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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



FROM THE LIBRARY OF
FRANK J. KLINGBERG



' A/i Love I could you and I with Him conspire
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
Would we not sJiatter it to bits and (Jien
Remould it nearer to the Hearfs Desire!"

OMAR KHAYYAM



THE



BY



JUSTIN H. MCCARTHY, M.P.

AUTHOR OF "AN OUTLINE OF IRISH HISTORY"
14 ENGLAND UNDER GLADSTONE " ETC.



IN TWO VOLUMES

VOL. L



NEW YORK

HARPER & BROTHERS, FRANKLIN SQUARE
1890



TO MY FATHER



I DEDICATE THIS BOOK



CONTENTS OF YOL. I.



I. WHENCE ? 1

II. SEEDS OP REVOLUTION 14

III. Louis THE WELL-BELOVED 26

IV. THE PHILOSOPHES 39

V. THE APOSTLE OP AFFLICTION 67

VI. THE POMPADOUR 92

VII. "How WILL BERRY PULL THROUGH?" .... 104

VIII. A QUEER WORLD 116

IX. MARIE ANTOINETTE 132

X. TRIANON 141

XI. TURGOT 166

XII. THE DIAMOND NECKLACE 186

"illl. COUNT CAGLIOSTRO 197

XIV. KNAVES AND FOOLS 214

XV. SOWING THE WIND 226

XVI. THE NOTABLES 239

XVII. THE BRIENNE ILIAD 251

XVIII. EQUALITY ORLEANS 262

XIX. BRIENNE is BLOWN OUT 274

XX. WHAT ARTHUR YOUNG SAW . 293

XXI. WHAT ARTHUK YOUNG SAID 319

XXII. PARIS 332

XXIII. THE PEOPLE OF PARIS 364

XXIV. THE ELECTIONS . ... .387



viii CONTENTS.

OUAPTKR PAGE

XXV. THE SPRING OP '89 . . 398

XXVI. THE Row AT REVEILLON'S 404

XXVII. STATES-GENERAL AT LAST 414

XXVIII. THE PLAY BEGINS 419

XXIX. THE WILD GABRIEL HONORE 425

XXX. THE MAN FROM ARRAS 464

XXXI. SOME MINOR CHARACTERS 482

XXXII. PEOPLE IN THE STREETS ........ 494

XXXIII. THE OVERTURE ENDS , . 50?

XXXIV. THE EIGHT WEEKS , . 510

XXXV. SLOW AND SURE , . 531

XXXVI. ON AND ON 539

XXXVII. DRIFTING . 549

XXXVIII. THE TENTH OP JUNE 557

XXXIX. THE SEVENTEENTH OP JUNE 563

XL. TENNIS 571

XLI. PARIS AND VERSAILLES 592

XL1I. CAMILLE DESMOULINS 605

XLIII. TWELFTH AND THIRTEENTH OF JULY. . . . 612

XLIV. THE BASTILLE 623

XLV. AFTERMATH G52

XLVI. THE STONES OF THE BASTILLE . . 660



THE FRENCH REVOLUTION.



CHAPTER I.

WHENCE ?

LORD BEACONSFIELD, to whom life was all paradox,
was never more delightfully paradoxical than when he
declared that there were only two events in history
the Siege of Troy and the French Revolution. Like
most of Lord Beaconsfield's brilliant firework phrases,
the shining fantasy was more than half a truth. In
the antique world that antique world which, in spite
of Mr. Freeman, does seem to be set apart from us by
so definite and so insuperable a barrier no event is
more conspicuous than the story of the armament of
Hellenic chieftains and Princes Orgulous against a little
town in Asia Minor. In comparison with that mythical
or semi-mythical event the conquests of Alexander, the
career of Caesar, the very fall of Rome herself, appear
to dwindle into insignificance. In much the same way
the French Revolution seems to dwarf all modern his-
tory ; its heroes good or bad, its shining St. Michaels
and Lucifers, Stars of the Morning, dwarf other heroes
of other times to the proportions of pigmies. The
French Revolution shares with the Siege of Troy its
legendary attributes ; shares with it, too, the perennial
charm which makes men turn like lovers to its story
again and again with unabated interest and unflagging
I. 1



2 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. CH. I.

zeal. Even the Homeric Scholiasts are not more enam-
oured of their theme than the historians who once em-
bark on the perilous seas of French revolutionary history.

