Page images
[ocr errors]

ing on a bed of flock, with a tattered the same circumstances) leaves off. blanket thrown across for warmth, in Neither of these works, therefore, feeding on plain fare, and enjoying can be complete without the other; but a limited extent of walk. But and M. Hue' himself has said, p. 403, when we consider that he who en- from the 2d of September, the day dures this, once slept on beds of down, I was first imprisoned, the narrative in vaulted chambers of golden roofs; of the occurrences in the tower bas that he rioted in the choicest gifts of been published by M. Clery who nature, and his table was crowned succeeded me."

with the produce of every clime; that It must be evident, that in this he ranged at will wherever pleasure work of M. Hue's a number of new called him, we are led to wonder facts are stated, and much light thrown how he bears the reverse, and pity upon old ones. As it would now be him, not so much for what he suffers, a waste of time to comment upon as for what he has lost. To this feel- events that have so long passed, we ing we must attribute the eagerness shall perform more acceptable of with which we hunt after such de- fice to our readers by selecting such tails; and hence the melancholy plea- information as will be new to them. sure which we have felt in reading We will, however, just observe, that the present work. There was no our author's love of the monarch be studied barbarity, there was no species served has sometimes led him into of despicable insult, no manner of hu- expressions respecting monarchy it miliation which the French nation did self, which savours a little of despotnot employ towards the unfortunate ism; as at p. 2, where he says public Louis. The most abhorred tyrant opinion was too much respected by that ever disgraced the annals of so- Louis. M. Hue also is completely a ciety could scarcely have merited Frenchman: we do not use the name more than was shewn towards one insultingly, but mean that his patriwhose greatest failing was too much otic feelings obscure his judgment, lenity, and whose only crime being and lead him to lament certain events born the king of a people destined to murder him.

produced by the Revolution, which were in fact such as every wise and good man wished for, had they been unpolluted by such horrid excesses.

M. Hue was mentioned with honour, and in a manner that will convey his name down to posterity, by Louis wanted active magnanimity his unfortunate monarch in his will. of character. He endured insults He was an eye witness of nearly all which a truly noble mind must have that he describes; he accompanied resented, though immediate annihila the king to the Temple after the 10th tion had been the consequence. H of August: he suffered imprisonment enemies saw that; and acted accordfor his attachment: he escaped nu ingly. Many instances are related in merous perils during the bloody pro- the course of this volume of the king's scriptions of the revolution: he ac- acquiescence to personal degradations, companied Madame Royale to Vienna which do not tend to exalt our opi in 1796; and he has now given to the world, documents that will be of lasting importance to future historians,

nion of the elevation of his mind. We may admire his forbearance, and his patience, and his resignation; but these are equivocal qualities; while energy and intrepidity speak a lan guage that no tongue can miscon

This work would of itself be in complete without the Journal of Occurrences, &c. of Clery. Together, they form a full picture of all that re- strue. lates to Louis from the fatal 6th of We shall commence our extracts October 1789, to the 22d of January with M. Hue's account of the pro1793. M. Hue was removed from ceedings on the 6th of October about the person of the king, after he 1789.

had been with him a short while in "How dreadful a night was the 6th the Temple, and was succeeded by of October! The closing hours of it Clery, whose journal therefore, of spread its shades over the most horri what he witnessed, commences pre- ble of sacrileges! Then began out cisely where M. Hue's account (under rages of the blackest dye! At the

breaking up of the nocturnal Sitting, danced for your own pleasure; you which the Assembly had held, the are now going to dance for ours.-Let conspirators repaired to the parish us cut her throat;-let's cut off her church of St. Louis. By twelve head;-let us eat her heart. One of o'clock at night, the church, vestries, these devils drawing a sickle from unrooms, passages, and all the offices, der her apron, there was a cry of, were thronged with National Guards, That will do to dispatch her!' and people with pikes. In the church, for pastime, they lighted the tapers, and walked in mock procession; and at times, orators went up into the pulpit, and made horrible motions.

"At five o'clock, the Vicar was applied to, to know if a mass could be performed, and he offered to celebrate it himself, on condition of having a guard to protect him. This was granted.

