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France. State of Parties previous to the Meeting of the States-General.
Riot at Paris. Alsembly of the States. Contest with respect to the Mode of yoting by Orders or by Poll. The Tiers Etat constitute themselves a Naa tional Affembly. Asembly repulsed from the Hall of the States. Take an cath never to separate till the Constitution be settled. Royal Sellion. Union of the Orders.' Projects of the Court. Paris encircled with Military. Soldiers releafed from Prison by the Populace. Famine in Paris. Remonfrance of the Assembly. Dismission of M. Nechar. Disturbancos at Pa
ris. Firmness of the National Afemély. The Bastille taken. WHATEVER may be the ul. humanity will necessarily be arrested
timate consequences of the by some scenes on which it is imFrench Revolution, its origin and poffible to dwell with satisfaction, progress conftitute perhaps the most and the judgement of the politician interesting subject of modern hif- will as necessarily meet with some tory. It has exhibited the fingu- transactions which it cannot aplar spectacle of twenty-fix millions prove. There is nothing so diffi. of citizens, with a unanimity which cult to moderate and restrain as pois unparalleled, with a perseverance pular sentiment; and the vacillatiwhich was irresistible, and in op- ons of opinion are seldom regulated, position to the ftrongest of human but commonly vibrate from one exprejudices, demanding and recover- treme to the other. ing their long-loft rights. It has The attention of all Europe was exhibited something till more ex- fixed on the meeting of the itatestraordinary; and has evinced, that a general, while the minds of the itanding
army is no longer that pal- French themselves continued to be five engine in the hand of deljo- agitated by a variety of different and tism, that it was formerly imagined; contending passions and opinions. and that to retain mankind in a Those who were in possession of ftate of lavery, they must be kept power, were defirous of retaining it; in a state of ignorance. In the de- and those who had no dependence tail of such a revolution, the eye of but upon their abilities, hoped that
a new constitution of things would of electors were not so mumerously elevate them to that rank, to which, attended as might have been supfrom their merits, they conceived posed; and even in fome places themselves entitled. The two great where a thousand voters were exparties, which were afterwards to pected, not above fifty appeared. divide the nation, were already The spirit of the two parties apformed.
The pertinacity with peared in the cahiers (or instrucwhich the privileged orders were tions to their representatives) which determined to adhere to their were drawn up upon this occafion. peculiar advantages, is evident from The nobility and the clergy in their what we have stated in our preceding feparate chambers digested their involume; and on the other hand, a structions, the first object of which multitude of writers of the greatest was to preserve what they were eminence were employed in exciting pleased to consider as their own the tiers état to the assertion of rights, the second to demand the its rights. The claims of the norights of the people. The mons bility and clergy were examined arch, according to this system, was with acuteness, with precision, with the only devoted party; and with research. The balance of ability his rights the states-general might was greatly on the side of the peo. make as free as they pleased. Al ple, and the usages of antiquity parties, however, agreed in renouncfaded before the light of genius and ing a part of their pecuniary priviof truth. Previous to this period, leges. The instructions of the tiers that extraordinary society or club état were haftily composed ; but was formed, which has since had that uniformity of sentiment, which fo considerable, and perhaps so dan- the sufferings of the people, and the gerous an influence over the public activity of their leaders had proaffairs. Its members instituted an duced, was evident in them all. active correspondence throughout They demanded the fuppreflion of the kingdom, and, by cultivating a mure aboses than the national afaniformity of opinion on political sembly has been able in three years fubjects, produced, in time, that to destroy, more than perhaps ever uniformity of will wliich afterwards can be eradicated ; and a consideraappeared to Govern the popular ble number of their requisitions are counsels.
