Click here to Download The French Revolution PDF Book by Thomas Carlyle English having PDF Size 4 MB and No of Pages 284.
President Hénault, remarking on royal Surnames of Honour how difficult it often is to ascertain not only why, but even when, they were conferred, takes occasion in his sleek official way, to make a philosophical reflection. “The Surname of Bien-aimé (Wellbeloved),” says he, “which Louis XV. bears, will not leave posterity in the same doubt.
The French Revolution PDF Book by Thomas Carlyle
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This Prince, in the year 1744, while hastening from one end of his kingdom to the other, and suspending his conquests in Flanders that he might fly to the assistance of Alsace, was arrested at Metz by a malady which threatened to cut short his days. At the news of this, Paris, all in terror, seemed a city taken by storm.
The churches resounded with supplications and groans; the prayers of priests and people were every moment interrupted by their sobs: and it was from an interest so dear and tender that this Surname of Bien-aimé fashioned itself—a title higher still than all the rest which this great Prince has earned.” So stands it written; in lasting memorial of that year 1744.
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Thirty other years have come and gone; and “this great Prince” again lies sick; but in how altered circumstances now! Churches resound not with excessive groanings; Paris is stoically calm: sobs interrupt no prayers, for indeed none are offered; except Priests’ Litanies, read or chanted at fixed money-rate per hour, which are not liable to interruption.
The shepherd of the people has been carried home from Little Trianon, heavy of heart, and been put to bed in his own Château of Versailles: the flock knows it, and heeds it not. At most, in the immeasurable tide of French Speech (which ceases not day after day, and only ebbs towards the short hours of night), may this of the royal sickness emerge from time to time as an article of news.
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Bets are doubtless depending; nay, some people “express themselves loudly in the streets.” But for the rest, on green field and steepled city, the May sun shines out, the May evening fades; and men ply their useful or useless business as if no Louis lay in danger. Dame Dubarry, indeed, might pray, if she had a talent for it.
Duke d’Aiguillon too, Maupeou and the Parlement Maupeou: these, as they sit in their high places, with France harnessed under their feet, know well on what basis they continue there. Look to it, D’Aiguillon; sharply as thou didst, from the Mill of St. Cast, on Quiberon and the invading English; thou, “covered if not with glory yet with meal!”
Fortune was ever accounted inconstant: and each dog has but his day. Forlorn enough languished Duke d’Aiguillon, some years ago; covered, as we said, with meal; nay with worse. For La Chalotais, the Breton Parlementeer, accused him not only of poltroonery and tyranny, but even of concussion (official plunder of money). The French Revolution PDF Book
Which accusations it was easier to get “quashed” by backstairs Influences than to get answered: neither could the thoughts, or even the tongues, of men be tied. Thus, under disastrous eclipse, had this grandnephew of the great Richelieu to glide about; unworshipped by the world; resolute Choiseul, the abrupt proud man, disdaining him, or even forgetting him.
Little prospect but to glide into Gascony, to rebuild Châteaus there, and die inglorious killing game! However, in the year 1770, a certain young soldier, Dumouriez by name, returning from Corsica, could see “with sorrow, at Compiègne, the old King of France, on foot, with doffed hat, in sight of his army, at the side of a magnificent phaeton, doing homage to the— Dubarry.”
With the working people, again it is not so well. Unlucky! For there are twenty to twenty-five millions of them. Whom, however, we lump together into a kind of dim compendious unity, monstrous but dim, far off, as the canaille; or, more humanely, as “the masses.” Masses, indeed: and yet, singular to say, if, with an effort of imagination, thou follow them. The French Revolution PDF Book
Over broad France, into their clay hovels, into their garrets and hutches, the masses consist all of units. Every unit of whom has his own heart and sorrows; stands covered there with his own skin, and if you prick him he will bleed. O purple Sovereignty, Holiness, Reverence; thou, for example, Cardinal Grand-Almoner.
