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CHAPTER XIX. - Gouverneur Morris, The Diary and Letters of Gouverneur Morris, vol. 1 
The Diary and Letters of Gouverneur Morris, Minister of the United States to France; Member of the Constitutional Convention, ed. Anne Cary Morris (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1888). 2 vols. Vol. 1.
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Shows M. de Montmorin draught of a letter devised as an answer from the king to the department. The entours of the king resign. Resignation of Lafayette. Sketch of European politics in a letter to Mr. Inglis, of London. A republic becoming fashionable. Lady Sutherland’s graciousness. Lafayette accepts the position of head of the National Guards. Montesquiou asks Morris how to amend the constitution. Celebration of the suppression of the octroi. Conversation with Montmorin. Madame de Nadaillac’s coquettish character. Morris suggests to several ladies positions near the queen. Madame de Flahaut expects one soon. Montmorin weary of the situation. Visit to Madame de Nadaillac.
“This morning [April 20th] M. Brémond and M. Jaubert call. Set them to work to bring the Jacobins to the King’s relief in the attack of the department. I dress and visit the Comte de Montmorin, to whom I show the form of a letter I had devised as an answer from the King to the department. He tells me that these last were frightened into the step they have taken. This is, I know, partly true, but it is also true that the step is bold and, if successful, decisive. After conversing upon the present state of affairs, we have one word on business. He has not been able to attend to it, from the circumstances of the moment. Visit Madame de Montmorin, and sit some time; she is much distressed by the fear of pillage and insult, the Baron de Menou having denounced her husband last night. I laugh at this denunciation as ridiculous, and endeavor to quiet her apprehensions. Go from thence to the Gros Caillou and visit Madame de Nadaillac, who disserts a great deal upon politics with much heat and absurdity. It fatigues me. Dine with Mr. Short. Ternant, who is here, tells me that he urged Lafayette to resign, and that he agreed, but found afterwards various reasons for not doing it. This is like him. M. de Châtelet has brought hither Lord Dare, who is the son of Lord Selkirk, and who meets here by accident Paul Jones. He acknowledges the polite attention of Jones in the attack on his father’s house in the last war. Go from hence to the Louvre, but Mademoiselle Duplessis is here. Madame tells me that the entours of the King have resigned, that those of the Queen will resign, and that she has hopes of being placed near Her Majesty. I wish this may happen. She tells me that she has written to d’Angeviliers to travel, having obtained the assurance that in such case it shall be no question of him. De Curt comes in, and after staying a little while I come home, and read till Messieurs Brémond and Jaubert call. The Jacobins are in treaty with the Quatre-vingt-neufs* for an alliance. The object is to prevent a decree rendering the present members ineligible for the succeeding Assembly. After they leave me I go very sleepy to bed.”
“M. Brémond comes [April 21st] to tell me what had passed at the Jacobins’, etc. Dress, ride with Mr. Short, and then call on Madame de Flahaut, with whom I have some conversation on political affairs. Dine with the British ambassadress. We are en famille. She is a very pleasing woman. Visit Madame de Nadaillac. Everything here is filthy. The weather is rainy. Lafayette’s resignation makes much noise. It is probable that he will reaccept, in which case he will be worse than ever. At the Louvre, Madame de Flahaut has with her a confidant of De La Porte, who comes to communicate the intention of the King to employ monsieur; but she will write a note to decline it, containing very good advice for His Majesty. I tell her she must give me a copy of it. The King’s intention arose from the request of d’Augiviliers. Go to M. de Montmorin’s, and sit some time with Madame de Beaumont and Madame de Montmorin. A rising thunder-storm induces Madame de Montmorin to express some wishes not favorable to the disturbers of the public repose. As it is a question whether Lafayette will reaccept, she expresses very just opinions on his subject: that his weakness has done much mischief and prevented much good, but that it is better to be swayed by weakness than by wickedness, and that his successor would probably be one of those who mean most illy. After dinner I speak to Montmorin, who has done nothing in the business. I communicate to him the cause of the intended coalition between the Quatre-vingt-neufs and Jacobins. He tells me that he could have got the exclusive decree passed long ago if he would, but he was afraid of the four-years decree, which has been nevertheless adopted. I tell him that if he can get the former now passed it will be the means of splitting the Jacobins and Quatre-vingt-neufs, after which they will both be more tractable. I give him, further, my opinion that the King must endeavor to join the populace. He agrees in this.”