"The horrible menaces and howlings of these wild beasts were mixed with shouts of, Vice d'Orleans! Vice notre père d'Orléans! Decency will not permit me to mention the obscenities that accompanied these infamous expressions. A price, then, had been set upon the heads of the royal family! The queen's was the first to have fallen. Towards her apartment the assassins rushed. It is said, that a de"While preparing for the celebra- puty dared to point with his finger to tion of the mass, the vicar was re- the door. The sentry, M. Durepaire, quested to pray for the success of the one of the Body Guards, defended it: project meditated: but he replied but assailed by a multitude, and that, being fearful of criminal designs, covered with wounds, he was soon at least, in some present, he could not, stretched upon the floor. Miomanwithout impiety, comply with what dre de Ste. Marie took his post, made was asked. I will pray to God,' ad- a bar to the entrance of the bed-chamded this respectable man, 'to vouch- ber with his musket, and, opening one safe to grant to all, the grace necessary of the folding doors, called, in a loud for them. This reply satisfied them, voice, Save the queen! At these and the mass was heard with tolerable words, he received several blows which decency. When it was over, the con- felled him to the ground. The mospirators shook hands, swore to be ment he was down, one of the wretches true to one another, and flew to car- made the crowd stand back, and, nage. coolly measuring his distance, struck Scarcely did the dawn of day the guard so violent a blow, with the cast a dim light on the sacred resi- but-end of the musket, that the lock dence of our kings, when a legion of stuck in his head.* Some of the brigands, men and women, led by de- queen's women,† whom their attachputies in women's clothes, broke into ment had kept all night with their the palace, and in an instant crowded august mistress, having hastily awaked the terrace of the garden and the her, her majesty hurried on a petticourts. Terrible bowlings announced coat, threw a counterpane over her the banditti. They cried out,-The shoulders, and, by a passage of comqueen's head! Down with the queen! munication, escaped to the king's Louis shall no longer be king. We apartment. In the way, she heard will not have him. We want the these cries: She must be hanged;-Duke of Orleans; he will give us her throat must be cut. At the same bread.' instant, a gun and pistol were fired. The queen was hardly out of her chamber, when the door was forced in. The assassins, enraged at their disap


"Fish-women, furies, bellowed ·'Where is this jade? Let us carry her, alive or dead. We will look you in the face, Marie Antoinette. You have

* This was M. Jacob. He conM. Miomandre de Ste. Marie lay firmed to me the particulars I here re- senseless, and weltering in his blood. late, and told me that the seditious, The banditti thought him dead, and forgetting for a moment their fury left him, after robbing him. He afteragainst the royal family, joined him in wards recovered. singing the Domine salvum, a prayer said daily for the king.

† Madame Thibaud and Madame Oguier.

pointment, vented their fury in a thousand imprecations.


Who can read the following anecdote, and not confess with Burke, Trembling for his son's life, the that the days of chivalry were gone? king ran to his chamber, and carried The days of chivalry: the days of him away in his arms.* In his way common manhood were passed, and the light went out. Take hold of my dæmons ruled triumphant.

night-gown,' said the king, calmly, to "At night, the king and the royal the woman who attended the dauphin. family were taken back to their lodgHaving groped his way back to his ing under a strong guard. They al apartment, he there found the queen, ways met with new insults. One night, Madame Royale, Monsieur, Madame, Madame Elizabeth, and the Marquise of the convent, a young man, well as they were going through the garden de Tourzel. Thus united, the royal dressed, went up to the Queen, and, family waited with less terror the fate doubling his fist at her, said, Infa the Austrians in our blood: your head mous Antoinette, you wanted to bathe shall pay for it. The queen treated this atrocious speech with silent contempt."

which threatened them.

"At the commencement of the attack, two young men of the Body Guards suffered themselves to be assassinated, rather than abandon their post. Their bloody heads were carried about on pikes in triumph, and Louis was of opinion that the pretheir bodies left on the parade to the disposing causes of the revolution fury of the populace. Several of the were to be found in the writings of cannibals were seen rubbing their the French philosophers, as they were hands and face with the blood of their called. He one day said to M. Hue, victims. in a low voice, pointing to the works "The chopper-off of heads, a man of Rousseau and Voltaire, "Those with a long beard, of a savage aspect, two men have ruined France." his arms naked up to the elbow, his The dangers of M. Hue himself eyes sparkling, his hand and clothes were not small, as the following narsmeared with gore, was seen brandish- rative will testify, after being dragged ing his axe, the instrument of his cru- away from the service of the king and elties. This monster, whose name was sent to prison. Nicholas Jourdan, served the Academy of Painting and Sculpture as a model. From his feats on this day, he was surnamed Coupe-lête."‡

* The king, to get to the dauphin's apartments, and avoid being seen by the brigands, was obliged to go through a dark subterraneous passage.

