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Marie Antoinette 

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f, 1891, BY 







I. Paris at the Beginning of 1792 1 

II. Count de Person's Last Journey to Paris 14 

III. The Death of the Emperor Leopold 23 

IV. The Death of Gustavus III 32 

V. The Beginnings of Madame Roland 46 

VI. Madame Roland's Entrance on the Scene 60 

VII. Marie Antoinette and Madame Roland 73 

VIII. Madame Roland at the Ministry of the Interior ^^5 

IX. Dumouriez, Minister of Foreign Affairs 94 

X. The Council of Ministers 103 

XI. The FfiTE of the Swiss of Chateauvieux 110 

XII. The Declaration of War 126 

XIII. The Disbanding of the Constitutional Guard. . . 137 

XIV. The Sufferings of Louis XVI 148 

XV, Roland's Dismissal from Office 158 

XVI. A Three Days' Ministry 166 

XVII. The Prologue to June Twentieth 176 

XVIII. The Morning of June Twentieth 186 




XIX. The Invasion of the Tuileries 198 

XX, Marie Antoinette on June Twentieth 210 

XXI. The Morrow of June Twentieth 219 

XXII. Lafayette in Paris 229 

XXIII. The Lamodrette Kiss 239 

XXIV. The FSte of the Federation in 1792 24ir 

XXV. The Last Days at the Tdileries 259 

XXVI. The Prologue to the Tenth of August 267 

XXVII. The Night of August Ninth to Tenth 276 

XXVIII. The Morning of August Tenth 284 

XXIX. The Box of the Logograph 299 

XXX. The Combat 306 

XXXI. The Results of the Combat 316 

XXXII. The Royal Family in the Convent of the 

Feuillants 329 

XXXIII. The Temple 337 

XXXIV. The Princess de Lamballe's Murder 350 

XXXV. The September Massacres 359 

XXXVI. Madame Roland during the Massacres 372 

XXXVII. The Proclamation of the Republic 384 





PARIS in 1792 is no longer what it was in 1789. 
In 1789, the old French society was still brill- 
iant. The past endured beside the present. Neither 
names nor escutcheons, neither liveries nor places at 
court, had been suppressed. The aristocracy and the 
Revolution lived face to face. In 1792, the scene has 
changed. The Paris of the nobility is no longer in 
Paris, but at Coblentz. The Faubourg Saint-Germain 
is like a desert. Since June, 1790, armorial bearings 
have been taken down. The blazons of ancient 
houses have been broken and thrown into the gut- 
ters. No more display, no more liveries, no more 
carriages with coats-of-arms on their panels. Titles 
and manorial names are done away with. The Duke 
de Brissac is called M. Coss^ ; the Duke de Cara- 
man, M. Riquet; the Duke d'Aiguillon, M. Vig- 
nerot. The Almanack royal of 1792 mentions not 
a single court appointment. 



In 1789, it was still an exceptional thing for the 
nobility to emigrate. In 1792, it is the rule. Those 
among the nobles who have had the courage to re- 
main at Paris in the midst of the furnace, so as to 
make a rampart for the King of their bodies, seem 
half ashamed of their generous conduct. The illu- 
sions of worldliness have been dispelled. Nearly 
every salon was open in 1789. In 1792, they are 
nearly all closed; those of the magistrates and the 
great capitalists as well as those of the aristocracy. 
Etiquette is still observed at the Tuileries, but 
there is no question of fetes ; no balls, no concerts, 
none of that elegance and animation which once 
made the court a rendezvous of pleasures. In 1789, 
illusions, dreams, a naive expectation of the age of 
gold, were to be found everywhere. In 1792, ec- 
logues and pastoral poetry are beginning to go out 
of fashion. The diapason of hatred is pitched 
higher. Already there is powder and a smell of 
blood in the air. A general instinct forebodes that 
France and Europe are on the verge of a terrible 
duel. On both sides passions have touched their 
culminating point. Distrust and uneasiness are 
universal. Every day the despotism of the clubs 
becomes more threatening. The Jacobins do not 
reign yet, but they govern. Deputies who, if left 
to their own impulses, would vote on the conserva- 
tive side, pronounce for the Revolution solely 
through fear of the demagogues. In 1789, the 
religious sentiment still retained power among the 


masses. In 1792, irreligion and atheism have 
wrought their havoc. In 1789, the most ardent 
revolutionists, Marat, Danton, Robespierre, were 
all royalists. At the beginning of 1792, the repub- 
lic begins to show its face beneath the monarchical 

The Tuileries, menaced by the neighboring lanes 
of the Carrousel and the Palais Royal, resembles a 
besieged fortress. The Revolution daily augments its 
trenches and parallels around the sanctuary of the 
monarchy. Its barracks are the faubourgs ; its sol- 
diers, red-bonneted pikemen. Louis XVI. in his 
palace is like a general-in-chief in a stronghold, who 
should have voluntarily dampened his powder, spiked 
his cannon, and torn his flags. He no longer 
inspires his troops with confidence. A capitulation 
seems imminent. The unfortunate monarch still 
hopes vaguely for assistance from abroad, for the 
arrival of some liberating army. Vain hope! He 
is blockaded in his castle, and the moment is at 
hand when he will be compelled to play the buffoon 
in a red bonnet. 

Glance at the palace and see how closely it is 
hemmed in by the earthworks of the Revolution. 
The abode of luxury and display, intended for fStes 
rather than for war, Philibert Delorme's chef- 
d'oeuvre has in its architecture none of those means 
of defence by which the military and feudal sover- 
eignties of old times fortified their dwellings. On 
the side of the courtyards a multitude of little 


streets contain a hostile population ready to swell 
every riot. Near the Pavilion of Marsan is the 
Palais Royal, that headquarters of insurrection, 
with its caf ^s, its gambling-dens, its houses of ill- 
fame, its wooden galleries which are known as the 
camp of the Tartars. It is the Duke of Orleans 
who has democratized the Palais Royal. In spite of 
the sarcasms of the aristocracy and the lawsuits of 
neighboring proprietors, he has destroyed the fine 
gardens bounded by the rue de Richelieu, the rue des 
Petit-Champs, and the rue des Bons-Enfants. In 
the place it occupied he has caused the rue de Valois, 
the rue de Beaujolais, and the rue de Montpensier 
to be opened, all of them inhabited by a revolutionary- 
population. The remaining space he has surrounded 
on three sides with constructions pierced by galler- 
ies, where he has built the shops that form the finest 
bazaar in Europe. The fourth side of these new con- 
structions was originally intended to form part of 
the Prince's palace, and to be composed of an open 
colonnade supporting suites of apartments. But this 
side has not been erected. In place of it the Duke 
of Orleans has run up some temporary wooden sheds, 
containing three rows of shops separated by two 
large passage-ways, the ground of which has not 
even been made level. 

The privileges pertaining to the Orleans family 
prevent the police from entering the enclosure of 
the Palais Royal. Hence it becomes the rendezvous 
of all conspirators. The taking of the Bastille was 


plotted there, and there the 20th of June and the 
10th of August will yet be organized. 

A little further off is the National Assembly. Its 
sessions are held in the riding-school built when 
the little Louis XV. was to be taught horseman- 
ship. It adjoins the terrace of the Feuillants. One 
of its courtyards which looks towards the front of the 
edifice, is at the upper end of the rue de Dauphin. 
The other extremity occupies the site whcr-^ the rue 
Castiglione will be opened later on. There, close 
beside the Tuileries, sits the National Assembly, 
the rival and victorious power that will overcome 
the monarchy. 

The Assembly terrorizes the Tuileries. The Jac- 
obin Club terrorizes the Assembly. Close beside 
the Hall of the Manage, on the site to be occupied 
afterward by the market of Saint-Honord, the revo- 
lutionary club holds its tumultuous sessions in the 
former convent founded in 1611 by the Jacobin, or 
Dominican, friarso The club meets three times a 
week, at seven in the evening. The hall is a long 
rectangle with a vaulted roof. Four rows of stalls 
occupy the longer sides, while the two ends serve 
as public galleries. Nearly in the middle of the 
hall, the speaker's platform and the president's 
writing-table stand opposite each other. Hither 
come all ambitious revolutionists who desire to talk, 
to agitate, to make themselves conspicuous. Here 
Robespierre lords it, not being a deputy in conse- 
quence of the law forbidding members of the Con- 


stituent Assembly to belong to the legislative body. 
Those who love disorder come here to seek emotions. 
Some find lucrative employment, applause being 
paid for, and the different parties having each its 
claque in the galleries. Since April, 1791, the Jaco- 
bin Club has affiliations in two thousand French 
towns and villages. At its orders and in its pay is 
an army of agents whose business it is to make 
stump speeches, to sing in the streets, to make prop- 
ositions in cafes, to applaud or to hiss in the gal- 
leries of the National Assembly. These hirelings 
usually receive about five francs a day, but as the 
number of the chevaliers of the revolutionary lus- 
trum increases, the pay diminishes, until it is finally 
reduced to forty sous. Deserters and soldiers dis- 
missed from their regiments for misconduct are 
admitted by preference. 

For some days past, the Club of Moderate Revolu- 
tionists, friends of Lafayette, who might have closed 
the old clubs after the sanguinary repression of the 
riot in the Champ-de-Mars, and who contented them- 
selves with opening a new one, have been meeting 
in the convent of the Feuillants, rue Saint-Honor^. 
But this new club has not been a great success; 
moderation is not the order of the day; the Jacobins 
have regained their empire, and on December 26, 
1791, seals are placed on the door of the Club of the 

At the other extremity of Paris there is a club 
still more inflammatory than that of the Jacobins: 


that of the Cordeliers. "The Jacobins," said Bar- 
baroux, " have no common aim, although they act in 
concert. The Cordeliers are bent on blood, gold, 
and offices." Speaking as a rule, the Cordeliers 
belong to the Jacobin Club, while hardly a single 
Jacobin is a Cordelier. The Cordeliers are the 
advance-guard of the Revolution. They are, as 
Camille Desmoulins has said, Jacobins of the Jaco- 
bins. The chiefs are Dan ton, Marat, Hubert, Chau- 
mette. They take their names from those religious 
democrats, the Minorite friars of Saint Francis, who 
wear a girdle of rope over their coarse gray habit. 
They meet in the Place of the School of Medicine, 
in a monastery whose church was built in the reign 
of Saint Louis, in 1259, with the fine paid as indem- 
nity for a murder. In 1590, it became the resort of the 
most famous Leaguers. Chateaubriand says : " There 
are places which seem to be the laboratory of sedi- 
tions." How well this expression of the author of 
the MSmoires d^ Outre-tomb e describes the club-room 
of the Cordeliers ! The pictures, the sculptured or 
painted images, the veils and curtains of the convent, 
have been torn down. The basilica displays noth- 
ing but its bare bones to the eyes of the spectator. 
At the apse, where wind and rain enter through 
the ungi zed rose-window, joiners' work-benches 
serve as a desk for the president and as places on 
which to d posit the red caps. Do you see the fallen 
beams, the wooden benches, the dismantled stalls, 
the relics of saints pushed or rolled against the walls 


to serve as benches for "dirty, dusty, drunken, 
sweaty spectators in torn jackets, pikes on their 
shoulders, or with their bare arms crossed"? Do 
you hear the orators who " call each other beggars, 
pickpockets, robbers, assassins, to the discordant 
noise of hisses and those proper to their different 
groups of devils? They find the material of their, 
metaphors in murder, they borrow them from the 
filthiest of sewers and dungheaps, and from places 
set apart for the prostitution of men and women. 
Gestures render their figures of speech more compre- 
hensible ; with the cynicism of dogs, they call every- 
thing by its own name, in an impious and obscene 
parade of oaths and curses. To destroy and to pro- 
duce, death and generation, nothing 'else can be 
disentangled from the savage jargon which deafens 
one's ears." And what is it that interrupts the 
speakers? "The little black owls of the cloister 
without monks and the steeple without bells, mak- 
ing themselves merry in the broken windows in 
expectation of their prey. At first they are called 
to order by the tinkling of an ineffectual bell ; but 
as their cries do not cease, they are shot at to make 
them keep silence. They fall, palpitating, bleeding, 
and ominous, into the midst of the pandemonium. " 
So, then, clubs take the place of convents. Since 
the Constituent Assembly had decreed the abolition 
of monastic vows by its vote of February 13, 1790, 
many persons, rudely detached from their usual way 
of life and its duties, had abandoned their vocation. 


The nun became a working-woman ; the shaved Cap- 
uchin read his journal in suburban taverns; and 
grinning crowds visited the profaned and open con- 
vents "as, in Grenada, travellers pass through the 
abandoned halls of the Alhambra, or as they pause, 
at Tivoli, under the columns of the Sibyl's temple." 

The Jacobin Club and the Club of the Cordeliers 
will destroy the monarchy. In the Memoirs of 
Lafayette it is remarked that "it is hard to under- 
stand how the Jacobin minority and a rxandful of 
pretended Marseillais made themselves masters of 
Paris when nearly all the forty thousand citizens 
composing the National Guard desired the Constitu- 
tion; but the clubs had succeeded in scattering the 
true patriots and in creating a dread of vigorous 
measures. Experience had not yet taught what this 
feebleness and disorganization must needs cost." 

The dark side of the picture is plainly far more 
evident than it was in 1789. But how vivid it is 
still ! Those who hunger after sensations are in their 
element. When has there been more noise, more 
tumult, more movement, more unexpected or more 
varied scenes? Listen once more to Chateaubriand 
who, on his return from America, passed through 
Paris at this epoch : " When I read the Histoire des 
troubles publics ches divers peuples before the Revolu- 
tion, I could not conceive how it was possible to live 
in those times. I was surprised that Montaigne 
wrote so cheerfully in a castle which he could not 
walk around without risk of being abducted by bands 


of Leaguers or Protestants. The Revolution has en- 
abled me to comprehend this possibility of existence. 
With us men, critical moments produce an increase 
of life. In a society which is dissolving and form- 
ing itself anew, the strife between the two ten- 
dencies, the collision of the past and the future, the 
medley of ancient and modern manners, form a tran- 
sitory combination which does not admit a moment 
of ennui. Passions and characters, freed from 
restraint, display themselves with an energy they 
do not possess in well-regulated cities. The infrac- 
tion of laws, the emancipation from duties, usages, 
and the rules of decorum, even perils themselves, 
increase the interest of this disorder." 

Yes, people complain, grow angry, suffer, but 
they are not bored. How many incidents, episodes, 
emotions, there are in this strange tragi-comedy ! 
Everywhere there is something to be seen; in the 
Assembly, the clubs, the public places, the prome- 
nades, streets, caf^s, and theatres. Brawls and 
discussions are heard on every side. If by chance a 
salon is still open, disputes go on there as they 
would at a club. What quarrels take place in the 
caf^s! Men stand on chairs and tables to spout. 
And what dissensions in the theatres ! The actors 
meddle with politics as well as the spectators. In 
the greenroom of the ComSdie-Frangaise there is a 
right side, whose chief is the royalist Naudet, and a 
left side led by the republican Talma. 
goes out except well armed. There are pistols 


underneath their togas. The kings of tragedy, 
threatened by their political adversaries, have real 
poniards wherewith to defend themselves. Les 
Horaces^ Brutus, La Mort de CSsar, Barnevelt, G-uil- 
laume Tell, Charles IX., are plays containing in 
each tirade allusions which inflame the boxes and 
the pit. The theatre is a tilting-ground. If the 
royalists are there in force, they cause the orchestra 
to play their favorite airs: Charmante Crahrielle, 
Vive Henri Quatre ! 1 Richard, ! mon roi ! The 
revolutionists protest, and sing their own chosen 
melody, the Ca ira. Sometimes they come to blows, 
swords are drawn, and, the play over, elegant women 
are dragged through the gutters. There is a general 
outbreak of insults and violence. The journals play 
the chief part in this universal madness. Some- 
times the press is eloquent, but it is oftener ribald 
or atrocious. To borrow an expression from Mon- 
taigne, "it lowers itself even to the worthless 
esteem of extreme inferiority." The beautiful 
French tongue, once so correct and pure, is no 
longer recognizable. Vulgar words fall thick as 
hail. To the language of the Academy has suc- 
ceeded the jargon of the markets. 

What a swarm! what a swirl! How noisy, how 
restless, is this revolutionary Paris ! What excited 
crowds fill the clubs, the Assembly, the Palais 
Royal, the gambling-houses, and the tumultuous 
faubourgs! Riotous gatherings, popular deputa- 
tions, detachments of cavalry, companies of foot- 


soldiers ; gentlemen in French coats, powdered hair, 
swords at their sides, hats under their arms, silk 
stockings and low shoes; democrats close-cropped 
and unpowdered, with English frock coats and 
American cravats; ragged sans-culottes in red caps, 
weave in and out in ceaseless motion. 

Do you know what was the chief distraction of 
this crowd in April, 1792? The d^but of that new 
and fashionable machine, the guillotine. It was 
used for the first time on the 25th, for a criminal 
guilty of rape. Sensitive people congratulated each 
other on the mitigated torment, which they were 
pleased to consider a humanitarian improvement. 
The excellent philanthropist. Doctor Guillotin, was 
lauded to the skies. His machine was named guil- 
lotine in his honor, just as the stage-coaches 
established by Turgot had been called turgotines. 

What enthusiasm, what infatuation, for this guil- 
lotine, already so famous and destined to be so 
much more so ! The editors of the Moniteur declare 
in a lyric outburst that it is worthy of the approach- 
ing century. The truth is that it accelerates and 
makes less difficult the executioner's task. In the 
end the crowd would become disgusted with massa- 
cres. The delays of the gibbet would weary their 
patience. The sans-culottes, who doubtless have a 
presentiment of all that is going to happen, wel- 
come the guillotine, then, with acclamations. At 
the Ambigu theatre a ballet-pantomime, called Les 
Quatre Fils Aymon, is given, and all Paris runs to 


see the heads of all four fall at once, in the midst of 
loud applause, under the blade of the good doctor's 
machine. People amuse themselves with their fut- 
ure instrument of torture as if it were a toy. In a 
Girondin salon they play at guillotine with a move= 
able screen that is lifted and let fall again. At 
elegant dinners a little guillotine is brought in with 
the dessert and takes the place of a sweet dish. A 
pretty woman places a doll representing some polit- 
ical adversary under the knife ; it is decapitated in 
the neatest possible style, and out of it runs some- 
thing red that smells good, a liqueur perfumed with 
ambergris, into which every lady hastens to dip her 
lace handkerchief. French gaiety would make a 
vaudeville out of the day of judgment. Poor soci- 
ety, which passes so quick from gay to grave, from 
lively to severe, and which, like the Figaro of 
Beaumarchais, laughs at everything so that it may 
not weep J 



IT has been supposed until lately that after the 
day when he bade farewell to the royal family 
at the beginning of the Varennes journey, Count de 
Fersen never again saw Marie Antoinette. A new 
publication of very great importance proves that this 
is an error, and that the Swedish nobleman came 
to Paris for the last time in 1792, and had several 
interviews with the King and Queen. This publi- 
cation is entitled: Extraits des papiers du grand 
marSchal de Suede, Comte Jean Axel de Fersen, and 
is published by his great-nephew. Baron de Kinck- 
owstrom, a Swedish colonel. There is something 
romantic in this episode of the mysterious journey 
made by Marie Antoinette's loyal chevalier, which 
merits to leave a trace in history. 

Fersen was one of those men whose sentiments 
are all the more profound because they know how to 
veil them under an apparently imperturbable calm. 
A soul of fire under an exterior of ice, as the Baron- 
ess de Korff describes him, courageous to temerity, 
devoted to heroism, he had conceived for Marie 
Antoinette one of those disinterested and ardent 


friendships which lie midway between love and 
religion. Almost as much a Frenchman as he was 
a Swede, he did not forget that he had fought in 
America under the standard of the Most Christian 
King, and had been colonel of a regiment in the 
service of France. Having been the courtier of the 
happy and brilliant Queen, he remained the court- 
ier of the Queen overcome by anguish. He had 
enkindled in the soul of his sovereign, Gustavus 
III., the same chivalrous sentiment which animated 
his own, and was impatiently awaiting the time 
when he could hasten to the aid of Louis XVI. and 
Marie Antoinette under the Swedish flag. His 
dearest ambition was to draw his sword in the 
Queen's defence. From the Varennes journey up 
to the day of Marie Antoinette's execution, he had 
but one thought: to rescue the woman for whom he 
would willingly have shed the last drop of his 
blood. This fixed idea has left its trace on every 
line of his journal. The sad and melancholy coun- 
tenance of Fersen, the courtier of misfortune, the 
friend of unhappy days, is assuredly one of the cele- 
brated types in the drama of Versailles and the 
Tuileries. This man, who would have made no 
mark in history but for the martyr Queen, is cer- 
tain, thanks to her, not to be forgotten by posterity. 
Marie Antoinette was to return him in glory what 
he gave her in devotion. 

On her return to the Tuileries after the disas- 
trous journey to Varennes, the Queen wrote to 


Fersen, Jmie 27, 1791: "Be at ease about us; we 
are living," and Fersen replied: "I am well, and 
live only to serve you." June 29, she wrote him 
another letter in which she said : " Do not write to 
me; it would endanger us; and, above all, do not 
return here under any pretext ; all would be lost if 
you should make your appearance. They never lose 
sight of us by night or day; which is a matter of 
indifference to me. Be tranquil ; nothing will hap- 
pen to me. The Assembly desires to treat us with 
gentleness. Adieu. I shall not be able to write to 
you again." 

Marie Antoinette was in error when she supposed 
she would not write again. She was in error, like- 
wise, when she imagined that Fersen, in spite of 
all dangers and difficulties, would not find means to 
see her again. Their correspondence was not inter- 
rupted. After the acceptance of the Constitution, 
Marie Antoinette wrote to him: "Can you under- 
stand my position and the part I am continually 
obliged to play? Sometimes I do not understand 
myself, and am obliged to consider whether it is 
really I who am speaking ; but what is to be done ? 
It is all necessary, and be sure our position would 
be still worse than it is if I had not at once assumed 
this attitude ; we at least gain time by it, and that 
is all that is required. I keep up better than could 
be expected, seeing that I go out so little and 
endure constantly such immense fatigue of mind. 
What with the persons whom I must see, my writ- 


ing, and the time I spend with my children, I 
have not a moment to myself. The last occupation, 
which is not the least, gives me my sole happiness. 
When I am very sad, I take my little boy in my 
arms, embrace him with my whole heart, and for a 
moment am consoled." 

Fersen, touched and pitying, was constantly 
thinking of that fatal palace of the Tuileries where 
the Queen was so much to be compassionated. An 
invincible attraction drew him thither. There, he 
thought, was the post of devotion and of honor. 
November 26, he wrote : " Tell me whether there is 
any possibility of going to see you entirely alone, 
without a servant, in case I receive the order to do 
so from the King (Gustavus III.); he has already 
spoken to me of his desire to bring this about." 
Of all the sovereigns who interested themselves in 
the fate of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette, 
Gustavus was the most active, brave, and resolute; 
he was also the only one in whom Marie Antoinette 
placed absolute confidence. She expected less from 
her own brother, the Emperor Leopold, and it was 
to Stockholm above all that she turned her eyes. 
Gustavus ordered Fersen to go secretly to Paris, and 
on December 22, 1791, he sent him a memoir and 
certain letters, commissioning him to deliver them 
to Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette. He recom- 
mended, as forcibly as he could, a new attempt at 
flight, but with precautions suggested by the lesson 
of Varennes. He thought the members of the royal 


family should depart separately and in disguise, and 
that, once outside of his kingdom, Louis XVI. 
should call for the intervention of a congress. The 
following passage occurs in the letter of the Swedish 
King to Marie Antoinette : " I beg Your Majesty to 
consider seriously that violent disorders can only 
be cured by violent remedies, and that if moderation 
is a virtue in the course of ordinary life, it often 
becomes a vice when there is question of public 
matters. The King of France can re-establish his 
dominion only by resuming his former rights ; every 
other remedy is illusory ; anjiihing except this would 
merely open the way to endless discussions which 
would augment the confusion instead of ending it. 
The King's rights were torn from him by the sword; 
it is by the sword that they must be reconquered. 
But I refrain ; I should remember that I am address- 
ing a princess who, in the most terrible moments of 
her life, has shown the most intrepid courage." 

Fersen obtained permission from Louis XVI. to 
accomplish the mission confided to him by Gustavus 
III. He left Stockholm under an assumed name 
and with the passport of a Swedish courier, and 
reached Paris without accident, February 13, 1792. 
He was so adroit and prudent that no one suspected 
his presence. On the very evening of his arrival 
he wrote in his journal: "Went to the Queen by 
my usual road ; very few National Guards ; did not 
see the King." Fersen, therefore, only reappeared 
at the Tuileries in the darkness, like a fugitive or 


an outlaw. He found the Queen pale with grief 
and with hair whitened by sorrow and emotion. It 
was a solemn moment. The storm was raging 
within France and beyond it. Terrible omens, 
snares, and dangers lay on every side. One might 
have said that the Tuileries were about to be swal- 
lowed up in a gulf of fire and blood. 

The next day Fersen saw the King. He wrote 
in his journal: "Tuesday, 14. Saw the King at 
six in the evening. He will not go and can not, 
on account of the extreme vigilance. In fact, he 
scruples at it, having so often promised to remain, 
for he is an honest man. . . . He sees that force 
is the only resource ; but, being weak, he thinks it 
impossible to resume all his authority. . . . Un- 
less he were constantly encouraged, I am not sure 
he would not be tempted to negotiate with the 
rebels. He said to me afterwards: 'That's all very 
well! We are by ourselves and we can talk; but 
nobody ever found himself in my position. I know 
I missed the right moment ; it was the 14th of July ; 
we ought to have gone then, and I wanted to, but 
how could I when Monsieur himself begged me to 
stay, and Marshal de Broglie, who was in command, 
said to me: "Yes, we can go to Metz. But what 
shall we do when we get there ? " I lost the oppor- 
tunity and never found it again. I have been aban- 
doned by everybody. ' " Louis XVI. desired Fersen 
to warn the Powers that they must not be surprised 
at anything he might be forced to do ; that he was 


obliged, that it was the effect of constraint. " They 
must put me out of the question," he added, "and 
let me do what I can." 

Fersen had a long talk with Marie Antoinette the 
same day. She entered into full details aboi\t the 
present and especially about the past. She ex- 
plained why the flight to Varennes, in which Fersen 
had taken such a prominent part, and which had 
succeeded so well so long as he directed it, had 
ended in failure. The Queen described the anguish 
of the arrest and the return. To the project of a 
new effort to escape, she replied by pointing out 
the implacable surveillance of which she was the 
object, and the effervescence of popular passions, 
which this time would overleap all restraint if the 
fugitives were taken. It would be better for the 
royal family to suffer together than to expose them- 
selves to die separately. It would be better to die 
like princes, who abdicate majesty only with life, 
than as vagabonds, under a vulgar disguise. " The 
Queen," adds Fersen, "told me that she saw Alex- 
ander Lameth and Dupcrt ; that they always tell her 
that there is no remedy but foreign troojDS ; failing 
that, all is lost, that this cannot last, that they 
have gone farther than they wished to. In spite of 
all this, she thinks them malicious, does not trust 
them, but uses them as best she can. All the 
ministers are traitors who betray the King." Fersen 
had a final interview with Louis XVI. and Marie 
Antoinette on February 21, 1792. By February 24, 


he had returned to Brussels. He was profoundly 
moved on quitting the Tuileries, but, dismal and 
lugubrious as his forebodings may have been, how 
much more sombre was the reality to prove ! 

What a terrible fate was reserved for the chief 
actors in this drama! Yet a few days, and the 
chivalrous Gustavus was to be assassinated. The 
hour of execution was approaching for Louis XVI. 
and Marie Antoinette. Fersen, likewise, was to 
have a most tragic end. From the moment when 
he bade his last adieu to the unhappy Queen, his 
life was but one long torment. His disposition, 
already inclined to melancholy, became incurably 
sad. His loyal and devoted soul could not accustom 
itself to the thought of the calamities weighing so 
cruelly upon that good and beautiful sovereign of 
whom he said in 1778: "The Queen is the prettiest 
and most amiable princess that I know." On 
October 14, 1793, he will still be endeavoring, with 
the aid of Baron de Breteuil, to bring to completion 
a thousandth plot to extricate the august captive 
from her fate. He will learn the fatal tidings 
on the 20th. "I can think of nothing but my 
loss," he will write in his journal. "It is frightful 
to have no positive details. It is horrible that she 
should have been alone in her last moments, with 
no one to speak to, or to receive her last wishes. 
No; without vengeance, my heart will never be con- 
tent." Covered with honors under the reign of 
Gustavus IV., senator, chancellor of the Academy of 


Upsal, member of the Seraphim Order, grand 
marshal of the kingdom of Sweden, there will 
remain in the depths of his heart a wound which 
nothing can heal. An inveterate fatality will pur- 
sue him as it had done the unfortunate sovereign of 
whom he had been the chevalier. He will perish 
in a riot at Stockholm, June 20, 1810, at the time 
of the obsequies of the Prince Royal. Struck down 
by fists and walking-sticks, his hair pulled out, his 
clothes torn to rags, he will be dragged about half- 
naked, rolled underfoot, assassinated by a maddened 
populace. Before rendering his last sigh, he will 
succeed in rising to his knees, and, joining his 
hands, he will utter these words from the stoning 
of Saint Stephen: "O my God, who callest me to 
Thee, I implore Thee for my tormentors, whom I 
pardon." If not the same words, they are at least 
the same thoughts as those of Marie Antoinette on 
the platform of the scaffold. 



ONE after another, Marie Antoinette lost her 
last chances of safety ; blows as unforeseen as 
terrible beat down the combinations on which she 
had built her hopes. Within a fortnight she was to 
see the two sovereigns disappear from whom she had 
expected succor : her brother, the Emperor Leopold, 
and Gustavus III., the King of Sweden. Leopold 
had not been equal to all the illusions which his 
sister had cherished with regard to him, but, never- 
theless, he showed great interest in French affairs, 
and a lively desire to be useful to Louis XVI. 
Pacific by disposition, he had temporized at first, 
and adopted a conciliatory policy. He desired a 
reconciliation with the new principles, and, more- 
over, he was not blind to the inexperience and levity 
of the SmigrSs. But the obligation, to which he 
was bound by treaties, to defend the rights of princes 
holding property in Alsace, his fear of the propa- 
ganda of sedition, the aggressive language of the 
National Assembly and the Parisian press, had 
ended by determining him to take a more resolute 
attitude, and it was at the moment when he was 



seriously intending to come to his sister's aid that 
he was carried off by sudden death. Though she 
did not desire a war between Austria and France, 
the Queen had persisted in wishing for an armed 
congress, which would have been a compromise 
between peace and war, but which the National 
Assembly would have regarded as an intolerable 
humiliation. It must not be denied, the situation 
was a false one. Between the true sentiments of 
Louis XVI. and his new r61e as a constitutional 
sovereign, there was a real incompatibility. As to 
the Queen, she was on good terms neither with the 
SmigrSs nor with the Assembly. 

In order to get a just idea of the sentiments 
shown by the SmigrSs^ it is necessaiy to read a 
letter written from Treves, October 16, 1791, by 
Madame de Raigecourt, the friend of Madame Elisa- 
beth, to another friend of the Princess, the Marquise 
de Bombelles: "I see with pain that Paris and 
Coblentz are not on good terms. The Emperor 
treats the Princes like children. . . . The Princes 
cannot avoid suspecting that it is the influence of 
the Queen and her agents which thwarts their plans 
and causes the Emperor to behave so sti-angely. . . . 
Some trickery on the part of the Tuileries is still 
suspected in this country. They ought to explain 
themselves to each other once for all. Is the Queen 
afraid lest the Count d'Artois should arrogate an 
authority in the realm which would diminish her 
own? Let her be at ease on that score: she will 


always be the King's wife and always dominant. 
What is she afraid of, then? She complains that 
she is not sufficiently respected. But you know the 
good heart and the uprightness of our Prince ; he is 
incapable of the remarks attributed to him, and 
which have certainly been reported to the Queen 
with the intention of estranging them entirely." 
Madame de Raigecourt ends her letter with this 
complaint against Louis XVI. : " Our wretched 
King lowers himself more and more every day; for 
he is doing too much, even if he still intends to 
escape. . . . The emigration, meanwhile, increases 
daily, and presently there will be more Frenchmen 
than Germans in this region." At this very time, 
the Queen was having recourse to her brother Leo- 
pold as to a saviour. She wrote to him, October 
4, 1791: "My only consolation is in writing to 
you, my dear brother; I am surrounded by so 
many atrocities that I need all your friendship to 
tranquillize my mind. ... A point of primary 
importance is to regulate the conduct of the SmigrSs. 
If they re-enter France in arms, all is lost, and it 
will be impossible to make it believed that we are 
not in connivance with them. Even the existence 
of an army of SmigrSs on the frontier would be 
enough to keep up the irritation and afford ground 
for accusations against us ; it appears to me that a 
congress would make the task of restraining them 
less difficult. . . . This idea of a congress pleases 
me greatly; it would second the efforts we are mak- 


ing to maintain confidence. In the first place, I 
repeat, it would put a check on the SmigrSs^ and, 
moreover, it would make an impression here from 
which I hope much. I submit that to your better 
judgment. . . . Adieu, my dear brother; we love 
you, and my daughter has particularly charged me 
to embrace her good uncle." 

"While Marie Antoinette was thus turning towards 
Austria for assistance, the National Assembly at 
Paris repelled with energy all thought of any 
intervention whatsoever on the part of foreign 
powers. January 1, 1792, it issued a decree of 
impeachment against the King's brothers, the Prince 
de Conde, and Calonne. The confiscation of the 
property of the SmigrSs and the taxation of their 
revenues for the benefit of the State had been pre- 
scribed by another decree to which Louis XVI. had 
offered no opposition. January 14, Guadet said in 
the tribune, while speaking of the congress : " If it 
is true that by delays and discouragement they 
wish to bring us to accept this shameful mediation, 
ought the National Assembly to close its eyes to 
such a danger? Let us all swear to die here rather 
than — " He was not allowed to finish. The whole 
assembly rose to their feet, crying: "Yes, yes; we 
swear it!" And in a burst of enthusiasm, every 
Frenchman who would take part in a congress 
having for its object the modification of the Consti- 
tution, was declared an infamous traitor. January 
17, it was decreed that the King should require the 


Emperor Leopold to explain himself definitely before 
March 1. 

By a curious coincidence, this date of March 1 
was precisely that on which the Emperor Leopold 
was to die of a dreadful malady. He was in perfect 
health on February 27, when he gave audience to 
the Turkish envoy; he was in his agony, February 
28, and on March 1, he died. His usual physician 
asserted that he had been poisoned. The idea that a 
crime had been committed spread among the people. 
Vague rumors got about concerning a woman who 
had caused remark at the last masked ball at court. 
This unknown person, under shelter of her disguise, 
might have presented the sovereign with poisoned 
bonbons. The Jacobins, who might have desired to 
get rid of the armed chief of the empire, and the 
^migrSs, who might have reproached him as too luke- 
warm in his opposition to the principles of the French 
Revolution, were alternately suspected. The last 
hypothesis was hardly probable, nor does anything 
prove that the Jacobins had any hand in the possibly 
natural death of the Emperor Leopold. But minds 
were so overexcited at the time that the parties 
mutually accused each other, on all occasions, of the 
most execrable crimes. For that matter, there were 
Jacobins who, out of mere bravado, would willingly 
have gloried in crimes of which they were not 
guilty, provided that these crimes had been com- 
mitted against kings. 

What is certain is, that Marie Antoinette believed 


in poison. "The death of the Emperor Leopold," 
says Madame Campan, "occurred on March 1, 1792. 
The Queen was out when the news arrived at the 
Tuileries. On her return, I gave her the letter 
announcing it. She cried out that the Emperor had 
been poisoned; that she had remarked and preserved 
a gazette in which, in an article on the session of 
the Jacobin Club at the time when Leopold had 
declared for the Coalition, it was said, in speakii^g 
of him, that a bit of pieci*ust could settle that affair. 
From that moment the Queen had regarded this 
phrase as an inadvertence of the propagandists." 

On the very day when Marie Antoinette's brother 
died, Louis XVI. 's Minister of Foreign Affairs, De 
Lessart, had enraged the National Assembly by 
reading them extracts from his diplomatic coitc- 
spondence, which they found not sufficiently firm. 
They were indignant at a despatch in which Prince 
de Kaunitz said: "The latest events give us hopes; 
it appears that the majority of the French nation, 
impressed with the evils they have prepared, are 
returning to more moderate principles, and incline 
to render to the throne the dignity and authority 
which are the essence of monarchical government." 
When De Lessart came down from the tribune, the 
whispering changed into cries of rage and threats 
against the minister and the court, which, it was 
said, was planning a counter-revolution at the Tui- 
leries, and dictating to the cabinet of Vienna the 
language by which it hoped to intimidate France. 


At the evening session of the same day, Rouyer, a 
deputy, proposed to impeach the Minister of Foreign 
Affairs. "Is it possible," cried he, "that a perfidi- 
ous minister should come here to make a parade of 
his work and lay the responsibility of it on a foreign 
power? Will the time never arrive when ministers 
shall cease to betray us ? Were my head to be the 
price of the denunciation I am making, I would 
none the less go on with it." At the session of 
March 6, Guadet said : " It is time to know whether 
the ministers wish to make Louis XVI. King of the 
French, or the King of Coblentz." 

On the 10th the storm broke. The day before, 
Narbonne had received his dismission. Brissot 
accused De Lessart of having compromised the safety 
of France, withheld from the Assembly the docu- 
ments establishing the alliance between the Emperor 
and the King of Prussia, discredited the assignats, 
depreciated the credit, lowered the rate of exchange, 
and encouraged interior disorder. Vergniaud fol- 
lowed him, exclaiming: "From the tribune where 
I am speaking may be seen the palace where per- 
verse counsellors lead astray and deceive the King 
given to you by the Constitution ; where they forge 
chains for the nation, and arrange the manoeuvres 
which are to deliver us up to Austria, after having 
caused us to pass through the horrors of civil war. 
Terror and dismay have often issued from that 
famous palace. Let them re-enter it to-day in the 
name of the law, let them penetrate all hearts, and 


teach all who dwell there, that our Constitution 
accords inviolability to the King alone. Let them 
know that the law will overtake all the guilty with- 
out exception, and that there will not be a single 
head convicted of crime which can escape its sword." 
The decree of impeachment against the ministers 
was voted by a very large majority. De Lessart 
was advised to take flight, but he refused. " I owe 
it to my country," said he, "I owe it to my King 
and to myself to make my innocence and the regu- 
larity of my conduct plain before the tribunal of the 
high court, and I have decided to give myself up 
at Orleans." He was conducted by gendarmes to 
that city, where he was imprisoned. Louis XVI. 
dared not do anything to save his favorite minister. 
On March 11, Potion, the mayor of Paris, came to 
the bar of the Assembly, and read, in the name of 
the Commune, an address in which it was said: 
"When the atmosphere surrounding us is heavy 
with noisome vapors. Nature can relieve herself only 
by a thunder-storm. So, too, society can purge 
itself from the abuses which disturb it only by a 
formidable explosion. ... It is true, then, that 
responsibility is not an idle word; that all men, 
whatever may be their stations, are equal before the 
law; that the sword of justice is poised over all 
heads without distinction." Was not this language 
like a prognostic of the 21st of January and the 16th 
of October? Encompassed by a thousand snares, 
hated by each of the extreme parties, by the 


SmigrSs as well as by the Jacobins, Marie Antoi- 
nette no longer beheld anything but aspects of sor- 
row. Abroad, as in France, her gaze fell on dismal 
spectacles only. Her imagination was affected. She 
hardly dared taste the dishes served at her table. 
All had conspired to betray her. She had experi- 
enced so many deceptions and so much anguish; 
fate had pursued her with so much bitterness, that 
her heart, exhausted with emotions, and over- 
whelmed with sadness, was weary of all things, 
even of hope. 



THE drama of the Revolution is not French 
alone ; it is European. It has its afterclap in 
every empire, in every kingdom, even to the most 
distant lands. It excites minds in Stockholm almost 
as much as in Paris. Among the Swedes there are 
people whose greatest desire would be to parody the 
October Days, and to carry about on pikes the bleed- 
ing heads of their adversaries. The new ideas take 
fire and spread like a train of gunpowder. It is the 
fashion to go to extremes; a nameless frenzy and 
fatality seem let loose upon this epoch of agitations 
and catastrophes. All those who, at one time or 
another, have been guests at the palace of Ver- 
sailles, are condemned, as by a mysterious sentence, 
either to exile or to death. 

How will terminate the career of that brilliant 
King of Sweden, who had received from Versailles 
and from Paris, from the court and from the city, 
such an enthusiastic reception? Gustavus, the idol 
of the great lords, the philosophers, and the fashion- 
able beauties, who, after being the hero of the 
encyclopsedists, came to hold his court at Aix-la- 


Chapelle amid the French ^migrSs, and who, on his 
return to Stockholm, prepared there the great cru- 
sade for authority, announcing himself as the 
avenger of divine right, the saviour of all thrones ? 
The last days of his life, his presentiments, which 
recall those of Caesar, his superstitions, his belief 
in prophecies, his magic incantations, that warning 
which he scorns, as the Duke de Guise did at the 
castle of Blois, that masked ball where the costumes, 
the music, the flowers, the lights, offer a painfully 
strange contrast to the horror of the attack; all is 
sinister, lugubrious, in these fantastic and fatal 
scenes which have already tempted more than one 
dramatist, more than one musician, and whose 
phases a Shakespeare only could retrace. The 
crime of Stockholm is linked closely to the death- 
struggle of French royalty. The funeral knell 
which tolled at this extremity of the North had 
echoes in Paris. The Swedish regicides set the 
example to the regicides of France. 

M. Geffroy has remarked very justly in his work, 
Crustave III. et la cour de France, that the bloody 
deed which put an end to the reign and the life of 
Gustavus is not an isolated fact: "The faults com- 
mitted by this Prince would not have sufficed to 
arm his assassins. The true source whence Ankar- 
stroem and his accomplices drew their first inspira- 
tion was that vertigo caused during the last years of 
the century by the annihilation of all religious and 
even all philosophical faith. . . . No moment of 


modem history has presented an intellectual and 
moral anarchy comparable to that which accompanied 
the revolutionary period in Europe." 

The eighteenth century was punished for incre- 
dulity by superstition. Having refused to believe 
the most holy truths, it lent credence to the most 
fantastic chimeras. For priests it substituted sor- 
cerers; for Christian ceremonies, the rites of free- 
masonry. The time was coming when, because it 
had rejected the Sacred Heart of Jesus, it was going 
to bow before the sacred heart of Marat. The adepts 
of Mesmer and of De Puysegur, the seekers after the 
philosopher's stone, the Nicolaites of Berlin, the 
illuminati of Bavaria, enlarged the boundaries of 
human credulity, and the men who succumbed in 
the most naive and foolish manner to these wretched 
weaknesses of mind, were precisely the haughtiest 
philosophers, those who had prided themselves the 
most on their distinction as free-thinkers. Such a 
one was Gustavus III. 

This Voltairean Prince, who had held the Chris- 
tian verities so cheap, was superstitious even to 
puerility. He did not believe in the Gospels, but 
he believed in books of magic. In a corner of his 
palace he had arranged a cupboard with a censer and 
a pair of candlesticks, before which he performed 
cabalistic operations in nothing but his shirt. 
Throughout his entire reign he consulted a fortune- 
teller named Madame Arfwedsson, who read the fut- 
ure for him in coffee-grounds. Around his neck 


he wore a gold box containing a sachet in which 
there was a powder that, according to his belief, 
would drive away evil spirits. All this apparatus 
of incantation and sorcery was one of the causes of 
Gustavus's fall. It multiplied the snares around 
the unfortunate monarch, and served to mask his 
enemies. Prophecies announced his approaching 
end, and conspirators took care to fulfil the proph- 

The Duke of Sudermania, the King's brother, 
without being an accomplice in the project of crime, 
encouraged underhand practices. Sectarians ap- 
proached Gustavus to reproach him for his luxury, 
his prodigalities, his entertainments, or addressed 
him anonymous warnings which, in Biblical lan- 
guage, declared him accursed and rejected by the 
Lord. Their insolence knew no bounds. Madame 
Arfwedsson had counselled the King to beware if 
he should meet a man dressed in red. Count de 
Ribbing, one of the future conspirators, having 
heard of this, ordered a red costume out of bravado, 
and presented himself in it before his sovereign, 
whom such an apparition caused to reflect if not to 

Gustavus, like Caesar, was to see his Ides of 
March. It had been predicted to him that the 
month of March would be fatal to him. This month 
approached, and the monarch diverted himself by 
f^tes and boisterous entertainments in order to 
banish the presentiments which never ceased to assail 


him. He said to himself that all this phantas- 
magoria would probably soon vanish; that the fu- 
nereal images would of themselves depart ; and that 
the spectres would disappear at the sound of arms. 
The monarchical crusade of which he proposed to be 
the leader grew upon him as the best means by 
which to escape the incessant obsessions haunting 
his spirit. In vain was he reminded that Sweden 
was in need of money, and that a war of interven- 
tion in the affairs of France was not popular. His 
resolution remained unshaken. He counted the 
days and hours which still separated him from the 
moment of action: his sole idea was to chastise 
the Jacobins and avenge the majesty of thrones. 

Returned to Stockholm from Aix-la-Chapelle, at 
the beginning of August, 1791, the impetuous mon- 
arch began to be very active in his warlike prepara- 
tions. The Marquis de Bouill^, who had been 
obliged to quit France at the time of the unsuccess- 
ful journey to Varennes, had entered his service and 
was to counsel him and fight at his side under the 
Swedish flag. At the same time Gustavus officially 
renewed his promises of aid to the King of France. 
Louis XVI. replied : — 

"Monsieur my Brother and Cousin: I have 
just received the lines with which you have honored 
me on the occasion of your return. It is always a 
great consolation to have such proofs of a friendly 
sentiment as are given me by this letter. The 
concern. Sire, which you take in all that relates to 


my interest touches me more and more, and I recog- 
nize in each word the august soul of a king whom 
the world admires as much for his magnanimous 
heart as for his wisdom. ' ' 

Meanwhile the conspirators, animated either by- 
personal rancor or the passions common to nobles 
hostile to their king, were secretly preparing for an 
attack. The five leaders were Captain Ankarstroem, 
Count de Ribbing, Count de Horn, Count de Lilien- 
horn, major of the Blue Guards, and Baron Pechlin, 
an old man of seventy-two, who had been distin- 
guished in the civil wars, and was the soul of the 
plot. The conspirators had doubts before commit- 
ting the crime. During the Diet, which met at 
Gefle, January 25, 1792, they refrained at the very 
moment when they were about to strike. 

Gustavus was in his castle of Haga, about a league 
from Stockholm, without guards or attendants. 
Three of the conspirators approached the castle at 
five in the evening. They were armed with car- 
bines, and, having placed themselves in ambush 
near the King's apartment on the ground-floor, were 
awaiting an opportunity to kill their sovereign. 
Gustavus coming in from a long walk, went in his 
dressing-gown to sit in the library, the windows 
of which opened like doors into the garden. He 
fell asleep in his armchair. Whether they were 
alarmed by the sound of footsteps, or whether the 
contrast between the slumber of the unsuspicious 
King and the death poising above his head awakened 


some remorse, the assassins once more abandoned 
their meditated crime. 

Weary of the attempts they had been planning 
for six months, and which never came to anything, 
the conspirators might possibly have given them up 
altogether if a circumstance which they considered 
providential had not come to rekindle their regicidal 
zeal. The last masked ball of the season was to be 
given in the Opera-house on the night of March 
16-17, and it was known that Gustavus would be 
present. To strike the monarch in the midst of the 
festival, in order to chastise him for his love of 
pleasure, was an idea which charmed the assassins. 
Moreover, the mask alone could embolden them; 
they thought that if the august victim were envel- 
oped in a domino they need no longer dread that 
royal prestige which had more than onoe caused 
them to recoil. 

Gustavus was counselled to be on his guard. The 
young Count Louis de Bouill^, who was then at 
Stockholm, and who had been informed by a letter 
from Germany that the King was about to be assas- 
sinated, begged him to profit by the warnings reach- 
ing him from every quarter. Gustavus replied that 
he would rather go blindly to meet his fate than 
torment himself with the numberless precautions 
which such suspicions would demand. "If I lis- 
tened," added he, "to all the advice I receive, I 
could not even drink a glass of water ; besides, I am 
far from believing in the execution of such a plot. 


My subjects, although very brave in war, are ex- 
tremely timid in politics. The successes I expect 
to gain in France, the trophies of which I shall bring 
back to Stockholm, will speedily augment my power 
by the confidence and general respect which will be 
their result." 

Meantime the fatal hour was approaching. The 
masked ball of March 16 was about to open. Before 
going there, Gustavus toak supper with a few of the 
persons belonging to his household. While he was 
at table he received a note, written in French and 
unsigned, in which he was entreated not to enter 
the playhouse, where he was about to be stricken to 
death. The author of the note urgently recom- 
mended the King not to make his appearance at the 
ball, and, if he persisted in going, to suspect the 
crowd which would press around him, because this 
gathering was to be the prelude and signal of the 
blow aimed at him. The really bizarre thing about 
this was that the man who wrote these lines was 
himself one of the conspirators, Count de Lilien- 

"It is impossible to tell," says the Marquis de 
Bouill^ in his Memoirs, "whether his conscience 
wished to acquit itself in this manner towards the 
King, to whom he owed everything, without forfeit- 
ing his word to his party, or whether, knowing the 
fearless character of this prince, he did not offer his 
anonymous advice as a bait to his courage. It cer- 
tainly produced the latter effect." Gustavus made no 


reflections on reading this note, and went fearlessly 
to the ball. 

The orchestra is playing wildly. The dances are 
animated. The hall, adorned with flowers, sparkles 
under the glow of the chandeliers. Gustavus appears 
for a moment in his box. It is only then that he 
shows to Baron d'Essen, his first equerry, the anony- 
mous note he had received while at supper. That 
faithful servant begs him not to go down into, the 
hall. Gustavus disregards the prudent counsel. He 
says that hereafter he will wear a coat of mail, but 
that, for this time, he is perfectly determined to be 
reckless about danger. The King and his equerry 
go into the saloon in front of the royal box, where 
each puts on a domino. Then they enter the hall 
by way of the stage. There are men essentially 
courageous, who love danger for its own sake. Gus- 
tavus is one of them. Hence he takes pleasure in 
braving all his assassins. As he is crossing the 
greenroom with Baron d'Essen on his arm, " Let us 
see," says he, " whether they will really dare to kill 
me." Yes, they will dare it. The moment that the 
King enters he is recognized in spite of his mask and 
his domino. He walks slowly around the hall, and 
then goes into the pit, where he strolls about during 
several minutes. He is about to retrace his steps, 
when he finds himself surrounded, as had been pre- 
dicted, by a group of maskers who get between him 
and the officers of his suite. Several black dominos 
approach. They are the assassins. One of them, 


Count de Horn, lays a hand on Ms shoulder : " Good 
day, fine masker ! " he says. This Judas salute, 
this ironical welcome given by the murderers to 
their victim, is the signal for the attack. On the 
instant, Ankarstroem fires on the King with a pistol 
loaded with old iron. 

Gustavus, struck in the left hip, cries, "I am 
wounded ! " The pistol, which had been wrapped 
in wool, made only a muffled report, and the smoke 
spreading throughout the room, the crowd does not 
think of a murder, but a fire. Cries of " Fire ! fire ! " 
augment the confusion. Baron d'Essen, all covered 
with his master's blood, helps him to gain a little box 
called the (Eil-de-Boeuf, and from there a salon, 
where he is laid upon a sofa. Baron d'Armfelt 
orders the doors of the theatre to be closed, and every 
one to unmask. A man, brazening it out, lifts his 
mask before the officer of police, and says to him 
with assurance, "As for me, sir, I hope that you 
will not suspect me.'* It is Ankarstroem, the assas- 
sin. He goes out quietly. But, after the crime was 
committed, his weapons, a pistol and a knife like 
that of Ravaillac, had fallen on the floor. A gun- 
smith of Stockholm will recognize the pistol and 
declare that he had sold it a few days before to a 
former officer of the guards, Captain Ankarstroem. 
It is the token which will cause the arrest of the 
assassin, and his punishment by the penalty of par- 
ricides, — decapitation and the cutting off of his 
right hand. 


The King showed admirable calm and resignation 
during the thirteen days he had still to live. He 
asked with anxiety if the murderer had been arrested, 
and being answered that his name was not yet 
known: "Ah! God grant," said he, "that he may 
not be discovered ! " As soon as the first bandages 
were put on, the wounded man was taken to his 
apartments at the castle. There he received his cour- 
tiers and the foreign ministers. When he saw the 
Duke d'Escars, who represented the brothers of Louis 
XVI. at Stockholm : " This is a blow," said he, 
" which is going to rejoice your Parisian Jacobins ; 
but write to the Princes that if I recover from it, it 
will change neither my sentiments nor my zeal for 
their just cause." In the midst of his sufferings he 
preserved a dignity above all praise. Neither recrim- 
inations nor murmurs issued from his lips. He sum- 
moned to his death-bed both his friends and those who 
had been among the number of his enemies, but 
would have been horrified to have been accomplices 
in a crime. When the old Count de Brah6, leader 
of the nobles of the opposition, presented himself, 
Gustavus said, as he pressed him in his arms: "I 
bless my wound, since it has brought back an old 
friend who had withdrawn from me. Embrace me, 
my dear count, and let all be forgotten between us." 

The fate of his son, who was about to ascend the 
throne at the age of thirteen, was the chief preoccu- 
pation of the King. " Let them put me on a litter," 
cried he ; "I will go to the public square and speak to 


the people." And he said to Baron d'Armfelt: " Go, 
and like another Antony, show the bloody vestments 
of Caesar." It was also to D'Armfelt that he said as 
he was signing with his dying hand his commission 
as Governor of Stockholm : " Give me your knightly 
word that you will serve my son as faithfully as you 
have served me." He made his confession to his 
grand-almoner : "I fear," he said to him, "that I have 
no great merit before God, but at least I am sure that 
I have never done harm to any one intentionally." 
He meant to receive the sacraments according to the 
Lutheran form, and to have the Queen brought to 
him, as he had not seen her since his illness. But 
while seeking sleep in order to tranquillize his mind 
before this emotion, he found the slumber of death, 
March 29, 1792, at eleven in the morning. He 
was forty-six years old. 

Thus terminated the brilliant and stormy career of 
the prince on whom the Marquis de Bouill^ has pro- 
nounced the following judgment : " His manners and 
his politeness rendered him the most amiable and at- 
tractive man in his country, although the Swedes are 
naturally intelligent. He had a vivid imagination, a 
mind enlightened and adorned by a taste for letters, 
a masculine and persuasive eloquence, and an easy 
elocution even when speaking French; useful and 
agreeable acquirements, a prodigious memory, polite 
and affable manners, accompanied by a certain oddity 
which did not displease. His strong and ardent soul 
was enkindled with an inordinate love of glory ; but a 


chivalrous spirit and loyalty dominated there. His 
sensitive heart rendered him clement, when he ought, 
perhaps, to have been severe ; he was even susceptible 
of friendship, and this prince has had and has preserved 
friends whom I have known, and who were worthy 
to be such. He had a firm and decided character, 
and, above all, that resolution so necessary to states- 
men, without which wit, prudence, talents, experi- 
ence, are not only useless, but often injurious." 

According to the Marquis de Bouill^, Gustavus 
should have been the King of France, and Louis 
XVI. King of Sweden. "As the sovereign of France, 
Gustavus would have been, beyond all doubt, one of 
its greatest kings. He would have preserved that 
beautiful realm from a revolution ; he would have 
governed with glory and with splendor. . . . Louis 
XVI., on the other hand, placed on the throne of 
Sweden, would have obtained the respect and esteem 
of that simple people by his moral and religious vir- 
tues, his economy, his spirit of justice, and his good 
and benevolent sentiments. He would have contrib- 
uted to the happiness of the Swedes, who would have 
wept above his tomb ; whereas both these monarchs 
perished at the hands of their subjects. But the 
designs of Providence are impenetrable, and we 
ought, in respect and silence, to obey its unalterable 

The Jacobins of Paris, who affected to despise the 
projects of Gustavus III., showed how much they 
had feared him by the mad joy they displayed on 


learning of his death. They lavished praises on 
" Brutus Ankarstroem." Although it had been com- 
mitted by the nobles, there was a certain reminiscence 
of the French Revolution about the assault. In their 
secret meetings the conspirators had agreed to carry 
around on pikes the heads of Gustavus's principal 
friends, " in the French style," as was said in those 
days. Count de Lilienhorn, brought up, nourished, 
and drawn from poverty and obscurity by Gustavus, 
and overwhelmed to the last moment by the benefits 
of the generous monarch, explained his monstrous 
ingratitude and the part he had taken in the attack, 
by saying he had been led astray by the idea of com- 
manding the National Guards of Stockholm after the 
Revolution, and playing the same part as Lafayette. 
The Girondin ministry attained to power in France 
a few days after Gustavus had been struck down in 
Sweden. There was no connecting link between the 
two facts ; but at Paris, as at Stockholm, the cause of 
kings sustained a terrible repulse. The tragic death 
of their faithful friend must have caused Louis XVI. 
and Marie Antoinette some painful forebodings con- 
cerning their own fate. The murder of Gustavus was 
the first of a series of great catastrophes. The pistol 
of the Swedish regicide heralded the blade of the 
Parisian guillotine. The 16th of March was the 
prelude of the 21st of January. 



THE moment is at hand when a woman of the 
middle class, born in humble circumstances, is 
about to make her appearance on the scene of politics ; 
a woman who, after living in obscurity during thirty- 
eight years, was to become famous in a few days, and 
attract the attention of all France first and after- 
wards that of Europe entire. No figure is more curi- 
ous to study than hers, and it is not surprising that 
of late years it has tempted men of great merit, such 
as MM. Daubant and Faug^re, whose publications 
have shed great light on the Egeria of the Girondins. 
At every epoch of history there are certain women 
who become as it were living symbols, and sum up 
in their own persons the passions, prejudices, and 
illusions of their time. They reflect at once its 
vices and its virtues, its qualities and its defects. 
Such was Madame Roland. All the distinctive char- 
acteristics of the close of the eighteenth century are 
resumed in her : ardent enthusiasm, generous ideals, 
aspiration towards progress, passion for liberty, heroic 
courage in view of persecution, captivity, and death ; 
an absence of religious faith, an implacable vanity, a 


thirst for emotions, plagiarism of antiquity, declama- 
tory language and sentiments, and childish imitation 
of Greece and Rome, Nothing is more interesting 
than to analyze the conceptions of this mind, count 
the pulsations of this heart, and surprise the inmost 
secrets of a woman whose psychological importance is 
as considerable as her place in history. Intellectually 
as well as morally, Madame Roland is the daughter 
of Jean-Jacques Rousseau; socially she is the per- 
sonification of that third estate which, having been 
nothing, wished at first to be something and after- 
wards to be all ; politically, she is by turns the heroine 
and the victim of the Revolution, which, under pre- 
text of liberty, engendered tyranny, which used the 
guillotine and perished by the guillotine, and which 
after dreaming of light expired in mire and blood. 

How was it that this little bourgeoises the daughter 
of Philipon the engraver, a man midway between an 
artisan and an artist, whose very origin seemed to re- 
move her so far from any political r61e, attained to high 
renown? What influences formed this woman whose 
qualities were masculine ? Whence was drawn the 
inspiration of this siren, destined to be taken in her 
own snares and die the victim of her own incanta- 
tions ? A rapid glance at the earliest years of Marie- 
Jeanne Philipon, the future Madame Roland, is 
enough to explain her passions and her hopes, her 
errors and her talents, her rages and her enthusiasms. 

She was born in Paris, March 18, 1754, of an intel- 
ligent but frivolous father, and a simple, devoted, 


honestly commonplace mother. From infancy she 
felt herself superior to those by whom she was sur- 
rounded. Thence sprang an unmeasured pride and 
a continual hunger to produce an impression. The 
infant prodigy preluded the female politician. Speak- 
ing of herself in her Memoirs, she becomes ecstatic 
over the child who "read serious works, explained 
very well the circles of the celestial globe, used cray- 
ons and the burin, found at eight years that she was 
the best dancer in an assembly of young persons 
older than herself," and who, nevertheless, "was 
often summoned to the kitchen to make an omelette, 
clean the vegetables, or skim the pot." She admires 
her own willingness to descend to domestic cares : 
" I was never out of my element," she says ; " I could 
make soup as skilfully as Philopoemen could chop 
wood ; but no one, observing me, could imagine that 
'<' this was suitable employment." Still speaking of 
herself, she celebrates "the little person who on Sun- 
days went to church or out walking in a spick-and- 
span costume whose appearance was fully sustained 
by her demeanor and her language." She calls at- 
tention to the contrast by which, on week-days, the 
same child went out alone, in a little cloth frock, to 
buy parsley and salad at a short distance from home. 
" It must be owned," she adds, " that I did not like 
this very well ; but I did not show it, and I had the 
art of doing my errands in such a way as to find some 
pleasure in it. I united such great politeness to a 
certain dignity, that the fruit-seller or other person 


of the sort, took pleasure in serving me first, and 
even those who came before me thought this proper." 
So the little Philipon wanted to take the chief 
place in the fruiterer's shop, just as, later on, she 
desired it on the political stage or the Ministry of 
the Interior. This enemy of privileges will admit 
them only for herself. In everything she made pre- 
tentions : pretentions to elegance, beauty, distinction, 
talent, knowledge, eloquence, genius, and, when she 
wanted to be simple, to simplicity. In her style as 
in her conversation, in her public as in her private 
life, what she sought before all things was effect. It 
was absolutely essential that people should talk about 
her, that she should be playing a part, or standing on 
a pedestal. Assuredly, if she had a fault, it was not 
excess of modesty. She regarded herself as the flower 
of her sex, a superior woman, made to be loved, flat- 
tered, and adored. She speaks of her charms with the 
precision of a doctor and the enthusiasm of a poet. 
Not one of her perfections escapes her. It is through 
a magnifying-glass and before a mirror that she stud- 
ies and admires herself. She discovers that a society 
in which a woman so remarkable and so attractive 
is not thoroughly well known, must be badly or- 
ganized. Middle-class by birth, and aristocratic by 
instinct, she represents what one might then have 
called the new social strata. A secret voice told 
her that the day was to come when she would make 
herself feared by the powerful of the earth, those 
giants with feet of clay who, at the beginning of her 


career, were still looked at kneeling. Banished by 
fate from the theatre where the human tragi-comedy 
is played, she said to herself: "I too will have a 
part one of these days." In the earliest stage of her 
existence there was in her a confused medley of 
uneasiness and ambition, of spite and anger. She 
had a horror of the slightly disdainful protection of 
people of quality. She conceived an aversion for 
persons like that Demoiselle d'Hannaches, "big, 
awkward, dry, and yellow," infatuated with her 
nobility, annoying everybody with her titles, and 
yet, in spite of her ignorance, her stiff manners, her 
old-fashioned dress and her follies, well received 
everywhere on account of her birth. 

Slowly, but steadily, the future amazon of the 
Revolution prepared herself for the combat. The 
books which she read and re-read incessantly were 
the arsenal whence she drew her weapons. One of 
those presentiments which do not deceive, promised 
her a stormy but illustrious destiny. More Roman 
than French, more pagan than Christian, she longed 
for glory like that of the heroines of Plutarch, her 
favorite author. In the humble dwelling of her 
father, situated at the corner of ' the Pont-Neuf and 
the Quai des Orf^vres, she caught a glimpse of hori- 
zons as wide as her thoughts. " From the upper part 
of our house," she says, "a great expanse offered 
itself to my dreamy and romantic imagination. How 
often from my north window have I contemplated 
with emotion the deserts of the sky, its superb azure 


vault splendidly outlined from the bluish dawn far 
behind the Pont du Change, to the sunset gilded 
with a faint purplish lustre behind the trees of the 
Champs Elys^es and the houses of Chaillot." 

Irritated with the obscurity to which she was con- 
demned by fate, there was but one resource which 
could have consoled her for the social inequalities 
which bruised her vanity and her pride. That 
resource would have been religion. Nothing but an 
ideal of humility could have appeased the interior 
revolts of this soul of fire. To such a woman, what 
is lacking is heaven. Earth, no matter what hap- 
pens, can give her nothing but deceptions. The only 
moment of her life when she felt herself really happy 
was that when she enjoyed the supreme good, peace 
of heart. Of all parts of her Memoirs, the most pure 
and touching are those sh^^^d evo tes to her recol- 
lections of the convent. One might think that the 
author of MoUd Had remembered them when he 
described in such penetrating terms the mystic 
poetry of the cloister, and the regrets often engen- 
dered by the loss of faith in the minds and hearts of 
people who have become unbelievers. 

