Imatges de pÓgina

own brother, tied hand and foot, begging his mercy and intercession. He was informed, that this person was about to suffer the punishment due for this offence; and that it was reserved for him, the candidate, to be the instrument of this just vengeance; and that this gave him opportunity of manifesting that he was completely devoted to the order. It being observed that his countenance gave signs of inward horror, he was told, that in order to spare his feelings, a bandage should be put over his eyes. A dagger was then put into his hand; and his left hand was laid upon the palpitating heart of the supposed criminal; and he was ordered to strike. He instantly obeyed. And when the bandage was taken from his eyes, he saw that it was a lamb he had stabbed."*

It was this scheme of Illuminism in France, which took the lead of their revolution. This was the origin of those events, which have deluged Europe with blood, and filled a great part of the civilized world with terror! The plan, which came into operation in the French revolution, was previously matured; and legions of illuminees were at their respective posts, to manage the fatal operations.

The subterranean fire, which had long been kindling in dark recesses, now burst like a volcano from its dire caverns, terrifying the nations with its portentous discharge. And in the terrible Atheistical nation appeared the rise, instead of the fall of Antichrist.

It is to be confessed, that the French nation needed a redress of their grievances. For a long season they had been under the yoke of despotic authority. And though Lewis XVI was a mild king, his ministers of finance had much oppressed the people. M. Neckar, who had almost retrieved the miseries of their financial system, was, through the jealousy of interested courtiers, ejected from this department; and M. de Calonne appointed in his stead. This step proved fatal to the government. For the king found his affairs so embarrassed, that he thought it adviseable to convene his

*Robison's Proofs, p. 299.

notables, in hopes of availing himself of their influence with the people in the imposition of such taxes, as he thought his affairs now required. The notables, after using an unaccustomed freedom in examining their financial concerns, shrunk from the task assigned them, of sanctioning an enormous stamp act; and proposed the calling of an Assembly of the States. The States general had never been called but twice, since the revolution, in the days of Lewis XI, from a feudal aristocracy, to absolute monarchy. They once met in the reign of Henry IV; and again in the year 1617; but to very little purpose. But their next meeting, in 1789, was followed with scenes infinitely more interesting. Upon the above proposal, Lewis XVI dismissed his notables, and established a council of finance. They complied with the royal order. But the parliament of Paris refused to register this order; and agreed with the opinion of the notables, that the States general ought to decide the point. Whether the Jacobinic club, (so called) the leaders of the Illuminati, were at the bottom of this proposal, or not, it completely answered their purpose, and afforded a noble opportunity, in the event, for them to put in execution the scheme, which they had long been concerting, and which was now just ready to burst into operation. After various manoeuvres on the part of the king, the deputies of the States were convened. The "Jacobinic club" had previously been exceedingly busy in their correspondence through the different parts of the nation, to give a direction to the public opinion, and to form the people to that unity of sentiment, which afterward appeared in their popular councils. The deputies of the people being convened, and finding themselves supported by public opinion, which had been formed, both by the real injuries inflicted by the government, and by artful management for the purpose, proceeded on the 17th of June, 1789, to assume to themselves the legislative government, under the name of the National Assembly.

The nobility complained to the king of this usurpation, that "the deputies of the Third Estate had attempted to concentrate in their own persons the whole au

thority of the States general, without waiting for the concurrence of the other orders, or the sanction of his majesty; that they had attempted to convert their decrees into laws, and had ordered them to be printed, published, and distributed to the provinces; had repealed, and re-enacted laws relative to the taxes; and that they seemed to attribute to themselves the united rights of the monarch and the three great orders, who compose the States general."

in their business.

