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him read Alison. Plain “practical” men of the world, who state things in a “business”-like way, are not usually “dramatic.” He says, also, that “it is to be regreted that an author so well versed in the annals of the country as M. Thiers, has not thought it worth his while to enter more into detail on the subject of the numerous secondary causes which helped to bring about the revolution.” Now we think it would “ be regretted,” had he taken that course. If any one wishes to be led blindfold down through the history of France, from the time of Clovis till the revolution, let him read Mr. Alison. If M. Thiers possesses one merit above all others, it is the clearness of his narrative in tracing the great primary and continuing causes of the revolution. We never read a history of that event which conveyed to us so plain and connected an account of the events that crowded so rapidly on each other in that awful drama. Under the smoke and tumult, that to an ordinary observer reduces every thing to chaos, we are made to see clearly the ground-work and plan of the whole. We arise from the perusal of this history with entirely new views of the revolution. Order is seen amid that disorder, and the steady workings of immutable laws traced through all those wild mutations. Nay, we must confess we are compelled to think better of the authors of those atrocities that have forever blackened the pages of human history. Danton, Robespierre, and even Barrére himself, are madmen and murderers, as much from circumstance as nature. . In the tremendous struggle, of which they were a part, they found they must tread everything down in their ath, or be themselves trodden under OOt.

Another great merit of this work is, that it gives us the philosophy of the history of the revolution by the mere consecutiveness of the narrative, and not by obtruding on us, every few pages, a long series of reflections. M. Thiers does not speculate, but puts facts together in such relations that we are forced to draw conclusions as we advance, and form our own philosophy, rather as spectators than listeners. The masterly manner in which he has performed this part of his work, proves him the true philosopher as well as statesman. Holding a firm rein on his imagination and desire to speculate, he loses sight of himself, and moves through his history with his

eye fixed steadily on the great controling causes, lying at the bottom of that strange confusion and commingling of all good and bad human passions. And in doing this, he occupies, apparently, a neutral point of observation, seeing the evils both of untamed democracy and unbending aristocracy. In this respect the work is of incalculable advantage to the world, and, if rightly studied by the despots of Europe, will enable them to shun the sanguinary scenes of Paris in the revolutions to which they are inevitably tending. M. Thiers dashes boldly in medias res. We have to wait no long prologue; at once helifts the curtain over Louis XVI. and his distracted kingdom, and the first act promptly commences. There was no need of a long list of secondary causes to show us the state of France at this period. The feudal system had gone on improving on its oppressions till it had reached a oint where human endurance ceases. he exchequer was embarassed, the cof. fers empty, while the people could not be more heavily taxed. The nobility, instead of submitting to a tax like that laid by Sir Robert Peel upon the aristocracy of England in a similar emergency, steadily refused to relieve the disordered state of finances. There was a weight on the nation. The people had sunk under it till their faces were ground into the earth, and no more could be expected from them. The ". classes refused to sustain it, and hence a convulsion must follow. The following graphic picture by Thiers is sufficient to satisfy any mind of the necessity of a revolution: “The state of France, political and economical, was in truth intolerable. There was nothing but privileges belonging to individual classes, towns, provinces, and to trades themselves; nothing but shackles upon the industry and genius of man. Civil, ecclesiastical, and military dignities were exclusively reserved for certain classes, and in those classes for certain individuals. A man could not embrace a profession unless upon certain titles and certain pecuniary conditions. All was monopolized by a few hands, and the burdens bore upon a certain class. The nobility and clergy possessed nearly two-thirds of the landed property. The other third, belonging to the people, paid taxes to the king, a multitude of feudal dues to the nobility, the tithe to the clergy, and was moreover liable to the devastations of noble sportsmen and their game. The taxes on consumption weighed heavily on the great mass, and consequently on the people. The mode in which they were levied was vexatious; the gentry might be in arrears with imunity; the people, on the other hand, ill-treated and imprisoned, were doomed to suffer in body in default of goods. It subsisted, therefore, by the sweat of the brow; it defended with its blood the upper classes of society, without being able to subsist itself. Justice administered in some of the provinces by the gentry, in the royal jurisdictions by the magistrates, who purchased their offices, was slow, partial, always ruinous, and ... atrocious in criminal causes. Individual liberty was violated by lettres de cachet, and the liberty of the press by royal censors.” Added to all this, there came a hail storm, cutting off the crops, so that the winter of 1788–89 brought with it universal and intolerable suffering. Men and women, half naked, roamed over the country crying for bread. Famine stared the people in the face, while those they had enriched looked with a stony eye on their sufferings. The voice of despair rung through the kingdom, and still the infatuated nobility rioted in luxury. , Slowly and darkly heaved the storm-cloud above the horizon, yet no one regarded its threatenin aspect till the lightning began to j The successive thunder-claps that followed succeeded at length in arousing the imbecile monarch. These were causes sufficient, and we need no long disquisition on the feudal system, to teach us how the evils sprung up and increased till they could be no longer borne. This is the goal tyranny always reaches, and it cannot be helped; England reached it, and but for the spectacle of France just rising from her sea of blood would have plunged into the same vortex. She chose reform, rather than revolution, and it is still to be her choice till her feudal system disappears entirely. There is no help for this, and there can be none under the economy of nature and the providence of God. If a few will appropriate and spend the substance of the land the mass must suffer till despair hurls them on their oppressors. The court and nobility of France had become licentious as well as oppressive, and hence disgusting and imbecile, and quarrelling among themselves. In the conflict between the parliament, the clergy, and the throne, each called on the nation for aid, and thus enlightened