A slight sketch of European politics—from Morris’s point of view—given in a letter to Mr. John Inglis, of London, just at this time, is not without interest. He says:
“You ask my opinion of politics. It is difficult to form an opinion, because much depends on the opinion of others, which is fluctuating. Your Court are in honor bound to support the Turk, because you egged him on to the war in which he has been so abominably mauled. The Empress can hardly, I think, wish to possess herself of Constantinople, because she would hardly dream of holding such extensive dominion, not to mention the blood and treasure she must expend for the acquisition. I think, however, that she must be more or less than human if she does not wish to make you repent of your various aggressions. I think she can do this with infinite ease. A declaration of war will necessarily put you to great expense. She has no trade. Many thousand beggars and vagabonds will joyfully accept her permission to pillage. The idea of going to Petersburg seems to me ridiculous. The risk is great and the object small. To acquire Thun and Dantzic for Prussia by tricking the Pole will do you no good, and, as far as I can look forward to futurity, it would tend first to invigorate the government of Poland, and then to dispossess Prussia of all that tract of country which lies between Russia, Poland, and the Baltic, for it would be the interest of Russia and Austria to give these to Poland. A war with Russia will deprive you entirely of what is called the carrying trade, and will lay from eight to ten guineas per cent. tax upon your other trade. The first mischance that happens will change your ministry, and you will easily get peace, because just now nobody can get anything by the war. I think further that the manifold blunders here open for you a fair chance to be intimately connected with America, if your rulers could make use of the opportunity. But prejudice and profit sometimes stand in the way of each other.”
“In going [April 23d] to the Louvre, one of my wheels comes off, and by that means my carriage gets much injured. When I reach the Louvre M. de Flahaut meets me, and complains that madame is going to the Assembly with M. Ricy. She tells me that she is in a great hurry; M. de Montmorin is to read his instruction to the foreign ministers, informing them that the King has put himself at the head of the Revolution. I do not see that this can be a matter of much moment to her. Go home and write till three, and then dine with Madame de Trudaine. After dinner monsieur expresses himself in favor of a republican government, which is growing now to be very fashionable. Endeavor to show him the folly of such an attempt, but I had better have let it alone. Go from hence to Madame de Guibert’s, where, of course, I meet the esprit jacobin. Thence to Madame Laborde’s. She complains much of the republican party, and asks me why I do not express my sentiments to the Bishop of Autun. I tell her that they would have no weight, which is true. Call on Madame de Staël, who is denied to me; but, her servant being in gala, I am sure she is to have company, and Montmorency is admitted at the same moment. Go to visit the British ambassadress. They have had many English to dine, and among them General Dalrymple. After a while they go to the play, and I take an opportunity to ask her ladyship when she is most visible. She says that Wednesday was her day, but she has none now in particular; I may rely, however, that I shall always find her at home when she really is at home. In this I am sure, by her voice and manner, she is sincere, and I reply in according accents. She is a charming woman. Go from hence to the Comte de Montmorin’s, and have a long and interesting conversation with his wife on public affairs. Urge, among other things, the advantage to be derived from changing the entours of the Queen.”
“This morning [April 25th] Paine calls and tells me that the Marquis de Lafayette has accepted the position of head of the National Guards.”
The dramatic side of this apparent devotion to Lafayette was intense and thoroughly French. Through the rain and on foot the Corps Municipal went to him and on their knees took oath to meet him again at the head of the National Guards. But the blow had been struck, this oath of blind obedience was soon turned into ridicule, and the battalion which first took it was called in derision “Le battalion des aveugles.” Lafayette’s power, under the aspersions of Marat, the cries of some to beware of “Cromwell,” and the warnings of Camille Desmoulins, mingled with his despairing wail that “Paris, à bien meilleur droit que la ville des États-Unis, pourrait s’appeler Fayetteville,” was on the downward road. Lafayette, said L’ami du Peuple; was to be seen, in the hat of a simple grenadier, going through the cabarets and cafés trying to reanimate the soldiers and his dying popularity.
