H. N. (Horatio Newton) Moore.

The reign of terror historically and biographically treated online

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might move the hardest heart. She gently pushed
them back into the room, and turning her face to the
tumultuous multitude, which tossed and roared be-
neath, brandishing pikes and guns with the wildest
attitudes of rage, she stood before them, her arms
folded on her bosom, with a noble air of courageous

by sitting as an academy-model to painters, and for that reason cul-
tivated his long beard. He was subsequently distinguished in the
massacres of Avignon.



THE REIGN OP TERROR. 59

resignation.* The secret reason of this summons —
the real cause of repelling the children — could only be
to afford a chance for some desperate hand among
the crowd to execute the threats which resounded on
all sides. A gun was actually levelled, but one of the
bystanders struck it down ; for the passions of the
mob had taken an opposite turn — and La Fayette, at
this moment, with ready chivalry, stooped, took the
hand of the Q,ueen, and kissed it respectfully. This
act upon his part, together with her contempt of per-
sonal danger, subdued the fury of the populace, and
shouts of *' Long live the Q,ueen ! Long live La Fay-
ette !" rent the air. And now the cry of " To Paris !
to Paris !" was resumed, and La Fayette persuaded
the King, as the only means of appeasing the tumult,
to accede to the wishes of the people, and, accompa-
nied by the royal family, he again appeared on the
balcony, and announced to the multitude that the
King would comply.f The Assembly informed of his
determination, hastily passed a resolution that it was
inseparable from the King, and would accompany him
to the capital. The carriages of the royal family were
got ready, and placed in the middle of an immeasura-
ble column, consisting partly of La Fayette's soldiers,
partly of the revolutionary rabble. The King, his
Queen, his sister Elizabeth, and the two royal children,,
got into a carriage. A hundred deputies in other car-
riages followed. At one o'clock the procession moved,
A detachment of brigands, carrying in triumph the
heads of the life guards, had set off two hours earlier.
These cannibals stopped for a moment at Sevres, and
carried their ferocity to such a pitch as to force a bar-

* " She was dressed in white, her head was bare, and adorned
wiih beautiful fair locks. Motionless, and in a modest and noble
attitude, she appeared tome like a victim on the*block." — Lavallette.

t " The Queen, on returning from the balcony, approached my
mother, and said to her, with stifled sobs, " They are going to force
the King and me to Paris, with the heads of our body-guards carried
before us on pikes. Her prediction was accomplished." — Madam
de StaeL



60 THE REIGN OF TERROR.

ber to dress the hair of two bleeding heads. Before
the King's carriage marched the fish-women, and the
whole army of abandoned women, who had come the
preceding day from Paris, still drunk with fury and
wine. Several of them were astride upon the cannon,
celebrating by the most abominable songs the spirit
with which they were actuated. Others" nearer the
King's carriage, were singing allegorical airs, and
by their gross gestures applying the insulting allu-
sions in them to the Queen. ' Carts laden with corn
and flour, which had come to Versailles, formed a con-
voy, escorted by grenadiers, and surrounded by wo-
men and market-porters armed with pikes, or carry-
ing large poplar boughs. This part of the cortege
produced a singular effect; it looked like a moving
wood, amidst which glistened pike-heads and gun-
barrels. Many of the women, besides those astride
the cannons, were mounted on the horses of the life-
guards, some in masculine fashion, others en-croupe.
Women on foot, trudging through the rain and mud, in
the transports of their brutal joy, stopped passengers
and yelled in their ears, while pointing to the royal
carriage, " Courage, my friends ; we shall have plenty
of bread now that we have got the baker, the baker's
wife, and the baker's boy." * Loaves of bread, borne
on the point of lances, everywhere appeared to indi-
cate the plenty which the return of the sovereign was
expected to confer upon the capital. Behind the car-
riage were some of the faithful life-guard, partly on foot,
partly on horseback, most of them without hats, all
disarmed, and exhausted with hunger and fatigue.
The dragoons, the Flanders regiment, the Swiss, and
the National guards, preceded, accompanied, and fol-
lowed the file of carriages.

Such was the procession of fallen majesty from Ver-
sailles to Paris, on Tuesday, the 6th of October, 1789,
the most humiliating, and the most riotous ever exhibi-

* " Nojis ne manquerons plus de pain ; nous amenons le boulanger,
la boulangere, et le petit mitron." — Prudhomme.