it on the great principles of human government; and worse than all, respecting their own debaucheries and villanies. Mistresses of nobles decided great political questions, and bribes bought every man from the king down to these masses. Trampled on, starving, and dying, a haughty aristocracy added insult to oppression and treated with contempt the men they defrauded. Suffering makes a people think, and a starving man learns his rights fast. This was France, while the low rumbling of the coming earthquake swelled prophetically around the throne. Added to all this, philosophers began to o: on human rights, and while they were busy with theories the starving people thought how they might put them in practice. The sudden rising of a republic on this side of the water, and the declaration of independence made and sustained by a handful of freemen, fell like fire on the hearts of the suffering millions. The days of Greece and Rome were talked of by the philosophers and dreamers—the inalienable rights of man, by the people. Thus, every thing conspired to urge the nation towards a revolution. It must come in the shape of a complete and sudden reformation, almost equivalent to a revolution, or utter overthrow. The king and the court were at length roused, and began to look about them for relief, from the pressing dangers and increasing clamor. The king tried successively, through his ministers, Turget, Necker, Callone, and the archbishop of Toulouse, to relieve the pressure that was every day becoming more alarming. There was but one remedy—to tax the nobility and the clergy. Their consent to this measure was at length wrung from them, and the people shouted their applause. But the promise was broken as soon as made, and anger was added to the former discontent. What next 2 “ the convocation of the States General!” was the cry. The king determined to assemble the tiers etat (third order) as his predecessors had done, in order to check the power of the nobility. But the day had gone by when the deputies from the tiers etat would assemble like the retainers of a feudal lord, at his summons to defend their master. Let the intelligent middling classes have a parliament of their own, and they will, in the end, no more tolerate a king than a nobility. After much quarrelling both in court and in parliament respecting both the mode of electing, the number, and the powers of this tiers etat, it was decided that at least a thousand deputies should represent France in the approaching convention, and that the number should equal that of the other two orders united. In the midst of national suffering, popular outbreaks, and inflamed passions, the election took place. These tiers etat comprehended all the useful and enlightened middling class; and hence the deputies represented the real interests of the nation. The election is over, and from every quarter of France these deputies of the people are swarming towards Paris. At length they arrive, and the people now stand face to face with their monarch, and their aspect is like anything but that of retainers. The parliaments and the court, both of which thought to win the majority over to their side, begin to suspect they have both miscalculated. The simple-minded Louis alone imagines his embarrassments are over. The States General is opened with solemn pomp. On the 4th of May the king and the three orders repair in grand procession to Notre Dame. Princes, nobles and prelates, clad in purple, and nodding with plumes, are in advance. The deputies of the tiers etat, clothed in simple black cloaks, follow behind. The magnificent cathedral receives the imposing procession, and strains of solemn music swell up through the lofty arches. The king—the nobility—the clergy and the people's deputies are offering up their vows together, and the impressive scene awes every breast, and suffuses every eye. Enthusiasm lightens every countenance, and the sudden joy intoxicates the the hearts of the multitude. The next day, May 5th, 1789, the king opened in form, the States General. He was seated on an elevated throne with the queen beside him, and the court around him. On either side were arranged the nobility and clergy, while at the farther end of the hall, on low seats, sat the deputies from the tiers etat. Into the midst of this august assemblage, stalked a commanding form, that for an instant sent a thrill through every heart. He paused a moment, while his bushy black hair seemed to stand on end, and with his lip curled in scorn, surveyed with a piercing eye, the nobility to whose rank his birth entitled him, but who had excluded him from their company. Count Mirabeau strode across the hall and took his seat with the despised deputies of the people. Burning

