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FrRevol_151-200.indd 12 3/16/12 1:04 PM CHAPTER XXII Revolution ofthe z4th ofjuly (z:;8g). Two other ministers were removed at the same time as M. Necker, M. de Montmorin, a man personally attached to the King from his infancy, and M. de St. Priest, who was remarkable for the soundness ofhis judgment. But what will appear almost incredible to posterity is, that in adopting a resolution of such importance, no measure was taken to ensure the personal safety of the Sovereign in case of misfortune. The advisers of the Crown thought themselves so sure ofsuccess, that no troops were assembled around Louis XVI to accompany him to a certain distance in the event of a revolt of the capital. The soldiers were encamped in the plains near the gates ofParis, which gave them an opportunity ofcommunicating with the inhabitants; the latter came to them in numbers, and made them promise not to make use of their arms against the people. Thus, with the exception oftwo German regiments,1 who did not understand French, and who drew their sabers in the gardens ofthe Tuileries almost as ifthey had wished to afford a pretext for insurrection, all the troops on which dependence was made participated in the feeling of the citizens, and complied in no respect with what was expected from them. As soon as the news of M. Necker's departure was spread abroad in Paris, the streets were barricaded, and all the inhabitants formed themselves into national guards, assuming some sort ofmilitary dress and laying hold of whatever weapon first offered, whether musket, saber, or scythe. Multitudes ofmen ofthe same opinion embraced each other in the streets like brothers; and the army of the people of Paris, consisting of more than a hundred thousand men, was formed in an instant, as ifby a 1. In reality, there was only one German regiment in Paris at that time. z62 FrRevol_151-200.indd 13 3/16/12 1:04 PM CHAPTER XXII. Revolution ojz4}u/y 1789 miracle.2 The Bastille, that citadel of arbitrary power, was taken on the 14th ofJuly, 1789. The Baron de Breteuil, who boasted that he would put an end to the crisis in three days, remained only that number of days in office-long enough, however, to contribute to the overthrow ofthe royal power. Such was the result ofthe advice ofthe adversaries ofM. Necker. How can minds ofsuch a cast still take on them to give an opinion on the affairs ofa great people? What resources were prepared against the dangerwhich they themselves had created? And did the world ever see men, who would not hear reason, acquit themselves so ill in the application of force? The King in such circumstances could inspire no feeling but one of profound interest and compassion. Princes educated to rule in Francehave never been accustomed to look the realities of life in the face; there was held up to them an artificial world, in which they lived from the first to the last day of the year; and misfortune necessarily found them without defense in themselves. The King was brought to Paris for the purpose ofadopting, at the Hotel de Ville, that revolution which had just taken place against his power. His religious tranquillity preserved his personal dignity in this, as in all ensuing occasions; but his authority was at an end: and if the chariots of kings ought not to drag nations in their train, it is no more appropriate for a nation to make a king the ornament of its triumph. The apparent homage rendered on such an occasion to a dethroned sovereign is revolting to generous minds. Never can liberty be established when either the monarch or people are in a false situation. Each, to be sincere, must be in possession of his rights. Moral constraint imposed on the head ofa government can never be the basis of the constitutional independence of a country. The 14th ofJuly, although marked by bloody assassinations on the part 2. The citizens' militias were formed on July 13, 1789. It is somewhat surprising that Madame de Stael did not give a detailed account of the fall of the Bastille. She mentions only a few "bloody assassinations" that took place on July 14 and refrains from dwelling on the violent episodes that marked the fall of the Bastille, preferring instead to point out the general enthusiasm of the population. Z6J FrRevol_151-200.indd 14 3/16/12 1...


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