“Madame de Flahaut, I find [April 26th], has not declined the plan proposed for her husband. Her Bishop advises otherwise, because the King may make such a choice as that M. de Flahaut will not be unsuitable to the rest, and because the refusal may offend a weak mind though founded on reasons which should attach. I add a reason which had arisen in my mind, viz., that when once taken up the Court cannot again let them fall, so that it will be a kind of provision for her in all events. Go and sit with Madame de Ségur some time. She shows me the letter from the Duke of Orleans to Madame de Chastellux, with the answer of the latter. I find Lady Sutherland at Madame de Staël’s. She tells me that the Duke of Leeds has resigned. I express a hope, should I stay some time in Europe, to see her at the head of the Foreign Affairs. She says she should like it very much, but Lord Gower is yet too young. I tell her that two or three years hence he will have acquired the tact, and then—. He comes in just before I leave this place, and mentions also the resignation of the Duke. I ask if Hawkesbury is to succeed. He does not know. He seems so anxious to prove that the Duke’s health is the cause of the resignation that I cannot help assigning it in my mind to some difference in the administration. Visit Madame de Nadaillac, from whom I had received a note complaining of neglect. We laugh and chatter and toy, and she complains of my want of respect, but I think I must be less respectful to be more agreeable; in the course of a little amorous conversation she tells me that I must not expect she would capitulate, for she feels too much her religious and moral duties; that if she should, however, be frail, she should poison herself next morning. I laugh at this. Go hence to M. de Montmorin’s to dinner. After dinner I have a long conversation with him, partly on political affairs. He promises to speak to the King on the business in the course of the week. He has mentioned it to the Comte de la Marck, who approves. Among various other things I suggest an act of oblivion by the Assembly and thereon another revolution letter. He approves much of this, telling me that he is now preparing a letter from the King to the Prince of Condé. I come home, to meet M. Brémond and set him to work among the Jacobins to get the decree or act of oblivion moved by them.
“Conversing with Madame de Flahaut on affairs to-day, from what she says, but more from what she does not say, I find there is a plan on foot to force all power from the King into the hands of the present leaders of the Opposition. While I am at the Louvre, Montesquiou comes in, and I remind him of what I said respecting their constitution. He begins to fear that I was in the right. He asks how the evil is to be remedied. I tell him that there seems to be little chance for avoiding the extremes of despotism or anarchy; that the only ground of hope must be the morals of the people, but that these are, I fear, too corrupt. He is sure they are. Madame told me this morning that M. de Curt is to be Minister of the Marine, if the decree of quatre ans is revoked. M. Monciel* comes to see me, and gives me an account of what he has done with the chiefs of the Jacobins. He is to have a further conference. They think it will be best to act in concert with the Court, without appearing to do so, lest thereby they should lose their popularity. I agree in the propriety of this, and urge conformably to what I suppose their views to be, a repeal of the decree des quatre ans and the decree of re-eligibility. He is to propose this to them and to obtain, if he can, a list of the articles they desire; also, if possible, of the places they aspire to.”
“We are en famille at the British ambassador’s to-day [April 30th] at dinner. Cubières comes with Robert, and they have a collection of the portraits of Petite in enamel, which are very fine. Go from hence to the Louvre. Madame de Flahaut is dressing. She tells me that she has good hopes of succeeding to the place she aims at. Sit a long time with Madame de Foucault and Madame de Ricy; afterwards sup. When we get into the salon we have a deal of metaphysical conversation; a gentleman who has read Locke on ‘The Human Understanding’ shows off.”
