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FrRevol_301-350.indd 21 3/16/12 1:08 PM CHAPTER IX Revolution ofthe zoth ofAugust, ZJ920verthrow ofthe Monarchy. Public opinion never fails to manifest itself, even in the midst of the factions which oppress it. One revolution only, that of r789, was accomplished by the force of this opinion; but since that year, scarcely any crisis which has taken place in France has been desired by the nation. Four days before the roth of August, a decree of accusation was attempted to be carried in the Assembly against M. de Ia Fayette; he was acquitted by four hundred and twenty-four votes out of six hundred and seventy.1 The wish of this majority was certainly against the revolution that was in the making. The forfeiture of the crown by the King was demanded; the Assembly rejected it, but the minority, who were determined to obtain it, had recourse to the people for that purpose. The constitutional party was, nevertheless, the most numerous; and if on one hand, the nobles had not left France and on the other, the royalists who surrounded the King had cordially reconciled themselves to the f~iends of liberty, France and the throne might yet have been saved. It is not the first, nor will it be the last time that we shall be called upon to show in the course of this work that no real good can take place in France but by a sincere reconciliation between the royalists of the Old Regime and the constitutional royalists. But in the word "sincere," how many ideas are contained! The constitutionalists had in vain sought leave to enter the palace of the King in order to defend him. They were prevented by the invincible 1. The vote took place on August 8: 400 members voted for La Fayette's acquittal and 224 against it. 32l FrRevol_301-350.indd 22 3/16/12 1:08 PM PART III prejudices of the courtiers. Incapable, however, notwithstanding the refusal they underwent, ofjoining the opposite party, they wandered around the palace, exposing themselves to be massacred, as a consolation for not being allowed to fight. Of this number were MM. de Lally, Narbonne, La Tour-du-Pin, Gouverner Castellane, Montmorency, and several others whose names have re-appeared on the most honorable occasions. Before midnight on the 9th of August, the forty-eight alarm bells of the sections of Paris began to toll, and this monotonous, mournful, and rapid sound did not cease one moment during the whole night. I was at my window with some of my friends, and every quarter of an hour the voluntary patrol of the constitutionalists sent us news. We were told that thefauhourgs 2 were advancing, headed by Santerre, the brewer, and Westermann , an officer, who afterward fought against the Vendeans.3 No one could foresee what would happen on the morrow, and no one expected to live beyond a day. We had, nevertheless, some moments of hope during this horrible night; we flattered ourselves, I know not why, perhaps only because we had exhausted our fears. All at once, at seven o'clock, the horrible noise of the cannon of the fauhourgs was heard. In the first attack, the Swiss guards had the advantage . The people fled along the streets with a terror equal to their preceding fury. The King, it must be acknowledged, ought then to have put himself at the head of his troops and opposed his enemies. The Queen was of this opinion, and the courageous counsel she gave on this occasion does honor to her memory and recommends her to posterity. Several battalions of the National Guards, and amongst others that of Les Filles St. Thomas, were full ofzeal and ardor; but the King, on quitting the Tuileries, could no longer rely on that enthusiasm which constitutes the strength of armed citizens. 2. Reference to an old French term signifying the outlying parts of a city-modern-day suburbs. 3· Santerre (1752~1809) became the leader of the National Guard after the events of August 10, 1792. Westermann (1751~94) also played an important role in the events of August 10 and became later a close associate of Danton. He was arrested and executed in 179+ J22 FrRevol_301-350.indd 23 3/16/12 1:08 PM CHAPTER IX. RevofutionofzoAugustZJ92 Many republicans believe that ifLouis XVI had triumphed on the Ioth of August, the foreign troops would have arrived in Paris and have reestablished the ancient despotism...


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