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CHAPTER XXIV. - 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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Morris returns to Paris. Hears rumors that he will not be received in his diplomatic capacity. Makes arrangements to fulfil the requirements of his position. News from the armies. Madame de Tarente asks of Morris advice for the queen. Interview with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Conversation with Moustier. Disorder in the armies. The king disarms his guard. Morris is presented to the king. Letter to Jefferson. Dines with Dumouriez. Sudden change in the ministry. Jeu de la Reine. Much movement in Paris. Guard marching under Morris’s windows. Monciel asks his advice in this crisis. The deputation from the faubourgs fill the Château and insult the queen. Morris goes to Court. The king receives a part of the militia. Lafayette arrives at Paris. Addresses the Assembly. The queen polite to Morris.
Morris had not been many days in Paris, where he arrived on the 6th of May, before he heard rumors that there were doubts as to his being received in his diplomatic capacity.
“Madame de Flahaut,” he says [May 11th], “tells me that M. Dumouriez will not receive me as Minister from America; so, at least, she is told by a member of the Assembly. We shall see. I tell M. Brémond and M. Jaubert what M. Crêvecœur has said, and they determine to pump La Sonde on the subject. Mr. Swan comes to see me, and insists that the idea of not receiving me was started by Short, but I do not believe it. He tells me that La Forêt has written to the ministry to be on their guard lest I should outwit them.”
“Dine at Madame Foucault’s [May 12th], where there is a large company of aristocrats. They have letters from the different armies, which all concur in stating the discipline to be complete. As I come away Tronchan, who is a great revolutionist, expresses to me his apprehensions and asks my opinion. I tell him that it seems probable that despotism will be re-established as the necessary consequence of anarchy. I have hired a house in the Rue de la Planche at 3,500£ per annum. Go to the manufacture of Angoulême and order some porcelain. My servant Martin says he cannot serve me as maître d’hôtel unless I will take a frotteur under him, and wishes his account, which I make out. The Baron de Grandcour stops me as I go out to tell me the news. He says that two and a half regiments of cavalry are gone over to the enemy; that the troops are everywhere in mutiny, and Lafayette’s army without necessaries of every kind, the horses dead, the soldiers sick and weary, and the officers apprehensive and discontented. Go later to the British ambassador’s. They consider the affairs of France here as brought to a close almost, and that a few weeks must terminate the business. Madame de Montmorin expresses the wish that Lafayette’s army may be thoroughly beaten, which she considers as necessary to destroy the hopes of the revolutionists. Madame d’Albani tells me, among other things, that her relation, Madame de Tarente, is glad I am got back. It is the gladness in that quarter which indisposes the others to receive me; at least, such is my interpretation.”
“M. de Favernay breakfasts with me [May 14th]. He asks my advice as to his future conduct, which I decline giving. He says there are a great number of stanch friends to the King in Paris, who wait the favorable moment to act. I tell him they had better be quiet, for the people will certainly oppose the measures which they espouse. Go to Madame de Tarente’s, who has foolishly been playing the aristocrat at her section. She wishes very much to have my sentiments, and I tell her that I have formed none. She wishes some kind of advice for the Queen; I tell her that in my present situation I can give none, but, further, I think their Majesties should not only march in the line of the Constitution, but should not permit any person in their presence to jest on that subject, much less seriously to blame the ministers or their measures. Dine at the Louvre. Madame de Flahaut takes me aside to tell me, as a happy thing just heard from M. de Ricé, that the old Jacobins are willing to adopt a second chamber. I tell her that it is too late, they are now of no sort of consequence; arms must decide the controversy. She is convinced at last, and thereby much distressed.
“It is true that the two and one-half regiments of cavalry have deserted, and M. de Favernay tells me that the regiment of cavalry which he belongs to have signified to him at Coblentz that they are ready to join them at the first word. He mentions another, which was in the affair of Biron and which ran away on purpose. It is whispered that the corps under Gouvion has had a dressing, and M. de Flahaut tells me that a commissary is come from the Département du Bas Rhin, to tell the Minister that there is such a scene of plunder and disorder there that he cannot answer for the supply of the army.”