THE REIGN OF TERROR. 61

ted. The procession has been estimated at 200.000.
It filled the road for several miles, and was six hours
in reaching the Hotel-de-Ville. One author, in speak-
ing of it, compared it to one boundless inarticulate
Ha ! ha ! of laughter. At the barrier, the King was
harangued by M. Bailli, the mayor ; afterwards at the
Hotel-de-Ville, by several speakers, and it was nearly
eleven o'clock at night before he reached the Tuille-
ries. There was joy, or an appearance of it, through-
out all Paris, we are told. The King had " come with
pleasure, and with confidence, among his people" —
" and all the people grasped one another's hands."



&i THE REIGN OF TERROR.



CHAPTER III.

Accusations by La Fayette against the Duke of Orleans — Murder
of Denis Francois, a baker, by the mob. Robespierre — some ac-
count of him — execution of the Marquis de Favras — Confiscation
of church property — assignats — efforts to dissolve the National
Assembly, which declares itself permanent till the constitution is
completed. All titles of nobihty abolished. The fete of the Foede-
ration, on theUth of July 1790, the anniversary of the destruction
of the Bastille — festivities — illuminations — rejoicings. The royal
family prevented by a mob from ^oing to St. Cloud — preparations
of Louis XVI. for flight — Bouille — Mirabeau bribed by the Court
— his magnificent entertainments — his ascendancy in the Assem-
bly — his eloquence — his illness — his death — his funeral. Flight of
the royal family from Paris on the 21st of June 1791. Consterna-
tion of Paris on the foUoviring morning — Placards — Thomas Paine
— the Jacobins — journey of the royal family — stopped at Var-
ennes by Drouet, the post-master of that town — return of the royal
family, surrounded by a great rabble, and amidst the execrations
of the different towns through which they passed — murder of the
Count de Dampierre at the side of the King's carriage — Bamave —
Petion — entry of the royal family into Paris — no acclamations —
silence of the multitude. The Assembly suspends Louis XVI.
from his functions. Speech of Robespierre in regard to the in-
violability of the King — speech of Barnave in reply. Placards upon
the walls of Paris — the dethronement of the monarch, and the es-
tablishment of a Republic openly agitated in the streets, at the
Palais-Royal, and in all public places. The 17th of July 1791 — the
red flag unfiarled — La Fayette fires upon the mob in the Charnps-
de-Mars. The constitution completed. Dissolution of the first As-
sembly on the 30th of Sep. 1791, Fetes — illuminations — rejoic-
ings. Robespierre retires to Arras.

The removal of the Court and the Assembly to Paris
produced immediate changes of importance in the
contending parties. La Payette exerted himself to
show that the Duke of Orleans was the secret author
of the disturbances which had so nearly proved fatal
to the royal family, and declared publicly that he
possessed undoubted proofs of his accession to the tu-
mult. The Duke is stated to have skulked in disguise
about the outskirts of the scene, but never to have had



THE REIGN OF TERROR. 63

the courage to present himself boldly to the people,
either to create a sensation by surprise, or to avail
himself of that which his satellites had already excited
in his favour. " The coward !" said Mirabeau ; he
has the appetite for crime, but not the courage to exe-
cute it." Even at the Palais-Royal his influence was
lost, except with his hireling supporters ; and the King,
glad to get rid of so dangerous a subject, with the en-
tire concurrence of the Assembly, sent him into honor-
able exile on a mission to the court of London.
Tumults continued in Paris. A baker, named Denis
Francois, was murdered in the streets on the 19th of
October, by a mob, who were incensed at him, because
he sold bread dear when he could only purchase
grain at an enormous price. With the savage temper
of the times, they stuck his head on a pike, and
paraded it through the streets, compelling many of his
brethren in the trade to kiss the bloody head. The
wife of Francois, who was running in a state of
distraction towards the Hotel-de-Ville, met the crowd ;
at sight of the bloody head, she fainted on the pave-
ment, and they had the barbarity to lower it into her
arms, and press the lifeless lips against her face.*
This unparallelled atrocity excited the indignation of
all the better class of citizens. La Fayette, at the head
of a detachment of the National guards, attacked and
dispersed the assassins, and the active wretch, who
carried the head, was tried, condemned and executed
next day. The Assembly, acting upon the impulse of
the moment, passed a decree against seditious assem-
blages, known by the name of the decree of Martial
Law. This decree was vehemently opposed by Rob-
espierre, who about this time began to be conspicuous
in the debates of the Assembly.f It was enacted that

* Thiers. Scott. Alison.

t Maxamilian Joseph Isadore Robespierre, bora in Arras, in 1759.
His father was a barrister, who ruined himself by his prodigalities
and fled to America, leaving his wife, with two children, to struggle
against poverty. The Bishop of Arras became his patron, and sent
him to the College of Louis le Grand. One of the professors there.