The little Philipon, being in her twelfth year, 
asked to be sent to a convent, in order to prepare 
better for her first communion. She was placed with 
the Ladies of the Congregation, rue Neuve-Saint- 
Etienne, in the Faubourg Saint-Marcel, near Sainte- 
P^lagie, her future prison : " How I pressed my 
dear mamma in my arms at the moment of parting 


from her for the first time ! I was stifled, over- 
whelmed ; but I obeyed the voice of God, and 
crossed the threshold of the cloister, offering Him 
with tears the greatest sacrifice that I could make. 
The first night I spent at the convent was agitated : 
I was no longer under the paternal roof. I felt that 
I was far from that good mother who was surely 
thinking of me with tenderness. There was a feeble 
light in the room where I had been put to bed, with 
four other children of my own age ; I rose quietly 
and went to the window. The moonlight permitted 
me to see the garden upon which it looked. The 
most profound silence reigned; I listened to it, so to 
say, with a sort of respect; great trees cast their 
gigantic shadows here and there, and promised a safe 
refuge for tranquil meditation. I lifted my eyes to 
the pure and serene sky, and thought I felt the pres- 
ence of the Divinity, who smiled at my sacrifice and 
already offered me its recompense in the peace of a 
celestial abode. Delicious tears flowed slowly down 
my cheeks ; I reiterated my vows with a holy trans- 
port, and I enjoyed the slumber of the elect." 

As if in these silent cloisters, which she crossed 
slowly so as to enjoy their solitude more fully, she 
had a presentiment of the storms in her destiny and 
her heart, she sometimes stopped beside a tomb 
on which was engraven the eulogy of a holy maiden. 
" She is happy ! " she said to herself with a sigh. 
While she was in prison she remembered with emo- 
tion a novice's taking the veil : " I experience yet the 


thrill caused by her faintly tremulous voice when she 
chanted melodiously the customary versicle : ' Elegi: 
Here I have chosen my abode, and I will not depart 
from it forever.' I have not forgotten the notes of 
this little air ; I can repeat them as exactly as if I 
had heard them yesterday." 

Unhappily, religious ideas were soon to undergo a 
change in the mind of the future Madame Roland. 
Returning to the paternal dwelling, she was badly 
brought up there ; her mother let her read every- 
thing, even Candide. Voltaire, Helv^tius, Diderot, 
had no secrets for this young girl. Extreme disorder 
and confusion in mind and heart were the result. 
When she had the misfortune to lose her mother at 
the age of twenty-one, the book in which she sought 
consolation was the Nouvelle HSloise. Jean-Jacques 
became her god. " It seems," she says, " as if he were 
my natural aliment and the interpreter of the senti- 
ment I had already, and which he alone knew how to 
explain to me. . . . To have the whole of Jean- 
Jacques," she says again, "to be able to consult him 
incessantly, to enlighten and elevate one's self with 
him at all times of life, is a felicity which can only 
be tasted by adoring him as I did." Such reading 
robbed her of faith. It made her a free-thinker 
and a bluestocking. It inspired her with an un- 
healthy ambition, sullied her imagination, and troubled 
the peace of her heart. It deprived her of that moral 
delicacy, lacking which, even virtue itself loses its 
charms. She was no longer anything but a young 


girl, well-conducted but not pure, honest but shame- 

Was not a day coming when, a prisoner and on the 
point of getting into the fatal cart, she would throw 
off the terrible anxieties of her situation in order to 
imitate the impurities of the Confessions of Jean- 
Jacques, and retrace indecent details with compla- 
cency ? Do not seek in her that flower of innocence 
which is the young girl's grace. The charming puri- 
tan does not commit great faults, but she has 
astonishing licenses of thought and speech. For 
her, Louvet's Fauhlas is "one of those charming 
romances known to persons of taste, in which the 
graces of imagination ally themselves to the tone of 
philosophy." Is not this woman, who begins her life 
like a saint and ends it as a pupil of Voltaire and 
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the symbol of that troubled 
eighteenth century which opened in fidelity to relig- 
ious faith and closed in the depths of the abyss of 
incredulity ? The ravages caused by bad reading in 
the soul of this young girl explain the catastrophes of 
the entire century. 

From the time when she replaced the Gospels by 
the Contrat Social and the Imitation of Jesus Christ 
by the Nouvelle HSloise^ there was no longer any- 
thing simple or natural remaining in the young 
philosopher. All her thoughts and actions became 
declamatory. There was something theatrical in her 
attitudes and gestures, and even in the sound of her 
voice. Her speech was rhythmical, cadenced, marked 


by a special accent. Even her private letters often 
resemble the amplifications of rhetoric rather than 
the effusions of friendship. One might say that their 
author had a presentiment that they would be printed. 
She wrote to Mademoiselle Sophie Cannet, January 
3, 1776 : " In any case, burn nothing. Though my 
letters were one day to be read by all the world, 
I would not hide the only monuments of my weak- 
ness, and my sentiments." Monuments of weakness 
— is not the expression worthy of the bombast of the 

Not finding love. Mademoiselle Philipon married 
philosophically. Her union bears a striking imitation 
to that of H^loise with M. de Volmar. " Looking her 
destiny peacefully and tenderly in the face, greatly 
moved but not infatuated," she united herself to a 
man whom she esteemed but did not love. This was 
Roland de la Platidre, who was descended from an 
ancient and very honorable middle class family. 
Though not rich, he was at least comfortably well 
off. Well educated, honest, simple in his tastes and 
manners, he fulfilled his duties as inspector of man- 
ufactures in a notable way. The marriage was cele- 
brated on February 4, 1780. Roland was forty-six 
years old, while his wife was not yet twenty-six. 
Thin, bald, careless in his dress, the husband was not 
at all an ideal person. It had taken him five years to 
declare his passion, and this hesitation, as his wife 
was to write thirteen years later, " left not a vestige 
of illusion in his sentiments." " I have often felt," 


says she, " that there was no similarity between us. 
If we lived in retirement, I spent many painful 
hours ; if we mingled in society, I was loved by per- 
sons among whom I perceived there were some who 
might affect me too much ; I plunged into labor with 
my husband. ... It was a long time before I 
gained courage to contradict him." 

M. Roland was sent to Amiens, where his wife pre- 
sented him with a daughter, whom she nursed, and 
afterwards brought up with the utmost tenderness 
and devotion. In 1784, he was summoned to Lyons, 
where he found himself once more in his native 
region. Thenceforward he spent two of the winter 
months in Lyons, and the remainder of the year on 
his paternal domain, the Close of Plati^re, two leagues 
from Villefranche, surrounded by woods and vine- 
yards, and opposite the mountains of Beaujolais. 
While her husband went to take possession of his 
new post, Madame Roland, not yet a republican, 
remained a few weeks in Paris in order to obtain, 
if possible, the patent of nobility so ardently desired 
by the family. Her solicitations proved unsuccess- 
ful, and the married pair, despairing of becoming 
nobles, consoled themselves by a frank avowal of 

Up to the time of the Revolution, Madame Roland's 
life glided peacefully away without any remarkable 
incidents. In the Close of Plati^re, which she calls 
her dovecot, she appears as a good housekeeper who 
looks after everything, from the cellar to the garret ; 


who plays the doctor among the poor villagers ; who 
is delighted to find in nature a savor of frank and 
free rusticity. The life she leads is not merely hon- 
est, but edifying. She is very careful at this period 
to hide her philosophy. She writes to Bosc, one of 
her friends, February 9, 1785 : " My brother-in-law, 
whose disposition is extremely gentle and sensitive, 
is also very religious; I leave him the satisfaction of 
thinking that the dogmas are as evident to me as 
they appear to him, and my exterior actions are such 
as become the mother of a family out in the country, 
who is bound to edify everybody. As I was very 
devout in my early youth, I know my prayers as well 
as my philosophy, and I prefer to make use of my 
first erudition." She wrote again to Bosc, October 12, 
1785 : " I have hardly touched a pen for a month, 
and I think I am acquiring some of the inclinations 
of the beast whose milk refreshes me ; I am extremely 
asinine, and I busy myself with all the petty cares of 
the hoggish country life. I make preserved pears 
that are delicious; we dry grapes and plums; we 
wash and make up linen; we have white wine for 
breakfast, and we lie down on the grass to rest ; we 
follow the vintagers; we repose in the woods and 

Before looking at the female politician, let us 
glance once more at the woman in private life, the 
charitable, devoted, honorable mother of a family, 
such as she paints herself in a letter of November 
10, 1786 : " From the corner of my fire, at eleven 


o'clock, after a quiet night and the various morning 
cares, my husband at his desk, my little girl knit- 
ting, and I chatting with one and superintending 
the other's work, enjoying the happiness of being 
snugly in the bosom of my dear little family, writing 
to a friend, while the snow is falling on so many 
wretches weighed down by poverty and sorrow, I am 
touched with compassion for their fate ; I turn back 
sweetly to my own, and at this moment I count as 
nothing the annoyances of relations or circumstances 
which seem occasionally to mar its felicity." 

Alas, why did not Madame Roland stay in her 
modest country-house to dry her grapes and plums, 
to superintend her washing, mend her linen, and 
spread out in her garret the fruits for winter use? 
Were not obscurity, repose, peace of heart, better for 
her than that fictitious glory which was to pass so 
quickly and end upon the scaffold ? One might say 
that before quitting nature, that great consoler which 
calms and does not betray, in order to plunge herself 
into the odious world of politics, which spoils and 
embitters the most beautiful souls, she experiences 
a certain vague regret for the sweet and tranquil 
joys which her folly was about to cause her to 
renounce forever. 

"The weather is delightful," wrote Madame Ro- 
land, May 17, 1790 ; " the country has changed almost 
beyond recognition in only six days ; the vines and 
walnuts were as black as they are in winter, but a 
stroke of the magic wand does not alter the aspect of 


things more quickly than the heat of a few fine days 
has done; everything turns green and leafs out; a 
soft verdure is visible where there was nothing but 
the dull and faded tint of torpor and inaction. I 
could easily forget public affairs and men's contro- 
versies here ; content to arrange the manor, to see 
my fowls brood, and take care of my rabbits, I would 
care nothing more about the revolutions of empires. 
But, as soon as I am in the city, the poverty of the 
people and the insolence of the rich rouse my hatred 
of injustice and oppression: I have no longer any 
soul or desire except for the triumph of great truths 
and the success of our regeneration." 

The die is cast.^ The daughter of Philipon the 
engraver is about to become a political woman. The 
hour is come when this great actress, who has long 
known her part, is at last going on the stage. She 
has a presentiment of the risk she is running in 
assuming a task which is beyond her sex. But, like 
soldiers who love danger for danger's sake, and pre- 
fer the emotions of the battle-field to garrison life, 
she will joyfully quit her province and throw herself 
,into the seething furnace of Paris. Even though she 
is to meet persecution and death at the end of her 
new career, she will not recoil. A short but agitated 
life will seem better to her than a long and fortunate 
existence without violent emotions. A clear sky 
pleases her no longer. She is homesick for storms 
and lightning flashes. 



THE hour of the Revolution had struck, and, 
ambitious, unbelieving, full of disdain for the 
leading classes, full of confidence in her own superi- 
ority, active, eloquent, impassioned, uniting the lan- 
guage of an orator to the seductions of a charming 
woman, Madame Roland was ripe for the Revolution. 
Her epoch suited her, and she suited her epoch. 
This pagan who, according to her own expression, 
roamed mentally in Greece, attended the Olympic 
games, and despised herself for being French ; this 
fanatical admirer of antiquity who, at eight years 
of age, carried Plutarch to church with her instead of 
a missal, who styled Roland the virtuous as the Athe- 
nians called Aristides the just, who will die like her 
heroes, Socrates and Phocion ; this student who, at 
another period, would have been rated as an under- 
bred woman of the middle class, a more or less ridicu- 
lous bluestocking, suddenly found herself, in conse- 
quence of a general panic and circumstances as 
strange as they were unforeseen, the very ideal of the 
society in which she lived. For several months she 
was to be its fashionable type, its favorite heroine. 


But the Revolution was a Saturn who devoured his 
children, male and female, and the Egeria of the 
Girondins expiated bitterly the intoxication caused 
by her brief popularity. 

In 1777, at the age of twenty-three, she had writ- 
ten : " Gay and jesting speeches fall from this mouth 
which sobs at night upon its pillow ; a laugh dwells 
on my lips, while my tears, shut up within my heart, 
at length make on it, in spite of its hardness, the 
effect produced by water on a stone : falling drop by 
drop, they insensibly wear it awa3\" In 1791, when 
she was thirty-eight, she wrote : " The phenomena 
of nature, which make the vulgar grow pale, and 
which are imposing even to the philosophical eye, 
offer nothing to a sensitive person preoccupied with 
great concerns, but scenes inferior to those of which 
her own heart is the theatre." The flame consuming 
the eloquent and ardent disciple of Rousseau was in 
need of fuel, and, finding this in politics, she threw 
herself upon it with a sort of ravenous fury, just 
as she had once abandoned herself to study. At 
twenty-two she had written to one of her young 
friends : " You scold me for studying too hard. 
Bear in mind, then, that unless I did so, love might 
perhaps excite my imagination to frenzy. It is a 
necessary distraction. I am not trying to become a 
learned woman ; I study because I need to study, 
as I do to eat." It was thus that Madame Roland 
plunged into politics. All her unappeased instincts 
and repressed forces found their outlet in that 


Woman being formed by nature to be dominated, 
nothing is more agreeable to her than to invert the 
parts, and in her turn to domineer. To exert in- 
fluence in public affairs, to designate or support the 
candidates for great offices of State, to organize or 
direct a ministry, to make themselves listened to by 
serious men, to inspire opinions or systems, is to 
ambitious women a kind of revenge for their sex. 
Those who have acquired a habit of exercising this 
sort of power cannot relinquish it without extreme 
reluctance. If they have once persuaded themselves 
of their superiority to men, nothing can ever root 
the conviction from their minds. To be protected 
humiliates them ; what they long for most of all is 
to be acknowledged as protectresses. Self-deluded, 
they attribute to their passion for the public welfare 
what is, especially in their case, the need of petty 
glory, the thirst for emotions, or the amusement of 
pride and vanity. 

The Revolutionary bluestocking, Madame Roland, 
was from the very start delighted to see that her 
works were printed, and that they produced as much 
effect as if they had been written by some great 
statesman. These first successes seemed to her to 
justify the excellent opinion she had always enter- 
tained of herself. She got into a habit of playing 
the oracle. No sooner had her lips touched the cup 
containing this poisonous but intoxicating beverage 
than she would have no other. That alone could 
refresh, even while it killed her. 


Politics has the immense defect of exasperating, 
troubling, and disfiguring souls. Madame Roland 
was born good, sensible, and generous. Politics 
made her at times wicked, vindictive, and cruel. 
July 26, 1789, she wrote this odious letter : " You 
are nothing but children ; your enthusiasm is a fire 
of straw, and if the National Assembly does not 
order the trial of two illustrious heads, or some 
generous Decius does not strike them down, you are 
all . . . lost " (Madame Roland employed a more 
trivial expression). "If this letter does not reach 
you, may the cowards who read it redden to learn 
that it is from a woman, and tremble in reflecting 
that she can create a hundred enthusiasts from whom 
will proceed a million others." Roland had been 
employed by the Agricultural Society of Lyons to 
draw up its reports for the States- General. Madame 
Roland wrote much more of them than her husband 
did. She sent article on article to a journal founded 
by Champagneux to forward the revolutionary propa- 
ganda. Sixty thousand copies were printed of one 
of them in which she described the festival of the 
Federation at Lyons. Imagine the joy felt by the 
femme-auteur, the pupil of Jean-Jacques, the model 
of George Sand ! Soon afterwards, the municipality 
deputed Rolaud to the Constituent Assembly to 
advocate the interests of the city, which was in- 
volved to the extent of forty millions, and which 
asked to have this debt assumed by the State. 
Roland and his wife arrived in Paris, February 20, 


The married pair installed themselves on the third 
floor of the hotel Britannique, in rue Gudn^gaud. 
There a sort of political reunion was formed, of 
which Brissot was the first link. Four times a week 
a few friends, and certain deputies and journalists, 
met around this still unknown woman, whose wit, 
charm, and beauty were not long in making a sensa- 
tion. It was at this period that she made Buzot's 
acquaintance. The day of her first interview with 
the young and brilhant deputy was an epoch in her 
sentimental life. Thenceforward, two passions, love 
and ambition, the one as fierce and devouring as the 
other, were to occupy her ardent soul. Comparing 
the young orator, whom she perhaps transformed in 
her imagination into the president of a more or less 
Athenian republic, with the austere and prosaic com- 
panion of her existence, she perceived that, according 
to her own expression, there was no equality between 
her and her husband, and that "the ascendency of 
a domineering character, joined to twenty years' sen- 
iority, rendered one of these superiorities too great " 
— that of age. She was herself six years older than 
Buzot. Even though her love for him may have re- 
mained Platonic, she gave him all her heart and soul. 

For the majority of women, still beautiful, who 
mingle in public affairs, love is the principal thing; 
politics but the accessory, the pretext. They imagine 
they are attaching themselves to ideas, and it is to 
men. In this respect the heroines of the Revolution 
resemble those of the Fronde. The stateswoman in 


Madame Roland plays second to the lover of Buzot. 
In her mind the Republic and the handsome republi- 
can blend into one. Believing herself a patriot when 
she is above all a woman in love, she carries the emo- 
tions, the infatuations, the ardors and exaggerations 
of her private life into her public one. With her, 
angers and enthusiasms rise to paroxysm. She is 
extreme in all things. 

She detests Louis XVI. as much as she loves 
Buzot. After the flight to Varennes, she wrote : 
"To replace the King on the throne is a folly, an 
absurdity, if it is not a horror; to declare him de- 
mented is to make obligatory the appointment of a 
regent. To impeach Louis XVI. would be, beyond 
all contradiction, the greatest and most righteous 
step, but you are incapable of taking it. Well then, 
put him not exactly under interdict, but suspend 
him." Here begins the influence of Madame Roland. 
The suspension of the royal authority is one of her 
ideas. " So long as peace lasted," she says, " I ad- 
hered to the peaceful r61e and to that kind of influ- 
ence which I thought fitting to my sex ; when war 
was declared by the King's departure, it appeared to 
me that every one should devote himself unreserv- 
edly. I joined the fraternal societies, being per- 
suaded that zeal and good intentions might be very 
useful in critical moments. I was unable to stay at 
home any longer, and I went to the houses of worthy 
people of my acquaintance that we might excite each 
other to great measures." One knows what the 


Revolution meant by that expression: great meas- 
ures. Madame Roland became furious. She wanted 
a freedom of the press without check or limit. She 
was angry because Marat's newspapers were destroyed 
by the satellites of Lafayette. " It is a cruel thing 
to think of," she exclaims, "but it becomes every 
day more evident that peace means retrogression, 
and that we can only be regenerated by blood." 

Her hatred includes both Louis XVI. and Marie 
Antoinette. June 25, 1791, she writes : " It appears 
to me that the King ought to be sequestered and his 
wife impeached." And on July 1 : " The King has 
sunk to the lowest depths of degradation ; his trick 
has exposed him completely, and he inspires nothing 
but contempt. His name, his portrait, and his arms 
have been effaced everywhere. Notaries have been 
obliged to take down the escutcheons marked with a 
flower-de-luce which served to designate their houses. 
He is called nothing but Louis the False, or the 
great hog. Caricatures of every sort represent him 
under emblems which, though not the most odious, 
are the most suitable to nourish and augment popu- 
lar disdain. The people tend of their own accord to 
all that can express this sentiment, and it is impos- 
sible that they should ever again be willing to see 
seated on the throne a being they despise so com- 

Things did not go fast enough to suit Madame 
Roland's furious hatred. The popular gathering in 
the Champ-de-Mars, whose aim was to bring about 


the deposition of the King, was forcibly dispersed on 
July 17. With six exceptions, all the deputies who 
had belonged either to the Jacobin Club or that of 
the Cordeliers, left them on account of their demand 
that Louis XVI. should be brought to trial. The 
time for great measures, to use Madame Roland's 
expression, had not yet arrived. The ardent demo- 
crat laments it. " I cannot describe our situation to 
you," she writes at this moment of the revolution- 
ary recoil; "I feel environed by a silent horror; my 
heart grows steadfast in a mournful and solemn 
silence, ready to sacrifice all rather than cease to 
defend principles, but not knowing the moment when 
they can triumph, and forming no resolution but that 
of giving a great example." 

The mission which had kept Roland in Paris for 
seven months being ended, the discouraged pair re- 
turned to their province in September. After stop- 
ping a few days in Lyons, in order to found a popular 
society afiiliated to the Jacobins of the capital, they 
went to spend the remainder of the autumn at their 
country place, the Close of Plati^re. But calm and 
silence no longer suited Madame Roland. Repose 
exasperated her. She missed the struggle and the 
emotions of revolutionary Paris, of which she had 
said : " One lives ten years here in twenty-four hours ; 
events and affections blend with and succeed each 
other with singular rapidity ; no such great events 
ever occupied minds." 

The pleasure of seeing her daughter again was not 


enough to compensate her for the chagrin of having 
parted from Buzot. Just as she was despairing at 
the thought of sinking back into all the nullity of 
the province, as she expresses it, the news came 
that the inspectors of agriculture had been suppressed. 
Roland, no longer an official, deliberated with his 
wife as to their next step. His own inclination was 
to settle permanently in the country and devote him- 
self to agricultural labors which would surely and 
safely augment his fortune. But his wife was by no 
means of the same mind. She must see her dear 
Buzot again at any cost. She flattered the self-love 
of her unsuspecting spouse, and persuaded him that 
Paris was the sole theatre worthy of the virtuous 
Roland. Roland allowed himself to be convinced. 
His wife, no longer mistress of herself, was drawn 
into the Parisian abyss as by an irresistible force. 
And yet was it not she who had proposed to herself 
this ideal, so easily to have been realized? "I have 
never imagined anything more desirable than a life 
divided between domestic cares and those of agricul- 
ture, spent on a healthy and fertile farm, with a little 
family where the example of its heads and common 
labor maintain attachment, peace, and freedom." 
Was it not she who had uttered this profoundly true 
thought : " I see neither pleasure nor happiness ex- 
cept in the reunion of that which charms the heart as 
well as the senses, and costs no regrets"? In the 
most beautiful days of her youth had she not writ- 
ten : " There was a time when I was never content 


except when I had a book or a pen in my hand ; at 
present I am as well satisfied when I have made a shirt 
for my father or added up an account of expenses as 
if I had read something profound. I do not care at 
all to be learned ; I want to be good and happy ; that 
is my chief business. What is necessary but good, 
honest common sense ? " Is it not she, too, who will 
write at the beginning of her Memoirs : " I have 
observed that in all classes, ambition is generally 
fatal; for the few happy ones whom it exalts, it 
makes a multitude of victims." Why did she not 
more frequently remind herself of the sentiment so 
just and well expressed in a letter dated in 1790 : 
" Women are not made to share in all the occupations 
of men : they are altogether bound to domestic cares 
and virtues, and they cannot turn away from them 
without destroying their happiness." But, alas ! 
passion does not reason. Farewell common sense, 
wisdom, and experience, when ambition and love have 
taken possession of a woman's heart. Returning to 
Paris, December 15, 1791, the Rolands established 
themselves in the rue de la Harpe, and plunged head- 
long into politics. The wife redoubled her activii;y, 
eloquence, and passion. The husband, instead of 
attending quietly to the management of his retiring 
pension, was named a member of the Jacobin corre- 
sponding committee at the beginning of 1792, a revo- 
lutionary centre of which Brissot was the leader. At 
this period, we are informed by Madame Roland, the 
intimidated court imagined that the nomination of a 


minister chosen from among the patriots of the As- 
sembly would cause it to regain a little popularity. 
Brissot proposed Roland, who, on March 24, 1792, 
accepted the portfolio of the Interior. 

Madame, behold yourself, then, the wife of a min- 
ister, and in fact more of a minister than your hus- 
band. Your ambitious projects, which have been 
treated as chimerical, are now realized. You have a 
cortege like Marie Antoinette. Men seek the favor 
of a smile, a word, from you. They court, they solicit, 
they fear you. The monarchy, which you detest, is 
at last obliged to reckon with you and your friends. 
Your beauty, your talent, and your eloquence are 
boasted of. Your name is in every mouth. You are 
powerful, you are celebrated. Well! you will find 
out for yourself what bitterness there is at the bottom 
of this cup of pride which has tempted your lips so 
long. You will learn at your own expense that re- 
nown does not produce happiness, and that, for a 
woman, twilight is better than the full glare of day. 
Yes, you will long for the obscurity which weighed 
upon you. You will long for the house of your father, 
the engraver, on the Quai des Orfevres. You will 
dream of the sunsets which affected you, and of the 
monotonous but peaceful succession of your days. 
You, the deist, the female philosopher, will recall 
with regret the cloisters where in your adolescence 
you tasted the peace of the elect. In the time of 
your supreme trial Buzot's miniature will not console 
you ; it is not his image you should cover with your 


kisses. No; that miniature is not the viaticum for 
eternity. What you will need is the crucifix, and 
you respect the crucifix no longer. And yet your 
imagination will evoke the mystic cloister, with its 
altars decked with flowers, its painted windows, its 
penetrating and ineilable poesy. And in thought, 
also, you will see the country once more, the harvest 
time, the month of the vintage, the poor who come 
to the door asking for bread and who go away with 
blessings on their lips and gratitude in their hearts. 
Why have you quitted these honest people ? What 
have you come to do in the midst of these ferocious 
Jacobins, who flatter you to-day and will assassinate 
you to-morrow ? Do you fancy that Marie Antoi- 
nette is the only woman who will be insulted, calum- 
niated, and betrayed? Why do you seat at your 
hospitable table this livid-faced Robespierre, who to- 
day, perhaps, will address you a madrigal, and 
to-morrow send you to the scaffold ? You will pay 
very dear for these false and artificial joys, these 
gusts of commonplace vanity, this pride of a parvenu, 
and the pleasure of presiding for a few evenings at 
the dinners given to the Minister of the Interior in 
Calonne's dining-room. The Legislative Assembly, 
the Jacobin Club, the journals and the ministry, the 
souvenirs of Plutarch and the parodies of Jean- 
Jacques, the noisy crowd of flatterers who are the 
courtiers of demagogues as they would have been 
the courtiers of kings, these adulators who are going 
to change into executioners, — all are vanity ! Poor 


woman, whose power will be so ephemeral, why do 
you make yourself a persecutor ? You will so soon 
be persecuted. Why labor so relentlessly to shake 
the foundations of a throne that will bury you be- 
neath its ruins? 



TWO women find themselves confronted across 
the chessboa,rd and about to move the pieces 
in a terrible game in which each stakes her head, and 
each is foredoomed to lose. One is the woman who 
represents the old regime — the daughter of the Ger- 
man Caesars, the Queen of France and Navarre ; the 
other stands for the new r(^gime, the Parisian middle 
classes — the daughter of the engraver of the Quai des 
Orf^vres. They are nearly the same age. Madame 
Roland was born March 18, 1754 ; and Marie Antoi- 
nette, November 2, 1755. Both are beautiful, and 
both are conscious of their charm. Each exercises a 
sort of domination over all who approach her. 

In 1792, when Roland enters the ministry, Marie 
Antoinette is no longer thinking of coquetry, luxury, 
or dress. The heroine of the Gallery of the Mirrors, 
the crowned shepherdess of the Trianon, the queen 
of elegance, pleasure, and fashion is not recognizable 
in her. The time for splendors is over, like the time 
for pastorals. No more festivals, no more distractions, 
no more theatres. Incessant anxieties and unremitting 
labor; writing throughout the day and reading, medi- 



tating, and praying throughout the night, are now the 
unfortunate sovereign's whole existence. She hardly 
sleeps. Her eyes are reddened by tears. A single 
night, that of the arrest on the journey to Varennes, 
had sufficed to whiten her hair. She wears mourning 
for her brother, the Emperor Leopold, and for her 
ally, the King of Sweden, Gustavus III., and one 
might say that she is also wearing it for the French 
monarchy. All trace of frivolity has disappeared. 
The severe and majestic countenance of the woman 
who suffers so cruelly as queen, spouse, and mother, 
is sanctified by the double poetry of religion and 

Madame Roland, on the other hand, is more coquet- 
tish than she has ever been. The actress who has at 
last found her theatre and is very proud to play her 
part, wishes to allure, desires to reign. She delights 
in presiding at these political dinners where all the 
guests are men, and of which her grace and eloquence 
constitute the charm. She has just completed her 
thirty-eighth year. Her husband is nearly fifty-eight ; 
Buzot is only thirty-two. Possibly she is still more 
preoccupied with love than with ambition. To use 
one of her own expressions, "her heart swells with 
the desire to please," to please Buzot above all ; she 
takes pains to celebrate her own beauty, which, in 
spite of showing symptoms of decline, has the brill- 
iance of sunset. In her Memoirs she describes her 
*' large and superbly modelled bust, her light, quick 
step, her frank and open glance, at once keen and 


soft, which sometimes amazes, but which caresses still 
more, and always quickens." She writes : " My mouth 
is rather large; there are a thousand prettier, but 
none that has a softer and more seductive smile." 
In prison, when she is nearly forty, she states that if 
she has lost some of her attractions, yet she needs no 
help from art to make her look five or six years 
younger. " Even those who see me every day," she 
adds, " require to be told my age, in order to believe 
me more than thirty-two or thirty-three." Madame 
Roland had at first written thirty-three or thirty-four. 
-But after reflection, finding herself too modest, she 
made an erasure and retrenched another year. She 
adds that she made very little use of her charms ; 
avowing at the same time, and with the most absolute 
frankness, that if she could reconcile her duty with 
her inclination to utilize them more fully, she would 
not be sorry. 

' Both Marie Antoinette and Madame Roland were 
political women. But the one became so in her own 
despite, in the hope of saving the life of her husband 
and the heritage of her son ; the other, through ambi- 
tion and the desire to play a part for which her origin 
had not destined her. In the one, everything is at 
once noble and simple, natural and majestic ; in the 
other there is always something affected and theatri- 
cal ; one scents the parvenue who will never be a 
grande dame., even in the Ministry of the Interior or 
at the house of Calonne. All is unstudied in Marie 
Antoinette ; Madame Roland, on the contrary, is an 
artist in coquetry. 


Bizarre caprice of fate which makes political rivals 
and adversaries treating with each other on equal terms 
of these two women, of whom one was so much above 
the other by rank and birth. The Tuileries and the 
house of the Minister of the Interior are like two hos- 
tile citadels at a stone's throw from each other. On 
both sides there is watchfulness and fear. An impas- 
sable abyss, hollowed out by the vanity of the com- 
moner still more than b}"- the pride of the Queen, 
forever separates these two courageous women who, 
had they united instead of antagonizing each other, 
might have saved both their country and themselves. 

It is necessary to go back a few years in order to 
comprehend the motive of Madame Roland's hatred 
for Marie Antoinette. It was inspired in the vain 
commoner by envy, the worst and vilest of all coun- 
sellors. Madame Roland's special characteristic was 
the passion for making an effect. Now the effect pro- 
duced by Marie Antoinette under the old regime was 
immense ; that produced by the future Egeria of the 
Girondin group was almost niill. A simple mortal, 
regarding Olympus from below, she said to herself 
with vexation, that in spite of her talents and her 
charms there was no place for her among the gods 
and goddesses. Versailles was like a superior world 
from which it maddened her to be excluded. She was 
twenty years old when, in 1774, she visited it with 
her mother, her uncle, the Abb^ Bimont, and an aged 
gentlewoman, Mademoiselle d'Hannaches. They all 
lodged at the palace. One of Marie Antoinette's 


women, who was acquainted with the Abb^, and who 
was not then on duty, lent them her apartment. The 
only object of the excursion was to give the young 
girl a near view of the court. 

In recalling this souvenir in her Memoirs, Madame 
Roland displays her aversion for the old society. She 
is annoyed even with the companion of her visit, be- 
cause she was, according to the expression then in 
use, a person of quality. " Mademoiselle d'Han- 
naches," she says, " went boldly wherever she chose, 
ready to fling her name in the face of any one who 
tried to stop her, thinking they ought to be able to 
read on her grotesque visage her six hundred years 
of established nobility. The fine figure of a pedantic 
little cleric like the Abbe Bimont, and the imbecile 
pride of the ugly d'Hannaches were not out of keep- 
ing in those scenes ; but the unpainted face of my 
worthy mamma, and the modesty of my dress, an- 
nounced that we were commoners ; if my eyes or my 
youth provoked remark, it was almost patronizing, 
and caused me nearly as much displeasure as Ma- 
dame de Boismorel's compliments." It was this Ma- 
dame de Boismorel who, although she found the little 
Philipon very pleasing, had said to the grandmother 
of the future Madame Roland : " Take care that she 
does not become a learned women ; it would be a 
great pity." 

The splendors of Versailles did not dazzle the 
daughter of the engraver of the Quai des Orfdvres. 
The apartment she occupied was at the top of the 


palace, in the same corridor as that of the Archbishop 
of Paris, and so near it that it was necessary for the 
prelate to take precautions lest she should overhear 
him talk. " Two poorly furnished rooms," she says, 
" in the upper end of one of which space had been 
contrived for a valet's bed, was the habitation which 
a duke and peer of France esteemed himself honored 
in possessing, in order to be closer at hand to cringe 
every morning at the lev^e of Their Majesties : and 
yet he was the rigorist Beaumont. . . . The ordi- 
nary and the ceremonial table-service of the entire 
family, eating separately or all together, the masses, 
the promenades, the gaming, the presentations, had 
us for spectators during a week." What impres- 
sion was made on her by this excursion to the royal 
palace ? She herself will tell us nineteen years later, 
in her prison. " I was not insensible," she says, " to 
the effect of so much pomp and ceremony, but I was 
indignant that its object should be to exalt certain 
individuals already too powerful and of very slight 
pereonal importance : I liked much better to look at 
the statues in the gardens than at the persons in the 
palace ; and when my mother asked if I was satis- 
fied with my visit, ' Yes,' I replied, ' provided it will 
soon be over ; if I stay here many days longer, I shall 
detest the people so much that I shall be unable to 
hide my hatred.' 'What harm are they doing you, 
then?' 'Making me feel injustice, and constantly 
behold absurdity.' " 

How this impression is emphasized in the really 


prophetic letter written by the future heroine of the 
Revolution to her friend, Mademoiselle Sophie Cannet, 
October 4, 1774 : " To return to Versailles. I cannot 
tell you how greatly all I have examined has made me 
value my own situation, and thank Heaven that I was 
born in an obscure condition. You think, perhaps, 
that this sentiment is based on the slight esteem I 
attach to the worth of opinion, and my sense of the 
reality of the penalties attached to greatness. Not 
at all. It is based on the knowledge I have of my 
own character, which would be very detrimental both 
to me and to the State if I were placed at a little 
distance from the throne ; because I would be keenly 
shocked by the extreme inequality which sets so many 
thousands of men below a single individual of the 
same species ! " What a prediction ! The most un- 
foreseen events were one day to bring this young 
plebeian near that royalty formerly so far above her. 
The engraver's daughter will be the wife of a minis- 
ter of State. And then what will happen ? Accord- 
ing to her own expression, her r61e will be very 
detrimental to herself and to the State. 

In the same letter she had written : " A beneficent 
king seems to me an almost adorable being; but if, 
before coming into the world, the choice of a govern- 
ment had been given me, my character would have 
made me decide for a republic." She will end by 
hating the beneficent King, and probably no one 
will contribute more than she towards establishing 
the republican regime in France. 


Supposing that, instead of being merely an insig- 
nificant commoner, Madame Roland liad been born 
in the ranks of aristocracy, had enjoyed tlie right of 
sitting down in the presence of Their Majesties at 
Versailles, and had shone at the familiar entertain- 
ments of the Trianon, she would doubtless have 
shared the sentiments and ideas of the women of the 
old regime, and, like the Princess de Lamballe or the 
Duchess de Polignac, have shed tears of compassion 
over the Queen's misfortunes. Fate, in placing her 
in a subordinate position, made her an enemy and a 
rebel. She anathematized the society in which her 
rank bore no relation to her lofty intelligence and 
her need of domination. When, from the upper win- 
dow of her father's house on the Quai des Orfevres, 
beside the Pont-Neuf, she saw the brilliant retinue 
of Marie Antoinette pass by on their way to Notre 
Dame to return thanks to God for some happy event, 
she grew angry at all this pomp and glitter, so much 
in contrast with her own obscure condition. What 
crimes have been engendered by the sentiment of 
envy ! The furies of the guillotine wers above all 
things envious. They were delighted to see in the 
fatal cart the woman whom they had formerly beheld 
in gala carriages resplendent with gold. Madame 
Roland certainly ought not to have carried hex hatred 
to such a pitch ; but had she not demanded in 1789, 
when speaking of Louis XVI. and the Queen, that 
" two illustrious heads " should be brought to trial ? 
Who knows? If, in 1784, she had obtained the 


patent of nobility for her husband which at that 
period she solicited so ardently, she might have be- 
come sincerely royalist! But having remained, 
despite herself, in the citizen class, she retained and 
personified, to her latest hour, its rancor, pettiness, 
and wrath. What figure could she have made at 
Versailles, or even at the Tuileries? In the midst 
of great lords and noble ladies the haughty commoner 
would have been out of place ; she would have stifled. 
It was chiefly on that account that she attached her- 
self to the new ideas. She told herself that so long 
as royalty lasted, she would always be of small im- 
portance ; while, if the republic were established, she 
might aspire to anything. Though her husband was 
one of the King's ministers, she became daily more 
adverse to the monarchy, and Roland, following her 
counsels, was like a pilot whose whole intent is to 
make the vessel founder, even though he were to 
perish with its crew. 

It is a sad thing to say, but even their community 
in suffering did not disarm Madame Roland's hate 
for Marie Antoinette. It was in prison, on the eve 
of ascending the scaffold herself, that she wrote con- 
cerning Louis XVI. and the Queen : " He was led 
away by a giddy creature who united the presump- 
tion of youth and grandeur to Austrian insolence, 
the intoxication of the senses, and the heedlessness of 
levity, and was herself seduced by all the vices of an 
Asiatic court, for which she had been too well pre- 
pared by the example of her mother." Ah ! why 


were not these cruel lines effaced by the tears Madame 
Roland shed in floods over the pages she was writing, 
and of which the traces still remain on the manu- 
script of her Memoirs ? Why did she not sympathize 
in the grief of Marie Antoinette, separated from her 
children, when in speaking of her daughter Eudora, 
she wrote : " Good God ! I am a prisoner, and she 
is living far from me ! I dare not even send for her 
to receive my embraces; hatred pursues even the 
children of those whom tyranny persecutes, and mine, 
with her eleven years, her virginal figure, and her 
beautiful fair hair, could hardly appear in the streets 
without creatures suborned or deluded by falsehood 
pointing her out as the offspring of a conspirator. 
Cruel wretches ! how well they know how to tear a 
mother's heart ! " 

Why were these two women political adversa- 
ries? Both sensitive, both artistic, with inexhausti- 
ble sources of poetry and tenderness at heart, they 
were born for gentle emotions and not for horrible 
catastrophes. Who, at their dawning, could have 
predicted for them such an appalling night? Like 
Marie Antoinette, Madame Roland loved nature and 
the arts. She felt the profound and penetrating 
charm of the fields. She drew, she played on the 
harp, guitar, and violin, and she sang. " No one 
knows," she wrote a few moments before her death, 
"what an alleviation music is in solitude and an- 
guish, nor from how many temptations it can save 
one in prosperity." She had sung the same romances 


as the Queen. The same poets had inspired and 
affected each. 

Does not this most feminine passage in Madame 
Roland's Memoirs recall the character of the mistress 
of the Little Trianon? "I always remember the 
singular effect produced on me by a bunch of violets 
at Christmas ; when I received them I was in that 
condition of soul often induced by a season favorable 
to serious thought. My imagination slumbered, I 
reflected coldly, and I hardly felt at all ; suddenly 
the color of these violets and their delicate perfume 
struck my senses ; it was an awakening to life. . . . 
A rosy tinge suffused the horizon of the day." Would 
not this cry of Madame Roland in her captivity suit 
Marie Antoinette as well? "Ah! when shall I 
breathe pure air and those soft exhalations so agree- 
able to my heart? " And might not the daughter of 
the great Maria Theresa have cried, like the daughter 
of Philipon the engraver ? " Adieu ! my child, my 
husband, my friends. Adieu ! sun whose brilliant 
rays brought serenity to my soul, as if they were 
recalling it to the skies. Adieu ! ye solitary fields 
which have so often moved me." 

What must not these two keenly sensitive women 
have had to suffer at the epoch when France became 
a hell? They have each believed in the amelioration 
of the human species and the return of the golden 
age to earth, and what will their awakening be, after 
such alluring dreams? Men will be as unjust, as 
wicked, as cruel to the republican as to the queen. 


She, too, will be drenched with calumnies and out- 
rages. They will insult her also in the most cowardly 
and ferocious manner. Under the very windows of 
her dungeon she will hear the hawkers crying : 
" Great visit of P^re Duchesne to Citizeness Roland, 
in the Abbey prison, for the purpose of pumping her." 
The ignoble journalist will call her " old sack of the 
counter-revolution." He will say to her with his 
habitual oaths : " Weep for your crimes, old fright, 
before you expiate them on the scaffold ! " The wife 
of Louis XVI. and the wife of Roland will die within 
twenty-three days of each other : one on October 16, 
the other on November 8, 1793. They will start 
from the same prison of the Conciergerie, to be led 
to the same Place Louis XV., to have their heads 
cut off by the blade of the same guillotine. The com- 
moner who had been so jealous of the Queen, can no 
longer complain. If the lives of the two women have 
been different, they will at least have the same 
death ; and the doer of the noble deeds of the regime 
of equality, the headsman, will make no distinction 
between the two victims, between the veritable sov- 
ereign, the Queen of France and Navarre, and the 
sovereign of a day, whom Pdre Duchesne, as insolent 
to one as to the other, will no longer speak of except 
under the sobriquet of Queen Coqo. 



EOLAND took the portfolio of the Interior, 
March 24, 1792, and installed himself and his 
wife in the ministerial residence, then occupying the 
site afterwards built on by the ThSdtre Italien. This 
very beautiful and luxurious mansion had formerly 
been the controller's office, and both Calonne and 
Necker had lived in it. Madame Roland found no 
small pleasure in queening it under the gilded cano- 
pies of the old regime. It was not at all disagreeable 
to her to give dinners in the sumptuous banqueting 
hall erected by the elegant Calonne, nor did the 
austere admirer of the ancients set the black broth of 
Sparta before her guests. 

Once arrived at power, was this great enemy of 
nobility and prescription simple, and easy of ap- 
proach? Not in the least. There is often more 
arrogance displayed by parvenus of both sexes than 
by those who are aristocrats by birth. . Madame 
Roland was extremely proud of her new dignity, and 
at once resolved, as she tells us in her Memoirs, 
neither to make nor receive visits. Her attitude and 



manners wliile at the ministry were those of an 
Asiatic sovereign. She secluded herself, permitting 
only a small number of privileged courtiers to enter 
her presence. Under the old regime, the wives of 
ministers and ambassadors, dukes and peers, had 
never felicitated themselves on " cultivating their pri- 
vate tastes " to the detriment of the proprieties and 
obligations of good breeding. But the Revolution 
had changed all that. French politeness was now 
mere old-fashioned rubbish. At the Ministry of the 
Interior, the etiquette whose " severity " is vaunted 
by Madame Roland was more rigorous than that of 
the court of Versailles, and ft was easier to see the 
wife of the King than the wife of the minister. With 
what hauteur the latter expresses herself concerning 
" the self-seeking crowds who throng about those 
who hold great places " ! Assuredly, the Queen had 
never spoken of her subjects in this tone of disdainful 

Madame Roland, who " was tired of fools," incom- 
moded herself for nobody. The agreeable side of 
power was all she wanted. Suppressing the recep- 
tions which annoyed her, she gave none but men's 
dinners, where she perorated and paraded, and 
where, being the only woman present, she had no 
rivals to fear. Self-sufficiency 9.nd insufficiency are, 
for the most part, what fall to the share of parvenus. 
"What would have been said in the old days of a 
noble dame who did the honors of a ministry so 
strangely, who never invited another woman to din- 



ner, and admitted no one to her presence but a little 
clique of flatterers ? Everybody would have accused 
such a lady as lacking in good breeding. But to 
Madame Roland all that she did was right in her 
own eyes. How could a woman so superior be ex- 
pected to submit to the tyranny of polite usages? 
Was not the first of all despotisms the very one to 
be shaken off? and ought not a person so proud of 
the originality of her genius feel bound before all 
things, as she said herself, "to preserve her own 
mode of being " ? Madame Roland did at the minis- 
try just what she did from her cradle to her grave : 
she posed. 

" To listen to Madame Roland," said Count Beu- 
gnot in his witty and curious Memoirs, " you would 
have thought she had imbibed the passion for liberty 
from reading the great writers of antiquity. . . . 
Cato the Elder was her hero, and it was probably 
out of respect for this hero that she showed a lack 
of courtesy towards her husband. She was unwill- 
ing to see that there was as much difference between 
Roland's wife and the Roman minister as there was 
between the Brutus of the Revolutionary Tribunal 
and him of the Capitol. Self-love was the means by 
which this woman had been elevated to the point 
where we have seen her; she was incessantly actuated 
by it, and does not dissimulate the fact." It was 
she, and not her husband, wlio was Minister of the 
Interior. If the aristocrats treated Roland as a min- 
ister sans-culottes, it might have been added that the 


breeches which he lacked were worn by his spouse. 
Out of all the rooms composing a vast apartment, 
she had chosen for her own daily use the smallest 
that could be converted into a study, and kept her 
books and writing-table in it. It was from this bou- 
doir, half literary, half political, that she conducted 
the ministry according to her own whims. " It often 
happened," says she, "that friends or colleagues 
desiring to speak confidentially with the minister, 
instead of going to his own room, where he was sur- 
rounded by his clerks and the public, came to mine 
and begged me to have him called thither. Thus I 
found myself in the stream of affairs without either 
intrigue or idle curiosity. Roland took pleasure in 
talking these subjects over with me afterwards with 
that confidence which has always reigned between 
us, and which has brought our knowledge and our 
opinions into community." 

On this head, M. Dauban makes the very just re- 
mark : " A community in which there is no equi- 
librium of forces, becomes a sort of omnipotence for 
the strongest." The omnipotence in this case was 
not on the side of the beard, but of Madame Roland. 
The wife wrote, thought, and acted for her husband. 
It was she who drew up his circulars and reports to 
the National Assembly. "My husband," she tells 
us, "had nothing to lose in passing through my 
hands. Roland, without me, would have been none 
the less a good administrator ; with me, he has made 
more sensation, because I imparted to my \rritings 


that mixture of force and sweetness, that authority 
of reason and charm of sentiment, which perhaps 
belongs only to a sensitive woman, endowed with 
sound understanding." And the " virtuous " Roland 
took pride in the magnificent phrases which he naively 
believed to be the expression of his own genius, when 
his wife had saved him not merely the trouble of 
writing, but even of thinking. " He often ended," 
she says, " by persuading himself that he had really 
been in a good vein when he had written such or 
such a passage which proceeded from my pen." 

Madame Roland had at her orders a man of letters, 
salaried by the Ministry of the Interior, who was the 
official defender of the minister and his policy. " It 
had been felt," she tells us, " that it was needful to 
counteract the influence of the court, the aristocracy, 
the civil list and their journals, by popular instruc- 
tions to which great publicity should be given. A 
journal posted up in public places seemed to be the 
proper thing, and a wise and enlightened man had to 
be found for its editor." This wise and enlightened 
man was Louvet, the author of the Amours de Favr 
hlas. He was the writer whom Madame Roland es- 
teemed most capable of instructing and of moralizing 
the masses. " Men of letters and persons of taste," 
she says, "know his charming romances, in which 
the graces of imagination are allied to lightness of 
style, a philosophical tone, and the salt of criticism. 
He has proved that his skilful hand could alternately 
shake the bells of folly, hold the burin of history, and 


launch the thunderbolts of eloquence. Courageous 
as a lion, simple as a child, a sensible man, a good 
citizen, a vigorous writer, he could make Catiline 
tremble from the tribune, dine with the Graces, and 
sup with Bachaumont." 

Madame Roland admired the author of Fauhlas^ 
now become the editor-in-chief of the Sentinelle ; but 
among her intimates there was a man whom she 
admired much more. This was Buzot. With what 
complacency she draws in her Memoirs the portrait 
of this man "of an elevated character, a haughty- 
spirit, and a vehement courage, sensitive, ardent, 
melancholy; an impassioned lover of nature, nour- 
ishing his imagination with all the charms she has 
to offer, and his soul with the principles of the most 
touching philosophy ; he seems formed to enjoy and 
to procure domestic happiness; he could forget the 
universe in the sweetness of private virtues practised 
with a heart worthy of his own." Needless to say 
that in Madame Roland's thought, this heart worthy 
of the heart of Buzot was her own. "He is sus- 
ceptible," says she, "of the tenderest affections" 
(always for Madame Roland), "capable of sublime 
flights and the most generous resolutions." Into 
what ecstasies she falls over the noble face and 
elegant figure of this handsome .man, in whose cos- 
tume "reigns that care, cleanliness, and decency 
which manifest the spirit of order, taste, the senti- 
ment of decorum, and the respect of an honest man 
for the public and himself " ! How she contrasts with 


men wlio think patriotism consists in "swearing, 
drinking, and dressing like porters, in order to fra- 
ternize with their equals," this attractive, this ir- 
resistible Buzot, who " professes the morality of 
Socrates and the politeness of Scipio " ! 

Clearly, the veritable idol of the Egeria of the 
Girondins is not the republic, but Buzot. He is 
so elegant, so distinguished ! His mind and his 
person have so many charms ! Poor Roland ! You 
think that your better half is solely occupied with 
your ministry. Alas ! this learned woman has other 
thoughts in her head. Your position as a minister 
has not augmented your prestige in the region of 
sentiment. Though you lord it in the Hotel 
Calonne, yet, in spite of the throng of petitioners 
and flatterers who surround you, you will never be 
a Lovelace, and your romantic spouse will not allow 
herself to be affected by your appearance, like that 
of a Quaker in Sunday clothes. You thought you 
were doing wonders in presenting yourself at the 
council of ministers with lanky, unpowdered locks, 
a round hat, and shoes minus buckles. This peasant 
costume, which so greatly scandalized the master of 
ceremonies, doubtless made the best impression at 
the Jacobin Club, but your wife prefers the careful 
dress of her too dear Buzot. 

Madame Roland, who had just completed her 
thirty-eighth year, was still very charming. L^- 
montey thus paints her portrait as she appeared at 
this epoch: "Her eyes and hair were remarkably 


beautiful; her delicate complexion had a freshness 
and color which made her look singularly young. 
At the beginning of her husband's ministry she had 
lost nothing of her air of youth and simplicity ; her 
husband resembled a Quaker whose daughter she 
might have been, and her child hovered round her 
with hair floating to her waist; one might have 
thought them natives of Pennsylvania transported 
to the drawing-room of M. de Calonne." 

Count Beugnot, who was the companion of her 
captivity in the Conciergerie, is severe on the female 
politician, but he admires the pretty woman. " Her 
figure was graceful," he says, "and her hands per- 
fectly modelled. Her glance was expressive, and 
even in repose her face had something noble and 
subtly attractive in it. One surmised her wit with- 
out needing to hear her speak, but no woman whom 
I have ever listened to, spoke with more purity and 
elegance. She must have owed her faculty of giving 
to French a rhythm and cadence veritably new, to 
her familiar knowledge of Italian. The harmony of 
her voice was still further heightened by graceful 
and appropriate gestures and the expression of her 
eyes, which grew animated in conversation. I daily 
experienced new charm in listening to her, less on 
account of what she said than because of the magic 
of her delivery." 

If Madame Roland, a prisoner, crushed by mis- 
fortune, on the very threshold of the scaffold, after 
so many sleepless nights and so many tears, had pre- 


served such attractions, what a charm must she not 
have exercised at the Ministry of the Interior, when 
' hope and pride illumined her beautiful face, and 
when, after appearing to her electrified adorers as the 
Muse of the new regime, the magician, the Circe of 
the Revolution, she touched so profoundly their 
minds and hearts! She who knew so well how to 
love and how to hate, who felt so keenly, who had so 
much energy, so much vigor, what fascination must 
she not have exerted with her glance of fire, her long 
black tresses, her more than ornate eloquence, her 
inspired, lyric, enthusiastic bearing, and that con- 
summate art which, according to the remark of 
Fontanes, made one believe that in her everything 
was the work of nature ! 



MADAME ROLAND had wished to reign alone. 
She saw an influential rival in Dumouriez, 
and at once conceived for him an instinctive repug- 
nance and suspicion. She met him first on March 
23, 1792, at the time when, as Minister of Foreign 
Affairs, he came to salute Roland, just named Minis- 
ter of the Interior, as his colleague. As soon as he 
departed: "There," said she to her husband, "is a 
man with a crafty mind and a false glance, against 
whom it is probably more necessary to be on one's 
guard than any other person; he expressed great 
satisfaction at the patriotic choice he was deputed to 
announce ; but I should not be at all surprised if he 
were to have you dismissed some day." She thought 
she recognized in Dumouriez at first sight, " a witty 
rou6, an insolent chevalier who makes sport of every- 
thing except his own interests and glory." 

Later on she drew the following portrait of him : 
" Among all his colleagues, he had most of what is 
called wit, and less than any of morality. Diligent 
and brave, a good general, a skilful courtier, writing 
well and expressing himself with ease, capable of 


great enterprises, all he lacked was character enough 
to balance his mind, or a cooler brain to carry out 
the plans he had conceived. Agreeable to his 
friends, and ready to betray them, gallant to women, 
but not at all suited to succeed with those among 
them who are susceptible to affectionate relations, he 
was made for the ministerial intrigues of a corrupt 

The nomination of Dumouriez as Minister of For- 
eign Affairs is one of the most curious and unforeseen 
events of this strange epoch. Few men have had a 
career so adventurous and agitated as his. A com- 
plex and mobile nature, where the intriguer and the 
great man were blended into one, he never com- 
manded esteem, but at certain moments he secured 
admiration. Napoleon I. seems to have been too 
severe when he said of him that he was " only a mis- 
erable intriguer." The man who opened the series 
of great French victories, and who saved his country 
from invasion by his admirable defence of the defiles of 
Argonne, merited more than this disdainful mention. 
It is none the less certain, however, that one scents, 
as it were, an air of Beaumarchais in the Memoirs of 
Dumouriez, and that there is more than one link of 
character and existence between the author of the 
Mariage de Figaro and the victor of Jemmapes. 
Both were men without principles, but full of resource, 
wit, and fascination. Both were lovable in spite of 
their great defects, because of their humanity aiid 
kindness. Both belonged at the same time to the 


old regime and the Revolution. Before arriving at 
celebrity, each had a stormy youth, tormented by the 
love of pleasure, the need of money, and a sort of 
perpetual restlessness : they flattered every power of 
the time, sought fortune by the most circuitous ways, 
were diplomatic couriers, and secret agents; before 
coming out into open daylight, they made trial of 
their marvellous address in obscurity, and signalized 
themselves among those men of action and initiative 
whom governments, which make use of them in 
occult ways, first launch, then compromise, disavow, 
and sometimes imprison. 

Born at Cambrai, January 25, 1739, Dumouriez 
belonged to a family of the upper middle class. 
Entering the army early, he distinguished himself 
by his high spirits and courage. As a cornet of the 
Penthi^vre cavalry, he served in the German cam- 
paigns from 1758 to 1761, and was invalided in 1763. 
He spent twenty-four years at the wars and brought 
back nothing but twenty-two wounds, the rank of 
captain, a decoration, and some debts. Seeking then 
a new career, he entered, thanks to his connection 
with Favier, the secret diplomacy of Louis XV., 
and was sent to Corsica, Italy, and Portugal. He 
returned to the army in 1768, and made a brilliant 
record in the Corsican campaign, obtaining success- 
ively the grades of adjutant-major general, adjutant- 
quartermaster, and colonel of cavalry. It was he 
who seized the castle of Corte, Paoli's last asylum. 
In 1771, he again became a secret agent. Louis XV. 


wished to befriend Poland in its death-struggle, but 
without betraying his hand. Dumouriez was sent 
to the Polish confederates. He was reputed to be 
merely acting on his own impulses. He organized 
troops and fought successfully against Souvaroff, the 
future adversary of the French Republic, but could 
not save Poland — that Asiatic nation of Europe, as 
he called it. He came back to Paris in 1772, and the 
government, complying with the demands of Russia, 
shut him up for a year in the Bastille, where he had 
leisure to meditate on the ingratitude of courts. 
This captivity strengthened his taste for study, and, 
far from allaying his ambition, gave it renewed force. 

Louis XVI. put him in command at Cherbourg, 
and it was he who conceived the plan of making 
that town a station for the French marine. He was 
fifty years old when the Revolution of 1789 broke 
out. At once he saw in it an opportunity for success 
and glory. Full of confidence in his own superiority, 
he merely awaited the hour when events should 
second his ambition. He said to himself that the 
emigration, by making a void in the upper ranks of 
the army, was going to leave him free scope, and that 
he would be commander-in-chief of the French troops 
under the new r(3gime. To attain this end he de- 
cided to serve the King, the Assembly, and the fac- 
tions ; to assume all parts and all masks, and to be in 
turn, and simultaneously if need were, the courtier 
of Louis XVI. and the favorite of the Jacobins. 

As has been very well said by M. Fr^d^ric Masson 


in an excellent book, as novel as it is interesting, 
Le DSpartement des affaires Strang^res sous la Revolu- 
tion^ Dumouriez had been accustomed to make his 
way everywhere, to eat at all tables, and listen at all 
doors. One of the agents of Count d'Artois brought 
him into relations with Mirabeau. He was protected 
by the minister Montmorin. He drew up plans of 
campaign for Narbonne. He used the intimate " thou " 
to Laporte, the King's confidant and intendant of the 
civil list. He made use of women also. Separated 
from his lawful wife, he lived in marital relations 
with a sister of Rivarol, the Baroness de Beauvert, a 
charming person who had much intercourse with 
aristocratic society, who speculated in arms, and who 
was pensioned by the Duke of Orleans, as appears 
from a letter of Latouche de Trdville, the prince's 
chancellor, dated April 17, 1789. Dumouriez, who 
had expensive tastes, sought at the same time for 
gold and honors. Either by means of the court or 
the Revolution, he desired to gain a great fortune and 
much glory, to become a statesman, a minister, com- 
mander-in-chief, and realize his great military plan, 
the conquest of the natural frontiers of France. He 
said to himself: He who wills the end wills the 
means, and managed as adroitly with parties as with 
soldiers. At Niort, where he was in command at the 
beginning of the Revolution, he made himself remark- 
able by his enthusiasm for the new ideas, and became 
president of the club and honorary citizen of the 
town. He contracted an intimacy with Gensonnd, 


whom the Assembly had sent into the departments 
of the west to observe their spirit. In January, 1792, 
the emigration of general officers had become so con- 
siderable that he rose by seniority to the rank of 
lieutenant-general. Thereafter, he believed his hour 
had come, and threw himself boldly into the political 
arena. The Gironde and the Jacobins were the two 
powers then in vogue ; he flattered both the Jacobins 
and the Gironde. Brissot was the corypheus of the 
diplomatic committee and the chief of the war party. 
He became the familiar of Brissot. Already, in 1791, 
he had prepared a memoir on the subject of the Min- 
istry of Foreign Affairs which he dedicated and read 
to the Jacobins. In it he announced (singular pre- 
diction for the future minister of a king !) that before 
.fifty years had passed, Europe would be republican. 
He demanded an immediate and radical change in 
the diplomatic personnel. " It is of small importance," 
said he in the same memoir, " that our representa- 
tives would lack experience. In the first place, our 
interests are greatly simplified ; moreover, our former 
representatives were young men belonging to the 
court who had had no political education. In a 
word, it is the majesty of the nation which gives 
our negotiations weight. The minister," he added, 
" should be a man of approved patriotism, above all 
suspicion, like the wife of Caesar. Absolute integ- 
rity, great knowledge of men, great firmness, a broad 
and upright mind, should complete his character." 
Dumouriez perhaps imagined that all these qualities 


of an ideal minister were reunited in his person. 
However that may be, he accepted, without any mis- 
trust of his own abilities, the portfolio of Foreign 
Affairs, confided to him March 15, 1792, on account 
of his relations with the Gironde and his popularity 
with the Jacobins. He had a high opinion of him- 
self, and, even after his cruel disappointments, he 
was to write in his Memoirs, in 1794 : " Dumouriez 
sometimes laughs sardonically in his retreat over the 
judgments passed upon him. When he arrived at 
the ministry, the courtiers said and published that 
he was only a soldier of fortune, incapable of con- 
ducting political affairs, in which he would make 
nothing but blunders. When he commanded an 
army, they told the Prussians and the German Em- 
peror's troops that he was a mere writer, who had 
never made war and understood nothing about it. 
Since he retired with reputation from public employ- 
ments, they have published that up to the date of the 
Revolution he had been an intriguing adventurer, 
a ministerial spy, an office-sweeper. Would to God, 
they had employed the adventures of their youth 
in similar espionages ! They would not have begun 
the Revolution like factionists, they would have con- 
ducted it with wisdom, they would have preserved 
the esteem of the nation, they would not have been 
the prime authors of the King's death, either by 
betraying or abandoning him." 

The new Minister of Foreign Affairs began to 
play his r61e of leader of French diplomacy in a 


singular fashion. Repairing to the Jacobin Club, 
he described himself as their liegeman, assumed the 
red bonnet in their presence, and, with it on his head, 
announced that as soon as war should be declared, 
he would throw away his pen in order to resume his 
sword. Let us add that he was simultaneously try- 
ing to conciliate the good graces of Louis XVL and 
to persuade him that if he leaned upon the Jacobins, 
it was solely in the hope of serving the King and 
consolidating the throne. At the same time he ap- 
pointed as director of foreign affairs that Bonne- 
Carrere whose portrait has been traced in this wise 
by Brissot : " Falling with all his vices and perverse 
habits into the midst of a revolution whereby the 
people had recovered sovereignty, he merely changed 
his idol without changing his idolatry. He caressed 
the people instead of caressing the great, made the 
hall of the Jacobins his Q5il-de-Boeuf, played valet to 
the successful parties one after another, the Lameths 
and the Mirabeaus, and succeeded in raising himself 
from the secretaryship of the Jacobins to the embassy 
of Li^ge, by the aid of that very Montmorin who de- 
tested the Jacobins, and could but advance a man 
who betrayed them." 

Dumouriez then, foUomng the example of Mira- 
beau, was about to play a double game ; to be revolu- 
tionary with the Revolution and a courtier with the 
court. As to Madame Roland, he never placed him- 
self at her feet. The despotism of this female min- 
ister, the pretentions of this demagogic bluestocking, 


her affectation of puritan rigor, her mania for direct- 
ing everything, shocked the good sense of a man 
who believed that woman is made to please, not to 
reign. It was repugnant to this soldier to take his 
orders from the Egeria of the Girondins. On the 
other hand, Dumouriez was displeasing to Madame 
Roland. She found him too dissolute and not senti- 
mental enough. She could not pardon his having 
Madame de Beauvert for mistress and Bonne- 
Carrere for confidant. She admitted neither his 
free-and-easy tone, his Gallic humor, nor his natural 
gaiety, so unlike the declamatory tone and preten- 
tious jargon of the disciples of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. 
Moreover, she found him too much of a royalist, too 
accustomed to the old regime. The ministry, appar- 
ently so homogeneous, was soon to be divided against 



LOUIS XVI. had been persuaded that the only 
means of regaining public confidence would 
be to name a ministry chosen by the Gironde and 
accepted by the Jacobins. The six ministers — 
Dumouriez of Foreign Affairs, Roland of the Interior, 
De Grave of War, Clavi^re of Finances, Duranton of 
Justice, Lacoste of Marine — formed what was called 
the Girondin ministry ; the reactionists named it the 
sans-culottes ministry. The revolutionists rejoiced in 
its advent, while the royalists sought to cover it with 

On the day when the Council met for the first 
time at the Tuileries (in the great royal cabinet on 
the first floor, afterwards called the Salon of Louis 
XIV.), Roland created a scandal by his plebeian 
dress. The simplicity of his costume, his round hat, 
his shoes fastened with ribbons instead of buckles, 
caused, as his wife disdainfully remarks, "astonish- 
ment to all the valets, those creatures who, existing 
only for the sake of etiquette, thought the safety of 
the empire depended on its preservation." The mas- 
ter of ceremonies, approaching Dumouriez with an 



uneasy frown, glanced at Roland, and said in an 
undertone, " Eh ! sir, no buckles on his shoes ! " 
" Ah ! sir, all is lost ! " replied Dumouriez so coolly 
that it raised a laugh. 