“My interview with the Minister of Foreign Affairs [May 15th] is very short. I tell him that I have a small favor to ask of the King, which is that he will receive me without a sword, because of my wooden leg. He says there will be no difficulty as to that matter, and adds that I am already acquainted with the King. I reply that I never saw His Majesty but in public, nor ever exchanged a word with him in my life, although some of their gazettes have made of me one of his ministers, and that I am persuaded that he would not know me if he should see me. Upon this he says that, since I have mentioned it, he will acknowledge that such is the general idea. I tell him that I am naturally frank and open, and therefore do not hesitate to say that in the time of the Constituent Assembly I endeavored, being then a private individual and prompted by my regard for this nation, to effect certain changes in the Constitution which appeared to me essential to its existence; that I was not successful, and being at present a public man, I consider it as my duty not to meddle with their affairs. I ask him then when I shall wait on him to be presented, and he says he will let me know, but he thinks the sooner it is done the better.”
It was not with any feeling of pleasure or satisfaction that Morris made preparation to fulfil the duties imposed upon him by his government, as may be gathered from a letter written at this time to his friend Carmichael at Madrid, in which he mentions his appointment as “Minister Plenipotentiary being unexpected, and it must for some time to come be unpleasant.”
A crisis in the history of France was at hand. The plans for a European coalition against the Revolution, and the invitation to foreign powers to co-operate in restoring a sound government to France, which had been formulated at Pilnitz in August, 1791, irritated the Constitutional Royalists, who availed themselves of the opportunity to raise a war cry, with the hope of increasing the strength of the throne. The Jacobins hoped for the destruction of the monarchy in a great national struggle, while both parties united in demanding the dispersion of the army formed on the Rhine by the emigrant princes. Other points at issue also tended to precipitate the impending crisis, and in April, 1792, the Assembly declared war against Austria, and thus commenced the tremendous struggle in which sooner or later nearly every country in Europe was to take part, and which was destined to last for twenty-three years.
Morris very forcibly expressed his opinion of this crisis in national affairs when, writing to Carmichael on May 14th, he said, “France is on the high-road to despotism. They have made the common mistake that to enjoy liberty it is necessary only to demolish authority, and the common consequence results, viz., that the most ardent advocates for the Revolution begin now to wish and pray, and even cry out, for the establishment of despotic power as the only means of securing the lives and properties of the people. This is terrible. The war in which they are engaged furnishes a dreary prospect; there seems to be but one ground to hope for success, which is, that improbable things are those which usually happen.”
“Visit M. de Moustier [May 17th]. His sister, Madame de Bréhan, tells me that by taking away his appointments they have reduced him to 2,000£ per annum, in consequence of which he has turned off his household. It is said that the Prussian troops move very slowly, and will not be at Coblentz before the 1st of July. M. de Moustier calculates on a secure co-operation of Prussia, and states at 160,000 men the combined army. He says, further, that the Prince of Condé has a corps of 7,000 cavalry which is excellent. This evening I have a long conversation with M. de St. Croix, who says he does not believe the foreign powers will attempt Paris, but confine their efforts to Alsace and Lorraine. According to him, the army will be very great. He calculates the Austrian troops now in the Low Countries at 60,000, and the Prussians in that neighborhood at 20,000. He states the Prussian army in March at 36,000, and the troops of Hesse and Brunswick at 14,000. He supposes in the Brisgau, with those now near that destination, 20,000, and states the contingent of the Empire, which ought to be 50,000, at 30,000. Thus he says there is an army of 200,000 men, without counting the second line of Austrian troops or the French emigrants, which last may amount to 20,000 men.”