64 THE REIGN OF TERROR.

on occasion of any serious disturbance, the municipal-
ity should hoist the red fiag^ and after which signal,
those who refused to disperse should be dealt with as
open rebels. This edict tended to give the bayonets
of the National guard a decided ascendency over the
pikes and clubs of the rabble of the suburbs, and con-
sequently met with much odium from those quarters,
and elevated in their eyes such of the deputies as had
opposed the passage of it into a law.

The Marquis de Favras was at this period apprehend-
ed with circumstances of public notoriety, and sent to
the Chatelet. There were rumors of a plot against the
Assembly, and he was the supposed ringleader. He
was tried, convicted, and sentenced to be hanged.
" A la lanterne ! a la lanterne ! " was the cry of a
ferocious multitude in the halls of justice, during the
progress of the trial, and it is believed that the tribunal
was intimidated into the sentence which it passed upon
the accused. Favras protested his innocence, and
demanded permission to make a declaration before he
died. He displayed in his last moments a firmness
more worthy a martyr than of an intriguer. After his
sentence, he was conveyed to the" Hotel-de-Ville,
where he remained till night, and a scaffold was
quickly erected in the Place de Greve. The populace,
eager to see a marquis hanged, impatiently awaited
this example of equality in punishments ; thousands
of them thronged round the scaffold while it was being

an admirer of the heroes of Rome, contributed greatly to develop the
love of republicanism in him ; he sumamed him the Roman, and
continually praised his vaunted love of independence and equality.
Assiduous and diligent, he went through his studies with much
credit In 1775, when Louis XVI made his entry into Paris, he was
chosen by his fellow-students to present to that prince the homage
of their gratitude. The pohtical troubles of 1788 heated his brain,
and in 1789, the tiers-etat of Artois appointed him one of their de-
puties to the States General. He soon began to acquire great influ-
ence over the populace. For some time he paid court to Mirabeau,
who despised him ; yet he accompanied him so assiduously in the
streets and public squares, that he was at last sumamed Mxrab^wii
ape.



THE REIGN OF TERROR. 65

erected. Favras admitted having received a hundred
louis from a nobleman of high rank, who had engaged
him to dispose the public mind favourably towards the
King, but uniformly declared he was no further impli-
cated in any conspiracy. He marched with great
firmness to the place of execution, clothed in a white
shirt ; with a torch in his hand, he read, with a firm
voice, his sentence of death, and again protested his
innocence. It was night; the Place and the gibbet
itself were lighted up ; the populace enjoyed the sight ;
it was a subject of cruel jests to them, they encored
the performance, and parodied, in various ways, the
execution of this unfortunate man. The body of
Favras was delivered to his family, and fresh events
soon caused his death to be forgotten alike by those
who had punished and those who had employed him.
It was on the 19th of February, 1790, that his execu-
tion took place.*

The embarrassment of the finances now occupied
the attention of the Assembly. All the measures taken
for the relief of the public necessities since the convo-
cation of the States-General had proved utterly un-
availing. The nation, in truth, was subsisting entirely
on borrowed money. In this emergency, the Assembly
determined that the property of the Church should come
under confiscation for the benefit of the nation. The
proposition was made by Talleyrand, then Bishop of
Autun. In support of it he argued that " the clergy
were not proprietors, but depositaries of their estates ;
that they were bestowed originally by the munificence
of kings or nobles, and might now be resumed by the
nation, which had succeeded to their rights." The
funds thus acquired were enormous ; the church lands
were nearly one half of the whole landed property of
the kingdom. As it was impossible to bring this im-
mense property at once to sale, and the necessities of
the state being urgent, the Assembly adopted a sys-
tem of paper money, called assignats^ which were

♦ Thiers.



66 THE REIGN OP TERROR.

secured or hypothecated upon the church lands. The
fluctuation of this paper, which was adopted against
Necker's earnest cautions, created a great spirit of
stock-jobbing; notes, red, blue and green, were sub-
stituted for cash, forced into circulation, and to be
reimbursed only in the lands of the clergy. Trade
revived ; the public treasury paid its debts, and indi-
viduals hastened to acquit theirs also.