The king sent his soldiers over night and took possession of their hall. But the assembly met in another place, and proceeded to business. Upon this the king convened the other branches of the States general, the nobles and the clergy, and held a royal session. In this, his keeper of the seals read a concession to his subjects of 35 articles, in which the grievous points in his government were given up; and the States general might evidently have had his consent to manage the affairs of the nation as they pleased. But after the king, and those of his nobles and clergy, who pleased, had retired, the commons (who had formed themselves into the National Assembly) remained, and proceeded The duke of Orleans, 40 of the nobility, and 200 of the clergy, now joined them. Deputies were received from the different parts of the nation, assuring the Assembly of the approbation of the people of the revolution which had begun. Orders were received from the king commanding them to disperse; but in vain. The soldiers were then commanded to disperse them. But the commander in chief informed the king, that he could not answer for the safety of his royal person, if these orders were enforced. In short the king soon lost all his authority; a new constitution was formed; and a revolution was completed. The king, upon his submission to the Assembly, retained a shadow of executive authority. But upon his attending an entertainment of a new regiment of troops at Versailles, who trampled on the national cockade, and assumed a black one in its stead, he was brought to Paris under guard, and lodged in the old ruined palace of Thuilleries. The Assembly

gave toleration to religion; and their constitution had in it many good things. They continued their sessions two years and four months; and on the 30th of Sept. 1791, the Assembly dissolved itself.

A new Assembly soon met, under the name of the National Convention. Under their government, the designs of the leading men in the revolution appeared. War having broken out between France and Austria, the Convention issued a decree of which the following is an extract; "The National Convention, faithful to the principles of the sovereignty of the people, which will not permit them to acknowledge any of the institutions against it, and, willing to fix the regulations to be observed by the generals of the armies of the republic, in those countries, to which they may carry their arms, decree;

That in those countries, which shall be occupied by the armies of the French republic, the generals shall immediately proclaim the abolition of all the existing customs, and rights; of all nobility, and generally all privileges; they shall declare to the people, that they bring them peace, succor, fraternity, liberty, and equality.

The French nation declare, that it will treat as enemies the people, who, refusing or renouncing liberty and equality, are desirous of preserving their prince and privileged casts, or of entering into an accommodation with them. The nation promises and engages not to lay down its arms, until the sovereignty and liberty of the people, on whose territory the French armies shall have entered, shall be established.”

Here the real origin of the French revolution is clearly ascertained. Or, it is here clearly evident, that, how many soever forwarded that revolution from better views, the Jacobins took the whole direction of it, and found in it the very opportunity, which they had long wished and desired, to give their plan its full effect. Some moderation, at first, appeared under the National Assembly. But their scheme now, under the Convention, was soon unfolded. Even the French nation were not prepared to behold Illuminism in all its

extent, at first view. For some time therefore the French revolution was pleasing to many of the friends of virtuous liberty. But after the meeting of the National Convention, their views were rapidly unfolded. On the midnight preceding the 10th of August 1792, all the bells of Paris rang an alarm; the drums beat; the citizens flew to arms; the old palace, where the members of the royal family were, was attacked. The Swiss guard fired upon the populace. But they, with the national guards, were cut to pieces by bodies of soldiers, brought by the Jacobins from Brest and Marseilles. The gates of the palace were broken, after about 800 men had been killed. The king some time after was brought to trial before the Convention, and was beheaded, Jan. 21, 1793, The queen was beheaded, on the 16th of the Oct. ensuing. Royalty was abolished by the Convention; and a new constitution was by them formed and published; and it was accepted by the people, in the stead of the first, formed by the National Assembly. The moderate principles of the first constitution were abandoned. No further toleration was given to religion or conscience. On the 26th of August, 1792, "an open profession of Atheism was made by a whole nation, once zealously devoted to the Papal superstition. Corresponding societies and Atheistical clubs were every where held, fearless and undisguised." (Faber, vol, ii, p. 203.)

Massacres and the reign of terror succeeded; to hint the particulars of which would fill a volume. Something of the feats of the French arms abroad, soon after their revolution, may be learned from the following report of Dubois Crance, to the Convention, Jan. 30, 1795. He says; "Last year you maintained nearly eleven hundred thousand fighting men. France stood armed on one side, Europe on the other; and victory constantly followed the three colored standard. Holland is conquered; and England trembles. Twenty three regular sieges terminated; six pitched battles gained; 2000 cannon taken; 200 towns submitted. Such is the glorious result of the last campaign, The

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