Louis XVI., who wished, as one might say, to 
enlarge the borders of gentleness and resignation, 
displayed more than good-will towards the ministers ; 
he showed them deference. This was the more mer- 
itorious because to him this ministry was like a 
reunion of the seditious, like the Revolution in arms 
against his crown ; his pretended advisers seemed 
much more like enemies than auxiliaries. He tried, 
however, to attach them to him by kindness, and 
made a sincere trial of his rights and duties as a con- 
stitutional sovereign. Madame Roland herself, bitter 
and violent as she is, renders him a certain justice. 
" Louis XVI.," says she, " showed the greatest good 
nature towards his new ministers ; this man was not 
precisely such as he has been painted by those who 
seek to degrade him." As to Dumouriez, he says in 
his Memoirs : " Dumouriez had been greatly deceived 
concerning the character of Louis XVI., who had 
been represented to him as a violent and wrathful 
man, who swore a great deal and maltreated his 
ministers. He must, on the contrary, do him the 
justice to say that during three' months when he 
observed him closely and i© very delicate circum- 
stances, he always found him polite, gentle, affable, 
and even very patient. This prince had a great 
timidity arising from his education and his distrust 


of himself, some difficulty in speaking, a just and 
dispassionate mind, upright sentiments, great knowl- 
edge of history, geography, and the arts, and an 
astonishing memory." Madame Roland also owns 
that he had an excellent memory and much activity ; 
that he was never idle ; that he read often, and had 
a distinct knowledge of all the different treaties con- 
cluded by France with neighboring powers ; that he 
knew history well, and was the best geographer in 
the kingdom. " His knowledge of the names and 
faces of those belonging to his court," she adds, "and 
the anecdotes peculiar to each, extended to all persons 
who had come into prominence during the Revolu- 
tion ; no subject could be mentioned to him on 
which he had not some opinion founded on certain 

At first, the sessions of the ministry went off very 
tranquilly. The King, with an accent of candor, 
protested his attachment to the Constitution and his 
desire to see it solidly established. Often he left his 
ministers to chat among themselves without taking 
any part in their conversation. During such times 
he read his French and English journals, or wrote 
letters. If a decree was presented for his sanction, 
he deferred his decision until the next meeting, to 
which he came with a settled opinion, concealing it 
carefully, none the less, and appearing to decide only 
in accordance with the will of the majority. He fre- 
quently evaded irritating questions by turning the 
conversation to other subjects. If war were the 


topic, he spoke of travels ; apropos of diplomacy, he 
described the manners of the country in question; 
to Roland he spoke of his works, to Dumouriez of his 
adventures. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, who 
was a firstrclass story-teller, and whose freedom of 
speech was welcomed by the King, to use Madame 
Roland's expression, amused both his colleagues and 
his sovereign by his jests and anecdotes. 

But all this was far from agreeable to the spiteful 
companion of the Minister of the Interior. Indig- 
nant at the accord which seemed to exist between 
Louis XVI. and his counsellors, she dreamed of 
nothing but discussions and conflicts. All that wore 
the appearance of reconciliation was repugnant to 
her. She made her obedient spouse recount to her 
the smallest details of the sessions of the Council, 
meddling with and criticising all. During the first 
three weeks, Roland and Claviere, enchanted with 
the King's dispositions, flattered themselves that the 
Revolution was at an end. Madame Roland scoffed 
at their confidence. " Bon Dieu^" she said to them, 
" every time I see you start for the Council with this 
charming confidence, it seems to me you are ready to 
commit some folly." — "I assure you," replied Cla- 
viere, "that the King is perfectly aware that his 
interests are bound up with the observance of the 
laws just established ; he reasons too pertinently 
not to be convinced of this truth." — " WeU," added 
Roland, " if he is not an honest man, he is the great- 
est rascal in the kingdom ; nobody can dissimulate 


like that." Madame Roland rejoined that she could 
not believe in love for the Constitution on the part of 
a man nourished in the prejudices and accustomed 
to the use of despotic power. She, who doubtless 
thought herself the only person capable of presiding 
well at the council of ministers, treated it as a " caf^ 
where they amused themselves with idle gossip." 
" There was no record of their deliberations," says 
she, " nor a secretary to take them down ; after sit- 
ting three or four hours, they went away without 
having accomplished anything but a few signatures ; 
it was like this three times a week." — " This is 
pitiable ! " she would exclaim impatiently when, on 
his return, she asked her husband what had passed. 
" You are all in very good humor because there have 
been no disputes or vexations, and you have even 
been treated with civility ; each of you seems to be 
doing pretty much as he pleases in his own depart- 
ment. I am afraid you are being made game of." 
— "Nevertheless, business is getting on." — "Yes, and 
time is wasted, for in the torrent that is carrying you 
away, I should be much better pleased to have you 
employ three hours in solid meditation on great com- 
binations than to see you spend them in useless 

It must needs be said that no person contributea 
more to the downfall of royalty than Madame Ro- 
land. At the moment when the good temper and 
gentleness of Louis XVI. began to gain upon his 
ministers, when Dumouriez was softened by the 


royal kindness, when minds experienced a relaxa- 
tion, and honest people, worn out by so many politi- 
cal shocks, were sincerely desirous of repose, it was 
she who nourished discord, made the Gironde irrecon- 
cilable, inspired the subversive pamphlets of Louvet, 
embittered her husband's heart, and invented the 
provocations against which the conscience of the 
unfortunate monarch rebelled. This part, which 
would have been a sorry one for a man to play, 
seems still worse in a woman. Count Beugnot 
has said very justly : " I have seen that a woman can 
preserve only the faults of her sex in the midst of 
such a frightful catastrophe, not its virtues. The 
gentle, amiable, sensitive qualities grow and develop 
in the shelter of peaceful domestic joys ; they are lost 
and obliterated in the heat of debates, the bitterness 
of parties, and the shock of passions. The soft and 
tender foot of woman cannot tread unharmed in 
paths bristling with steel and red with blood. To do 
so with safety she must become a man ; but to me, a 
man-woman seems a monster. Ah I let them leave 
to us, whom nature has granted the pitiful advantage 
of strength, the field of contention and the fate of 
war ; we are adequate to this cruel destiny ; but let 
them keep to the easier and sweeter part of pouring 
balm into wounds and staunching tears." 

Roland's character was tranquil ; it was his wife 
who made him ambitious, haughty, and inflexible. 
She should have pacified her husband, but instead of 
that she excited him. Never was he malevolent and 


spiteful enough to suit her. She would not pardon 
him a single movement of compassion or respect 
towards the august unfortunates. Led by her, Ro- 
land no longer dared entertain a generous thought. 
He returned shamefaced to the Ministry of the In- 
terior if he had felt a humane sentiment while at the 
Tuileries. It is sad to find tenderness and pity in 
the heart of a man, Dumouriez, and in the heart of a 
woman, Madame Roland, nothing but malevolence 
and hatred. Dumouriez wanted to put out the fire ; 
Madame Roland, to stir it up. Dumouriez sincerely 
desired the King's safety ; Madame Roland swore that 
he should perish. If a germ of pity woke to life in 
the hearts of the ministers, Madame Roland hastened 
to stifle it. Her hostility towards the royal family 
was more than deliberate ; there was something like 
ferocity in it. Her Memoirs and those of Dumouriez 
display two very different minds. Sadness dominates 
in his ; anger in hers. Even on the steps of the 
scaffold, Madame Roland will not feel her hatred 
lessen. Dumouriez, on the contrary, will cast a 
glance of melancholy respect upon the unfortunate 
sovereign whose sorrows and whose resignation, whose 
gentleness and uprightness, had touched him so 



DUMOURIEZ, at the beginning of his ministry, 
was still the slave of the Jacobins, his allies 
and protectors. His elevation to the mijiistry was in 
great part due to them, and even while despising 
them, he felt unable to shake off their yoke. Little 
by little, they inspired him with horror, and before 
many weeks were over, his only idea was to free him- 
self from their control. But at first he treated them 
like a power with which he was obliged to reckon. 
What proves this is his passive attitude at the time 
of the celebrated fete of the Swiss of Chateauvieux. 
The prologue of the bloody tragedies that were in 
course of preparation, this fete shows what head- 
way the revolutionary ideas had made. The sinister 
days of the Convention were approaching, the Terror, 
existed in germ, and already many representatives 
who, on a secret ballot, would have voted in accord- 
ance with right and honor, were ' cowardly enough lo 
do so against their conscience when they had to 
answer to their names. 

Things had travelled fast since the close of the 
Constituent Assembly. In 1790, that Assembly, as 


the faithful guardian of discipline, had congratulated 
the Marquis de Bouilld on the energy with which he 
repressed the military rebellion that broke out at 
Nancy, August 31. The soldiers garrisoned at this 
town were guilty of the greatest crimes. They pil- 
laged the military chests, arrested the officers, and 
fired on the troops who remained faithful. M. 
Desilles, an officer of the King's regiment, conducted 
himself at the time in a heroic manner. When the 
insurgents were about to discharge the cannon oppo- 
site the Stainville gate, he sprang towards it, and 
covering it with his body, cried : " It is your friends, 
your brothers, who are coming ! The National As- 
sembly sends them. Do you mean to fire on them? 
Will you disgrace your flags ? " It was useless to 
try to hold Desilles back. He broke away from his 
friends and threw himself again in front of the rebels, 
falling under four wounds at the moment when the 
fight began. 

The Constituent Assembly passed a decree by which 
it thanked the Marquis de Bouill^ and his troops " for 
having gloriously fulfilled their duty " in repressing 
the military insurrection of Nancy. Its president 
wrote an official letter to Desilles, soon to die in 
consequence of his wounds : " The National Assem- 
bly has learned with just admiration, mingled with 
profound sorrow, the danger to which your heroic 
devotion has exposed you ; in trying to describe it, 
I should weaken the emotion by which the Assembly 
was penetrated. So sublime an example of courage 


and civic virtue is above all praise. It has secured 
you a sweeter recompense and one more worthy of 
you; you will find it in your own heart, and the 
eternal memory of the French people." 

The Swiss regiment of Chateauvieux had taken 
part in the rebellion at Nancy. Switzerland had re- 
served, by treaty, its federal jurisdiction over such of 
its troops as had taken service under the King of 
France. By virtue of this special jurisdiction the 
soldiers of the regiment of Chateauvieux, taken arms 
in hand, were tried before a council of war composed 
of Swiss officers. Twenty-two were condemned to 
death and shot. Fifty were condemned to the gal- 
leys and sent to the convict prison at Brest. It was 
in vain that Louis XVI. attempted to negotiate their 
pardon with the Swiss Confederacy. It remained 
inflexible, and the guilty were still undergoing their 
penalty when the Jacobins resolved to release them 
from prison in defiance of the treaties uniting Swit- 
zerland and France. " To deliver these condemned 
prisoners," says Dumouriez in his Memoirs, " was to 
insult the Cantons, attack their treaty rights, and 
judge their criminals. We had enemies enough 
already without seeking new ones among an allied 
people who were behaving wisely towards us, espe- 
cially a free and republican people." But revolu- 
tionary passions do not reason. CoUot d'Herbois, a 
wretched actor who had passed from the theatrical 
stage to that of politics, and who, not content with 
having bored people, wiahed to terrorize them also, 


made himself the champion of the galley-slaves of the 
regiment of Chateauvieux. He was the principal 
impresario of the lugubrious fete which disgraced 
Paris on April 15, 1792. 

The programme was not arranged without some 
opposition. Public opinion was not yet ripe for 
saturnalia. There were still a few honest and cour- 
ageous publicists who, like Andr^ Ch<^nier, boldly 
lifted their voices to stigmatize certain infamies. In 
the tribune of the Assembly some orators were to be 
found who expressed their minds freely and held 
their own against the tempests of demagogy. There 
were generals and soldiers in the army for whom dis- 
cipline was not an idle word ; and if the f^te of the 
Swiss of Chateauvieux made the future Septembrists 
and furies of the guillotine utter shouts of joy, it 
drew from honest men a long cry of grief and 

Intimidated by the menaces of the Jacobins, the 
Assembly voted the release of the Swiss incarcerated 
in the prison of Brest. But merely to deliver them 
was not enough : the Jacobins wanted to give them 
an ovation. Their march from Brest to Paris was a 
triumph, and Collot d'Herbois organized a gigantic 
fete in their honor. 

Andr^ Ch^nier was at this time writing weekly 
letters for the Journal de Paris, in which he elo- 
quently supported the principles of order and liberty. 
As M. de Lamartine has said, he was the Tyrtseus 
of good sense and moderation. He was indignant at 


the threatened scandal, and, in concert with his col- 
laborator on the Journal de Paris, Roucher, the poet 
of Les Mois, he criticised in most energetic terms the 
revolutionary manifestation then organizing. At the 
Jacobin Club, on April 4, Collot d'Herbois freed his 
mind against him. " This is not Ch^nier-Gracchus," 
said the comedian ; " it is another person, quite an- 
other." He spoke of Andr^ as a "sterile prose 
writer," and pointed him out to popular vengeance. 
The two brothers were in opposing camps. While 
Andr6 Ch^nier stigmatized the fete of anarchy, his 
brother Joseph was diligently manufacturing scraps 
of poetry, inscriptions, and devices which were to 
figure in the programme. " What ! " cried Andr^, 
" must we invent extravagances capable of destroying 
any form of government, recompense rebellion against 
the laws, and crown foreign satellites for having shot 
French citizens in a riot? People say that the statues 
will be veiled in every place through which this pro- 
cession is to pass. Oh ! if this odious orgy takes 
place, it will be well to veil the whole city ; but it 
is not the images of despots that should be wrapt in 
funeral crape, but the faces of honest men. How 
is it that you do not blush when a turbulent handful, 
who seem numerous because they are united and 
make a noise, oblige you to do their will, telling you 
that it is your own, and amusing your childish curi- 
osity meanwhile with unworthy spectacles? In a 
city which respected itself such a fete would meet 
nothing but solitude and silence." The controversy 


waxed furious. The walls were covered with posters 
for and against the fSte. Roucher thus flagellated 
CoUot d'Herbois : " This character out of a comic 
novel, who skipped from Polichinello's booth to the 
platform of the Jacobins, has sprung at me as if he 
were going to strike me with the oar the Swiss 
brought back from the galleys ! " 

Potion, then mayor of Paris, far from opposing the 
fete, approved and encouraged it. "I think it my 
duty," he wrote, April 6, 1792, "to explain myself 
briefly concerning the fete which is being arranged 
to celebrate the arrival of the soldiers of Chateau- 
vie ux. Minds are heated, passions are in ferment, 
and citizens hold different opinions; everything 
seems to betoken disorder. It is sought to change a 
day of rejoicing into a day of mourning. . . . What 
is it all about? Some soldiers, leaders with the 
French guards, who have broken our chains and 
afterwards been overloaded with them, are about to 
enter within our walls ; some citizens propose to 
meet and offer them a fraternal welcome ; these 
citizens are obeying a natural impulse and using a 
right which belongs to all. The magistrates see 
nothing but what is simple and innocent in all this ; 
they see certain citizens abandoning themselves to 
joy and mirth ; every one is at liberty to participate 
or not to participate in the f§te. Public spirit rises 
and assumes a new degree of energy amidst civic 
amusements." The municipality ordered this letter 
of Potion's to be printed, posted on tJie walls, and 


sent to the forty-eight sectional committees and the 
sixty battalions of the National Guard. 

Not all the members of the National Assembly 
shared the optimism of the mayor of Paris. The 
preparations for the fete, which was announced for 
April 15, occasioned, on the 9th, a session as affecting 
as it was stormy. The whole debate should be read 
in the Moniteur. The question was put whether the 
Swiss of Chateauvieux, then waiting outside the doors, 
should be introduced and admitted to the honors of 
the session. M. de Gouvion, who had been major- 
general of the National Guard under Lafayette, 
gravely ascended the tribune. "Gentlemen," said 
he, " I had a brother, a good patriot, who, through 
the favorable opinion of your fellow-citizens, had 
been successively a commander of the National 
Guard and a member from the Department. Al- 
ways ready to sacrifice himself for the Revolution 
and the law, it was in the name of the Revolution 
and the law that he was required to march to Nancy 
with the brave National Guards. There he fell, 
pierced by fifty bayonets in the hands of those 
who. ... I ask if I am condemned to look on tran- 
quilly while the assassins of my brother enter here ? " 
A voice rising from the midst of the Assembly cried : 
" Very well, sir, go out ! " The galleries applauded. 
Gouvion attempted to continue. The murmurs re- 
doubled. Several persons in the galleries cried: 
"Down! down!" 

The Assembly, revolutionary though it was, felt 


indignant at the scandal, and called the galleries 
to order. The president reiterated the injunction to 
keep silence. Gouvion began anew : " I treat with 
all the contempt he merits, and with ... I would 
say the word if I did not respect the Assembly — 
the coward who has been base enough to outrage a 
brother's grief." The question was then put whether 
the Swiss of Chateau vieux should be admitted to the 
honors of the session. Out of 546 votes, 288 were 
in the affirmative, and 265 in the negative. Con- 
sequently, the president announced that the soldiers 
of Chateauvieux, who had asked to present them- 
selves to the Assembly, should be admitted to the 
honors of the session. Gouvion went out by one 
door, indignant, and swearing that he would never 
re-enter an Assembly which received his brother's 
assassins as conquerors. By another door, Collot 
d'Herbois made his entry with his prot^g^s, the 
ex-galley slaves. 

The party of the left and the spectators in the 
galleries burst into transports of joy, and gave three 
rounds of applause. The soldiers entered the hall 
to the beating of drums and cries of " Long live the 
nation ! " They were followed by a large procession 
of men and women carrying pikes and banners. Col- 
lot d'Herbois, the showman of the Swiss, pronounced 
an emphatic address in praise of the pretended mar- 
tyrs of liberty, which the Assembly ordered to be 
printed. One Goachon, speaking for the Faubourg 
Saint-Antoine, and holding a pike ornamented with a 


red liberty cap, exclaimed : " The citizens of the Fau- 
bourg Saint-Antoine, the victors of the Bastille, the 
men of July 14, have charged me to warn you that 
they are going to make ten thousand more pikes after 
the model which you see." 

The fete took place on Sunday, April 15. It 
was the triumph of anarchy, the glorification of 
indiscipline and revolt. On that day the galley 
slaves were treated like heroes. The emblems 
adopted were a colossal galley, ornamented with 
flowers, and the convicts' head gear, that hideous 
.red bonnet in which Dumouriez had already played 
the buffoon, and which was presently to be set on the 
august head of Louis XVI. The soldier galley 
slaves, whose chains were kissed with transports by a 
swarm of harlots, came forward wearing civic crowns. 
What a difference between the Constituent Assem- 
bly and the Legislative Assembly ! Under the 
one, a grand expiatory ceremony on the Champ-de- 
Mars had honored the soldiers slain at Nancy, and 
the National Guards had worn mourning for these 
martyrs of duty. Under the other, it was not the 
victims who were lauded, but their assassins. A 
goddess of Liberty in a Phrygian cap was borne in a 
state chariot. The procession halted at the Bastille, 
the Hotel de Ville, and the Champ-de-Mars. The 
mayor and municipality of Paris were present in 
their official capacity. The Ca ira was sung in a 
frenzy of enthusiasm. Soldiers and public women 
embraced each other. It was David who had de- 


signed the costumes, planned the chariot, and organ- 
ized the whole performance, — David, the revolution- 
ary artist who was destined by a change of fortune 
to paint the portrait of a Pope and the coronation of 
an Emperor. 

In 1791, Andr^ Ch^nier and David, then friends, 
and saluting together the dawn of the Revolution, 
had celebrated with lyre and pencil the " Serment du 
Jen de PaumeT ^ Consecrating an ode to the painter's 
magnificent tableau, the poet exclaimed : — 

. Resume thy golden robe, bind on thy chaplet rich. 
Divine and youthful Poesy ! 
To David's lips, King of the skilful brush, 
Bear the ambrosial cup. 

How he repented his enthusiasm now ! What ill- 
will he bore the artist who placed his art, that sacred 
gift, at the service of anarchical passions ! With 
what irony the same pen passed from dithyramb to 
satire ! 

Arts worthy of our eyes, pomp and magnificence 
Worthy of our liberty. 

Worthy of the vile tyrants who are devouring France, 
Worthy of the atrocious- dementia 

Of that stupid David whom in other days I sang ! 

On the very day of the fete the young poet had 
the courage to publish in the Journal de Paris an 
avenging satire, which branded the shoulders of the 
ex-galley slaves as with a new hot iron. The sweet 

^ The oath taken by the deputies of the third estate in the tennis- 
court of Versailles, in 1789. 


and pathetic elegiast, the Catullus, the Tibullus of 
France, added a bronze chord to his lyre : — 

Hail, divine triumph ! Enter within our walls ! 

Bring us these warriors so famed 
For Desilles' blood, and for the obsequies 

Of many Frenchmen massacred . . . 
One day alone could win so much renown, 

And this fair day will shine upon us soon 1 
When thou shalt lead Jourdan to our army. 

And Lafayette to the scaffoM 1 

Jourdan was the slaughterer, the headsman, the 
torturer of the Glacier of Avignon, who, coming 
under the provisions of the amnesty, had arrived to 
take part in the triumph of the Swiss of Chateauvieux. 
The acclamations were lugubrious. The lanterns 
and torches shed a funereal glare. Nothing is more 
doleful than enthusiasm for ignominy. The applause 
accorded to disgrace and crime sounds like sinister 
derision. Outraged public conscience extinguishes 
the fires of apotheoses such as these. Madame Elisa- 
beth, in a letter of April 18, speaks with a sort of 
pity of this odious but ridiculous fete : " The people 
have been to see Dame Liberty waggling about on 
her triumphal car, but they shrugged their shoulders. 
Three or four hundred sans-culottes followed, crying 
' Long live the nation ! Long livfe liberty ! Long live 
the sans-culottes ! to the devil with Lafayette ! ' All 
this was noisy but sad. The National Guards took 
no part in it ; on the contrary, they were indignant, 
and Potion, they say, is ashamed of his conduct. 


The next day a pike surmounted by a red bonnet 
was carried noiselessly through the garden, and did 
not remain there long." The Princess de Lamballe, 
who was living at the Tuileries in the Pavilion of 
Flora, could see the pike thus carried by a passer. 
It may, perhaps, have been that belonging to one of 
the Septembrists, — that on which her own head was 
to be placed. 

The Moniteur, however, grew ecstatic over the f^te. 
"There are plenty of others," it said, " who will de- 
scribe the march of the triumphal cortege, the groups 
composing it, the car of Liberty, conducted by Fame, 
drawn by twenty superb horses, preceded by ravish- 
ing music which was sometimes listened to in religious 
silence and sometimes interrupted by wild, irregu- 
lar dances whose very disorder was rendered more 
piquant by the fraternal union reigning in all hearts. 
. . . The people were there in all their might, and 
did not abuse it. There was not a weapon to repress 
excesses, and not an excess to be repressed." It con- 
cluded thus : " We say to the administration : Give 
such festivals as these often. Repeat this one every 
year on April 15 ; let the feast of Liberty be our 
spring festival ; and let other civic solemnities signal- 
ize the return of the other seasons. In former days 
the people had none but those of their masters, and 
all that was accomplished by them was their deprav- 
ity and abasement. Give them some that shall be 
their own, and that will elevate their souls, develop 
their sensibilities, and fortify their courage. They 


will create, or, better, they have already created, a 
new pe'bple. Popular festivals are the best educa- 
tion for the people." 

Optimists, how will your illusions terminate? 
You who see nothing but an idyl in all this, can not 
you perceive that such ceremonies are the prelude to 
massacres, and that an odor of blood mingles with 
their perfumes ? All who took part on either side of 
the heated controversy which preceded the ovation 
to the Swiss of Chateauvieux, will be pui-sued by 
fate. Gouvion, who had sworn never again to set 
foot within the precincts of the Assembly where the 
murderers of his brother triumphed, kept his word. 
On the very day of that shameful session he asked to 
be sent to the Army of the North, and three months 
later was to be carried off by a cannon-ball. Still 
more melancholy was to be the fate of Potion, who 
showed such complaisance toward the Swiss on this 
occasion. He, once so popular that in 1791 he wa.s 
asked to allow the ninth child, which a citizeness had 
just presented to her country, " to be baptized in his 
name, revered almost as much as that of the Divin- 
ity " ; he of whom some one said at that time, " For 
the same reason which would have made Jesus a 
suitable mayor of Jerusalem, Potion is a suitable 
mayor of Paris ; there is too striking a resemblance 
between them to be overlooked," was sadly to ex- 
claim some months later: "I am one of the most 
notable examples of popular inconsistency. . . . 
For a long time I have said to myself and to my 


friends: The people will hate me still more than 
they have loved me. I can no longer either enter 
or depart from the place where we hold our sessions 
without being exposed to the grossest insults and the 
most seditious threats. How often have I not heard 
them say as I was passing : ' Scoundrel ! we will have 
your head ! ' " 

Proscribed with the Girondins, May 31, 1793, he 
fled at first to Normandy, and afterwards into the 
Gironde, wandering from town to town, from field to 
field, and hiding for several months thirty feet under 
ground, in a sort of well ; the poor people who showed 
him hospitality paid for it with their heads. Ah! 
how disenchanted he must have been with that rev- 
olutionary policy of which he had been the enthu- 
siastic promoter ! How sad .was the farewell to life 
signed by him and Buzot : " Now that it has been 
demonstrated that liberty is hopelessly lost ; that the 
principles of morality and justice are trodden under 
foot; that there is nothing to choose between two 
despotisms, — that of the brigands who are tearing the 
vitals of France and that of foreign powers ; that the 
nation has lost all its energy; that it lies at the feet 
of the tyrants by whom it is oppressed ; that we can 
render no further service to our country ; that, far 
from being able to give happiness to the beings we 
hold most dear, we shall bring down hatred, vengeance, 
and misfortune upon them, so long as we live, — we 
have resolved to quit life and be no longer witnesses 
of the slavery which is about to desolate our unhappy 


After ending with this cry of grief and indignation : 
" We devote the vile scoundrels who have destroyed 
liberty and plunged France into an abyss of evils to 
the scorn and indignation of all time," the two pro- 
scripts were found dead in a wheat-field about a league 
from Saint-Emilion. Their bodies were half de- 
voured by wolves. 

And how will Andr^ Ch^nier end ? On the day 
of the Swiss fete, the city where such a scandal took 
place seemed to him insupportable. For several 
days he sought refuge in the country where he could 
breathe a purer air beneath the blossoming trees. 
But contemplation of nature did not soothe him. 
Running to meet danger, he returned and threw 
himself into the furnace, more ardent and indignant 
than before. With manly enthusiasm he exclaimed : 
" It is above all when the sacrifices which must be 
made to truth, liberty, and country are dangerous 
and difficult, that they are accompanied by inexpres- 
sible delights. It is in the midst of spying accusa- 
tions, outrages, and proscriptions, it is in dungeons and 
on scaffolds, that virtue, probity, and constancy taste 
the pleasures of a proud and pure conscience." Andr^ 
had a presentiment of his fate. 

He was to die on the same day and the same scaf- 
fold as his friend Roucher, a few hours earlier than 
the moment when Robespierre's condemnation would 
have saved them. It is thus that he was to pay with 
his life for his opposition to the fete of the Swiss 
of Chateauvieux, and Collot d'Herbois was avenged. 


But after the turn of the victims came that of the 
headsmen. The unlucky comedian who, pursuing 
even his comrades v^ith his hatred, asked that " the 
head of the ComSdie Frangaise should be guillotined 
and the rest transported," the impresario of the fete 
of the Swiss galley slaves, the organizer of the Lyons 
massacres, CoUot d'Herbois, cursed by friends and 
enemies, was transported to Guiana and died there 
in 1796, just as he had lived, in an access of burning 



THE wave of anarchy constantly rose higher, but 
the optimists, sheltering themselves, like Potion, 
in a beatific calm, obstinately closed their eyes and 
would not see it. Abroad and at home there was 
such a series of shocks and agitations, of struggles 
and emotions, perils and troubles ; things hurried on 
so fast, and the scenes of the drama were so varied 
and so violent, that what happened to-day was for- 
gotten by the morrow. The noise of the fete of the 
Swiss of Chateauvieux had hardly ceased when the 
shouts of the multitude were heard saluting Louis 
XVI., who had just declared war on Austria. 

In reality, the King did not desire war, but the 
bellicose current had become irresistible. The court 
of Vienna had shown itself intractable. It forbade 
the princes who owned possessions in Lorraine and 
Alsace to receive the indemnities offered by France 
in exchange for their feudal rights, and threatened 
to have the Diet of Ratisbonne annul any private 
treaties they might conclude concerning them. The 
electors of Treves, Cologne, and Mayence undisguis- 
edly favored the levying of troops by the emigrant 


princes, and even paid subsidies toward their support. 
They refused to recognize the official ambassadors of 
Louis XVI., while recognizing the plenipotentiaries 
of these princes. There was talk of holding a Con- 
gress at Aix-la-Chapelle for the purpose of intimidat- 
ing the National Assembly. The successor of the 
Emperor Leopold, Francis II., who, before his election 
to the Empire, had assumed the title of King of 
Hungary and Bohemia, displayed extremely martial 
sentiments. Austria, which had sent forty thousand 
men to the Low Countries and twenty thousand to 
the Rhine, had just signed a treaty of alliance with 
Prussia, "to put an end to the troubles in France." 
Dumouriez urgently demanded the court of Vienna 
to explain itself. It finally sent the French Ambas- 
sador, Marquis de Noailles, a dry, curt, and formal 
note, naming the only conditions on which peace 
could be preserved. These were : the re-establish- 
ment of the French monarchy on the bases of the 
royal declaration of June 23, 1789, and, consequently, 
the restoration of the nobility and clergy as orders ; 
the restitution of Church property; the return of 
Alsace to the German princes, with all their sover- 
eign and feudal rights ; and, finally, the surrender of 
Avignon and the county of Venaisson to the Holy 

"In truth," says Dumouriez in his Memoirs, "if 
the Viennese minister had slept through the entire 
thirty-three months that had elapsed since the royal 
stance, and had dictated this note on awaking with- 


out knowledge of what had happened, he could not 
have proposed conditions more incongruous with the 
progress of the Revolution. . . . The new social 
compact was founded on the abolition of the orders 
and the equality of all citizens. The financial sys- 
tem, which alone could prevent bankruptcy, was 
founded on the creation of assignats. The assignats 
were hypothecated on the property of the clergy, 
now become the property of the nation, and the 
greater part of which had been already sold. The 
nation, therefore, could not accept these conditions 
except by violating its Constitution, destroying prop- 
erty, ruining its purchasers, annulling its assignats, 
and declaring bankruptcy. Could so humiliating an 
obedience be expected from a great nation, proud of 
having conquered its liberty ? and that for the sake 
of placing itself once more under the yoke of nobles 
who, having abandoned their King himself, now 
threatened to re-enter their country with sword and 
flame and every scourge of vengeance ? " 

The entire National Assembly reasoned in the same 
way as Dumouriez. A cry for war arose on all sides. 
The Girondins saw in it the indispensable consecra- 
tion of the Revolution. The Feuillants hoped that 
besides proving creditable to the government, it 
would accomplish the additional end of drawing 
away from Paris and other great cities a multitude 
of turbulent men who, for lack of anything else to 
do, were disturbing public order. Certain reaction- 
ists, stifling the sentiment of patriotism in their hearts, 


were equally anxious for war, in the secret hope that 
it would prove disastrous for the French army, and 
result in the re-establishment of the old regime. 
On the other hand, there were good citizens, inclined 
to optimism and judging others by themselves, who 
thought that when confronted with an enemy, all 
intestine dissensions would vanish as by enchant- 
ment, and that the new Constitution, hallowed by 
victory and glory, would ensure the country a most 
brilliant destiny. Ministers were unanimous, and 
enthusiasm universal. Even if he had so desired, 
Louis XVI. could no longer resist it. On April 20, 
1792, he went to the Assembly. The hall was filled 
with a crowd which comprehended the importance 
and solemnity of the act about to be accomplished. 

According to Dumouriez, the King was very ma- 
jestic : " I come," he said, " in accordance with the 
terms of the Constitution, formally to propose war 
against the King of Hungary and Bohemia." He 
afterwards paid the greatest attention to the report 
of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and seemed, by the 
motions of his head and hands, to approve it in every 
respect. He returned to the Tuileries amidst general 
acclamations. War was unanimously decided on, 
and Dumouriez went to the diplomatic committee in 
order to draw up the declaration. At ten in the 
evening the decree was brought in and carried to the 
King, who sanctioned it at once. 

Thus commenced that gigantic war which France 
was to wage against all Europe, and which ended, 


twenty-three years later, in the disaster of Waterloo. 
How many battles, what suffering, and what a pro- 
digious shedding of blood ! And to attain what end? 
Simply the point of departure ; that is to say, in the 
political order, to constitutional monarchy, and in 
territory, to the boundaries of 1792. What ! to have 
filled Europe with noise and renown ; to have carried 
the standards of France from east to west, from 
north to south; to have camped victoriously in 
Brussels, Milan, Venice, Rome, Naples, Cairo, Berlin, 
Madrid, Vienna, Moscow ; to have enlarged the bor- 
ders of valor, heroism, and self-sacrifice in order to 
arrive, after so many efforts, just at the spot where 
the strife began ? Ah ! how short-sighted is human 
wisdom, how deceitful the previsions of mortal man, 
how sterile the agitations of republics and mon- 
archs ! " Assuredly ! " says Dumouriez, " if the 
Emperor and the King of Prussia could have fore- 
seen that France was able to withstand all Europe, 
they would not have meddled with her domestic 
quarrels ; they would have treated the SmigrSs not 
with confidence, but compassion; they would have 
responded frankly and without trickery to the minis- 
ter's negotiation; the Revolution would have been 
accomplished without cruelties ; Europe would have 
remained at peace, and France would be happy." 
What sadness underlies all history, and what dispro- 
portion there is between man's sacrifices and their 
results ! The Revolution was achieved. All neces- 
sary liberties had been conquered. Privileges ex- 


isted no longer. Animated by excellent intentions, 
Louis XVI. would have been the best of constitu- 
tional sovereigns, had his subjects possessed wisdom. 
Why this long misunderstanding between him and 
his people ? Why, on one side, the insensate attitude 
of the Smigres, whose task seemed to be to justify 
the revolutionists; and why, on the other, those 
savage passions which seemed trying to justify the 
wrathful recriminations of Coblentz? Why that 
untimely intervention of Austria which irritated 
French national sentiment and gave a political pre- 
text to inexcusable violence, cruelty, and crime? 
Inextricable confusion of false situations ! Multi- 
tudes asked themselves in what direction right and 
duty lay. A large contingent of the French nobility 
heartily desired the success of foreign armies. At 
Coblentz a gathering of twenty-two thousand gentle- 
men hastened to the side of the seven Bourbon 
princes : the Comte de Provence, the Comte d'Artois, 
the Due de Berry, the Due d'Angouleme, the Prince 
de Conde, the Due de Bourbon, and the Due 

As M. de Lamartine has said: "Infidelity to the 
country called itself fidelity to the King. Desertion 
called itself honor. Fealty to the throne was the 
religion of the French nobility. To them the sov- 
ereignty of the people seemed an insolent dogma 
against which it was necessary to draw the sword 
under penalty of sharing the crime. There was real 
devotion in the act by which these men, young and 


old, abandoned their rank in the army, and the ties 
of country and family, and rushed into a foreign 
land to defend the white flag as common soldiers. . . . 
Their country symbolized duty for the patriots; to 
the SmigrSs^ duty meant the throne. One of these 
parties deceived itself concerning its duty, but both 
of them believed they were performing it." 

As to the unfortunate Louis XVI., he suffered 
cruelly. It was like death to him to declare war 
against his nephew, and at certain moments he felt 
that this Austrian army against which his troops 
contended might yet be his last resource. He could 
not even flatter himself that the sacrifice he had 
made of his sympathies and family feelings would be 
repaid by the love and confidence of his people. 

" We have no difficulty nowadays in comprehend- 
ing," says M. Geffroy very justly, " what pure patri- 
otism there was in that young army of 1792, which 
represented new France. But this army, formed 
in independence of the old regiments, was none 
the less, in the eyes of the Queen, a veritable army 
of sedition. She thought of it as composed of the 
victors of the Bastille, those whom Mirabeau styled 
the greatest scoundrels of Paris; the very rabble 
who came to Versailles on the 6th of October. She 
believed they could be crushed by the first attack at 
the frontier, and that France and Paris would be rid 
of them." The following reflection by M. Geffroy is 
very judicious : " Marie Antoinette committed a 
double error, but honest men who had not the same 


overpowering motives as she, have committed it 
likewise. I do not allude merely to those French- 
men who, after April 20, remained in the ranks 
of the Emigration, and who, apparently, did not 
suppose themselves to be betraying the true inter- 
ests of their country. But look at M. de Bouill^. 
He even accepted a command in the foreign army 
under Gustavus III. And yet M. de Bouille is an 
honest man who knows France and loves her ardently. 
Observe, in his Memoirs, his involuntary pride in our 
success, and how he shrugs his shoulders at the 
bluster of the Prussian officers." 

It is not yet well understood what vigor, enthusi- 
asm, and martial ardor animated that brave national 
army, which, according to the foreigners, was but a 
band of rioters, but which was suddenly to appear on 
the battle-field as a people of heroes. Honor took 
refuge in the camps. It was there that men whom 
the Jacobin Club enraged, and who had no consola- 
tion for their patriotic grief but the virile emotions of 
combat, went to fight and die. Why did not Louis 
XVI. call to mind that he was the commander-in- 
chief of the army? Ah! had he been a soldier, had 
he been accustomed to wear a uniform, to command, 
and, above all, to speak to his troops, how quickly he 
would have come to the end of his difficulties ! 
Count de Yaublanc had good reason to say : " Any- 
thing can be done with Frenchmen if one knows how 
to animate and impress them with vehement ardor ; 
otherwise, nothing need be expected. . . . Never did 


a prince merit better the eternal rewards promised 
by religion to the true Christian ; and yet his exam- 
ple should forever teach kings that their conduct 
must be totally different from his. Lacking the cour- 
age which acts, the most virtuous king cannot achieve 
his own safety." Why did not Louis XVI. go 
amongst his soldiers? Victory would have given 
him a sceptre and a crown. While he still retained 
his sword, why did he leave it in the scabbard? 
Why did he not remember that it might launch 
thunderbolts ? 

On the contrary, Louis XVI. hesitates, fumbles, 
temporizes. Count de Vaublanc says again : " This 
wretched time proves thoroughly that finesse is the 
most detestable means of conducting great affairs. 
Nothing but finesse was opposed to the impetuous 
attacks of the Jacobins. All was dissimulation ; 
conversations, writings, measures; authority acted 
only by crooked ways. With a thousand means of 
safety, people were lost because they pushed prudence 
to excess, and extreme prudence always degenerates 
into despicable means. I was in every great crisis 
of the Revolution, and I have always seen the same 
faults produce the same misfortunes. It Ls the same 
thing in revolution as in war ; no matter how prudent 
a general may be, he must take some risk. Other- 
wise it would be impossible to gain a single battle." 

Ah I how true and how striking is that great say- 
ing of Bossuet : " When God wills to overthrow 
empires, all is feeble and irregular in their designs.' 


Undecided and fickle, Louis XVI. does not even 
know whether to desire the success or the failure of 
the Austrian army. He has no plan, no steadiness of 
purpose. The secret mission he gives to Mallet du 
Pan is a fresh proof of the irresolution of his charac- 
ter and his policy. What is it he asks? To have 
the Powers declare that they are making war against 
an anti-social faction, and not the French nation ; that 
they are undertaking the defence of legitimate gov- 
ernments and of peoples against anarchy ; that they 
will treat only with the King ; that they shall de- 
mand perfect liberty for him; that they convoke a 
congress to which the SmigrSs may be admitted as 
complainants, and where the general scheme of claims 
and reclamations shall be negotiated under the aus- 
pices and the guarantee of the great courts of Europe. 
Hesitating between Austria and his own kingdom, 
the unhappy monarch attempts to continue that equiv- 
ocal system, that see-saw policy in which he has 
succeeded so ill, and which constrains him to dissimu- 
lation, that last resource of the feeble. Sent to Ger- 
many with instructions written by Louis XVL, with 
his own hand. Mallet du Pan recommends the sover- 
eigns to be cautious in advancing into France, to 
observe the greatest prudence in dealing with the 
inhabitants of the invaded provinces, and to precede 
their arrival by a manifesto in which they declare 
conciliatory and pacific intentions. It follows that 
official ministers of the King did not possess his con- 
fidence and were not the interpreters of his mind. A 


sort of occult and mysterious government existed, 
with a diplomacy, secret funds, and agents abroad 
and at home. Such a system, lacking all grandeur 
and sincerity, could accomplish nothing but catas- 

Meanwhile, the war had begun under the most 
painful conditions. The invasion of Belgium, ar- 
ranged for the end of April, failed miserably. Near 
Mons, Biron's troops took to flight, threatening to 
fire on their officers, and crying : " We are betrayed ! " 
At Lille, General Theobald Dillon was massacred by 
his own soldiers. Such news caused indescribable 
emotion in Paris. Popular mistrust and irritation 
reached their height. The different parties hurled 
reproaches and accusations in each other's face. The 
Girondins, finding the National Guard too conserva- 
tive, demanded pikes for the men of the faubourgs 
who had no guns. The sans-culottes enlisted. The 
army of assassins was organized. The only thing 
left to do before giving the signal for a riot was to 
obtain from the King a last concession, — the dis- 
banding of his guard. 



LOUIS XVI. had still some defenders, some 
heroes resolved to shed the last drop of their 
blood for their King. Hence it was necessary to 
remove them from his person. What means of doing 
so could be found ? Calumny. Fable on fable was 
spread among an always credulous public, imaginary 
conspiracies invented, and the wretched monarch 
constrained to deprive himself of his last resource, in 
order to deliver him, weak and disarmed, into the 
hands of his enemies. 

The Constitution provided a guard for Louis XVI. 
One third of it was composed of soldiers of the line, 
and the remainder of National Guards, chosen by 
the Departments themselves from among their best- 
formed, richest, and best-bred citizens. It was com- 
manded by one of the greatest lords 6f the old 
r%ime, the Duke de Coss^-Brissac. Born in 1734, 
the son of a marshal of France, the Duke had been 
governor of Paris, grand steward of France, and 
colonel of the Hundred-Switzers. He had never 
been willing to leave the King since the beginning 
of the Revolution. When his regiment was dis« 



banded he might have fled, and Louis XVI. begged 
him to do so ; but the heart of a subject so faithful 
had been deaf to the entreaties of the unfortunate 
sovereign. " Sire," he had answered, " if I fly, they 
will say that I am guilty, and j^ou will be considered 
my accomplice : my flight would be your accusation ; 
I would rather die." And, in fact, he did die. He 
had a real devotion to the former mistress of Louis 
XV., the Countess du Barry, and this latest con- 
quest is not the least important of the favorite's 
adventures. Probably Count d'AUonville exagger- 
ates when, in his Memoirs, he extols in Madame du 
Barry " that decency of tone, that nobility of manners, 
that bearing equally removed from pride and humil- 
ity, from license and from prudery, that countenance 
which was enough to refute all the pamphlets." 
Nevertheless, it is certain that the society of the Duke 
de Brissac inspired the former favorite with generous 
sentiments. After the October Days, she took the 
wounded body-guards into her own house, and when 
the Queen sent to thank her for it, she replied: 
" These wounded young men • regret nothing except 
not having died for a princess so worthy of all 
homage as Your Majesty. . . . Luciennes^ is yours, 
Madame ; did not your benevolence give it back to 
me ? . . . The late King, by a sort of presentiment, 
forced me to accept a thousand precious objects 

1 The magnificent mansion built for Madame du Barry by Loms 
XV. , and restored to her after her banishment to Meaux by Marie 


before sending me away from his person. I already- 
had the honor of offering you this treasure in the 
time of the Notables ; I offer it again, Madame, with 
eagerness. You have so many expenses to provide 
for, and so many favors to confer. Permit me, I 
entreat you, to render to Caesar that which belongs 
to Csesar." 

An enthusiastic royalist, a gentleman of the old 
nobility, chivalrous and full of courtesy, bred in 
notions of romantic susceptibility like those of ClSlie 
and Astree, the Duke de Brissac, like a knight- 
errant of former times, represented at the court of 
Louis XVI. a whole past which was crumbling to 
decay. If the unhappy monarch had been a man of 
action, he would have turned to good advantage a 
guard commanded by such a champion. He could 
have made it the nucleus of resistance by grouping 
the Swiss regiments and the well-inclined battalions 
of the National Guard around it. Unfortunately, 
there was nothing warlike in Louis XVI. " Among 
the deplorable causes which ruined him," says the 
Count de Vaublanc in his Memoirs, " must be 
counted the wretched education which kept him 
apart from every sort of military action. I remember 
that in the early days of the Consulate, after a 
review held on the Place of the Tuileries by Bona- 
parte, when talking about this to M. Suard, of the 
French Academy, I said that Bonaparte walked as if 
he were always ready to defend himself sword in 
hand. ' Ah, well ! ' responded M. Suard, naively, 


' we used to think differently ; we wanted the King 
to have nothing military about him, and never to 
wear a uniform.' " 

To this anecdote, M. de Vaublanc adds another. 
" We had in 1792," he says, " a forcible proof of the 
despondency under which a royal soul, spoiled by a 
detestable education, can labor. M. de Narbonne, 
the. Minister of War, with great difficulty induced 
the King to review three excellent battalions of the 
Paris National Guard. He was on foot, in silk 
breeches and white silk stockings, and wearing his 
hair in a black bag. After the review a notary, 
named Chandon, I think, left the ranks and said to 
the King : ' Sire, the National Guard would be 
greatly honored to see Your Majesty in its uniform.' 
' Sire,' said M. de Narbonne, at once, ' have the 
goodness to promise to do so. At the head of these 
three battalions of heroes you could destroy the 
Jacobins' den.' After a minute's reflection, the King 
replied: 'I will inquire of my Council whether the 
Constitution permits me to wear the uniform of the 
National Guard.' " Louis XVI. allowed the last 
resources accorded by fortune to slip away, and 
elements which in other hands would have produced 
notable results, remained sterile in his. 

The Constitutional Guard, which according to 
regulation should have numbered eighteen hundred 
men, really amounted, says Dumouriez, to six 
thousand fit for duty. The royalist element pre- 
dominated in it. But a certain number of "false 


brethren " had found their way into the ranks, who 
managed by the aid of bribery to spy upon their 
officers, and made reports to the committee of public 
safety. Undoubtedly the King's guards did not 
approve of all that was going on. But how could 
devoted royalists and men accustomed to discipline 
be expected to approve the fete of the Swiss of 
Chateauvieux, for example? How could they help 
being indignant when, while on duty at the Tuileries, 
they heard the populace insult the royal family under 
the very windows of the palace ? 

When they returned to their barracks at the Mili- 
tary School, they expressed this indignation too forci- 
bly, and their words, hawked about in all quarters 
by ill-will, were represented as the preliminary symp- 
toms of a reactionary plot. A guard commanded by 
a Duke de Brissac was intolerable to the Jacobins. 
Their sole idea was to drive it from the Tuileries, 
where its presence appeared to insure order, — 
a thing they held in utmost horror. A 20th of 
June would not have been possible with a constitu- 
tional guard, and ever since May, the 20th of June 
had been in course of preparation. Its organizers 
had their plan completely laid already. An adroit 
rumor was started of a so-called plot, some Saint- 
Bartholomew or other, which they pretended was on 
foot against the patriots, and of which the Ecole 
Militaire was the centre. The white flag, which was 
to be the signal for the assassins to assemble, was 
said to be hidden there. Potion, the mayor of Paris, 


under pretext of preventing troubles, sent municipal 
officers to make a search. They could not lay their 
hands on the white flag which was the pretended 
object of their visit, but they did find monarchical 
hymns and ballads, and counter-revolutionary writ- 

An unlucky incident still further increased sus- 
picion. The famous Countess de La Motte had just 
published in London some new particulars concern- 
ing the affair of the necklace. In order to avert 
scandal, the Queen had caused Laporte, intendant of 
the civil list, to buy up the whole edition, and he had 
burned every copy of it at the manufactory of Sevres. 
That very evening the committee of surveillance 
were in possession of the fact that Laporte had gone 
to Sdvres with three unknown persons, and that 
thirty bales of paper had been put into the fire in his 
presence. There was at this time a great deal of 
talk concerning a pretended Austrian committee, in 
which a complete plan of restoration by foreign aid 
was being elaborated. It was claimed that the papers 
burned at the manufactory were the archives of this 
committee, with which popular imagination was 
extremely busy. Denunciations fell in showers. 
Laporte and several others were summoned before 
the committee of surveillance. . Potion declared 
that the people were surrounded by conspiracies. 
Bazire demanded the disbanding of the King's guard, 
which, according to him, was made up of servants of 
the Smigr4sy and refractory priests. It was claimed 


that the soldiers, to whom the Duke de Brissac had 
given sabres with hilts representing a cock sur- 
mounted by a royal crown, used insulting language 
concerning the Assembly and the nation in their 
barracks. They were said to rejoice in the reverses 
which the French troops had just sustained on the 
northern frontier, and it was added that they meant 
to march twenty leagues under a white flag to meet 
the Austrians. The masses, always so easily de- 
ceived, were convinced that the conspiracy was on 
the brink of discovery. 

The National Assembly took up the question, and 
a stormy debate on it occupied the evening session 
of May 29. " What will become of the individual 
liberty of citizens," cried M. Daverhout^, "if the 
dominant party, merely by alleging suspicions, can 
decree the impeachment of all who displease it, and 
if the different parties, coming successively into 
power, overthrow, by means of this unchecked right 
of impeachment, both ministers and all functionaries 
by the torrent of their intrigues ? In that case you 
would see proscriptions like those of Marius and 
Sylla." In fact, this was what the near future was 
about to show. Vergniaud responded by evoking a 
souvenir of the praetorian guards of Caligula and 
Nero. At the close of his speech the Assembly 
passed the following decree : — 

" Article 1. The existing hired guard of the 
King is disbanded, and will be replaced immediately 
in conformity with the laws. 


"Art. 2. Until the formation of the new guard, 
the National Guard of Paris will be on duty near the 
King's person, in the same manner as before the estab- 
lishment of the King's guard." 

A discussion ensued on the subject of Brissac's 
impeachment. The struggle between the two oppos- 
ing parties was of unheard-of vivacity. One of the 
most courageous members of the right, M. Calvet, 
gave free vent to his indignation. " The informer," 
said he, " is a scoundrel who makes a thrust with a 
poniard and hides himself ; he was unknown at Rome 
until the times of Sejanus and Tiberius ; times, gen- 
tlemen, of which you remind me often." "To the 
Abbey ! to the Abbey ! " retorted the left, with fury. 
Said Guadet : " I demand that M. Calvet should be 
sent to the Abbey for three days, for having dared 
to say that the representatives of the French people 
remind him of the Roman Tiberius and Sejanus." 
The motion was adopted, and the Assembly decided 
that M. Calvet should pass three days in prison. 
M. de Jaucourt threatened to cudgel Chabot, and 
the ex-friar, ascending the tribune, said : " I think it 
was very cowardly on the part of a colonel to offer 
to cane a Capuchin." The Assembly, having passed 
an order of the day concerning this incident, decreed 
that " there was reason for an - accusation against 
M. Coss^, styled Brissac, and that his papers should 
be sealed up at once." 

The King and Queen, awakened in the middle of 
the night by these tidings, besought Brissac to make 


his escape, and provided him with the means. The 
Duke refused, and instead of trying to assure his 
safety, sat down to write a long letter to Madame du 
Barry. At first Louis XVI. wished to veto this de- 
cree, as was his duty, but his ministers dissuaded 
him. They reminded him of the October Days, and 
the weak monarch, alarmed on account of his family, 
if not on his own, sacrificed his Constitutional Guard 
and also the brave servitor who commanded it. Speak- 
ing to M. d'Aubier, one of the ordinary gentlemen of 
the King's bedchamber, the Queen said : " I tremble 
lest the King's guard should think the honor of the 
corps compromised by their, disarmament." — " Doubt- 
less, Madame, that corps would have preferred to die 
at the feet of Your Majesties." — "Yes," replied the 
Queen, "but the few partisans who still adhere to 
the King in the Assembly counsel him to sanction 
the decree disbanding them, and to disregard their 
advice is to run the risk of losing them." While the 
Queen was yet speaking, a man approached under 
pretence of asking alms. " You see," said she to 
M. d'Aubier, "there is no place and no time when 
I am free from spies." 

The Constitutional Guard were sent as prisoners 
to the Ecole Militaire between a double file of 
National Guards, and forced to surrender their wea- 
pons. By a sort of fatality Louis XVI. was led to 
disarm himself, to spike his cannons, tear down his 
flags, and dismantle his fortresses. By dint of ap- 
proaching too near the fatal declivity of concessions. 


he ended by losing even his dignity as man and King. 
He was paralyzed, annihilated by the Assembly, 
which treated him like a hostage, a conquered man, 
and which struck down, one after another, the last 
defenders of the monarchy and of public order. The 
fate of the Constitutional Guard might well discour- 
age honest men who only sought to devote them- 
selves. How was it possible to remain faithful to a 
chief who was false to himself, who was more like 
a victim than a king? Finding themselves unsup- 
ported by the Tuileries, the royalists began to look 
across the frontier, and many men who would have 
flocked around an energetic monarch, fled from a 
feeble king and sorrowfully went to swell the ranks 
of the emigration. 

In spite of the advice of Dumouriez, Louis XVI. 
would not make use of his right to form another 
guard. He preferred to put himself in the hands of 
the National Guard, who were his jailors rather than 
his servants. As to the Duke de Brissac, even the 
formality of an interrogatory was dispensed with, 
and he was sent before the Superior Court of Orleans. 
When he bade adieu to Louis XVI., the King said to 
him : " You are going to prison ; I should be much 
more afflicted if you were not leaving me there my- 
self." What wa^ to be the fate of the loyal and 
devoted servant, thus sacrificed to his master's inex- 
cusable weakness ? He left the dungeons of Orleans 
only to be transferred to Versailles by the Marseillais, 
and there, on September 9, 1792, was assaulted by a 


furious throng surrounding the carriages containing 
the prisonei-s. The brave old man struggled long 
against the assassins, but, after losing two fingers and 
receiving several other wounds, he was killed by a 
sabre-thrust which broke his jaw, and his head was 
set on one of the spikes of the palace gate. 



DISSATISFIED with men and things, dissatis^ 
fied with others and himself, the mind and 
heart of Louis XVI. were the prey of moral tortures 
which left him no repose. He began to be ashamed 
of his concessions, and to repent of having accepted 
pusillanimous advice. Why had he not succeeded in 
being a king ? Why had he garrisoned Paris insuffi- 
ciently ever since the outbreak of the Revolution? 
Why had he suffered the Bastille to be taken, 
encouraged the emigration, and disbanded his body- 
guards ? Why had he not opposed the first persecu- 
tions aimed at the Church ? Why had he pretended 
to approve acts and ideas which horrified him ? Why, 
by resorting to deplorable equivocations which cast 
a shadow over his policy and his character, had he 
reduced his most devoted followers to doubt and 
despair? Such thoughts as these assailed him like 
so many stings of conscience. The sentiments of 
monarchy and of military honor awoke in him once 
more, and he sounded with bitterness the whole depth 
of the abyss into which his irresolution had plunged 
him. In seeing what he was, he recalled sorrowfully 


what he had been, and comprehended by cruel ex- 
perience what feebleness could make of a Most Chris- 
tian King and eldest son of the Church, an heir of 
Louis XIV. He thought of the many brave men, 
victims of his political errors, who on his account had 
suffered exile and ruin ; of the faithful royalists men- 
aced, because of him, with prison and death. He 
thought of the incessantly repeated crimes, the mas- 
sacres of the Glaci^re, the impunity of the brigands 
of " headsman " Jourdan, of Brissac's incarceration. 
This is what it is, he said within himself, to have suf- 
fered religion to be persecuted and to have believed 
that, were the altar once overthrown, the throne might 
rest secure. He reproached himself bitterly for hav- 
ing sanctioned the civil organization of the clergy at 
the close of 1790, and thus drawn upon himself the 
censure of the Sovereign Pontiff. He wanted to be 
done with concessions, but he understood perfectly 
that it was too late now to resist, and that he was 
irrevocably lost in consequence of events undesired 
and unforeseen. 

What was to be done ? How could he sail against 
the stream ? Where find a point of vantage ? Ought 
he to take violent measures ? If the unhappy King 
had been alone, perhaps he might have tried to do so. 
But he feared to endanger his wife and children by 
thus acting. 

As if to push the wretched monarch to extremities, 
the National Assembly passed two decrees which 
struck him to the heart. According to the first of 


these, voted May 19, any ecclesiastic having refused 
the oath to the civil constitution of the clergy, could 
be transported at the simple request of twenty citi- 
zens of the canton in which he resided. According 
to the second, voted June 8, a camp of twenty thou- 
sand federates, recruited from every canton of the 
realm, were to be assembled before Paris, in order, 
as was said in one of the preambles, " to take every 
hope from the enemies of the common weal who are 
scheming in the interior." 

They had counted too much on the King's patience. 
He could not resolve to sanction the two decrees, and 
banish the ecclesiastics whose behavior he honored. 
Dumouriez afflicted him still further, when, in entreat- 
ing him to yield, he asked why he had sanctioned, 
at the close of 1790, the decree obliging the clergy 
to take oath to the civil constitution of the clergy. 
" Sire," said he, " you sanctioned the decree for the 
priests' oath, and it is to that your veto must be ap- 
plied. If I had been one of your counsellors at the 
time, I would, at the risk of my life, have advised 
you to refuse your sanction. Now my opinion is that 
having, as I dare to say, committed the fault of 
approving this decree, which has produced enormous 
evils, your veto, if you apply it to the second decree, 
which may arrest the deluge of blood ready to flow, 
will burden your conscience with all the crimes to 
which the people are tending." Never had a sover- 
eign's conscience been a prey to similar perplexities. 
Louis XVI. seemed crushed beneath an irresistible 


fatality. The Tuileries, haunted night and day by 
the spectre of Charles I., assumed a dismal air. At 
this period a sort of stupor characterized the counte- 
nance, the gait, and even the silence of the future 
victim of January 21. He no longer spoke; one might 
say he no longer thought. He seemed prostrated, 

A rumor got about that he had become almost 
imbecile through care and trouble, so much so that 
he did not recognize his son, but on seeing him 
approach, had asked : " What child is that ? " It was 
added that while out walking he caught sight of the 
steeple of Saint Denis from the top of the hill, and 
cried out : " That is where I shall be on my birthday." 
He had been so calumniated, so misunderstood, so out- 
raged, that not merely his crown but his existence 
had become an intolerable burden to him. His throne 
and his life alike disgusted him. He was no longer 
a King, but only the ghost of one. 

Madame Campan thus describes him : " At this 
period the King fell into a discouragement amounting 
to physical prostration. For ten days together he 
never uttered a word, even in the bosom of his fam- 
ily, except when the game of backgammon, which he 
played with Madame Elisabeth after dinner, obliged 
him to pronounce some indispensable words. The 
Queen drew him out of this condition, so fatal at a crit- 
ical time when every minute may necessitate action, 
by throwing herself at his feet and addressing him 
sometimes in words intended only to frighten him, 


and at others expressing her affection for him. She 
demanded, also, what he owed to his family, and went 
so far as to say that if they must perish, it ought to 
be with honor, and without waiting to be strangled 
one after another on the floor of their apartment." 

While Louis XVI. assisted unmoved, not merely 
like Charles V. at his own obsequies, but at those of 
royalty, the blood of Maria Theresa was boiling in 
the veins of Marie Antoinette. The scenes she 
had witnessed sometimes extorted sobs and cries of 
anguish from her. Her pride revolted at seeing the 
royal mantle, crown, and sceptre dragged through the 
mire. She wanted to struggle to the last, to hope 
against all hope, to cling to the last chances of safety 
like a shipwrecked sailor to the fragments of lys ship. 
Who could say? She might find defenders where 
she least expected them. It was for this reason that 
she wished to meet Dumouriez, as she had met Mira- 
beau and Barnave. Dumouriez has preserved the 
details of this interview in his Memoirs. 

How times had changed! Secrecy was almost 
necessary if one sought the honor of speaking with 
the Queen of France. Even to salute her was to 
expose one's self to the suspicion of belonging to the 
pretended Austrian committee which was the per- 
petual object of popular invective. When Louis 
XVI. told Dumouriez that the Queen desired a pri- 
vate interview with him, the minister was not at all 
well pleased. He thought it a useless step which 
might be misinterpreted by all parties. However, 


he must needs obey. He had received an order to 
go down to the Queen an hour before the meeting of 
the Council. That it might be tlie sooner over, he 
took the precaution of going half an hour late to this 
perilous rendezvous. He had been presented to 
Marie Antoinette on the day of his nomination as 
minister. She had then addressed him several 
words, asking him to serve the King well, and he 
had replied with a respectful phrase. Since then 
he had not seen her. When he entered her room, 
he found the Queen alone, very much flushed, and 
pacing to and fro in an agitation which promised a 
lively interview. She approached him with an air 
of majestic irritation : " Sir ! " she exclaimed, " you 
are all-powerful at this moment, but it is by the favor 
of the people, who soon break their idols. Your 
existence depends upon your conduct." Dumouriez 
insisted on the necessity of scrupulously respecting 
the Constitution, which Marie Antoinette was unwill- 
ing to do. " It will not last," she said, raising her 
voice ; " take care of yourself ! " — " Madame," re- 
plied the minister, " I am past fifty ; I have encoun- 
tered many perils during my life, and in entering 
the ministry, I thoroughly understood that respon- 
sibility was not the greatest of my dangers." — 
" Nothing was wanting but to calumniate me," cried 
the Queen, tears flowing from her eyes; "you seem 
to think me capable of having you assassinated." 
Agitated as greatly as the sovereign, " God pre- 
serve me," said Dumouriez, " from offering you so 


grievous an offence ! Your Majesty's character is 
great and noble. You have given proofs of it which 
I admire and which have attached me to you." Marie 
Antoinette grew calmer. " Believe me, Madame," 
went on the minister ; " I have no interest in deceiv- 
ing you, and I abhor anarchy and crime as much as 
you do. . . . This^ is not, as you seem to think, a 
popular and transitory movement. It is the almost 
unanimous insurrection of a great nation against 
inveterate abuses. The conflagration is stirred up by 
great parties, and there are scoundrels and fools in 
all of them. I behold nothing in the Revolution but 
the King and the nation as a whole ; all that tends 
to separate them leads to their mutual ruin; I am 
doing all I can to reunite them, and it is your part 

to aid me. Tj'J_aiTT_nTwiWaj^,1p fn ynur^ dp^igns^^y 

SO, and I will at once offer niy_resignatiQn_jto„th& 
. ^ng, a nd go intojuCQr ner to bewa il_th&-iate-Qf my 
country and your own." The interview ended ami- 
caBlyT The C^ueen arid the minister talked over the 
different factions. Dumouriez spoke to Marie Antoi- 
nette of the faults and crimes of each ; he tried to 
convince her that she was misled by those who 
surrounded her, and the Queen appeared to be 
convinced. When he was obliged to call her atten- 
tion to the clock, as the hour for the Council had 
arrived, she dismissed him most affably. 

If we may credit Madame Campan, who has also 
given an account of this interview, the impression 
Marie Antoinette received from it was scarcely a 


good one. " One day," says Madame Campan, " I 
found the Queen extremely troubled. She said she 
no longer knew where she stood ; whether the Jaco- 
bin chiefs were making overtures to her through 
Dumouriez, or Dumouriez, abandoning the Jacobins, 
was acting on his own account ; that she had given 
him an audience ; that, when alone with her, he had 
fallen at her feet and said that although he had 
pulled the red bonnet down to his ears, yet he was 
not and could not be a Jacobin ; that the Revolution 
had been allowed to fall into the hands of a rabble 
of disorganizers who, seeking only for pillage, were 
capable of everything, and could furnish the Assem- 
bly with a formidable army, ready to undermine the 
support of a throne already too much shaken. While 
speaking with extreme warmth, he had seized the 
Queen's hand, and, kissing it with transport, cried, 
' Permit yourself to be saved ! ' The Queen said to 
me that the protestations of a traitor could not be 
believed, and that his entire conduct was so well 
known that undoubtedly the wisest thing would be 
not to trust him." 