still remitted to the consideration of The political fchifm which had pofterity:all, however, were unaalrcady taken place, was not likely nimous in demanding a constitution, to be composed during the necessary liberty, the assumption of natural turbulence of an election. Yet the rights, and the protection of the fyftem on which the French electi- public treasure from the depredaons are conducted, is lefs liable to tions of the court. The deputies tumult and disorder than where there of each order de parted thus instructe is an open and immediate poll; and ed to maintain the claims of their though the leaders of parties were particular party. “ Those of the fufficiently animated in the fupport tiers état,'' says a distinguished of their particular fentiments, the member of the assembly, “ carried great body of the people were ei. with them the benedictions and the ther dubious of the consequences, or prayers of the multitude." were not yet warmed in the context. Such were the objects which ocThe meetings for the nomination cupied the reflecting part of the na
tion; but whatever might be the putting a negative on the proceed. expectations of others, the favou- ings of the other two, was the only rites of the court could not fail to Atratagem which the court party perceive that the violence of the could employ to disconcert the meaform would break upon their heads. sures of the patriots; and it must The instructions which were dic- be confessed, that such an arranger tated by the tiers état for the ment would probably have rendered government of its representatives, the whole proceedings of the ftatesibe vast extent of its demands, and general a folemn farce, and could the number and ability of the pub- never have established any
subftanlications in support of these de- tial reform. This was the great mands, made them feel the neces- question which was presently to infity of oppofing against that order volve the national representatives in the full force of every existing au- faction and contest. thority. Mr. Neckar was desirous Whift these important affairs that the states might be assembled were in agitation, a circumstance at Paris ; but the king preferred occurred which is supposed on all Versailles, where the communication lides to have originated in some between the deputies and the court malevolent motive, whether of a would be more immediate. It is evie public or a private nature is not so dent that the deputies of the tiers easy to decide. In the populous état, who were collected from every suburb of St. Antoine, a very cop. remote quarter of the kingdom, and liderable paper-manufactory was many of them entirely unacquainted carried on, and a number of work, with the great world, assembled men consequently maintained by a under considerable disadvantages, in respectable citizen of the name of a place where every thing bore the Reveillon. This gentleman had itamp of despotism, and where in- accused a certain Abbé Roy, a detrigue and venality had indlustriously pendant of the Count d'Artois, of spread their choicest allurements, forgery, and the matter was before The agents of the court had al- the courts. Whether, therefore, ready eltablished conferences at the it arose from a private revenge in house of Madame Polignac-and the abbé, or whether the court it is said by the democratic party, party might imagine that a riot at that the chief object of their delibe- Paris would afford a fair apology ration was to unite the two princi- for the approach of such a number pal orders, the clergy and nobles, of troops as might effe&tually awe and to retain the commons in a the representatives of the nation, is ftate of dependence and subjection. uncertain. A groundless report was On the other hand, the deputies of maliciously spread, that Mr. Reveilthe people were not without their lon intended considerably to lower jealoufies; and those of each pro- the wages of his workmen, that he vince held their separate meetings, had atierted the bread was too good till at length they became united in for thein, and that they might subthat of Brittany.
filt as well upon potatoe flour, with It is evident that the voting by many infinuations to the same purorders, and not by poll, that is, the pofe. On the 27th of April, both assembling of the different orders ili the suburbs of St. Marc and St. their separate chambers, and invelt- Antoine were in motion, and Mr. ing each with the prerogative of Reveillon was burnt iv effigy. The
most extraordinary circumstance which represented the nation enwas, that it had been announced to grofled all its applause, and Vive le the police, that the preceding days tiers état! was echoed from every a number of strangers had entered quarter. the city, and these men were now The assembly was opened by a the leaders of the insurrection, and speech from the throne, in which by profusely scattering money a- the monarch declared his fatisfacmongst the mob, increased both its tion at feeing himself surrounded, numbers and its ferocity. A small after so long an interval, by the redetachment of the French guards presentatives of his people--hemenwas sent to effect their dispersion, tioned the heavy debt of the public, but it was too weak to resist the rab- a part of which had accumulated
At the dawn of the following during his own reign, but in an day, the outrages were renewed, honourable causehe hinted at the and Mr. Reveillon's house was pil- general disquiet and the love of inlaged and destroyed. At length a novation which had taken possession formidable party of the military was of the minds of the people; but ordered out, and, after a conlidera- depended on their wifdom and moble carnage, the tumult was quelled. deration in the adoption of alterati
Paris was scarcely recovered from ons; and concluded by warm prothe great terror and apprehenfion feflions of his own attachment to the which this insurrection occafioned, public welfare. when the day appointed for the The speech of M. Barretin, the meeting of the Itates-general ar. keeper of the seals, was but little rived. The 5th of May 1939, will attended to :-it, as well as that of be long memorable in the annáls of the king, recommended temper in France, and it was indeed a day of adopting alterations in the governfestivity to the whole nation. It ment; intimated, that the king had commenced, agreeably to ancient acceded to the wishes of his people custom, with a religious act. The in granting to the tiers état a dourepresentatives of the people, pre- ble repreientation, but left the ceded by the clergy, and followed great quettion of voting by orders by the king, repaired to the temple or by poll entirely undecided. of God, accompanied with an im- The attention which was refused mense crowd, offering vow's and to the keeper of the feals, was most prayers for success to their labours. liberally accorded to Mr. Neckar,
'í'he whole ceremony indicated though his address continued for the diflinction of orders, and evin- three hours. It did not, however, ced that it was the seciet determi- pals exempt from criticism-fome nation of the court strictly to main- alledged that it was an ill-arranged tain it. Faithful to the customs of and ill-digested mass; the repub2614, the nobility were arrayed in a licans complained that he did not sumptuous robe, and the deputies enlarge fufficiently on their favourite of the commons in the habit of the topic; they expected it to be filled law. Thus while the nobility and with projects and with systemsthe higher clergy glittered in gold the privileged orders wished him and jewels, the representatives of to be more explicit in tracing out the people appeared in mourning ; a plan of proceedings for the latesbut the spectators were not dazzled general--but all agreed that nothing by fplendid appearances, that body could be more luminous and fatis