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1789.

DEATH OF FOULON AND BERTHIER.

235

found means soon after to gratify their thirst of blood. Foulon, superintendent of the revenue, a peculiarly detested member of a detested profession, had been seized as one of the aristocratic conspirators. He was brought, on the 27th, to the Hôtel de Ville, then the centre of justice as of force. He was reported to have derided the sufferings of the people in famine, and to have bidden them “ eat hay.” He was now brought with ignominy to the Hôtel de Ville, the populace clamoring for his instant condemnation. In vain the municipality urged that they did not form a court of justice; equally in vain did they affect to go through the forms of an interrogatory to gain time. La Fayette tried his eloquence and popularity. The rabble, impatient, rushed on Foulon, tore him forth, and hanged him to a lamp-post. His son-in-law, Berthier, was soon after brought in on the same charge. The mob held up to him the streaming head of Foulon, and laughed with delight at his recoil of horror. Berthier shared a similar fate. La Fayette threw down his command in disgust, but was prevailed on to resume it.

The peasantry of many of the provinces imitated in the mean time the lower orders of the capital, in a crusade against gentility; châteaux were burned, their lords hunted forth, the possessors of birth and property menaced and proscribed. The deputies of the privileged classes now resolved to resign those rights which rendered them odious. They, too, at least a. great number, however fallen, and despoiled, and calumniated, felt the patriotic excitement of the time, and were prepared to make sacrifice of every distinction and claim. The attention of the assembly being turned on the 4th of August to the excesses of the peasantry, it was observed, that their resentment was justly called forth against the upholders of taille and corvée and feudal abuses. On this the viscount de Noailles moved to abolish corvées and all marks of personal servitude. The duc d'Aiguillon followed; and the first nobles of the land came forward to sacrifice all seigniorial rights, jurisdiction, and exemption. The clergy followed the example. In a single hour of excitement, the proudest aristocracy, and the most unbending church, had levelled themselves with the peasant, and sacrificed those rights, rather than yield the smallest part of which, they had, during the last ten years, persisted in risking, and at length precipitating, monarchy and state.

Here closes the first act of the revolution. The privilegea orders, which had so long weighed upon France, were swept away. The middle ranks succeeded to their place, and in a great measure to the difficulties and the envy of that place.

What has, throughout this history, been called the burgessclass, in which now blended the professions and smaller agriculturists, had been completely victorious in that important struggle with the court and aristocracy, which has been here minutely, perhaps tediously, described. They were now in the zenith: they formed the majority of the assembly. Bailly

nd La Fayette, perfect representatives of their opinion, held the executive, as it were, of the revolutionary realm, not yet extending, it is true, far beyond the circuit of the capital. But already the working class, the artisan, the needy, began to feel the weight of that above it, and to look even upon simple burgesses as aristocrats. The municipality was already clam ored against and bullied by the mob, which only wanted writers, orators, and demagogues to lead it on in the path of power. These did not yet exist. The dragon's teeth were sown, indeed, but the crop of mutual slaughters had not reached maturity. The shadow of royalty and of a court also existed, and attracted towards it a considerable share of popular attention and animosity. This averted for a time the struggle that was still inevitable betwixt the middle ranks of society and the lower.

An interval of two months now passed over without any flagrant scene of popular violence. The assembly employed the time in fixing the basis of the new constitution; the municipality busied in procuring bread for the Parisians; and Necker, who had returned to assume the ministry, in anguish and expedients to raise funds, at a time when neither tax could be levied nor loan raised. Although the latter was the more pressing, the constitution was the more important, question. Mounier, Lally, Necker, proposed the English model; a scheme that was neither supported by the small body of noblesse, (true to their spirit of the order, they seemed to imitate their neighbors, and now gathered hope but from the prospect of anarchy,) nor tolerated by the great majority. The very name of “noble” was so odious, that men of the most aristocratic feelings sacrificed them at once to necessity and prudence. The oracular Sieyes argued, that it was for the people to will, for the sovereign to execute. The simplicity and hardihood of this doctrine pleased. Few thought of sking, was it practicable. The existence of but one chamer was voted by an overwhelming majority. It was the uestion of the royal veto that excited difference. Should it exist at all? should it be absolute or suspensive? Sieyes would not allow of the word: he called it a lettre de cachet against the will of the nation.”. The country joined in the discussion. The provincial towns sent addresses against the

1789.

FINANCIAL EXIGENCY.

237

veto. The mob of the Palais Royal prepared a formidable deputation. La Fayette and Bailly stopped it at the gates of Paris. They had, for the time, recovered mastery of the popular mind. The king was advised by Necker to interfere, and state to the assembly his acceptance of the suspensive rather than the absolute veto. The former was accordingly decreed. Thus a single representative chamber, and a sovereign possessed merely of the power of deferring a law by his dissent, formed the outlines of the new constitution,

As yet the lower orders had no exclusive party, and scarcely an avowed partisan, in the assembly, though Robespierre and other future demagogues sat silent and unnoticed on its benches. But their voices may be discerned in the cry for a national bankruptcy, that was raised on Necker's making a statement of financial distress. · The measure of spoliation would have fallen almost exclusively upon the Parisian tradesman or comfortable rentier. The same act was recommended, with the self-same view, by the high aristocracy under the regent, that was now. demanded by the “friends of the people.” Mirabeau, however, whose want or disregard of principle was often supplied by the instinct of genius, started up in behalf of the middle ranks. With ironical force he proposed to take 2000 of the wealthiest citizens and fling them into the gulf of the public debt-to immolate them in order to fill it up. - Such was his hardy metaphor. The assembly recoiled. Ay," continued he, “and what is bankruptcy but this? The other day, when mention was made of an imaginary insurrection of the Palais Royal, we heard amongst us the exclamation, Catiline is at the gates of Rome, and the senate does naught but deliberate.' Certes, there were round us then nor Catiline, nor perils, nor factions, nor Rome. But bankruptcy, hideous bankruptcy, is at our gates, and in the midst of us, menacing our lives, our properties, and honorand yet we deliberate!” Struck by this apostrophe, the assembly voted by acclamation to uphold the national credit, and assent to the financial scheme of Necker.