The heroic muse, suddenly called upon, in the Homeric
formula, to sing of the French Revolution, might very
well be puzzled where to make a beginning. It is really
hard to decide exactly how far back we must hark to
get to its legitimate starting-point. Are we to seek the
initial impetus in the reign of Louis XV., or in the de-
baucheries of the Regency, or in the spacious despotism
of Louis XIV., or yet farther back in the feuds of the
Fronde and Mazarin, when a queen and a dauphin fled
from Paris and a Paris mob ? It is difficult to draw
the hard-and-fast line, and the conscientious historian
reaching backwards into history might find himself
well among the early Capets, among the Merovingians,
among the enemies of Caesar, and still come on traces
of the causes of the French Revolution. To be plain,
the history of the French Revolution is scarcely com-
prehensible without a knowledge of the history of
France; the history of France in its turn is scarcely
comprehensible without that of Rome, of Greece, and
so backwards to the dawn of deeds. But a history of
the world would be a lengthy preface for a chronicle of
the French Revolution, and each chronicler must choose
his own starting-point, and toe his own line.

Still, the great difficulty in approaching the study of
the French Revolution is to choose this starting-point.
In one sense, in what may be called a dramatic sense, it
may be conveniently assumed that the revolutionary
egg was hatching while Louis the Well -beloved was
cynically speculating on deluges; the shell chipped, and
the cock began to crow when Louis XVI. began to try
to reign. Yet again, the Revolution may be said to



1789. SEEKING THE SOURCE. 3

have begun with the self-creation of the National As-
sembly ; in another regard, the origin of the Revolution
must be placed much farther back. Indeed, it is curious
to find how far back we shall have to travel when once
we leave the arbitrary line which divides the Old Order
from the New. The Revolution began, one authority
may argue, with the struggle of the Parliaments against
Louis XV. It began, according to another, with the
great movement of literature and thought which evolved
the Encyclopaedia and the Social Contract. Another
will anticipate the scepticism of the eighteenth century
by the scepticism of Montaigne, of Bayle, and of Fon-
tenelle, will see in the Encyclopaedia and the Social Con-
tract not causes, but effects, and will leap back lightly to
Althusen, and Hobbes, and Locke, and Genevese deism,
not without an eye, it may be, to the thoughts and theo-
ries of far Hellenic philosophies. Another dates its im-
mediate conception from the moment when Benjamin
Franklin amazed the ladies of Versailles with the sombre
habit of the Pennsylvanian Quaker, and when Lafayette
lent his bright sword to the service of Washington and
the young Republic. Another may insist upon a sum-
mary of the various forces, accidents, deliberate lines of
policy, which, from the breaking up of the great fiefs
down to the death of Louis XIV., had prepared the dis-
tractions of the monarchy under Louis's descendants, or
may ask, more moderately, for a chronicle of the strife
of ecclesiastical factions and the battles between the
judiciary and the crown. It is the old philosophic
business of causation over again. Trace any single event
back step by step, and you will find the event of yes-
terday intimately and indissolubly connected with the
creation of the world. Any starting-point for any his-
torical event whatever must be more or less arbitrary.



4 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. CH. I.

It may be convenient to take the year 1789 as the initial
Year of Revolution ; that is the year in which the Rev-
olution, however distant its remote causes, actually did
begin to be. But it is surely necessary to give such a
sketch of the preceding history and condition of France
as may be essential to the true understanding of the
story.

For it seems impossible to appreciate the events of
the French Revolution without a clear understanding
of many of the events which immediately preceded it,
and most of the social conditions which made revolution
not only possible or probable, but imperative and inev-
itable. The volcanic character of the French Revolution
is made the more impressive by contrast with the tra-
ditional conservatism of the Old Order which preceded
it; just as the ruin caused by a landslip, an earthquake,
or a tidal wave is most impressive to one whose eyes
have long been familiar with the smiling fields, the state-
ly town, the teeming coast which have been suddenly
laid desolate. Moreover, the genius of Revolution did
not leap, fully armed, out of the Jupiter brain of the
National Assembly. As the meteorologist can detect
the warnings of the coming storm, so the student of his-
tory can note, for much more than a generation before
the summons to the States- General, the slow, steady
growth of the Revolutionary Idea. That the Revolution
should have taken France by surprise is in itself surpris-
ing. Revolution was in the air for long enough, had
been thought of, talked of, written about, breathed
abroad in a hundred ways. It was very much as if the
dwellers on the slopes of Vesuvius, noting the sullen
smoke-cap on the peak, noting the trouble of earth and
air and sea and sky, and talking daily of the eruption
that threatened, should be taken completely by surprise,



1788. A PIECE OF FICTION. 5

when at last the lava did begin to brim the lips of the
crater.