With thy plush covering of honour, who hast thy hands strengthened with dignities and moneys, and art set on thy world watch-tower solemnly, in sight of God, for such ends,—what a thought: that every unit of these masses is a miraculous Man, even as thyself art; struggling, with vision, or with blindness, for his infinite Kingdom (this life which he has got, once only.
In the middle of Eternities); with a spark of the Divinity, what thou callest an immortal soul, in him! Dreary, languid do these struggle in their obscure remoteness; their hearth cheerless, their diet thin. For them, in this world, rises no Era of Hope; hardly now in the other,—if it be not hope in the gloomy rest of Death, for their faith too is failing. The French Revolution PDF Book
Untaught, uncomforted, unfed! A dumb generation; their voice only an inarticulate cry: spokesman, in the King’s Council, in the world’s forum, they have none that finds credence. At rare intervals (as now, in 1775), they will fling down their hoes and hammers; and, to the astonishment of thinking mankind, flock hither and thither, dangerous, aimless; get the length even of Versailles.
Turgot is altering the Corn-trade, abrogating the absurdest Corn-laws; there is dearth, real, or were it even “factitious;” an indubitable scarcity of bread. And so, on the second day of May 1775, these waste multitudes do here, at Versailles Château, in wide-spread wretchedness, in sallow faces, squalor, winged raggedness, present, as in legible hieroglyphic writing, their Petition of Grievances.
The Château gates have to be shut; but the King will appear on the balcony, and speak to them. They have seen the King’s face; their Petition of Grievances has been, if not read, looked at. For answer, two of them are hanged, on a “new gallows forty feet high;” and the rest driven back to their dens,—for a time. The French Revolution PDF Book
Clearly a difficult “point” for Government, that of dealing with these masses;—if indeed it be not rather the sole point and problem of Government, and all other points mere accidental crotchets, superficialities, and beatings of the wind! For let Charter-Chests, Use and Wont, Law common and special say what they will, the masses count to so many millions of units; made, to all appearance, by God.
Whose Earth this is declared to be. Besides, the people are not without ferocity; they have sinews and indignation. Do but look what holiday old Marquis Mirabeau, the crabbed old friend of Men, looked on, in these same years, from his lodging, at the Baths of Mont d’Or: “The savages descending in torrents from the mountains; our people ordered not to go out.
The Curate in surplice and stole; Justice in its peruke; Marechausee sabre in hand, guarding the place, till the bagpipes can begin. The dance interrupted, in a quarter of an hour, by battle; the cries, the squealings of children, of infirm persons, and other assistants, tarring them on, as the rabble does when dogs fight: frightful men, or rather frightful wild animals, clad in jupes of coarse woollen. The French Revolution PDF Book
With large girdles of leather studded with copper nails; of gigantic stature, heightened by high wooden-clogs (sabots); rising on tiptoe to see the fight; tramping time to it; rubbing their sides with their elbows: their faces haggard (figures hâves), and covered with their long greasy hair; the upper part of the visage waxing pale, the lower distorting itself into the attempt at a cruel laugh and a sort of ferocious impatience.
And these people pay the taille! And you want further to take their salt from them! And you know not what it is you are stripping barer, or as you call it, governing; what by the spurt of your pen, in its cold dastard indifference, you will fancy you can starve always with impunity; always till the catastrophe come!
Ah Madame, such Government by Blindman’s-buff, stumbling along too far, will end in the General Overturn (culbute générale).” Undoubtedly a dark feature this in an Age of Gold,—Age, at least, of Paper and Hope! Meanwhile, trouble us not with thy prophecies, O croaking Friend of Men: ’tis long that we have heard such; and still the old world keeps wagging, in its old way. The French Revolution PDF Book Download
By some Historians, sitting much at their ease, in the safe distance, Loménie has been blamed for this dismissal of his Notables: nevertheless it was clearly time. There are things, as we said, which should not be dwelt on with minute close scrutiny: over hot coals you cannot glide too fast.