with collected passion, he patiently waits the day when he shall hurl defiance and terror into that haughty order. The next day is for business, and here commences the first great struggle between the people and their oppressors. The first thing to be done, before organizing, is the verification of the powers of the members. The nobles and the clergy, unwilling to min;: themselves up in common with ple

eians, declare that each order should constitute itself apart. The tiers etat required the verification to be in common, steadily refusing to take any step by which they should be regarded as a separate order. This States General was to be a common assembly, sitting on the welfare of France, or nothing at all. The clergy remained in one hall by themselves, having voted not to admit the tiers etat into an equal footing with themselves. The nobility had done the same thing, and sent to the deputies to constitute themselves apart, that the States General might proceed to business. The deputies ..., but firmly refused. The nobility stormed and talked of dignity, and rank, and privileges, and rained insults on the people's representatives. The latter, firm in their resolution, bore all with a patience and moderation becoming their high office. Day after day passed away in vain negotiation, each order refusing to yield their prerogatives. Twenty-two days had thus elapsed, and the States General was not yet organized. The throne and the people looked on in silence to see what would come of this struggle. At length Mirabeau arose, and said it was time to do something for the public welfare. He proposed sending a deputation to the clergy, to know at once if they would meet the commons or not. The deputation was sent, and marching into the hall of the clergy, addressed them in the following startling language: The gentlemen of the commons invite the gentlemen of the clergy, IN THE NAME of THE God of PEACE, and for the national interest, to meet them in the hall of the assembly, to consult upon the means of effecting the concord so necessary, at this moment, for the public welfare.” This solemn adjuration fell like a thunderbolt in the midst of the clergy, and had the vote been taken on the spot, they would have acceded to the request, Time was asked and given. The king interfered, and some concessions were made. Still the inexoreble deputies of the tiers etat would not yield on the question of verification, for to yield once was to yield throughout, and become a mere cipher in the assembly, and see money and power, hand in hand, crushing down the state, as it hitherto had done. At this critical juncture, they took the bold resolution to seize a portion of the legislative power of the kingdom, and proceed to business. Mirabeau arose and said, “a month is past—it is time to take a decisive step—a deputy of Paris has an important communication to make—let us hear him.” An important communication, indeed, bold Mirabeau, and thou art at the bottom of it ! Having thus broken the ice, he introduced to the tribune the Abbé Sièyes, who, after stating their true position, proposed to send a last invitation to the other, orders to attend in the common hall. It was sent, and the reply was returned that they would consider of it. At length, on the 16th of June, having been waiting since the 5th of May, the TIERs ETAT solemnly resolved to constitute itself a legislative body, under the name of National Assembly. This was one o'clock in the morning, and it was discussed whether the National Assembly should proceed to its organization on the spot, or defer it till the next day. A few, wishing to check this rapid movement, arranged themselves into a party, and commenced the most furious exclamations and outcries, which drowned the voices of the speakers. Amid this tumult, one party called out to put the motion—the other to adjourn. Calm and unmoved, amid the shouts and threats rained around him, the President—the firm, right-minded Bailly—sat, for more than an hour, “motionless and silent.” The elements without corresponded to the uproar within, and amid the pauses of the tumult was heard the rush of the storm, as it shook the building that enclosed them, and swept in gusts up the hall in which they were assembled. It was a noble spectacle: the calm and fearless Bailly sitting unmoved amid the turbulence of passion, like a rock amid the waves. At length the brawlers, one by one, dropped away, and the vote was put and the act of organization deferred till next day, when it was irrevocably done, and France had a National Assembly ready to legislate for her welfare. The first act of this Assembly, was to legalize the levy of taxes that had been already made by the government. The motive to this was two-fold; First, to show that it did not design to oppose the action of the administration; Second, to assert its newly assumed power. It then announced that it WOL. I.-NO. IV. 23