There is, indeed, no better preface from a purely lit-
erary, or, shall we say, from a purely dramatic point of
view, to the French Revolution than that wonderful
posthumous piece of fiction which La Harpe wrote
under the guise of fact, and on which Sainte-Beuve
rightly bases La Harpe's claim to remembrance. Taine
places it at the end of his study of the Old Order; it
might more appropriately begin a record of the French
Revolution. Let "the first lieutenant of Voltaire"
speak for himself.

" It seems to me," he says, " as if it were but yester-
day, and yet it was at the beginning of the year 1788.
We were dining with one of our brethren of the Acad-
emy, a grand seignior and a man of intelligence. The
company was numerous and of every profession cour-
tiers, men of the robe, men of letters, and academicians;
all had feasted luxuriously, according to custom. At
the dessert the wines of Malvoisie and of Constance con-
tributed to the social gayety a sort of freedom not al-
ways kept within decorous limits. At that time society
had reached the point at which everything is permitted
that excites laughter. Champfort had read to us his
impious and libertine stories, and great ladies had lis-
tened to these without recourse to their fans. Hence a
deluge of witticisms against religion, one quoting a
tirade from 'La Pucelle,' another bringing forward cer-
tain philosophical stanzas by Diderot. There was un-
bounded applause. The conversation becomes more
serious; admiration is expressed at the revolution ac-
complished by Voltaire, and all agree in its being the
first title to his fame. ' He gave the tone to his century,
finding readers in the antechambers as well as in the



6 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. CH. I.

drawing-room.' One of the guests narrated, bursting
with laughter, what a hairdresser said to him while
powdering his hair : ' You see, sir, although I am but a
poor devil, I have no more religion than any one else.'
They concluded that the Revolution would soon be con-
summated, that superstition and fanaticism must wholly
give way to philosophy, and they thus calculated the
probabilities of the epoch and those of the future society
which should see the reign of reason. The most aged
lamented not being able to flatter themselves that they
could see it ; the young rejoiced in a reasonable prospect
of seeing it, and every one especially congratulated the
Academy on having paved the way for the great work,
and on having been the headquarters, the centre, the
inspirer of freedom of thought.

" One of the guests had taken no part in this gay con-
versation. This was Gazette, an amiable and original
man, but, unfortunately, infatuated with the reveries of
the Illuminati. In the most serious tone he now began:
'Gentlemen,' said he, 'be content; you will witness this
great revolution that you so much desire. You know
that I am something of a prophet, and I repeat it, you
will witness it. Do you know what will be the result
of this revolution, for all of you, so long as you remain
here?' 'Ah!' exclaimed Condorcet, with his shrewd,
simple air and smile, 'let us see, a philosopher is not
sorry to encounter a prophet.' ' You, Monsieur de Con-
dorcet, will expire stretched on the floor of a dungeon ;
you will die of the poison you take to escape the execu-
tioner, of the poison which the felicity of that era will
compel you always to carry about your person !' At
first, great astonishment was manifested, and then came
an outburst of laughter. ' What has all this in common
with philosophy and the reign of reason?' 'Precisely



1788. CAZOTTE'S PROPHECY. 7

what I have just remarked to you ; in the name of phi-
losophy, of humanity, of freedom, under the reign of
reason, you will thus reach your end ; and, truly, it will
be the reign of reason, for there will be temples of
reason, and, in those days, in all France, the temples will
be those alone of reason. You, Monsieur de Champfort,
you will sever your veins with twenty-two strokes of a
razor, and yet you will not die for months afterwards.
You, Monsieur Vicq-d'Azir, you will not open your own
veins, but you will have them opened six times in one
day, in the agonies of gout, so as to be more certain of
success, and you will die that night. You, Monsieur
de Nicolai, on the scaffold ; you, Monsieur Bailly, on the
scaffold ; you, Monsieur de Malesherbes, on the scaffold;
you, Monsieur Roucher, also on the scaffold.' 'But
then we shall have been overcome by Turks and Tar-
tars ?' ' By no means ; you will be governed, as I have
already told you, solely by philosophy and reason.
Those who are to treat you in this manner will all be
philosophers, will all, at every moment, have on their
lips the phrases you have uttered within the hour, will
repeat your maxims, will quote like yourselves the
verses of Diderot and of "La Pucelle."' 'And when
will all this happen ?' ' Six years will not pass before
what I tell you will be accomplished.' ' Well, these are
miracles,' exclaims La Harpe, 'and you leave me out?'
' You will be no less a miracle, for you will then be a
Christian.' 'Ah,' interposed Champfort, 'I breathe
again ; if we are to die only when La Harpe becomes
a Christian, we are immortals.' ' Come, at least we
women,' said the Duchesse de Gramont, ' are extremely
fortunate in being of no consequence in revolutions. It
is understood that we are not to blame, and our sex '
'Your sex, ladies, will not protect you this time. You



