CHAPTER III. FROM THE 6TH OF OCTOBER, 1789, TO THE DEATH OF MIRABEAU, APRIL, 1791
A profound silence now reigned in the vast inclosure, and Lafayette, appointed that day to the command in chief of all the national guards of the kingdom, advanced first to take the civic oath. Borne on the arms of grenadiers to the altar of the country, amidst the acclamations of the people, he exclaimed with a loud voice, in his own name, and that of the federates and troops: "We swear eternal fidelity to the nation, the law, and the king; to maintain to the utmost of our power the constitution decreed by the national assembly, and accepted by the king; and to remain united with every Frenchman by the indissoluble ties of fraternity." Forthwith the firing of cannon, prolonged cries of "Vive la nation!" "Vive le roi!" and sounds of music, mingled in the air. The president of the national assembly took the same oath, and all the deputies repeated it with one voice. Then Louis XVI. rose and said: "I, king of the French, swear to employ all the power delegated to me by the constitutional act of the state, in maintaining the constitution decreed by the national assembly and accepted by me." The queen, carried away by the enthusiasm of the moment, rose, lifted up the dauphin in her arms, and showing him to the people, exclaimed: "Behold my son, he unites with me in the same sentiments." At that moment the banners were lowered, the acclamations of the people were heard, and the subjects believed in the sincerity of the monarch, the monarch in the affection of the subjects, and this happy day closed with a hymn of thanksgiving.
The fetes of the confederation were protracted for some days. Illuminations, balls, and sports were given by the city of Paris to the deputies of the departments. A ball took place on the spot where had stood, a year before, the Bastille; gratings, fetters, ruins, were observed here and there, and on the door was the inscription, "Ici on danse," a striking contrast with the ancient destination of the spot. A contemporary observes: "They danced indeed with joy and security on the ground where so many tears had been shed; where courage, genius, and innocence had so often groaned; where so often the cries of despair had been stifled." A medal was struck to commemorate the confederation; and at the termination of the fetes the deputies returned to their departments.
The confederation only suspended the hostility of parties. Petty intrigues were resumed in the assembly as well as out of doors. The duke of Orleans had returned from his mission, or, more strictly speaking, from his exile. The inquiry respecting the events of the 5th and 6th of October, of which he and Mirabeau were accused as the authors, had been conducted by the Chatelets inquiry, which had been suspended, was now resumed. By this attack the court again displayed its want of foresight; for it ought to have proved the accusation or not to have made it. The assembly having decided on giving up the guilty parties, had it found any such, declared there was no ground for proceeding; and Mirabeau, after an overwhelming outburst against the whole affair, obliged the Right to be silent, and thus arose triumphantly from an accusation which had been made expressly to intimidate him.
They attacked not only a few deputies but the assembly itself. The court intrigued against it, but the Right drove this to exaggeration. "We like its decrees," said the abbe Maury; "we want three or four more of them." Hired libellists sold, at its very doors, papers calculated to deprive it of the respect of the people; the ministers blamed and obstructed its progress. Necker, still haunted by the recollection of his former ascendancy, addressed to it memorials, in which he opposed its decrees and gave it advice. This minister could not accustom himself to a secondary part: he would not fall in with the abrupt plans of the assembly, so entirely opposed to his ideas of gradual reform. At length, convinced or weary of the inutility of his efforts, he left Paris, after resigning, on the 4th of September, 1790, and obscurely traversed those provinces which a year before he had gone through in triumph. In revolutions, men are easily forgotten, for the nation sees many in its varied course. If we would not find them ungrateful, we must not cease for an instant to serve according to their own desire.
On the other hand, the nobility which had found a new subject of discontent in the abolition of titles, continued its anti-revolutionary efforts. As it did not succeed in exciting the people, who, from their position, found the recent changes very beneficial, it had recourse to means which it considered more certain; it quitted the kingdom, with the intention of returning thither with all Europe as its armed ally; but while waiting till a system of emigration could be organised, while waiting for the appearance of foreign foes to the revolution, it continued to arouse enemies to it in the interior of the kingdom. The troops, as we have before observed, had already for some time been tampered with in various ways. The new military code was favourable to the soldiers; promotion formerly granted to the nobility was now granted to seniority. Most of the officers were attached to the ancient regime, nor did they conceal the fact. Compelled to take what had become the common oath, the oath of fidelity to the nation, the law, and the king, some left the army, and increased the number of emigrants, while others endeavoured to win the soldiers over to their party.