Firing of cannon and processions of shouting people, giving expression to their feelings, were of such common occurrence in Paris that Morris does not even allude to the “Kermesse de la Révolution,” which took place on the 30th of April, to celebrate the suppression of the octroi, when boats and troops of wagons, laden with merchandise and wine, which had been waiting outside of Paris, came in decorated; their drivers and men in charge, crowned with branches, having liberally partaken of the wine and beer that they were bringing free into the town. It was calculated that each tax-payer gained about one hundred livres by the suppression of the octroi, and the people were more content with life on a cheaper basis. Commerce, however, “the commerce of luxury, of useless things, of nothing,” was dead. The carnival was forbidden, and with it went the support of a vast army of workers on costumes, notably in the house of the famous costumers, Lambert et Renaudin. There was no longer a nobility able and longing to gratify every whim in art, dress, and the nameless things that money could be wasted on. The Abbé Maury—and a host like him—could no longer indulge in the possession of eight hundred farms, and delicious breakfasts which he partook of reclining in the most beautiful and luxurious of fauteuils. The rich bourgeois were reduced to living on the proceeds of what they could sell. The Place Vendôme was full of people demanding work, and caricatures were not wanting to enforce the destitution of artisans upon those in power. The patriots tried in vain to revive commerce, the papers talked in vain; commerce had passed into other countries. Vice grew like a rank weed, the uncertainty of everything fostered a general demoralization, and the police, deeply engaged in political affairs, allowed the streets to swarm with immorality and misery in the most revolting forms.
It might seem that Paris had reached the lowest depths when the Council of the Commune in 1793 cleaned the streets and forbade the selling of indecent books, pictures, and bas-reliefs; but there were lower depths to reach. Good manners and morality might be decreed, but vicious manners and immorality were more attractive, and steadily increased. Some excitement was necessary, and the caricaturist was kept busy turning the aristocracy into ridicule in the most indecent pictures—which were exposed in the windows to a delighted public. The Veto was represented as a giant, light coming out of his mouth. The priest, not more exempt than the noble, could be seen in the barber-shop, with the legend: “Ici on sécularise proprement; on me rase ce matin, je me marie ce soir.” The Assemblée des Aristocrats of course came in for their share of the public scorn. But to enumerate the squibs and caricatures would be an endless task which it evidently did not occur to Morris even to enter upon, and he rarely mentions this phase of the Revolution, and was doubtless too preoccupied with its political to notice much its picturesque side.
“I have a long conversation after dinner,” says the diary for May 1st, “with M. de Montmorin, in the course of which I show him a note I have made on their situation. He begs me to let him have it, and I give it, but with the injunction that none but their majesties shall know from whom it comes. He has not yet had an opportunity to resume again the affairs of the rations. I inform him of what has been done with the chiefs of the Jacobins. He tells me how the ministry stand in that respect. He assures me that they can do nothing with the King but through him. He mentions a wish to have commissaries appointed by the Crown to keep the peace in the different Departments, etc. I reply that all officers concerned in keeping the peace should be appointed by the Crown, but that it is too early to propose anything of the sort. Experience must first demonstrate the necessity. He tells me that he has indisputable evidence of the intrigues of Britain and Prussia; that they give money to the Prince of Condé and the Duke of Orleans. He says that he will resign the place of Foreign Affairs, because he can no longer act in it with dignity. I advise against this, assuring him that his letter will be viewed by foreign nations in its true light. He says that he would, if in office, bring on a war next year. I tell him that he should provoke it as soon as possible, but that it should be a land war. He says that a sea war with Britain is alone practicable, and in that case they would be alone, for Spain will not act with them. I ask him how the Emperor is disposed. He tells me that he is feeble and pacific; that he will take no great part for or against anybody, and if he interferes at all, it must be to get his share of the spoil. I tell him that I have a different view of things from him; that the war should be by land and general; that Poland should be tempted by the country which lies between her and the Baltic; Austria to have Silesia and, in exchange for the Low Countries, Bavaria; France to have the Low Countries, and to make an incursion into Holland; Constantinople to be given to the Order of Malta for the joint use of all Christendom. He starts at this, which is too great for his mind, but I think it may be brought about. It would cost France her islands, in all probability, but I have a different plan for them, which I do not communicate. We agree on the language to be held with the chefs des Jacobins.