8 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. CH. I.

will be treated precisely as men, with no difference
whatever. You, Madame la Duchesse, will be led to
the scaffold, you and many ladies besides yourself, in a
cart with your hands tied behind your back.' 'Ah, in
that event, I hope to have at least a carriage covered
with black.' ' No, madame, greater ladies than yourself
will go, like yourself, in a cart, and with their hands
tied like yours.' 'Greater ladies ! What, princesses of
the blood !' ' Still greater ladies than those !' They
began to think the jest was carried too far. Madame
de Gramont, to dispel the gloom, did not insist on a
reply to her last exclamation, and contented herself
by saying, in the lightest tone, 'Now, he will not even
leave me a confessor!' 'No, madame, neither you nor
any other person will be allowed a confessor ; the last
of the condemned that will have one, as an act of grace,
will be ' He stopped a moment. ' Tell me, now, who
is the fortunate mortal enjoying this prerogative ?' ' It
is the last that will remain to him, and it will be the
King of France.' "

How much would one not give that that grim fancy
were very fact ? Can we not see the brilliant room,
shining with waxen lights, the assembly of wits and
poets and philosophers and fair pedantic women, hear
the ripple of light conversation suddenly shattered and
startled by the astonishing suggestions of Cazotte? We
can picture to ourselves Cazotte himself surveying his
amazed audience with that curious face of his, the face
that recalls in something our own Oliver Goldsmith,
the face in which a superhuman mysticism reigns in the
high forehead and the wide eyes, and a human sensuali-
ty of a sweet and simple type asserts itself in the large
heavy jaw, and the large uncertain lips. If La Harpe's
wild dream were true, if the author of the " Impassioned



1788. THE STARRY SALONS. 9

Devil " and the disciple of the Illuminati had made his
astonishing prediction, we may well believe that it would
have been received with incredulity and amusement.
Well might the scholars and statesmen who listened
smile confident in the coming triumph of advanced
ideas, in the Reign of Reason, in the regeneration of the
Age of Saturn. How could they possibly credit a
prophet who spoke of such unlikely horrors to the
children of the Encyclopedia, to the pupils of Rousseau,
to the economists who invested the name of Turgot with
a kind of sanctity? There is really nothing in literature
more directly tragic than this queer tale of La Harpe's,
and it may well be accepted by the lovers of the pict-
uresque in history and history is far more picturesque
than some historians would allow as a fitting prelude
to the story of the French Revolution.

The picturesque fancy may be pardoned or excused
when we remember that the French Revolution, accord-
ing to the semi-satiric suggestion of that curious dual
historic entity, the brothers Goncourt, began in the sa-
lons of Paris. The saying, like all such epigrammatic
condensations of history, is neither accurate nor com-
plete, but it contains a large measure of truth. Those
brilliant assemblies, little local heavens starred with
bright names grouped in constellations of thought, of
theory, that drifted slowly, steadily, from the suppers
of the Regency to the " principles of eighty-nine." As
the salons grew in influence, they grew in gravity ; as
the pebble of speculation or dogma cast into the waters
of public opinion caused a wider and ever-widening cir-
cle, those who stood upon the brink began to regard
their pastime with an austerer earnestness. A Galiani
bewailing Paris in his Italian exile more bitterly than
Ovid in Pontus bewailed Augustan Rome, would hardly



10 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. OH. I.

have recognized, could he have revisited it, the Paris of
his light triumphs, in the serious salons of the years just
before the Revolution declared itself. The reign of
mere wit had withered, the audacities of a new philoso-
phy, eager to test with a crude science all the things of
earth or heaven, no longer afforded a unique delight ;
the dreams of Rousseau, the doctrines of the Encyclo-
paedists, had borne their fruit, and the dainty world was
dipped in a delirium of political reform, of speculations
as to the rights of man and the manufacture of consti-
tutions in the Sieyes manner.