Meantime, the danger constantly increased. Even 
the gates of the Tuileries were no longer fastened. 
Hawkers of vile pamphlets and sanguinary satires on 
the Queen cried their infamous wares under the very 
windows of the palace ; and the National Assembly, 
sitting close beside, and hearing them — the National 
Assembly, terrorized by Jacobins and pikemen — 
dared not even censure such baseness. On June 4| 


a deputy named Ribes, till then unknown, cited from 
the tribune the titles of the following articles in 
Fr^ron's journal, V Orateur du Peuple : " The crowned 
porcupine, a constitutional animal who behaves un- 
constitutionally." — " Crimes of M. Capet since the 
Revolution." — " Decree to be passed forbidding the 
Queen to sleep with the King." — " The royal tigress, 
separated from her worthy spouse, to serve as a hos- 
tage." " Rouse up ! " cried the indignant deputy. 
" There is still time. Join with me in proclaiming 
war on traitors and justice for the seditious, and the 
country is safe ! " Ribes preached in the desert. 
The Assembly shrugged their shoulders and treated 
him as a fool. 

June 11, another deputy, M. Delsaux, said from 
the tribune : " Last evening, at half-past seven, pass- 
ing through the Tuileries, I saw an orator standing 
on a chair and speaking with great vehemence. Mix- 
ing with the crowd, I heard him read a libel strongly 
inciting to the King's assassination. This libel is 
called, 'The Fall of the Idol of the French,' and 
these sentences occur in it : ' This monster employs 
his power and his treasures to hinder our regenera- 
tion. A new Charles IX., he wishes to bring deso- 
lation and death to France. Go, cruel wretch ; thy 
crimes shall have an end. Damiens was less guilty. 
He was punished by most horrible tortures for having 
desired to deliver France from a monster. And thou, 
whose offences are twenty-five million times greater, 
art left unpunished ! But tremble, tyrant ; there is 
a Scsevola amongst us.' " 


The Assembly listened, but took no measures. 
No further restraint was placed either on moral or 
material disorder. Anarchy showed a nameless 
epileptic ferocity. Never had the press been more 
furious or licentious. It was a torrent of mud and 
gall and blood. The limits of invective and insult 
were driven further back. "You see that I am 
annoyed," said the Queen to Dumouriez in Louis 
XVI.'s presence ; " I dare not go to the window 
looking into the garden. Last evening, needing a 
breath of air, I showed myself at the window facing 
the courtyard. A gunner belonging to the guard 
apostrophized me in an insulting way, and added: 
' What pleasure it would give me to have your head 
on the end of my bayonet ! ' In that frightful garden 
a man standing on a chair reads out horrors against 
us on one side, and on the other may be seen a sol- 
dier or a priest whom they are dragging through a 
pond, and crushing with blows and insults. Mean- 
time, others are flying balloons or quietly strolling 
about. Ah ! what a place ! what a people ! " 


bolaitd's dismissal from office. 

IN the ministry, as elsewhere, discord reigned. At 
first, the ministers had seemed to be of one 
mind. They dined at each other's houses four times 
a week, on the days when there was a meeting of the 
Council. Friday was Roland's day for receiving his 
colleagues at his table, where his wife presided and 
perorated. " These dinners," says Etienne Dumont, 
"were often remarkable for their gaiety, of which 
no situation can deprive Frenchmen when they meet 
in society, and which was natural to men contented 
with themselves and flattered by their elevation. 
The future was hidden from them by the present. 
The cares of the ministry were forgotten. They 
seated themselves in their dwellings as if they were 
to abide there forever." This sort of political honey- 
moon could not last very long. Things presently 
began to change for the worse. Dumouriez tired 
very soon of Madame Roland's pretensions; she 
wanted to know, see, and direct everything, and he 
persisted in refusing to transform himself into a 
puppet whose strings were to be pulled by this 
woman and the Girondins. Madanie Roland, who 


posed as a puritan, caused remonstrances to be ad- 
dressed to Dumouriez on the subject of some more or 
less suspicious affairs, said to have been negotiated 
by Bonne-Carrere, the director at the Ministry of 
Foreign Affairs, by which Madame de Beauvert was 
supposed to have gained large sums. The wife of 
the Minister of the Interior had a grudge against 
the favorite of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. "She 
is Dumouriez's mistress," said she ; " she lives in his 
house and does the honors at his table, to the great 
scandal of sensible men, who are friendly to good 
morals and liberty. For this license on the part of 
a public man charged with State affairs marks 
too plainly his contempt for decorum ; and Madame 
de Beauvert, Rivarol's sister, very well and very 
unfavorably known, is surrounded by the tools of 
aristocracy, unworthy in all respects." One evening, 
after dinner, Roland, " with the gravity belonging to 
his age and character," as his wife says, gave a lec- 
ture on morality to the Minister of Foreign Affairs 
apropos of this matter. At first Dumouriez mad 
jesting replies, but afterwards showed temper and 
appeared displeased with his entertainers. There- 
after he seldom visited the Ministry of the Interior. 
Reflecting on this, Madame Roland said to her hus- 
band : " Though not a good judge of intrigue, I think 
worldly wisdom would dictate that the hour has 
come for getting rid of Dumouriez, if we wish to 
avoid being ruined by him. I know very well that 
you would be unwilling to lower yourself to such an 


action ; and yet it is plain that Dumouriez must be 
seeking to disembarrass himself of those whose cen- 
sure has offended him. When one undertakes to 
preach, and does so in vain, he must either punish or 
expect to be molested." 

Thenceforward, Madame Roland formed a distinct 
group within the ministry, composed of her husband, 
Claviere, and Servan, who had just replaced De Grave 
as Minister of War. While Dumouriez, Lacoste, and 
Duranton (whom Louis XVI. called " the good 
Duranton") allowed themselves to be affected by 
the King's goodness, and sincerely wished to save 
him, their three colleagues, inspired by the spiteful 
Madame Roland, had but one idea : to destroy him. 
" Roland, Claviere, and Servan," says Dumouriez in 
his Memoirs, "no longer observed any moderation, 
not merely with their colleagues, but with the King 
himself. At every meeting of the Council they 
abused the mildness of this prince, in order to 
mortify and kill him with pin-pricks." 

It was Servan who proposed forming a camp of 
twenty thousand federates around Paris. He thought 
it would be a sort of central revolutionary army, 
analogous to that English parliamentary army under 
command of Cromwell, which had brought Charles I. 
to the scaffold. "Servan, a very wicked naan and 
most inimical to the King," says Dumouriez again, 
"took the notion to write to the President of the 
Assembly, without consulting his colleagues, and 
propose a decree for assembling an army of twenty 


thousand men around Paris. This was at the time 
when the Girondin faction was at the height of its 
power, having the Jacobins at their command, and 
governing Paris through Potion. They wanted to 
destroy the Feuillants, perhaps at the sword's point, 
to put down the court, and probably to begin putting 
their republican projects into execution. Thus it was 
this faction which brought to Paris the federates 
who ended by causing every one of them to perish 
on the scaffold after making Louis XVI. ascend it." 
Dumouriez was indignant that the Minister of War 
should have taken it on himself to propose such a 
decree without even mentioning it to the sovereign. 
The dispute on this matter was so violent that, but 
for the presence of the King, the meeting of the 
Council might have come to a bloody close. Louis 
XVI., deeply grieved by such scandals, resolved to 
dismiss the three ministers, who, instead of supporting 
him, were merely conspirators who had sworn his 

The anguish of the unhappy monarch had reached 
its height. Four councils were held without his 
returning the decrees submitted to him for considera- 
tion. The National Assembly grew impatient. The 
Jacobins were in a rage. At last the King con- 
cluded to take up in the Council the decree relative 
to the camp of twenty thousand federates. " I 
think," said Dumouriez, " that the decree is danger- 
ous to the nation, the King, the National Assembly, 
and above all to its authors, whose chastisement it 


will turn out to be ; and yet, Sire, it is my opinion 
that you cannot refuse it. It was proposed by 
profound malice, debated with fury, and decreed 
with enthusiasm; everybody is blinded. If you 
veto it, it will none the less be passed." The hesi- 
tation of Louis XVI. redoubled. As to the decree 
concerning the clergy, he declared that he would 
never sanction it. This was the only time that 
Dumouriez ever saw " the character of this gentle 
soul somewhat changed for the worse." 

Meanwhile, Madame Roland, more impatient and 
vindictive than ever, wrote the famous letter supposed 
to issue from her husband, which was to echo in the 
ears of royalty like a funeral knell. She says of it : — 

" The letter was written at one stroke, like nearly 
all matters of the sort which I have done ; for, to feel 
the necessity, the fitness of a thing, to apprehend its 
good effect, to desire to produce it, and to give form 
to the object from which this effect should result, was 
to me but a single operation." 

This letter, a veritable arraignment of the King, 
was much more like a club speech or a newspaper 
article than a letter from a minister of state to his 
sovereign. Such sentences as these pccur in it : 
" Sire, the existing state of things in France cannot 
long continue ; it is a crisis whose violence is attain- 
ing its highest point; it must end by an outbreak 
which should interest Your Majesty as seriously as 
it affects the entire kingdom. ... It is no longer 
possible to draw back. The Revolution is accom- 


plished in men's minds ; it will end in blood and be 
cemented by blood if wisdom does not avert the evils 
whicli it is still possible to prevent. . . . Yet a little 
more delay, and the afflicted people will behold in 
their King the friend and accomplice of conspirators. 
Just Heaven ! hast Thou stricken with blindness the 
powerful of this earth, and will they never heed other 
counsels than those which drag them to destruction I 
I know that the austere language of truth is rarely 
welcomed near the throne ; I know, also, that it is 
because it so rarely obtains a hearing there that 
revolutions become necessary ; I know, above all, 
that I am bound to employ it to Your Majesty, not 
merely as a citizen submissive to the law, but as a 
minister honored with your confidence, or vested 
with functions which imply this." 

The letter also contained a defence of the two de- 
crees, and plainly threatened Louis XVI., should he 
veto them, with the horrors of a civil war which 
would develop " that sombre energy, mother of vir- 
tues and of crimes, which is always fatal to those who 
have evoked it ! " Was not Madame Roland here 
announcing the September massacres, and the heinous 
crimes of which she herself was speedily to become 
one of the most celebrated victims ? 

At first Roland sent this letter to the King, with a 
promise that it should always remain a secret be- 
tween them. But, incited by the vanity of his wife, 
who was incessantly urging him on to notoriety and 
display, Roland did not keep this promise. He read 


the letter at the next meeting of the Council, June 
11. " The King," says Dumouriez, " listened to this 
impudent diatribe with admirable patience, and said 
with the greatest coolness: 'M. Roland, you had 
already sent me your letter; it was unnecessary to 
read it to the Council, as it was to remain a secret 
between ourselves.' " Dumouriez was summoned to 
the palace the following morning, June 12. He 
found the King in his own room, accompanied by the 
Queen. " Do you think. Monsieur," said Marie An- 
toitiette, " that the King ought to submit any longer 
to the threats and insolence of Roland and the 
knaverj'^ of Servan and Clavidre ? " — " No, Madame," 
he replied ; " I am indignant at them ; I admire the 
King's patience, and I venture to ask him to make an 
entire change in his ministry. Let him dismiss us 
on the spot, and appoint men belonging to neither 
party." — " That is not my intention," said Louis 
XVI. " I wish you to remain, as well as Lacoste 
and that good man, Duranton. Do me the service 
of ridding me of these three factious and insolent 
persons, for my patience is exhausted." — "It is a 
dangerous matter. Sire, but I will do it." As a 
condition of remaining in the ministry, Dumouriez 
exacted the sanction of the two decrees. There was 
another ministerial council the same evening. Roland, 
Servan, and Clavi^re were more insolent and acrimo- 
nious than usual. Louis XVI. closed the session 
with mingled dissatisfaction and dignity. 

At eight o'clock that evening (June 12), Servan, 


the Minister of War, went to Madame Roland and 
said: "Congratulate me! I have been turned out." — ■ 
" I am much piqued," replied she, " that you should 
be the first to receive that honor, but I hope it will 
not be long before it will be decreed to my husband 
also." Madame Roland's prayer was granted. The 
virtuous Minister of the Interior received his letters 
of dismissal the next morning. As Duranton, who 
delivered it at the Ministry of Justice, was slowly 
drawing it from his pocket, — 

" You make us wait for our liberty," said Roland ; 
and, taking the letter, he added, " In reality that is 
what it is." Then he went home to his wife to 
announce to her that he was no longer minister. 

Madame Roland, with the instinct of hatred, saw 
at once how to obtain revenge. " One thing remains 
to be done," she cried; "we must be the first to com- 
municate the news to the Assembly, sending them 
at the same time a copy of the letter to the King 
which must have caused it." This idea pleased the 
ex-minister highly, and he put it instantly into exe- 
cution. " I was conscious," says the irascible Egeria 
of the Girondins in her Memoirs, " of all the effects 
this might produce, and I was not deceived; my 
double object was attained, and both utility and glory 
attended the retirement of my husband. I had not 
been proud of his entering the ministry, but I was of 
his leaving it." Thenceforward Madame Roland was 
to be the most indefatigable cause of the Revolution, 
and Louis XVI. was to learn by experience what the 
vengeance of a woman can accomplish. 


A THREE days' MmiSTEY. 

DUMOURIEZ had taken the portfolio of war. 
He kept it three days only. But during 
those three days what activity! what excitement! 
More than fifteen hundred signatures affixed, instruc- 
tions sent to all the generals, a most tumultuous ses- 
sion of the National Assembly, a last effort to induce 
Louis XVI. to make further concessions, a resigna- 
tion which was to be the signal for catastrophes. 
How the scenes of the drama multiply ! How the 
denouement is accelerated! 

The session at which Dumouriez was to appear for 
the first time as Minister of War could not fail to be 
singular. It took place June 13, 1792, and from ten 
o'clock in the morning all the galleries had been 
crowded. The Jacobins had filled them with their 
satellites. The Girondins had prepared a dramatic 
surprise. The three ex-ministers were to be brought 
into the chamber under pretext of explaining the 
causes of their dismissal. It was agreed that they 
should be received as victims of the aristocracy and 
martyrs of the Revolution. Roland's letter — say, 
rather, his wife's letter — to Louis XVI. was read to 


the Assembly and frequently interrupted by loud 
bursts of applause. Just as it was finished, and some 
one was demanding that it should be sent to all the 
eighty-three departments, Dumouriez entered the hall. 
Murmurs and hisses arose on all sides. The Assem- 
bly voted the despatch of the letter to the depart- 
ments. A deputy exclaimed : " It will be a famous 
document in the history of the Revolution and of 
the ministers." The Assembly went on to declare 
that Roland was followed by the regrets of the 
nation. Then Dumouriez ascended the tribune and 
read a message in which M. Lafayette announced the 
death of M. de Gouvion. He had been major-general 
of the National Guard, and, having quitted the 
Assembly rather than be present at the triumph of 
the Swiss of Chateauvieux, had met his death bravely 
in the Army of the North. " A cannon-ball," said 
the message, "has terminated a virtuous life." The 
Assembly was affected, and voted complimentary 
condolences to the father of the heroic officer. 

Afterwards, Dumouriez read his report on military 
affairs. It was a long criticism on the legislators 
who had ordered a new levy of troops before provid- 
ing the existing corps with their full complements ; 
on the muster-masters, the standing committees, 
and the market-contractors, who were piling up 
abuses. Dumouriez complained of everything; he 
reproached the factions, and insisted on the consid- 
eration due to ministers. Guadet thundered out: 
" Do you hear him ? He already thinks himself so 


sure of power that lie takes it on him to give us 
advice." — "And why not?" resumed the minister, 
turning toward the side of the Mountain.^ This bold 
response astonished the most furious. Some one 
said: "The document is not signed. Let him sign 
it ! Let him sign it ! " Dumouriez called for pen 
and ink, signed his memoir, and went to lay it on the 
desk. Then he slowly crossed the hall and went 
quietly out by the door beneath the Mountain, with 
a haughty glance at his adversaries. His martial 
attitude disconcerted them. The shouts and hoot- 
ings ceased, and complete silence ensued. On leav- 
ing the Assembly, Dumouriez was surrounded by a 
group of persons before the door of the Feuillants, 
but their faces displayed no signs of anger toward 
him. As soon as he quitted the Assembly, his 
enemies, no longer intimidated by his presence, 
redoubled their attacks. Three or four deputies left 
the Chamber, and making their way to him through 
the crowd, said : " They are raising the devil inside ; 
they would like to send you to Orleans." (It was 
there the Duke de Brissac was imprisoned and the 
Superior Court held its sessions.) " So much the bet- 
ter," replied Dumouriez ; " I would take the baths, 
drink butter-milk, and rest myself." This sally 
amused the crowd, and the minister as he entered the 
Tuileries garden, said to the deputies who followed 
him : " It will be a mistake for my enemies to have 

1 The advanced republican party in the Assembly. 


my memoir printed, for it will bring all good citizens 
back to me. At present, being drunk and crazy, you 
have just extolled Roland's infamous perfidy to the 
skies." Then he went to the palace. Louis XVI. 
complimented him on his firmness, but absolutely 
refused to sanction the decree against the priests. 

Far from ameliorating, the situation continued to 
grow worse. Potion's emissaries stirred up the in- 
habitants of the faubourgs. That evening Dumou- 
riez sent a letter to the King announcing that a riot 
was apprehended. Louis XVI. suspected that the 
minister was lying, and wrote to him: "Do not 
believe, Monsieur, that any one can succeed in 
frightening me by threats ; my resolution is taken." 
Dumouriez had based his entire scheme on the hypoth- 
esis that the decree concerning the priests would 
be accepted by the King. From the moment that 
Louis XVI. rejected it, Dumouriez no longer hoped 
to remain in the ministry. He wrote again, implor- 
ing the sovereign to give it his sanction, and an- 
nouncing that, in case of his refusal, the ministers 
would all feel obliged to retire. The next day, June 
15, the King received them in his chamber. "Are 
you still," said he to Dumouriez, " in the same sen- 
timents expressed in your letter last evening ? " — 
" Yes, Sire, if Your Majesty will not permit yourself 
to be moved by our fidelity and attachment." — 
" Very well," replied Louis XVI., with a gloomy air, 
" since your decision is made, I accept your resigna- 
tion and will provide for it." Dumouriez was no 


longer a minister. In his Memoirs he describes him- 
self as much affected, "not on account of quitting 
a dangerous post, which simply made his existence 
disturbed and painful, but because he saw all his 
trouble thrown away, and the King handed over to 
the fury of cruel enemies and the criminal indiscre- 
tion of false friends." 

At bottom, Dumouriez inspired nobody with confi- 
dence. He belonged to no party, and no one knew 
his opinions. He had leaned on both Jacobins and 
Girondins, while at the same time he was inspiring 
certain hopes in the Feuillants, and flattering the King, 
to whom he promised signs and wonders. Too revolu- 
tionary for the conservatives and too conservative for 
the revolutionists, he had tried a see-saw policy 
which would no longer answer. It became indispen- 
sable to make a choice. It was impossible to please 
both the Jacobins and the court. 

And yet Dumouriez was a man of resources, and 
it is much to be regretted, on the King's account, 
that no better understanding could be arrived at 
between them. More successfully than any one else, 
Dumouriez might have resorted to bold measures and 
called in at this time the intervention of the army, 
as he did several years later. He loved money and 
rank ; royalty still excited a great prestige over him, 
and he had used the Revolution as a means, not as 
an end. 

Could Louis XVI. have pretended patience for a 
few days longer, perhaps he might have extricated 


himself from diiRculties which, though grave, were 
still not insoluble. He did not choose his hour for 
resistance wisely. It was either too late or too soon. 
The dismission of Dumouriez was a blunder. At 
what moment did Louis XVI. elect to deprive him- 
self of his minister's aid? That very one when, 
attacked by the Girondins, exasperated by Roland's 
conduct, and disgusted with the progress of anarchy, 
the force of circumstances was about to toss Dumou- 
riez back to the side of the reactionists. The 
camp of twenty thousand men, if confided to safe 
hands, and secret service money judiciously em- 
ployed, might have become the nucleus of a mon- 
archical resistance. Lafayette and his partisans were 
becoming conservative, and between him and Dumou- 
riez agreement was not impossible. Louis XVI. 
was in too great a hurry. His conscience revolted at 
an unfortunate moment. Why, if he was bent on 
this veto, so just, so honest, but so ill-timed, had he 
freely made so many concessions which thus became 
inexplicable ? In rejecting the offers of Dumouriez, 
the Queen possibly deprived herself of her only 
remaining support. He who saved France in the 
Passes of Argonne might, had he gained the entire 
confidence of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette, 
have saved the King and royalty. 

Dumouriez had a final interview with Louis XVI., 
June 18. The King received him in his chamber. 
He had resumed his kindly air, and when the ex- 
minister had shown him the accounts of the last 


fortnight, lie complimented him on their clearness. 
Afterwards, the following conversation took place : 
" Then you are going to join Luckner's army ? " — 
" Yes, Sire, I leave this frightful city with delight ; I 
have but one regret; you are in danger here." — 
"Yes, that. is certain." — "Well, Sire, you can no 
longer fancy that I have any personal interest to 
nonsuit in talking with you ; once having left your 
Council, I shall never again approach you ; it is 
through fidelity and the purest attachment that I 
dare once more entreat you, by your love for your 
country, your safety and that of your crown, by your 
august spouse and your interesting children, not to 
persist in the fatal resolution of vetoing the two 
decrees. This persistence will do no good, and you 
will ruin yourself by it." — " Don't say any more 
about it; my decision is made." — "Ah! Sire, you 
said the same thing when, in this very room, and in 
presence of the Queen, you gave me your word to 
sanction them." — "I was wrong, and I repent of it." 
— " Sire, I shall never see you again ; pardon my 
frankness ; I am fifty-three, and I have some expe- 
rience. It was not then that you were wrong, but 
now. Your conscience is abused concerning this 
decree against the priests ; you are being forced into 
civil war ; you are helpless, and you will be over- 
thrown, and history, though it may pity you, will 
reproach you with having caused all the misfortunes 
of France. On your account, I fear your friends 
still more than your enemies." — " God is my witness 


that I wish for nothing but the welfare of France." 
— "I do not doubt it, Sire ; but you will have to 
account to God, not solely for the purity but also for 
the enlightened execution of your intentions. You 
expect to save religion, and you destroy it. The 
priests will be massacred and your crown torn from 
you. Perhaps even your wife, your children ..." 
Emotion prevented Dumouriez from going on. Tears 
stood in his eyes. He kissed the hand of Louis XVI. 
respectfully. The King wept also, and for a moment 
both were silent. "Sire," resumed Dumouriez, "if 
all Frenchmen knew you as well as I do, our woes 
would soon be ended. Do you desire the welfare *of 
France ? Very well ! That demands the sacrifice of 
your scruples . . . You are still master of your fate. 
Your soul is guiltless; believe a man exempt from 
passion and prejudice, and who has always told you 
the truth." — "I expect my death," replied Louis 
XVI. sadly, " and I forgive them for it in advance. 
I thank you for your sensibility. You have served 
me well ; I esteem you, and if a happier time shall 
ever come, I will prove it to you." With these words 
the King rose sadly, and went to a window at the 
end of the apartment. Dumouriez gathered up his 
papers slowly, in order to gain time to compose his 
features ; he was unwilling to let his emotion become 
evident to the persons at the door as he went out. 
" Adieu," said the King kindly, " and be happy ! " 

As he was leaving, he met his friend Laporte, in- 
tendant of the civil list. The two, who were meeting 


for the last time, went into another room and closed 
the door. " You advised me to resign," said Laporte, 
" and I meant to do so, but I have changed my mind. 
My master is in danger, and I will share his fate." — 
" If I were in the personal service of the King, as you 
are," replied Dumouriez, " I would think and act the 
same ; I esteem your devotion, and love you the more 
for it ; each of us is faithful in his own way ; you, to 
Louis ; I, to the King of the French. May both of 
us felicitate him some day on his happiness ! " Then 
the two friends separated, after embracing each other 
with tears. 

The sole thought of Dumouriez now was to escape 
from the city where he had witnessed so many in- 
trigues and been so often deceived. He was very 
sorrowful at heart. Ordinarily so gay, so brilliant, 
so full of Gallic and Rabelaisian wit, power had made 
him melancholy. His ministerial life left on him 
an abiding impression of bitterness and repugnance. 
" One needs," he has said, " either a patriotism equal 
to any test, or else an insatiable ambition, to aspire 
in any way whatever after those difficult positions 
where one is surrounded with snares and calumnies. 
One learns only too soon that men are not worth the 
trouble one takes to govern them." June 19, he 
wrote to the Assembly, asking an authorization to 
repair to the Army of the North. "I have spent 
thirty-six years in military and diplomatic service, 
and have twenty-two wounds," said he in this letter ; 
" I envy the fate of the virtuous Gouvion, and should 


esteem myself happy if a cannon-ball could, put an end 
to all differences concerning me." He never again 
returned either to the palace, the Assembly, or any 
other place where he might encounter either minis- 
ters, deputies, or persons belonging to the court. He 
started for the army, June 26, regarding it as " the 
only asylum where an honest man might still be safe. 
At least, death presents itself there under the attrac- 
tive aspect of glory." He left in the capital "con- 
sternation, suspicion, hatred, which pierced through 
the frivolity of the wretched Parisians." With an 
intuition worthy of a man of genius, he foresaw the 
vicious circle about to be described by French history, 
and divined that by plunging into license men return 
inevitably to servitude, because "it is impossible to 
sustain liberty with an absurd government, founded 
on barbarity, terror, and the subversion of every prin- 
ciple necessary to the maintenance of human society." 
Two years later, in 1794, he wrote in his Memoirs : 
" The serpent will recoil upon itself. His tail, 
which is anarchy, will re-enter his throat, which is 



ON retiring from the ministry, Dumouriez left his 
successors a burden far too heavy for their 
shoulders, and under which they were to succumb. 
The new ministers, Lajard, Terrier de Montciel, and 
Chambonas, were almost unknown men who had no 
definite, decided opinions, and offered no resistance 
to disorder: for that matter, they had no means of 
doing so. The political system then in power had 
left Paris a helpless prey to sedition. By the new 
laws, the executive power could take no direct action 
looking to the preservation of public order in any 
French commune. Any minister or departmental 
administration that should adopt a police regulation 
or give a commander to armed forces, would be 
guilty of betraying a trust. The power to prevent 
or repress disorder belonged exclusively to the munic- 
ipal authority, which, in Paris, was composed of a 
mayor, sixteen administrators, thirty-two municipal 
councillors, a council-general of ninety-six notables, 
an attorney-general and his two substitutes. This 
body of 148 members was the redoubtable power 
known as the Commune of Paris. It was not com- 


posed entirely of seditious persons, and in the Na- 
tional Guard, also, there were still battalions fervently- 
devoted to the constitutional monarchy. But Potion 
was mayor of Paris ; Manuel, the attorney-general, 
and Danton his substitute. Seditious movements 
were sure to find instigators and accomplices in these 
three men. 

Moreover, the insurrection was regularly organized. 
It had its muster-rolls, its oificers, sergeants, soldiers ; 
its strategy and plans of battle. It utilized wine- 
shops as guard-houses, the faubourgs as barracks, the 
red bonnet and the carmagnole, or revolutionary 
jacket, as a uniform. Its agitators distributed wine, 
beer, and brandy gratuitously. The Jacobins or the 
Cordeliers had but to give the signal for a riot, and a 
riot sprang out of the ground. The mine was loaded ; 
the only question was when to fire the train. The 
Girondins were of one mind with the Jacobins. Exas- 
perated by the dismissal of three ministers who shared 
their opinions, they wanted to intimidate the court 
by means of a popular tumult, and thus force the 
unhappy sovereign to sanction the two decrees, con- 
cerning the deportation of priests and the camp of 
twenty thousand men. The populace already mani- 
fested their restlessness by threats and strange 
rumors. At the Jacobin Club the most violent prop- 
ositions were mooted. Some wanted to establish a 
minority, on the ground of the King's mental aliena- 
tion ; some, to send the Queen back to Austria ; the 
more moderate talked of suppressing the army, dis- 


missing the staff-officers of the National Guard, 
depriving the King of the right of veto, and electing 
a Constituent Assembly. Revolutionary conventicles 
multiplied beyond all measure. The division of 
Paris into forty-eight sections became an exhaustless 
source of confusion. The assembly of each section 
transformed itself into a club. 

Meanwhile, the moderate party rested all its hopes 
on Lafayette, who was friendly not only to liberty, but 
to order. He considered himself the founder of the 
new monarchy, of constitutional royalty ; but, for 
that very reason, he felt that he had duties toward 
the King. Despising the reactionists, whose hopes 
were more or less enlisted on behalf of the foreign 
armies, he also detested the Jacobins who were dis- 
honoring and compromising the new order of things. 
He expresses both sentiments in a letter addressed 
to the National Assembly, and written from the 
intrenched camp of Maubeuge, June 16, 1792, the 
Fourth Year of Liberty : " Can you conceal from 
yourselves," he says in it, " that a faction, and to use 
plain terms, the Jacobin faction, has caused all these 
disorder ? I make the accusation boldly. Organized 
like a separate empire, with its capital and its affil- 
iations blindly directed by certain ambitious chiefs, 
this sect forms a distinct body in the midst of the 
French people, whose powers it usurps by subjugating 
its representatives and agents. In its public meet- 
ings, attachment to the laws is named aristocracy, 
and disobedience to them patriotism ; there the assas- 


sins of Desilles are received in triumph, and Jourdan's 
insensate clamor finds panegyrists ; there the story of 
the assassinations which defiled the city of Metz is 
still greeted with infernal applause." 

Lafayette puts himself courageously forward in 
his letter : " As to me, gentlemen, who espoused the 
American cause at the very time when the ambassa- 
dors assured me it was lost ; who, from that period, 
devoted myself to a persistent defence of the liberty 
and sovereignty of peoples ; who, on June 11, 1789, 
in presenting a declaration of rights to my country, 
dared to say, 'For a nation to be free, all that is 
necessary is that it shall will to be so,' I come 
to-day, full of confidence in the justice of our cause, 
of scorn for the cowards who desert it, and of indig- 
nation against the traitors who would sully it; I 
come to declare that the French nation, if it be not 
the vilest in the universe, can and ought to resist the 
conspiracy of kings which has been leagued against 
it." At the same time, the general enthusiastically 
praised his soldiers : " Doubtless it is not within the 
bosom of my brave army that sentiments of timid- 
ity are permissible. Patriotism, energy, discipline, 
patience, mutual confidence, all civic and military 
virtues, I find here. Here the principles of liberty 
and equality are cherished, the laws respected, and 
property held sacred; here, neither calumnies nor 
seditions are known." 

Including both revolutionists and reactionists in 
the same accusation, Lafayette makes this reflection : 


" What a remarkable conformity of language exists, 
gentlemen, between those seditious persons acknowl- 
edged by the aristocracy, and those who usurp the 
name of patriots ! All are alike ready to repeal our 
laws, to rejoice in disorders, to rebel against the 
authorities granted by the people, to detest the 
National Guard, to preach indiscipline to the army, 
and almost to disseminate distrust and discourage- 
ment." Lafayette concludes in these words : " Let the 
royal power be intact, for it is guaranteed by the Con- 
stitution ; let it be independent, for this independence 
is one of the forces of our liberty ; let the King be 
revered, for he is invested with the national majesty ; 
let him choose a ministry unhampered by the yoke of 
any faction; if conspirators exist, let them perish 
only by the sword of law; finally, let the reign of 
clubs, brought to nothing by you, give place to the 
reign of law ; their disorganizing maxims to the true 
principles of liberty ; their delirious fury to the calm 
courage of a nation which knows its rights and which 
defends them ! " 

Lafayette's letter was read to the Assembly at the 
session of June 18. The noble thoughts it expresses 
produced at first a favorable impression, and it was 
greeted with much applause. For an instant the 
Girondins were disconcerted ; but, feeling themselves 
supported by the Jacobins who lined the galleries, 
they soon resumed the offensive. "What does the 
advice of the general of the army amount to," said 
Vergniaud, " if it is not law ? " Guadet maintained 


that the letter must be apocryphal. " When Crom- 
well used such language," said he, " liberty was at an 
end in England, and I cannot persuade myself that 
the emulator of Washington desires to imitate the 
conduct of the Protector. We no longer have a 
constitution if a general can give us laws." The 
allusion to Cromwell produced its effect. The letter, 
instead of being published and copies sent to the 
eighty-three departments, was merely referred to a 

Nevertheless, public opinion was aroused. A 
reactionary sentiment against the Jacobins began to 
show itself. The King might have profited by it, 
and found his account in relying upon Lafayette, 
the army, and the National Guard. But Louis XVI. 
was in too much haste. His resistance, like his con- 
cessions, was maladroit and inopportune. Without 
having combined his means of defence, consulted 
with Lafayette, or having any troops at his disposal, 
he vetoed the two famous decrees, June 19, and thus 
threw himself headlong into the snare. The Revolu- 
tion, which had lain in wait for him, would not let 
its prey escape. It gave Lafayette no time to arrive, 
but, without losing a minute, organized an insurrec- 
tion for the next day. The royal tree had been so 
violently shaken, that it needed, or so they thought, 
but one more shock to lay it low and root it out. 

On June 16, a request had been presented to the 
Council-General of the Commune, asking them to 
authorize the citizens of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine 


to assemble in arms on June 20, the anniversary of 
the oath of the Jeu de Paume^ and present a petition 
to the Assembly and the King. The Council had 
passed to the order of the day, but the petitioners 
declared that they would assemble notwithstanding. 
On the 19th, the Directory of the department, which 
on all occasions had shown itself inimical to agita- 
tors, and which was presided over by the Duke de La 
Rochefoucauld, issued an order forbidding all armed 
gatherings, and enjoining the commandant-general 
and the mayor to take all necessary measures for 
dispersing them. This order was communicated to 
the National Assembly by the Minister of the Interior 
at the evening session. 

" It is important," said a deputy, " that the Assem- 
bly should know the decrees of the administrative 
bodies when they tend to assure public tranquillity. 
Nobody is ignorant that at this moment the peo- 
ple are greatly agitated. Nobody is ignorant that 
to-morrow threatens to be a day of violence." Verg- 
niaud replied : " I do not know whether or not to-mor- 
row is to be a day of troubles, but I cannot understand 
how M. Becquet, who is always so constitutional" 
(here there was laughter and applause), "how M. 
Becquet, by an inversion of law and order, desires the 
National Assembly to occupy itself with police regula- 
tions." The decree of the Directory was read, never- 
theless. But the Assembly, far from supporting it, 
passed to the order of the day. The rioters had 
nothing to fear. 


During the same session, a deputation of citizens 
from Marseilles had been presented at the bar of 
the Assembly. The orator of this deputation thus 
expressed himself: "French liberty is in danger. 
The free men of the South are ready to march in its 
defence. The day of the people's wrath has come at 
last. The people, whom they have always sought to 
ruin or enslave, are tired of parrying blows. They 
want to inflict them, and to annihilate conspiracies. 
It is time for the people to rise. This lion, generous 
but enraged, is about to quit his repose, and spring 
upon the pack of conspirators." Here the galleries 
applauded furiously. The orator continued: "The 
popular force is your force ; employ it. No quarter, 
since you can expect none." The applause and 
enthusiastic cries of the galleries redoubled. Some- 
body demanded that the speech should be sent to the 
eighty-three departments of France. A deputy, M. 
Rouher, was courageous enough to exclaim : " It is 
not by the harangues of seditious persons that the 
departments should be instructed ! " Another dep- 
uty, M. Lecointre-Puyravaux, responded : " Is it sur- 
prising that men born under a burning sun should 
have a more ardent imagination and a patriotism 
more energetic than ours ? " The question whether 
the discourse should be sent to the departments was 
put to vote, and the president and secretaries declared 
that the Assembly had decided against it. This did 
not suit the public in the galleries. They howled, 
they vociferated. They claimed that the result was 


doubtful. They demanded a viva voce count. This 
demand alarmed those deputies who never dared to 
look the Revolution in the face. A new vote was 
taken, and this time, the sending of the address to 
the eightj^-three departments was decreed. With 
such an Assembly, why should the insurrectionists 
have hesitated? 

The rioters of the next day did not hesitate a 
moment. The order of the Directory had somewhat 
intimidated them. But Chabot, the deputy so cele- 
brated for his violence at the Jacobin Club, hastened 
to reassure them. " To-morrow," said he, " you will 
be received with open arms by the National Assem- 
bly. People count on you." The Faubourg Saint- 
Antoine was in commotion. Condorcet . said, in 
speaking of the anxieties expressed by the ministers : 
" Is it not fine to see the Executive asking legisla- 
tors to provide means of action! Let them save 
themselves ; that is their business ! " 

The Most Christian King is treated like the Divine 
Master. Potion, mayor of Paris, is to play the r61e 
of Pontius Pilate. He washes his hands of all that 
is to happen. He orders the battalions of National 
Guards under arms for the following day, not in 
order to oppose the march of the columns of the 
people, but to fraternize with the^ petitioners, and act 
as escort to the insurrection. This equivocal meas- 
ure, he thinks, will set him right with both the 
Directory and the populace. To one he says : " I 
am watching," and to the other, " I am with you." 


The rioters count on Potion as anarchy counts on 
weakness. He is precisely the magistrate that suits 
the faubourgs when they resort to violent measures. 
A last conventicle was held at the house of San- 
terre the brewer, chief of battalion of the National 
Guard of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, on the night 
of June 19-20. It broke up at midnight. All was 
ready. The leaders of the insurrection repaired 
each to his post. They summoned their loyal adher- 
ents, and sent them about in small detachments to 
assemble and mass together the working classes, as 
soon as they should leave their houses in the morn- 
ing. Santerre had declared that the National Guard 
could offer no opposition to the rioters. "Rest easy," 
said he to the conspirators ; " Potion will be there." 
Louis XYI. no longer feigned not to notice the dan- 
ger. " Who knows," said he during the night to M. 
de Malesherbes, with a melancholy smile, " who knows 
if I shall see the sun set to-morrow ? " 



IT is Wednesday, June 20, 1792, the anniversary 
of the oath of the Jeu de Paume. The signal 
is given. The faubourgs assemble. It is five in the 
morning. Santerre, on horseback, is at the Place 
de la Bastille, at the head of a popular staff. The 
army of rioters forms slowly. Some anxiety is 
shown at first. The departmental decree forbidding 
armed gatherings had been posted, and occasioned 
some reflection in the timid. But Santerre reassures 
them. He tells them that the National Guard will 
not be ordered to oppose their march, and that they 
may count on Potion's complicity. 

When the march toward the National Assembly 
begins, hardly more than fifteen hundred are in line. 
But the little band increases as it goes. The route 
lies through rues Saint-Antoine, de la Verrerie, des 
Lombards, de la Ferronnerie, and- Saint-Honor^. The 
procession is headed by soldiers, after whom comes 
a great poplar stretched upon a wagon. It is the 
Liberty tree. According to some, it is to be planted 
in the courtyard of the Riding School, opposite the 
Assembly chamber; according to others, on the 


terrace of the Tuileries, before the principal door of 
the palace. A military band plays the Ca ira, which 
is chanted in chorus by the insurrectionary troop. 
No obstacle impedes their march. The torrent swells 
incessantly. The inquisitive mingle with the ban- 
dits. Some are in uniform, some in rags ; there are 
soldiers, active and disabled, National Guards, work- 
men, and beggars. Harlots in dirty silk gowns join 
the contingent from studios, garrets, and robbers' 
dens, and gangs of ragpickers unite with butchers 
from the slaughter-houses. Pikes, lances, spits, 
masons' hammers, paviors' crowbars, kitchen utensils, 
— their equipment is oddity itself. 

It is noon. The session of the Assembly has just 
been opened. At this hour the throng, now number- 
ing some twenty thousand persons, enters the rue 
Saint-Honord. The Directory of the Department of 
Paris demands admission to the bar on pressing 
business, and the municipal attorney-general, Rce- 
derer, begins to speak. Heeding neither the mur- 
murs of the galleries, the disapprobation of part 
of the Assembly, nor the clamor sure to be raised 
against him that evening in the Jacobin and Cordelier 
clubs, he boldly announces what is going on. He 
reminds them of the law, and the decrees forbidding 
armed gatherings which have been issued by the 
Commune and the Department. He adds that, 
without such prohibitions, neither the authorities nor 
private individuals have any security for their lives. 
" We demand," cried he, " to be invested with com- 


plete responsibility ; we demand that our obligation 
to die for the maintenance of public tranquillity shall 
in nowise be diminished." 

Vergniaud ascends the platform. He owns that, 
in principle, the Assembly is wrong in admitting 
armed gatherings within its precincts, but he declares 
that he thinks it impossible to refuse a permission 
accorded to so many others to that which now pre- 
sents itself. He believes, moreover, that it could not 
be dispersed without a resort to martial law and a 
renewal of the massacre of the Champ-de-Mars. " It 
would be insulting to the citizens who are now ask- 
ing to pay their respects to you," said he, " to sus- 
pect them of bad intentions. . . The assemblage 
doubtless does not claim to accompany the citizens 
who desire to present a petition to the King. Never- 
theless, as a precaution, I propose that sixty members 
of the Assembly shall be commissioned to go to the 
King and remain near him until this gathering shall 
have been dispersed." 

The discussion continues. M. Ramond follows 
Vergniaud. What is going to happen ? What will 
the insurrectionary column do? Glance for an in- 
stant at the topography of the Assembly and its envi- 
rons. The session-chamber is the Hall of the Riding 
School, which extends to the terrace of the Feuillants, 
and occupies the site where the rue de Rivoli was 
opened later on, almost at the corner of the future 
rue de Castiglione. It is a building about one hun- 
dred and fifty feet long. In front of it is a long and 


narrow courtyard beginning very near the me de Dau- 
phin. It is entered through this courtyard, which a 
wall, afterwards replaced by a grating, separates from 
the terrace of the Feuillants. It may be entered at the 
other extremity, also, at the spot where the flight of 
steps facing the Place Vend6me was afterwards built. 
From the side of the courtyard it can be approached 
by carriages, but from the other, only by pedestrians 
who cross the narrow passage of the Feuillants, which 
starts from the rue Saint-Honor^, opposite the Place 
VendQme, and leads to the garden of the Tuileries. 
This passage is bordered on the right by the convent 
of the Capuchins ; on the left is the Riding School, 
almost at the spot where the passage opens into the 
Tuileries Garden by a door which had just been 
closed, and before which had been placed a cannon 
and a battalion of National Guards. 

On reaching the rue Saint-Honor^, the crowd had 
taken good care not to enter the court of the Riding 
School, where they might have been arrested and 
disarmed. They preferred to follow the rue Saint- 
Honord and take the passage conducting thence to 
the Assembly and the terrace of the Feuillants. Three 
municipal officei-s who had gone to the Tuileries Gar- 
den, passed through this passage before the crowd, 
and met the advancing column at the door of the 
Assembly, just as M. Ramond was in the tribune dis- 
cussing Vergniaud's proposition. While the head of 
the column was awaiting the issue of this discussion, 
the rank and file were constantly advancing. The 


passage became so thronged that people were in 
danger of stifling. Part of them withdrew from the 
crowd and went into the garden of the Capuchin con- 
vent, where they amused themselves by planting the 
Liberty tree in the classic ground of monkish igno- 
rance and idleness, as was said in those days. The 
remainder, which was in front of the door and the 
grating of the terrace of the Feuillants, became exas- 
perated. The sight of the glittering bayonets, and 
the cannon placed in front of this grating, reused 
them to fury. 

Meanwhile, a letter from Santerre reached the pres- 
ident of the National Assembly : " Gentlemen," said 
he, " I have received a letter from the commandant 
of the National Guard, which announces that the 
gathering amounts to eight thousand men, and that 
they demand admission to the bar of the chamber." — 
" Since there are eight thousand of them," cried a 
deputy, " and since we are only seven hundred and 
forty-five, I move that we adjourn the session and go 

Santerre's letter is thus expressed : " Mr. President, 
the inhabitants of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine are cele- 
brating to-day the anniversary of the oath of the Jeu 
de Paume. They have been calumniated before you; 
they ask to be admitted to the bar ; they will con- 
found their cowardly detractors for the second time, 
and prove that they are still the men of July 14." 
It was applauded by a large number of the Assembly. 
On the other side murmurs rose against it. M. Ramond 


went on with his speech : " Eight thousand men, they 
say, are awaiting your decision. You owe it to twenty- 
five millions of other men who await it with no less 
interest. . . . Certainly, I shall never fear to see the 
citizens of Paris in our midst, nor the entire French 
people around us. No one could behold with greater 
pleasure than I the weapons which are a terror to the 
enemies of liberty ; but the law and the authorities 
have spoken. Let the petitioners, therefore, lay down 
at the entrance of the sanctuary the arms they are 
forbidden to bear within it. You ought to insist on 
this. They ought to obey." 

M. Ramond's courage did not last long. Passing 
to Vergniaud's proposal to send sixty members of the 
Assembly to the Tuileries, he said : " I applaud the 
motive which prompted this proposition. But, con- 
vinced that there is nothing to be feared by any per- 
son from the citizens of Paris, I regard the motion as 
insulting to them." 

Meanwhile, the noise at the door redoubles ; the 
petitioners are growing impatient. Guadet rises to 
demand that they shall come in with their arms. It 
is plain that the Gironde has taken the riot under its 
patronage. After some disorderly and violent debate, 
it is resolved that the president shall put the ques- 
tion : Are the petitioners to be admitted to the bar ? 
They do not yet decide this other : Shall the armed 
citizens defile before the Assembly after they have 
been heard? The first question is answered in the 
affirmative. The delegates of the crowd are ad- 


mitted to the bar. They make their entry into the 
Assembly between one and two in the afternoon. 

Their orator is a person named Huguenin, who will 
preside a few weeks later at the Council of the Com- 
mune during the September massacres. In his 
declamatory harangue he includes every tirade, 
threat, and insult current in the streets. "We 
demand," said he, "that you should find out why 
our armies are inactive. If the executive power 
is the cause, let it be abolished. The blood of pat- 
riots must not flow to satisfy the pride and ambi- 
tion of the perfidious palace of the Tuileries." Here 
the galleries burst into enthusiastic applause. The 
orator goes on : " We complain of the delays of the 
Superior National Court. Why is it so slow in 
bringing down the sword of the law upon the heads 
of the guilty? . . . Do the enemies of the country 
imagine that the men of July 14 are sleeping? If 
they appear to be so, their awakening will be terrible. 
. . . There is no time to dissimulate; the hour is 
come, blood will flow, and the tree of Liberty we are 
about to plant will flourish in peace." The applause 
from the galleries redoubles. Huguenin excites 
himself to fury : " The image of the countiy," he 
shouts, "is the sole divinity which it shall be per- 
mitted to adore. Ought this divinity, so dear to 
Frenchmen, to find in its own temple those who rebel 
against its worship ? Are there any such ? Let them 
show themselves, these friends of arbitrary power; let 
them make themselves known ! This is not their 


place ! Let them depart from the land of liberty ! 
Let them go to Coblentz and rejoin the Emigres. There, 
their hearts will expand, they will distil their venom, 
they will machinate, they will conspire against their 
country." The orator concludes by demanding that 
the armed citizens shall be passed in review by the 
Assembly. It was in vain that Stanislas de Girardin 
cries, "Do the laws exist no longer, then?" The 
Assembly capitulates. Armed citizens are intro- 
duced. Twenty thousand men are about to pass 
through the session hall. The march is opened by 
a dozen musicians, who stop in front of the president's 
armchair. Then the two leaders of the manifesta- 
tion make their appearance : Santerre, king of the 
fish markets, idol of the faubourgs, and Saint-Hu- 
ruge, the deserter from the aristocracy, the marquis 
demagogue ; Saint-Huruge, cast into the Bastille for 
his debts and scandalous behavior, and liberated by 
the Revolution ; Saint-Huruge, the man of gigantic 
stature and the strength of a Hercules, who is the 
rioter par excellence, and whose stentorian voice rises 
above the bellowing of the crowd. 

The spectators in the galleries tremble with joy ; 
they stamp on perceiving both Santerre and Saint- 
Huruge, sabre in hand and pistols at the belt. The 
band plays the Ca ira, the national hymn of the 
red caps. Is this an orgy, a masquerade ? Look at 
these rags, these bizarre costumes, these butcher-boys 
brandishing their knives, these tattered women, these 
drunken harlots who dance and shout; inhale this 


odor of wine and eau-de-vie ; behold the ensigns, the 
banners of insurrection, the ambulating trophies, the 
stone table on which are inscribed the Rights of 
Man ; the placards wherein one reads : " Down with 
the veto ! " " The people are tired of suffering ! " 
"Liberty or Death!" "Tremble, tyrant!"; the 
gibbet from which hangs a doll representing Marie 
Antoinette ; the ragged breeches surmounting the 
fashionable motto : " Live the Sans-Culottes ! " ; the 
bleeding heart set upon a pike, with the inscription, 
" Heart of an aristocrat ! " The procession, which 
began about two in the afternoon, is not over until 
nearly four o'clock. At this time Santerre repairs 
to the bar, where he says : " The citizens of the 
Faubourg Saint-Antoine came here to express to you 
their ardent wishes for the welfare of the country. 
They beg you to accept this flag in gratitude for the 
good will you have shown towards them." The 
president responds: "The National Assembly re- 
ceives your offering; it invites you to continue to 
march under the protection of the law, the safeguard 
of the country." And then, heedless of the dangers 
the King was about to incur, he adjourns the session 
at half-past four in the afternoon. 

What is going to happen? Will the armed citi- 
zens return peaceably to their homes ? Or, not con- 
tent with their promenade to the Assembly, will they 
make another to the palace of the Tuileries ? What 
preparations have been made for its defence ? Ten 
battalions line the terrace facing the palace. Two 


others are on the terrace at the water side, four on 
the side of the Carrousel. There are two companies 
of gendarmes before the door of the Royal Court ; 
four on the Place Louis XVI., to guard the passage 
of the Orangery, opposite rue Saint-Florentin. Here, 
there might have been serious means of defence. 
But Louis XVI. is a sovereign who does not defend 
himself. Two municipal officers, MM. Boucher- 
Saint-Sauveur and Mouchet, had just approached 
him : " My colleagues and myself," said M. Mouchet 
to him, " have observed with pain that the Tuileries 
were closed the very instant the cortege made its 
appearance. The people, crowded into the passage of 
the Feuillants, were all the more dissatisfied because 
they could see through the wicket that there were 
persons in the garden. We ourselves. Sire, were 
very much affected at seeing cannon pointed at the 
people. It is urgent that Your Majesty should order 
the gates of the Tuileries to be opened." 

After hesitating slightly, Louis XVI. ended by 
replying : " I consent that the door of the Feuillants 
shall be opened ; but on condition that you make the 
procession march across the length of the terrace and 
go out by the courtyard gate of the Riding School, 
without descending into the garden." 

This was one of the King's illusions. While he 
was parleying with the two municipal officers the 
armed citizens had passed in review before the As- 
sembly. They had just left the session hall by a 
door leading into the courtyard. Once in this court- 


yard, the intervention of some municipal officers 
caused the entrance known as the Dauphin's door, 
opposite the street of the same name, to be opened for 
them. It was by this that they entered the Tuileries 
Garden, while it was the wish of Louis XVI. that 
they should pass out through it from the terrace of 
the Feuillants. There they are, then, in the garden, 
having made an iiTuption there instead of continuing 
their route through rue Saint-Honor^. Here they 
come along the terrace in front of the palace, on 
which several battalions of the National Guard are 
stationed. The crowd passes quickly before these 
battalions. Some of the guards unfix their bayonets ; 
others present arms, as if to do honor to the riot. 
Having passed through the garden, the columns of 
the people go out through the gate before the Pont- 
Royal. They pass up the quay, and through the 
Louvre wickets, and so into the Place Carrousel, 
which is cut up by a multitude of streets, a sort of 
covered ways very suitable to facilitate the attack. 

Certain municipal officers make some slight efforts 
to quiet the assailants ; others, on the contrary, do 
what they can to embolden and excite them. The 
four battalions at the entrance of the Carrousel, and 
the two companies of gendarmes posted before the 
door of the Royal Court, make no resistance. The 
rioters, who have invaded the Carrousel, find their 
march obstructed by the closing of this door. San- 
terre and Saint-Huruge, who had been the last to 
leave the National Assembly, make their appearance, 


raging with anger. They rail at the people for not 
having penetrated into the palace. " That is all we 
came for," say they. Santerre, before the door of 
the Royal Court — one of the three courtyards in 
front of the palace, opposite the Carrousel — sum- 
mons his cannoneers. "I am going," he cries, "to 
open the doors with cannon-balls." 

Some royalist officers of the National Guard seek 
vainly to defend the palace. No one heeds them. 
The door of the Royal Court opens its two leaves. 
The crowd presses through. No more dike to the 
torrent; the gendarmes set their caps on the ends 
of their sabres, and cry : " Live the nation ! " The 
thing is done ; the palace is invaded. 



IT is nearly four o'clock in the afternoon. The in- 
vasion of the Tuileries is beginning. Let us 
glance at the palace and get a notion of the apart- 
ments through which the crowd are about to rush. 
On approaching it by way of the Carrousel, one comes 
first to three courtyards : that of the Princes, in front 
of the Pavilion of Flora ; the Royal Court, before the 
Pavilion of the Horloge ; and the Swiss Court, before 
the Pavilion of Marsan. The assailants enter by the 
Royal Court, pass into the palace through the vesti- 
bule of the Horloge Pavilion, and climb the great 
staircase. On the left of this are the large apart- 
ments of the first story : — 

1. The Hall of the Hundred Swiss (the future 
Hall of the Marshals) ; 

2. The Hall of the Guards (the future Hall of the 
First Consul) ; 

3. The King's Antechamber (the future Salon 
d'ApoUon) ; 

4. The State Bedchamber (the future Throne- 
room) ; 



6. The King's Grand Cabinet (called later the 
Salon of Louis XIV.) ; 
6. The Gallery of Diana. 

There are a battalion and two companies of gen- 
darmes in the palace, as well as the guards then on 
duty and those they had relieved. But as no orders 
are given to these troops, they either break their 
ranks or fraternize with the enemy. No obstacle, no 
resistance, is offered, and nobody defends the apart- 
ments. The assailants, who have taken a cannon as 
far as the first story, enter the Hall of the Hundred 
Swiss, whose doors are neither locked nor barricaded. 
They penetrate into the Hall of the Guards with the 
same ease. But when they try to make their way 
into the (Eil-de-Boeuf, or King's Antechamber, the 
locked door of this apartment arrests their progress. 
This exasperates them, and one of the panels is soon 

Where is Louis XVI. when the invasion begins ? 
In his bedroom with his family. It communicates 
with the Grand Cabinet, and has windows command- 
ing a view of the garden. M. Acloque, chief of the 
second legion of the National Guard, and a faithful 
royalist, hastens to the King by way of the little 
staircase leading from the Princes' Court to the royal 
chamber, in order to tell him what has happened. He 
finds the door locked; he knocks, gives his name, 
urgently demands admittance, and obtains it. He 
advises Louis XVI. to show himself to the people. 


The King, whom no peril has ever frightened, does not 
hesitate to follow this advice. The Queen wishes to 
accompany her husband ; but she is opposed in this 
and forcibly drawn into the Dauphin's chamber, which 
is near that of Louis XVI. Happier than the Queen, 
— these are her own words, — Madame Elisabeth finds 
nobody to tear her from the King. She takes hold of 
the skirts of her brother's coat. Nothing could 
separate them. 

Louis XVI. passes into the Great Cabinet, thence 
into the State Bedchamber, and through it into the 
(Eil-de-Boeuf, where he will presently receive the 
crowd. He is surrounded at this moment by Ma- 
dame Elisabeth, three of his ministers (MM. de 
Beaulieu, de Lajard, and Terrier de Montciel), the 
old Marshal de Mouchy, Chevalier de Canolle, M. 
d'Hervilly, M. Guinguerlet, lieutenant-colonel of the 
unmounted gendarmes, and M. de Vainfrais, also an 
officer of gendarmes. Some grenadiers of the National 
Guard afterwards arrive through the Great Cabinet 
and the State Bedchamber. " Come here ! four grena- 
diers of the National Guard ! " cries the King. One 
of them says, "Sire, do not be afraid." — "I am not 
afraid," replies the King; "put your hand on my 
heart ; it is pure and tranquil." And taking the gren- 
adier's hand he presses it forcibly against his breast. 
The grenadier is a tailor named Jean Lalanne. Later, 
under the Terror, by a decree of the 12th Messidor, 
Year II., he will be condemned to death for having — 
so runs the sentence — " displayed the character of a 


cringing valet of the tyrant, in boasting before sev- 
eral citizens that Capet, taking his hand and laying it 
on his heart, had said to him, ' Feel, my friend, 
whether it palpitates.' " 

" Gentlemen, save the King ! " cries Madame Elisa- 
beth. Meanwhile, the crowd is still in the next 
apartment, the Hall of the Guards. They are batter- 
ing away with hatchets and gun-stocks at the door 
which opens into the King's Antechamber. Nothing 
but a partition separates Louis XVI. from the assail- 
ants. He orders the door to be opened. The crowd 
rush in. " Here I am," says Louis XVI. calmly ; " I 
have never deviated from the Constitution." 

" Citizens," says Acloque, " recognize your King 
and respect him; the law commands you to do so. 
We will all perish rather than suffer him to receive 
the slightest harm." M. de Canolle cries : " Long live 
the nation ! Long live the King ! " This cry is not re- 
peated. Some one begs Madame Elisabeth to retire. 
" I will not leave the King," she replies, " I will not 
leave him." Those who surround Louis XVI. make 
a rampart for him of their bodies. The crowd be- 
comes immense. It is proposed to the King that he 
stand on a bench in the embrasure of the central 
window, from which there is a view of the court- 
yard. Other benches and a table are placed in front 
of him. Madame Elisabeth takes a bench in the 
next window with M. de Marsilly. The hall is full. 
Groans, atrocious threats, and gross insults resound 
on every side. Some one shouts : " Down with the 


veto ! To the devil with the veto ! Recall the pa- 
triot ministers ! Let him sign, or we will not go out 
of here ! " The butcher Legendre comes forward. He 
asks permission to speak. Silence is obtained, and, 
addressing the King, he says : " Monsieur." At this 
unusual title, Louis XVI. make a gesture of surprise. 
" Yes, Monsieur," goes on Legendre, " listen to us ; it 
is your duty to listen to us. . . . You are a traitor. 
You have always deceived us, and you deceive us 
still; the measure is full, and the people are tired 
of being made your laughing-stock." The insolent 
butcher, who calls himself the agent of the people, 
then reads a pretended petition which is a mere tissue 
of recriminations and threats. Louis XVI. listens 
with imperturbable sang-froid. He answers simply : 
"I will do what the Constitution and the decrees 
ordain that I shall do." The noise begins anew. It 
is a rain, a hail of insults. 

Some individuals mistake Madame Elisabeth for 
Marie Antoinette. Her equerry, M. de Saint-Par- 
doux, throws himself between her and the furious 
wretches, who cr}"- : " Ah ! there is the Austrian 
woman ; we must have the Austrian ! " and unde- 
ceives them by naming her. — "Why did you not 
allow them to believe I am the Queen ? " says the 
courageous Princess; "perhaps you might have 
averted a greater crime." And, putting aside a bay- 
onet which almost touches her breast, " Take care, 
Monsieur," she says gently, "you might hurt some- 
body, and I am sure you would be sorry to do that." 


The shouts redouble. The confusion becomes ter- 
rible. It is with great difi&culty that some grenadiers 
of the National Guard defend the embrasure of the 
window where Louis XVI. still stands immovable on 
his bench. Mingled with the crowd there are inof- 
fensive persons, who have come merely out of curi- 
osity, and even honest men who sincerely pity the 
King. But there are tigers and assassins as well. 
One of them, armed with a club ending in a sword- 
blade, tries to thrust it into the King's heart. The 
grenadiers parry the blow with their bayonets. A 
market porter struggles long to reach Louis XVI., 
against whom he brandishes a sabre. Several times 
the wretched monarch seeks to address the crowd. 
His voice is lost in the uproar. A municipal official, 
M. Mouchet, hoisting himself on the shoulders of 
two persons, demands by voice and gesture a mo- 
ment's silence for the King and for himself. Vain 
efforts. The vociferations of the crowd only increase. 
Here comes a long pole on the end of which is a 
Phrygian cap, a bonnet rouge. The pole is inclined 
towards M. Mouchet. M. Mouchet takes the cap 
and presents it to the King, who, to please the crowd, 
puts it on his head. 

Is it possible? That man on a bench, with the 
ignoble cap of a galley-slave on his head, surrounded 
by a drunken and tattered rabble who vomit filthy 
language, that man the King of France and Navarre, 
the most Christian King, Louis XVI.? Go back to 
the day of the coronation, June 11, 1775. It is 


just seventeen years and nine days ago ! Do you 
remember the Cathedral of Rheinis, luminous, glitter- 
ing ; the cardinals, ministers, and marshals of France, 
the red ribbons, the blue ribbons, the lay peers with 
their vests of cloth-of-gold, their violet ducal mantles 
lined with ermine ; the clerical peers with cope and 
cross? Do you remember the King taking Charle- 
magne's' sword in his hand, and then prostrating him- 
self before the altar on a great kneeling-cushion of 
velvet sown with golden lilies? Do you see him 
vested by the grand-chamberlain with the tunic, the 
dalmatica, and the ermine-lined mantle which repre- 
sent the vestments of a sub-deacon, deacon, and priest, 
because the King is not merely a sovereign, but a pon- 
tiff ? Do you see him seizing the royal sceptre, that 
golden sceptre set with oriental pearls, and carvings 
representing the great Carlovingian Emperor on a 
throne adorned with lions and eagles ? Do you re- 
member the pealing of the bells, the chords of the 
organ, the blare of trumpets, the clouds of incense, 
the birds flying in the nave ? 

And now, instead of the coronation the pillory; 
instead of the crown the hideous red cap ; instead of 
hymns and murmurs of admiration and respect, — 
insults, the buffoonery of the fish-market, shouts of 
contempt and hatred, threats of murder. Ah! the 
time is not far distant when a Conventionist will 
break the vial containing the sacred oil on the pave- 
ment of the Abbey of Saint Remi. How slippery is 
the swift descent, the fatal descent by which a sov- 


ereign who disarms himself glides down from the 
heights of power and glory to the depths of oppro- 
brium and sorrow ! There he is ! Not content with 
putting the red bonnet on his head, he keeps it there, 
and mumming in the Jacobin coiffure, he cries: 
" Long live the nation I " The crowd find the spec- 
tacle amusing. A National Guard, to whom some 
one has passed a bottle of wine, offers the complaisant 
King a drink. Perhaps the wine is poisoned. No 
matter ; Louis XVI. takes a glass of it. 

While all this is going on, two deputies, Isnard and 
Vergniaud, present themselves. " Citizens," says the 
first, " I am Isnard, a deputy. If what you demand 
were at once granted, it might be thought you ex- 
torted it by force. In the name of the law and the 
National Assembly, I ask you to respect the consti- 
tuted authorities and retire. The National Assembly 
will do justice ; I will aid thereto with all my power. 
You shall obtain satisfaction ; I answer for it with 
my head; but go away." Vergniaud follows him 
with similar remarks. Neither is listened to. No- 
body departs. 

It is six in the evening. For two hours, one man, 
exposed to every insult, has held his own against a 
multitude. At last Potion arrives wearing his 
mayor's scarf. The crowd draws back. " Sire," says 
he, " I have just this instant learned the situation you 
were in." — "That is very astonishing," returns Louis 
XVI. ; " for it has lasted two hours." — " Sire, truly, 
I was ignorant that there was trouble at the palace. 


As soon as I was informed, I hastened to your side. 
But you have nothing to fear ; I answer for it that 
the people will respect you." — "I fear nothing," 
replies the King. "Moreover, I have not been in 
any danger, since I was surrounded by the National 

Potion, like Pontius Pilate, pretends indifference. 
A municipal officer, M. Champion, reminds him of 
his duties, and says with firmness : " Order the people 
to retire ; order them in the name of the law ; we are 
threatened with great danger, and you must speak." 
At last Potion decides to intervene. "Citizens," he 
says, "all you who are listening to me, came to 
present legally your petition to the hereditary rep- 
resentative of the nation, and you have done so with 
the dignity and majesty of a free people ; return now 
to your homes, for you can desire nothing further. 
Your demand will doubtless be reiterated by all the 
eighty-three departments, and the King will grant 
your prayer. Retire, and do not, by remaining longer, 
give occasion to the public enemies to impugn your 
worthy intentions." 

