Page images

of research all the information that I received. These rumours were renewed on the 19th and 20th. I had been for seventeen days ill of a quinsey, from which I was beginning to recover. On the evening of Monday the 20th I received fresh information, which induced me to send for three of the nearest municipal officers to my house, that I might not have to decide alone on the exigencies of the moment.

I sent for the commander in chief of the national guards; and in the meanwhile dressed myself at all events. The citizen Cochon de l'Apparent, at that time member of the constituent assembly, and of the committee of research, came to communicate to me what he knew he was witness to what passed at my house, and can give testimony of my conduct. Upon the arrival of the commander in chief, we communicated to him the information which we had received, and the apprehensions which we had entertained. We reininded him that it was his duty to guard the Thuilleries. He answered, that he was going to the palace; that he would give the strictest orders; and that, though he thought the supposed project very improbable, he would take care to prevent the possibility of its execution. La Fayette went in fact to the palace, and returned a little after twelve. o'clock to my house. He assured us that all the gates were fast; and that he had himself renewed the watch-word at all the entrances: he added, (an expression which I very well remember,) that a mouse could not get out of the palace. He further said, that Gouvion, the major-general, would pass the night at the gate of Villequier. These are the facts which are in the knowledge of the persons before-mentioned besides which, the steward and porter of the house, Jean Baptiste Mousson my present servant, my former coachman named Bellanger, François the inspector of the lights, and all those who were in my service on the 20th of June, can attest that I did not leave my house on that day.

Louis and his family, it is well known, travelled with a passport given by Montmorin, for a person named, if I recollect right, the Baroness de Knoff. Some days before the fight, in looking over my letters, I found that M. Simolin, the Russian ambassador, had applied to me for a passport for the Baroness de Knoff. I had some passports ready signed which had been delivered to me by the minister. After a moment's reflection, I said, " But why does the Rusșian ambassador desire a passport from me for a foreigner? he ought to apply to the minister for foreign affairs." I referred him, therefore, to that minister: and thus escaped, by good fortune, the snare which was laid for me. Montmorin, it is known, declared that he gave two passports, on an assurance that the first was burnt.

It is, therefore, false, that I was present at the flight of Louis, and that I favoured with all my power this liberticide project. It is, on the contrary, most indisputable, that I did every thing in my power to prevent it.

I was interrogated respecting certain private meetings said to have been held at the Thuilleries, and composed, as it was asserted, of intriguers, and members of the constituent assembly, Mirabeau, Barnave, Lameth, &e.: it seemed that I was supposed to have as

sisted at them. I affirm that I never had any knowledge of such meetings; that I never assisted at them; that I was never connected with any of those who were considered as party-leaders, such as Mirabeau, Barnave, and the two Lameths; that my connections with la Fayette necessarily resulted from the mutual relation of our offices; that the confidence which I had in him, especially during the first year, was dictated by the whole nation; but that those connections were only official, and that I never possessed his peculiar confi dence*.

"It was asserted, that some of these meetings were held at la Rochefoucault's. I answered, that I knew several deputies, and amongst others la Fayette, often met in the evening at the house of la Rochefoucault; but that I was never there myself.

The unfortunate day of the Champ de Mars was mentioned: and it was termed a conspiracy to assassinate the true patriots. I answered, that neither I nor the municipality of Faris had any know. ledge or suspicion of a plot against the patriots. The national assembly being informed that mobs were collecting to resist the decree passed on the preceding evening, and judging that every appearance of resistance against the law was criminal, ordered the department and the municipality to restrain those mobs by all the means with which the constitution had invested them. The official accounts, which are preserved among the archives of the national assembly, and of the municipality, prove that the municipal body had in the morning employed all the means of persuasion to disperse the multitude.

When the municipality in a body afterwards entered the Champ de la Federation, every one knows that the magistrates had not time to make the summonses prescribed by the law; but that the municipality and the national guard were assailed with a shower of stones; that one of the rioters fired a pistol shot against .the municipality; and that the ball, after passing by me, struck the thigh of a dragoon of hte troops of the line, who had joined the national guards, and who afterwards died of the wound.