“M. Brémond visits me. He shows a new proposition from Lamerville respecting the German rations. He gives me, also, the list of articles desired by the chiefs of the Jacobins. Dine with Montmorin. Bouinville is here. He is just returned from England. He tells me that Paine’s book works mightily in England, and he says that Pitt dares not hazard a war with Russia, it is so unpopular; that he has again begun new negotiations, which will probably last until the season is spent. M. Brémond and M. Jaubert call again on me. They communicate some information of little value, and ask my opinion as to the propriety of bringing the latter forward to the chiefs of the Jacobins. I tell them I think there is danger of alarming those gentlemen. Show how alone it can be done without great hazard. These people are too precipitate. Brémond tells me he has taken measures to be employed in digesting the decrees of the Assembly and selecting those which are to form the Constitution from the mass. I approve of this.
“Visit-Madame de Nadaillac, who does not admit me for some time. I perceive afterwards that she was in too sluttish a trim, and has to go into bed to conceal it. We chat in such manner as I think most fitting for a little coquette, and such as leaves it always doubtful with her whether she has or has not possession of my heart. If she does not take care she will, in trying to catch me, find herself caught. Madame de Flahaut tells me that d’Angiviliers, her brother-in-law, has resigned, and is set off for Italy by way of avoiding the accusations against him. This is a cruel stroke to her, who has no means of existence but through him. I take her home and stay a little while; then call, at her instigation, to inquire if a place about the Queen will be acceptable to Madame le Coulteux. My friend, Laurent le Coulteux, answers in the negative.”
“Call on the Baron de Besenval, and sit with him a while [May 3d]. Then go to the dairy of the ‘Enfant Jésus,’ where cream, butter, and eggs are to be had in great profusion. Take some of each, and go to the Louvre, where there is a confidant of M. du Porte, the Minister of the Civil List, with whom madame has a long conversation apart. During that period monsieur confides to me his griefs, his hopes, and fears. M. de Leinou tells me that he is well informed the secretary of the Prince of Condé has taken a large bribe and come over with his master’s papers. He says, also, that news just arrived from England show that a war between that country and this is unavoidable. His first news may be true, but his last must, I think, be false. I tell him so, and add that in a war between France and England, single-handed, I would stake my fortune in favor of France, if tolerably governed. Dress and go to dine with Duportail, where I see, after dinner, Jouvion, and converse with him respecting the future commandant of the Garde Nationale. I think he must be the man. Go from hence to the Comte de Montmorin’s. He has not yet mentioned the affair of the rations to the King. He promises to speak about the affair to-morrow; is afraid of the thing being known. I mention to him some political points, particularly the necessity of changing the household of their majesties; ask him who is to succeed Lafayette, and observe that he should look round for a proper character. He mentions Jouvion. I leave him, and walk with Madame de Beaumont. I find that her father has communicated something of the object, if not of the substance, of my conversations with him. At the request of Madame de Flahaut, I speak to Madame le Coulteux, to know if she will accept of a place near the Queen. She would like it much, but is afraid that it will not be agreeable to her husband and his family. She is to write to me to-morrow after consulting him. She wishes the place for her sister, in case she does not take it.”
“Walk [May 9th] with Madame de Beaumont, who says she would not like to be one of the Queen’s women, but will do whatever her father desires. After dinner converse with him. The King agrees to the affair of the rations, provided he can be sure above all things of the secret. In a few days he will reform his household. Montmorin quits the Foreign Affairs. He is to be succeeded by Choiseul-Gouffier, who is now at Constantinople. He says he will continue in the Council, but will not have a department. Everyone who may now get into place he considers un être éphémère, and justly. At Madame de Foucault’s M. de Fauchet reads an excellent comedy which he has written. Bouinville is here. I take him home, and en route he complains of Duportail’s ingratitude to Lafayette. He says that Montmorin was very low-spirited this morning. I tell him what I had told Mont-morin—that things must grow worse before they can mend. The weather is grown milder, but during my walk this morning I observe that the vines have suffered by the frost. At table they say that no mischief was done in the open country, owing to the wind. M. Brémond calls, and I tell him that I am in hopes of getting the money which may be needful for the rations. He tells me that he is to be employed by the Jacobin chieftains to form a selection of constitutional articles, and also to consult on the means of restoring order. Visit Madame de Ségur, and she gives me the talk of the society, and that is very near the truth. So much for the secrecy of this Court.”