"In entering my dungeon, I saw, by the light of the turnkey's lauthern, a sorry bed. I groped my way to it. Oppressed with fatigue, and at length overcome by sleep, I had become for a moment insensible of my dangerous position, when I was suddenly awak ened by a confused noise. I listened, and distinctly heard these words *:+ M. Deshuttes and M. Varicourt. 'Wife, the assassins have done in the In some accounts, this Nicholas other prisons, and are coming to those Jourdan has been confounded with of the commune. Quick, throw me the author of the massacres at Avig- our best things: come down, and let non. They had no relation, but in us fly. At these words I started from barbarity and the mere name. In my bed, fell on my knees, and raising 1789, thousands of ruffians, coming my hands to Heaven, waited in that fom Marseilles and the coasts of posture the blow that was to put an Africa and Italy, spread themselves end to my life. In about an hour I throughout the province. Sacrilege,

rape, and murder, marked their way. unheard-of tortures, mutilated them, At Avignon, headed by one Jourdan, cut them in pieces, and scrambled for they massacreed many of the inhabit- the flesh. Never did the world exhi ants, sparing neither age nor sex; bit a more horrible scene. The river broke open the prisons, killed the pri- within Avignon was coloured with souers in cold blood, crowded the vic- human blood, and full of dead bodies. tims marked out for their fury into the town ice-house, put them to death by

* It was the warden, whose name was Viel, speaking to his wife.

heard myself called:' I made no reply. were lodged there. But the darkness I was called again: I listened. Come of the place, increased by the interto your window,' said somebody in a position of their bodies, prevented low voice. I advanced. Do not be their observing me. Is there any afraid,' added the voice, several peo- one here to be worked?" said they in ple here are taking care of your life.' their horrible jargon. As soon as they After my enlargement, I made fruitless were gone, I peeped out to see what enquiries to discover this generous pro- was passing in the court. The first tector. Compassionate man! whoever thing I saw was the assassins profaning you are, wherever you reside, receive with their filth the statue of Louis the tribute of a gratitude which, while XIV, which lay overturned upon the I live, will know no end! ground, and playing with the bloody remains of their victims. They were relating to one another the details of their murders, showing the money they had earned †, and complaining of not having received what had been promised them."

"Six-and-thirty hours passed without any person coming into my cell, without food, or the hope of any. I knew that the warden and his wife had fled. I imagined that the turnkey had done the same. On this reflexion, the remainder of my fortitude There is no part of the present voforsook me. A cold sweat, a shiver- lume more interesting than the coning all over, and the pangs of death versations between M. Hue and the came upon me: I fell into a swoon. great and good Malesherbes! whose When I came to myself, I was ready loyalty made him a volunteer in deto call the assassins, whom by the light fence of his king, and whose magnaof the lamps I saw passing and repas- nimity enabled to effect his wishes. sing in the court. I was going to beg Though he perished on the scaffold them to put an end to my protracted for his generous conduct, yet he has left agonies, when a faint light coming a name behind him dear to posterity. through the boards above me struck M. Hue was confined in the same my eyes. By means of a wretched prison (Port Royal) with this venetable and two stools, which I piled one rable man, and they solaced their conupon the other, I raised myself high finement by discoursing upon the sufenough to reach the top of the cell, ferings and virtues of Louis. M. Hue and rapped several times at the spot has preserved the conversations of through which the light came. A Malesherbes with the apparent actrap-door opened, and some person in curacy of a Boswell; and we wish we a mild voice said, What do you had room to extract them all. We want?' I replied in the accents of de- shall select, however, some of them. spair, Bread or death.' It was the warden's wife who spoke to me. 'Recover yourself,' said she, I will take care of you.' She immediately brought me bread, a bit of meat, and some water. While I remained confined in this place, this compassionate woman had the goodness to supply me with nourishment. She furnished me with a wickered bottle, which whenever I wanted water, I presented at the trap-door, and she filled it. By this means, the door of my cell was seldom opened, and I remained the better concealed.