At fiirst this discourse of the mayor of Paris pro- 
duces but slight effect. The cries and threats con- 
tinue. But, after a while, the crowd, worn out with 
shouting, and hungry and thirsty as well, begin to 
quiet down a little. The most excited cry : " We 
are waiting for an answer from the King. Nothing 
has been asked of him yet." Others say : " Listen 
to the mayor, he is going to speak again; we will 


hear him." Potion repeats what he said before : " If 
you do not wish your magistrates to be unjustly 
accused, withdraw." 

M. Sergent, administrator of police, who had come 
with the mayor, asked if any one has ordered the 
doors leading from the Grand Cabinet to the Gallery 
of Diana to be opened, so as to allow the crowd to 
pass out by the small staircase into the Court of the 
Princes. Louis XVI. overheard this question. " I 
have had the apartments opened," said he ; " the peo- 
ple, marching out on the gallery side, will like to see 
them." A sentiment of curiosity hastened the move- 
ments of the crowd. In order to go out, they had 
to pass through the State Bedchamber, the Grand 
Cabinet, and the Gallery of Diana. Sergent, stand- 
ing in front of the door, leading from the CEil-de- 
Boeuf to the State Bedchamber, unfastens his scarf 
and waving it over his head, cries : " Citizens, this is 
the badge of the law ; in its name we invite you to 
retire and follow us." Potion says : " The people 
have done what they ought to do. You have acted 
with the pride and dignity of freemen. But there 
has been enough of it ; let all retire." A double row 
of National Guards is formed, and the people pass 
between them. The return march begins. A few 
recalcitrants want to remain, and keep up a cry of 
" Down with the veto ! Recall the ministers ! " But 
they are swept on by the stream, and follow the march 
like all the rest. While they are going out through 
the door between the (Eil-de-Bceuf and the State Bed- 


chamber, the National Guard prevents any one from 
entering on the other side, through the door connect- 
ing the CEil-de-Boeuf with the Hall of the Guards. 

At this moment, a deputation of twenty-four mem- 
bers of the Assembly present themselves. Roused 
by the public clamor announcing that the King's life 
is in danger, the National Assembly has called an 
extraordinary evening session. The president of the 
deputation, M. Brunk, says to the King : " Sire, the 
National Assembly sends us to assure ourselves of 
your situation, to protect the constitutional liberty 
you should enjoy, and to share your danger." Louis 
XVI. replies : " I am grateful for the solicitude of the 
Assembly ; I am undisturbed in the midst of French- 
men." At the same time. Potion goes to turn back 
the crowd, who are constantly ascending the great 
staircase, and who threaten another invasion. The 
sentry at the doorway of the GEil-de-Bceuf is replaced, 
and the crowd ceases to flock thither. The circle of 
National Guards about the sovereign is increased. 
A space is formed, and he is surrounded by the depu- 
tation from the Assembly. Acloque, seeing that the 
tumult is lessening and the room no longer encum- 
bered by the crowd, proposes to the King that he 
should retire, and Louis XVI. decides to do so. Sur- 
rounded by deputies and National Guards, he passes 
into the State Bedchamber, and notwithstanding the 
throng, he manages to reach a secret door at the right 
of the bed, near the chimney, which communicates 
with his bedroom. He goes through this little door, 
and some one closes it behind him. 


It is not far from eight o'clock in the evening. 
The peril and humiliation of Louis XVI. have lasted 
nearly four hours, and the unhappy King is not yet 
at the end of his sufferings, for he does not know 
what has become of his wife and children. While 
these sad scenes had been enacting in the palace, a 
furious populace had been in incessant commotion 
beneath the windows, in the garden and the court- 
yards. People desiring to establish communication 
between those down stairs and those above, had been 
heard to cry : " Have they been struck down ? Are 
they dead ? Throw us down their heads ! " 

A slender young man, with the profile of a Roman 
medal, a pale complexion, and flashing eyes, was 
looking at all this from the upper part of the terrace 
beside the water. Unable to comprehend the long- 
suffering of Louis XVI., he said in an indignant 
tone : " How could they have allowed this rabble to 
enter ? They should have swept out four or five 
hundred of them with cannon, and the rest would 
have run." The man who spoke thus, obscure and 
hidden in the crowd, opposite that palace where he 
was to play so great a part, was the " straight^haired 
Corsican," the future Emperor Napoleon. 



LOUIS XVI. had just entered his bedchamber. 
The crowd, after leaving the hall of the CEil- 
de-Boeuf, had departed through the State Bedchamber, 
and the King's Great Cabinet, called also the Council 
Hall. On entering this last apartment, an unex- 
pected scene had surprised them. Behind the large 
table they saw the Queen, Madame Elisabeth, the 
Dauphin, and Madame Royale. 

How came the Queen to be there? What had 
happened? At a quarter of four, when Louis XVI. 
had left his room to go into the hall of the BuU's- 
Eye and meet the rioters, Marie Antoinette, as we 
have already said, made desperate efforts to follow 
him. M. Aubier, placing himself before the door of 
the King's chamber, prevented the Queen from going 
out. In vain she cried : " Let me pass ; my place is 
beside the King ; I will join him- and perish with him 
if it must be." M. Aubier, through devotion, dis- 
obeyed her. Nevertheless, the Queen, whose courage 
redoubled her strength, would have borne down this 
faithful servant if M. Rougeville, a chevalier of Saint- 
Louis, had not aided him to block up the passage. 


Imploring Marie Antoinette in the name of her own 
safety and that of the King, not to expose herself 
needlessly to poniards, and aided by the Minister of 
Foreign Affairs, they drew her almost by force into 
the chamber of the Dauphin, which was near the 
King's. MM. de Choiseul, d'Haussonville, and de 
Saint-Priest, assisted by several grenadiers of the 
National Guard, afterwards induced her to go with 
her children into the Grand Cabinet of the King, 
called also the Council Hall, because the ministers 
were accustomed to assemble there. 

The Princess de Lamballe, the Princess of Tarento, 
the Marchioness de Tourzel, the Duchesses de Luynes, 
de Duras, de Maille, the Marchioness de Laroche- 
Aymon, Madame de Soucy, the Baroness de Mackau, 
the Countess de Ginestous, remained with the Queen. 
So also did the Minister Chambonas, the Duke de 
Choiseul, Counts d'Haussonville and de Montmorin, 
Viscount de Saint-Priest, Marquis de Champcenetz, 
and General de Wittenghoff, commander of the 17th 
military division. The Queen and her children occu- 
pied the embrasure of a window, and the large and 
heavy table used by the ministerial council was placed 
in front of them as a sort of barricade. 

Meanwhile, Marie Antoinette's apartments and her 
bedroom on the ground-floor were invaded. Some 
National Guards tried vainly to defend them. " You 
are cutting your own throats ! " shouted the people. 
Overwhelmed by numbers, they saw the door of the 
first apartment broken down by hatchets. It con- 


tained the beds of the Queen's servants, ranged 
behind screens. Afterwards they saw the invaders 
go into Marie Antoinette's sleeping-room, tear the 
clothes off her bed, and loll upon it, crying as they 
did so, " We will have the Austrian woman, dead or 
alive ! " 

The Queen, however, remained in the Council Hall, 
where she could hear the echo of the cries resounding 
in that of the CEil-de-Boeuf, where Louis XVI. was, 
and from which she was separated only by the State 
Bedchamber. Toward seven in the evening she beheld 
Madame Elisabeth, who, after heroically sharing the 
dangers of the King, had now found means to rejoin 
her. " The deputies who came to us," she wrote to 
Madame de Raigecourt, July 3, "had come out of 
good will. A veritable deputation arrived and per- 
suaded the King to go back to his own apartments. 
As I was told this, and as I was unwilling to be left 
in the crowd, I went away about an hour before he 
did, and rejoined the Queen : you can imagine with 
what pleasure I embraced her." In their perils, 
therefore, Madame Elisabeth was near both Louis 
XVI. and Marie Antoinette. 

After having voluntarily exposed herself to all the 
anguish of the invasion of the CEil-de-Boeuf, the cour- 
ageous Princess was with the Queeu in the Council 
Hall, when the crowd, coming through the State Bed- 
chamber, arrived there. The horde marched through 
it, carrying their barbarous inscriptions like so many 
ferocious standards. " One of these," says Madame 


Campan in her Memoirs, " represented a gibbet from 
which an ugly doll was hanging ; below it was writ- 
ten: 'Marie Antoinette to the lamp-post!' Another 
was a plank to which a bullock's heart had been 
fastened, surrounded by the words : ' Heart of Louis 
XVI.' Finally, a third presented a pair of bullock's 
horns with an indecent motto." Some royalist 
grenadiers belonging to the battalion called the 
FillesSaint-Thomas, were near the council-table and 
protected the Queen. Marie Antoinette was stand- 
ing, and held her daughter's hand. The Dauphin 
sat on the table in front of her. At the moment 
when the march began, a woman threw a red cap 
on this table and cried out that it must be placed on 
the Queen's head. M. de Wittenghoff, his hand 
trembling with indignation, took the cap and after 
holding it for a moment over Marie Antoinette's 
head, put it back on the table. Then a cry was 
raised : " The red cap for the Prince Royal ! Tri- 
colored ribbons for little Veto ! " Ribbons were 
thrown down beside the Phrygian cap. Some one 
shouted : " If you love the nation, set the red cap 
on your son's head." The Queen made an affirma- 
tive sign, and the revolutionary coiffure was set on 
the child's fair head. 

What humiliations were these for the unhappy 
mother ! What anguish for so haughty, so mag- 
nanimous a queen ! The galley-slave's cap has 
touched the head of the daughter of Caesars, and 
now soils the forehead of her son ! The slang of the 


fish-markets resounds beneath the venerable arches 
of the palace. How bitterly the unfortunate sover- 
eign expiates her former triumphs ! Where are the 
ovations and the apotheoses, the carriages of gold and 
crystal, the solemn entries into the city in its gala 
dress, to the sound of bells and trumpets? What 
trace remains of those brilliant days when, more 
goddess than woman, the Queen of France and Na- 
varre appeared through a cloud of incense, in the 
midst of flowers and light ? This good and beauti- 
ful sovereign, whose least smile, or glance, or nod, 
had been regarded as a precious recompense, a su- 
preme favor by the noble lords and ladies who bent 
respectfully before her, behold how she is treated 
now ! Consider the costumes and the language of her 
new courtiers ! And yet, Marie Antoinette is majestic 
still. Even in this horrible scene, in presence of 
these drunken women and ragged suburbans, sho 
does not lose that gift of pleasing which is her special 
dower. At a distance they curse her ; but when they 
come near they are subjugated by her spell. Her 
most ferocious enemies are touched in their own 
despite. A young girl had just called her '''' Autrichi- 
enne^ " You call me an Austrian woman," replied 
she, " but I am the wife of the King of France, I am 
the mother of the Dauphin ; I am a Frenchwoman by 
my sentiments as wife and mother. I shall never 
again see the land where I was born. I can be happy 
or unhappy nowhere but in France. I was happy 
when you loved me." Confused by this gentle re- 


proach, the young girl softened. " Pardon me," she 
said ; " it was because I did not know you ; I see very 
well now that you are not wicked." A woman, 
passing, stopped before the Queen and began to sob. 
" What is the matter with her ? " asked Santerre ; 
" what is she crying about ? " And he shook her by 
the arm, saying : " Make her pass on, she is drunk." 
Even Santerre himself felt Marie Antoinette's in- 
fluence. "Madame," he said to her, "the people 
wish you no harm. Your friends deceive you ; you 
have nothing to fear, and I am going to prove it by 
serving as your shield." It was he who took pity on 
the Dauphin whom the heat was stifling, and said: 
" Take the red cap off the child ; he is too hot." 
He too, it was, that hastened the march of the pro- 
cession and pointed out to the people the different 
members of the royal family by name, saying : " This 
is the Queen, this is her son, this her daughter, this 
Madame Elisabeth." 

At last the crowd is gone. The hall is empty. It 
is eight o'clock. The Queen and her children enter 
the King's chamber. Louis XVI., who finds them 
once more after so many perils and emotions, covers 
them with kisses. In the midst of this pathetic scene 
some deputies arrive. Marie Antoinette shows them 
the traces of violence which the people have left 
behind them, — locks broken, hinges forced off, wain- 
scoting burst through, furniture ruined. She speaks 
of the dangers that have threatened the King and the 
insults offered to herself. Perceiving that Merlin de 


Thionville, an ardent Jacobin, has tears in his eyes, 
she says : " You are weeping to see the King and his 
family so cruelly treated by people whom he has 
always desired to render happy." The republican 
answered : " Yes, Madame, I weep, but it is for the 
misfortunes of the mother of a family, not for the 
King and Queen; I hate kings and queens." A 
deputy accosted Marie Antoinette, saying in a fa- 
miliar tone : " You were very much afraid, Madame, 
you must admit." " No, Monsieur," she replied, " I 
was not at all afraid ; but I suffered much in being 
separated from the King at a moment when his life 
was in danger. At least, I had the consolation of 
being with my children and performing one of my 
duties." " Without pretending to excuse everything, 
agree, Madame, that the people showed themselves 
very good-natured." " The King and I, Monsieur, 
are convinced of the natural goodness of the people ; 
it is only when they are misled that they are wicked." 
— " How old is Mademoiselle ? " went on the deputy, 
pointing to Madame Royale. — "She is at that age. 
Monsieur, when one feels only too great a horror of 
such scenes." 

Other deputies surround the Dauphin. They 
question him on different subjects, especially con- 
cerning the geography of France and its new terri- 
torial division into departments and districts, and are 
enchanted by the correctness of his replies. 

An officer of Chasseurs of the National Guard 
enters the King's chamber. This officer had shown 


the utmost zeal in protecting his sovereign and 
had had the honor of being wounded at his side. 
He is congratulated. The Dauphin perceives him. 
" What is the name of that guard who defended my 
father so bravely ? " he asks. — " Monseigneur, " re- 
plies M. Hue, " I do not know ; he will be flattered 
if you ask him." The Prince runs to put his ques- 
tion to the officer, but the latter, in respectful terms, 
declines to answer. Then M. Hue insists. " I beg 
you," he cries, "tell us your name." — "I ought to 
conceal my name," replies the officer ; " unfortunately 
for me, it is the same as that of an execrable man." 
The faithful royalist bore the same name as the man 
who had caused the arrest of the royal family at 
Varennes the previous year. He was called Drouot. 
The hour for repose has come at last. It is ten 
o'clock. Certain individuals still complain : " They 
took us there for nothing ; but we will go back and 
have what we want." Still, the storm is over. The 
crowd has evacuated the palace, the courtyards, and 
the garden. The Assembly closes its sessions at half- 
past ten. Potion said there : " The King has no 
cause of complaint against the citizens who marched 
before him. He has said as much to the deputies 
and magistrates." Finally, as the deputies were 
about to separate after this exciting day, one of them, 
M. Guy ton-Morveau, remarked : " The deputation 
which preceded us, has doubtless announced to you 
that all is now tranquil. We remained with the 
King for some time, and saw nothing which could 


inspire the least alarm. We invited the King to 
seek some repose. He sent an officer of the National 
Guard to visit the posts, and the officer reported that 
there was nobody in the palace. His Majesty assured 
us that he desired to remain alone ; we left him ; and 
we can certify to you that all is quiet." 



IN the morning of June 21 there were still some 
disorderly gatherings in front of the Tuileries. 
On awaking, the Dauphin put this artless question 
to the Queen: "Mamma, is it yesterday still?" 
Alas ! yes, it was still yesterday, it was always to be 
yesterday until the catastrophes at the end of the 
drama. It was just a year to a day since the royal 
family had furtively quitted Paris to begin the fatal 
journey which terminated at Varennes. This souve- 
nir occurred to Marie Antoinette, and, recalling the 
first stations of her Calvary, the unfortunate sovereign 
told herself that her humiliations had but just begun. 
Her lips had touched only the brim of the chalice, 
and it must be drained to the dregs. 

Meanwhile, visitors were arriving at the Tuileries 
one after another to condole with and protest their 
fidelity to the King and his family. When Marshal 
de Mouchy made his appearance, the worthy old man 
was received with the honors due to his noble con- 
duct on the previous day. When the invasion began, 
Louis XVI., in order not to irritate the rabble, had 
given his gentlemen a formal order to withdraw, but 



the old marshal, hoping that his great age (he was 
seventy-seven) would excuse his presence in the 
palace, had refused to leave his master. More than 
once, with a strength rejuvenated by devotion, he 
had succeeded in repulsing persons whose violence 
made him tremble for the King's life. As soon as 
she saw the marshal, Marie Antoinette made haste 
to say : " I have learned from the King how coura- 
geously you defended him yesterday. I share his 
gratitude." — "Madame," he replied, alluding to 
those of his relatives who had figured among the 
promoters of the Revolution, " I did very little in 
comparison with the injuries I should like to repair. 
They were not mine, but they touch me very nearly." 
— " My son," said the Queen, calling the Dauphin, 
" repeat before the marshal, the prayer you addressed 
to God this morning for the King." The child, 
kneeling down, put his hands together, and looking 
up to heaven, began to sing this refrain from the 
opera of Pierre le Crrand : — 

del, entends lapriere 

Qu'ici je fais : 
Conserve un si bon pere 

A ses sujets. 

After the Marshal de Mouchy-came M. de Males- 
herbes. Contrary to his usual custom, the ex-first 

J Listen, heaven, to the prayer 
That here I make : 
Preserve so good a father 
To his subjects. 


president wore his sword. " It is a long time,'* some 
one said to him, "since you have worn a sword." 
— " True," replied the old man, "but who would not 
arm when the King's life is in danger?" Then, 
looking with emotion at the little Prince, he said to 
Marie Antoinette : " I hope, Madame, that at least 
our children will see better days ! " 

And yet, even for the present there still remained 
a glimmer of hope. Hardly had the invaders left the 
palace than invectives against them rose from all 
classes of society. The calmness and courage of the 
King and his family found admirers on every side. 
The departments sent addresses demanding the pun- 
ishment of those who had been guilty. Royalist 
sentiments woke to life anew. One might almost 
believe that the indignation caused by the recent 
scandals would produce an immediate reaction in 
favor of Louis XVI. Possibly, with an energetic 
sovereign, something might have been attempted. 
On the whole, the insurrection had obtained nothing. 
Even the Girondins perceived the dangerous char- 
acter of revolutionary passions. Honest men stigma- 
tized the criminal tendencies which had just displayed 
themselves. It was the moment for the King to 
show himself and strike a great blow. But Louis 
XVI. had neither will nor energy. Letting the last 
chance of safety which fortune offered him escape, 
he was unable to profit by the turn in public opinion. 
Nothing could shake him out of that easy patience 
which was the chief cause of his ruin. 


Marie Antoinette herself was opposed to vigorous 
measures. She still desired to try the effects of 
kindness. Learning that a legal inquiry was pro- 
posed into the events of June 20, and foreseeing that 
M. Hue would be called as a witness, she said to this 
loyal servant : " Say as little in your deposition as 
truth will permit. I recommend you, on the King's 
part and my own, to forget that we were the objects 
^f these popular movements. Every suspicion that 
either the King or myself feel the least resentment 
for what happened must be avoided ; it is not the 
people who are guilty, and even if it were, they 
would always obtain pardon and forgetfulness of 
their errors from us." 

During this time the Assembly maintained ian 
attitude more than equivocal. It contained a great 
number of honest men. But, terrorized already, it 
no longer possessed the courage of indignation. It 
grew pale before the menaces of the public. By 
cringxng to the rabble it had attained that hypocriti- 
cal optimism which is the distinctive mark of moder- 
ate revolutionists, and which makes them in turn the 
dupes and the victims of those who are more zealous. 

If the majority of the deputies had said openly 
what they silently thought, they would not have 
hesitated to stigmatize the invasion of the Tuileries 
as it deserved. But in that case, what would have 
become of their popularity with the pikemen ? And 
then, must they not take into account the ambitions 
of the Girondins, the hatreds of the Mountain party, 


and the rancor of Madame Roland and her friends ? 
Was it not, moreover, a real satisfaction to the bour- 
geoisie to give power a lesson and humiliate a sover- 
eign ? Ah ! how cruelly this pleasure will be expiated 
by those who take delight in it, and how they will 
repent some day for having permitted justice, law, 
and authority to be trampled under foot ! 

When the session of June 21 opened. Deputy 
Daverhoult denounced in energetic terms the vio- 
lence of the previous day. Thuriot exclaimed : " Are 
we expected to press an inquiry against forty thousand 
men?" Duranton, the Minister of Justice, then 
read a letter from the King, dated that day, and 
worded thus : " Gentlemen, the National Assembly 
is already acquainted with the events of yesterday. 
Paris is doubtless in consternation ; France will hear 
the news with astonishment and grief. I was much 
affected by the zeal shown for me by the National 
Assembly on this occasion. I leave to its prudence 
the task of investigating the causes of this event, 
weighing its circumstances, and taking the necessary 
measures to maintain the Constitution and assure the 
inviolability and constitutional liberty of the heredi- 
tary representative of the nation. For my part, 
nothing can prevent me, at all times and under all 
circumstances, 'from performing the duties imposed 
on me by the Constitution, which I have accepted in 
the true interests of the French nation." 

A few moments after this letter had been read, the 
session was disturbed by a warning from the munici- 


pal agent of the department, to the effect that an 
armed crowd were marching towards the palace. 
This was soon followed by tidings that Potion had 
hindered their further advance, and the mayor him- 
self came to the Assembly to receive the laudations 
of his friends. " Order reigns everywhere," said he ; 
"all precautions have been taken. The magistrates 
have done their duty; they will always do so, and 
the hour approaches when justice will be rendered 

Potion then went to the Tuileries, where he 
addressed the King nearly in these terms : — 

"Sire, we learn that you have been warned of 
the arrival of a crowd at the palace. We come to 
announce that this crowd is composed of unarmed 
citizens who wish to set up a may-pole. I know. 
Sire, that the municipality has been calumniated; 
but its conduct will be understood by you." — " It 
ought to be by all France," responded Louis XVI. ; 
" I accuse no one in particular, I saw everything." — 
" It will be," returned the mayor ; " and but for the 
prudent measures taken by the municipality, much 
more disagreeable events might have occurred." 
The King attempted to reply, but Potion, without 
listening to him, went on : " Not to your own per- 
son; you may well understand that it will always 
be respected." The King, unaccustomed to inter- 
ruption when speaking, said in a loud voice : " Be 
silent ! " There was sUence for an instant, and then 
Louis XVI. added: "Is it what you call respecting 


my person to enter my house in arms, break down 
my doors and use force to my guards?" — "Sire," 
answered Petion, "I know the extent of my duties 
and of my responsibility." — " Do your duty ! " replied 
Louis' XVI. ; " you are answerable for the tranquillity 
of Paris. Adieu ! " And the King turned his back 
on the mayor. 

Pdtion revenged himself that very evening, by cir- 
culating a rumor that the royal family were prepar- 
ing to escape ; in consequence, he requested the 
commanders of the National Guard to re-enforce the 
sentries and redouble their vigilance. The revolu- 
tionists, who had been disconcerted for a moment by 
popular indignation, raised their heads again. Prud- 
homme wrote in the Revolutions de Paris : " The 
Parisian people — yes, the people, not the aristo- 
cratic class of citizens — have just set a grand ex- 
ample to France. The King, at the instigation of 
Lafayette, discharged his patriotic ministers ; he par- 
alyzed by his veto the decree relative to the camp of 
twenty thousand men, and that on the banishment of 
priests. Very well ! the people rose and signified to 
him their sovereign will that the ministers should be 
reinstated and these two murderous vetoes recalled. 
. . . Doubtless it will not be long before Europe 
will be full of a caricature representing Louis XVL 
of the big paunch, covered with orders, crowned 
with a red cap, and drinking out of the same bottle 
with the 8a7is-culottes, who are crying : ' The King is 
drinking, the King has drunk. He has the liberty 


cap on his head.' Would he might have it in his 

Apropos of this red bonnet which remained for 
three hours on the sovereign's head, Bertrand de 
Molleville ventured to put some questions to Louis 
XVI. on the evening of June 21. According to the 
Memoirs of the former Minister of Marine, this is 
what the King replied : " The cries of ' Long live the 
Nation' increasing in violence and seeming to be 
addressed to me, I answered that the nation had no 
better friend than I. Then an ill-looking man, thrust- 
ing himself through the crowd, came close to me and 
said in a rude tone : ' Very well ! if you are telling 
the truth, prove it to us by putting on this red 
cap.' 'I consent,' said I. Instantly one or two of 
these people advanced and placed the cap on my 
hair, for it was too small for my head to enter it. I 
was convinced, I don't know why, that their inten- 
tion was simply to place this cap on my head and 
then retire, and I was so preoccupied with what was 
going on before my eyes, that I did not notice whether 
it was there or not. So little did I feel it that after 
I had returned to my chamber I did not observe that 
I still wore it until I was told. I was greatly aston- 
ished to find it on my head, and was all the more dis- 
pleased because I could have taken it off at once 
without the least difficulty. But I am convinced that 
if I had hesitated to receive it, the drunken man by 
whom it was presented would have thrust his pike 
into my stomach." 


During the same interview Bertrand de Molleville 
congratulated the King upon his almost miraculous 
escape from the dangers of the previous day. Louis 
XVI. replied : " All my anxieties were for the Queen, 
my children and my sister ; because I feared nothing 
for myself." — " But it seems to me," rejoined his 
interlocutor, " that this insurrection was aimed chiefly 
against Your Majesty." — "I know it very well," re- 
turned Louis XVI. ; " I saw clearly that they wanted 
to assassinate me, and I don't know why they did not 
do it ; but I shall not escape them another day. So 
I have gained nothing; it is all the same whether I 
am assassinated now or two months from now ! " — 
" Great God ! " cried Bertrand de Molleville, " does 
Your Majesty believe that you will be assassinated?" 
— "I am convinced of it," replied the King ; " I have 
expected it for a long time and have accustomed 
myself to the thought. Do you think I am afraid of 
death? " — " Certainly not, but I would desire Your 
Majesty to take vigorous measures to protect yourself 
from danger." — " It is possible," went on the King 
after a moment of reflection, "that I may escape. 
There are many odds against me, and I am not lucky. 
If I were alone I would risk one more attempt. Ah ! 
if my wife and children were not with me, people 
should see that I am not so weak as they fancy. 
What would be their fate if the measures you propose 
to me did not succeed?" — "But if they assassinate 
Your Majesty, do you think that the Queen and her 
children would be in less danger ? " — " Yes, I think 


SO, and even were it otherwise, I should not have to 
reproach myself with being the cause." 

A sort of Christian fanaticism had taken possession 
of the King's soul. Resigned to his fate, he ceased 
to struggle, and wrote to his confessor : " Come to 
see me to-day ; I have done with men ; I want nothing 
now but heaven." 



ONE of the greatest griefs of a political career is 
disencliantinent. To pass from devout opti- 
mism to profound discouragement; to have treated 
as alarmists or cowards whoever perceived the least 
cloud on the horizon, and then to see the most for- 
midable tempests unchained; to be obliged to recog- 
nize at one's proper cost that one has carried illusion 
to the verge of simplicity and has judged neither men 
nor things aright; to have heard distressed passengers 
saying that a pilot without experience or prudence is 
responsible for the shipwreck ; to have promised the 
age of gold and suddenly found one's self in the age 
"of iron, is a veritable torture for the pride and the 
conscience of a statesman. And this torture is still 
more cruel when to disappointment is added the loss 
of a popularity laboriously acquired ; when, having 
been accustomed to excite nothing but enthusiasm 
and applause, one is all at once greeted with criticism, 
howls, and curses, and when, having long strutted 
xbout triumphantly on the summits of the Capitol, 
one sees yawning before him the gulf at the foot of 
the Tarpeian rock. 



Such was the fate of Lafayette. A few months had 
sufficed to tlirow down the popular idol from his 
pedestal, and the same persons who had once almost 
burned incense before him, now thought of nothing 
but flinging him into the gutter. Stunned by his fall, 
Lafayette could not believe it. To familiarize him- 
self with the fickleness, the caprices, and the inconse- 
quence of the multitude was impossible. For him 
the Constitution was the sacred ark, and he did not 
believe that the very men who had constructed this 
edifice at such a cost had now nothing so much at 
heart as to destroy it. He would not admit that the 
predictions of the royalists were about to be accom- 
plished in every point, and still desired to hold 
aloof from the complicities into which revolutions 
drag the most upright minds and the most honest 
characters. He who, in July, 1789, had not been 
able to prevent the assassination of Foulon and Ber- 
thier ; who, on October 5, had marched, despite him- 
self, against Versailles ; who, on April 18, 1791, had 
been unable to protect the departure of the royal fam- 
ily to Saint Cloud ; who, on the following June 21, 
had thought himself obliged to say to the Jacobins in 
their club : " I have come to rejoin you, because I 
think the true patriots are here,'-' nevertheless imag- 
ined that just a year later, all that was necessary to 
vanquish the same Jacobins was for him to show him- 
self and say like Caesar : " Veni^ vidi, vici^ 

It was only a later illusion of the generous but 
imprudent man who had already dreamed many 


dreams. He thought the popular tiger could be 
muzzled by persuasion. He was going to make a 
coup d'Stat, not in deeds, but in words, forgetting 
that the Revolution neither esteems nor fears any- 
thing but force. As M. de Larmartime has said: 
" One gets from factions only what one snatches." 
Instead of striking, Lafayette was going to speak and 
write. The Jacobins might have feared his sword; 
they despised his words and pen. But though it was 
not very wise, the noble audacity with which the hero 
of America came spontaneously to throw himself into 
the heat of the struggle and utter his protest in the 
name of right and honor, was none the less an act of 
courage. While with the army, that asylum of gen- 
erous ideas, the sentiments on which his ancestors 
had prided themselves rekindled in his heart. Mem- 
ories of his early youth revived anew. Doubtless he 
also recalled his personal obligations to Louis XVI. 
On his return from the United States, had he not 
been created major-general over the heads of a multi- 
tude of older officers ? Had not the Queen accorded 
him at that epoch the most flattering eulogies ? Had 
he not been received at the great receptions of May 
29, 1785, when any other officer unless highly born 
would have remained in the (Eil-de-Boeuf or paid his 
court in the passage of the chapel ? Had he not ac- 
cepted the rank of lieutenant-general from the King, 
on June 30, 1791? The gentleman reappeared beneath 
the revolutionist. The humiliation of a throne for 
which his ancestors had so often shed their blood 


caused him a real grief, and it is perhaps regret- 
table that Louis XVI. should have refused the hand 
which his recent adversary extended loyally though 

Lafayette was encamped near Bavay with the 
Army of the North when the first tidings of June 20 
reached him. His soul was roused to indignation, 
and he wanted to start at once for Paris to lift his 
voice against the Jacobins. Old Marshal Luckner 
tried in vain to restrain him by saying that the sans- 
culottes would have his head. Nothing could stop 
him. Placing his army in safety under the cannon 
of Maubeuge, he started with no companion but an 
aide-de-camp. At Soissons some persons tried to dis- 
suade him from going further by painting a doleful 
picture of the dangers to which he would expose him- 
self. He listened to nobody and went on his way. 
Reaching Paris in the night of June 27-28, he alighted 
at the house of his intimate friend, the Duke de La 
Rochefoucauld, who was about to play so honorable 
a part. As soon as morning came, Lafayette was at 
the door of the National Assembly, asking permission 
to offer the homage of his respect. This authoriza- 
tion having been granted, he entered the hall. The 
right applauded ; the left kept silence. Being allowed 
to speak, he declared that he was the author of the 
letter to the Assembly of June 16, whose authenticity 
had been denied, and that he openly avowed respon- 
sibility for it. He then expressed himself in the 
sincerest terms concerning the outrages committed in 


the palace of the Tuileries on June 20. He said he 
had received from the officers, subalterns, and soldiers 
of his army a great number of addresses expressive 
of their love for the Constitution, their respect for 
the authorities, and their patriotic hatred against sedi- 
tious men of all parties. He ended by imploring the 
Assembly to punish the authors or instigators of the 
violences committed on June 20, as guilty of treason 
against the nation, and to destroy a sect which en- 
croached upon National Sovereignty, and terrorized 
citizens, and by their public debates removed all 
doubts concerning the atrocity of their projects. 
" In my own name and that of all honest men in the 
kingdom," said he in conclusion, " I entreat you to 
take efficacious measures to make all constitutional 
authorities respected, particularly your own and that 
of the King, and to assure the army that the Consti- 
tution will receive no injury from within, while so 
many brave Frenchmen are lavishing their blood to 
defend it on the frontiers." 

Applause from the right and from some of those 
in the galleries began anew. The president said: 
" The National Assembly has sworn to maintain the 
Constitution. Faithful to its oath, it will be able to 
guarantee it against all attacks. It accords to you 
the honors of the session." The general went to 
take his seat on the right. Deputy Kersaint ob- 
served that his place was on the petitioners' bench. 
The general obeyed this hint and sat down modestly 
on the bench assigned him. Renewed applause en- 


sued. Thereupon Guadet ascended the tribune and 
said in an ironic tone: "At the moment when M. 
Lafayette's presence in Paris was announced to me, 
a most consoling idea presented itself. So we have 
no more external enemies, thought I ; the Austrians 
are conquered. This illusion did not last long. Our 
enemies remain the same. Our exterior situation is 
not altered, and yet M. Lafayette is in Paris ! What 
powerful motives have brought him hither? Our 
internal troubles? Does he fear, then, that the 
National Assembly is not strong enough to repress 
them ? He constitutes himself the organ of his army 
and of honest men. Where are these honest men? 
How has the army been able to deliberate ? " Guadet 
-concluded thus : " I demand that the Minister of 
War be asked whether he gave leave of absence 
to M. Lafayette, and that the extraordinary Com- 
mittee of Twelve make a report to-morrow on the 
danger of granting the right of petition to generals." 
Ramond, one of the most courageous members of 
the right, was the next speaker: "Four days ago," 
said he, " an armed multitude asked to appear before 
you. Positive laws forbade such a thing, and a proc- 
lamation made by the department on the previous 
day recalled this law and demanded that \t should 
be put into execution. You paid no attention, but 
admitted armed men into your midst. To-day M. 
Lafayette presents himself; he is known only by 
reason of his love of liberty ; his life is a series of 
combats against despotisms of every sort; he has 


sacrificed his life and fortune to the Revolution. It 
is against this man that pretended suspicions are 
directed and every passion unchained. Has the 
National Assembly two weights and measures, then ? 
Certainly, if respect is to be had to persons, it should 
be shown to this eldest son of French liberty." This 
eulogy exasperated the left. Deputy Saladin ex- 
claimed : " I ask M. Ramond if he is making M. 
Lafayette's funeral oration?" However, the right 
was still in the majority. After a long tumult 
Guadet's motion against Lafayette was rejected by 
339 votes against 234. The general left the Assem- 
bly surrounded by a numerous cortege of deputies and 
National Guards, and went directly to the palace of 
the Tuileries. 

It is the decisive moment. The vote just taken 
may serve as the starting-point of a conservative 
reaction if the King will trust himself to Lafayette. 
But how will he receive him ? The sovereign's greet- 
ing will be polite, but not cordial. The King and 
Queen say they are persuaded that there is no safety 
but in the Constitution. Louis XVI. adds that he 
would consider it a very fortunate thing if the Aus- 
trians were beaten without delay. Lafayette is 
treated with a courtesy through which suspicion 
pierces. When he leaves the palace, a large crowd 
accompany him to his house and plant a may-pole 
before the door. On the next day Louis XVI. w£is 
to review four thousand men of the National Guard. 
Lafayette had proposed to appear at this review 


beside the King and make a speech in favor of order. 
But the court does not desire the general's aid, and 
takes what measures it can to defeat this project. 
Potion, whom it had preferred to Lafayette as mayor 
of Paris, countermands the review an hour before 

Perhaps Louis XVI. might have succeeded in 
overcoming his repugnance to Lafayette and sub- 
mitted to be rescued by him. But the Queen abso- 
lutely refused to trust the man whom she considered 
her evil genius. She had seen him rise like a spectre 
at every hapless hour. He had brought her back to 
Paris a prisoner on the 6th of October. He had 
been her jailer. His apparition amid the glare of 
torches in the Court of the Carrousel had frozen her 
with terror when she was flying from her prison, the 
Tuileries, to begin the fatal journey to Varennes. 
His aides-de-camp had pursued her. He was respon- 
sible for her arrest ; he was present at her humiliating 
and sorrowful return ; the sight of his face, the sound 
of his voice, made her tremble ; she could not hear 
his name without a shudder. In vain Madame Elisa- 
beth exclaimed : " Let us forget the past and throw 
ourselves into the arms of the only man who can save 
the King and his family ! " Marie Antoinette's pride 
revolted at the thought of owing anything to her 
former persecutor. Moreover, in his latest confiden- 
tial communications with her, Mirabeau had said: 
" Madame, be on your guard against Lafayette ; if 
ever he commands the army, he would like to keep 


the King in Ms tent." In the Queen's opinion, to 
rely on Lafayette would be to accept him as regent 
of the palace under a sluggard King. Protector for 
protector, she preferred Dan ton. Danton, who, sub- 
sidized from the civil list, accepts money without 
knowing whether he will fairly earn it ; Danton, who, 
while awaiting events, had made the cynical remark 
that he would " save the King or kill him." Strange 
that the orator of the faubourgs inspired the daugh- 
ter of Caesars with less repugnance than the gentle- 
man, the marquis. " They propose M. de Lafay- 
ette as a resource," she said to Madame Campan; 
"but it would be better to perish than owe our 
safety to the man who has done us most harm." 

However, Lafayette was not yet discouraged. He 
wished to save the royal family in spite of themselves. 
He assembled several officers of the National Guard 
at his house. He represented to them the dangers 
into which the apathy of each plunged the affairs of 
all ; he showed the urgent necessity of combining 
against the avowed enterprises of the anarchists, of 
inspiring the National Assembly with the firmness 
required to repress the intended attacks, and foretold 
the inevitable calamities which would result from the 
weakness and disunion of honest men. He wanted 
to march against the Jacobin Club and close it. But, 
in consequence of the instructions issued by the 
court, the royalists of the National Guard were indis- 
posed to second him in this measure. Lafayette, 
having no one on his side but the constitutionals, an 


honest but scanty group who were suspected by both 
of the extreme parties, gave up the struggle. The 
next day, June 30, he beat a hasty retreat to the 
army, after writing to the Assembly another letter 
which was merely an echo of the first one. A 
moment since, the Jacobins were trembling. Now, 
they are reassured, they triumph. In his Chronique 
des Cinquante Jours, Rcederer says: "If M. de 
Lafayette had had the will and ability to make a 
bold stroke and seize the dictatorship, reserving the 
power to relinquish it after the re-establishment of 
order, one could comprehend his coming to the 
Assembly with the sword of a dictator at his side ; 
but, to show it only, without resolving to draw it 
from the scabbard, was a fatal imprudence. In civil 
commotions it will not answer to dare by halves." 



FRANCE had still its moments of enthusiasm 
and illusion before plunging into the abyss 
of woes. It seemed under an hallucination, or suf- 
fering from a sort of vertigo. A nameless frenzy, 
both in good and evil, agitated and disturbed it 
beyond measure in 1792, that year so fertile in 
surprises and dramas of every kind. Strange and 
bizarre epoch, full of love and hatred, launching 
itself from one extreme to the other with frightful 
inconstancy, now weeping with tenderness, and now 
howling with rage ! Society resembled a drunken 
man who is sometimes amiable in his cups, and 
sometimes cruel. There were sudden halts on the 
road of fury, oases in the midst of scorching sands, 
beneath a sun whose fire consumed. But the caravan 
does not rest long beneath the shady trees. Quickly 
it resumes its course as if urged by a mysterious 
force, and soon the terrible simoom overwhelms and 
destroys it. 

Madame Elisabeth wrote to Madame de Raige- 
court, July 8, 1792 : " It would need all Madame 
de S^vign^'s eloquence to describe properly what 



happened yesterday; for it was certainly the most 
surprising thing, the most extraordinary, the greatest, 
the smallest, etc., etc. But, fortunately, experience 
may aid comprehension. In a word, here were Jaco- 
bins, Feuillants, republicans, and monarchists, abjur- 
ing all their discords and assembling near the tree of 
the Constitution and of liberty, to promise sincerely 
that they will act in accordance with law and not 
depart from it. Luckily, August is coming, the time 
when, the leaves being well grown, the tree of liberty 
will aiford a more secure shelter." 

What had happened on the day before Madame 
Elisabeth wrote this letter ? There had been a very 
singular session of the Legislative Assembly. In the 
morning, a woman named Olympe de Gouges, whose 
mother was a dealer in second-hand clothing at 
Montauban, being consumed with a desire to be 
talked about, had caused an emphatic placard to be 
posted up, in which she preached concord between 
all parties. This placard was like a prologue to the 
day's session. 

Among the deputies there was a certain Abb6 
Lamourette, the constitutional bishop of Lyons, who 
played at religious democracy. He was an ex-Laza- 
rist who had been professor of theology at the Semi- 
nary at Toul. Weary of the conventual yoke, he had 
left his order, and at the beginning of the Revolution 
was the vicar-general of the diocese of Arras. He 
had published several works in which he sought to 
reconcile philosophy and religion. Mirabeau was 


one of his acolytes and adopted him as his theologian 
in ordinary. Finding him fit to " bishopize " {d evS- 
quaillef), to use his own expression, the great tribune 
recommended him to the electors of the Rhone de- 
partment. It was thus that the Abb^ Lamourette 
became the constitutional bishop of Lyons. After 
his consecration, he issued a pastoral instruction in 
such agreement with current ideas that Mirabeau, 
his protector, induced the Constituent Assembly to 
have it sent as a model to every department in 
France. In 1792, the Abb^ Lamourette was fifty 
years old. Affable, unctuous, his mouth always full 
of pacific and gentle words, he naively preached 
moderation, concord, and fraternity in conversations 
which were like so many sermons. 

For several days the discussions in the Assembly 
had been of unparalleled violence. Suspicion, hatred, 
rancor, wrath, were unchained in a fury that bor- 
dered on delirium. Right and left emulated each 
other in outrages and invectives. Lafayette's appear- 
ance and the fear of a foreign invasion had disturbed 
all minds. The National Assembly, sitting both day 
and night, was like an arena of gladiators fighting 
without truce or pity. It was this moment which 
the good Abb^ Lamourette chose for delivering his 
most touching sermon from the tribune. 

During the session of July 7, Brissot was about 
to ascend the tribune and propose new measures 
of public safety. Lamourette, getting before him, 
asked to be heard on a motion of order. He said 


that of all the means proposed for arresting the 
divisions which were destroying France, but one had 
been forgotten, and that the only one which could be 
efficacious. It was the union of all Frenchmen in 
one mind, the reconciliation of all the deputies, with- 
out exception. What was to prevent this? The 
only irreconcilable things are crime and virtue. What 
do all our mistrust and suspicions amount to ? One 
party in the Assembly attributes to the other a sedi- 
tious desire to destroy the monarchy. The others 
attribute to their colleagues a desire to destroy con- 
stitutional equality and to establish the aristocratic 
government known as that of the Two Chambers. 
These are the disastrous suspicions which divide 
the empire. " Very well ! " cried the abb^, " let us 
crush both the republic and the Two Chambers." 
The hall rang with unanimous applause from the 
Assembly and the galleries. From all sides came 
shouts of " Yes, yes, we want nothing but the Con- 
stitution." Lamourette went on : " Let us swear to 
have but one mind, one sentiment. Let us swear to 
sink all our differences and become a homogeneous 
mass of freemen formidable both to the spirit of 
anarchy and that of feudalism. The moment when 
foreigners see that we desire one ' settled thing, and 
that we all desire it, will be the moment when 
liberty will triumph and France be saved. I ask 
the president to put to vote this simple proposi- 
tion: That those who equally abjure and execrate 
the republic and the Two Chambers shall rise." At 


once, as if moved by the same impulse, the members 
of the Assembly rose as one man, and swore enthusi- 
astically never to permit, either by the introduction 
of the republican system or by that of the Two 
Chambers, any alteration whatsoever in the Consti- 

By a spontaneous movement, the members of the 
extreme left went towards the deputies of the right. 
They were received with open arms, and, in their 
turn, the right advanced toward the ranks of the left. 
All parties blended. Jaucourt and Merlin, Albite 
and Ramond, Gensonn^ and Calvet, Chabot and 
Genty, men who ordinarily opposed each other relent- 
lessly, could be seen sitting on the same bench. As 
if by miracle, the Assembly chamber became the 
temple of Concord. The moved spectators mingled 
their acclamations with the oaths of the deputies. 
According to the expressions of the Moniteur, seren- 
ity and joy were on all faces, and unction in every 

M. Emmery was the next speaker. "When the 
Assembly is reunited," said he, " all the powers ought 
to be so. I ask, therefore, that the Assembly at once 
send the King the minutes of its proceedings by a 
deputation of twenty-four members." The motion 
was adopted. 

A few minutes later, Louis XVI., followed by the 
deputation and surrounded by his ministers, entered 
the hall. Cries of " Long live the nation ! Long live 
the King ! " resounded from every side. The sovereign 


placed himself near the president, and in a voice that 
betrayed emotion, made the following address : " Gen- 
tlemen, the spectacle most affecting to my heart is 
that of the reunion of all wills for the sake of the 
country's safety. I have long desired this salutary 
moment; my desire is accomplished. The nation 
and the King are one. Each of them has the same 
end in view. Their reunion will save France. The 
Constitution should be the rallying-point for all 
Frenchmen. We all ought to defend it. The King 
will always set the example of so doing." The presi- 
dent replied : " Sire, this memorable moment, when 
all constituted authorities unite, is a signal of joy 
to the friends of liberty, and of terror to its enemies. 
From this union will issue the force necessary to 
combat the tyrants combined against us. It is a 
sure warrant of liberty." 

After prolonged applause a great silence followed. 
" I own to you, M. the President," presently said 
the complaisant Louis XVI., " that I was longing for 
the deputation to finish, so that I might hasten to the 
Assembly." Applause and cries of "Long live the 
nation ! Long live the King ! " redoubled. What ! 
this monarch now acclaimed is the same prince 
against whom Vergniaud hurled invectives a few 
days ago with the enthusiastic approbation of the 
same Assembly ! He is the sovereign whom the 
Girondin thus addressed: "O King, who doubtless 
have believed with Lysander the tyrant that truth is 
no better than a lie, and that men must be amused 


with oaths like children with rattles ; who have pre- 
tended to love the laws only to preserve the power 
that will enable you to defy them ; the Constitution 
only that it may not cast you from the throne where 
you must remain in order to destroy it ; the nation 
only to assure the success of your perfidy by inspiring 
it with confidence, — do you think you can impose 
upon us to-day by hypocritical protestations?" What 
has occurred since the day when Vergniaud, uttering 
such words as these, was frantically cheered? Noth- 
ing. That day, the weather-cock pointed to anger; 
to-day to concord. Why ? No one knows. Tired of 
hating, the Assembly doubtless needed an instant of 
relaxation. Violent sentiments end by wearying the 
souls that experience them. They must rest and 
renew their energies in order to hate better to-mor- 
row. And why say to-morrow ? This very evening 
the quarrelling, anger, and fury will begin anew. 

At half-past three Louis XVI. left the Hall of the 
Manage, in the midst of joyful applause from the 
Assembly and the galleries. During the evening 
session discord reappeared. The following letter 
from the King was read : " I have just been handed 
the departmental decree which provisionally suspends 
the mayor and the procureur of the Commune of 
Paris. As this decree is based on facts which person- 
ally concern me, the first impulse of my heart is to 
beg the Assembly to decide upon it." Does any one 
believe that the Assembly will have the courage to 
condemn Potion and the 20th of June? Not a bit 


of it. It makes no decision, but passes unanimously 
from the King's letter to the order of the day. And 
what occurs at the clubs? Listen to Billaud-Va- 
rennes at the Jacobins : " They embrace each other at 
the Assembly," he exclaims ; " it is the kiss of Judas, 
it is the kiss of Charles IX., extending his hand to 
Coligny. They were embracing like this while the 
King was preparing for flight on October 6. They 
were embracing like this before the massacres of the 
Champ-de-Mars. They embrace, but are the court 
conspiracies coming to an end? Have our enemies 
ceased their advance against our frontiers? Is La- 
fayette the less a traitor ? " And thereupon the cry 
broke out : " Potion or death ! " The next day, June 
8, at the Assembly, loud applause greeted the orator 
from a section who said, concerning the department : 
" It openly serves the sinister projects and disastrous 
conspiracies of a perfidious court. It is the first link 
in the immense chain of plots formed against the peo- 
ple. It is an accomplice in the extravagant projects 
of this general, who, not being able to become the 
hero of liberty, has preferred to make himself the 
Don Quixote of the court." A deputy exclaimed: 
"The acclamations with which the Assembly has 
listened to this petition authorize me to ask its pub- 
lication: I make an express motion to that effect." 
And the publication was decreed. 

O poor Lamourette ! humanitarian abb^, rose-water 
revolutionist, of what avail is your democratic holy 
water ? What have you gained by your sentimental 


jargon? what do your dreams of evangelical phil- 
osophy and universal brotherhood amount to ? Poor 
constitutional abb^, people are scoffing already at 
your sacerdotal unction, your soothing homily ! The 
very men who, to please you, have sworn to destroy 
the republic, will proclaim it two and a half months 
later. Your famous reunion of parties, people are 
already shrugging their shoulders at and calling it 
the " baiser d^ Amourette, la reconciliation normande " ; 
the calf-love kiss, the pretended reconciliation. They 
accuse you of having sold yourself to the court. 
They ridicule, they flout, and they will kill you. 
January 11, ,1794, Fouquier-Tinville's prosecuting 
speech will punish you for your moderatism. You 
will carry your head to the scaffold^ and, optimist to 
the end, you will say: "What is the guillotine? 
only a rap on the neck." 



THE fSte of the Federation, which was to be 
celebrated July 14, was awaited with anxiety. 
The federates came into Paris full of the most revo- 
lutionary projects. Anxiety and anguish reigned at 
the Tuileries. Louis XVI, and Marie Antoinette, 
who were to be present in the Champ-de-Mars, feared 
to be assassinated there. The Queen's importunities 
decided the King to have a plastron made, to ward 
off a poniard thrust. Composed of fifteen thicknesses 
of Italian taffeta, this plastron consisted of a vest and 
a large belt. Madame Campan secretly tried it on 
the King in the chamber where Marie Antoinette was 
lying. Pulling Madame Campan by the dress as far 
as possible from the Queen's bed, Louis XVI. whis- 
pered : " It is to satisfy her that I yield ; they will 
not assassinate me ; their plan is changed ; they will 
put me to death in another way." When the King 
had gone out, the Queen forced Madame Campan to 
tell her what he had just said. " I had divined it ! " 
she exclaimed. " He has said this long time that all 
that is going on in France is an imitation of the revo- 
lution in England under Charles I. I begin to dread 


an impeachment for him . As for me, I am a foreigner, 
and they will assassinate me. What will become 
of ray poor children ? " And she fell to weeping. 
Madame Campan tried to administer a nervine, but 
the Queen refused it. " Nervous maladies," said she.; 
" are the ailments of happy women ; I no longer have 
them." Without her knowledge a sort of corset, in 
the style of her husband's plastron, had been made 
for her. Nothing could induce her to wear it. To 
those who implored her with tears to put it on, she 
replied : " If seditious persons assassinate me, so much 
the better ; they will deliver me from a most sorrow- 
ful life." 

The f6te of the Federation was celebrated in 1792 
amidst extremely tragical preoccupations. Things 
had changed very greatly since the f^te which had 
excited such enthusiasm two years earlier. On July 
14, 1790, the Champ-de-Mars was filled at four o'clock 
in the morning by a crowd delirious with joy. At 
eight o'clock in the morning of July 14, 1792, it was 
still empty. The people were said to be at the Bas- 
tille witnessing the laying of the first stone of the 
column to be erected on the ruins of the famous for- 
tress. On the Champ-de-Mars there was no magnifi- 
cent altar served by three hundred priests, no side 
benches covered by an innumerable crowd, none of 
that sincere and ardent joy which throbbed in every 
heart two years before. For the fSte of 1792, eighty- 
three little tents, representing the departments of the 
kingdom, had been erected on hillocks of sand. Be- 


fore each tent stood a poplar, so frail that it seemed 
as if a breath might blow away the tree and its tri- 
colored pendant. In the middle of the Champ-de- 
Mars were four stretchers covered with canvas painted 
gray which would have made a miserable decoration 
for a boulevard theatre. It was a so-called tomb, an 
honorary monument to those who had died or were 
about to die on the frontiers. On one side of it was 
the inscription: "Tremble, tyrants; we will avenge 
them ! " The Altar of the Country could hardly be 
seen. It was formed of a truncated column placed 
on the top of the altar steps raised in 1790. Perfumes 
were burned on the four small corner altars. Two 
hundred yards farther off, near the Seine, a large tree 
had been set up and named the Tree of Feudalism. 
From its branches depended escutcheons, helmets, 
and blue ribboi^s interwoven with chains. This tree 
rose out of a wood-pile on which lay a heap of crowns, 
tiaras, cardinals' hats. Saint Peter's keys, ermine man- 
tles, doctors' caps, and titles of nobility. A royal 
crown was among them, and beside it the escutcheons 
of the Count de Provence, the Count d'Artois, and 
the Prince de Cond6. The organizers of the f^te 
hoped to induce the King himself to set fire to this 
pile, covered with feudal emblems. A figure repre- 
senting Liberty, and another representing Law, were 
placed on casters by the aid of which the two divini- 
ties were to be rolled about. Fifty-four pieces of 
cannon bordered the Champ-de-Mars on the side next 
the Seine, and the Phrygian cap crowned every tree. 


At eleven in the morning the King and his cortege 
arrived at the Military School. A detachment of 
cavalry opened the march. There were three car- 
riages. In the first were the Prince de Poix, the 
Marquis de Br^z^, and the Count de Saint-Priest ; in 
the second, the Queen's ladies, Mesdames de Tarente, 
de la Roche- Aymon, de Maill^, and de Mackau ; in 
the third, the King, the Queen, their two children, and 
Madame Elisabeth. The trumpets sounded and the 
drums beat a salute. A salvo of artillery announced 
the arrival of the royal family. The sovereign's 
countenance was mild and benevolent. Marie An- 
toinette appeared still more majestic than usual. The 
dignity of her demeanor, the grace of her children, 
and the angelic charm of Madame Elisabeth inspired 
a tender respect. The little Dauphin wore the uni- 
form of a National Guard. " He has not deserved the 
cap yet," said the Queen to the grenadiers. 

The royal family took their places on the balcony 
of the Military School,' which was covered with a red 
velvet carpet embroidered with gold, and watched 
the popular procession, entering the Champ-de-Mars 
by the gate of the rue de Grenelle, and marching tow- 
ards the Altar of the Country. What a strange proces- 
sion ! Men, women, children, armed with pikes, sticks, 
and hatchets; bands singing the Ca ira; drunken 
harlots, adorned with flowers ; people from the fau- 
bourgs with the inscription, " Long live Potion ! " 
chalked on their head-gear ; six legions of National 
Guards marching pell-mell with the sans-culottes ; red 


caps ; placards with devices either ferocious or stupid, 
like this one: "Long live the heroes who died in the 
siege of the Bastille ! " a plan in relief of the cele- 
brated fortress ; a travelling printing-press throwing 
off copies of the revolutionary manifesto, which the 
crowd at first mistook for a little guillotine ; a great 
deal of noise and shouting, — and there you have the 
popular cortege. By way of compensation, the troops 
of the line and the grenadiers of the National Guard 
displayed extremely royalist sentiments. The 104th 
regiment of infantry having halted under the balcony, 
its band played the air : Oil peut-on Stre mieux qu'au 
sein de safamillef (Where is one better off than in 
the bosom of liis family ?) 

The moment when Louis XVI. left the Military 
School to walk to the Altar of the Country with the 
National Assembly was not without solemnity. A 
certain anxiety was felt by all as to what might hap- 
pen. Would Louis XVL be struck by a ball or by a 
poniard ? What might not be feared from so many 
demoniacs, howling like cannibals ? The King, the 
deputies, the soldiers, the crowd, all pressed against 
each other in a solid mass that left no vacant spaces ; 
all was in continual undulation. Louis XVI. could 
only advance slowly and with difficulty. The inter- 
vention of the troops was necessary to enable him to 
reach the Altar of the Country, where he was to swear 
allegiance for the second time to the Constitution 
whose fragments were to overwhelm his throne. " It 
needed the character of Louis XVL," Madame de 


Stael has said, "it needed that martyr character 
which he never belied, to support such a situation as 
he did. His gait, his countenance, had something 
peculiar to himself; on other occasions one might 
have wished he had more grandeur; but at this 
moment it was enough for him to remain what he 
was in order to appear sublime. From a distance I 
watched his powdered head in the midst of all those 
black ones ; his coat, still embroidered as it had been 
in former days, stood out against the costumes of the 
common people who pressed around him. When he 
ascended the steps of the altar, one seemed to behold 
the sacred victim offering himself in voluntary sacri- 

The Queen had remained on the balcony of the 
Military School. From there she watched through a 
lorgnette the dangerous progress of the King. A 
prey to inexpressible emotion, she remained motionless 
during an entire hour, hardly able to breathe on ac- 
count of excessive anguish. She used the lorgnette 
steadily, but at one moment she cried out : " He has 
come down two steps ! " This cry made all those 
about her shudder. The King could not, in fact, 
reach the summit of the altar, because a throng of 
suspicious-looking persons had already taken posses- 
sion of it. 

Deputy Dumas had the presence of mind to cry 
out: "Attention, Grenadiers! present arms!" The 
intimidated sans-culottes remained quiet, and Louis 
XVI. took the oath amid the thundering of the can- 
non ranged beside the Seine. 


It was then proposed to the King that he should 
set fire to the Tree of Feudalism ; it was close to the 
river and the arms of France were hung upon it. 
Louis XVI. spared himself that shame, exclaiming, 
"There is no more feudalism ! " He returned to the 
Military School by the way he came. The 6th 
legion of the National Guard had not yet marched 
past when the cavalry announced the King's ap- 
proach. This legion, quickening its pace, was inter- 
cepted by the royal escort, and invaded, not to say 
routed, by the populace, which from aU sides pressed 
into its ranks. 

Meanwhile the anguish of Marie Antoinette re- 
doubled. "The expression of the Queen's face," 
Madame de Stael says again, " will never be effaced 
from my memory. Her eyes were drowned in tears ; 
the splendor of her toilette, the dignity of her de- 
meanor, contrasted with the throng that surrounded 
her. Nothing separated her from the populace but a 
few National Guards; the armed men assembled in 
the Champ-de-Mars seemed more as if they had come 
together for a riot than for a festival." Potion, who 
had been reinstated in his functions as mayor of 
Paris on the previous day, was the hero of the occa- 
sion. They called him King Potion, and the cheers 
which resounded in honor of this revolutionist were 
like a funeral knell in the ears of Marie Antoinette. 

At last Louis XVI. appeared in front of the Mili- 
tary School. The Queen experienced a momentary 
loy in seeing him approach. Rising hastily, she ran 


down the stairs to meet him. Always calm, the King 
tenderly clasped his wife's hand. At once royalist sen- 
timent took fire. All who were present — National 
Guards, troops of the line, Switzers, people in the 
courts, at the windows, on balconies and gates — all 
cried : "Long live the King ! Long live the Queen ! " 
The royal family regained the Tuileries in the midst 
of acclamations. At the entrance of the palace en- 
thusiasm deepened. From the Royal Court to the 
great stairway of the Horloge Pavilion, the grena- 
diers of the National Guard, who had escorted and 
saved the King, formed into line with shouts of joy. 

"All former souvenirs," says the Count de Vau- 
blanc in his Memoirs, " all foi-mer habits of respect 
then awoke. . . . Yes, I saw and observed this mul- 
titude; it was animated with the best sentiments; 
at heart it was faithful to its King and crowned him 
with sincere benedictions. But do popular love and 
fidelity afford any support to a tottering throne ? He 
is mad who can think so. The people will be specta- 
tors of the latest combat and will applaud the victor. 
And let no one blame them ! What can they do if 
they are not united, encouraged, and led? The 
people behold a few seditious individuals attack a 
throne, and a few courageous men defend it; they 
fear one party and desire the success of the other. 
When the struggle is over, they submit and obey. 
The most honest of them weep in silence, the timid 
force themselves to display a guilty joy in order to 
escape the hatred of the victors whom they see bath- 


ing themselves in blood. They think about their 
families, their affairs, their means of support. They 
were not expected to lead themselves ; that duty was 
imposed on others ; have they fulfilled it ? " 

It is said that during the fete those who were 
friendly to the King, amongst the crowd, were await- 
ing a signal they expected from him. They hoped 
that, by the assistance of the Swiss, they could force 
their way to the royal family during the confusion 
of a hand-to-hand affray, and get them safely out of 
Paris. But Louis XVI. neither spoke nor acted. He 
returned to his palace without having dared any- 
thing. And, nevertheless, there were still many 
chances of safety open. Imagine the effect of a 
haughty bearing, a commanding gesture in place of 
the inert attitude habitual to the unfortunate sover- 
eign. Fancy the Most Christian King, the heir of 
Louis XIV., on horseback, haranguing the people in 
the style of his witty and valiant ancestor, Henry IV. ! 
He is still King. The troops of the line are faithful. 
The great majority of the National Guard are well- 
disposed towards him. Luckner, Lafayette, Dumou- 
riez himself, would ask nothing better than to defend 
him if he would show a little energy. 

The day after the ceremony of July l4, Lafayette 
was still anxious that Louis XVI. should leave Paris 
openly and go to Compi^gne, so as to show France 
and Europe that he was free. In case of resistance, 
the general demanded only fifty loyal cavaliers to 
take the royal family away. From Compi^gne, picked 


squadrons would conduct them to the midst of the 
French army, the asylum of devotion and honor. But 
Louis XVI. refused. The last resources remaining 
to him were to evaporate between his hands. He 
will profit neither by the sympathies of all European 
courts, which ardently desire his safety ; by his civil 
list, which might be such an efficacious means of 
action ; nor by the loyalty of his brave soldiers, who 
are ready to shed their last drop of blood in his 
defence. A large party in the Legislative Assembly 
would ask nothing but a signal, providing it were 
seriously given, to rally with vigor to the royal cause. 
He had intrepid champions there whom no menace 
could affright, and who on every occasion, no matter 
how violent or tumultuous the galleries might be, 
had braved the storm with heroic constancy. Public 
opinion was changing for the better. The schemes 
and language of the Jacobins exasperated the mass of 
honest people. The provinces were sending addresses 
of fidelity to the King. 

What was lacking to the monarch to enable him 
to combine so many scattered elements into a solid 
group? A little will, a little of that essential quality, 
audacity, which, according to Danton, is the last word 
of politics. But Louis XVI. has a timorous soul. 
If he makes one step forward, he is in haste to make 
another back. He is scrupulous, hesitating ; he has 
no confidence in himself or any one else. This prince, 
so incontestably courageous, acts as if he were a cow- 
ard. He has made so many concessions already that 


the idea of any manner of resistance seems to him 
chimerical. Does the fate of Charles I. make him 
dread the beginning of civil war as the supreme dan- 
ger ? Does he fear to imperil the lives of his wife 
and children by an energetic deed? Is he expecting 
foreign aid ? Does he think to prove his wisdom by 
his patience, and that success will crown delay ? Is 
he so benevolent, so gentle, that the least thought of 
repression is repugnant to him? Does he wish to 
carry to extremes that pardon of injuries which is 
recommended by the Gospel ? What is plain is, that 
he rejects every firm resolution. 

Palliatives, expedients, half-measures, were what 
suited this honest but feeble nature. Distui'bed by 
contradictory councils, and no longer knowing what 
to desire or what to hope, he looked on at his own 
destruction like an unmoved spectator. He was no 
longer a sovereign full of the sentiment of his power 
and his rights, but an almost unconscious victim of 
fatality. Example full of startling lessons for all 
leaders of state who adopt weakness as a system, and 
who, under pretext of benevolence or moderation, no 
longer know how to foresee, to will, or to strike ! 



