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man, who had, whimsically enough, come to France, to study its modes of agriculture, at such a moment, is astonished at the deep silence reigning about Paris; no coach, hardly a man. The terrible agitation concentrating everything within, made a desert of all beyond. He enters; the tumult frightens him; he traverses, in astonishment, that noisy capital. He is taken to the Palais Royal, the centre of the conflagration, the burning focus of the furnace. Ten thousand men were speaking at once; ten thousand lights in the windows; it was a day of victory for the people; fire-works were let off, and bonfires made. Dazzled and confounded by that moving Babel, he hastily retires. Yet the lively and excessive emotion of that people, united in one common thought, soon gains upon the traveller; he gradually becomes associated, without even being aware of his change of sentiments, to the hopes of liberty; the Englishman prays for France.*

All men forgot themselves. The place, that strange place where the scene was passing, seemed, at such moments, to forget itself. The Palais Royal was no longer the Palais Royal. Vice, in the grandeur of so sincere a passion, in the heat of enthusiasm, became pure for an instant. The most degraded raised their heads, and gazed at the sky; their past life, like a bad dream, was gone, at least for a day; they could not be virtuous, but they felt themselves heroic, in the name of the liberties of the world! Friends of the people, brothers to one another, having no longer any selfish feeling, and quite ready to share everything.

That there were interested agitators in that multitude, cannot be doubted. The minority of the nobility, ambitious men, fond of noise, such as Lameth and Duport, worked upon the people by their pamphlets and agents. Others, still worse, joined them. All that took place, we must say, beneath the windows of the Duke of Orleans, before the eyes of that intriguing, greedy, polluted court. Alas! who would not pity our Revolution? That ingenuous, disinterested, sublime movement, spied and overlooked by those who hoped one day or other to turn it to their advantage!

* Of course with many exceptions, and on condition that France adopts the constitution of England. Arthur Young's Travels, vol. i., passim.



There I see distinctly a These are Virtue and Vice,

Let us look at those windows. pure woman and a wicked man. the king's counsellors, Madame de Genlis and Choderlos de Laclos. The parts are distinctly separated. In that house, where everything is false, Virtue is represented by Madame de Genlis,-hard-heartedness and mock sensibility, a torrent of tears and ink, the quackery of a model education, and the constant exhibition of the pretty Pamela.* On this side of the palace is the philanthropic bureau, where charity is organised with much ostentation on the eve of elections.†

The time has gone by when the jockey-prince used to lay a wager after supper to run stark naked from Paris to Bagatelle. He is now the statesman before everything else, the head of a party; his mistresses will have it so. They have fondly wished for two things,-a good law for divorces, and a change of dynasty. The political confidant of the prince is that gloomy taciturn man, who seems to say: "I conspire, we conspire.' That mysterious Laclos who, by his little book, Liaisons dangereuses, flatters himself that he has caused the romantic to pass from vice to crime, and insinuates therein that flagitious gallantry is a useful prelude to political villany. That is the name he covets of all others, and that part he acts to perfection. Many, in order to flatter the prince, say: "Laclos is a villain."

It was not easy, however, to make a leader of this Duke of Orleans; he was broken down at that period, wasted in body and heart, and of very weak mind. Swindlers made him fabricate gold in the garrets of the Palais Royal, and they had made him acquainted with the devil.‡

Even so far as to send her, on horseback, into the middle of the riot, followed by a domestic in the Orleans livery.-Read the Souvenirs (i., p. 189,) of Madame Lebrun, who was a witness of this scene.

+ Brissot worked there some time.-Mémoires, ii., p. 430.

The prince made gold, as it is ever made, with gold. However, among other ingredients, it was necessary to have a human skeleton that had been buried so many years and days. They sought among such dead bodies as were known, and it so happened that Pascal exactly fulfilled the conditions required. They bribed the keepers of Saint Etienne-du-Mont, and poor Pascal was handed over to the crucibles of the Palais Royal. Such, at least, is the account of a person, who, having long lived with Madame de Genlis, received from her this strange anecdote..



Another difficulty was, that this prince, besides all his acquired vices, possessed a natural one, both fundamental and durable, which does not cease with exhaustion, like the others, but remains faithful to its master: I mean avarice. "I would give," he would say, "public opinion for a six-franc piece." This was not an idle word. He had put it well in practice, when, in spite of public clamour, he built the Palais Royal.

His political advisers were not skilful enough to raise him from such abasement. They caused him to commit more than one false and imprudent step.