But if there is a difficulty in choosing a starting-point,
there is scarcely less difficulty in deciding the treatment.
There are two distinct and independent schools of his-
torians of the French Revolution. One of these schools,
of which M. Charles d'Hericault is perhaps the most
characteristic exponent, regards the Revolution as the
sheer outpouring of the Pit, and always accords it the
honor of capital lettering, as a kind of tribute to its Sa-
tanic grandeur. The leaders, in its eyes, are as so many
fiends in human shape, specially sent into the world for
the purpose of harassing a noble king and yet more
noble queen, and a nobility whose resplendent merits
make them only a little lower than the archangels.
"The Revolution," says M. Charles d'Hericault with
all gravity, "is the reign of Satan. God has given the
evil angels, for a period which we cannot predict, power
over the kingdom of France ;" and he goes on in this
vein in a kind of breathless way, dealing largely in
"demons," "monsters," and "madmen," as the only
epithets proper to apply to any and every Revolution-
ist. On the other hand, however, the very elect among
the angels would hardly, to his loyal mind, seem quite
the peers of a half-divine royal family. If, however,



1789. ANGELS OR DEVILS. 11

anything could excuse his maudlin sentimentalism, if
anything could seem worse than his unscientific rhap-
sody, it would be the extravagance of certain of the
writers who argue, or, we should say, who write on the
other side. There is a M. Jean Bernard, for example,
who is too clever a writer to be fitly employed in the
sheer partisanship to which he has devoted himself, and
who is as trying in his way as M. Charles d'Hericault
is in his. To him the Revolutionists are all angels of
light, to him the Royalists are all devils of more or less
degrees of darkness. Every malign rumor, every foul
whisper which strikes at the name and fame of any ad-
herent of the throne, is so much gospel truth to this
impassioned advocate. Both these writers might
well make a serious student of the French Revolu-
tion despair. Yet both these writers are popular
writers, and act as guides and teachers to large num-
bers of people easily impressed and with little oppor-
tunity of analysis. Small wonder if, under such con-
ditions, Marie Antoinette is regarded as a Saint Do-
rothea or as a Messalina by those who think of Saint-
Just only as the murderous author of an obscene poem,
or as the exalted prophet of the noblest of political
creeds.

A kind of impassioned prejudice seems to govern
most writers upon the French Revolution. Lacretelle,
Louis Blanc, Thiers, Mignet, Michelet, Lamartine, Mar-
tin, Taine, and all the cluster of the lesser writers, are
brilliant special pleaders, resolute defenders of the side
they have espoused. De Tocqueville and Sorel are more
impartial and more judicial ; so are writers like Von Sy-
bel in Germany, and Mr. H. Morse Stephens in England.
Mill would have been impartial, and we might lament
that Mill never wrote his dreamed-of history, were it



12



THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. CH. I



not that in losing Mill we gained Carlyle. Carlyle was
not impartial, but he made a great book. It is curious
to remember that his magnificent prose epic is actually
nearer in years to the events it treats of than it is to us
who read it to-day. It is, no doubt, very hard to be
either impartial or judicial about the French Revolu-
tion. The whole affair is so dramatic, the darling creeds
appeal so directly to the emotions, the central figures
are so fascinating and so fatal, that it is difficult to keep
cool in such a conflict, and to hold one's reason from
running to seed in hatred in one direction, or blossoming
into the rank luxuriance of an exaggerated hero-worship
on the other. The great secret lies in remembering that
all the figures of the French Revolution were men and
women like ourselves, animated by like passions, pur-
poses, virtues, failings, hopes, and fears ; that a mob re-
mains a mob, whether it raves, bristling with pikes and
capped with crimson, around an iron lantern, or over-
throws the railings of a park; that we all can turn to
contemporaries of our own who, under slightly differing
conditions, might very well have played the parts of a
Danton or Lafayette, a Vergniaud or a La Rochejaque-
lein. It may be well for the wisest of us, in expatiating
upon the faults of a Robespierre or the follies of a Marie
Antoinette, to ask ourselves how we, under like condi-
tions, could have withstood on the one hand the temp-
tations of absolute power, on the other the traditions of
a monarchical past. Of course this is no justification ;
yet, if the reflection do but serve to give us pause and
to temper our invective, it will have served its turn ex-
cellently. Let us always, always remember that we are
dealing with men and women some of them even com-
monplace men and women, that no fresh race of beings,
either fiends or angels, were invented for the Revolu-



1789 MEN AND WOMEX. 13

tionary period, and we shall do fairly well, and come
out in the end with a more human as well as a more
humane appreciation of perhaps the greatest pages of
history.



14 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. CH. II.



CHAPTER II.

SEEDS OF REVOLUTION.

WE begin well if we start off with the heroic deter-
mination to be as impartial as we can in our attitude
towards the actors in the great drama, to bear in mind
and earnestly apply the excellent maxim " Put yourself
in his place," and to regard each and all of them not as
men and women strangely habited and removed from
us by the gap of a century, bnt as friends with whom
we may have come into contact in the chances of public,
of social, of civil life. Once in this even and exemplary



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