DURING one of the last nights of July, at one 
o'clock, Madame Campan was alone near the 
Queen's bed, when she heard some one walking softly 
in the adjoining corridor, which was ordinarily locked 
at both ends. Madame Campan summoned the valet- 
de-chambre, who went into the corridor ; presently 
the noise of two men fighting reached the ears of 
Marie Antoinette. " What a position ! " cried the 
unfortunate Queen. " Insults by day and assassins 
by night ! " The valet cried : " Madame, it is a 
scoundrel whom I know; I am holding him." — "Let 
him go," said the Queen. " Open the door for him ; 
he came to assassinate me ; he will be carried in 
triumph by the Jacobins to-morrow." 

People were constantly saying that the Faubourg 
Saint-Antoine was getting ready to march against 
the palace. Marie Antoinette was so badly guarded, 
and it was so easy to force an entrance to her apart- 
ment on the ground-floor, opposite the garden, that 
Madame de Tourzel, her children's governess, begged 
her to sleep in the Dauphin's room on the first floor. 
The Queen was averse to this step, as she was im- 



willing to have any one suspect her uneasiness. But 
Madame de Tourzel having shown her that it would 
be easy to keep the secret of tliis change by using the 
-Dauphin's private staircase, she ended by accepting the 
proposal so long as the trouble should last. She was so 
thoughtful of all those in her service that it cost her 
much to incommode them in the least. Finally, she 
consented to use the bed of the governess, and a 
pallet was laid for the latter every evening. 
Mademoiselle Pauline de Tourzel slept on a sofa in 
an adjoining closet. As no one in the house sus- 
pected that the Queen might have changed her 
apartment for the night, Madame de Tourzel and her 
daughter took precautionary measures. When the 
Queen had gone to bed, they rose, and after making 
sure that the doors were locked, they shot the inside 
bolts. " The closet I occupied served as a passage for 
the royal family when they went to supper," says 
Mademoiselle de Tourzel, afterwards Madame de 
Bdarn, in her Souvenirs de Quarante Ans ; " I went 
to bed early; sometimes I pretended to be asleep 
when the Princes were passing through, and I saw 
them approach my sofa, one after another; I heard 
their expressions of kindness and good will toward 
me, and noticed what care they took not to disturb 
my slumber." 

Poor Marie Antoinette ! Could one believe that a 
Queen of France would be reduced to keeping a 
little dog in her bedroom to warn her of the least 
noise in her apartment ? The Dauphin, delighted to 


have his mother sleep so near him, used to run to her 
as soon as he awoke, and clasping her in his little 
arms would say the most affectionate things. This 
was the only moment of the day that brought her 
any consolation. 

By the end of July, both the Queen and her 
children were obliged to give up walking in the 
garden. She had gone out to take the air with her 
daughter in the Dauphin's small parterre at the 
extreme end of the Tuileries, close to the Place 
Louis XV. Some federates grossly insulted her. 
Four Swiss officers made their way through the crowd, 
and placing the Queen and the young Princess be- 
tween them, brought them back to the palace. When 
she reached her apartments, Marie Antoinette thanked 
her defenders in the most affecting terms, but she 
never went out again. 

After June 20, the garden, excepting the terrace of 
the Feuillants, which, by a decree of the Assembly, 
had become a part of its precincts, had been for- 
bidden to the populace. Posters warned the people 
to remain on the terrace and not go down into the 
garden. The terrace was called National Ground, 
and the garden the Land of Coblentz. Inscriptions 
apprised passers-by of this novel topography. Tri- 
colored ribbons had been tied to the banisters of the 
staircases by way of barriers. Placards were fastened 
at intervals to the trees bordering the terrace, whereon 
could be read : " Citizens, respect yourselves ; give the 
force of bayonets to this feeble barrier. Citizens, do 


not go into this foreign land, this Coblentz, abode of 
corruption." The leaders had such an empire over 
the crowd that no one disobeyed. And yet it was 
the height of summer, the trees offered their verdant 
shade, and the King had withdrawn all his guards 
and opened every gate. Nobody dared infringe the 
revolutionary mandate. One young man, paying no 
attention, went down into the garden. Furious 
clamors broke out on all sides. " To the lamp-post 
with him ! " cried some one on the terrace. There- 
upon the young man, taking off his shoes, drew out 
his handkerchief and began to wipe the dust from 
their soles. People cried bravo, and he was carried 
in triumph. 

Marie Antoinette could not become resigned to this 
hatred. Often she frightened her women by wishing 
to go out of the palace and address the people. 
"Yes," she would cry, her voice trembling, as she 
walked quickly to and fro in her chamber, "yes, I 
will say to them: Frenchmen, they have had the 
cruelty to persuade you that I do not love France, 
I, the wife of its King and the mother of a Dauphin ! " 
Then, this brief moment of generous exaltation over, 
the illusion of being able to move a nation of insul- 
ters quickly vanished. Her life was a daily, hourly 
struggle. The wife, the mother, the queen, never 
ceased to contend against destiny. She hardly slept 
or ate ; but from the very excess of danger she drew 
additional energy, and moral and material force. 
As she awoke at daybreak, she required that the 


shutters should not be closed, so that her sleepless 
nights might be sooner consoled by the light of 
morning. The most widely diverse sentiments occu- 
pied her soul. A captive in her palace, she some- 
times believed herself irrevocably condemned by 
fate, and sometimes hoped for deliverance. 

Toward the middle of one of the last nights pre- 
ceding the 10th of August, the moon shone into 
her bedchamber. " In a month," she said to Madame 
Campan, " I shall not see that moon unless I am 
freed from my chains." But she was not free from 
anxiety concerning all that might happen before that. 
" The King is not a poltroon," she added ; " he has 
very great passive courage, but he is crushed by a 
false shame, a doubt of himself, which arises from his 
education quite as much as from his character. He 
is afraid of commanding ; he dreads above everything 
to speak to assemblages of men. He lived uneasily 
and like a child, under the eyes of Louis XV. until 
he was twenty, and this constraint has had an effect 
on his timidity. In our circumstances, a few clearly 
spoken words addressed to the Parisians who are 
devoted to us would immensely strengthen our party, 
but he will not say them." Then Marie Antoinette 
explained why she did not put herself forward more : 
" For my part," said she, " I could act, and mount a 
horse if need were ; but, if I acted, it would put 
weapons into the hands of King's enemies ; a general 
outcry would be raised in France against the Aus- 
trian woman, against female domination; moreover, 



I should reduce the King to nothingness by showing 
myself. A queen who is not regent must in such 
circumstances remain inactive and prepare to die." 

The danger constantly increased. At four in the 
morning of one of the last days of July, warning was 
given at the palace that the faubourgs were threat- 
ening, and would doubtless march against the Tuile- 
ries. Madame Campan went very softly into the 
Queen's room. For a wonder, Marie Antoinette 
was sleeping peacefully and profoundly. Madame 
Campan did not rouse her. " You were right," said 
Louis XVI. ; " it is good to see her take a little rest. 
Oh ! her griefs redouble mine ! " At her waking the 
Queen, on being informed of what had passed, began 
to weep, and said: "Why was I not called?" Ma- 
dame Campan excused herself by saying : " It was 
only a false alarm. Your Majesty needed to repair 
your prostrate strength." — " It is not prostrate," 
quickly replied the courageous sovereign ; " misfor- 
tune makes it all the greater. Elisabeth was with 
the King, and I was sleeping ! I, who wish to perish 
beside him ! I am his wife ; I am not willing that he 
should incur the least danger without me ! " 

On Sunday, August 5, — the last Sunday the royal 
family were to spend at the Tuileries, — as they were 
going to the chapel to hear Mass, half the National 
Guards on duty cried : " Long live the King ! " The 
others said: "No, no; no King, down with the 
veto ! " The same day, at Vespers, the chanters had 
agreed to swell their tones greatly, and in a menac- 


ing way, when reciting this versicle of the Magnifi- 
cat : Deposuit potentes de sede — " He hath put down 
the mighty from their seat." In their turn the royal- 
ists, after the Dominum salvumfac regem^ cried thrice, 
turning as they did so toward the Queen : Et regi- 
nam. There was a continual murmuring all through 
the divine office. Five days later, the same chapel 
was to be a pool of blood. 

And yet Madame Elisabeth, always calm and 
always angelic, still had illusions. One morning of 
this terrible month of August, while in her room in the 
Pavilion of Flora, she thought she heard some one 
humming her favorite air, Pauvre Jacques, beneath 
her windows. Attracted by this refrain, which in 
the midst of sorrow renewed the souvenir of happier 
times, she half opened her window and listened at- 
tentively. The words sung were not those of the 
ballad she loved, yet they were royalist in sentiment 
and adapted to the same air. The poor people had 
been substituted for poor Jack — the poor people 
who were pitied for having a king no longer and for 
knowing nothing but wretchedness. Such marks of 
attachment consoled the virtuous Princess, and made 
her hope against all hope. She wrote, August 8, to 
her friend Madame de Raigecourt : " They say that 
the King is going to be turned out of here somewhat 
forcibly, and made to lodge in the H8tel-de-Ville. 
They say that there will be a very strong movement 
to that effect in Paris. Do you believe it ? For my 
part, I do not. I believe in rumors, but not in their 


resulting in anything. That is my profession of 
faith. For the rest, everything is perfectly quiet 
to-day. Yesterday passed in the same way, and I 
think this one will be like it." On August 9, the 
eve of the fatal day, Madame Elisabeth again ad- 
dressed a reassuring letter to one of her friends, 
Madame de Bombelles. Curiously enough she dated 
this letter August 10, no doubt by accident, and 
when Madame de Bombelles received it, she read 
these lines, which seem like the irony of fate : " This 
day of the 10th, which was to have been so exciting, 
so terrible, is as calm as possible ; the Assembly has 
decreed neither deposition nor suspension." 



THE first rumblings of the storm began. People 
quarrelled and fought in the Palais Royal, the 
caf^s, and the theatres. Half of the National Guard 
sided with the court, and the other half with the peo- 
ple. To seditious speeches were added songs full of 
insults to the King and Queen. These songs, sold 
on every corner, applauded in every tavern, and 
repeated by the wives and children of the people, 
propagated revolutionary fury. There was a con- 
stant succession of gatherings, brawls, and riots. 
The Assembly had declared the country in danger. 
Rumors of every sort excited popular imagination. 
It was said that priests who refused the oath were 
in hiding at the Tuileries, which was, moreover, full 
of arms and munitions. The Duke of Brunswick's 
manifesto exasperated national sentiment. It was 
read aloud in every street. The leaders neglected 
nothing likely to excite the populace, and prepared 
their last attack on the throne, their afterpiece of 
June 20, with as much audacity as skill. 

In order to subdue the court, it was necessary to 
destroy its only remaining means of defence. To 



leave plenty of elbow-room for the riot, the Assem- 
bly, on July 15, ordered the troops of the line to be 
sent some thirty-five miles beyond Paris and kept 
there. A singular means was devised for breaking 
up the choice troops of the National Guard, who 
were royalists. They were told that it was contrary 
to equality for certain citizens to be more brilliantly 
equipped than others ; that a bearskin cap humiliated 
those who were entitled only to a felt one ; and that 
there was a something aristocratic about the name of 
grenadier which was really intolerable to a simple 
fooi>soldier. The choice troops were dissolved in 
consequence, and the grenadiers came to the Assem- 
bly like good patriots to lay down their epaulettes 
and bearskin caps and assume the red cap. On 
July 30, the National Guard was reconstructed, by 
taking in all the vagabonds and bandits that the 
clubs could muster. 

The famous federates of Marseilles, who were to 
take such an active part in the coming insurrection, 
arrived in Paris the same day. The Girondins, hav- 
ing failed to obtain their camp of twenty thousand 
men before Paris, had devised instead of it a reunion 
of federate volunteers, summoned from every part of 
France. The roads were at once thronged by future 
rioters whom the Assembly allowed thirty cents a 

The Jacobins of Brest and Marseilles distinguished 
themselves. Instead of a handful of volunteers they 
sent two battalions. That of Marseilles, recruited by 


Barbaroux, comprised five hundred men and two 
pieces of artillery. Starting July 5, it entered Paris 
July 30. Excited to fanaticism by the sun and the 
declamations of the southern clubs, it had run over 
France, been received under triumphal arches, and 
chanted in a sort of frenzy the terrible stanzas of 
Rouget de I'lsle's new hymn, the Marseillaise. It 
was at this time that Blanc Gilli, deputy from the 
Bouches du Rhone department to the Legislative 
Assembly, wrote : " These pretended Marseillais are 
the scum of the jails of Genoa, Piedmont, Sicily, and 
of all Italy, Spain, the Archipelago, and Barbary. I 
run across them every day." Rouget de I'lsle re- 
ceived from his old mother, a royalist and Catholic 
at heart, a letter in which she said: "What is this 
revolutionary hymn which a horde of brigands are 
singing as they pass through France, and in which 
your name is mixed up ? " At Paris the accents of 
that terrible melody sounded like strokes of the toc- 
sin. The men who sang it filled the conservatives 
with terror. They wore woollen cockades and in- 
sulted as aristocrats those who wore silk ones. 

There was no longer any dike to the torrent. 
August 1, Louis XVI. nominated a cabinet composed 
of loyal men : Joly was Minister of Justice ; Champion 
de Villeneuve, of the Interior; Bigot de Sainte-Croix, 
of Foreign Affairs; Du Bouchage, of the Marine; 
Leroux de la Ville, of Public Taxes ; and D'Aban- 
court, of War. But this ministry was to last only 
ten days. Certain petitioners at the bar of the As- 


sembly asked for the deposition of the King in most 
violent language. " This measure," says Barbaroux 
in his Memoirs, "would have carried Philippe of 
Orleans to the regency, and therefore his party vio- 
lently clamored for it. His creditors, his hirelings, 
and boon-companions, Marat and his Cordeliers, all 
manner of swindlers and insolvent debtors, thronged 
public places and incited to this deposition because 
they were hungry for money and positions under a 
regent who was their tool and their accomplice." 

In vain did Louis XVI. display those sentiments 
of paternal kindness which had hitherto availed him 
so little. August 3, he sent a message to the Assem- 
bly, in which he said : " I will uphold national inde- 
pendence to my latest breath. Personal dangers are 
nothing compared to public ones. Oh! what are 
personal dangers to a King whom men are seeking to 
deprive of his people's love ? This is the real plague- 
spot in my heart. Perhaps the people will some day 
know how dear their welfare is to me. How many 
of my sorrows could be obliterated by the least evi- 
dence of a return to right feeling ! " 

How did they respond to this conciliatory lan- 
guage? After it had been read. Potion, the mayor 
of Paris, presented himself at the bar, and read an 
address from the Council General of the Commune, 
in which these words occur : " The chief of the exec- 
utive power is the first link of the counter-revolution- 
ary chain. . . . Through a lingering forbearance, 
we would have desired the power to ask you for the 


suspension of Louis XVI., but to this the Constitu- 
tion is opposed. Louis XVI. incessantly inv^okes the 
Constitution ; we invoke it in our turn, and ask you 
for his deposition." The next day the municipality 
distributed five thousand ball cartridges to the Mar- 
seillais, while refusing any to the National Guards. 

Nevertheless, the Girondins still hesitated. Gua- 
det, Vergniaud, and Gensonn^ would have declared 
themselves satisfied if the three ministers belonging 
to their party had been reinstated, and on July 29 
they secretly despatched a letter to the sovereign, by 
Thierry, his valet-de-chambre, in which they said that, 
" attached to the interests of the nation, they would 
never separate them from those of the King except 
in so far as he separated them himself." As to Bar- 
baroux, like a true visionary, he dreamed of I know 
not what rose-water insurrection. " They should not 
have entered the apartments of the palace," he has ' 
said, "but merely blockaded them. Had this plan 
been followed, the blood of Frenchmen and Swiss, 
ignorant victims of court perfidy, would not have 
J)een shed on the 10th of August, the republic would 
have been founded without convulsions or massacres, 
and we, corroded by popular gangrene, should not 
have become the horror of all nations." The dema- 
gogues were not at all certain of success. Robes- 
pierre was to spend the 10th of August in the discreet 
darkness of a cellar. Danton was prudently to await 
the end of the combat before arming himself with a 
big sabre and marching at the head of the Marseilles 


battalion as the hero of the day. Barbaroux says in 
his Memoirs that on the 1st, 3d, and 7th of August, 
Marat implored him to take him to Marseilles, and 
that on the evening of the 9th he renewed this 
prayer more urgently than ever, adding that he would 
disguise himself as a jockey in order to get away. 

In spite of their many weaknesses, the majority of 
the Assembly were royalists and constitutionalists 
still. The proof is that on August 8, in spite of the 
violent menaces of the galleries, they decided by 406 
against 244 votes, that there was no occasion to im- 
peach Lafayette, so abhorred by the Jacobins. This 
vote excited the wrath of the revolutionists to fury. 
The conservative deputies were insulted, pursued, 
and struck. Several of them barely escaped assassi- 
nation. The sessions became stormier from day to 
day. Not only were the large galleries of the As- 
sembly overthronged by violent crowds, but the 
courtyards, the approaches, and the corridors were 
obstructed. Many sat or stood on the exterior entab- 
latures of the high windows. The upper part of the 
hall, where the Jacobins sat, received many strangers, 
in spite of the often-reiterated opposition of the right. 
Below this Mountain sat the members of the centre, 
the Ventrus. There were not seats enough for them, 
and they were crowded up in a ridiculous manner. 
At the bottom of the hall, almost entirely deserted, 
were the forty-four members of the right. They were 
easily marked and counted by their future execution- 
ers, who threatened them by voice and gesture. Every 


day the petitioners who were admitted to the honors 
of the session avoided the empty benches of the right 
and seated themselves with the Mountain or the 
centre, where they crowded still more the already 
overcrowded deputies. The discussions were like 
formidable tempests. " The effect produced by such 
a spectacle," says Count de Vaublanc in his Memoirs, 
" was still greater on those who entered the hall 
during one of those terrible moments. I received 
this impression several times myself, and it will never 
be effaced from my mind ; I seek vainly for expres- 
sions by which to describe it. Long afterwards, M. 
de Caux, then Minister of War, said to me : 'You 
made the profoundest impression on me which I ever 
received in my life. I was young at the time. I 
entered the galleries just as you were standing out 
against the furious shouts of a part of the deputies 
and the people in the galleries.' " 

Meanwhile the end was approaching. Faithful 
royalists still proposed schemes of flight to Louis 
XVI. Bertrand de Molleville, who is so ill disposed 
toward Madame de Stael, says concerning this : 
" There was nobody, even to Madame de Stael, who, 
either in the hope of being pardoned the injury her 
intrigues had done the King, or else through her con- 
tinual need of intrigue, had not invented some plan 
of escape for His Majesty." Louis XVI. declined 
them all. He would owe nothing to Lafayette. He 
relied on the money he had given to Danton and 
other demagogues, and hoped that the insurrection- 


ary bands would be repulsed by the royalists of the 
National Guard and the Swiss regiment. August 
8th, in the evening, this fine regiment left its Cour- 
bevoie barracks and arrived at the Tuileries at day- 
break next morning. Under various idle pretexts it 
had been deprived of its twelve pieces of artillery, 
and also of thi"ee hundred men who had been given 
the commission, true or false as may be, to watch over 
the transportation of corn in Normandy. Only seven 
hundred and fifty, officers and soldiers, remained ; but 
all of them had said : " We will let ourselves be 
killed to the last man rather than fail in honor or 
betray the sanctity of our oaths." In company with 
a handful of noblemen, these were to be the last de- 
fenders of the throne. The fatal hour was approach- 
ing. The section of the Cordeliers had decided that 
if the Assembly had not pronounced the King's depo- 
sition by the evening of August 9th, the drums should 
beat the general alarm at the stroke of midnight, and 
the insurrection march against the Tuileries. The 
revolutionists were to carry out their plan, and the 
Swiss to keep their word. 



THE night was serene, the sky clear and sown with 
stars. The calmness of nature contrasted with 
the revolutionary passions that had been unchained. 
On account of the heat, all the windows of the Tui- 
leries had been left open, and from a distance the pal- 
ace could be seen illuminated as if for a fete. It had 
just struck midnight. The Revolution was executing 
the programme of the Cordeliers' section. The tocsin 
was sounding all over the city. Everybody named 
the church whose bell he thought he recognized. The 
people of the faubourgs were out of bed in their 
houses. The drums mingled with the tocsin. The 
revolutionists beat the general alarm, and the royal- 
ists the call to arms. 

No one was asleep at the Tuileries. There was no 
further question of etiquette. The night reception 
in the royal bedchamber was omitted for the first 
time. Certain old servitors, faithful guardians of 
tradition, in vain recalled that it was not permissible 
to sit down in the sovereign's apartments. The cour- 
tiers of the last hour seated themselves in armchairs, 
on tables and consoles. Louis XVI. stayed sometimes 



in his chamber and sometimes in his Great Cabinet, 
also called the Council Hall, where the assembled 
ministers received constant tidings of what was hap- 
pening without. The pious monarch had summoned 
his confessor, Abbe Hubert, and shutting himself up 
with this venerable priest, he besought from Heaven 
the resignation and courage he needed to pass through 
the final crisis. Madame Elisabeth showed the faith- 
ful Madame Campan the carnelian pin which fastened 
her fichu. These words, surrounding the stalk of a 
lily, were engraved on it : " Forget ofiFences, pardon 
injuries." — " I fear much," said the virtuous Princess, 
"that this maxim has little influence over our ene- 
mies, but it must be none the less dear to us." Louis 
XVI. did not wear his padded vest. " I consented to 
do so on the 14th of July," said he, "because on that 
day I was merely going to a ceremony where an assas- 
sin's dagger might be apprehended. But on a day 
when my party may be forced to fight with the revo- 
lutionists, I should think it cowardly to preserve my 
life by such means." 

Marie Antoinette was grave and tranquil in her 
heroism. There was nothing affected about her, 
nothing theatrical, neither passion, despair, nor the 
spirit of revenge. According to the expressions of 
Rcederer, who never left her, " she was a woman, a 
mother, a wife in peril; she feared, she hoped, she 
grieved, and she took heart again." She was also a 
queen, and the daughter of Maria Theresa. Her 
anxiety and grief were restrained or concealed by 


her respect for lier rank, her dignity, and her name. 
When she reappeared amidst the courtiers in the 
Council Hall, after having dissolved in tears in 
Thierry's room, the redness of her cheeks and eyes 
had disappeared. The courtiers said to each other : 
" What serenity ! what courage !" 

The struggle might still seem doubtful. Some- 
thing like two hundred noblemen who had spontane- 
ously repaired to the King, seven hundred and fifty 
Swiss, and nine hundred mounted gendarmes posted 
at the approaches of the Tuileries were the last 
resources of the commander-in-chief of the French 
army. The Swiss, who through some one's extreme 
imprudence had not cartridges enough, were posted 
in the apartments, the chapel, and at the entry of 
the Royal Court. Baron de Salis, as the oldest cap- 
tain of the regiment, commanded at the stairways. 
A reserve of three hundred men, under Captain 
Durler, was stationed in the Swiss Court, before the 
Pavilion of Marsan. The National Guards belong- 
ing to the sections Petits-Peres and the Filles-Saint- 
TTiomas showed themselves well disposed toward the 
King ; but it was different with the other companies. 
As to the mounted gendarmes, Louis XVI. could not 
count on them, and before the riot ended they were 
to join the insurgents in spite of all the efforts made 
by their royalist officers. The artillerists of the 
National Guard, charged with serving the cannons 
placed in the courts and before the palace doors to 
defend the entry, were to act in the same manner. 


Like the Swiss, the two hundred noblemen, martyrs 
to the old French ideas of honor, had resolved to be 
loyal unto death. With their silk coats and drawing- 
room swords, they seemed as if they had come to a 
f^te instead of a combat. The servants of the 
chateau joined them. Some of them had pistols and 
blunderbusses. Some, for lack of other weapons, 
had taken the tongs from the chimneys. They jested 
with each other over their accoutrements. No, no ; 
there was nothing laughable in these champions of 
misfortune. They represented the past, with its 
ancient fidelity to the altar and the throne. A great 
poet who had the spirit of divination, Heinrich 
Heine, wrote on November 12, 1840, as if he foresaw 
February 24, 1848 : " The middle classes will possibly 
make less resistance than the aristocracy would do in 
a similar case. Even in its most pitiable weakness, 
its enervation by immorality and its degeneration 
through flattery, the old nobility was still alive to 
a certain point of honor unknown to our middle 
classes, who have become prosperous by industry, but 
who will perish by it also. Another 10th of August 
is predicted for these middle classes ; but I doubt 
whether the industrial Knights of the throne of July 
will prove themselves as heroic as the powdered 
marquises of the old regime who, in silk coats and 
flimsy dress swords, opposed the people who invaded 
the Tuileries." The greater part of these noblemen, 
volunteers for the last conflict, were old men with 
white hair. There were also children among them. 


M. Mortimer-Ternaux, author of the Mistoire de la 
Terreur^ has remarked : " Was not this a time to 
exclaim with Racine : — 

" ' See what avengers arm themselves for the quarrel?' 

" Who could have told Louis XIV., when in the 
midst of the splendors of his court he was present at 
the performance of Athalie,, that the poet was predict- 
ing, through the mouth of Joad, the fate reserved for 
his great-grandson ? " The royalist National Guards 
who were in the apartments considered the volunteer 
noblemen as companions in arms. They shook hands 
with each other amid cries of " Long live the King ! 
Long live the National Guard ! " But the troops 
outside did not share these sentiments. Jealous of 
the royalists assembled in the palace, they wanted to 
have them sent out. A regimental commander hav- 
ing come to make known this desire to Louis XVI., 
Marie Antoinette exclaimed : " Nothing can separate 
us from these gentlemen ; they are our most faithful 
friends. They will share the dangers of the National 
Guard. They will obey us. Put them at the 
cannon's mouth, and they will show you how men die 
for their Kmg." 

Meantime what had become of Potion, whose busi- 
ness it was, as mayor, to defend the palace ? Sum- 
moned to the Tuileries, he arrived there at eleven in 
the evening. As Louis XVI. said to him : " It 
seems there is a great deal of commotion ? " — " Yes, 
sire," he replied, " the excitement is great." And he 


enlarged upon the measures he claimed that he had 
taken, and his pretended haste to wait upon the 
King. In going out, he came face to face with M. 
de Mandat, who, as general-in-chief of the Na- 
tional Guard, was in command of all military forces. 
" Why," exclaimed he, " have the police refused 
cartridges to the National Guard when they have 
wasted them on the Marseillais ? My men have only 
four charges apiece ; some of them have not one. No 
matter; I answer for everything; my measures are 
taken, providing I am authorized, by an order signed 
by you, to repel force by force." Not daring to avow 
his complicity with the riot, Petion signed the order 
demanded. Then he made his escape under pretext 
of inspecting the gardens, and fell amongst some roy- 
alist National Guards, who reprimanded him severely. 
He began to fear being kept at the Tuileries as a 
hostage, to guarantee the palace against the attempts 
of the populace, and went to the Assembly. It had 
adjourned at ten o'clock the evening before, but on 
account of the crisis had met again at two in the 
morning. The Assembly knew the gravity of the 
danger as well as the King did ; but through a ridic- 
ulous and culpable point of honor, it affected not to 
recognize it, and devoted to the reading of a colonial 
report the moments it should have employed in 
saving that Constitution it had sworn to maintain. 
Petion merely put in an appearance in the Hall of 
the Manage. But he took good care not to return to 
the Tuileries. At half-past three in the morning the 


rolling of a carriage was heard from the palace. It 
was that of the mayor, going back empty. He had 
not dared to get into it, and had only sent his coach- 
man an order to return when he found himself in 
safety at the mayoralty, whither he had made his 
way on foot. 

Meanwhile, some hundred unknown individuals, 
who gathered at the H8tel-de-Ville, and surrepti- 
tiously made their way into one of the halls, had 
formed an insurrectionary Commune. On their own 
authority they appointed commissaries of sections, 
and dismissed the staff of the National Guard, who 
were very much in their way ; hilt retained in office 
Manuel as procurator and Potion as mayor. This new 
municipality, whose very existence was unknown at 
the palace, had just learned that Mandat, general-in- 
chief of the National Guard, had a document in his 
pocket by which Potion authorized him to oppose 
force to force. It was necessary to get rid of this 
document at any cost. The municipality sent Man- 
dat an order to come to the HStel-de-Ville. He 
knew nothing about the revolution that had just 
taken place there. And yet he hesitated to obey. 
A secret presentiment took possession of his soul. 
Finally, at the instance of Rcederer, he decided, 
towards five in the morning, to leave the Tuileries 
and go to that H6tel-de-Ville, which was to be so 
fatal to him. When he came before the municipality 
he was surprised to see new faces. 

He was accused of having intended to disperse " the 


innocent and patriotic column of the people,^ and 
sentenced to be taken to the Abbey prison. It was a 
sentence of death. Mandat. was massacred on the 
steps of the H6tel-de-Ville. A pistol-shot brought 
him down. Pikes and sabres finished him. His 
body was thrown into the Seine. Such was the first 
exploit of the new Commune. It preluded thus the 
massacres of September. " Mandat's death," says 
Count de Vaublanc in his Memoirs, "was, beyond 
any doubt, the chief cause of the calamities of the 
day. If he had attacked the rebels as soon as they 
came near the palace, he could have dispersed them 
with ease. They took a long time to form and set 
off; and, being undecided and uneasy, they often 
halted. No troop marching from a given point in 
this immense city knew whether it was seconded by 
the rebels from other quarters, and lost much time in 
making sure." The second exploit of the Commune 
was to confine Potion at the mayoralty under the 
guard of six men. A voluntary captive, this accom- 
plice of the insurrection rejoiced at a measure which 
sheltered him from every danger. As M. Mortimer- 
Ternaux has observed : " On this fatal night, when 
the passion of the royalty was fulfilled. Potion 
doubled the parts of Judas and Pontius Pilate. Like 
Judas, he went at nightfall to give the kiss of peace 
to Louis XVI. by assuring him of his loyalty ; like 
the Roman governor, he proclaimed at daybreak the 
impotence with which he had stricken himself, and 
washed his hands of all that was to happen." 


When the first fires of this fatal day were kindling 
in the sky, Marie Antoinette experienced a profound 
emotion. Looking with melancholy at the horizon 
which began to lighten : " Sister," said she to 
Madame Elisabeth, "come and see the sun rise." 
It was the sun that was to illumine the death- 
struggle of royalty. Sinister omen ! the sun was red 
as blood. 



THE fatal day began. It was five o'clock in the 
morning. The Queen made her children rise, 
lest the swords of the insurgents should surprise 
them in their beds. The Dauphin, unaccustomed 
to being called so early, stared with surprise at 
the spectacle presented by the court and garden. 
" Mamma," said he, " why should any one harm 
papa ? He is so good ! " Then, turning to a little 
girl who was his usual companion in his games, he 
addressed her these words, which prove how well, in 
spite of his age, he knew the peril he was in : " Here, 
Josephine, take this lock of my hair, and promise to 
wear it as long as I am in danger." 

Led by their chief. Marshal de Mailly, an old man 
of eighty-six, the two hundred noblemen, who had 
assembled in the Galler}^ of Diana, passed in review 
before the royal family with those of the National 
Guards who were royalists. " Sire," exclaimed the 
old marshal, bending his knee, " here are your faith- 
ful nobles who have hastened to re-establish Your 
Majesty on the throne of your ancestors." — "For 
this ouce," responded Louis XVL, " I consent that 



my friends should defend me ; we will perish or save 
ourselves together." The last defenders of the throne 
shed tears of fidelity and tenderness. They kneeled 
before Marie Antoinette, and entreated the honor of 
kissing her hand. Never had the Queen appeared 
more gracious and majestic. The National Guards, 
enchanted, loaded their arms with transport. The 
Queen seized the Dauphin in her arms and held him 
above their heads like a livijig standard. The young 
men shouted : " Long live the Kings of our fathers ! " 
And the old men cried : " Long live the King of our 
children ! " 

At the gates of the Tuileries the tide was rising. 
Vanguards of the insurrection, the Marseillais arrived 
unhindered. The municipality had succeeded in 
removing the cannons which were to have prevented 
approach by way of the Pont-Neuf and the Pont- 
Royal. Mandat was no longer there to issue orders. 
Nothing impeded the march of the faubourgs. 

And yet resistance might still have been possible. 
It is Barbaroux, the fierce revolutionist himself, who 
says so. " All the faults committed by the insurrec- 
tion, the wretched arrangement of the attacking 
party, the terror of some and the ignorance of others, 
the forces at the palace, all made the victory of the 
court certain, if the King had not left his post. If 
he had shown himself on horseback, a large majority 
of the people of Paris would have pronounced for 
him." Napoleon, who was an eye-witness, had said 
the night before to Pozzo di Borgo, that with two 


battalions of Swiss and some cavalry he would under- 
take to give the rioters a lesson they would remember. 
In the evening of August 10, he wrote to his brother 
Joseph : " According to what I saw of the temper of 
the crowd in the morning, if Louis XVI. had mounted 
a horse, he would have gained the victory." Very 
few of the insurgents were seriously determined on a 
revolt. Most of them marched blindly, not knowing, 
and not even asking, whither they went. 

Westermann had been obliged to threaten San- 
terre, and even to put his sword against his breast, 
in order to induce him to march. A great number of 
the people of the faubourgs, uneasy as to the result 
of the enterprise, said that, considering the prepai-a- 
tions made by the palace, it would be better to defer 
the matter to another day. The unarmed crowd 
followed through mere curiosity, and were ready to 
take flight at the first discharge of musketry. Ac- 
cording to Count de Vaublanc, the Swiss, if they had 
been commanded by a good officer from four o'clock 
in the morning, would have sufficed to disperse the 
multitude as they came up, and possibly might have 
won the day for the King without bloodshed. " Thus, 
the best of princes rendered useless the courage of 
his defenders, and to spare the blood of his enemies 
accomplished the ruin of his friends. All his virtues 
turned against him and brought him to his ruin." 
M. de Vaublanc says again in his Memoirs : " At six 
in the morning those who were in revolt had not yet 
assembled. How much time had been lost, how 


much was still to be lost ! It was too evident that 
no military judgment had presided over that strange 
disposition of troops, so placed within and without 
the palace as to be unable to give each other mutual 
support ; a military man knows too well the value of 
the briefest moments, he knows too well how quickly 
victory can be decided by attacking the flank of a 
multitude with a small number of brave men. If the 
King had appointed one of the generals near him 
absolute master of operations, no doubt this general 
would have given the rebels no time to unite. . . . 
Alas ! Louis XVI. had three times more courage 
than was necessary to conquer, but he knew not how 
to avail himself of it." Such also was the opinion of 
M. Thiers, who, in his Histoire de la Revolution fran- 
faise, says : " It must be repeated, the unfortunate 
Prince feared nothing for himself. He had, in fact, 
refused to wear a wadded vest, as he had done on 
July 14, saying that on a day of combat he ought to 
be as much exposed as the least of his servants. 
Courage did not fail him then, and afterwards he 
displayed a bravery that was noble and elevated 
enough; but he lacked boldness to take the offensive. 
... It is certain, as has been frequently said, that 
if he had mounted a horse and charged at the head 
of his troops, the insurrection would have been put 

Toward six o'clock the King went out on the bal- 
cony. He was saluted with acclamations. Then he 
went down the great staircase with the Queen to 


inspect the troops stationed in the courtyards. As 
one of his gentlemen-of-the-chamber, Emmanuel Au- 
bier, has remarked : " He had never made war himself 
during his reign ; there had never been a war on the 
continent; he was so unfortunate as to be wanting 
in grace, even awkward, and to look thoughtful 
rather than energetic, — a thing displeasing to French 
soldiers." Instead of putting on a uniform and 
mounting a horse, he wore a purple coat, of the shade 
used as mourning for kings, on this fatal day when he 
was to wear mourning for the monarchy. Unspurred, 
unbooted, shod as if for a drawing-room, with white 
silk stockings, his hat under his arm, his hair out of 
curl and badly powdered, there was nothing martial, 
nothing royal about him. At this hour, when what 
was needed was the attitude and the fire of a Henry 
IV., he looked like an honest country gentleman talk- 
ing with his farmers. The first condition of inspir- 
ing confidence is to possess it. Louis XVI.'s aspect 
was much more that of a victim than a sovereign. 
The cries of " Long live the King ! " which would 
have been enthusiastic for a prince ready to battle for 
his rights and reconquer his realm at the sword's 
point, were few and sad. After having inspected the 
troops in the courts, Louis XVL decided to inspect 
those in the garden also. The Queen returned to 
the palace, and he continued his rounds. 

The loyal National Guards, comprising the compa- 
nies of the Petits-Peres and the Filles-Saint- Thomas^ 
were drawn up on the terrace between the palace and 


the garden. They received the King sympathetically 
and advised him to continue his inspection as far as 
the Place Louis XV. At this moment a battalion of 
the National Guards from the Saint-Marceau section 
defiled before him, uttering shouts of hatred and 
fury. Louis XVI. was undisturbed by this. He re- 
mained calm, and when this battalion had got into 
position, he tranquilly reviewed it. Then he walked 
on again and crossed the entire garden. The battalion 
of the Croix-Rouge^ which was on the terrace beside 
the water, cried from a distance : " Down with the 
veto ! Down with the traitor ! " On the terrace of 
the Feuillants, at the other side, there was an equally 
violent crowd. The King, calm as ever, went on to 
the swing-bridge by which the Tuileries was entered 
from Place Louis XV. He was well enough received 
by the troops stationed there. But his return to the 
palace could not but be difficult. The National 
Guards of the Croix-Rouge had broken rank and 
come down from the terrace beside the river to the 
garden, and pressed around the King with menacing 
shouts. The unfortunate monarch could only re- 
enter the palace where he had but a few moments 
more to stay, by calling to his aid a double row of 
faithful grenadiers. The ministers who were at the 
windows became alarmed. One of them, M. de 
Bouchage, cried : " Great God ! it is the King they 
are hooting ! What the devil are they doing down 
there? Quick; we must go after him ! " And he has- 
tened to descend into the garden with his colleague, 


Bigot de Sainte-Croix, to meet his master. The Queen, 
who beheld the sight, shed tears. The two ministers 
brought back Louis XVI. He came in out of breath, 
and fatigued by the heat and the exercise he had 
taken, but otherwise seeming very little moved. 
" All is lost," said the Queen. " This review has 
done more harm than good." 

From this moment bad tidings succeeded each 
other without interruption. They were apprised of 
the formation of the new Commune, Mandat's mur- 
der, the march of the faubourgs, and the arrival of 
the first detachments of rioters. The Marseillais 
debouched into the Carrousel, and sent an envoy to 
demand that the gate of the Royal Court should be 
opened. As it remained closed, they knocked on it 
with repeated blows, while the National Guards said : 
" We will not fire on our brothers." 

Would resistance have been possible even at this 
moment ; that is to say, between seven and eight in 
the morning ? M. de Vaublanc thought so. " I do 
not know," he writes, " to what section the first band 
that arrived on the Carrousel belonged ; it was in dis- 
order and badly armed. If the King had marched 
towards this troop at the head of a battalion of the 
National Guard, if he had pronounced these words : 
' I am your King ; I order you to lay down your arms,' 
the success would have been decided. The flight of 
a single battalion of rebels would have sufficed to 
frighten and disperse the others, even before they 
were formed into line." 


It was at this time that Roederer, instead of coun- 
selling resistance, implored Louis XVI. to seek shel- 
ter in the Assembly for the royal family. " Sire," he 
said in an urgent tone, " Your Majesty has not five 
minutes to lose ; there is no safety for you except in 
the National Assembly. In the opinion of the depart- 
ment, it is necessary to go there without delay. There 
are not men enough in the courtyards to defend the 
palace ; nor are they perfectly well-disposed. On the 
mere recommendation to be on the defensive, the can- 
noneers have already unloaded their cannons." — 
" But," said the King, " I did not see many persons 
on the Carrousel." — " Sire," returned Roederer, 
"there are a dozen pieces of artillery, and an immense 
crowd is arriving from the faubourgs." The idea of 
a flight before the insurrection revolted the Queen's 
pride. "What are you saying, Sir?" cried she; "you 
are proposing that we should seek shelter with our 
most cruel persecutors! Never! never! I will be 
nailed to these walls before I consent to leave them. 
Sir, we have troops." — " Madame, all Paris is on the 
march. Resistance is impossible. Will you cause 
the massacre of the King, your children, and your 
servants ? " 

Louis XVI. still hesitating, Roederer vehemently 
insisted. " Sire," said he, " time presses ; this is no 
longer an entreaty nor even a counsel we take the 
liberty of offering you ; there is only one thing left 
for us to do now, and we ask your permission to take 
you away." The King looked fixedly at his interloc- 


utor for several seconds ; then, turning to the Queen, 
he said : " Let us go," and rose to his feet. Madame 
Elisabeth said : " Monsieur Rcederer, do you answer 
for the King's life ? " — " Yes, Madame, with my 
own," responded the communal attorney. Then, 
turning to the King : " Sire," said he, " I ask Your 
Majesty not to take any of your court with you, but 
to have no cortege but the department and no escort 
except the National Guard." — " Yes," replied the 
King, " there is nothing but that to say." The Min- 
ister of Justice exclaimed : " The ministers will follow 
the King." — " Yes, they have a place in the Assem- 
bly." — " And Madame de Tourzel, my children's 
governess ? " said the Queen. — " Yes, Madame ; she 
will accompany you." 

Roederer then left the King's chamber, where this 
conversation had taken place, and said in a loud voice 
to the persons crowding together in the Council Hall : 
" The King and his family are going to the Assembly 
without other attendants than the department, the 
ministers, and a guard." Then he asked : " Is the 
officer who commands the guard here ? " This offi- 
cer presenting himself, he said to him : " You must 
bring forward a double file of National Guards to 
accompany the King. The King desires it." The 
officer replied: "It shall be done." Louis XVI. came 
out of his chamber with his family. He waited sev- 
eral minutes in the hall until the guard should arrive, 
and, going around the circle composed of some forty 
or fifty persons belonging to his court : " Come, gen- 


tlemen," said he, " there is nothing more to do here." 
The Queen, turning to Madame Campan, said : " Wait 
in my apartment ; I will rejoin you or else send word 
to go I don't know where." Marie Antoinette took 
no one with her except the Princess de Lamballe and 
Madame de Tourzel. The Princess de Tarente and 
Madame de la Roche- Aymon, afiQicted at the thought 
of being left at the Tuileries, went down with all the 
other ladies to the Queen's apartments on the ground- 

La Chesnaye, who had succeeded to the command 
of the National Guard in consequence of Mandat's 
death, put himself at the head of the escort. This 
was formed of detachments from the most loyal bat- 
talions, the Petits-Peres, the Butte des MouUns, and 
the FiUes-iSaint- Thomas, re-enforced by about two 
hundred Swiss, commanded by the colonel of the 
regiment, Marquis de Maillardoz, and the major, 
Baron de Bachmann. The cortege reached the great 
staircase by way of the Council Hall, the Royal 
Bedchamber, the (Eil-de-Bceuf, the Hall of the 
Guards, and the Hall of the Hundred Swiss. As 
he was passing through the CEil-de-Boeuf, Louis XVI. 
took the hat of the National Guard on his right, 
and replaced it by his own, which was adorned 
with white feathers. The guard, surprised, removed 
the King's hat from his head and carried it under his 

When Louis XVI. arrived at the foot of the stairs 
in the Pavilion of the Horloge, his thoughts recurred 


to the faithful adherents who had so uselessly devoted 
themselves to his defence, and whom he was leaving 
at the Tuileries without watchword or direction. 
"What is going to become of all those who have 
stayed up stairs? " said he. — " Sire," replied Roederer, 
" it seemed to me that they were all in colored coats. 
Those who have swords need only lay them off, follow 
you, and go out through the garden." — " That is 
true," returned Louis XVI. In the vestibule, a little 
further on, as he was about to quit the fatal palace 
which fate had condemned him never to re-enter, he 
had a last moment of scruple and hesitation. He 
said again: "But after all, there are not many people 
on the Carrousel." 

" True, Sire," replied Rcederer ; " but the faubourgs 
will soon arrive, and all the sections are armed, and 
have assembled at the municipality ; besides, there 
are neither men enough here, nor are they determined 
enough to resist the actual gathering on the Carrousel, 
which has twelve pieces of artillery." 

The die is cast; Louis XVI. abandons the Tuileries. 
Respect alone restrains the grief and indignation that 
move the Swiss soldiers and the noblemen whose 
weapons and whose blood have been refused. They 
looked down from the windows at the cortege, or 
better, the funeral procession of royalty. It was 
about seven o'clock in the morning. The escort was 
drawn up in two lines. The members of the de- 
partment formed a circle around the royal family. 
Roederer walked first. Then came the King, with 


Bigot de Sainte-Croix, Minister of Foreign Affairs, 
at his side; the Queen followed, giving her left arm 
to M. du Bouchage, Minister of Marine, and her 
right hand to the Dauphin, who held Madame de 
Tourzel with the other; then Madame Royale and 
Madame Elisabeth, with De Joly, Minister of Jus- 
tice; the Minister of War, D'Abancourt, leading the 
Princess de Lamballe. The Ministers of the Inte- 
rior and of Taxes, Champion de Villeneuve and Le 
Roux de la Ville, closed the procession. The air 
was pure and the morning radiant. The sun lighted 
up the garden, the marble sculpture, and the sheets 
of water. Birds sang under the trees, and nature 
smiled on this day of mourning as if it were a 

Looking at the populace, Madame Elisabeth said: 
"All those people have gone astray; I should like 
them to be converted ; I should not like them to be 
punished.^' Tears stood in the eyes of the little 
Madame Royale. The Princess de Lamballe said 
mournfully: "We shall never return to the Tui- 
leries ! " The Prince de Poix, the Duke de Choiseul, 
Counts d'Haussonville, de Viom^nil, de Hervilly, and 
de Pont-l'Abb^, the Marquis de Briges, Chevalier de 
Fleurieu, Viscount de Saint-Priest, the Marquis de 
Nantouillet, MM. de Fresnes and de Salaignac, the 
King's equerries, and Saint-Pardoux, the equerry of 
Madame Elisabeth, followed the sad procession. 
They passed through the grand alley unobstructed 
as far as the parterres, then turned to the right, 


toward the alley of the chestnut trees. There a halt 
of some minutes occurred, in order to give time for 
warning the Assembly. Louis XVI. looked down 
at a heap of dead leaves which had been swept up 
by the gardeners after a storm the night before. 
"There are a good many leaves," said the King; 
"they are falling early this year." It was only a 
few days before that Manuel had written in a jour- 
nal that the King would not last until the falling 
of the leaves. Perhaps Louis XVI. remembered the 
prophecy of the revolutionist; the Dauphin, with 
the carelessness belonging to his age, amused himself 
by kicking about the dead leaves, the leaves that 
had fallen as his father's crown was falling at this 

Before the royal family could enter the Assembly 
chamber, it was necessary that the step the King had 
taken should be announced to the deputies. The 
president of the department undertook this commis- 
sion. A deputation of twenty-four members was at 
once sent to meet Louis XVI. They found him in 
the large alley at the foot of the terrace of the Feuil- 
lants, a few steps from the staircase leading up to 
it, and which goes as far as the lobby through which 
one enters the hall occupied by the National Assem- 
bly. " Sire," said the leader of the deputation, " the 
Assembly, eager to contribute to your safety, ofifers 
to you and your family an asylum in its midst." 

During this time, the terrace and the staircase had 
become thronged by a furious crowd. A man carry- 


ing a long pole cried out in rage: '-No, no; they 
shall not enter the Assembly. They are the cause of 
all our troubles. This must be ended. Down with 
them ! " Roederer, standing on the fourth step of the 
staircase, cried : " Citizens, I demand silence in the 
name of the law. You seem disposed to prevent 
the King and his family from entering the National 
Assembly ; you are not justified in opposing it. The 
King has a place there in virtue of the Constitution ; 
and though his family has none legally, they have 
just been authorized by a decree to go there. Here 
are the deputies sent to meet the King ; they will 
attest the existence of this decree." The deputies 
confirmed his words. Nevertheless, the crowd still 
hesitated to leave the way clear. The man with the 
pole kept on brandishing it, and crying : " Down with 
them ! down with them ! " Roederer, going on to the 
terrace, snatched the pole and flung it into the gar- 
den. The crowd was so compact that in the midst 
of the squabble some one stole the Queen's watch and 
her purse. A man with a sinister face approached 
the Dauphin, took him from Marie Antoinette, and 
lifted him in his arms. The Queen uttered a cry. 
" Do not be frightened," said the man ; " I will do 
him no harm." Another person said to Louis XVI. : 
" Sire, we are honest men ; but we are not willing to 
be betrayed any longer. Be a good citizen, and don't 
forget to drive away your shavelings and your wife." 
Insults and threats resounded fi'om all sides. Finally, 
after an actual struggle, the royal family succeeded 


in opening a passage. They made their way with 
difficulty through the narrow lobby, choked with 
people, penetrated the crowd, and entered the session 
chamber. It was there that royalty, humiliated and 
overcome, was to lie at the point of death under the 
eyes of its implacable enemies. 



THE royal family has just entered the session 
chamber. It will find there not an asylum, 
but the vestibule of the prison and the scaffold. 
The man who had taken the Dauphin from the 
Queen's arms at the door of the Assembly set him 
down on the secretary's desk with an air of triumph, 
and the young Prince was greeted with applause. 
Marie Antoinette advanced with dignity. Accord- 
ing to Vaublanc's expression, she would not have 
had a different bearing or a more august serenity on 
a day of royal pomp. Louis XVI. took a place near 
the president. The Queen, her daughter, Madame 
Elisabeth, and Madame de Tourzel sat down on the 
ministerial benches. As soon as the Dauphin was 
left to himself, he sprang towards his mother. A 
voice cried : " Take him to the King ! The Austrian 
woman is unworthy of the people's confidence." 
An usher attempted to obey this injunction. How- 
ever, the child began to cry, people were affected, 
and he was allowed to remain with the Queen. At 
this moment some armed noblemen made their 
appearance at the extremity of the hall. "You 



compromise the King's safety ! " exclaimed some one, 
and the nobles retired. 

Order was restored. Louis XVI. began to speak. 
" I came here," said he, " to prevent a great crime, 
and I think that I could be nowhere more secure 
than amidst the representatives of the nation." 
Alas ! the crime will not be prevented, but only 
adjourned. Vergniaud occupied the president's chair. 
" Sire," he replied, " you may count on the firmness 
of the National Assembly. It knows its duties ; its 
members have sworn to die in defending the rights 
of the people and the constituted authorities." 

So they still called Louis XVI. Sire ; presently 
they will call him nothing but Louis Capet. They 
allow him to take an armchair near the president ; 
but in a few minutes they will find this place too 
good for him. And it is the voice of this very 
Vergniaud who, a few hours from now, will pro- 
nounce his deposition, and five months later his 
sentence of death. 

Hardly had the unhappy King sat down when 
Chabot, the unfrocked Capuchin, claimed that a 
clause of the Constitution forbade the Assembly to 
deliberate in presence of the sovereign. Under this 
pretext his place was changed, and Louis XVI. with 
all his family was shut up in the reporters' gallery, 
sometimes called the box of the Logograph. This 
miserable hole, about six feet high by twelve wide, 
was on a level with the last ranks of the Assembly, 
behind the president's chair and the seats of the 


secretaries. It was ordinarily set apart for the 
editors, or rather for the stenographers of a great 
newspaper which reported the proceedings, and 
which was called the Journal logographique^ or the 
Log otachy graphs^ usually abbreviated into the Logo- 
graphe. Louis XVI. seated himself in the front of 
the box, Marie Antoinette half-concealed herself in 
a corner, where she sought a little shelter against 
so many humiliations. Her children and their 
governess took places on a bench with Madame 
Elisabeth and the Princess de Lamballe. Several 
noblemen, the latest courtiers of misfortune, stood 
up behind them. 

Roederer, who was at the bar, then made a report 
in the name of the municipal department, in which 
he explained all that had taken place. He declared 
that he had said to the soldiers and National Guard 
detailed for the defence of the Tuileries: "We do 
not ask you to shed the blood of your brethren nor 
to attack your fellow-citizens ; your cannons are 
there for your defence, not for an attack; but I 
require this defence in the name of the law, in the 
name of the Constitution. The law authorizes you, 
when violence is used against you, to repress it 
vigorously. . . . Once more, you are not to be assail- 
ants, but to act on the defensive only." 

Rcederer added that the cannoneers, instead of 
complying with his urgent exhortations, gave no 
response save that of unloading their pieces before 
him. After having explained how greatly the de- 


fence was disorganized, he thus ended his report : 
" We felt ourselves no longer in a position to protect 
the charge confided to us ; this charge was the King; 
the King is a man; this man is a father. The chil- 
dren ask us to assure the existence of the father; 
the law asks us to assure the existence of the 
King of France; humanity asks of us the exist- 
ence of the man. No longer able to defend this 
charge, no other idea presented itself than that of 
entreating the King to come with his family to the 
National Assembly. . . . We have nothing to add 
to what I have just said, except that, our force being 
paralyzed, and no longer in existence, we can have 
none but that which it shall please the National 
Assembly to communicate. We are ready to die in 
the execution of the orders it may give us. We ask, 
while awaiting them, to remain near it, being useless 
everywhere else." The Assembly, not then suspect- 
ing that it would so soon depose Louis XVI., 
applauded without contradiction from the galleries. 
The president said to Roederer : " The Assembly has 
listened to your account with the greatest interest j 
it invites you to be present at the session." 

The advice given by Rcsderer to the King has 
been greatly blamed. The ev6nt has seriously in- 
fluenced the judgment since passed upon it. If 
Louis XVI. had received the support he had a right 
to count on from the representatives, things would 
have appeared in quite another light. Count de 
Vaublanc, in his Memoirs, has rendered full justice 


to the loyal intentions of the municipal attorney. 
" The advice he gave has been accounted a crime," 
says M. de Vaublanc ; " I think it is an unjust 
reproach. Until then he had done all that lay in his 
power to contribute to the defence of the palace. 
He must have seen clearly that as the King would 
not defend himself, he could no longer be defended. 
If the rebels had been attacked, neither M. Roederer 
nor any one else would have proposed going to the 
Assembly ; but since they were on the defensive, and 
without any recognized leader, the magistrate might 
doubtless have been struck with a single thought: 
The King and his family are about to be massacred. 
The King put an end to all irresolution in saying 
these words : ' There is nothing more to do here.' " 

At first, Louis XVI. seemed not to repent of the 
step he had been obliged to take. Even in that 
wretched hole, the Logograph box, his face at first 
was calm and even confident. As the shouting had 
increased outside, Vergniaud ordered the removal of 
the iron grating separating this box from the hall, so 
that in case the populace made an irruption into the 
lobbies, the King could take refuge in the midst of 
the deputies. In default of workmen and tools, the 
deputies nearest at hand, the Duke de Choiseul, 
Prince de Poix, and the ministers, undertook to tear 
away the grating, and Louis XVI. himself, accus- 
tomed to the rough work of a locksmith, joined his 
efforts to theirs. The fastenings having been broken 
in this manner, the unfortunate sovereign seemed not 


to doubt the sentiments of the National Assembly. 
He pointed out the most remarkable deputies to the 
Dauphin, chatted with several among them, and 
looked on at the session like a mere spectator in a 
box at the theatre. 

The royal family had been nearly two hours at the 
Assembly when all of a sudden a frightful discharge 
of musketry and artillery was heard. The deputies 
of the left grew pale with fear and anger, thinking 
themselves betrayed. Casting glances of uneasiness 
and wrath at the feeble monarch, they accused him of 
having ordered a massacre, and said that all was lost. 
An officer of the National Guard rushed in, crying : 
" We are pursued, we are overpowered ! " The 
galleries, affrighted, imagined that the Swiss would 
arrive at any moment. Excitement was at its height. 
Sinister, imposing, dreadful moment ! Solemn hour, 
when the monarchy, amidst a frightful tempest, was 
like a venerable oak which lightning has just stricken; 
when terror, wrath, and pity disputed the possession 
of men's souls, and when the King, already captive, 
was present like Charles V. at his own funeral. Marie 
Antoinette had started. At the sound of the cannon 
her cheeks kindled and her eyes blazed. A vague 
hope animated her. Perhaps, she said within herself, 
the monarchy is at last to be avenged ; perhaps the 
Swiss are about to give the insurrection a lesson it 
will remember ; perhaps Louis XVI. will re-enter in 
triumph the palace of his forefathers. The daughter 
of Csesars prayed God in silence, and supplicated 


Him to grant victory to the defenders of the 

Chimeras ! vain hopes ! Louis XVI. has no longer 
but one idea : to cast off all responsibility for events. 
He mustered up, so to say, the little authority he had 
yet remaining, to write hastily, in pencil, the last 
order he was to sign: the order to stop firing. He 
flattered himself that the prohibition to shoot would 
justify him completely in the sight of the National 
Assembly, and induce them to treat him with more 
consideration. But he asked himself anxiously who 
would be bold enough to carry his order as far as the 
palace. Would not so perilous a mission intimidate 
even the most heroic? M. d'Hervilly, who was at 
this moment in the box of the Logograph, offered 
himself. As the King and Queen at first refused his 
offer, and pointed out all the dangers of such an 
errand: "I beg Their Majesties," cried he, "not to 
think of my danger ; my duty is to brave everything 
in their service ; my place is in the midst of the firing, 
and if I were afraid of it I should be unworthy of my 
uniform." These words determined Louis XVI. to 
give M. d'Hervilly the order signed by his own hand; 
the valiant nobleman, bearing this order which was 
to have such disastrous consequences for the defenders 
of the palace, went hastily out of the Assembly hall 
and made his way to the Tuileries through a rain of 
balls and canister. 



WHAT had taken place at the Tuileries after 
the departure of the royal family for the 
Assembly? At the very moment when they aban- 
doned this palace which they were never to see again, 
the Marseillais, the vanguard of the insurrection, 
were pounding at the gate of the principal courtyard, 
furious because it was not opened. A few minutes 
later, the column of the Faubourg Saint- Antoine, after 
passing through the rue Saint-Honor^, debouched on 
the Carrousel. It was under command of the Pole, 
Lazouski, and Westermann, who directed it toward 
the gate of the Royal Court. As the Marseillais had 
not yet succeeded in forcing this, Westermann had it 
broken open. The cannoneers, whose business it was 
to defend the palace, at once declared on the side of 
the riot and turned their pieces against the Tuileries. 
With the exception of the domestics there were now 
in the palace only the seven hundred and fifty Swiss, 
about a hundred National Guards, and a few nobles. 
The sole instructions the Swiss received came from old 
Marshal de Mailly : " Do not let yourselves be taken." 
Louis XVI. had said absolutely nothing on going 


away, and his departure discouraged his most faith- 
ful adherents. Add to this that the Swiss had not 
enough cartridges. What was to be the fate of this 
fine regiment, this corps d^Slite, which everywhere 
and always had set the example of discipline and 
military honor; which ever since the Revolution 
began had haughtily repulsed every attempt to tam- 
per with it; and whose red uniforms alone struck 
terror into the populace? These brave soldiers 
guarded respectfully the traditions of their ancestors 
who, at the famous retreat of Meaux, had saved 
Charles IX. " But for my good friends the Swiss," 
said that prince, " my life and liberty would have 
been in a bad way." What the Swiss of the six- 
teenth century had done for one King of France, the 
Swiss of the eighteenth century would have done for 
his successor. They would have saved Louis XVI. 
if he would have let himself be saved. 

A major-general who had remained at the Tuileries, 
judging that it was impossible to defend the courts 
with so few soldiers, cried : " Gentlemen, retire to 
the palace ! " " They had to leave six cannon in the 
power of the enemy and to abandon the courts. It 
should have been foreseen that it would be necessary 
to retake these under penalty of being burned in the 
palace ; the common soldiers said so loudly. Mean- 
while they obeyed, and were disposed as well as time 
and the localities permitted. The stairs and win- 
dows were lined with soldiers." (Account of Colonel 
Pfyffer d'Altishoffen, published at Lucerne in 1819.) 


One post occupied the chapel, and another the ves- 
tibule and grand staircase. There were Swiss also at 
the windows looking into the courts. " Down with the 
Swiss !" cried the Marseillais. "Down! down! Sur- 
render ! " However, the struggle had not yet begun. 
Nearly fifteen minutes elapsed between the invasion 
of the Royal Court and the first shot. The Mar- 
seillais brandished their pikes and guns, but they 
were not confident, for at first they dared not cross 
the court more than half-way. The Swiss and 
National Guards who were at the windows made 
gestures to induce the populace to quiet down and 
go away. The throng of insurgents grew greater 
every minute. They had just got their cannon into 
battery against the Tuileries. What the Swiss spe- 
cially intended was to defend the grand staircase, so 
as to prevent the apartments on the first floor from 
being invaded. This staircase, afterwards destroyed, 
was in the middle of the vestibule of the Horloge 
Pavilion. The chapel, whose site was afterwards 
changed, was on the level of the first landing ; and 
from this landing, two symmetrical flights, at right 
angles with the first, led to the Hall of the Hundred 
Swiss (the future Hall of the Marshals). Wester- 
mann, bolder than the other insurgents, had advanced 
as far as the vestibule with several Marseillais. He 
began to parley with the soldiers, trying to set them 
against their officers and induce them to lay down 
their arms. Sergeant Blazer answered Westermann : 
" We are Swiss, and the Swiss only lay down their 
weapons with their lives." 


The officers caused a barricade of pieces of wood 
to be raised on the first landing at the head of the 
stairs, to prevent new deputations from coming to 
demoralize their men. The Marseillais attempted to 
take it by main force. Some of them were armed with 
halberds terminating in hooks. These they thrust 
below the barricade, trying to catch the men defend- 
ing it. They seized an adjutant in this way and 
disarmed him. At the foot of the stairs " they seized 
the first Swiss sentry and afterwards five others. 
They laid hold of them with hooked pikes which 
they thrust into their coats and drew them forwards, 
disarming them at once of their sabres, guns, and 
cartridge-boxes, amidst shouts of laughter. Encour- 
aged by the success of this forlorn hope, the whole 
crowd pressed towards the foot of the stairs and there 
massacred the five Swiss already taken and disarmed." 
(M. Peltier's Relation.) Then a pistol-shot was 
heard. From which side did it come ? Was it the 
Marseillais who provoked the combat ? Was it the 
Swiss who sought to avenge their comrades, the sen- 
tries? Whoever it was, this pistol-shot was the 
signal for the fight, which began about half-past ten 
in the morning. 

At first the Swiss had the advantage. Every shot 
they fired from the windows told. Among the people 
crowding the courtyards were many who had not 
come to fight, but through mere curiosity. Pale with 
fright, they fled toward the Carrousel through the 
gate of the Royal Court, which was strewn in an 


instant with guns, pikes, and cartridge-boxes. Some 
of the insurgents fell flat on their faces and counter- 
feited death, rising occasionally and gliding along the 
walls to gain the sentry-boxes of the mounted senti- 
nels as best they could. Even the majority of the 
cannoneers deserted their pieces and ran like the rest. 
The courts were cleared in an instant. Two Swiss 
officers, MM. de Durler and de Pfyffer, instantly 
made a sortie at the head of one hundred and twenty 
soldiers, took four cannon, and found themselves 
once more masters of the door of the Royal Court. 
A detachment of sixty soldiers formed themselves 
into a hollow square before this door and kept up a 
rolling fire on the rioters remaining on the Carrousel 
until the place was completely swept. At the same 
time, on the side of the garden, another detachment 
of Swiss, under Count de Salis, seized three cannon 
and brought them to the palace gate. Napoleon, 
who witnessed the combat from a distance, says: 
"The Swiss handled their artUlery with vigor; in 
ten minutes the Marseillais were chased as far as the 
rue de I'Echelle, and never came back until the Swiss 
were withdrawn by the King's order." 