“I hear nothing [May 20th] from M. Dumouriez,* although yesterday I wrote him a note enclosing a copy of my credence and asking when I am to be presented. Look at my horses, which have just arrived from England, and then go to M. de Montmorin’s, where I dine. The Comte de Goltz comes in, who is to leave this city in a few days with M. Bloomendorf, the Imperial Chargé d’Affaires, and others of the Corps Diplomatique. He says the Prussian troops will be all arrived by the middle of June. Go from thence to the British ambassador’s, where we learn that the good news from India was fabricated in the Alley. We learn, also, that the Assembly has accused the Juge de Paix, who has in the course of his duty brought forward some of the members. To-day Roubit the tailor brings me livery lace to look at, and, as he is an officer in the Garde Nationale, he talks politics. He says the garde is très montêe. He speaks of the present administration as a set of scoundrels and the Jacobin Club as being the most abominable tyranny. The ancien régime, so much complained of, never, he says, affected him or others in his line of life, but the present system renders the whole community miserable either by real injury or by the constant apprehension of evil.”
“The Assembly have decreed a permanent session,” says the diary for May 28th, “and, it is thought, will dismiss the King’s life guard and overturn the Constitution. I think they are actuated more by fear than by any regular plan or principle. The officers of the Northern Army have, it is said, all resigned and everything seems to be fallen into confusion. M. de Favernay tells me that Luckner has written to the Minister of War that the disorder is so great in his army that, joined to the absolute want of necessaries, he thinks it impossible to do anything.”
“M. Brémond and M. Monciel call on me this morning [June 1st] and tell me that M. Dumouriez, in order to show his sincerity, read in the Council a plan for overturning the Jacobins, but was outvoted. He has since promised to turn out Clavière and Servan. This latter is to be replaced by M. —, a Jacobin. They are on the lookout for a Minister of Contributions, and they think M. Semonville is to be the successor of Dumouriez. I urge Monciel to put himself in that place. They are to let me know to-morrow which train they are in. They are to forward the advice not to reinstate the King’s guard, according to the plan which I gave them. The Justices of the Peace are to pursue the plaint of MM. de Montmorin and Bertrand. I hear this evening that the King’s guard were disarmed this day by His Majesty’s own orders.”
“M. Spardow breakfasts with me [June 3d], and we go together to the Château of the Tuileries. I am presented to the King, who, on receiving my letter of credence, says, ‘C’est de la part des États-Unis,’ and his tone of voice and his embarrassment mark well the feebleness of his disposition. I reply, ‘Oui, Sire, et ils m’ont chargé de témoigner à Votre Majesté leur attachement pour elle, et pour la nation française.’ I am afterwards presented to the Queen, who shows me her son, and says, ‘Il n’est pas encore grand.’ I reply, ‘J’espère, madame, qu’il sera bien grand, et véritablement grand.’ ‘Nous y travaillons, monsieur.’ I then go to mass. There has been a fête civique this day, in honor of the Mayor d’Estamps, massacred by a mob in doing his duty. Visit M. Dumouriez, where I dine. The society is noisy and in bad style, the dinner is still worse. I converse with M. illigible, and give him reasons why they should repeal the decrees respecting our commerce. He says he is fully in opinion with me, but nothing can be done till they have brought the Assembly into greater consistence. I observe that Dumouriez is anxious to converse. Give him the opportunity, and begin by delivering the letter from the President of the United States to the King on his acceptance of the Constitution. He says that he cannot attend to the affairs of the United States until after his return from the frontier. He says that if the negotiators in England have made any considerable offers since he came into the administration it is without authority. He is against all treaties other than those of commerce. He thinks there is no danger to the Constitution at present, that it will triumph over every obstacle, and must amend itself. I think he cannot believe one-half of what he says.”
“This morning [June 10th] I pay my visits to the Corps Diplomatique, and go to Court. The King seems less afflicted. Dine and pass the evening at the Louvre. Tell Vicq d’Azyr that the King and Queen must persuade themselves that they are out of danger. He asks me if that is my opinion. I assure him that it is, and that the present troubles are but coruscations which succeed a storm.”