It has been said that the authors of those disorders, and of this murder, were not at all connected with the citizens assembled round the altar of their country. But in fact the national guard only fired upon the bank from which the stones and the pistol shots had proceeded. It is added, that the men who occupied this bank had been sent by la Fayette and me. This accusation is without proof; and it is absolutely false. I make this affirmation as far as regards myself. It is, moreover, evident, that if these men had been our agents

* In fact, what point of contact, what union, except that resulting from official intercourse, could there be between an intriguer, a courtier, a man of perfidy and dissimulation, and a philosopher confining himself strictly to the duties of his place, and a stranger to all intrigues; but, perhaps, on that very account less able to guard against them? It must be owned, however, that if la Fayette was blameable on the 5th and 6th of October, and on the 20th of June, neither he, nor the court, were at all so on the day of the Champ de Mars.'

[blocks in formation]

they would doubtless have avoided firing either on me or on the mynicipality.

But, it is said, la Fayette was reconciled, in June 1791, with Lameth and the others, and they altogether plotted the downfal of liberty. I know not what plots may have been formed by men with whom I never had any connection. I remarked, indeed, that reconciliation, and I was surprised at it; but it cannot be said that I was reconciled with the Lameths, since I had neither any quarrel nor connection with them. I do not recollect that I have spoken with either of them for two minutes together since the revolution. I have never had a continued intercourse with any of the deputies, unless it was what the affairs of the city gave me in the different committees. If la Fayette engaged in any intrigues, he was too well acquainted with my patriotism to make me his confidant.

With regard to my connections with the court, a circumstance, which fully proves my innocence, is, that amongst the numerous papers belonging to Louis, which were found both at the house of Laporte and in the iron closet, papers in which a great number of persons are implicated in affairs more or less culpable, there is not one which can draw on me the smallest reproach. What is more, I am named in some of those papers, but it is as an enemy. Some attack me by sarcasm, and endeavour to place me in a ridiculous point of view (see Cazotte's Letters); others, such as Talon, say, "Sire, if you make such sacrifices, Bailly will come and make you a fine harangue." Others say, and that of the date of 1791, "The mayor of Paris will be managed, so as to prevent him from giving us any further trouble." Finally, some of them talk of the necessity of taking off my head.

I have gained nothing in the revolution: on the contrary, it has caused me to lose some valuable places: and it has almost entirely destroyed my fortune. I have need, my dear fellow-citizens, of your esteem: I am sure that you will sooner or later do me justice, but I have need of that justice whilst I am alive and in the midst of you. I had previously deserved it by 50 years of continued probity; and my claim cannot but be augmented and confirmed by nearly three years of entire devotion to your interests with no other recompence than your esteem. (Signed) BAILLY.'

Notwithstanding the imperfections that we have mentioned, the work before us, viewed under a certain light, may be numbered among the spirited and useful performances to which the revolution has given birth. By painting in strong colours the excesses of contending factions, by magnifying their errors, and emblazoning their crimes, the author suggests considerations well calculated for bringing men to a sense of justice and propriety; and for making them hold, in their political career,

Bailly has, indeed, a little before observed, that la Fayette alone possessed his particular confidence during the first year. Notwithstanding Bailly's unsuspecting simplicity, he soon discovered the duplicity of la Fayette.'


the middle and safe course between two blameable and dangerous extremes. The practical result of the whole performance is contained in the following citation :

