« PreviousContinue »
even her land:-and, 7thly, in the same province, Madamedė Liftenay was forced to make the same surrender of her property, with a halter round her neck, and her two daughters lying near ber in a state of insensibility, having fainted. away with terror at the sight :-and, Sthly, the very respectable Marquis of Ormenan, an old gentleman, irembling with the palsy, was forced to fly from his country-seat in the middle of the night, to avoid being murdered by the mob, and was afterwards pursued by them from town to town, till he got out of the province, and arrived at Basle, in Switzerland, almost dead with fatigue and terror, with his daughters, who had accompanied him, and reduced to a state of despair:-and, gthly, the Count of Montesu and his wife, were kept by the inob in a state of continual terror, with pistols held to their breasts, for three hours together, (during which time they desired the people, as a favour, to put them to death without delay,) and were at last dragged out of their carriage in order to be thrown into a pond and drowned, when they were saved by the interposition of a regiment of soldiers, who happened to come by at thrat instant:-and, joihly, the Baron of Mont Justin was taken by a mob, and kept in a state of continual terror under the apprehension of instant death, for the space of an hour and a half, by being held on the top of a well, while they deliberated, in his hearing, whether they should put him to death by letting him drop into the well, (where he would have been drowned,) or should destroy him in some other manner: and, 11thly, Count Lallemand and the Duchess of Tonnerre were treated with great cruelty; and the Chevalier d'Ambli was taken by force from his country-house, and barbarousy dragged, naked, along the village that belonged to him, and then thrown upon a dunghill, after having had his eye-brows, and the hair of his head, plucked-out by the roots, while the people who were spectators of this
cruelty, cruelty, amused themelves with dancing round bim; befides a number of the like cruel outrages, committed in the provinces of Alface and Dauphing, and the city of Troyes in Champagne, and also in the neighbourhood of Paris, almost within fight of the National Anembly. This is a Mort account of the actions which the Count de Mirabeau has called necessary precautions, arising from a want of confidence, and which he censures me for having unjustly miirepresented as acts of inhuman ferocity. I leave the reader to determine which of us has denoted them by the more proper appellation.
And, upon this occasion, I cannot forbear asking those gentlemen who talk cf tbe want of confidence in the intentions of the Court, and tirse Nobility, as having been the motive that urged the people to commit these acts of violence, as prudential measures necessary to their own safety ;
I say, I must ask these gentlemen, who it was that inspired the people with this want of confidence, and thereby became the first authors of the mischiefs it occasioned? Who ivas it that encouraged the people to rise in a feditious manner, both in the open countries, and great towns of the kingdom ?-Who was it that wrote letters to the people at Vifoul, to inform them that the representatives of the Nobility, who had been fent to the National Assembly, had formed a plot to blow up with gunpowder the great room in which the Asembly met, at a time when only the reprefentatives of the Third Estate, or Commonalty, were assembled in it?-Who was it that persuaded the peasantrò of the province of Franche-Comté, that the Nobility were the King's enemies? Who was it that forged those pretended orders froin the King to authorize and encourage the common people to fall upon the Nobility, or Gentry, whereever they met them, and to demolish and lay-waste their houses and poffeßions? Why was that most diabolical lie
which was spread-about against Mons, de Melmay, bis having caused a great number of the common people to be invited into a room in his house, that had been undermined with gunpowder, in order that they should then be all blown-up at once;" and which for a confiderable time excited against him, in the minds of all the world, the indignation and horror that such an action ought to produce; I say, why was this most abominable calumny, when it was discovered to be but a calumny, suffered by the National Assembly to die-away in Glence and neglect ; instead of being fifted to the bottom, in order to find-out and punish the villains who had invented it, against whom all the indignation, that bad before been felt against Monf. de Mijmay, ought then to have been directed ? And have I not reason to complain, that, when I have expressed, in the National Assembly, the indignation and horror with which both the commiflion of so many horrid crimes, and the impunity that attended them, had filled me, my sentiments should be considered, at some times, as a mark of a weak and effeminate spirit, and, at others, as an indication of luke-warmness in the cause of Liberty ?- They little know the temper of my mind who put these interpretations on my conduct. No man is more inflamed with zeal for that noblest of all causes in which men of spirit can be engaged, than I am : No man can more admire the heroic conduct of the English NorthAmericans, in their late resistance to the endeavours of Great Britain to ensave them, or that of the Dutch, of ihe century before last, when they freed themselves from the tyranny of the King of Spain, than I do: No man can more sympathize with both those nations in the various events of those wonoble struggles for Liberty, nor more fincerely rejoice at the final happy success of them. But to see downright robberies justified by quibbling pretenders to reason! to see the poor peasants excited to go-about and burn honest men's
houses, by a set of rogues, that forge pretended orders from their Sovereign for so doing! to see assassinations of the Nobility encouraged by declaiming orators, that set-up for the patrons of Liberty ! and this, when the Nobility made no opposition to the measures which the publick welfare made necessary ;-when they consented to every proposal ;when it was not in their power to oppose any thing ;when a considerable part of them had zealously embraced the interests and designs of the commonalty, and all of thein had agreed to give-up their exemption from taxes, and other pecuniary, or profitable, privileges, and would bare been contented with retaining only their honorary distinctions !-To see such things done and encouraged, and not to be shocked and disgusted, and dispirited, at the sight, is, I confess, above my pitch of firmness, and, as I suppose, above that of any other man, who is not totally divested of every sentiment of justice and humanity.
End of the Translation of the Note, in Count Lally's Letter.
It is much to be lamented that, after these atrocious actions had been committed in France and were well known in England, that eminent member of the English House of Commons, the late Mr. Charles James Fox, did not join with Mr. Burke, (his former great associate in politicks,) in exprelling a proper deteftation of them and of the wild and extravagant Revolution in the French Government to which they were intended to be subservient. If he, and all his numerous partizans, (who were in the habit of adopting his opinions upon political subjects,) had considered ihat dreadful event in the true light in which it had been represented by Mr. Burke, as being, from the very begin
ning, a system of Robbery and Murder directed against the owners of Landed property in France, both of the Clergy and the Laity, which threatened to over-throw the most powerful and best-established monarchy in Europe, and ultimately to destroy every trace of the people's foriner Liberties and Privileges, and reduce them to a state of complete llavery under the absolute and arbitrary rule of some upstart Military Despot (which is the state in which we now behold them,) there is reason to think that a declaration made by him and his friends, in their speeches in parliament, of such a disapprobation of the violent measures of the first National Affembly of France and of the riotous mobs of Paris in support of them, would have checked them in their career of Injustice and Folly, or, at Jeast, would have prevented their falling into the mistaken opinion that the great body of the English Nation were full of Admiration of the new and bold changes which they had made in their Government, and were wishing and preparing to imitate their noble example, by making similar changes in the Government of England. But, instead of joining with Mr. Burke in this prudent and patriotick conduct, Mr. Fox, long after the abominable outrages, described above in Count Lally's note, were known in England, declared in the House of Commons, “ibat be looked-upon the French Revolution as the highest effort of buman Wisdom, for the promolion of buman Happiness that be had ever beard-of.” And many other persons in England seemed to entertain the same opinion of it for more than three years together, or till September, 1792 ; ,when the cruel massacres of great numbers of inoffensive priests and laymen (who were confined in the prisons of Paris), perpetrated with the knowledge and consent, or, rather, by the . dire&ion, of Danton, then newly-appointed Minister of Juso tice, and the numerous subsequent, almost daily, murders