On June 10th Morris commenced a series of letters to Jefferson, then Secretary of State of the United States, in which he kept him informed of all events as they occurred. These letters were forwarded as opportunities presented themselves; but for obvious reasons he refrained from speaking of persons in Paris. That of June 10th is as follows:
“ThomasJefferson, esq., SecretaryofState.
“Sir: In my interview with M. Dumouriez on the 15th of May, he told me that he thought it was best I should be presented to the King immediately, but yet my first audience did not take place until the 3d of this month. He apologized for this delay as proceeding from the state of public affairs, which kept him continually occupied and agitated. I will not trouble you with repeating what passed at my reception by the King and Queen. On the next day I dined with M. Dumouriez, and delivered the letter from the President to the King on his acceptance of the Constitution, of which letter I had previously made a translation, to avoid mistakes of their agents, which are not uncommon. By the bye, several members of the Corps Diplomatique have spoken to me on the subject of this letter, which has given them a high idea of the President’s wisdom. I took occasion, according to your instructions, to mention the obnoxious act of the late Assembly both to M. Dumouriez and to M. Boncarère, his confidential secretary. The latter told me that he coincided with me in opinion fully on that subject, but that nothing could be done till they brought the Assembly into more consistency; that they could, indeed, command a majority, but that they could not bring that majority into a support of other measures than those of the moment; that (however) we might digest the business and put it in train. M. Dumouriez told me that his system of politics was extremely simple; that a power so great as France stood in no need of alliances, and therefore he was against all treaties other than those of commerce. You are already informed, I suppose, of the reasons which led to a declaration of war against the King of Hungary, and you know that the hope of an insurrection in the Austrian Flanders was among those reasons. Indeed, the intention to excite it, and the efforts made to that effect, have (for the first time, I believe, in modern days) been publicly avowed. This hope has hitherto proven fallacious, and, indeed, as far as can be judged from the temper and character of the Flemish people, and from the information I have been able to collect, it seems to be the better opinion that, however they may feel an aversion to the Austrian Government, they are still less disposed to that of France. There is therefore no probability of any capital diversion in that quarter, and the chance of it is daily decreasing from two natural causes: first, that the French troops are extremely undisciplined, and, secondly, that the force of their enemies will soon receive very considerable additions. Having combined all the intelligence that can be relied on, it results that about the middle of next month the allied armies will be one hundred and eighty thousand strong, exclusive of the French emigrants. It is doubtful whether these last will be permitted to act, and for the following reasons: First, it is not to be supposed that twenty thousand gentlemen volunteers, serving at their own expense, can be well disciplined; consequently, it is to be apprehended that they will be more injurious to their friends than to their enemies. Secondly, it is next to impossible that in such a number, all irritated by injuries, either real or supposed, there will not be some who will act more from motives of private vengeance than regard to public good, and it is certain that acts of cruelty and injustice will rather tend to prolong than terminate the contest; at least, to give it that termination which they wish for. Thirdly, it is notorious that the great mass of the French nation is less solicitous to preserve the present order of things than to prevent the return of the ancient oppressions, and, of course, would more readily submit to a pure despotism than to that kind of monarchy whose only limits were found in those noble, legal, and clerical corps by which the people were alternately oppressed and insulted; and this observation leads naturally to the object of the combined powers, which I conceive to be the establishment of a military government on the ruins of that anarchic system which now prevails, and in the continuance of which no power but England has any interest. The others, seeing that without a counterpoise in the marine scale, Britain must possess the empire of the ocean (which, in the present commercial state of the world, is a kind of universal empire), cannot but wish to re-establish this kingdom.
