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FrRevol_301-350.indd 4 3/16/12 1:08 PM CHAPTER IV Spirit ofthe Decrees ofthe Legislative Assembly. The Constituent Assembly had passed more laws in two years than the English Parliament in fifty; but these laws at least reformed abuses and were founded on general principles. The Legislative Assembly passed an equal number of decrees, although there remained nothing truly useful to be done; but the spirit of faction inspired all to which the Assembly gave the name oflaws. It accused the King's brothers, confiscated the property of emigrants, and adopted against the priests a decree ofproscription revolting in a still higher degree to the friends ofliberty than to the sincere Catholics, so contrary was it to philosophy and equity.1 W hat! will it be said, were not the emigrants and priests enemies to the Revolution? This was a very good plea for not returning such men as deputies, for not calling them to the management of public business; but what would society become if, instead of seeking support in immutable principles, men should have the power of pointing laws against their adversaries as they can point a battery? The Constituent Assembly never persecuted either individuals or classes; but the next Assembly only passed decrees suited to the moment , and we can hardly quote a resolution adopted by it which was calculated to last beyond the temporary occasion that called it forth. Arbitrary power, against which the Revolution ought to have been directed , had acquired new strength by the Revolution itself. It was in vain that they pretended to do everything for the people; the revolutionaries were now only priests of a Moloch, called the common interest, which 1. Reference to the law of May 27, 1792, vetoed by the King, which led to the events of June 20 and August 10, 1792, and the subsequent fall of the monarchy. J04 FrRevol_301-350.indd 5 3/16/12 1:08 PM CHAPTER I v. Decrees ofLegislative Assembly required the sacrifice ofthe happiness ofeach. Persecution in politics leads to nothing but the necessity of further persecution; and to kill is not to extirpate. It has been said with the most cold-blooded intention that the dead alone return no more; but even that maxim is not true, for the children and the friends of the victims are stronger by their resentments than those who suffered were by their opinions. The object should be to extinguish hatreds, and not to compress them. Reform is accomplished in a country when its promoters have managed to make its adversaries merely bothersome, without having turned them into victims. .]05 ...


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