• Those who will take a general survey of the whole of our revolution, will consider above all how crime engenders and perpetuates crime. The guilty have no hope of absolution, but by means of fresh offences. It will be remarked, that the massacres of September, which took place in order to procure the election of Robespierre, Marat, and Danton, and other furies of the same stamp in the deputation of Paris, were the first links in that immeasurable chain of crimes under which we so long groaned: the sum of our miseries was the produce of those choices, and they were the sad result of those murders. We owe to that nomination principally, the proscriptions, the requisitions, the maximum, the arbitrary taxes, the destruction of Lyons, the siege of Toulon, and the massacres of the South and La Vendée. We never, however, abounded more than then, in pompous maxims. Justice and probity were the order of the day, at least in words. Robespierre violated every principle and every law, while he was incessantly saying, Let the universe perish rather than one principle be violated. These wretches destroyed the morals of the people, vandalized France, and did so much mischief that many persons still look on the return to good order as problematical, or rather impossible: they are the agents of those who were elected after the massacres of September, who are continually agitating the public, in order to insure themselves impunity. A man who did not observe that the republican government was not established, and that the great tyranny, for perhaps there still exists too much, did not cease till the commencement of the existing legislative body, said to me with a groan, "They say that Switzerland and English America are happy under republican governments; why are not we?" I could not make a number of observations to him, which he would not have understood; I contented myself with saying, that the constituent assembly had overturned too much, and had undertaken too much at once; that it had committed the most serious errors, and that the convention was still more impetuous; that we had had no government till the legislative body met, and that the conduct of the new governors and of those who would succeed them, would decide the question whether this form of government were equally adapted to all nations, whatever might be the basis of their character. It results from this conversation, that even the royalists, for this man was so, would cherish the republic, if a good government would induce them. This end will be an

There is no question of it; governments modify, at their pleasure, the character of a nation. The question reduces itself to the inquiry, whether it will answer in a state which the constituent assembly, by demolishing too much, and afterwards the proconsuls, have peopled with malcontents? This miracle can only be effected by good laws and the extreme wisdom of the governors. They should never forget this maxim: That every government which protects is good; and every government which destroys is bad.'


swered, not by terror but by good laws. Royalism has few re sources: the anarchists are more powerful and more audacious: the same desire to injure the press, the same thirst of blood consume them but all the citizens are ready to rise against them. The priests...... protect them all, without ditinction between those who have and those who have not taken the oath, and they will cease to be dangerous; it is persecution which procures them partizans. Be just, if you wish to be happy. When we say just, we mean just to all, even to those whom you believe to be, or who really are your enemies. These are the true principles of government: the exclusives excite apprehensions with respect to the elections of Germinal; no longer, undoubtedly, will men be elected who are covered with the leprosy of crimes for which it was necessary to invent new names, and who would wish again to take up arms and to bring on a new revolution; they will no longer chuse the half-instructed, ignorant babblers, men of nothing, apostles of the agrarian law of a civil


But, say the exclusives, the emigrants return in crowds, and the tribunals acquit them. I know there are judges who think it good policy to shut their eyes upon their return, resolved to punish them if they disturb the country; they think that those who emigrated after the 31st of May cannot be blamed, nor those whom the peasants compelled to seek elsewhere for safety. We wish not to say much on this subject; but the following calculation may renew every one's courage. Supposing that in Germinal a fourth or a moiety should be elected from among the royalists, will there not still remain the other half of the third to counterbalance them? Will there not remain the two-thirds of the legislative body, of which a great majority are more sincerely attched to the republic, than those who pretend to be the only patriots? We must, therefore, believe, that the revolution, in spite of the anarchists, will resemble those violent and terrible claps of thunder, which, after having been for a considerable time prolonged, after having borne with them devastation and death, finish with purifying the atmosphere, and bringing back serene weather.'

This, we fear, is one of the many false prophecies concerning the French revolution.

The translation, as the reader must have perceived from the passages above cited, is executed with spirit, but abounds in gallicisms: some parts of it, indeed, cannot be readily understood without the aid of the original.

ART. X. Arthaologia: or Miscellaneous Tracts relating to Antiquity. Published by the Society of Antiquaries of London. Vol. XII. 4to. pp. 440. Il. 11s. 6d. Beards. Nichols, &c.

wo articles by Hayman Rooke, Esq. introduce this volume. They relate to Roman antiquities discovered, a few years since, in the county of Derby: the heads of spears and arrows, together with an iron dagger, found in a place unfrequented

« EelmineJätka »