Strenuous efforts were now made to dissolve the
Assembly, the period for which the deputies had been
elected (one year,) having expired ; the clergy and the
aristocratical party were anxious to bring it about,
and urged the sovereignty of the people, so recently
proclaimed by the popular leaders as the basis of
government, as their argument. To this it was re-
plied, the dissolution of the Assembly, before the work
of the constitution was finished, would lead to its de-
struction. " What right have we to speak of perpetuat-
ing our power?" said the Abbe Maury. " When did
we become a National Assembly] Has the oath of the
20th of June absolved us from that which we took to
our constituents 1" Here Mirabeau ascended the tri-
bune. " We are asked," said he, *' when our powers
began. I reply, from the moment when, finding our
place of assembly surrounded by bayonets, we swore
rather to perish than abandon our duties towards the
nation. Our powers have, since that great event, un-
dergone a total change ; whatever we have done haa
been sanctioned by the unanimous consent of the na-
tion. You all remember the saying of the ancient
patriot, who had neglected legal forms to save his
country. Summoned by a factious opposition to an-
swer for his infraction of the laws, he replied, *I swear
that I have saved my country.' Gentlemen, I swear
that 5''ou have saved France."*

Electrified by this appeal, the Assembly rose by a
spontaneous movement, and declared its sitting per-
manent till the formation of the constitution was com-

* Mignet ; Thiers ; Ferriere.



THE REIGN OF TERROR. 67

p]eted. The next act of the Assembly was to abolish
all titles of nobility, all coats of arms or other signs of
feudal times, "that neither the eyes nor ears of citi-
zens might be offended by the remains of despotism."
The judicial establishment underwent a total change.
The parliaments of the provinces were suppressed.
The pardoning power w^as taken from the sovereign.
Trial by jury was universally introduced, and the
jurors taken indiscriminately from all classes of citi-
zens. The Court of Cassation was established at
Paris. The military organization was entirely changed ;
so effectually, that the National Guard, thirty thousand
strong, under the command of La Fayette, was capa-
ble of being increased, by beat of drum, to double
the number, all in the highest state of discipline and
equipment.

Great preparations had been in progress to celebrate
the 14th of July, the anniversary of the capture of the
Bastille. In this celebration and fete, it had been ar-
ranged that the whole nation should assist by deputies
chosen from amongst the national guards of each de-
partment throughout the kingdom. The fete was to
be called a Fcederation, and w^as to serve as a testi-
mony of the approbation of the whole people in favor
of the Revolution. The deputies were to swear to
obey the King and the Assembly, and to be faithful to
the cause of Liberty. It was to be a meeting of bro-
thers and friends, collected together in Paris from all
parts of France, with one intention and one mind.
The deputies had been constantly arriving for weeks
previous to the appointed day, and enthusiasm was
raised to its highest pitch. Early on the morning of
the 14th, all Paris M^as in motion. Four hundred thou-
sand persons repaired with joyful steps to the Champs-
de-Mars, and seated themselves, amid songs of con-
gratulation, upon the seats w^hich surrounded the
plain.* " Two hundred thousand patriotic men; and,
twice as good, one hundred thousand patriotic women,

* Alison.



68 THE REIGN OF TERROR.

all decked and glorified as one can fancy, sit waiting
in this Champs-de-Mars. What a picture ! On the
heights of Chaillot are many-colored undulating
groups ; round and far on, over al] the circling heights
that embosom Paris, it is as one more or less peopled
amphitheatre, which the eye grows dim with measur-
ing."* At seven o'clock the procession advanced.
The electors, the representatives of the municipality,
the presidents of the districts, the national guards, the
deputies of the army, deputies firom all the provinces
of the kingdom, and numerous other bodies, in gala
dresses, and with banners flying, moved on in order
to the stirring sounds of military music, and amidst
the shouts and applause of the people. The quays
were lined with spectators, the houses were covered
with them. A bridge of boats across the Seine, and
strewed with flowers, led from one bank to the other,
facing the scene of the amphitheatre around which the
four hundred thousand were already seated.f

The King and the President of the Assembly sat
beside one another on similar seats, sprinkled with
golden fleurs-de-lis. Behind this there was an elevated
balcony for the Q,ueen and court. It was three hours
before the procession arrived, when they began to en-
ter the amphitheatre under a triumphal arch. Sixty
thousand persons now entered it, and performed their
evolutions. In the centre, upon a base twenty-five
feet high, stood the altar of the country. At the foot
of this altar, the King and the National Assembly re-
ceived the concourse. Three hundred priests, in white