It was now, in fact, that M. d'Hervilly arrived, 
hatless and unarmed, through the fusillade of grape. 
They wanted to show him the dispositions they had 
just made on the garden side. " There is no ques- 
tion of that," said he ; " you must go to the Assem- 
bly; it is the King's order." The unfortunate 
soldiers flattered themselves that they might still 

th:e combat. 311 

be of use. " Yes, brave Swiss," cried Baron de 
Viomesnil, "go and find the King. Your ancestors 
did so more than once." In spite of their chagrin 
at abandoning the field of which they they had just 
become masters, they obeyed. Their only thought 
was to repair to that Assembly where a last humilia- 
tion awaited them. The officers had the drums beat 
the call to arms, and, in spite of the rain of balls 
from every side, they succeeded in marshalling the 
soldiers as if for a dress parade in front of the 
palace, opposite the garden. The signal for depart- 
ure was given. An unforeseen peril was reserved for 
these heroes. The battalions of the National Guard, 
stationed at the door of the Pont Royal, at that of 
the Manage court, and the beginning of the terrace 
of the Feuillants, had stood still, with their weapons 
grounded, since the affray began. But hardly had 
the Swiss entered the grand alley than these bat- 
talions, neutral until now, detailed a number of 
individuals who hid behind the trees, and fired, with 
their muzzles almost touching the troops. On reach- 
ing the middle of the alley, the Swiss, who hardly 
deigned to return this fire, divided into two columns. 
The first, turning to the right under the trees, went 
towards the staircase leading to the Assembly from 
the terrace of the Feuillants. The second, which fol- 
lowed at a short distance and acted as a rearguard, 
went on as far as the Place Louis XV., where it 
found the mounted gendarmes. If this body of cav- 
alry had done its duty, it would have united with the 


Swiss. But, far from that, it declared for the insur- 
rection, and sahred them. It is said that the officers 
and soldiers killed in this retreat across the garden 
were interred at the foot of the famous chestnut 
whose exceptional forwardness has earned the sur- 
name of the tree of March 20. Thus the Bonapartist 
tree of popular tradition owes its astonishing strength 
of vegetation solely to the human compost furnished 
by the corpses of the last defenders of royalty. 

The first column, that which was on its way to the 
Assembly, presented itself resolutely in front of the 
terrace of the Feuillants, which was full of people. 
These took flight, and the Swiss entered the corri- 
dors of the Assembly. Carried away by his zeal, one 
of their officers, Baron de Salis, entered the hall with 
his naked sword in his hand. The left uttered a cry 
of affright. A deputy went out to order the com- 
mander. Baron de Durler, to make his troop lay 
down their arms. M. de Durler, having refused, he 
was conducted to the King. " Sire," said he, with 
sorrowful indignation, "they want me to lay down 
arms." Louis XVI. responded: "Put them in the 
hands of the National Guard ; I am not willing that 
brave men like you should perish." To surrender 
arms ! Did Louis XVI. fully comprehend that for 
soldiers like these such an outrage was a hundred 
times worse than death? The King's words were 
like a thunderbolt to them. They wept with rage. 
"But," said they, "even if we have no more car- 
tridges, we can still defend ourselves with our bayo- 


nets ! " Such devotion, such courage, such discipline, 
such heroism to end like this ! And yet the unfor- 
tunate Swiss, though grieved to the heart, resigned 
themselves to the last sacrifice their master required 
from their fidelity, laid down their arms, and were 
imprisoned in the ancient church of the Feuillants, 
to the number of about two hundred and fifty. It 
was all that remained of this magnificent regiment. 
The others had been killed in the garden or had 
their throats cut in the palace, and the greater part 
of the survivors were to be assassinated in the massa- 
cres of September. 

" Thus ended the French King's regiment of Swiss 
Guards, like one of those sturdy oaks whose pro- 
longed existence has affronted so many storms, and 
which nothing but an earthquake can uproot. It 
fell the very day on which the ancient French mon- 
archy also fell. It counted more than a century and 
a half of faithful services rendered to France. To 
destroy this worthy corps a combination of unfortu- 
nate events had been required ; it had been necessary 
to deprive the Swiss of their artillery, their ammu- 
nition, their staff, and the presence of the King ; to 
enfeeble them five days before the combat by send- 
ing away a detachment of three hundred men; to 
forbid the two hundred men who accompanied the 
King to the Assembly to fire a shot ; to render use- 
less the wise dispositions of MM. de Maillardoz and 
de Bachmann by an ill-advised order at the moment 
of the attack ; and to have M. d'Hervilly come at 


the moment of victory to divide and enfeeble the 
defence." (Relation of Colonel Pfyffer d'Altis- 

The Swiss republic has honored the memory of 
these sons who died for a king. At the entrance of 
Lucerne, in the side of a rock, a grotto has been 
hollowed out, in which may be seen a colossal stone 
lion, the work of Thorwaldsen, the famous Danish 
sculptor. This lion, struck by a lance, and lying 
down to die, holds tight within his claws the royal 
escutcheon upon a shield adorned with fleurs-de-lis. 
Underneath the lion are engraved the names of the 
Swiss officers and soldiers who died between August 
10 and September 2, 1792. Above it may be read 
this inscription cut in the rock : — 


To the fidelity and courage of the Swiss. 

Louis XVI. had to repent his weakness bitterly. 
The wretched monarch had at last reached the bot- 
tom of the abyss where the slippery descent of con- 
cessions ends, and for having been willing to spare 
the blood of a few criminals, he was to see that of 
his most loyal and faithful adherents shed in torrents. 
It is said that Napoleon, who witnessed the combat 
from a distance, cried several times, in speaking 
of Louis XVI. : " What, then, wretched man ! Have 
you no cannon to sweep out this rabble ? " Behind 
the people of the 10th of August, the man of Bru- 
maire already appeared as a conqueror. 


Work away, then, insurgents ! This unknown 
young man, this " straight-haired Corsican," hidden 
in the crowd, will be the master of you all ! He will 
crush the Kevolution, he will made himself all-power- 
ful in that palace of the Tuileries where the riot is 
lording it at this moment! And after him, the 
brother of the King whom you insult to-day and will 
kill to-morrow, the Count de Provence, that SmigrS 
who is the object of your hatred, will triumphantly 
enter the palace of his forefathers. And each of them 
in his turn, the Corsican gentleman and the brother 
of Louis XVI., will be received with the same trans- 
ports in that fatal palace which is now red with the 
blood of the Swiss ! How surprised these people 
would be if they could foresee what the future has 
in store for them I Among these frenzied demagogues, 
these ultra-revolutionists, these dishevelled Marseil- 
lais with lips blackened by powder, and jackets all 
blood, how many will be the fanatical admirers and 
soldiers of a Csesar I 



THE results of the combat were, at the Assembly, 
the decree of suspension, or, rather, the decree 
of deposition ; at the Tuileries, devastation, massa- 
cre, and conflagration. From the moment when he 
ordered his last defenders to lay down their arms, 
Louis XVI. was but the phantom of a king. 

While the fight was going on, Robespierre had 
remained in hiding ; Marat had not quitted the bot- 
tom of a cellar. Even Danton, the man of " audac- 
ity," did not show himself until after the last shot 
had been fired. But now that fate had declared for 
the Revolution, those who were trembling and hesi- 
tating a moment since, were those who talked the 
loudest. Louis XVI., who had been dreaded a few 
minutes ago, was insulted and jeered at. The Na- 
tional Assembly, royalist in the morning, became the 
accomplice of the republicans during the day. It 
perceived, moreover, that the -10th of August was 
aimed at it not less than at the throne, and that its 
own downfall would be contemporaneous with that 
of royalty. 

Huguenin, the president of the new Commune, 
came boldly to the bar, and said to the deputies: 



" The people is youf sovereign as well as ours ! " 
Another individual, likewise at the bar, exclaimed in 
a menacing tone : " For a long time the people has 
asked you to pronounce the deposition, and you have 
not even yet pronounced the suspension ! Know that 
the Tuileries is on fire, and that we shall not extin- 
guish it until the vengeance of the people has been 
satisfied ! " Vergniaud, who in the morning had 
promised the King the support of the Assembly, no 
longer even attempted to stem the revolutionary tide. 
He came down from the president's chair, and went 
to a desk to write the decree which should give a 
legislative form to the will of the insurrection. In 
virtue of this decree, which Vergniaud read from the 
tribune, and which was unanimously adopted, the 
royal power was suspended and a National Conven- 
tion convoked. In reality this was a veritable depo- 
sition, and yet the Assembly still hesitated to give 
the last shock which should uproot the royal tree 
that had sheltered beneath its branches so many 
faithful generations. It declared that in default of a 
civil list, a salary should be granted to the King dur- 
ing his suspension ; that Louis XVI. and his family 
should have a palace, the Luxembourg, for a resi- 
dence, and that he should be appointed governor of 
the Prince-royal. 

Concerning this, Madame de Stael has remarked in 
her Considerations sur les principaux SvSnements de la 
RSvolution frangaise : "Ambition for power mingled 
with the enthusiasm of principles in the republicans 


of 1792, and several among them offered to maintain 
royalty if all the ministerial places were given to their 
friends. . . . The throne they attacked served to 
shelter them, and it was not until after they had tri- 
umphed that they found themselves exposed before 
the people." What the Girondins wanted was merely 
a change in the ministry; it was not a revolution. 
Vergniaud felt that he had been distanced. When 
he read the act of deposition, his voice was sad, his 
attitude dejected, and his action feeble. Did he fore- 
see that the King and himself would die at the same 
place, on the same scaffold, and only nine months 
apart ? 

Louis XVI. listened to the invectives launched 
against him, and to the decree depriving him of royal 
power, without a change of color. At the very 
moment when the vote was taken, he bent towards 
Deputy Coustard, who sat beside the box of the 
Logographe^ and said with the greatest tranquillity : 
" What you are doing there is not very constitutional." 
Impassive, and speaking of himself as of a king 
who had lived a thousand years before, he leaned his 
elbows on the front of the box, and looked on, like a 
disinterested spectator, at the lugubrious spectacle 
that was unrolled before him. - 

Marie Antoinette, on the contrary, was shudder- 
ing. So long as the combat lasted, a secret hope had 
thrilled her. But when she saw them bringing to 
the Assembly and laying on the table the jewel-cases, 
trinkets, and portfolios which the insurgents had just 


taken from her bedroom at the Tuileries ; when she 
heard the victorious cries of the rioters ; when Ver- 
gniaud's voice sounded in her ears like a funeral knell 
— she could hardly contain her grief and indignation. 
For one instant she closed her eyes. But presently 
she haughtily raised her head. 

The tide was rising, rising incessantly. Petitioners 
demanded sometimes the deposition, and sometimes 
the death, of the King. This dialogue was overheard 
between the painter David and Merlin de Thion- 
ville, who were talking together about Louis XVI.: 
" Would you believe it ? Just now he asked me, as I 
was passing his box, if I would soon have his portrait 
finished." — "Bah! and what did you say?" — "That 
I would never paint the portrait of a tyrant again 
until I should have his head in my hat." — " Admi- 
rable ! I don't know a more sublime answer, even in 

The demands of the Revolution grew greater from 
minute to minute. In the decree of deposition which 
had been voted on Yergniaud's proposition, it was 
stipulated that the ministers should continue to exer- 
cise their functions. A few instants later, Brissot 
caused it to be decreed that they had lost the nation's 
confidence. A new ministry was nominated during 
the session. The three ministers dismissed before 
June 20 — Roland, Clavi^re, and Servan — were rein- 
stalled by acclamation in the ministries of the Inte- 
rior, of Finances, and of War. The other ministers 
were chosen by ballot ; Danton was nominated to that 


of Justice by 282 votes, Monge to the Marine by 150, 
and Lebriin-Tondu to Foreign Affairs by 100. This 
ballot established the fact that out of the 749 mem- 
bers composing the Assembly, but 284 were present. 
Two days before, 680 had voted on the question con- 
cerning Lafayette, and now, at the moment of the 
final crisis, not more than 284 could be found ! All 
the others had disappeared, through fear or through 
disgust. The Revolution was accomplished by an 
Assembly thus reduced, and a Commune whose mem- 
bers had appointed themselves. Marie Antoinette, in 
her pride as Queen, was unable to conceive that there 
could be anything serious in such a government. 
When Lebrun-Tondu's appointment was announced, 
she leaned towards Bigot de Sainte-Croix, and said in 
his ear : " I hope you will none the less believe your- 
self Minister of Foreign Affairs." 

The unfortunate royal family were still prisoners 
in the narrow box of the LogograpTie. The heat there 
was horrible : the sun scorched the white walls of 
this furnace where the captives listened, as in a place 
of torture, to the most ignoble insults and the most 
sanguinary threats. 

At seven o'clock in the evening. Count Francois de 
la Rochefoucauld succeeded in approaching the box 
of the LogograpTie. He thus describes its aspect at 
this hour : " I approached the King's box ; it was un- 
guarded except by some wretches who were drunk 
and paid no attention to me, so that I half-opened 
the door. I saw the King with a fatigued and down- 


cast face ; he was sitting on the front of the box, 
coldly observing through his lorgnette the scoundrels 
who were talking, sometimes one after another, and 
sometimes all together. Near him was the Queen, 
whose tears and perspiration had completely drenched 
her fichu and her handkerchief. The Dauphin was 
asleep on her lap, and resting partly also on that of 
Madame de Tourzel. Mesdames Elisabeth, de Lam- 
balle, and Madame the King's daughter were at the 
back of the box. I offered my services to the King, 
who replied that it would be too dangerous to try to 
see him again, and added that he was going to the 
Luxembourg that evening. The Queen asked me for 
a handkerchief ; I had none ; mine had served to bind 
up the wounds of the Viscount de Maill^, whom I 
had rescued from some pikemen. I went out to look 
for a handkerchief, and borrowed one from the keeper 
of the refreshment-room ; but as I was taking it to 
the Queen, the sentinels were relieved, and I found 
it impossible to approach the box." 

We have just seen what occurred at the Assembly 
after the close of the combat. Cast now a glance at 
the Tuileries. What horrible scenes, what cries of 
grief, how many wounded, dead, and dying, what 
streams of blood ! What had become of those Swiss 
who, either in consequence of their wounds, or 
through some other motive, had been obliged to 
remain at the palace ? Eighty of them had defended 
the grand staircase like heroes, against an immense 
crowd, and died after prodigies of valor. Seventeen 


Swiss who were posted in the chapel, and who had 
not fired a shot since the fight began, hoped to save 
their lives by laying down their arms. It was a 
mistake. They had their throats cut like the others. 
Two ushers of the King's chamber, MM. Pallas and 
de Marchais, sword in hand, and hats pulled down 
over their eyes, said : " We don't want to live any 
longer ; this is our post ; we ought to die here ! " 
and they were killed at the door of their master's 

M. Dieu died in the same way on the threshold of 
the Queen's bedroom. A certain number of nobles 
who had not followed the King to the Assembly suc- 
ceeded in escaping the blows of the assassins. Pass- 
ing through the suite of large apartments towards 
the Louvre Gallery, they rejoined there some soldiers 
detailed to guard an opening contrived in the floor- 
ing, so as to prevent the assailants from entering 
by that way. They crossed this opening on boards, 
and reached the extremity of the gallery unhin- 
dered ; then, going down the staircase of Catharine 
de Medici, they managed to gain the streets near the 
Louvre. These may have been saved. But woe to 
all men, no matter what their conditions, who re- 
mained in the Tuileries ! Domestic servants, ushers, 
laborers, every soul was put to death. They killed 
even the dying, even the surgeons who were caring 
for the wounded. It is Barbaroux himself who 
describes the murderers as " cowardly fugitives dur- 
ing the action, assassins after the victory, butchers 


of dead bodies which they stabbed with their swords 
so as to give themselves the honors of the combat. 
In the apartments, on roofs, and in cellars, they mas- 
sacred the Swiss, armed or disarmed, the chevaliers, 
soldiers, and all who peopled the chUteau. . . . Our 
devotion was of no avail," says Barbaroux again; 
" we were speaking to men who no longer recognized 

And the women, what was their fate ? When the 
firing began, the Queen's ladies and the Princesses 
descended to Marie Antoinette's apartments on the 
ground-floor. They closed the shutters, hoping to 
incur less danger, and lighted a candle so as not to 
be in total darkness. Then Mademoiselle Pauline 
de Tourzel exclaimed : " Let us light all the candles 
in the chandelier, the sconces, and the torches ; if 
the brigands force open the door, the astonishment 
so many lights will cause them may delay the first 
blow and give us time to speak." The ladies set to 
work. When the invaders broke in, sabre in hand, 
the numberless lights, which were repeated also in 
the mirrors, made such a contrast with the daylight 
they had just left, that for a moment they remained 
stupefied. And yet, the Princess de Tarente, Ma- 
dame de La Roche- Aymon, Mademoiselle de Tourzel, 
Madame de Ginestons, and all the other ladies were 
about to perish when a man with a long beard made 
his appearance, crying to the assassins in Potion's 
name : " Spare the women ; do not dishonor the 


Madame Campan had attempted to go up a stair- 
way in pursuit of her sister. The murderers fol- 
lowed her. She already felt a terrible hand against 
her back, trying to seize her by her clothes, when 
some one cried from the foot of the stairs : " What 
are you doing up there ? " — " Hey ! " said the mur- 
derer, in a tone that did not soon leave the trembling 
woman's ears. The other voice replied : " We don't 
kill women." The Revolution goes fast ; it will 
kill them next year. Madame Campan was on her 
knees. Her executioner let go his hold. " Get up, 
hussy," he said to her, " the nation spares you ! " 
In going back she walked over corpses ; she recog- 
nized that of the old Viscount de Broves. The 
Queen had sent word to him and to another old 
man as the last night began, that she desired them 
to go home. He had replied : " We have been only 
too obedient to the King's orders in all circum- 
stances when it was necessary to expose our lives 
to save him; this time we will not obey, and 
will simply preserve the memory of the Queen's 

What a sight the Tuileries presented! People 
walked on nothing but dead bodies. A comic actor 
drank a glass of blood, the blood of a Swiss; one 
might have thought himself at a feast of Atreus. 
The furniture was broken, the secretaries forced open, 
the mirrors smashed to pieces. Prudhomme, the 
journalist of the RSvolutions de Paris, thinks that 
" Medicis- Antoinette has too long studied in them 


the hypocritical look she wears in public." What a 
sinister carnival ! Drunken women and prostitutes 
put on the Queen's dresses and sprawl on her bed. 
Through the cellar gratings one can see a thousand 
hands groping in the sand, and drawing forth bottles 
of wine. Everywhere people are laughing, drinking, 
killing. The royal wine runs in streams. Torrents 
of wine, torrents of blood. The apartments, the 
staircase, the vestibule, are crimson pools. Dis- 
figured corpses, pictures thrust through with pikes, 
musicians' stands thrown on the altar, the organ dis- 
mounted, broken, — that is how the chapel looks. 
But to rob and murder is not enough: they will 
kindle a conflagration. It devours the stables of the 
mounted guards, all the buildings in the courts, the 
house of the governor of the palace : eighteen hun- 
dred yards of barracks, huts, and houses. Already 
the fire is gaining on the Pavilion of Marsan and 
the Pavilion of Flora. The flames are perceived at 
the Assembly. A deputy asks to have the firemen 
sent to fight this fire which threatens the whole 
quarter Saint-Honor^. Somebody remarks that this 
is the Commune's business. But the Commune, to 
use a phrase then in vogue, thinks it has something 
else to do besides preventing the destruction of the 
tyrant's palace. It turns a deaf ear. The messenger 
returns to the Assembly. It is remarked that the 
flames are doing terrible damage. The president 
decides to send orders to the firemen. But the fire- 
men return, saying : " We can do nothing. They 


are firing on us. They want to throw us into the 
fire." What is to be done ? The president bethinks 
himself of a " patriot " architect, Citizen Palloy, who 
generally makes his appearance whenever there are 
" patriotic " demolitions to be accomplished. It is 
he whom they send to the palace, and who succeeds 
in getting the flames extinguished. The Tuileries 
are not burned up this time. The work of the 
incendiaries of 1792 was only to be finished by the 
petroleurs of 1871. 

Night was come. A great number of the Parisian 
population were groaning, but the revolutionists tri- 
umphed with joy. Curiosity to see the morning bat- 
tle-field, urged the indolent, who had stayed at home 
all day, towards the quays, the Champs-Elys^es, and 
the Tuileries. They looked at the trees under which 
the Swiss had fallen, at the windows of the apart- 
ments where the massacres had taken place, at the 
ravages made by the hardly extinguished fire. The 
buildings in the three com-ts : Court of the Princes, 
Court Royal, Court of the Swiss, had been completely 
consumed. Thenceforward these three courts formed 
only one, separated from the Carrousel by a board 
partition which remained until 1800, and was 
replaced by a grating finished on the very day when 
the First Consul came to install himself at the 
Tuileries. The inscription which was placed above 
the wooden partition : " On August 10 royalty was 
abolished; it will never rise again," disappeared 
even before the proclamation of the Empire. 


Squads of laborers gathered up the dead bodies 
and threw them into tumbrels. At midnight an 
immense pile was erected on the Carrousel with 
timbers and furniture from the palace. There the 
corpses of the victims that had strewed the courts, 
the vestibule, and the apartments were heaped up, and 
set on fire. 

The National Guard had disappeared ; it figured 
with the King and the Assembly itself, among the 
vanquished of the day. Instead of its bayonets and 
uniforms one saw nothing in the stations and patrols 
that divided Paris but pikes and tatters. " Some one 
came to tell me," relates Madame de Stael, " that all 
of my friends who had been on guard outside the 
palace, had been seized and massacred. I went out 
at once to learn the news ; the coachman who drove 
me was stopped at the bridge by men who silently 
made signs that they were murdering on the other 
side. After two hours of useless efforts to pass I 
learned that all those in whom I was interested were 
still living, but that most of them had been obliged 
to hide in order to escape the proscription with which 
they were threatened. When I went to see them in 
the evening, on foot, and in the mean houses where 
they had been able to find shelter, I found armed men 
lying before the doors, stupid with drink, a-nd only 
half waking to utter execrable curses. Several women 
of the people were in the same state, and their vocif- 
erations were more odious still. Whenever a patrol 
intended to maintain order made its appearance, hon- 


est people fled out of its way ; for what they called 
maintaining order was to contribute to the triumph of 
assassins and rid them of all hindrances." 

At last the city was going to rest a while after so 
much emotion ! It was three o'clock in the morning. 
The Assembly, which had been in session for twenty- 
four hours, adjourned. Only a few members remained 
in the hall to maintain the permanence proclaimed at 
the beginning of the crisis. The inspectors of the 
hall came for Louis XVI. and his family, to conduct 
them, not to the Luxembourg, but to the upper story 
of the convent of the Feuillants, above the corridor 
where the offices and committees of the Assembly 
had been established. It was there, in the cells of 
the monks, that the royal family were to pass the 
night. Then all was silent once more. Koyalty was 



WHAT a strange prison was tliis dilapidated old 
monastery, these little cells, not lived in for 
two years, with their flooring half-destroyed, and 
their narrow windows looking down into courts full 
of men drunken with wine and blood ! By the light 
of candles stuck into gun-barrels the royal family 
entered this gloomy lodging. Trembling for her 
son, who was frightened, the Queen took him from 
M. Aubier's arms and whispered to him. The child 
grew calmer. " Mamma," said he, " has promised to 
let me sleep in her room because I was very good 
before all those wicked men." Four cells, all open- 
ing by similar small doors upon the same corridor, 
comprised the quarters of the royal family. What 
a night ! The souvenirs of the previous day came 
back like dismal dreams. Their ears were still deaf- 
ened with furious cries. They seemed to see the 
blood of the Swiss flowing like a torrent, the pyra- 
mids of corpses in red uniforms, the flames of the 
terrible conflagration sweeping the approaches to the 
Tuileries. Marie Antoinette seems under an hallu- 



cination ; her emotions break her down. Is this 
woman, confided to the care of an unknown servant, 
in this deserted old convent, really she ? Is this the 
Queen of France and Navarre ? This the daughter 
of the great Empress Maria Theresa ? What uncer- 
tainty rests over the fate of her most faithful servi- 
tors ! What news will she yet learn ? Who has 
fallen ? Who has survived the carnage ? The hours 
of the night wear on ; Marie Antoinette has not been 
able to sleep a moment. 

The Marquis de Tourzel and M. d'Aubier remained 
near the King's bedside. Before sleeping, he talked 
to them with the utmost calmness of all that had 
taken place. " People regret," said he, " that I did 
not have the rebels attacked before they could have 
forced the Assembly ; but besides the fact that in 
accordance with the terms of the Constitution, the 
National Guards might have refused to be the aggres- 
sors, what would have been the result of this attack ? 
The measures of the insurrection were too well taken 
for my party to have been victorious, even if I had 
not left the Tuileries. Do they forget that when the 
seditious Commune massacred M. Mandat, it rendered 
his projected defence of no avail ? " While Louis 
XVI. was saying this, the men placed under the 
windows were shouting loudly for the Queen's head. 
"What has she done to them?" cried the unfortunate 

The next morning, August 11, several persons 
were authorized to enter the cells of the convent. 


Among them was one of the officers of the King's 
bedchamber, Fran9ois Hue, who had incurred the 
greatest dangers on the previous day. Cards of 
admission were distributed by the inspector of the 
Assembly hall. A large guard was stationed at all 
the issues of the corridor. No one could pass with- 
out being stopped and questioned. After surmount- 
ing all obstacles, M. Hue reached the cell of Louis 
XVI. The King was still in bed, with his head 
covered by a coarse cloth. He looked tenderly at 
his faithful servant. M. Hue, who could scarcely 
speak for sobbing, apprised his unhappy master of 
the tragic death of several persons whom His Majesty 
was especially fond of, among others, the Chevalier 
d'AUonville, who had been under-governor to the 
first Dauphin, and several officers of the bedchamber: 
MM. Le Tellier, Pallas, and de Marchais. " I have, 
at least," said Louis XVI., " the consolation of seeing 
you saved from this massacre ! " 

All night long, Madame Elisabeth, the Princess de 
Lamballe, and Madame de Tourzel had prayed and 
wept in silence at the door of the chamber where 
Marie Antoinette watched beside her sleeping chil- 
dren. It was not until morning, after cruel insom- 
nia, that the wretched Queen was at last able to close 
her eyes. And when, after a few minutes, she 
opened them again, what an awakening ! 

At eight o'clock in the morning Mademoiselle Paul- 
ine de Tourzel arrived at the Feuillants. " I cannot 
say enough," she writes in her Souvenirs de Quarante 


Ans, "about the goodness of the King and Queen; 
they asked me many questions about the persons 
concerning whom I could give them any tidings. 
Madame and the Dauphin received me with touch- 
ing signs of affection ; they embraced me, and Ma- 
dame said : ' My dear Pauline, do not leave us any 
more ! ' " The courtiers of misfortune came one 
after another. Madame Campan and her sister, 
Madame Auguid, saw the Prince de Poix, M. d'Au- 
bier, M. de Saint-Pardou, Madame Elisabeth's equerry, 
MM. de Goguelat, Hue, and de Chamilly in the first 
cell ; in the second they found the King. They 
wanted to kiss his hand, but he prevented it, and 
embraced them without speaking. In the third cell 
they saw the Queen, waited on by an unknown 
woman. Marie Antoinette held out her arms. 
" Come ! " she cried ; " come, unhappy women ! come 
and see one who is still more unhappy than you, 
since it is she who has been the cause of all your 
sorrow ! " She added : " We are mined. We have 
reached the place at last to which they have been 
leading us for three years by every possible outrage ; 
we shall succumb in this horrible revolution, and 
many others will perish after us. Everybody has 
contributed to our ruin : the innovators like fools, 
others like the ambitious, in order to aid their own 
fortunes ; for the most furious of the Jacobins wanted 
gold and places, and the crowd expected pillage. 
There is not a patriot in the whole infamous horde ; 
the emigrants had their schemes and manoeuvres j 


the foreigners wanted to profit by the dissensions of 
France ; everybody has had a part in our misfor- 
tunes." Here the Dauphin entered with his sister and 
Madame de Tourzel. " Poor children I " cried the 
Queen. " How cruel it is not to transmit to them 
so noble a heritage, and to say : All is over for us ! " 
And as the little Dauphin, seeing his mother and 
those around her weeping, began to shed tears also : 
" My child,'* tlie Queen said, embracing him, " you 
see I have consolations too ; the friends whom mis- 
fortune deprived me of were not worth as much as 
those it gave me." Then Marie Antoinette asked 
for news of the Princess de Tareute, Madame de la 
Roche- Aymon, and others whom she had left at the 
Tuileries. She compassionated the fate of the vic- 
tims of the previous day. 

Madame Campan expressed a desire to know what 
the foreign ambassadors had done in this catastrophe. 
The Queen replied that they had done nothing, but 
that the English ambassadress. Lady Sutherland, had 
just displayed some interest by sending linen for the 
Dauphin, who was in need of it. 

What memories must not that little cell in the 
Feuillants convent have left in the souls of those 
who were privileged to present there the homage of 
their devotion to the Queen ! " I think I still see," 
Madame Campan has said in her Memoirs, "I shall 
always see, that little cell, hung with green paper, 
that wretched couch from which the dethroned sov- 
ereign stretched out her arms to us, saying that our 


woes, of which she was the cause, aggravated her 
own. There, for the last time, I saw the tears flow- 
ing and heard the sobs of her whose birth and natural 
gifts, and above all the goodness of whose heart had 
destined her to be the ornament of all thrones and the 
happiness of all peoples." 

During the 11th and 12th of August the tortures 
of the 10th were renewed for the royal family. They 
were obliged to occupy the odious box of the Logo- 
graphe during the sessions of the Assembly, and from 
there witness, as at a show, the slow and painful 
death-struggle of royalty. As she was on her way to 
this wretched hole, Marie Antoinette perceived in the 
garden some curious spectators on whose faces a cer- 
tain compassion was depicted. She saluted them. 
Then a voice cried : " Don't put on so many airs with 
that graceful head; it is not worth while. You'll 
not have it much longer." From the box of the 
Logographe the royal family listened to the most 
offensive motions; to decrees according the Mar- 
seillais a payment of thirty sous a day, ordering all 
statues of kings to be overthrown, and petitions de- 
manding the heads of all the Swiss who had escaped 
the massacre. At last the Assembly grew tired of 
the long humiliation of the august captives. On 
Monday, August 13, they were not present at the 
session, and during the day they were notified that 
in the evening they were to be incarcerated, not in 
the Luxembourg, — that palace being too good for 
them, — but in the tower of the Temple. When Marie 


Antoinette was informed of this decision, she turned 
toward Madame de Tourzel, and putting her hands 
over her eyes, said: "I always asked the Count 
d'Artois to have that villanous tower of the Temple 
torn down ; it always filled me with horror ! " Po- 
tion told Louis XVI. that the Communal Council 
had decreed that none of the persons proposed for 
the service of the royal family should follow them to 
their new abode. By force of remonstrance the King 
finally obtained permission that the Princess de Lam- 
balle, Madame de Tourzel and her daughter should 
be excepted from this interdiction, and also MM. 
Hue and de Chamilly, and Mesdames Thibaud, Basire, 
Navarre, and Saint-Brice. The departure for the 
Temple took place at five in the evening. The royal 
family went in a large carriage with Manuel and 
Potion, who kept their hats on. The coachman and 
footmen, dressed in gray, served their masters for 
the last time. National Guards escorted the car- 
riage on foot and with reversed arms. The passage 
through a hostile multitude occupied not less than 
two hours. The vehicle, which moved very slowly, 
stopped for several moments in the Place Vend6me. 
There Manuel pointed out the statue of Louis XIV., 
which had been thrown down from its pedestal. At 
first the descendant of the great King reddened 
with indignation, then, tranquillizing himself in- 
stantly, he calmly replied : " It is fortunate, Sir, that 
the rage of the people spends itself on inanimate 
objects." Manuel might have gone on to say that 


on this very Place Vend6rae " Queen Violet," ovid of 
the most furious vixens of the October Days, had 
just been crushed by the fall of this equestrian statue 
of Louis XIV. to which she was hanging in order to 
help bring it down. The statue of Henry IV. in the 
Place Royale, that of Louis XIII. in the Place des 
Victoires, and that of Louis XV. in the place that 
bears his name, had fallen at the same time. 

The royal family arrived at the Temple at seven 
in the evening. The lanterns placed on the project- 
ing portions of the walls and the battlements of the 
great tower made it resemble a catafalque surrounded 
by funeral lights. The Queen wore a shoe with a 
hole in it, through which her foot could be seen. 
" You would not believe," said she, smiling, " that a 
Queen of France was in need of shoes." The doors 
closed upon the captives, and a sanguinary crowd 
complained of the thickness of the walls separating 
them from their prey. 



THERE are places which, by the very souvenirs 
they evoke, seem fatal and accursed. Such 
was the dungeon that was to serve as a prison for 
Louis XVI. and his family. The great tower for 
which Marie Antoinette had felt a nameless instinct- 
ive repugnance in the happiest days of her reign, 
arose at the extremity of Paris like a gigantic phan- 
tom, and recalled in a sinister fashion the tragedies 
of the Middle Ages and the sombre legends of the 
Templars. It was formerly the manor, the fortress, 
of that religious and military Order of the Temple, 
founded in the Holy Land at the beginning of the 
twelfth century, to protect the pilgrims, and which, 
after the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, had spread 
all over Europe. The great tower was built by Fr^re 
Hubert, in the early years of the thirteenth century, 
in the midst of an enclosure surrounded by turreted 
walls. There ruled, by cross and sword, those men 
of iron, in white habits, who took the triple vows of 
poverty, chastity, and obedience, and who excited 
royal jealousy by the increase of their power. It 
was there that Philippe le Bel went on October 13, 



1307, with his lawyers and his archers, to lay his 
hand on the grand-master, seize the treasures of the 
order, and on the same day, at the same hour, cause 
all Templars to be arrested throughout the realm. 
Then began that mysterious trial which has remained 
an insoluble problem to posterity, and after which 
these monastic knights, whose bravery and whose 
exploits have made so prolonged an echo, perished in 
prisons or on scaffolds. Pursued by horrible accusa- 
tions, they had confessed under torture, but they 
denied at execution. When the grand-master, 
Jacques de Molay, and the commander of Normandy 
were burned alive before the garden of Philippe le 
Bel, March 11, 1314, even in the midst of flames, 
they did not cease to attest the innocence of the 
Order of the Temple. The people, astonished by 
their heroism, believed that they had summoned the 
Pope and the King to appear in the presence of God 
before the end of the year. Clement V., on April 20, 
and Philippe IV., on November 29, obeyed the 

The possessions of the order were given to the 
Hospitallers of Saint John of Jerusalem, who trans- 
formed themselves into Knights of Malta toward the 
middle of the sixteenth century. The Temple 
became the provincial house of the grand-prior of the 
Order of Malta for the nation or language of France, 
and the great tower contained successively the 
treasure, the arsenal, and the archives. In 1607, the 
grand-prior, Jacques de Souvrd, had a house built in 


front of the old manor, between the court and the 
garden, which was called the palace of the grand- 
prior. His successor, Philippe de Vend6me, made 
his palace a rendezvous of elegance and pleasure. 
There shone that Anacreon in a cassock, the gay and 
sprightly Abb^ de Chaulieu, who died a fervent 
Christian in the voluptuous abode where he had dwelt 
a careless Epicurean. There young Voltaire went to 
complete the lessons he had begun in the sceptical 
circle of Ninon de I'Enclos. The office of grand-prior, 
which was worth sixty thousand livres a year, passed 
afterwards to Prince de Conti, who in 1765 sheltered 
Jean-Jacques Rousseau there, as lettres de cachet 
could not penetrate within its privileged precinct. 
Under Louis XVI. the palace of the grand-prior had 
served as a passing hostelry to the young and brilliant 
Count d'Artois when he came from Versailles to 
Paris. The flowers of the entertainments given 
there by the Prince were hardly faded when Louis 
XVI. suddenly entered it as a prisoner. 

It was seven o'clock in the evening when the 
wretched King and his family, coming from the 
convent of the Feuillants, arrived at the Temple. 
Situated near the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, not far 
from the former site of the Bastille, the Temple 
enclosure at this period was not more than two hun- 
dred yards long by nearly as many wide. The rest 
of the ancient precinct had disappeared under the 
pavements or the houses of the great city. Never- 
theless, the enclosure still formed a sort of little 


private city, sometimes called the Ville-Neuve-dur 
Temple, the gates of which were closed every night. 
In one of its angles stood the house called the grand- 
prior's palace. 

This was the first stopping-place of the royal 
family, which had been entrusted by Potion to the 
surveillance of the municipality and the guard of 
Santerre. The municipal officers stayed close to the 
King, kept their hats on, and gave him no title ex- 
cept " Monsieur." Louis XVI., not doubting that 
the palace of the grand-prior was the residence 
assigned him by the nation until the close of his 
career, began to visit its apartments. While the 
municipal officers took a cruel pleasure in this error, 
thinking of the still keener one they would enjoy 
when they disabused him of it, he pleased himself by 
allotting the different rooms in advance. The word 
palace had an unpleasant sound to the persecutors of 
royalty. The Temple tower looked more like a 
prison. Toward eleven o'clock, one of the commis- 
sioners ordered the august captives to collect such 
linen and other clothing as they had been able to 
procure, and follow him. They silently obeyed, and 
left the palace. The night was very dark. They 
passed through a double row of soldiers holding 
naked sabres. The municipal officers carried lanterns. 
One of them broke the dismal silence he had observed 
throughout the march. " Thy master," said he to M. 
Hue, " has been accustomed to gilded canopies. Very 
well ! he is going to find out how we lodge the 
assassins of the people." 


The lamps in the windows of the old quadrangular 
dungeon lighted up its high pinnacles and turrets, 
its gigantic profile and gloomy bulk. The immense 
tower, one hundred and fifty feet high, and with 
walls nine feet thick, rose, menacing and fatal, 
amidst the darkness. Beside it was another tower, 
narrower and not so high, but which was also flanked 
by turrets. Thus the whole dungeon was composed 
of two distinct yet united towers. The second of 
these, called the little tower, to distinguish it from 
the great one, was selected as the prison of the for- 
mer hosts of Versailles, Fontainebleau, and the Tui 

The little tower of the Temple, which had no inte- 
rior communication with the great one against which 
it stood, was a long quadrangle flanked by two tur- 
rets. Four steps led to the door, which was low 
and narrow, and opened on a landing at the end of 
which began a winding staircase shaped like a, snail- 
shell. Wide from its base as far as the first story, 
it grew narrower as it climbed up into the second. 
The door, which was considered too weak, was to be 
strengthened on the following day by heavy bars, 
and supplied with an enormous lock brought from 
the prisons of the ChS,telet. The Queen was put on 
the second floor, and the King on the third. On en- 
tering his chamber, Louis XVI. found a miserable 
bed in an alcove without tapestry or curtains. He 
showed neither ill humor nor surprise. Engravings, 
indecent for the most part, covered the walls. He 


took them down himself. "I will not leave such 
objects before my children's eyes," said he. Then 
he lay down and slept tranquilly. 

The first days of captivity were relatively calm. 
The prisoners consoled themselves by their family 
life, reading, and, above all, prayer. Forgetting that 
he had been a king, and remembering that he was a 
father, Louis XVI. gave lessons to the Dauphin. 
"It would have been worth while for the whole 
nation to be present at these lessons; they would 
have been both surprised and touched at all the sen- 
sible, cordial, and kindly things the good King found 
to say when the map of France lay spread out before 
him, or concerning the chronology of his predeces- 
sors. Everything in his remarks showed the love he 
bore his subjects and how greatly his paternal heart 
desired their happiness. What great and useful les- 
sons one could learn in listening to this captive king 
instructing a child born to the throne and con- 
demned to share the captivity of his parents." (^Sou- 
venirs de Quarante Ans^ by Madame de B^arn, nSe de 

All those who had been authorized to follow the 
royal family to the Temple — the Princess de Lam- 
balle, Madame de Tourzel and her' daughter, Mesdames 
Thibaud, Basire, Navarre, MM. de Chamilly and 
Fran9ois Hue — surrounded the captives with the 
most respectful and devoted attentions. But these 
noble courtiers of misfortune, these voluntary prison 
ers who were so glad to be associated in their mas- 


ter's trials, were not long to enjoy an honor they had 
so keenly desired. In the night of August 18-19, 
two municipal officers presented themselves, who 
were commissioned to fetch away "all persons not 
belonging to the Capet family." The Queen pointed 
out in vain that the Princess de Lamballe was her 
relative. The Princess must go with the others. 
"In our position," has said Madame de Tourzel, the 
governess of the children of France, "there was 
nothing to do but obey. We dressed ourselves and 
then went to the Queen, to whom I resigned that 
dear little Prince, whose bed had been carried into 
her room without awaking him." It was an inde- 
scribable torture for Madame de Tourzel to aban- 
don the Dauphin, whom she cherished so tenderly, 
and whom she had educated since 1789. "I ab- 
stained from looking at him," she adds, " not only to 
avoid weakening the courage we had so much need 
of, but in order to give no room for censure, and so 
come back, if possible, to a place we left with so 
much regret. The Queen went instantly into the 
chamber of the Princess de Lamballe, from whom 
she parted with the utmost grief. To Pauline and 
me she showed a touching sensibility, and said to me 
in an undertone : ' If we are not so happy as to see 
you again, take good care of Madame de Lamballe. 
Do the talking on all important occasions, and spare 
her as much as possible from having to answer cap- 
tious and embarrassing questions.' " The two muni- 
"ipal officers said to Hue and Chamilly : " Are you 


the valets-de-chambre ? " On their affirmative re- 
sponse, the two faithful servants were ordered to get 
up and prepare for departure. They shook hands 
with each other, both of them convinced that they 
had reached the end of their existence. One of the 
municipal officers had said that very day in their 
presence : " The guillotine is permanent, and strikes 
with death the pretended servants of Louis." When 
they descended to the Queen's antechamber, a very 
small room in which the Princess de Lamballe slept, 
they found that Princess and Madame de Tourzel all 
ready to start, and clasped in one embrace with the 
Queen, the children, and Madame Elisabeth. Ten- 
der and heart-breaking farewells, presages of separa- 
tions more cruel still ! 

All these exiles from the prison left at the same 
time. Only one of them, M. Fran9ois Hue, was to 
return. He was examined at the H6tel-de-Ville, and 
at the close of this interrogation an order was signed 
permitting him to be taken back to the tower. " How 
happy I was," he writes, " to return to the Temple ! 
I ran to the King's chamber. He was already up and 
dressed, and was reading as usual in the little tower. 
The moment he saw me, his anxiety to know what 
had occurred made him advance toward me ; but the 
presence of the municipal officers and the guards who 
were near him made all conversation impossible. I 
indicated by a glance that, for the moment, prudence 
forbade me to explain myself. Feeling the necessity 
of silence as well as myself, the King resumed his 


reading and waited for a more opportune moment. 
Some hours later, I hastily informed him what ques- 
tions had been asked me and what I had replied." 
QDerniires AnnSes de Louis XVI., par Frangois Hue.') 

The unfortunate sovereign doubtless believed that 
the others were also about to return. Vain hope ! 
During the day Manuel announced to the King that 
none of them would come back to the Temple. 
" What has become of them ? " asked Louis XVI. 
anxiously. — " They are prisoners at the Force," re- 
turned Manuel. — " What are they going to do with 
the only servant I have left ? " asked the King, glanc- 
ing at M. Hue. — " The Commune leaves him with 
you," said Manuel ; " but as he cannot do everything, 
men will be sent to assist him." — "I do not want 
them," replied Louis XVI. ; " what he cannot do, we 
will do ourselves. Please God, we will not voluntarily 
give those who have been taken from us the chagrin 
of seeing their places taken by others ! " In Manuel's 
presence, the Queen and Madame Elisabeth aided M. 
Hue to prepare the things most necessary for the new 
prisoners of the Force. The two Princesses arranged 
the packets of linen and other matters with the skill 
and activity of chambermaids. 

Behold the heir of Louis XIV., the King of France 
and Navarre, with but a single servant left him ! He 
has but one coat, and at night his sister mends it. 
Behold the daughter of the German Caesars, with not 
even one woman to wait upon her, and who waits on 
herself, incessantly watched, meanwhile, by the in- 


quisitors of the Commune ; who cannot speak a word 
or make a gesture unwitnessed by a squad of informers 
who pursue her even into the chamber where she goes 
to change her dress, and who spy on her even when 
she is sleeping ! And yet neither the calmness nor 
the dignity of the prisoners suffers any loss. 

There was but one thing that keenly annoyed Louis 
XVI. It was when, on August 24, they deprived him, 
the chief of gentlemen, of his sword, as if taking away 
his sceptre were not enough. He consoled himself 
by prayer, meditation, and reading. He spent hours 
in the room containing the library of the keeper 
of archives of the Order of Malta, who had pre- 
viously occupied the little tower. One day when he 
was looking for books, he pointed out to M. Hue 
the works of Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. 
" Those two men have ruined France," said he in 
an undertone. On another day he was pained by 
overhearing the insults heaped on this faithful ser- 
vant by one of the Municipal Guards. " You have 
had a great deal to suffer to-day," he said to him. 
" Well ! for the love of me, continue to endure every- 
thing ; make no answer." At another time he slipped 
into his hand a folded paper. " This is some of my 
hair," said he ; " it is the only present I can give you 
at this moment." M. Hue exclaims in his pathetic 
book : " O shade forever cherished ! I will preserve 
this precious gift to my latest day ! The inheritance 
of my son, it will pass on to my descendants, and all 
of them will see in this testimonial of Louis XVI.'s 


goodness, that they had a father who merited the 
affection of his King by his fidelity." 

In the evenings the Queen made the Dauphin 
recite this prayer : " Almighty God, who created 
and redeemed me, I adore Thee. Spare the lives 
of the King, my father, and those of my family 1 
Defend us against our enemies ! Grant Madame 
de Tourzel the strength she needs to support the 
evils she endures on our account." And the angel 
of the Temple, Madame Elisabeth, recited every day 
this sublime prayer of her own composition : " What 
will happen to me to-day, O my God! I do not 
know. All I know is, that nothing will happen that 
has not been foreseen by Thee from all eternity. It 
is enough, my God, to keep me tranquil. I adore 
Thy eternal designs, I submit to them with my 
whole heart ; I will all, I accept all ; I sacrifice all to 
Thee ; I unite this sacrifice to that of Thy dear Son, 
my Saviour, asking Thee by His sacred heart and 
His infinite merits, the patience in our afflictions and 
the perfect submission which is due to Thee for all 
that Thou wiliest and permittest." One day when 
she had finished her prayer, the saintly Princess said 
to M. Hue : " It is less for the unhappy King than 
for his misguided people that I pray. May the Lord 
deign to be moved, and to look mercifully upon 
France ! " Then she added, with her admirable res- 
ignation : " Come, let us take courage. God will 
never send us more troubles than we are able to 


The prisoners were permitted to walk a few steps 
in the garden every day to get a breath of fresh air. 
But even there they were insulted. As they passed 
by, the guards stationed at the base of the tower took 
pains to put on their hats and sit down. The sen- 
tries scrawled insults on the walls. Colporteurs 
maliciously cried out bad tidings, which were some- 
times false. One day, one of them announced a 
pretended decree separating the King from his family. 
The Queen, who was near enough to hear distinctly 
the voice which told this news, not exact as yet, was 
struck with a terror from which she did not recover. 

And yet there were still souls that gave way to 
compassion. From the upper stories of houses near 
the Temple enclosure there were eyes looking down 
into the garden when the prisoners took their walk. 
The common people and the workmen living in these 
poor abodes were affected. Sometimes, to show her 
gratitude for the sympathy of those unknown friends, 
Marie Antoinette would remove her veil, and smUe. 
When the little Dauphin was playing, there would 
be hands at the windows, joined as if to applaud. 
Flowers would sometimes fall, as if by chance, from 
a garret roof to the Queen's feet, and occasionally it 
happened that when the captives had gone back to 
their prison, they would hear in the darkness the 
echo of some royalist refrain, hummed by a passer-by 
in the silence of the night. 

The Temple tower is no longer in existence. Bona- 
parte visited it when he was Consul. "There are 


too many souvenirs in that prison," he exclaimed. 
" I will tear it down." In 1811 he kept his promise. 
The palace of the grand-prior was destroyed in 1853. 
No trace remains of that famous enclosure of the 
Templars whose legend has so sombre a poetry. But 
it has left an impress on the imagination of peoples 
which will never be effaced. It seems to rise again 
gigantic, that tower where the son of Saint Louis 
realized not alone the type of the antique sage of 
whom Horace said: Impavidum ferient ruince, but also 
the purest ideal of the true Christian. Does not the 
name Temple seem predestinated for a. spot which 
was to be sanctified by so many virtues, and where 
the martyr King put in practice these verses of the 
Imitation of Jesus Christ, his favorite book : " It 
needs no great virtue to live peaceably with those 
who are upright and amiable ; one is naturally 
pleased in such society ; we always love those whose 
sentiments agree with ours. But it is very praise- 
worthy, and the effect of a special grace and great 
courage to live in peace with severe and wicked men, 
who are disorderly, or who contradict us. . . . He 
who knows best how to suffer, will enjoy the greatest 
peace ; such a one is the conqueror of himself, master 
of the world, the friend of Jesus Christ, and the inher- 
itor of heaven." 



THE Princess de Lamballe, after being taken 
from the Temple in the night of August 18-19, 
had been examined by Billaud-Varennes at the 
H6tel-de-ViUe, and then sent, at noon, August 19, 
to the Force. This prison, divided into two distinct 
parts, the great and the little Force, was situated 
between the rues Roi-de-Sicile, Culture, and Pav^e. 
In 1792 it supplemented the Abbey and Ch^telet 
prisons, which were overcrowded. The little Force 
had a separate entry on the rue Pav^e to the Marais, 
while the door of the large one opened on the rue 
des Ballets, a few steps from the rue Saint-Antoine. 
The register of the little Force, which is preserved in 
the archives of the prefecture of police, records that, 
at the time of the September massacres, this prison in 
which the Princess de Lamballe was immured, con- 
tained one hundred and ten women, most of them not 
concerned with political affairs, and in great part 
women of the town. Here, from August 19 to Sep- 
tember 3, the Princess suffered inexpressible anguish. 
She never heard a turnkey open the door of her cell 
without thinking that her last hour had come. 


The massacres began on September 2. On that 
day the Princess de Lamballe was spared. In the 
evening she threw herself on her bed, a prey to the 
most cruel anxiety. Toward six o'clock the next 
morning, the turnkey entered with a frightened air : 
-' They are coming here," he said to the prisoners, 
oix men, armed with sabres, guns, and pistols, fol- 
lowed him, approached the beds, asked the names of 
the women, and went out again. Madame de Tourzel, 
who shared the Princess de Lamballe's captivity, said 
to her : " This threatens to be a terrible day, dear 
Princess ; we know not what Heaven intends for us ; 
we must ask God to forgive our faults. Let us say 
the Miserere and the Confiteor as acts of contrition, 
and recommend ourselves to His goodness." The 
two women said their prayers aloud, and incited each 
other to resignation and courage. 

There was a window which opened on the street, 
and from which, although it was very high, one could 
see what was passing by mounting on Madame de 
Lamballe's bed, and thence to the window ledge. 
The Princess climbed up, and as soon as her head was 
noticed on the street, a pretence of firing on her was 
made. She saw a considerable crowd at the prison 

Very little doubt remained concerning her fate. 
Neither she nor Madame de Tourzel had eaten since 
the previous day. But they were too greatly moved 
to take any breakfast. They dared not speak to each 
other. They took their work, and sat down to await 
the result of the fatal day in silence. 


Toward eleven o'clock the door opened. Armed 
men filled the room and demanded Madame de Lam- 
balle. The Princess put on a gown, bade adieu to 
Madame de Tourzel, and was led to the great Force, 
where some municipal officers, wearing their insignia, 
subjected the prisoners to a pretended trial. In front 
of this tribunal stood executioners with ferocious 
faces, who brandished bloody weapons. The atmos- 
phere was sickening: full of the steam of carnage, 
and the odors of wine and blood. Madame de Lam- 
balle fainted. When she recovered consciousness she 
was interrogated : " Who are you ? " — " Marie Louise, 
Princess of Savoy." — "What is your rank?" — "Su- 
perintendent of the Queen's household." — " Were 
you acquainted with the conspiracies of the court ou 
August 10 ? " — "I do not know that there were any 
conspiracies on August 10, but I know I had no 
knowledge of them." — " Swear liberty, equality, 
hatred to the King, the Queen, and royalty." — "I 
will swear the first two without difficulty ; I cannot 
swear the last; it is not in my heart." Here an assist- 
ant said in a whisper to Madame de Lamballe : " Swear 
it! if you do not swear, you are a dead woman." The 
Princess made no answer ; she put her hands up to 
her eyes, covered her face with them and made a step 
toward the wicket. The judge exclaimed : " Let 
some one release Madame ! " This phrase was the 
death signal. Two men took the victim roughly by 
the arms, and made her walk over corpses. Hardly 
had she crossed the threshold when she received a 


blow from a sabre on the back of her head, which 
made her blood flow in streams. In the narrow pas- 
sage leading from the rue Saint-Antoine to the Force, 
and called the. Priests' cul-de-sac, she was despatched 
with pikes on a heap of dead bodies. Then they 
stripped off her clothes and exposed her body to the 
insults of a horde of cannibals. When the blood that 
flowed from her wounds, or that of the neighboring 
corpses, had soiled the body too much, they washed 
it with a sponge, so that the crowd might notice its 
whiteness better. They cut off her head and her 
breasts. They tore out her heart, and of this head 
and this heart they made horrible trophies. The 
pikes which bore them were lifted high in air, and 
they went to carry around these excellent spoils of 
the Revolution. 

At the very moment when the hideous procession 
began its march, Madame de Lebel, the wife of a 
painter, who owed many benefits to Madame de 
Lamballe, was trying to get near the prison, hoping 
to hear news of her. Seeing the great commotion 
in the crowd, she inquired the cause. When some 
one replied: "It is Lamballe's head that they are 
going to carry through Paris," she was seized with 
horror, and, turning back, took refuge in a hair- 
dresser's shop on the Place Bastille. Hardly had, 
she done so when the crowd entered the Place. The 
murderers came into the shop and required the hair- 
dresser to arrange the head of the Princess. They 
washed it, and powdered the fair hair, all soiled with 


blood. Then one of the assassins cried joyfully: 
" Now, at any rate, Antoinette can recognize her ! " 
The procession resumed its march. From time to 
time they called a halt before a wine-shop. Wishing 
to empty his glass, the scoundrel who had the Prin- 
cess's head in his hand, set it flat down on the lead 
counter. Then it was put back on .the end of a pike. 
The heart was on another pike, and other individuals 
dragged along the headless corpse. In this manner 
they arrived in front of the Temple. It was three 
o'clock in the afternoon. 

On that day the royal family had been refused per- 
mission to go into the garden. They were in the 
little tower when the cries of the multitude became 
audible. The workmen who were then employed in 
tearing down the walls and buildings contiguous to 
the Temple dungeon, mingled with the crowd, in- 
creased also by innumerable curious spectators, and 
uttered furious shouts. One of the Municipal Guards 
at the Temple closed doors and widows, and pulled 
down curtains so that the captives could see nothing. 

On the street in front of the enclosure a tricolored 
ribbon had been fastened across, with this inscrip- 
tion ; " Citizens, you who know how to ally the love 
of order with a just vengeance, respect this barrier; 
it is necessary to our surveillance and our responsi- 
bility." This was the sole dike they meant to oppose 
to the torrent. At the side of this ribbon stood a 
municipal officer named Danjou, formerly a priest, 
who was called Abbe Six-feet, on account of his 


height. He mounted on a chair and harangued the 
crowd. He felt his face touched by Madame de Lam- 
balle's head, still on the end of a pike which the 
bearer shook about and gesticulated with, and also 
by a rag of her chemise, soaked with blood and mire, 
which another individual also carried on a pike. The 
naked body was there likewise, with its back to the 
ground and the front cut open to the very breast. 
Danjou tried to make the crowd of assassins who 
wanted to invade the Temple understand that at a 
moment when the enemy was master of the fron- 
tiers, it would be impolitic to deprive themselves of 
hostages so precious as Louis XVI. and his family. 
"Moreover," he added, "would it not demonstrate, 
their innocence if you dare not try them? How 
much worthier it is of a great people to execute a 
king guilty of treasc n on the scaffold ! " Thus, 
while preventing an iinmediate massacre, he held the 
scaffold in reserve. Danjou said that the Communal 
Council, in order to show its confidence in the citi- 
zens composing the mob, had decided that six of 
them should be admitted to make the rounds of the 
Temple garden, with the commissioners at their 
head. The ribbon was then raised and several per- 
sons entered the enclosure. They were those who 
carried the remains of Madame de Lamballe. With 
these were the laborers who had been at work on the 
demolitions. Voices were heard demanding furiously 
that Marie Antoinette should show herself at a win- 
dow, so that some one might climb up and make her 


kiss her friend's head. As Danjou opposed this infer- 
nal scheme, he was accused of being on the side of 
the tyrant. Was the dungeon of the Temple to be 
forced ? Were the assassins about to seize the Queen, 
tear her in pieces, and drag her, like her friend, 
through streets and squares to the rolling of drums 
and the chanting of the Marseillaise and the Ca ira f 
A municipal officer entered the tower and began a 
mysterious parley with his colleagues. As Louis 
XVI. asked what was going on, some one replied: 
" Well, sir, since you desire to know, they want to 
show you Madame de Lamballe's head." Meanwhile 
the cries outside were growing louder. Another 
municipal came in, followed by four delegates from 
the mob. One of them, who carried a heayy sabre 
in his hand, insisted that the prisoners should pre- 
sent themselves at the window, but this was opposed 
by the municipal officers, who were less cruel. This 
man said to 'the Queen in an insulting tone : " They 
want us to hide the Princess de Lamballe's head from 
you when we brought it to let you see how the people 
avenge themselves on their tyrants. I advise you to 
show yourself if you don't want the people to come 
up." Marie Antoinette fainted on learning her 
friend's death in this manner. Her children burst 
into tears and tried by their caresses to bring her 
back to consciousness. The man did not go away. 
" Sir," the King said to him, " we are prepared for 
the worst, but you might have dispensed yourself 
from informing the Queen of this frightful calamity." 


Cldry, the King's valet, was looking through a corner 
of the window blinds, and saw Madame de Lamballe's 
head. The person carrying it had climbed up on a 
heap of rubbish from the buildings in process of 
demolition. Another, who stood beside him, held 
her bleeding heart. Cl^ry heard Danjou expostu- 
lating the crowd in words like these : " Antoinette's 
head does not belong to you; the departments have 
their rights in it also. France has confided these 
great criminals to the care of Paris ; and it is your 
business to assist us in guarding them until national 
justice shall avenge the people." Then, addressing 
himself to these cannibals as if they were heroes 
whose courage and exploits he praised, he added, 
in speaking of the profaned corpse of the Princess 
de Lamballe : " The remains you have there are the 
property of all. Do they not belong to all Paris? 
Have you the right to deprive others of the pleasure 
of sharing your triumph? Night will soon be here. 
Make haste, then, to quit this precinct, which is too 
narrow for your glory. You ought to place this trophy 
in the Palais Royal or the Tuileries garden, where 
the sovereignty of the people has been so often tram- 
pled under foot, as an eternal monument of the vic- 
tory you have just won." Remarks like these were 
all that could prevent these tigers from entering the 
Temple and destroying the prisoners. Shouts of 
"To the Palais Royal!" proved to Danjou that his 
harangue had been appreciated. The assassins at 
last departed, after having covered his face with 


kisses that smelt of wine and blood. They wanted 
to show their victim's head at the H6tel Toulouse, 
the mansion of the venerable Duke d« Penthievre, 
her father-in-law, but were deterred by the assurance 
that she did not ordinarily live there, but at the 
Tuileries. Then they turned toward the Palais 
Royal. The Duke of Orleans was at a window with 
his mistress, Madame de Buffon. He left it, but he 
may have seen the head of his sister-in-law. 

Some of the cannibals had remained in the neigh- 
borhood of the Temple. Sitting down at table in a 
wine-shop, they had the heart of the Princess de 
Lamballe cooked, and ate it with avidity. " Thus," 
says M. de Beauchesne in his excellent work on 
Louis XVII., " this civilization which had departed 
from God, surpassed at a single bound the fury of 
savages, and the eighteenth century, so proud of 
its learning and humanity, ended by anthropophagy." 
In the evening, when some one was giving Collot 
d'Herbois an account of the day's performances, he 
expressed but one regret, — that they had not suc- 
ceeded in showing Marie Antoinette the remains of 
the Princess de Lamballe. " What ! " he spitefully 
exclaimed, " did they spare the Queen that impres- 
sion? They ought to have served up her best friend's 
head in a covered dish at her table." 



LOVERS of paradoxes have tried to represent 
the September massacres as something sponta- 
neous, a passing delirium of opinion, a sort of great 
national convulsion. This myth was a lie against 
history and humanity. It exists no longer, Heaven 
be thanked. The mists with which it was sought to 
shroud these execrable crimes are now dissipated. 
Light has been shed upon that series of infernal 
spectacles which would have made cannibals blush. 
No; these odious massacres were not the result of 
a popular movement, an unforeseen fanaticism, a 
paroxysm of rage or vengeance. They present an 
ensemble of murders committed in cool blood, a 
planned and premeditated thing. M. Mortimer-Ter- 
naux, in his Histoire de la Terreur, M. Granier de 
Cassagnac, in his Histoire des Grirondins et des Mas^ 
sacres de Septembre, have proved this abundantly. 
They have exhumed from the archives and the rec- 
ord offices such a mass of uncontested and incontes- 
table documents, that not the slightest doubt is now 
permissible. Edgar Quinet has not hesitated to recog- 
nize this in his book, La RSvolution. He says : " The 



massacres were executed administratively ; the same 
discipline was everywhere displayed throughout the 
carnage. . . . This was not a piece of blind, sponta- 
neous barbarism ; it was a barbarity slowly meditated, 
minutely elaborated by a sanguinary mind. Hence 
it bears no resemblance to anything previously known 
in history. Marat harvested in September what he 
had been sowing for three years." The Parisian 
populace, eight hundred thousand souls, was inert; 
it was cowardly, it trembled ; but it did not approve, 
it was not an accomplice. It was a monstrous thing 
that a handful of cut-throats should be enough to 
transform Paris into a slaughter-house. One shud- 
ders in thinking what a few criminals can accom- 
plish in the midst of an immense population. " The 
people, the real people — that composed of laborious 
and honest workmen, ardent and patriotic at heart, 
and of young bourgeois with generous aspirations and 
indomitable couragfe — never united for an instant 
with the scoundrels recruited by Maillard from every 
kennel in the capital. While the hired assassins 
of the Committee of Surveillance established in 
the prisons what Vergniaud called a butcher's shop 
for human flesh, the true populace was assembled 
on the Champ-de-Mars, and before the enlistment 
booths ; it was offering its purest blood for the coun- 
try ; it would have blushed to shed that of helpless 
unfortunates." ^ In 1871, the murder of hostages and 

1 M. Mortimer- Temaux, Histoire de la Terreur. 


the burning of monuments was no more approved 
by the population than the massacres in the prisons 
were in 1792. The crimes were committed at both 
epochs by a mere handful of individuals. The great 
majority of the people were guilty merely of apathy 
and fear. 

The hideous tableau surpasses the most lugubrious 
conceptions of Dante's sombre imagination. Paris 
is a hell. From August 29, it is like a torpid Orien- 
tal town. The whole city is in custody, like a crimi- 
nal whose limbs are held while he is being searched 
and put in irons. Every house is inspected by the 
agents of the Commune. A knock at the door 
makes the inmates tremble. The denunciation of 
an enemy, a servant, a neighbor, is a death sentence. 
People scarcely dare to breathe. Neither running 
water nor solid earth is free. The parapets of quays, 
the arches of bridges, the bathing and washing boats 
are bristling with sentries. Everything is surrounded. 
There is no refuge. Three thousand suspected per- 
sons are taken out of houses, and crowded into prisons. 
The hunt begins anew the following day. The pro- 
gramme of massacres is arranged. The Communal 
Council of Surveillance has minutely regulated every- 
thing. The price of the actual work is settled. The 
personnel of cut-throats is at its post. Danton has 
furnished the executioners ; Manuel, the victims. All 
is ready. The bloody drama can begin. 

On September 2, Danton said to the Assembly : 
" The tocsin about to sound is not an alarm signal ; it 


is a charge upon the enemies of the country. To van- 
quish them, gentlemen, all that is needed is boldness, 
and again boldness, and always boldness." Two days 
before, he had been still more explicit. " The 10th 
of August," said he, "divided us into republicans 
and roj'alists; the first few in number, the second 
many . . . ; we must make the royalists afraid," A 
frightful gesture, a horizontal gesture, sufficed to 
express his meaning. 

Robbery preceded murder. It was a veritable raid. 
The Commune caused the palaces, national property, 
the Garde-Meuble, the houses and mansions of the 
SmigrSs to be pillaged. One saw nothing but carts 
and wagons transporting stolen goods to the Hotel- 
de-Ville. All the plate was stolen from the churches 
likewise. "Millions," says Madame Roland in her 
Memoirs, "passed into the hands of people who 
used it to perpetuate the anarchy which was the 
source of their domination." When will the men of 
the Commune render their accounts ? Never. Who 
are the accomplices of Danton and Marat in organ- 
izing the massacres ? A band of defaulting account- 
ants, faithless violators of public trusts, breakers of 
locks, swindlers, spies, and men overwhelmed with 
debts. What interest have they in planning the 
murders ? That of perpetuating the dictatorship 
they had assumed on the eve of August 10, and, 
above all, of having no accounts to render. A few 
weeks later on, CoUot d'Herbois will say at the 
Jacobin Club : " The 2d of September is the chief 
article in the creed of our liberty." 