“Madame de Flahaut tells me to-day [May 15th] that she expects soon to be placed as the first woman of the Queen, who will reserve the education of her daughter. The Dauphin is to go into the hands of a man. This place is, I think, Montmorin’s object, for he told me he would accept an office in the household. Dine at M. de Montmorin’s and communicate what I had learnt at Madame de Guibert’s from M. Toulangeon; viz., that the Colonists are defeated in their view of excluding the mulattoes from a share in the government. This will occasion much heat among them. I find that it is very disagreeable here. After dinner converse with him apart. He fixes next Tuesday for a meeting with Duport about the rations, but expresses his fear that the Assembly will not agree. I tell him that as he retires from foreign affairs he should secure the civil list, which is the only real source of authority. He says he is not fit to manage money matters; that he is weary of the state he is in; that if he could realize his fortune he would go to America. He says that nothing would keep him near the Court except his desire to serve, or rather save, the King and Queen; that he has already occasioned to them a vast expense for an object which has not succeeded. I tell him that the attempt to buy the members of the Assembly was a bad measure. He says it was not in that he occasioned the expense. He is called away before we can go further. I go to the British ambassador’s, and on entering Lady Sutherland apologizes to me for being denied the other afternoon I called. She says there are so many Frenchmen who break in upon her that she is obliged to give orders for shutting her door, but I may depend that it will not happen again. I make a very long visit, and then wait at the Louvre till the return of Madame de Flahaut from Versailles. M. Duport is here and is disposed to talk with me. De Curt comes in, and is outrageous about the decree of this morning. He says that the deputies from the Colonies will all retire to-morrow. They ought never to have gone into the Assembly, and if they quit will become ridiculous. I come away early, leaving the two sisters at piquet with the Bishop and St. Foi.”
“This morning [May 16th], immediately after breakfast, I dress and go to Versailles. Dine with M. de Cubières, who gives us an excellent repast. He has a pretty large society. He has a very pretty little cabinet of natural history and many little productions of the fine arts. I tell him that, with his knowledge of chemistry and mineralogy, he would make his fortune in America. I come away at five, instead of walking in his garden, and visit Madame de Nadaillac, who persists in her design to leave Paris tomorrow morning. M. de Leinou is with her, who tells me that he thinks the separation of the Duke and Duchess of Orleans will be amicably adjusted. Leave her with the Abbé Maury and Bishop de Caudon. I learn that the West Indies have retired from the Assembly, and that a decree has been passed to prevent the re-eligibility of the present delegates. I am well pleased with both of these events, for the West Indians have hitherto run into every extreme to obtain popularity, that thereby they might carry their favorite measures, and, being indifferent about France, have contributed much to the mischiefs which have been occasioned. Sup with Madame Foucault, where there is a large party. Bouinville, who is here, looks like a lover, and as I take him home he owns that he was one, but he was not happy. I tell her that I will endeavor to see her at Spa. This delights her, less from any interest in what concerns me than from the sacrifice which that step would imply to her charms.”