* Carlyle.

t " The procession passed through the streets of St. Martin, St
Denis, and St. Honore. Wine, ham, fruits, and sausages, were let
down from the windows for them ; they were loaded with the peo-
ple's blessings. La Fayette, surrounded by his aides-decamp, gave
orders and received the homage of the people. The perspiration
trickled from his face. The road leading to the Champs-de-Mars
was covered with people, who clapped their hands and sang Ca Ira.
The heights of Passy presented a spectacle, where the elegant
dresses, the charms and the graces of the women, enchanted the
eye." — Mem. of Ferriere.



THE REIGN OF TERROR. 69

surplices and tricolored scarfs, covered the steps, and
were to officiate in the ceremony of the mass.

The sky, whose brightness harmonizes so well with
human joys, refused at this moment serenity and hght.
Rain fell in torrents.* One of the battalions, as it came
up, grounded arms, and conceived the idea of forming
a dance. Its example was followed by all the others,
and in a moment the intermediate space was filled by
sixty thousand men, (soldiers and citizens,) opposing
gayety of heart to the unfavorable weather. At length
the ceremony commenced. The sky happily cleared,
and threw its brilliancy over the scene. The Bishop
of Autun, (Talleyrand,) began the mass. The choris-
ters accompanied the voice of the prelate ; the cannon
mingled with it their solemn peals. The mass over,
La Fayette alighted from his superb white charger,
ascended the steps of the throne, and received the or-
ders of the King, who handed to him the form of the
oath. La Fayette carried it to the altar. At that mo-
ment all the banners waved, every sabre glistened.
The general, the army, the president, the deputies
cried, "I swear it." The King, standing, with his
hand outstretched towards the altar, said, " I, King of
the French, swear to employ the power delegated to
me by the constitutional act of the state, in maintaining
the constitution decreed by the National Assembly,
and accepted by me." At this moment, the Q,ueen,
moved by the general emotion, lifting the Dauphin in
her arms, showed him to the people from the balcony
where she was stationed, pledging herself for his ad-
herence to the same sentiments ; in reply to which she

*"A north wind, moaning cold moisture, began losing; and
there descended a very deluge of rain, sad to see ! The thirty-staired
seats, all round our amphitheatre, get instantaneously slated with mere
umbrellas, fallacious when so thick set. From three to four thou-
sand people feel that they have a skin. How all military banners
droop; and will not wave, but lazily flap. Snowy muslins all
splashed and draggled; the ostrich feather shrunk; all caps are
ruined; beauty no longer swims decorated in her garniture." —
CarlyLe.

7



70 THE REIGN OF TERROR.

received shouts of joy, attachment and enthusiasm.
Discharges of artillery, the rolling of drums, the plaud-
its of the populace, and the clashing of arms, rent the
skies.

In the evening, fireworks, illuminations, and festivi-
ties prevailed; "Paris, out of doors and in, man, wo-
man and child, is jigging it, to the sound of harp and
four-stringed fiddle;" and the King, in a concealed
caleche, enjoyed the general expression of happiness.
These rejoicings lasted several days. There was a
regatta on the river ; a general review of the military
took place ; a public ball was held on the site of the
Bastille, now an open square. Brilliant lamps made
amends for daylight ; a tree of liberty, sixty feet high,
was set up ; and they danced, with joy and security,
on the same spot where formerly fell so many tears ;
where courage, genius, and innocence had so often
wept ; where so often were stifled the cries of despair.
" In the Champs Elysees it is as radiant as day with
festooned lamps ; little oil-cups, like variegated fire-
flies, daintily illume the highest leaves ; trees there are
all sheeted with variegated fire, shedding far a gUm-
mer into the dubious woods."* There every one
walked about, or sate, or danced, without rivalry, with-
out animosity. All classes intermingled, enjoyed them-
selves beneath the mild lamp-light, and seemed
delighted to be together. Thus, even in the bosom of
modern civilization, both sexes seemed to have found
anew the times of primitive fraternity. Why, alas !
are these pleasures of concord so soon forgotten !f

The deputies to the Poederation, after attending the
discussions of the National Assembly, after witnessing



Online LibraryH. N. (Horatio Newton) MooreThe reign of terror historically and biographically treated → online text (page 6 of 24)