CHAPTER V. FROM THE 1ST OF OCTOBER, 1791, TO THE 21ST OF SEPTEMBER, 1792
The Left had in the assembly the nucleus of a party more extreme than itself, and the members of which, such as Chabot, Bazire, Merlin, were to the Girondists what Petion, Buzot, Robespierre, had been to the Left of the constituent. This was the commencement of the democratic faction which, without, served as auxiliary to the Gironde, and which managed the clubs and the multitude. Robespierre in the society of the Jacobins, where he established his sway after leaving the assembly; Danton, Camille Desmoulins, and Fabre-d'Eglantine at the Cordeliers, where they had founded a club of innovators more extreme than the Jacobins, composed of men of the bourgeoisie; the brewer Santerre in the faubourgs, where the popular power lay; were the true chiefs of this faction, which depended on one whole class, and aspired at founding its own regime.
The Centre of the legislative assembly was sincerely attached to the new order of things. It had almost the same opinions, the same inclination for moderation as the Centre of the constituent assembly; but its power was very different: it was no longer at the head of a class established, and by the aid of which it could master all the extreme parties. Public dangers, making the want of exalted opinions and parties from without again felt, completely annulled the Centre. It was soon won over to the strongest side, the fate of all moderate parties, and the Left swayed it.
The situation of the assembly was very difficult. Its predecessor had left it parties which it evidently could not pacify. From the beginning of the session it was obliged to turn its attention to these, and that in opposing them. Emigration was making an alarming progress: the king's two brothers, the prince de Conde and the duke de Bourbon, had protested against Louis XVI. accepting the constitutional act, that is, against the only means of accommodation; they had said that the king could not alienate the rights of the ancient monarchy; and their protest, circulating throughout France, had produced a great effect on their partisans. Officers quitted the armies, the nobility their chateaux, whole companies deserted to enlist on the frontiers. Distaffs were sent to those who wavered; and those who did not emigrate were threatened with the loss of the position when the nobility should return victorious. In the Austrian Low Countries and the bordering electorates, there was formed what was called La France exterieure. The counterrevolution was openly preparing at Brussels, Worms, and Coblentz, under the protection and even with the assistance of foreign courts. The ambassadors of the emigrants were received, while those of the French government were dismissed, ill received, or even thrown into prison, as in the case of M. Duveryer. French merchants and travellers suspected of patriotism and attachment to the revolution were scouted throughout Europe. Several powers had declared themselves without disguise: of this number were Sweden, Russia, and Spain; the latter at that time being governed by the marquis Florida- Blanca, a man entirely devoted to the emigrant party. At the same time, Prussia kept its army prepared for war: the lines of the Spanish and Sardinian troops increased on our Alpine and Pyrenean frontiers, and Gustavus was assembling a Swedish army.
The dissentient ecclesiastics left nothing undone which might produce a diversion in favour of the emigrants at home. "Priests, and especially bishops," says the marquis de Ferrieres, "employed all the resources of fanaticism to excite the people, in town and country, against the civil constitution of the clergy." Bishops ordered the priests no longer to perform divine service in the same church with the constitutional priests, for fear the people might confound the two. "Independently," he adds, "of circular letters written to the cures, instructions intended for the people were circulated through the country. They said that the sacraments could not be effectually administered by the constitutional priests, whom they called Intruders, and that every one attending their ministrations became by their presence guilty of a mortal sin; that those who were married by Intruders, were not married; that they brought a curse upon themselves and upon their children; that no one should have communication with them, or with those separated from the church; that the municipal officers who installed them, like them became apostates; that the moment of their installation all bell-ringers and sextons ought to resign their situations.... These fanatical addresses produced the effect which the bishops expected. Religious disturbances broke out on all sides."