In 1788, Madame de Genlis' brother, a youth without any other title than that of officer in the house of Orleans, writes to the king, to ask nothing less than to be prime minister,—to get the place of Necker or Turgot; he will undertake to reestablish in a moment the finances of the monarchy. The Duke of Orleans allows himself to be the bearer of the incredible missive, hands it to the king, recommends it, and becomes the laughing-stock of the court. The sage counsellors of the prince had hoped thus to bring the government quietly into his hands. Deceived in their hopes, they acted more openly, endeavoured to make a Guise a Cromwell, and courted the people. There, also, they met with great difficulties. All were not dupes; the city of Orleans did not elect the prince; and, by way of retaliation, he unceremoniously withdrew from it the benefits by which he had expected to purchase his election.

And yet nothing had been spared, neither money nor intrigue. Those who had the management of the business had had the precaution to attach a whole pamphlet of Sieyès to the electoral instructions which the duke sent into his domains, and thus to place their master under the name and patronage of that great thinker, then so popular, who however had no kind of connection with the Duke of Orleans.

When the Commons took the decisive step of assuming the title of National Assembly, the Duke of Orleans was informed that the time was come to show himself, to speak and act, and that a leader of a party could not remain mute. They prevailed upon him at least to read a speech of some four lines to engage the nobility to unite with the Third Estate. He did so ; but whilst reading, his heart failed him, and he fainted. On



opening his vest, they saw that, in the dread of being assassinated by the court, this over-prudent prince used to wear, by way of cuirass, five or six waistcoats.**

The day the coup d'état failed (June 23), the duke believed the king lost, and himself king on the morrow, or next day; he could not conceal his joy. The terrible fermentation in Paris on that evening and the next morning, sufficiently announced that a vast insurrection would burst forth. On the 25th, the minority of the nobility, perceiving that they must decline in importance if Paris should be the first to begin, went, with the Duke of Orleans at their head, to join the Commons. The prince's man, Sillery, the convenient husband of Madame de Genlis, pronounced, in the name of all, an illconcocted discourse, such as might have been made by a mediator, an accepted arbiter between the king and the people : "Let us never lose sight of the respect that we owe to the best of kings. He offers us peace; can we refuse to accept it?" &c. In the evening, great was the rejoicing in Paris for this union of the noble friends of the people. An address to the assembly was lying at the Café de Foy ; everybody signed it, as many as three thousand persons, in haste, and most of them without reading it. That article, drawn by an able hand, contained one strange word respecting the Duke of Orleans:

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This Prince, the object of public veneration." Such a word, for such a man, seemed cruelly derisive; an enemy would not have been more bitter. The duke's awkward agents believed apparently that the boldest eulogium would also be the best paid.

Thank God! the grandeur, the immensity of the movement, spared the Revolution that unworthy mediator. Ever since the 25th, the excitement was so unanimous, and the concord so powerful, that the agitators themselves; hurried along by it, were obliged to abandon every pretension of directing it. Paris led the leaders. The Catalines of the saloons and cafés had only to follow in its train. An authority was suddenly found to be in Paris, which had been supposed to be without any chief or guide, the assembly of the electors. On the other hand, as the French Guards began to declare themselves, it was easy to

Ferrières, i., p. 52.

+ Arthur Young, who was dining with him and other deputies, was shocked at seeing him laughing in his sleeve.

126 foresee that the new authority would not be wanting in force. To sum up all in one word, these anxious mediators might remain quiet; if the assembly was a prisoner at Versailles, it had its asylum here, in the very heart of France, and, if necessary, Paris for an army.


The court, trembling with anger and indignation, and still more with fear, decided, on the evening of the 26th, to grant the re-union of the orders. The king invited the nobility to it, and in order to reserve to himself a means of protesting against all that was being done, the Count d'Artois was made to write those imprudent words (then untrue): "The king's life is in danger.'

On the 27th, therefore, the long-expected union at length took place. The rejoicing at Versailles was excessive, foolish, and ungovernable. The people made bonfires, and shouted "Vive la Reine!" The queen was obliged to appear in the balcony. The crowd then asked her to show them the dauphin, as a token of complete reconciliation and oblivion. She consented again, and re-appeared with her child. She did but so much the more despise that credulous crowd; and she sent for troops.

She had taken no part in the union of the orders. And could it truly be called a union? They were still enemies, though now assembled in the selfsame hall, brought into contact, and looking at one another. The clergy had made their express restrictions. The protest of the nobles were brought forward one by one, like so many challenges, and engrossed the whole time of the Assembly; such as came, did not condescend to sit, but wandered about, or stood gazing like simple spectators. They did sit, but elsewhere,—in a meeting of their own. Many had said that they were leaving, but still remained at Versailles; evidently, they were waiting.

The Assembly was wasting time. The lawyers, who composed the majority, spoke frequently and at great length, trusting too much to language. According to them, if the constitution were but made, everything was saved. As if a constitution can be anything with a government continually conspiring! A paper liberty, written or verbal, whilst despotism possesses the power and the sword! This is nonsense,— absurdity!

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