had taken, and viewed in the dissolution of the Assembly, a period to the insults and menaces which they were every day obliged to undergo. One alone among them highly distinguished for his good sense and talents, M. de Clermont-Tonnerre, foreseeing that the second Assembly would be still wore than the first, was willing to prolong the sessions of the present Assembly, in order to superintend the trial of the new system which they had established, and to make all the reforms which experience might shew to be necessary. He spoke of it to Barnave and to Chapelier, whom he thought to find disposed to support the motion which he proposed to make to that effect ; but they advised him against it. “ We are worn out,” said they,

we shall be driven away as well as you and your party, if we do not go of our own accord. It is only in our Departments, and by occupying places under the Government, that we can henceforth do any good.” These Constitutionalists, as presumptuous as guilty, still conceived

** Those who wished for the ancient Monarchy and ancient system.

«t Those who wished for the New Constitutional Monarchy, with some modifications in the Constitution.'

6. Those who wished for a Monarchical Government of any kind, solidly established.'

themselves

« ÖncekiDevam »