“But a great question occurs. What kind of government shall be established? The emigrants hope for their darling aristocracy; but it can hardly be supposed that kings will exert themselves to raise abroad what they labor incessantly to destroy at home, and more especially as the French Revolution having been begun by the nobles, the example will be so much the more striking if they become the victims of it. But if the allied monarchs have an interest in destroying the aristocracy, they have a much stronger and more evident interest in preventing a free and well-poised system from being adopted. Such system must inevitably extend itself, and force the neighboring powers to relax from their tyranny. If the Court of Berlin could have been insensible to this truth, in which it is so deeply interested, the zealous reformers here would not have permitted the Prussian ministers to slumber over their danger. The desire to propagate and make converts to their opinions has led them so far that the quarrel, which might have been only political, has become personal, and I have good reason to believe, notwithstanding the profound secrecy which is preserved respecting the designs of the grand alliance, that it is in contemplation to put all power into the hands of the King. Things have been prepared for that event by the inconsiderate partisans of liberty. In their eagerness to abolish ancient institutions, they forgot that a monarchy without intermediate ranks is but another name for anarchy or despotism. The first, unhappily, exists to a degree scarcely to be paralleled; and such is the horror and apprehension which licentious societies have universally inspired, that there is some reason to believe the great mass of French population would consider even despotism as a blessing, if accompanied with security to person and property such as is experienced under the worst governments in Europe. Another great means of establishing despotism here is to be found in that national bankruptcy which seems to be inevitable. The expense of the last month exceeded the income by about ten millions of dollars. This expense continues to increase, and the revenue to diminish. The estate of the clergy is consumed, and the debt is as great as at the opening of the States-General. The current expense has, by taking away the property of the church, been increased about a sixth. The dilapidation in every department is unexampled, and they have, to crown all, an increasing paper money, which already amounts to above three hundred millions of dollars. From such facts it is impossible not to draw the most sinister presages. The country-people have hitherto been actuated, in a great measure, by the hope of gain. The abolition of tithes, of feudal rights, and burdensome taxes was so pleasant that a cold examination of consequences would not be admitted, still less an inquiry into the strict measure of justice. Next to the abolition came on those philosophical and mathematical arrangements of the fisc, which are very beautiful and satisfactory, and to which there lies but one objection of any consequence, which is that they are in-executable. Now I have frequently observed that, when men are brought to abandon the paths of justice, it is not easy to arrest their progress at any particular point, and therefore, as the whole kingdom (Paris excepted) is interested in the non-payment of taxes, the question will be decided without much difficulty if once the legislature gets out of this city. They are already preparing for a march, and it is intended to take the King with them, to which effect a decree has already passed to disband his life guard, and another to collect twenty thousand men to the northward of this city. An opposition will be made by the Parisian militia to the latter decree, because they begin to perceive the object; and as it seems to be a pretty general opinion among them that no capital opposition will be made to the Austrian and Prussian troops, they consider the person of Louis ⅩⅥ. as forming the most solid alliance they have, to protect them from plunder and outrage. This decree may therefore occasion either a schism between the militia and the Assembly, or among the inhabitants of Paris, or both. Already there exists a serious breach between the members of the present administration, and part of them must go out. I have the best reason to believe that the whole will be changed before many weeks, and some of them within a few days. There exists, also, a mortal enmity between different parties in the Assembly. At the head of the Jacobin faction is the deputation from Bordeaux, and that city is (as you know) particularly indisposed to our commercial interests. It is this case of universal hostility, or rather confusion, to which Dumouriez alluded when he apologized for delaying my audience. And it was this, also, which his confidant had in view when he mentioned the necessity of waiting for a greater consistency in the legislature before anything could be done. M. Dumouriez told me that he was perfectly easy in respect to Prussia, whose only object was to get the House of Austria fairly engaged, and then to take advantage of its embarrassments. I told him that he must, of course, be well informed on that subject, but that since the departure of the Prussian minister without taking leave, I could not but suppose the intentions of that court were more serious than he imagined. He gave me many reasons for his opinion, which I should have supposed to be only an ostensible one if his intimates had not on another occasion quoted it to me, and if I did not know the principal channel through which he derives his intelligence.