In these Seven Bureaus, where no work could be done, unless talk were work, the questionablest matters were coming up. Lafayette, for example, in Monseigneur d’Artois’ Bureau, took upon him to set forth more than one deprecatory oration about Lettres-de-Cachet, Liberty of the Subject, Agio, and suchlike; which Monseigneur endeavouring to repress.
Was answered that a Notable being summoned to speak his opinion must speak it. Thus too his Grace the Archbishop of Aix perorating once, with a plaintive pulpit tone, in these words? ‘Tithe, that free-will offering of the piety of Christians’—‘Tithe,’ interrupted Duke la Rochefoucault, with the cold business-manner he has learned from the English.The French Revolution PDF Book Download
‘That free-will offering of the piety of Christians; on which there are now forty-thousand lawsuits in this realm.’ Nay, Lafayette, bound to speak his opinion, went the length, one day, of proposing to convoke a “National Assembly.” ‘You demand States-General?’ asked Monseigneur with an air of minatory surprise.—‘Yes, Monseigneur; and even better than that.’—‘Write it,’ said Monseigneur to the Clerks.
Written accordingly it is; and what is more, will be acted by and by Besenval, during these extraordinary operations, of Payment twofifths in Paper, and change of Prime Minister, had been out on a tour through his District of Command; and indeed, for the last months, peacefully drinking the waters of Contrexeville.
Returning now, in the end of August, towards Moulins, and “knowing nothing,” he arrives one evening at Langres; finds the whole Town in a state of uproar (grande rumeur). Doubtless some sedition; a thing too common in these days! He alights nevertheless; inquires of a “man tolerably dressed,” what the matter is?—‘How?’ answers the man, ‘you have not heard the news? The French Revolution PDF Book Download
The Archbishop is thrown out, and M. Necker is recalled; and all is going to go well!’ Such rumeur and vociferous acclaim has risen round M. Necker, ever from “that day when he issued from the Queen’s Apartments,” a nominated Minister. It was on the 24th of August: “the galleries of the Château.
The courts, the streets of Versailles; in few hours, the Capital; and, as the news flew, all France, resounded with the cry of Vive le Roi! Vive M. Necker! In Paris indeed it unfortunately got the length of turbulence.” Petards, rockets go off, in the Place Dauphine, more than enough.
A “wicker Figure (Mannequin d’osier),” in Archbishop’s stole, made emblematically, three-fifths of it satin, two-fifths of it paper, is promenaded, not in silence, to the popular judgment-bar; is doomed; shriven by a mock Abbé de Vermond; then solemnly consumed by fire, at the foot of Henri’s Statue on the Pont Neuf. The French Revolution PDF Book Free
With such petarding and huzzaing that Chevalier Dubois and his City-watch see good finally to make a charge (more or less ineffectual); and there wanted not burning of sentry-boxes, forcing of guard-houses, and also “dead bodies thrown into the Seine over-night,” to avoid new effervescence.
Parlements therefore shall return from exile: Plenary Court, Payment two-fifths in Paper have vanished; gone off in smoke, at the foot of Henri’s Statue. States-General (with a Political Millennium) are now certain; nay, it shall be announced, in our fond haste, for January next: and all, as the Langres man said, is “going to go.”
To the prophetic glance of Besenval, one other thing is too apparent: that Friend Lamoignon cannot keep his Keepership. Neither he nor War-minister Comte de Brienne! Already old Foulon, with an eye to be war-minister himself, is making underground movements. This is that same Foulon named âme damnée du Parlement; a man grown gray in treachery, in griping, projecting, intriguing and iniquity. The French Revolution PDF Book Free
Who once when it was objected, to some finance-scheme of his, ‘What will the people do?’—made answer, in the fire of discussion, ‘The people may eat grass:’ hasty words, which fly abroad irrevocable,—and will send back tidings!