should immediately investigate the causes of the scarcity of provisions and the public distress. This bold and decided act, sent alarm through the court and higher orders. The nobility rallied around the throne, and implored it to interfere for the protection of their rights and privileges. In the meantime the clergy, fright. ened into concession, had voted to join the tiers etat on common ground in the National Assembly. All was now confusion. The court and nobility proposed energetic measures to the king. Necker, the minister, advised a middle course, which a wise king would have adopted, but which Louis did not. Day after da passed in distracted counsels, till at i. the 22d of June was appointed for the royal sitting. In the meantime the hall of the States General was closed by order of the king, and all the sittings adjourned till the 22d of June. The National Assembly had constituted itself, and passed its first acts on the 19th, and then adjourned till the next day. Disobeying the king's order, the deputies assembled according to adjournment, and finding the hall shut in their faces, and the soldiers of the French guard stationed at the door, repaired tumultuously to the Tennis Court, within the dark, naked walls of which they assembled. There were no seats, and the members were compelled to stand and deliberate. An arm-chair was offered to the president, but he refused it, and stood with his companions. In the midst of the excitement without and within, a united oath was taken not to separate till a constitution was established, and placed on a firm basis. With hands outstretched towards the president, Bailly, they all repeated the solemn oath. It was heard outside the building by the breathless crowd, which eagerly waited the action of the people's deputies, and then the shout vive l’Assemblée. vive le Roi / rent the air. This act carried new consternation into the ranks of the nobility, who, now alarmed, sought to make common cause with the king. At length, the royal sitting, which was adjourned till the 23d, took place. The king and the higher orders took possession of the hall, and, in supercilious pride, ordered that the deputies should enter by a side door, to indicate their inferior rank. Without noticing the insult, they proceeded to the appointed entrance, where they were kept waiting a long time in the rain, knockin for admittance. At length the foolis

misguided monarch deigned to let the representatives of the people enter and take such seats as they could find vacant. He then commenced his address, made up of invectives, insults, threats, and the most foolish and absurd declarations. Instead of conciliating, he exasperated; and instead of yielding, maintained over again all the feudal rights, and seemed to think the mere force of words could lay the conflict at once, and send the deputies, like whipped schoolboys, back to their obedience and humility. Lastly, he annulled all the acts of the tiers etats, in their capacity of National Assembly, and commanded them to separate again into their original elements. He then strode out of the hall, followed by the nobility and part of the clergy. The majority of the ecclesiastical deputies, and all those of the commons, remained behind, buried in profound silence. Not a sound broke the stillness that succeeded the king's departure. Each seemed to feel they had approached a crisis from which there was no retreating. At length Mirabeau arose, and by his bold and determined manner inspired confidence and resolution. The grand master of cere

monies, returning at that moment, said to

the president, “You have heard the orders of the king * “Yes,” replied Bailly, in his quiet, respectful manner, “and I am now going to take those of the Assembly.” “Yes, sir!” thundered in Mirabeau, “we have heard the intentions that have been suggested, and go and tell your master that we are here by the power of the people, and that nothing but the power of bayonets shall drive us away " The Assembly continued its sitting, and in addition to re-affirming its former resolutions, and in order to save itself from violence, passed an act decreeing the inviolability of the person of every deputy. This was the first revolution in France, and generated all the rest. Here let us pause a moment, and inquire who are the guilty persons in this first act of the great drama that has just opened. The working classes of France and the inferior orders, had borne all the burdens of the state, together with those of a corrupt court and aristocracy, till human endurance could go no farther, and famine stared them in the face. The government and privileged classes had wrung out from them the last farthing to squander on their lusts, and national bankruptcy threatened to swell the

amount of evil that already cursed the land. In the meantime, the court and parliaments were quarrelling about their respective rights and powers. In the midst of the agitations, popular outbreaks began to exhibit themselves in various arts of the country. As a last resource, it was resolved to convoke the States General. But scarcely had the Commons of the people assembled, before insults were heaped on them because they refused to be faithless to the trust a suffering people had committed to them. Overlooking the great object of the nation's welfare, the higher orders wasted a whole month in fighting for the privileges of rank. An empty exchequer, a starving population, and a distracted kingdom, were small evils compared to mingling with plebeians, on common ground, to consult for the common good. For the sake of a mere shadow—to gratify personal pride and uphold the purity of noble blood—they were willing to sacrifice a whole kingdom, and persisted in their blind folly till they opened a breach between themselves and the people, which never could be closed till filled up with their own dead bodies. All the forbearance and all the justice in this first revolution were on the side of the people, all the insult and exasperation and injustice on the side of the crown and aristocracy. The Commons were respectful and moderate, asking only for their rights—the nobility contemptuous and headlong, asking only for their own privileges: patriotism and a stern sense of justice characterized the one—supreme selfishness, pride and tyranny the other. Thus far, the agitations and distress rest not on democracy but on despotism. At length the nobility, after exhausting threats and plots, were compelled to join the National Assembly. It can be easily imagined what spirit they brought into its counsels, and that nothing could be done for the welfare of the nation while such violent animosity ruled the factions. The first thing proposed by the Assembly was the formation of a Constitution for France, defining the powers and obligations of the different departments of government, and the rights and privileges of the people. This was no easy thing, but the very attempt shows the rapid strides the nation was taking towards liberty. For centuries the people had suffered their feudal lords to think for them and rule without contradiction or inquiry. Now, all at once, they had discovered, that he who

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