“A late circumstance will tend rather to establish than remove this opinion—I mean the attack on Poland by the Empress of Russia, to overturn the new constitution. Whether this movement be in concert with the Austrian and Prussian Cabinets, or not, is doubtful. I cannot as yet make up any tolerable judgment on the subject, but I believe that in either case those cabinets will pursue their object in regard to this country. The details I have entered into, and the information which you will collect from the public prints, will show that in the present moment it will be very difficult to excite attention to other objects than those by which they are so strongly agitated. The best picture I can give of the French nation is that of cattle before a thunder-storm. And as to the government, every member of it is engaged in the defence of himself or the attack of his neighbor. I shall, notwithstanding, pursue the objects which you recommend. The obstacles to success form but incitements to the attempt. It must, however, be made with caution, because any sudden change of affairs may bring forward persons who would oppose a measure merely because their predecessors had approved of it. You desired me, among other things, to send you the Moniteur, but the editor of that paper does not give so faithful a report of what passes in the Assembly as you will find in the Logographe. If there be any one of the gazetteers who is impartial, it is the author, or, rather, transcriber of this.
“I send you, of course, the Gazette of France, which says, you know, whatever the ministry order it to say. The Patriote Français, written by M. Brissot, will give you the republican side of the question, as the Gazette Universelle does that of the kind of monarchy proposed by the Constitution. The paper called the Indicateur is written by a party who wish a more vigorous executive, although (strange to tell) this party consists of the persons who in the beginning of the late Assembly did everything to bring the kingdom into the situation now experienced. The journal of the Jacobins will give you what passes in that society. The Gazette of Leyden, which I transmit according to your request, will convey a kind of digest of all these different sentiments and opinions. Thus, sir, if you have the patience to look over these several papers, you will have a clear view not only of what is done, but of what is intended.”
“I dine to-day [June 14th—to resume the diary] with Dumouriez. He is more at his ease than usual, having opened himself to the King and Queen and given them assurances of his attachment; this Madame de Flahaut has learned through St. Foi. I say many things to him avecconnaissance de cause, which the other members of the Corps Diplomatique cannot comprehend, and which they are therefore surprised at. At Court I observe that the King and Queen were more at ease than usual. The change of ministry has gone off very quietly, notwithstanding the noise of the moment. M. de Montmorin tells me that Dumouriez and Brissot had a conversation and were about to unite together. In consequence, the decrees for twenty thousand men and for transportation of the priests were to be sanctioned, and M. de Clavière was to be brought back into the administration. The King refused to sanction these obnoxious, unconstitutional decrees, and thereupon Dumouriez resigned.”
“This morning [June 17th] M. Monciel calls, and tells me that the Lameth party have pressed him hard to accept the place of Minister of the Interior. I advise him to take nothing but the office of Foreign Affairs, and he quits me with that intention, but says they have offered him the Interior as a step towards the other office. Dress and go to Court; we have here a list of ministers in which Monciel stands for the Interior. The Assembly have received and referred a petition of the Jacobin Society for suspending the King.”
The sudden change in the ministry was a surprise to Morris, at least as to the totality. Dumouriez, who had dismissed Servan, Roland, and Clavière, had filled the places with his particular friends but failed to prepare himself beforehand for all consequences. In the second of the series of letters to Jefferson, dated June 17th, Morris says: “The King, much to Dumouriez’s surprise, accepted his resignation, and, in consequence, all his newly appointed friends go out with him. The Jacobins were busy all last night to excite a tumult in the city, but the precautions taken to prevent it have as yet proved successful, and I am told that M. Luckner and M. de Lafayette still persist in their determination not to risk an action. If so, the present state of uncertainty may continue some time. If they fight and gain a victory, it is not improbable that we may witness some outrages of the most flagitious kind. If, on the contrary, there is any capital defeat, the Jacobin faction will be a little moderated. On the whole, sir, we stand on a vast volcano. We feel it tremble, we hear it roar, but how and when and where it will burst, and who may be destroyed by its eruptions, it is beyond the ken of mortal foresight to discover. This new ministry will be purged (at any rate) of some of its members, but one great doubt exists—whether it will not be driven off by the Jacobin faction. It is in contemplation to make a serious effort against that faction in favor of the Constitution, and M. de Lafayette will begin the attack. I own to you that I am not sanguine as to the success. Very much is to be done, and there is very little time to do it, for the foreign enemy will soon be greatly superior in number, and it seems now to be ascertained that Alsace and Lorraine are disposed to join the invaders. Thus while a great part of the nation is desirous of overturning the present government in order to restore the ancient form, and while another part, still more dangerous from position and numbers, are desirous of introducing the form of a federal republic, the moderate men, attacked on all sides, have to contend alone against an immense force. I cannot go on with the picture, for my heart bleeds when I reflect that the finest opportunity which ever presented itself for establishing the rights of mankind throughout the civilized world is perhaps lost, and forever.”