"Nevertheless, men whose arms and clothes were smeared with blood, came up at times to the window of my cell, looking to see if any victim

Madame Viel, whose goodness I can never acknowledge too much.

You, I hope, will long survive the "My friend," said he to me one day, death which awaits me. Store up then


hear. To the points of view in which your memory, what you deserve to you have beheld the most virtuous, the most undaunted of men, add those which I shall describe to you." Some days after, M. de Malesherbes, yielding to my entreaties, had the goodness substance the different conversations to give me a manuscript containing in I am going to report.

To work, in the revolutionary language of that time, was synonimous to massacreing.

Those municipals of the commune of Paris, who more particularly exercised the power, had agreed with the men who massacred in the prisons, to pay them a stated sum in money.

"I saw Louis mount the throne," me," at the finishing of my education, said M. de Malesherbes to me, "and that I was far from having completed though at an age when the passions it; and I resolved to acquire the are strongest, and the illusions of the instruction I wanted. I wished to imagination most powerful, he carried know the English, Italian, and Spawith him pure morals, a contempt of nish languages. I learned them by pomp, a wise bias to toleration, and an myself. I made a sufficient progress inexhaustible desire of doing good. in the Latin to translate the most difHis respect for religion was equal to ficult authors. Then, diving into histhe firmness of his belief. More than tory, I went back to the earliest ages once expressing to me, how much he of the world, and, descending from wished me to be of his religious opi- century to century to our own times, nions, he said: "Without religion, I applied myself more particularly to my dear Malesherbes, there is no true the history of France. I undertook as happiness for men, either in society a task to clear up its obscurities. I or as individuals. Religion is the studied the laws and customs of the strongest boud between man and man: kingdom; I compared the measures it prevents the abuse of power and of the different reigns; I investigated strength, protects the weak, consoles the causes of their prosperity and of the unhappy, and ensures, in the so- their disasters. With this regular study, cial system, reciprocal duties. Believe I united the perusal of all works of meme, it is impossible to govern the peo- rit that appeared: particularly those ple by the principles of philosophy." on government and politics; on which This conviction was the firm basis of I made my own remarks." the virtues of Louis XVI. It made him "This avowal of the king's," cona king just, clement, huniane, and be- tinued M. de Malesherbes, "gave me neficent: it rendered him a faithful a high opinion of the steadiness of his husband, a tender father, an affection- disposition, and of his capacity. While ate brother, a good master, in a word, I was in the ministry, I daily had oc a paragon of moral and domestic virtues.

up his opinion to that of his council. He was also apprehensive that he did not express his thoughts clearly. He said to me one day: "I would rather leave my silence to be interpreted than my words."

casion to observe, that the timidity habitual to this prince was owing to "At my introduction into the mi- too great a share of diffidence, which nistry, wishing to ascertain the motives kept him constantly on guard against of the lettres de cachet, previously presumption, and made him think issued, I conceived the plan of visiting that, in business, his ministers possess the state prisons.. I wanted the king ed discernment superior to his own. himself to visit some of them, and that It was this that made him so easily give he should become acquainted with their situation and internal government; and I was particularly desirous, that such prisoners as had been too lightly or too long confined, should receive the news of their liberty from the mouth of the monarch himself. "To the same stock of diffidence, is The king was highly delighted with to be attributed the undecisive chathe object of my plan, ordered me to racter which you have perhaps some put it in execution, and to employ times heard inentioned as a reproach in it the intendants of the provinces. to him. I was a daily witness of it in the "But as for me,” added he, “I will not council; and saw that it arose from his visit any prison. Let us do good, balancing what part was best to be M. de Malesherbes; but let us do it taken, and from the many difficulties without ostentation." that occurred. He often said, "What a responsibility! every step I take affects the fate of five-and-twenty mil lions of men." If, in the course of the revolution, it has sometimes happened that he decided wrongly, it was upon grounds, as he has said to me, which would have rendered his decision right, had it not been for acts of treachery,

"Thus did the king throw over his virtues a veil which he even extended to his understanding. This was wrong, A king should display both. One day, being with his majesty on business, I was surprised at the extent of the knowledge he discovered. The king perceived it. "I was sensible," said he to

« PreviousContinue »