“According to my appointment go [May 17th] at one to M. de Montmorin’s, and meet there M. Duport. I find that M. de Montmorin is, or seems, much disinclined to engage in the affair of the rations. He doubts much, he says, of the success, and says the King has great repugnance to it. He had told me before that he was well inclined; this seems mysterious. He says that the principal fear is the fear of discovery. I show him that there is no danger of that sort. He desires to meet on Saturday. I tell him I will, but that I cannot promise for the patience of the parties interested. He says they may do as they please. I tell him that the thing will be done in spite of any opposition he can make. It is in itself a just claim. This is a strange, undecided creature. Duport seems to be better disposed toward the operation. See M. Brémond, and tell him that the affair of the rations is postponed till Saturday. He is not at all pleased. Visit Madame de Ségur, where, the conversation turning on the means of saving property from the confusions now apprehended, I mention the purchase of lands in America. The Count and his brother-in-law incline much to adopt this measure. Brémond calls again, and tells me he has information from Muller, the confidant of the Elector of Mayence, that the French agents act as if they did not want to adjust matters with the German Princes. He says that if the Court do not mean to settle that affair amicably, he supposes they will not adopt the affair of the rations. He is right in this conjecture, but I reply only by repeating what I had already said—that the affair is extremely delicate. Madame de Chastellux’s servant comes and tells me that she goes to-morrow to accompany her son to the Ville d’Eu. I send for the child, and write to its mother. Sit a while with the Baron de Besenval, who, in the fervor of his zeal in the cause of despotism, tells me that all the princes of Europe are allied to restore the ancient system of French government. This idea is ridiculous enough, but yet there are thousands who believe it and who are not fools either; but it is the lot of man to be forever the dupe of vain hope or idle apprehension. We are too apt to forget the past, neglect the present, and misconceive the future. From hence go to dine with Madame de Trudaine, and after dinner monsieur enters into a dispute with St. André about the rights of those princes who owned fiefs in Alsace. Monsieur is a very honest man, but he holds a very dishonest opinion, which is very common with weak men in regard to public affairs. This controversy reduces itself to one point of right and another of fact. By various treaties the princes have stipulated that the fiefs in question shall be held as heretofore by the German Empire. The point of right, therefore, is whether this tenure does not exempt them from the general decisions of the French nation respecting that species of property. The point of fact is whether the chief of the French or German Empire be, by those treaties—quoad hoc—the liege lord. This, being matter of interpretation, must be decided by publicists, but the whole question being between sovereign nations, it is probable that the decision will depend on everything except the real merits.
“Madame de Flahaut is denied when I call, but I find it is to sleep. She tells me that her husband is gone abroad. She invented that to be alone, in order to receive the Bishop and another person at dinner, and was denied in consequence of her general orders to that effect. I give her a hint respecting the Bishop at which she is, or pretends to be, offended. See M. de Montmorin, who tells me, as I expected he would, that the King will not agree to the affair of the rations. I am persuaded that there is some underwork in the business. Nous verrons. Montmorin tells me that he considers the Assembly as finished, and this gives me a very mean opinion of his sagacity. A few days ago he was in trepidation and now in a kind of security, both unfounded. He fears, however, yet for the person of the King. He says that different people are urging him to do different things, but that he sees nothing to be done. I tell him to remain quiet, for the Assembly are now doing everything they can for the King, with the intention to do everything they can against him. I ask him whereabouts he is with the claims of the German princes. He says that he thinks the Emperor will become the intermediary. He says that he fears the Comte d’Artois and the Prince of Condé. I treat this lightly, as supposing they will only act in favor of the royal authority, but he says they will form a party for themselves, by which I understand only that they will oblige the King to drive away all his former advisers. Visit Madame de Guibert, who says that I must court her for years before I could make an impression. I laugh, and tell her that a few days, or even six weeks, might be reasonable enough, but the price she sets is really too high. This remark furnishes a deal of ridiculous conversation. M. Brémond calls on me. I tell him that the affair of the rations is abandoned, at which he is of course both mortified and disappointed.”
[*]The Club of ‘89, which Morris here alludes to as the Quatre-vingt-neuf, was a dismemberment of that of the Jacobins. Malouet and some of his friends, becoming alarmed at the extreme tendencies of the Club des Jacobins, conceived the plan of forming a rival society, which they accordingly did in April, 1790. The schismatics installed themselves in superb apartments in the Palais Royal, under the name of the Club of’89. It would seem that the new club was by no means uncorrupt, when Siéyès could exclaim, in an access of virtuous brutality, “that with the exception of two or three Jacobins of whom I have a horror, I like all the members of that club, and with the exception of a dozen members among you I distrust all of you.” While the Club of ‘89 enjoyed their beautiful surroundings, the old Jacobin Club of the Rue St. Honoré manufactured, by the light of their flambeaux, the means to push the Revolution to its completion.
[*]M. Terrier de Monciel belonged to a distinguished family of Franche Comté. He was Roland’s successor as minister in June, 1792, just before the catastrophe of the 20th of June, which he had not foreseen and which it would have been impossible to prevent, though he did all in his power, however, to re-establish order. He said in the National Assembly, the day after, that “the action against the king should put all France into eternal mourning.” Forced, finally, to leave the ministry, he however remained in Paris during the revolution of August 10th, and afterward had the good fortune to escape the proscription of 1793. He died in September, 1831.