“Go with Lord Gower to the Jeu de la Reine,” says the diary for June 19th, “which is a mighty stupid kind of amusement to all parties. Madame de Staël had invited me to supper, and is not at home. This is some mistake, but it is fortunate, because it gives me room to be off another time. Brémond tells me that Monciel has accepted. M. de Lafayette’s letter to the Assembly has been read, and has produced some little effect. Brémond says that Monciel will call on me early to-morrow. He has had a long conversation with the King and is well pleased with him. There is to be a sort of riot to-morrow about fixing a May-pole before the Château.”
“There is a great movement in Paris, and the guard is paraded [June 20th]. While I am writing, the mob and the National Guards are marching and countermarching under my windows. I don’t think they will come to blows. Dine with the Baron de Blome; after dinner we learn that the deputation of the Faubourgs has forced the unresisting guard, filled the Château, and grossly insulted the King and Queen. His Majesty has put on the bonnet rouge, but he persists in refusing to sanction the decrees. ‘This is neither the form in which it ought to be demanded of me, nor the moment to obtain it,’ he calmly told the surging crowd of angry people who pressed upon him, almost to the point of suffocation. Spend this evening at the Louvre. The Constitution has this day, I think, given its last groan.”
“Early this morning [June 21st] M. Monciel and M. Brémond call on me. The former asks my advice in this critical state of affairs. I recommend the suspension of M. Pétion and the prosecution of the ringleaders of yesterday’s tumult. He leaves me. After breakfast Brémond calls again, and shows me a letter from the Victualling Department, by which it seems that the resources of Paris for butcher’s meat will be soon curtailed very much. Go to Court. Mr. Swan came in just as I went out, and told me that the National Guards are outrageous about yesterday’s business. The King behaved perfectly well yesterday. This morning a M. Sergans, one of the municipality, is kicked and cuffed by the Garde Nationale in the court of the Château for his vile conduct of yesterday. M. Pétion also is received with very contumelious language. Thus the riot turns out differently from what its authors expected. Visit, after dinner, at M. de Montmorin’s. He takes the merit of what is done and doing, ‘for,’ says he, ‘Dupont called on me and went from my house to see Monciel,’ etc. Now Brémond told me that he found Dupont fast asleep, and made him get up and go to Monciel’s after they left me this morning. After dinner we walk in the garden, he, Malouet, and Bertrand meditating on the state of things. In order to see what stuff they are made of, I tell them what measures would put an end to all troubles, but those measures are deep and dangerous, and when we go into M. de Montmorin’s closet he sickens.”
“Brémond calls this morning [June 24th], and tells me his conversation with Servan, the late Minister of War, who is about to take command in the South of France. He expects that a great republic will be established there, and invites Brémond to manage its finances. Brémond expects by degrees to become master of their secrets. Digest an answer to the Assembly for Monciel. Their order is captious, and if they do not blush at the inconsistency of their conduct they will push the ministers hard. Go to Court. The King receives this day a part of the militia. The Dauphin is in the uniform of the Garde Nationale. The King has received an offer of assistance from Picardy. Give Brémond some hints, and he writes under my dictation a plan to be given by the King to the Assembly, and does not finish till after midnight.”