The jailors were forewarned. They served the 
prisoners' dinner earlier, and took away their knives. 
There was a disturbed and uneasy look in their faces 
which made the victims suspect their end was near. 
Toward noon the general alarm was beaten in every 
street. The citizens were ordered to return at once 
to their dwellings. An order was issued to illumi- 
nate every house when night fell. The shops were 
closed. Terror overspread the entire city. 

It was agreed that at the third discharge of can- 
non the cut-throats should set to work. The first 
blood shed was that of prisoners taken from the 
mayoralty to the Abbey prison. The carriages con- 
taining them passed along the Quai des Orf^vres, the 
Pont-Neuf and rue Dauphine, until it reached the 
Bussy square. Here there was a crowd assembled 
around a platform where enlistments were going on. 
The throng impeded the progress of the carriages. 
Thereupon one of the escort opened the door of one 
of them, and standing on the step, plunged his sabre 
into the breast of an aged priest. The multitude 
shuddered and fled in affright. " That makes you 
afraid," said the assassin ; " you will see plenty more 
like it." 

The rest of the escort followed the example set 
them. The carriages go on again, and so do the 
massacres. They kill along the route, and they kill 
on arriving at the Abbey. Towards five o'clock, 
Billaud-Yarennes presents himself there, wearing his 
municipal scarf. " People," says he — what he calls 


people is a band of salaried assassins — " people, thou 
immolatest thine enemies, thou art doing thy duty." 
Then he walks into the midst of the dead bodies, 
dipping his feet in blood, and fraternizes with the 
murderers. " There is nothing more to do here," 
exclaims Maillard; "let us go to the Carmelites." 

At the Carmelites, one hundred and eighty priests, 
crowded into the church and convent, were awaiting 
their fate with pious resignation. Two days before, 
Manuel had said to them ironically : " In forty-eight 
hours you will all be free. Get ready to go into a 
foreign country and enjoy the repose you cannot 
find here." And on the previous day a gendarme 
had said to the Archbishop of Aries, blowing the 
smoke from his pipe into his face as he did so : " It 
is to-morrow, then, that they are going to kill Your 
Grandeur." A short time before the massacre began, 
the victims were sent into the garden. At the bot- 
tom of it was an orangery which has since become a 
chapel. Mgr. Dulau, Archbishop of Aries, and the 
Bishops of Beauvais and de Saintes, both of whom 
were named de la Rochefoucauld, kneeled down with 
the other priests and recited the last prayers. The 
murderers approached. The Archbishop of Aries, 
who was upwards of eighty, advanced to meet them. 
" I am he whom you seek," he said ; " my sacrifice 
is made ; but spare these worthy priests ; they will 
pray for you on earth, and I in heaven." They 
insulted him before they struck him. " I have never 
done harm to any one," said he. An assassin 


responded : " Very well ; I'll do some to you," and 
killed him. The other priests were chased around 
the garden from one tree to another, and shot down. 
During this infernal hunt the murderers were shout- 
ing with laughter and singing their favorite song; 
Dansez la Carmagnole f 

The massacre of the Carmelites is over. "Let us 
go back to the Abbey!" cries Maillard; "we shall 
find more game there." This time there is a pretence 
of justice made. The tribunal is the vestibule of the 
Abbey; Maillard, the chief cut-throat, is president; 
the assassins are the judges, and the public, the Mar- 
seillais, the sans-culottes, the female furies, and men 
to whom murder was a delightful spectacle. The 
prisoners are summoned one after another. They 
enter the vestibule, which has a wicket as a door of 
exit. They are questioned simply as a matter of 
form. Their answers are not even listened to. 
" Conduct this gentleman to the Force ! " says the 
president. The prisoner thinks he is safe ; he does 
not know that this phrase has been agreed upon as 
the signal of death. On reaching the wicket, hatchet 
and sabre strokes cut him down in the midst of his 
dream. The Swiss officers and soldiers who had sur- 
vived August 10 were murdered thus. Their torture 
lasted a longer or shorter time, and was accom- 
plished with more or less cruel refinements, according 
to the caprice of the assassins, who were nearly all 

Night came, and torches were lighted. No 


shadows; a grand illumination. They must see 
clearly in the slaughter house. Lanterns were 
placed near the lakes of blood and heaps of dead 
bodies, so as plainly to distinguish the work from the 
workmen. There were some who were bent on losing 
no details of the carnage. The spectators wanted to 
take things easy. They were tired of standing too 
long. Benches for men and others for dames were 
got ready for them. The death-rattle of the agoniz- 
ing, the vociferations of the assassins, the emulation 
between the executioners who kill slowly and the 
victims who are in haste to die, give joy to the spec- 
tators. There is no interruption to the human 
butchery. There has been so much blood spilled that 
the feet of the murderers slip on the pavement. 
A litter is made of straw and the clothes of the 
victims, and thereafter none are killed except upon 
this mattress. In this way the work is more com- 
modiously accomplished. The assassins have plenty 
of assurance. Morning dawns on the continuation 
of the murders, and the wives of the murderers bring 
them something to eat. 

On September 2, the only persons handed over to 
the cut-throats, were at the Abbey, the Carmelites, 
and Saint-Firmin. On September 3, the massacre 
became more general. The assassins had said: "If 
there is no more work, we shall have to find some." 
Their desire realizes itself. Work will not be lack- 
ing. There is still some at the Force, where the 
Princess de Lamballe, the preferred victim, is mur- 


dered. The assassins, who at the Abbey had been 
paid at the r^te of eight francs a day, get only fifty 
sous at the Force. They work with undiminished 
zeal, even at this reduction. If necessary, they 
would work for nothing. To drink wine and shed 
blood is the essential thing. The negro Delorme, 
servant to Fournier "the American," distinguishes 
himself among them all. His black skin, reddened 
with blood, his white teeth and ferocious eyes, his 
bestial laugh, his ravenous fury, make him a choice 
assassin. There is work too at the Conciergerie, at the 
great and little Ch^telet, the Salpetriere, and the 
Bic6tre. A great number of those detained are 
people condemned or accused of private crimes which 
had absolutely nothing in common with politics. No 
matter ; blood is wanted ; they kill there as else- 
where. At the Grand ChS,telet, work is so plenty, 
and the assassins so few, that they release several 
individuals imprisoned for theft, and impress them 
into their service. One of these unfortunate acci- 
dental executioners begins in a hesitating way, strikes 
a few undecided blows, and then throws down the 
hatchet placed in his hands. " No, no," he cries, " I 
cannot. No, no ! Rather a victim than a murderer ! 
I would rather receive death from scoundrels like 
you, then give it to innocent, disarmed people. Strike 
me ! " And at once the veteran murderers kill 
the inexperienced cut-throat. There was a woman, 
known on account of her charms as the Beautiful 
Flower Girl, who was accused of having wounded 


her lover, a French guard, in a fit of jealousy. Th^- 
roigne de Mericourt, an amazon of the' gutters, was 
her rival. She pointed her out to the assassins. 
They fastened her naked to a post, her legs apart and 
her feet nailed to the ground. They burned her 
alive. They cut off her breasts ^vith sabre strokes. 
They impaled her on a hot iron. Her shrieks carried 
dismay as far as the outer banks of the Seine. Th^- 
roigne was at the height of felicity. 

At the Salpetridre there was still another spectacle. 
This prison for fallen women is a place of correction 
for the old, of amendment for the young, and an asy- 
lum for those who are still children. More than forty 
children of the lower classes were slain during these 
horrible days. The delirium of murder reached its 
height. Gorged with wine mingled with gunpowder, 
intoxicated with the fumes and reek of carnage, the 
assassins experienced a devouring, inextinguishable 
thirst for blood which nothing could quench. More 
blood, and yet more blood ! And where can it now 
be found? The prisons are empty. There are no 
more nobles, no more priests, to put to death. Very 
well ! for lack of anything better, they will go' to an 
asylum for the poor, the sick, and the insane ; to the 
Bicetre. Vagabonds, paupers, fools, thieves, steward, 
chaplains, janitor, all is fish that comes to their net. 
The butchery lasts five days and nights without stop- 
ping. Massacre takes every form; some are drowned 
in the cellars, othei"S shot in the courts. Water, fire, 
and sword, every sort of torture. 


The cut-throats can at last take some repose. They 
have worked all the week. There are still some, 
however, who have not yet had enough, and who are 
going to continue the massacres of Paris in the prov- 
inces. The Communal Council of Surveillance has 
taken care to send to every commune in France a 
circular bearing the seal of the Minister of Justice, 
inviting them to follow the example of the capital. 

September 9, the prisoners who had been detained 
at Orleans to be tried there by the Superior Court, 
entered Versailles on carts. At the moment when 
they approached the grating of the Orangery, assas- 
sins sent from Paris under the lead of Fournier " the 
American " sprang upon them and immolated every 
one. Thus perished the former Minister of Foreign 
Affairs, de Lessart, and the Duke de Brissac, former 
commander of the Constitutional Guard. Fournier 
"the American "1 returned on horseback to Paris and 
began to caracole on the Place VendQme ; Danton 
loudly felicitated him on the success of the expedi- 
tion, from the balcony of the Ministry of Justice. 

During all this time, what efforts had the Assembly 
made to put a stop to the murders ? None, absolutely 
none. Never has any deliberative body shown a like 
cowardice. Neither Vergniaud's voice nor that of 
any other Girondin was heard in protest. Indigna- 
tion, pity, found not a single word to say. Speeches, 

1 Claude Fournier-Lhfiritier, was born in Auvergne, 1745, and 
served as a volunteer in Santo Domingo, 1772-85, with Toussaint 
rOuverture, whence his sobriquet " the American." 


discussions, votes on different questions, went on as 
usual. Concerning the massacres, not a syllable. 
During that infamous week, neither the ministers, the 
virtuous Roland not more than the others, neither 
Potion, the mayor of Paris, nor the commander of the 
National Guard sent a picket guard of fifty men to 
any quarter to prevent the murders. A population 
of eight hundred thousand souls and a National 
Guard of fifty thousand men bent their necks under 
the yoke of a handful of bandits, of two hundred and 
thirty-five assassins (the exact number is known). 
People trembled. At the Assembly the old moder- 
ate party had disappeared. There were not more 
than two hundred odd deputies present at the shame- 
ful and powerless sessions. Terrorized Paris was in 
a state of stupor and prostration. 

The murderers ended by execrating themselves. 
Tormented by remorse, they could see nothing be- 
fore them but vivid faces, reeking entrails, bleeding 
limbs. " Among the cut-throats," M. Louis Blanc 
has said, " some gave signs of insanity that led to the 
supposition that some mysterious and terrible drug 
had been mingled with the wine they drank." Some 
of them became furious madmen. Others sought 
refuge in suicide, killing themselves the moment 
they had no one else to kill. Others enlisted. They 
were chased out of the army. Among these was the 
man who had carried the head of the Princess de 
Lamballe on a pike. One day when he was boasting 
of his murders, the soldiers became indignant and 


put him to death. Others still were tried as Sep- 
tembrists and sent to the scaffold. The guilty- 
received their punishment, even on this earth. Well ! 
there are people nowadays who would like to rehabil- 
itate them ! In vain has Lamartine, the founder 
of the Second Republic, exclaimed in a burst of noble 
wrath : " Has human speech an execration, an anath- 
ema, which is equal to the horror these crimes of can- 
nibals inspire in me, as in all civilized men?" In 
vain have the most celebrated historians of democ- 
racy, Edgar Quinet and Michelet, expressed in elo- 
quent terms their indignation against these crimes. 
In vain has M. Louis Blanc said : " Every murder is 
a suicide. In the victim the body alone is killed; 
but what is killed in the murderer is the soul." 
There are men who would not alone excuse, but 
glorify the assassinations and the assassins ! 



MADAME ROLAND'S hatred was appeased. 
The ambitious hourgeoise throned it for the 
second time at the Ministry of the Interior, and the 
Queen groaned in captivity in the Temple tower. 
The Egeria of the Girondins had not felt her heart 
swell with a single movement of pity for Marie 
Antoinette. The fatal 10th of August had seemed 
to her a personal triumph in which her pride de- 
lighted. The parvenue enjoyed the humiliations of 
the daughter of the German CsBsars. Her jealous 
instincts feasted on the afflictions of the Queen of 
France and Navarre. 

Lamartine, indignant at this cruelty on Madame 
Roland's part, has repented of the eulogies he gave 
her in his Histoire des Crirondins. In his Cours de 
LittSrature (Volume XIII. Conversation XXIII.), he 
says : "I glided over that medley of intrigue and pom- 
posity which composed the genius, both feminine and 
Roman, of this woman. In so doing, I conceded 
more to popularity than to truth. I wanted to give 
a Cornelia- to the Republic. As a matter of fact, I 
do not know what Cornelia was, that mother of the 


Gracchi who brought up conspirators against the 
Roman Senate, and trained them to sedition, that 
virtue of ambitious commoners. As to Madame 
Roland, who inflated a vulgar husband by the breath 
of her feminine anger against a court she found 
odious because it did not open to her upstart vanity, 
there was nothing really fine in her except her death. 
Her rOle had been a mere parade of true greatness of 
soul." What Lamartine finds fault with most of all 
is her hostility to the martyr Queen. He adds : 
" She inspired the Girondins, her intimate friends, 
with an implacable hatred against the Queen, already 
so humiliated and so menaced ; she had neither 
respect nor pity for this victim; she points her 
out to the rebellious multitude. She is no longer a 
wife, a mother, or a Frenchwoman. She poses as 
Nemesis at the door of the Temple, when the Queen 
is groaning there over her husband, her children, and 
herself, between the throne and the scaffold. This 
ostentatious stoicism of implacability is what, in my 
view, kills the woman in this female demagogue." 

Alas ! if Madame Roland was guilty, she was to 
be punished cruelly. The colleague of the virtuous 
Roland was the organizer of the September massacres. 
The republican sheepfold dreamed of by the admirer 
of Jean-Jacques Rousseau was invaded by ferocious 
beasts. Human nature had never appeared under a 
more execrable aspect than since its so-called regen- 
eration. Madame Roland was filled with a naive 
astonishment. After having sown the wind she was 


utterly surprised to reap the whirlwind. What ! she 
said to herself, my husband is minister, or, to speak 
with great exactness, I am the minister myself, and 
yet there are people in France who are dissatisfied ! 
Ungrateful nation, why dost thou not appreciate thy 
happiness ? Madame Roland resembled certain poli- 
ticians, who, having attained to power, would will- 
ingly disembarrass themselves of those by whose aid 
they reached it. For the second time she had just 
arrived at the goal of her ambition. Who dared, 
then, to pollute her joy? Why did that marplot, 
Danton, come with his untimely massacres to destroy 
such brilliant projects and banish such delightful 
dreams ? The man who, as if in derision and antith- 
esis, allowed himself to be called the Minister of 
Justice, produced the effect of a monster on Madame 
Roland. The republic as conceived by him had not 
the head of a goddess, but of a Gorgon. Its eyes 
glittered with a sinister lustre. The sword it held 
was that of an assassin or a headsman. 

Madame Roland was greatly astonished when, on 
Sunday, September 2, 1792, toward five in the even- 
ing, when the massacres had already begun, she saw 
two hundred men of forbidding appearance arrive at 
the Ministry of the Interior and ask for her husband, 
who was absent. Lucky for him he was ; for albeit a 
minister, they had come to arrest him in virtue of a 
mandate of the Communal Council of Surveillance. 
Not fmding Roland, the two hundred men retired. 
One of them, with his shirt-sleeves rolled up to his 


elbows, and a sabre in his hand, declaimed furiously 
against the treachery of ministers. A few minutes 
later, Danton said to Potion : " Do you know what 
they have taken into their heads ? If they haven't 
issued a decree to arrest Roland ! " — " Who did 
that?" demanded the mayor. — "Eh ! those devils of 
committeemen. I have taken the mandate ; hold I 
here it is ! " 

What was Madame Roland doing the next day, 
when the worst of the massacres were going on? 
She gave a dinner, and allowed the Prussian, Ana- 
charsis Clootz, who came, moreover, uninvited, to make 
a regular defence of these horrible murders. " The 
events of the day," she says in her Memoirs, "formed 
the subject of conversation. Clootz pretended to 
prove that it was an indispensable and salutary meas- 
ure ; he uttered a good many commonplaces about 
the people's rights, the justice of their vengeance, 
and of its utility to the welfare of the species ; he 
talked a long while and very loudly, ate still more, 
and fatigued more than one listener." 

And yet, revolutionary passions had not extin- 
guished every notion of humanity and justice in 
Madame Roland's soul. On that very day she in- 
duced her husband to write a letter to the National 
Assembly concerning the massacres. But how weak 
and undecided is this letter, and how public opinion 
must have been lowered and debased when it could 
regard Roland as a courageous minister ! In place 
of scathing the murderers with the energy of an hon- 


est man, he pleads extenuating circumstances in their 
favor. " It is in the nature of things and according 
to the human heart," he said in his pale missive, 
" that victory should lead to some excesses. The 
sea, agitated by a violent storm, continues to roar 
long after the tempest ; but everything has its limits 
and must finally see them determined. Yesterday 
was a day over whose events we ought, perhaps, to 
draw a veil. I know that the terrible vengeance of 
the people carries with it a sort of justice ; but how 
easy it is for scoundrels and traitors to abuse this 
effervescence, and how necessary it is to arrest it ! " 
This language produced not the least effect. The 
massacres went on, and Roland remained minister ; 
although in his letter of September 3 he had written : 
" I ask the privilege of resigning if the silence of the 
laws does not permit me to act." The virtuous Ro- 
land sat in the Council beside his colleague, the 
organizer of this human butchery. September 13, he 
addressed a letter to the Parisians in which he burnt 
incense to himself, bragged about his character, his 
actions, and his firmness, and carried his infatuation 
so far as to write : " I have twice accepted a burden 
which I felt myself able to beai." Ah ! how difficult 
it is to renoimce even a shadow of power, and of 
what compromises with their couLciences are not 
ministers capable in order to retain for a few days 
longer the portfolios that are slipping from their 
hands ! In the depths of his soul Roland, like his 
wife, had the profoundest horror of the murders and 


the murderers. And yet notice how he extenuates 
them in his letter to the Parisians : " I admired 
August 10 ; I trembled over the results of September 
2 ; I carefully considered what the betrayed patience 
of the people and their justice had produced, and I 
did not blame a first impulse too inconsiderately ; I 
believe that its further progress should have been 
prevented, and that those who were seeking to per- 
petuate it were deceived by their imagination or by 
cruel and evil-minded men. If the erring brethren 
recognize that they have been deceived, let them 
come ; my arms are open to them." That was a 
very prompt amnesty. Already the assassins are but 
erring brethren, and the minister welcomes them to 
his arms ! 

Thie Gironde kept silence, or, if it spoke, it was to 
attribute, like Vergniaud, the massacres " to the Smi- 
gres and the satellites of Coblentz." Later on, they 
were horrified by the crimes, but it was when others 
were to profit by them. Each taken by himself, the 
Girondins did not hesitate to condemn the murders ; 
but taken as a whole, they considered merely the in- 
terests of their party. Were not three of them still 
in the Ministerial Council ? What had they to com- 
plain 1% then? The September massacres are the 
most striking expression of what abominations the 
ambitious may commit or allow to be committed in 
order to maintain themselves a few weeks longer in 

But there is a voice in the depths of conscience 


which neither interest nor ambition can succeed in 
stifling. Madame Roland could not blind herself. 
The odious reality appeared to her. At last she saw 
the yawning gulf beneath her feet, and she uttered 
a cry of terror. A secret voice warned her that her 
fate would be like that of the September victims. 
After the 9th of that fatal month her imagination 
was vividly impressed. Bloody phantoms rose before 
her. She wrote on that day to Bancal des Issarts : " If 
you knew the frightful details of these expeditions. 
. . . You know my enthusiasm for the Revolution ; 
well, I am ashamed of it ; it has become hideous. In 
a week . . . how do I know what may happen ? It 
is degrading to remain in office, and we are not per- 
mitted to leave Paris. We are detained so that we 
may be destroyed at the propitious moment." 

From that time a rising anger and indignation took 
possession of the mind and heart of the Egeria of the 
Girondins, and constantly increased until the hour 
when she ascended the steps of the scaffold. She 
writes in her Memoirs, apropos of the September 
massacres : " All Paris witnessed these horrible scenes 
executed by a small number of wretches (there were 
but fifteen at the Abbey, at the door of which only 
two National Guards were stationed, in spi^'^ of the 
applications made to the Commune and the command- 
ant). All Paris permitted it to go on. All Paris was 
accursed in my eyes, and I no longer hoped that lib- 
erty might be established among cowards, insensible 
to the worst outrages that could be perpetrated 


against nature and humanity, cold spectators of at- 
tempts which the courage of fifty armed men could 
have prevented with ease. ... It is not the first 
night that astonishes me ; but four days ! — and 
inquisitive people going to see this spectacle ! No, 
I know nothing in the annals of the most barbarous 
peoples which can compare with these atrocities." 

What a striking lesson for those who play with 
anarchical passions and end by falling themselves into 
the snares they have laid for others ! Nothing is more 
deserving of study than this retaliatory punishment 
which is found, one may say, on every page of revolu- 
tionary histories. The hour was coming when the 
Girondins and their heroine would repent of the means 
they had employed to overset the throne. This was 
when the same means were employed against them, 
when they recognized their own weapons in the 
wounds they received. Then, when they had no 
more interest in keeping silence, they sought to 
escape a complicity that gained them nothing. In- 
stead of the luminous heights which in their golden 
dreams they had aspired to gain, they fell, crushed 
and overwhelmed, into a dismal gulf, full of tears and 
blood. How bitter then were their recriminations 
against men and things ! It was only to virtue that 
the dying Brutus said : " Thou art but a name." The 
Girondins said it also to glory, to country, and to 
liberty. Those among them who did not succeed in 
fleeing, disavowed, denounced, and insulted each other 
before the revolutionary tribunal. At the Concier- 


gerie they intoned the Marseillaise, but parodying 
the demagogic chant in this wise : — 

Centre nous de la tyrannie ^ 
Le couteau sanglant est lev^. 

Read the Memoirs of Louvet, Buzot, Barbaroux, 
Potion, and Madame Roland, and you will see to 
what extremes of bitterness the language of deceived 
ambition can go. They are paroxysms of rage, howls 
of anger, shrieks of despair. Consider the difference 
between philosophy and religion ! The philosophers 
curse, and the Christian pardons. Yes, as Edgar 
Quinet has said, " Louis XVI. alone speaks of for- 
giveness on that scaffold to which the others were to 
bring thoughts of vengeance and despair. And by 
that he seems still to reign over those who were to 
follow him in death with the passions and the furies 
of earth." Louis XVI. will be magnanimous and 
calm. A celestial sweetness will overspread his 
royal countenance. An infernal rage will distort 
the heart and the features of the Girondins. What 
pains, what tortures, in their death-struggle ! Earth 
fails them, and they do not look to heaven. What 
accents of disgust and hatred when they speak of 
their former accomplices, now become their execu- 
tioners ! 

" Great God ! " Buzot will say, " if it is only by 
such men and such infamous means that republics 

^ The bloody knife of tyranny is lifted against us. 


can arise and be consolidated, there is no government 
more frightful on this earth nor more fatal to human 
happiness." He will address these insults, worthy 
of the imprecations of Camillus, to the city of Paris : 
" I say truly, that France can expect neither liberty 
nor happiness except from the irreparable destruction 
of that capital." 

Barbaroux will be still more severe. His anathe- 
mas are launched not only at Paris, but at all France. 
" The people," he says, " do not deserve that one 
should become attached to them, for they are essen- 
tially ungrateful. It is the absurdest folly to try to 
conduct to liberty people without morals, who blas- 
pheme God and adore Marat. These people are no 
more fit for a philosophic government than the lazza- 
roni of Naples or the cannibals of America. . . . 
Liberty, virtue, sacred rights of men, to-day you are 
nothing but empty names." Potion, before dying, 
will write to his son this letter, which is like the 
testament of the Gironde : " My greatest torment 
will be to think that so many crimes went unpun- 
ished; vengeance is here the most sacred of duties. 
. . . My son, either the murderers of thy father and 
thy country will be delivered to the severities of the 
law and expiate their crimes upon the scaffold, or 
thou art under obligation to free thy country from 
them. They have broken all the ties of society; 
their crimes are of such a nature that they do not 
fall under ordinary rules. From such monsters every 
one is authorized to purge the earth." 


Madame Roland will be not less vehement than 
Buzot, Barbaroux, and Potion. She will address 
these severe but just reproaches to her friends who 
had not been valiant enough in their own defence : 
" They temporized with crime, the cowards ! They 
were to fall in their turn, but they succumb shame- 
fully, pitied by nobody, and with nothing to expect 
from posterity but utter contempt. . . . Rather than 
obey their tyrants, than descend from the bar and go 
out of the Assembly like a timid flock about to be 
branded by the butcher, why did they not do justice 
to themselves by falling on the monsters to annihilate 
them rather than be sentenced by them ? " It is not 
her friends alone whom her anger will lash, but the 
sovereign people, the people once so flattered, whom 
she will pursue with her anathemas. " The people," 
she will say, " can feel nothing but the cannibal joy 
of seeing blood flow, in order that they may run 
no risk of shedding their own. That predicted time 
has come when, if they ask for bread, dead bodies 
will be given them ; but their degraded nature takes 
pleasure in the spectacle, and the satisfied instinct of 
cruelty makes the dearth supportable until it becomes 
absolute." The Egeria of the Girondins will com- 
prehend that all is lost, that even her blood will be 
sterile, and that France is condemned either to anar- 
chy or a dictatorship. " Liberty," she will exclaim, 
" was i^ot made for this corrupt nation, which leaves 
the bed of debauchery or the dunghill of poverty 
only to brutalize itself in license, and howl as it 


wallows in the blood streaming from scaffolds." 
Like the damned souls in Dante, Madame Roland 
will leave all hope behind, and when, a few days 
after Marie Antoinette, she ascends the steps of the 
guillotine, instead of thinking of heaven, like the 
Queen, she will address this sarcastic speech to the 
plaster statue which has replaced that of Louis XV. : 
" O Liberty ! how they have betrayed thee ! " 

But let us not anticipate. The Girondins are still 
to have a glimmer of joy. The Republic is about to 
be proclaimed. 



" /^NE of the astonishing things in the French 
V_y Revolution," says one of the most eminent 
writers of the democratic school, Edgar Quinet, " is 
the unexpectedness with which the great changes 
occur. The most important events, the destruction 
of the monarchy and the advent of the Republic, 
came about without any previous warning." The 
most ardent republicans were royalists, not merely 
under the old regime, but after 1789, and even up to 
August 10, 1792. Marat wrote, in No. 374 of the 
Ami du Peuple, February 17, 1791: "I have often 
been represented as a mortal enemy of royalty, but I 
claim that the King has no better friend than my- 
self." And he added: "As to Louis XVI. person- 
ally, I know very well that his defects are chargeable 
solely to his education, and that by nature he is an 
excellent sort of man, whom one would have cited as 
a worthy citizen if he had not had the misfortune to 
be bom on the throne ; but, such as he is, he is at 
all events the King we want. We ought to thank 
Heaven for having given him to us. We ought to 
pray that he may be spared to us." Marat praying, 


Marat thanking Heaven ! and for whom ? For the 
King. Does not that prove what deep root royalty 
had taken in France? April 20, 1792, the same 
Marat bitterly reproached Condorcet with "shame- 
lessly calumniating the Jacobin Club, and perfidi- 
ously accusing it of wishing to destroy the monarchy" 
(i' Ami du Peuple, No. 434). June 13, he attacked 
those who violated the oath taken at the time of the 
Federation, and said : " To defend the Constitution 
is the same thing as to be faithful to the nation, the 
law, and the King " (i' Ami du Peuple, No. 448). 

During the entire continuance of the Legislative 
Assembly, when Robespierre, having left the tribune, 
was pretending to educate the people by means of his 
journal, what he defended to the utmost was the royal 
Constitution. Madame Roland relates that after 
the flight to Varennes, when the prospect of a repul)- 
lic loomed up, possibly for the first time, at a secret 
meeting, Robespierre, grinning as usual, and biting 
his nails, asked ironically what a republic might be. 
In June, 1792, the entire Jacobin Club was royalist 
still. It proposed to drop Billaud- Varennes, because 
Billaud- Varennes had dared to put the monarchical 
principle in question. On the 7th of July following, 
two months and a half, that is, before the opening of 
the Convention, at the time of the famous Lamourette 
Kiss, all the members of the Assembly swore to exe- 
crate the Republic forever. Three weeks after Septem- 
ber 2, Danton alleged the paucity and the weakness 
of the republicans, compared with the royalists, as 


motives for the massacres. Potion has said : " When 
the insurrection of August 10 was undertaken, there 
were but five men in France who desired a republic." 

Buzot, Madame Roland's idol, has written: "A 
wretched mob, unintelligent and unenlightened, vom- 
ited forth insults against royalty; the rest neither 
desired nor willed anything but the Constitution of 
1791, and spoke of the republicans just as one speaks 
of extremely honest fools. This people is republican 
only through force of the guillotine." And yet, Sep- 
tember 21, 1792, the Convention, holding its first sit- 
ting in the Hall of the Manage, began by proclaiming 
the Republic. 

Buzot, in his Memoirs, has thus described the dep- 
utations that were sent to the bar, and the public that 
occupied the galleries : " It seemed as if the outlet of 
every sewer in Paris and other great cities had been 
searched for whatever was most filthy, hideous, and 
infected. Villainously dirty faces, surmounted by 
shocks of greasy hair, and with eyes half sunk into 
their heads, they spat out, with their nauseating 
breath, the grossest insults mingled with the sharp 
snarls of carnivorous beasts. The galleries were 
worthy of such legislators : men whose frightful 
aspect betokened crime and poverty, and women 
whose shameless faces expressed the filthiest debauch- 
ery. When all these with hands and feet and voice 
made their horrible racket, one seemed to be in an 
assembly of devils." 

When the session opened, Collot d'Herbois was 


the first speaker. He said : " There is a matter 
which you cannot put off until to-morrow, which you 
cannot put off until this evening, which you cannot 
defer for a single instant without being unfaithful 
to the wishes of the nation ; it is the abolition of 
royalty." Quinet having objected that it would be 
better to present this question when the Constitution 
was to be discussed, Gr^goire, constitutional Bishop 
of Blois, exclaimed : " Certainly, no one will ever 
propose to us to preserve the deadly race of kings in 
France. All the dynasties have been breeds of rav- 
enous beasts, living on nothing but human flesh ; 
still it is necessary to reassure plainly the friends of 
liberty; this magic talisman, which still has power 
to stupefy so many men, must be destroyed." Bazire 
remarked that it would be a frightful example to the 
people to see an Assembly which they had entrusted 
with their dearest interests, resolve upon anything in 
a moment of enthusiasm and without thorough dis- 
cussion. Gr^goire replied with vehemence : " Eh ! 
what need is there of discussion when everybody is 
of the same mind? Kings, in the moral order, are 
what monsters are in the physical order. Courts are 
the workshop of crime and the lair of tyrants. The 
history of kings is the martyrology of nations ; we 
are all equally penetrated by this truth. What is the 
use of discussing it ? " Then the question, put to 
vote in these terms : " The National Convention 
declares that royalty is abolished in France," was 
adopted amidst applause. 


At four in the afternoon of the same day, a munic- 
ipal officer named Lubin, surrounded by mounted 
gendarmes and a large crowd of people, came to read 
a proclamation before the Temple tower. The trum- 
pets were sounded. A great silence ensued, and 
Lubin, who had a stentorian voice, read loud enough 
to be heard by the royal family confined in the dun- 
geon, this proclamation, the death knell of monarchy : 
" Royalty is abolished in France. All public acts 
will be dated from the first year of the Republic. 
The seal of State will be inscribed with this motto : 
Repuhlique frangaise. The National Seal will repre- 
sent a woman seated on a sheaf of arms, holding in 
one hand a pike surmounted by a liberty-cap." Hubert 
(the famous P^re Duchesne) was at this moment on 
guard near the royal family. Sitting on the threshold 
of their chamber, he sought to discover a movement 
of vexation or anger, or any other emotion on their 
faces. He was unsuccessful. While listening to the 
revolutionary decree which snatched away his throne, 
the descendant of Saint Louis, Henry IV., and Louis 
XIV. experienced not the slightest trouble. He had 
a book in his hand, and he quietly went on reading 
it. As impassive as her spouse, the Queen neither 
made a movement nor uttered a word. When the 
proclamation was finished, the trumpets sounded 
again. Cl^ry then went to the window, and the eyes 
of the crowd turned instantly towards him. As they 
mistook him for Louis XVI., they overwhelmed him 
with insults. The gendarmes made threatening ges- 


tures, and he was obliged to withdraw so as to quiet 
the tumult. While the populace was unchained 
around the Temple prison, one man alone was calm, 
one man alone seemed a stranger to all anxiety: it 
was the prisoner. 

A new era begins. The death-struggle of royalty 
is over. Royalty is dead, and the King is soon to die. 
Gr^goire, who had stolen the vote (there were but 
371 conventionists present ; 374 were absent ; that is 
to say, more than half), is both surprised and enthu- 
siastic about what he has done. He confesses that 
for several days his excessive joy deprived him of 
appetite and sleep. Such joy will not last very long. 
M. Taine compares revolutionary France to a badly 
nourished workman, poor, and overdriven with toil, 
and yet who drinks strong liquors. At first, in his 
intoxication, he thinks he is a millionnaire, loved and 
admired ; he thinks himself a king. " But soon the 
radiant visions give place to black and monstrous 
phantoms. ... At present, France has passed 
through the period of joyous delirium, and is about 
to enter on another that is sombre ; behold it, capable 
of daring, suffering, and doing all things, whenever 
its guides, as widely astray as itself, shall point out 
an enemy or an obstacle to its fury." 

How quickly the disenchantments come ! Already 
Lafayette, the man of generous illusions, has had to 
imitate the conduct of those emigrSs on whom he has 
been so severe. He has fled to a foreign land, and 
found there not a refuge, but a prison. He will 


remain more than five years in the gloomy fortress 
of Olmutz. The victor of Valmy, Dumouriez, will 
hardly be more fortunate. He will go over to the 
enemy, and live in exile on a pension from foreign 
powers. How close together deceptions and recan- 
tations come ! Marat, who had already said to the 
inhabitants of the capital : " Eternal cockneys, with 
what epithets would I not assail you in the tran- 
sports of my despair, if I knew any more humili- 
ating than that of Parisians ? " ^ Marat, who had 
said to all Frenchmen : " No, no ; liberty is not made 
for an ignorant, light, and frivolous nation, for 
cits brought up in fear, dissimulation, knavery, and 
lying, nourished in cunning, intrigue, sycophancy, 
avarice, and swindling, subsisting only by theft and 
rapine, aspiring after nothing but pleasures, titles, 
and decorations, and always ready to sell themselves 
for gold ! " 2 Marat will write. May 7th, 1793, that 
is to say, at the apogee of his favorite political 
system : " All measures taken up to the present day 
by the assemblies, constituent, legislative, and con- 
ventional, to establish and consolidate liberty, have 
been thoughtless, vain, and illusory, even supposing 
them to have been taken in good faith. The gi-eater 
part seem to have had for their object to perpetuate 
oppression, bring on anarchy, death, poverty, and 
famine ; to make the people weary of their independ- 
ence, to make liberty a burden, to cause them to 

^ Ami du Peuple, No. 429. ^ ^^j ^^ Peuple, No. 539. 


detest the Revolution, through its excessive disorders, 
to exhaust them by watching, fatigue, want, and 
inanition, to reduce them to despair by hunger, and 
to bring them back to despotism by civil war." ^ 

There were six ministers appointed on August 10. 
Two of them, Clavi^re and Roland, will kill them- 
selves ; two others, Lebrun-Tondu and Danton, will 
be guillotined; the remaining two, Servan and 
Monge, are destined to become, one a general of 
division under Napoleon, and the other a senator of 
the Empire and Count of P^luse ; and when, at the 
beginning of his reign, the Emperor complains to 
the latter because there are still partisans of the 
Republic to be found : " Sire," the former minister of 
August 10 will answer, " we had so much trouble to 
make them republicans ! may it please Your Majesty 
kindly to allow them at least a few days to become 
imperialists ! " Of the two men who had so enthu- 
siastically brought about the proclamation of the 
Republic, one, Collot d'Herbois, will be transported 
to Guiana by the republicans, and die there in a 
paroxysm of burning fever ; the other, Gr^goire, will 
be a senator of the Empire, which will not, however, 
prevent him from promoting the deposition of 
Napoleon as he had promoted that of Louis XVI. 
There are men who will exchange the jacket of the 
sans-culotte for the gilded livery of an imperial 
functionary. The conventionists and regicides are 

1 La Publiciste de la R^publique, No. 211. 


transformed into dukes and counts and barons. 
David, the official painter of the Empire, Napoleon's 
favorite, will paint with joy the picture of a pope, 
and be very proud of his great picture of the new 
Charlemagne's coronation. But listen to Edgar 
Quinet : " When I see the orators of deputations 
taking things with such a high hand at the bar, and 
lording it so proudly over mute and complaisant 
assemblies, I should like to know what became of 
them a few years later." And thereupon he sets out 
to discover their traces. But after considerable inves- 
tigation he stops. " If I searched any further," he 
exclaims, " I should be afraid of encountering them 
among the petty employes of the Empire. It was 
quite enough to see Huguenin, the indomitable presi- 
dent of the insurrectionary Commune, so quickly 
tamed, soliciting and obtaining a post as clerk of 
town gates as soon as absolute power made its reap- 
pearance after the 18th Brumaire. The terrible 
Santerre becomes the gentlest of men as soon as he is 
pensioned by the First Consul. Hardly had Bourdon 
de rOise and Albitte, those men of iron, felt the rod 
than you see them the supplest functionaries of the 
Empire. The great king-taker, Drouet, thrones it 
in the sub-prefecture of Sainte-Menehould. Napo- 
leon has related that, on August 10, he was in a shop 
in the Carrousel, whence he witnessed the taking of 
the palace. If he had a presentiment then, he must 
have smiled at the chaos which he was to reduce so 
easily to its former limits. How many furies, and all 
to terminate so soon in the accustomed obedience I " 


Is not history, with its perpetual alternatives of 
license and despotism, like a vicious circle ? And do 
not the nations pass their time in producing webs of 
Penelope, whose bloody threads they weave and un- 
weave again with tears ? All governments, royalties, 
empires, republics, ought to be more modest. But all, 
profoundly forgetful of the lessons of the past, believe 
themselves immortal. All declare haughtily that 
they have closed forever the era of revolutions. 

With the advent of the Republic a new calendar 
had been put in force. The equality of days and 
nights at the autumnal equinox opened the era of 
civil equality on September 22. " Who would have 
believed that this human geometry, so profoundly 
calculated, was written in the sand, and that in a 
few years no traces of it would remain ? . . . The 
heavens have continued to gravitate, and have 
brought back the equality of days and nights; but 
they have allowed the promised liberty and equality 
to perish, like meteors that vanish in empty space. . . . 
The sans-culottes have not been able to make them- 
selves popular among the starry peoples. . . . An 
ancient belief which the men of the Revolution had 
neglected through fear or through contempt was again 
met with ; a spectre had appeared ; a chilly breath, 
like that of Samuel, had made itself felt ; and lo, the 
edifice so sagely constructed, and leaning on the 
worlds, has vanished away." ^ 

1 Edgar Quinet, La Revolution, t. 11. 


There lies at the foundation of history a supreme 
sadness and melancholy. This never-ending series 
of illusions and deceptions, errors and afflictions, 
faults and crimes ; this rage, and passion, and folly ; 
so many efforts and fatigues, so many dangers, tor- 
tures, and tears, so much blood, such revolutions, 
catastrophies, cataclysms of every sort, — and all for 
what ? Wretched humanity, rolling its stone of Sisy- 
phus from age to age, inspires far more compassion 
than contempt. The painful reflections caused by 
the annals of all peoples are perhaps more sombre 
for the French Revolution than for any other period. 
Edgar Quinet justly laments over the inequality 
between the sacrifices of the victims and the results 
obtained by posterity. He affirms that in other his- 
tories one thing reconciles us to the fury of men, 
and that is the speedy fecundity of the blood they 
shed; for example, when one sees that of the martyrs 
flow, one also sees Christianity spread over the earth 
from the depth of the catacombs ; while amongst us, 
the blood which streamed most abundantly and from 
such lofty sources, did not find soil equally well pre- 
pai^ed. And the illustrious historian exclaims sadly : 
"The supreme consolation has been refused to our 
greatest dead; their blood has not been a seed of 
virtue and independence for their posterity. If they 
should reappear once more, they would feel themselves 
tortured again, and on a worse scaffold, by the denial 
of their descendants ; they would hurl at us again the 
same adieu : ' O Liberty ! how they have betrayed 
thee I'" 


Abbey prison, the, massacre of the 

prisoners of, 363. 
Ankarstrcem, Captain, the assassin 

of Gustavus III., 37, 41. 
Aries, Archbishop of, massacre of, 

Assassins, the, of the September 

massacres, 362 et seq.; their fate, 

Assignats created, 128. 
Aubier, M. d', on the King's unwar- 

like disposition, 288 ; with the 

King in the Convent of the Feuil- 

lants, 330. 

Barbarous, visionary schemes of, 
271 ; declares the King might 
have maintained himself, 285; 
anathemas of, on the Septem- 
brists, 381. 

Barry, Madame du, her letter to 
Marie Antoinette, 138. 

Beaumarchais compared with Du- 
mouriez, 95. 

Belgium, the invasion of, a failure, 

Beugnot, Count, his description of 
Madame Roland, 87, 92 ; philo- 
sophic remarks of, on woman, 

Billaud-Varennes, 246 ; at the 
Abbey, 363. 

Blanc, M. Louis, quoted, 370. 

Bonne-Carrere, director of foreign 
affairs, portrait of, 101. 

Bossuet quoted, 134. 

Bouill^, Count de, warns Gustavus 
III. of the conspiracy against 
him, 38; his judgment on Gus- 
tavus III., 43. 

Bouille, Marquis de, suppresses the 
insurrection at Nancy, 111, 133. 

Brissac, Duke of, his devotion to 
royalty, 137 et seq.; intolerable 
to the Jacobins, 141 ; accused in 
the Assembly, 144 ; assassinated, 
147, 369. 

Brunswick, Duke of, his manifesto, 

Buzot, Madame Roland's affection 
for, 64 ; quoted, 386. 

Calvet, M., sent to the Abbey, 144. 

Campan, Madame, describes the 
Queen's emotion on hearing of 
her brother's death, 28; her ac- 
count of Dumouriez' interview 
with the Queen, 155 ; in peril in 
the Tuileries, 324. 

Carmelite church, massacre at, 364. 

Chateaubriand, quotation from, 9. 

Chateauvieux, the fete of, 110 et 
seq.; mutinous soldiers of, pun- 
ished, 112 ; feted by the Jacobins, 
113, 118; admitted to the Assem- 
bly, 117. 

Che'nier, Andre, patriotic conduct 
of, 113, 124; his ode to David, 
119 ; his fate, 124. 

Claviere made Minister of the Fi- 
nances, 103, 160. 

Clootz, Anacharsis, defends the Sep- 
tember massacres, 375. 

ConUdie-Fran<iaise, the, in the 
Revolution, 10. 

Commune, insurrectionary, formed 
in the H6tel-de-Ville, 281 ; refuse 
to extinguish the tire at the 
Tuileries, 326, 335, 345, 355; in- 
vites every commune in France 



to follow the example of massa- \ 
ere in Paris, 369 ; terrorize the j 
Assembly, 370; order the arrest 
of Roland, 374, 378. 

Constitutional Guard, the composi- 
tion of, 140 ; disarmed, 145. 

Ck)rdeliers, club of the, 7; chiefs 
of, 7 ; decide to attack the Tui- 
leries, 274. 

Danjoa tarns the mob bearing the 
Princess de Lamballe's head away 
from the Temple, 355. 

Danton, cowardice of, 271, 316; his 
bloodthirsty speech to the Assem- 
bly, 361, 374; fate of, 391. 

Dauphin, the, the red cap set on his 
head, 213; bis interest in the 
guard, Drouet, 217, 219; his 
prayer for the King, 220 ; on the 
morning of August 10, 284 ; taken 
from his mother's arms by an 
insurrectionist, 297; in the As- 
sembly, 299; in the Convent of 
the Feuillants, 329, 333; prayer 
taught him by his mother, 347. 

David, his part in the fete of 
Chateauvieux, 119 ; conversation 
of, 319 ; under the Empire, 392. 

Delorme, the negro assassin, 367. 

Desilles, killed in the insurrection 
at Nancy, 111. 

Drouet, the royalist guard, 217. 

Dumouriez, portrait of, by Madame 
Roland, 94; Minister of Foreign 
Affairs, 95; "a miserable in- 
triguer," 95; his career, 96; 
Masson's description of him, 98 ; 
plays a double part, 101 ; his de- 
scription of Louis XVI., 104 ; 
made Minister of Foreign Affairs, 
103; Memoirs of, quoted, 127, 
129, 130 ; urges the King to sign 
the decree for the transportation 
of the clergy, 150 ; has an inter- 
view with the Queen, 153 ; refuses 
to be Madame Roland's puppet, 
158; aids the King to be rid of 
Roland and his faction, 164; 

takes the portfolio of War, 166; 
before the Assembly, 167; re- 
signs, 169; final interview of, 
with the King, 171 ; entreats him 
not to veto the decrees, 172 et 
seq. ; goes to the army, 174. 
Duranton, made Minister of Jus- 
tice, 103, 160. 

Elisabeth, Madame, letter of, con- 
cerning tlie fete of Chateauvieux, 
120; remains with the King dur- 
ing the invasion of the Tuileries, 
200 ; mistaken by the mob for 
Marie Antoinette, 202 ; rejoins the 
Queen, 212 ; letter of, to Madame 
de Kaigecourt, 239 ; cherishes 
false illusions, 265 ; pious maxim 
of, 276 ; her gentleness, 295 ; 
prayer of, in the Temple, 347. 

Emigration of the nobility the rule 
in 1792, 2. 

Federation, fete of the, 249 et seq. 

Fersen, Count de, new information 
concerning, 14; his chivalric de- 
votion to Marie Antoinette, 15; 
their correspondence, 16; secret 
mission of, 18 ; sees the King and 
Queen, 19; his melancholy end, 

Feuillants, Convent of the, royal 
family imprisoned in, 328 et seq. 

Feuillants, club of, 6. 

Force, the, prison of, 350. 

Fournier, " the American," 369. 

Francis II., warlike acts of, 127. 

Geoffroy, M., remarks of, on Gus- 
tavus III., 33; quoted, 132. 

Girondins, the, 177 ; hesitate to 
depose the King, 271 ; tacitly 
approve the massacres, 377. 

Grouges, Olympe de, 240. 

Gouvion, M. de, protests against 
admitting the Swiss to the As- 
sembly, 116 ; death of, 167, 

Grand Chatelet, massacres at, 367. 



Grave, de, made Minister of War, 
103 ; replaced by Servan, 160. 

Gre'goire urges the abolition of 
royalty, 387 ; career of, after the 
Revolution, 391. 

Guadet, hostility of, to Lafayette, 

Guillotine, Doctor, and his inven- 
tion, 12. 

Guillotine, the, 12; diversion of 
society over, 13. 

Gustavus III., his interest in Marie 
Antoinette, 17; trusted by her, 
17 ; letter of, to her, 18 ; at Aix- 
la-Chapelle, 32 ; his supersti- 
tion, 34; his promises to Louis 
XVI., 36; conspiracy against, 37 
et seq.; assassination of, 40 et 
seq.; scenes at his death, 42 ; char- 
acter of, 43. 

Hannaches, Mademoiselle d', 30,77. 

Hebert, Abbe, confesses the King, 

Hebert (P^re Duchesne) on guard 
at the Temple, 388. 

Heine, Heinrich, quoted, 278. 

Herbois, Collot d', his part in the 
affair of the regiment of Chateau- 
vieux, 112 et seq. ; attacks Andre 
Chenier, liA; fate of, 125; boasts 
of the 2d of September, 362; 
urges the abolition of royalty, 
387 ; fate of, 391. 

Hervelly, M. d', brings the order to 
the Swiss to cease firing, 310. 

Hue, Fran9ois, with the King in his 
captivity, 331 ; receives from the 
King a lock of his hair, 346. 

Huguenin, the orator of the insur- 
rectionists of June 20, 192 ; chief 
of the Commune, 316. 

Insurrectionists of June 20, organ- 
ization of, 182 ; enter the hall of 
the Assembly, 193; break into 
the Tuilerits, 198. 

Isle, Rouget de 1', author of the 
Marseillaise, 269. 

Jacobin Club, place of its meeting, 
5; its affiliations, 6; Lafayette's 
remarks on, 9; joy of at, the death 
of Gustavus III., 44; the insur- 
rectionary power of, 177 ; of Brest 
and Marseilles, send two battal- 
ions to Paris, 268; royalist, in 
June, 1792, 385. 

Jourdan, the headsman, 120. 

June 20, insurrection of, 186 et seq. 

La Chesnaye commands the force 
in the Tuileries, 293. 

Lacoste, made Minister of the Ma- 
rine, 103. 

Lafayette, letter of, to the Assem- 
bly, 178 et seq. ; his letter not 
published, but referred to a com- 
mittee, 181; his relations to the 
Jacobins, 230 ; before the National 
Assembly, 232 ; distrusted by the 
King and Queen, 236; anxious 
that the King should leave Paris, 

Lalanne, the grenadier, and Louis 
XVI., 200. 

Lamartine, quoted, 131; his observa- 
tions on Lafayette, 231; on Mar 
dame Roland, 372. 

Lamballe, Princess of, 121, 321, 331 ; 
not allowed to go to the Temple 
with the Queen, 343 ; sent to 
the Force, 350 et seq. ; examina- 
tion and execution of, 352 et seq. ; 
her body mutilated and her head 
carried on a pike to the Temple, 
355; her heart eaten, 358. 

Lamourette, Abbe, his career, 241 ; 
his speech to the Assembly and 
his proposition for harmony, 242. 

Laporte burns the Countess de la 
Motte's book at the Queen's 
order, 142. 

Lebel, Madame de, 353. 

Legendre, addresses the King in- 
solently, 202. 

Leopold II., his interest in French 
affairs, 23 ; death of, 27. 

Lessart, de, report of, disapproved 



by the Assembly, 28 ; impeached, 
30 ; massacre of, 369. 

Lilienhorn, Count de, one of the 
assassins of Gustavus III., 37, 45. 

Logographe, box of the, 299 et seq. 

Louis XVI., despised by the ^mi- 
gr€s, 25; letter of, to Gustavus 
III., 36 ; appoints a ministry cho- 
sen by the Gironde, 103 ; his def- 
erence to his ministers, 104 et 
seq.; declares war on Austria, 
126, 129 ; sufferings of, 132 ; not a 
soldier, 133, 139; has no plan, 
135 ; anecdotes of, by M. de Vau- 
blanc, 139, 140; sacrifices his 
guard, 145; repents his conces- 
sions, 148 ; for several days in a 
sort of stupor, 151; insulted by 
Roland and his faction, 160 ; Ma- 
dame Roland's letter to him read 
in the Council, 1G4 ; asks Dumou- 
riez to help rid him of Roland's 
faction, 164; refuses to sign the 
decree against the priests, 169; 
accepts the resignation of Du- 
mouriez, 169 ; resists Dumouriez' 
entreaties not to veto the decrees, 
172 ; vetoes the decrees, 181 ; 
permits the gate of the Tui- 
leries to be opened to the mob, 
195 ; his conduct at the invasion 
of the Tuileries, 199 et seq. ; his 
reception of the mob in the 
'Tuileries, 201; addressed by the 
butcher Legendre, 202 ; in bodily 
peril, 203; returns to the bed- 
chamber, 208 ; letter of, to the As- 
sembly relative to the invasion 
of the Tuileries, 223; interview 
of, with Petion, 224 ; incident of 
the red bonnet, 226; conversation 
of, with Bertrand de MoUeville, 
227 ; repugnance of, to Lafayette, 
236; address of, to the Assembly, 
243; letter of, to the Assembly, 
245 ; his plastron, 248 ; takes part 
in the fete of the Federation, 249 
et seq. ; too timorous and hesita- 
ting to act, 257 ; nominates a new 

cabinet, 269; conciliatory mes- 
sage of, to the Assembly, 270; 
declines to entertain any plan of 
escape, 273; consents that the 
royalist noblemen should defend 
him, 284; unwarlike character 
of, 288 ; reviews the troops in the 
Tuileries garden and narrowly 
escapes from them, 289; urged 
by Roederer, goes with his family 
to the Assembly, 292 et seq. ; his 
escort, 295 ; addresses the Assem- 
bly, 300 ; compelled to remain in 
the reporters' gallery, 300 ; orders 
the defenders of the Tuileries to 
cease firing, 305; deposition of, 
proposed in the Assembly, 317; 
acts like a disinterested spectator, 
318 ; taken to the Convent of the 
Feuillants, 328; transferred to 
the Temple, 334, 339; his quar- 
ters, 341; gives lessons to the 
Dauphin in the Temple, 342 : de- 
prived of his sword, 346; hears 
the proclamation abolishing roy- 
alty without emotion, 388. 
Louvet, the author of Faublas, 54; 
editor of the Sentinelle, and 
Madame Roland's confidant, 89 
et seq. 

Maillard, president of the tribunal 
at the Abbey, 365. 

Mailly, Marshal de, the chief of the 
two hundred noblemen in the 
Tuileries, 284. 

Malta, Knights of, 338. 

Mandat, M. de, receives from 
Petion an order to repel force, 
280;- goes to the H6tel-de-Ville 
and is massacred, 281. 

Marat incites to the deposition of 
the king, 270; on Louis XVI., 384. 

Marie Antoinette, chivalric devo- 
tion of Count de Fersen for, 15 ; 
her correspondence with him, 16 ; 
places absolute confidence in 
Gustavus III., 17; letter of, to 
her brother Leopold, 25; condi< 



tion of, in 1792, 73; has an in- 
terview with Dumouriez, 153; 
annoyed and insulted by the 
populace, 156, 157; during the 
invasion of the Tuileries, 210 et 
seq.; opposed to vigorous meas- 
ures, 222; her distrust of Lafay- 
ette and preference for Danton, 
237; present at the fete of the 
Federation, 251 et seq. ; her alarm 
at the King's peril, 253; midnight 
alarms of, 259 ; insulted by fed- 
erates and forced to keep to her 
apartments, 261; her estimate of 
the King's character, 263; on 
the night of August 9, 276 ; takes 

. refuge in the Assembly, 299; 
her hopes excited by the sound 
of artillery, 304; in the box of 
the Logographe, 321 ; in the Con- 
vent of the Feuillante, 332; in 
the Temple, 343 ; faints when she 
hears of the Princesse de Lam- 
balle's death, 356. 

Marseillaise, the, Rouget de I'lsle's 
new hymn, 269. 

Marseilles, federates of, arrive in 
Paris, 268; the scum of the jails, 
269; at the Tuileries, 290, 306 
et seq., 309. 

Masson, M. Frederic, his descrip- 
tion of Dumouriez, 98. 

Ministry appointed by the King 
resign ; new, appointed, 176. 

Mirabeau cautions the Queen 
against Lafayette, 236; and Abbe 
Lamourette, 241. 

MoUeville, Bertrand de, conversa- 
tion of, with the King, 227 ; 
quoted, 273. 

Monge, senator of the Empire, re- 
ply of, to Napoleon, 391, 

Moniteur, the, on the fSte of 
Chateauvieux, 121. 

Mortimer-Ternaux, M., quoted, 
279, 282 ; his Histoire de la Ter- 
reur, 359. 

Mouchy, Marshal de, his devotion 
to the King and Queen, 220. 

Napoleon, a witness of the inva- 
sion of the Tuileries, 209; asserts 
the King could have gained the 
victory, 286 ; a witness of the at- 
tack of the Marseillais on the 
Tuileries, 310, 314 ; visits the 
Temple, and has it destroyed, 

National Assembly, place of meet- 
ing of, 5 ; impeach the King's 
brothers and confiscate the Emi- 
gres' property, 26; impeach De 
Lessart, 30 ; order the King's 
guard disbanded, 143; decrees of 
as to the clergy and an army be- 
fore Paris, 150 ; Madame Roland's 
letter to the King, read to, 167; 
letter of Lafayette read in the, 
178; receive a deputation from 
Marseilles, 183; consider the ad- 
mission of the resurrectionists 
to the chamber, 187; the place 
of meeting of, 188; deputation 
from, to the King during the in- 
vasion of the Tuileries, 208 ; ques- 
tion the Queen, 216 ; maintain 
an equivocal attitude, 222; the 
majority of, royalists and consti- 
tutionalists, 272 ; affect not to 
recognize the King's danger, 280 ; 
send a deputation to receive the 
King and his family, 296; num- 
ber of members present wl»c. '.lie 
decree of deposition was voted, 
320 ; terrorized by the Commune, 
370; royalty abolished and the 
republic proclaimed by, 387. 

National Guard, at the Tuileries, 
196 ; the choice troops of, broken 
up, 268 ; royalist, in the Tuileries, 
279, 288. 

Noblemen, royalist, fidelity of, to 
the King, 278, 284 ; fate of, 

Orleans, Duke of, and the Palais 
Royal, 4; and his party clamor 
for the deposition of the King, 



Palais Royal, the, in 1792, 4. 

Pan, Mallet du, sent to Germany 
by Louis XVI., 135. 

Paris, in 1792, 1 ; the Archbishop 
of, at Versailles, in 1774, 78; 
Commune of, how organized, 176 ; 
a hell during the September mas- 
sacres, 361. 

Petion, address of, to the Assembly, 
30 ; promotes the fete of Chateau- 
vieux, 115; fate of, 122 et seq.; 
favors the insurrectionists, 184 ; 
his insolent address to the King, 
224 ; the hero of the fete of the 
Federation, 264 ; presents an 
address to the Assembly pray- 
ing for the King's deposition, 
270 ; signs an order giving M. de 
Mandat the right to repel force, 
280 ; his treachery and hypocrisy, 

Philipon, the father of Madame 
Roland, 47. 

Prisons of Paris, the September 
massacres at, 363 et seq. 

Prudhomme's Revolutions de Paris 
quoted, 225. 

Quinet, Edgar, quoted, 360, 371 ; on 
Louis XVI.'s magnanimity, 380, 
384; quoted, 392, 394. 

Kaigecourt, Madame de, letter of, 

Ramond defends Lafayette in the 
Assembly, 235. 

Republic proclaimed, 388. 

Revolution, beginning of the organ- 
ization of, 181. 

Revolutionists, the, in the Tuileries, 
199 ; insolence of, to the King, 
200 ; refuse to leave the Assembly, 
205; their barbarity and inde- 
cency, 213. 

Robespierre in the Jacobin Club, 6 ; 
cowardice of, 271, 316 ; his defence 
of the Constitution, 385. 

Rochefoucauld, Count de la, de- 
scribes the appearance of the 

royal family in the box of the 
Logographe, 321. 

Roederer, remarks of, on Lafay- 
ette, 238 ; urges the King to seek 
shelter with the Assembly, 291, 
294; addresses the mob, 297; 
explains to the Assembly the 
cause of King's taking refuge 
with them, 301; blamed for his 
advice, 302. 

Roland de la Platiere, M., marries 
Mademoiselle Philipon, 55; de- 
puted to the Assembly, 63 ; takes 
the portfolio of the Interior, 70; 
dominated by his wife, 88 ; his 
plebeian dress at the Council, 103 ; 
driven by his wife to hostility 
against the King, 108 ; his fac- 
tion desire to destroy the King, 
160 ; dismissed from the Coun- 
cil, 165; reinstated, 319; arrest 
of, determined, 374 ; writes a 
letter to the Assembly concern- 
ing the massacres, 375; continues 
minister, 376 ; fate of, 391. 

Roland, Madame, the distinctive 
characteristics of the century re- 
sumed in her, 46 ; early years of, 
47 et seq.; married to Roland de 
la Platiere, 55 ; strives to obtain 
a patent of nobility for her hus- 
band, 56 ; letters of, to Bosc, 57 ; 
her description of herself, 61, 74 ; 
draws up her husband's reports, 
63; her infatuation for Buzot, 
64; her hatred of royalty, 65; 
established in Paris, 70 ; and 
Marie Antoinette, 74 ; the motive 
of her hatred of Marie Antoi- 
nette, 76, 80; describes her visit to 
Versailles, 77, 79 ; her part in es- 
tablishing the republican regime 
in France, 79, 107 ; her judgment 
of Louis XVI., 81 ; her character 
contrasted with that of Marie 
Antoinette, 82; her arrogant de- 
meanor, 86 ; acts for her husband 
in public affairs, 88; her inti- 
macy with Louvet, 89 et seq,; 



Lemontey's picture of her, 91; 
and Dumouriez, 94, 102; creates 
discord in the Council, 106; de- 
cides to get rid of Dumouriez, 
159 ; her letter to the King, 162 ; 
her advice ou the dismissal of the 
ministers, 165 ; on the September 
massacres, 362 ; feels no pity for 
the Queen, 372, 375; her horror 
at the murders, 376; her appre- 
hensions, 378; reproaches her 
friends with temporizing, 382; 
her last speech, 383. 
Rousseau, imprisoned in the Tem- 
ple, 339. 

Saint-Antoine, Faubourg, citizens 
of, ask permission to assemble in 
arms, 182 ; in commotion, 184. 

Saint-Hurage, the rioter, 193. 

Salpetriere, the, butchery at, 368. 

Santerre, at the head of the in- 
surrectionists on June 20, 186; 
demands admission for the in- 
surrectionists to the Assembly, 
190; violence of, at the Tuileries, 
197 ; offers to protect the Queen, 
215; forced by Westermann to 
march to the Tuileries, 286. 

September massacres, the, 359 et 

Sergent, M., 207. 

Servan, made Minister of War, 160 ; 
proposes the formation of an 
army around Paris, 160 ; dis- 
missed from the Council, 165; his 
career after the Revolution, 391. 

Stael, Madame de, views the fete of 
the Federation, her observations, 
253 ; invents a plan of escape for 
the King, 273; quoted, 317, 327. 

Suderraania, Duke of, brother of 
Gustavus III., practices of, 35. 

Sutherland, Lady, sends linen for 
the Dauphin to the Convent of the 
Feuillants, 333. 

Swiss regiment, the, go to the 

Tuileries, 274; ill provided with 
ammunition, 277; defend the Tui- 
leries, but are commanded to re- 
tire, 307 ; sweep the Carrousel of 
rioters, 310 ; ordered to go to the 
King, 311 ; surrender their arms, 
313 ; imprisoned in the church of 
the Feuillants, 313 ; fate of the, 

Taine, on revolutionary France, 389. 

Temple, the, the royal family taken 
to, 336; description of, 337; the 
Order of the, 337 ; destroyed by 
Napoleon, 349. 

Thiers, quoted, 287. 

Thorwaldsen's lion at Lucerne, 314. 

Tourzel, Pauline de, in peril in the 
Tuileries, 323. 

Tuileries, the, guard of, 195; the in- 
vasion of, 198 et seq. ; the, on the 
night of August 9, 275 et seq.; 
attacked by the Marseillais, 306 
et seq.; rioters in, 325; on fire, 

Vaublanc, Count de, quoted, 133; 
anecdotes of, concerning Louis 
XVI., 139, 140, 256, 273, 282, 286, 
290, 303. 

Vergniaud, 180, 182; speech of, 
with regard to the admission of 
the insurrectionists to the Assem- 
bly, 188; violent attack of, on 
the King, 244 ; as president of the 
Assembly, receives Louis XVL, 
300 ; presents the decree suspend- 
ing the royal power, 317. 

"Violet, Queen," 336. 

Voltaire, imprisoned in the Temple, 

Westermann forces Santerre to 
march, 286; leader of the Mar- 
seillais, who attacked the Tui- 
leries, 306, 308. 








' \ 

PLEASE D5 not remove 







Imbert de Saint-Amflnd, 


Arthur Leon 


Marie Antoinette and the 


downfall of royalty 


cop, 2