There were plans, however, at the moment in agitation, of more serious importance than either bankruptcy or credit. Both the court and popular party had drawn breath; the one had recovered from its terrors, the latter had resumed its suspicion and impatience. Both conspired, the aristocracy as well as the rabble; whilst the middling ranks and the assembly were doomed to await, and to submit to whichever should prove conqueror. Bailly ani La Fayette in vain exerted themselves to keep the capital quiet. Famine prevailed, despite the abundance of the crop. Corn is hoarded as well as coin in times of pillage and terror. The court is accused of increasing this; the duke of Orleans of having producea it. The people, always confined to one idea, and seeking in it a remedy for every woe, resumed the cry, “ To Versailles ! let us go to seek bread and the king at Versailles !” The courtiers were not displeased with this popular resolve, which they hoped would drive Louis to an open breach with the revolution. They saw no hope but in civil war. M. de Bouillé, a noble and a general, commanded at Metz, an important garrison of the frontier. He was beloved by his soldiery, The thoughts of the queen and her counsellors were turned towards him, as the restorer of the monarchy.

In the midst of this came the menaces, the plaints, the deputation, from Paris to the assembly. The court, recurring to its warlike ideas, brought the regiment of Flanders to Versailles. The Orangery, the gardens, were again occupied with troopers and body-guards. The municipality of Paris was alarmed. La Fayette himself spoke openly of the plot against uiberty. The mob caught the suspicion. On the 2d of October a banquet was given by the body-guards to the officers of the newly-arrived regiment; those of the national guard of Versailles were also invited. It took place in the palacetheatre. Wine circulated; enthusiasm was excited. The soldiers of the regiments were admitted into the building : cups being handed to them, they drank to the health of the queen, and of the king. With drawn swords the banqueters pledged them. The queen, hearing of the fête, presented herself with the dauphin. A fresh effusion of loyalty ensued. Swords again flashed, with vows to support the royal cause, whilst the military band played the air of Cæur de Lion, O Richard, O mon roi, l'univers t'abandonne !"

Accounts of the fête soon came to exasperate the Parisians, and to offer the agitators a pretext to excite tumult. Orleans, who might pretend to the regency, if the king was frightened away to Metz, had his interest in producing insurrection at this moment. A crowd of women was adroitly employed to besiege the guard, and the Hôtel de Ville. They could only be diverted from setting fire to the edifice by an invitation to proceed to Versailles. The tocsin, in the mean time, was sounded. The rabble, armed with pikes, forks, and sticks, crowded to the square, and soon marched off to Versailles, to ask bread of the assembly. La Fayette soon after arrived at the Hôtel de Ville. The assembled companies of the national guard awaited him. Though bearing this title, these troops were not citizens, but mere mercenary troops. They, too, demanded to march upon Versailles. La Fayette in vain dis

1789,

POPULACE MARCH TO VERSAILLES.

239

suaded them; he was constrained to lead them. All Paris followed in their wake.

This movement took place on the 5th of October. On the very same day, in the assembly, the popular party first showed itself fully: Petion, Robespierre, Gregorie, started up, with denunciations, giving vent to the extreme of revolutionary language. Already they began to accuse and threaten Mirabeau, the representative of the bourgeoise. The only hope for the monarch, at this time, was to have rallied to the latter party; and his adhesion would have completed it: sepa tion from the ultra-revolutionists, who at this time were but in he feebleness of birth. It was this day, however, that the monarch was advised to set himself at variance with the vote of the assembly, and to disapprove of their constitution.

The horde of women and rabble reached Versailles in the afternoon: they penetrated into the assembly, demanding bread, and saying that the aristocrats and the archbishop of Paris had bribed the millers not to grind corn. Mounier was dispatched to the palace; the women accompanied him thither, but the crowd was stopped at the iron railing in front of the château: twelve were, however, admitted, to lay their complaints before the king. At his aspect and that of the queen, their fury was dumb; they returned to their comrades, satisfied and charmed with their benign reception : these, amazed and angered at such a change, threatened to hang their unfortunate envoys.

The troops were drawn up in front of the château, consisting of the body-guard, the regiment of Flanders, and the national guard of Versailles. Although the two latter had joined in the famous banquet, the grenadiers of Flanders being the first to propose the health of the queen, yet now both were ill-affected, and openly avowed their opinions. Three hundred of the body-guard formed thus the entire force upon which the king had to depend. Yet causes of exasperation had been given both to the people and the assembly, and even now Louis refused to fly. Some of the people in the mean time mingled with the soldiers; M. de Savonnières, of the body-guard, came to drive them away with his drawn sabre, though striking merely with the flat of the weapon: he was wounded instantly by a shot. The national guard of Versailles took part with the populace, and fired upon the body-guards, which, too weak to contend with such a force, were compelled to retire.

Towards midnight La Fayette arrived, at the head of the Parisian guard and a fresh host of rabble; having made them take, during their march, a vain oath to be well-conducted

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