“This morning [June 26th] Brémond calls, and tells me that Monciel will give the note prepared last night to the King this morning. My tailor, who is a captain in the militia, tells me that things go very badly; that the militia is much divided in opinion. I go to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and mention to him several things which I had to communicate. I am to make notes thereof. While I am here Monciel comes in, but we do not know each other.”
“M. de Lafayette is arrived [June 28th], Monciel comes to tell me, and is to go this morning to the Assembly. The King, on receiving the project prepared for him, said it would be very good if they could count on the Garde Nationale.* I tell him that Lafayette’s visit can produce nothing, and therefore he must exert himself to bring forward the Picards. He thinks Lafayette may be rendered instrumental to the sortie of the King from Paris, and he counts on the Swiss. This latter part of the plan is most reasonable. Dress and go to Court, but find that the reception of the Corps Diplomatique is postponed till tomorrow. Dine at the British ambassador’s, where I meet Madame de Staël. She gives us an account of M. de Lafayette’s reception and address to the Assembly. She is not satisfied, but says that this may be owing to her fondness for eloquence.”
“At Court to-day [June 29th] Madame Elizabeth and the Queen refer to the mistake I made yesterday in coming to Court, when the Corps Diplomatique were not received. I tell the latter that it was the fault of the post, for so Sequeville told me, and the remark seems directed against him and Lalive. Lafayette speaks to me at Court on the ton of ancient familiarity. I tell him I should be glad to see him for a few minutes. He says he is going out of town this evening, but gives me rendezvous at M. de Montmorin’s. I tell him that he must return soon to his army or go to Orleans, and that he must determine to fight for a good constitution or for that wretched piece of paper which bears the name; that in six weeks it will be too late. He asks what I mean by a good constitution; whether it is an aristocratic one. I tell him yes, and that I presume he has lived long enough in the present style to see that a popular government is good for nothing in France. He says he wishes the American Constitution, but an hereditary executive. I tell him that in such case the monarch will be too strong, and must be checked by an hereditary senate. He says it goes hard with him to give up that point. Here ends our colloquy. Return home. Dictate to Brémond a further counsel to be given by Monciel to the King. The principal object is to get a decision.”
“The King has neither plans, money, nor means, Brémond and Monciel tell me [July 2d], and the Lameth faction are all as naked as he. Monciel says he is afraid of falling into the hands of the constitutionalists. ‘The French,’ says Monciel, ‘are, I am afraid, too rotten for a free government.’ I tell him that the experiment may nevertheless be tried, and despotism still remains as a last shift. Brémond stays till after twelve o’clock, and my time is consumed for nothing.”
“Brémond gives me an account of what is doing [July 6th]. I suggest to him a decree to be adopted respecting the foreign ministers. Sup at the Louvre. Danton has said to-day publicly, à propos of the intrigues of the Court, that they would get rid of the whole the 14th. The different parts of the Assembly are united, and all is love and kindness [July 7th]. This arises from fear among the Republicans. Dine with M. de Montmorin, and visit after dinner Lady Sutherland at the Louvre. I see Vicq d’Azyr, and tell him I had prepared a letter for his mistress, but I will not send it. He urges me, but I refuse. The King has been to the Assembly, which I disapprove of.”
“Brémond tells me this morning [July 8th] that Monciel intends to resign. He opposed in council what was done yesterday, and spoke privately both to the King and Queen, but without effect. Go to Court. Her Majesty is in good spirits, and very affable. I am not pleased, however, with her conduct.”
“Spend the evening [July 9th] at Madame d’Albani’s. The Venetian ambassador, who had expressed great hopes and expectations yesterday from the reconciliation scene, is quite done over to-day. Brissot has pronounced a fiery discourse against the King. Tronchin is heartily sick of the Revolution.”
[*]Claude François Dumouriez, probably more than any other French general, influenced the first period of the French wars at this time. He was born at Cambrai, January 25, 1739, and died in England, March 14, 1823, after a long and varied career.
[*]Lafayette’s request, in his own name and that of the army, was the punishment of those who figured in the attempted insurrection of the 20th and the destruction of the sect of the Jacobins.