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was made. On the 4th of March, the oath was publicly administered to Washington by Mr. Justice Cushing, in the Senate Chamber, in presence of the heads of departments, foreign ministers, such members of the House of Representatives as were in town, and as many other spectators as could be accommodated.
THE OATH ADMINISTERED.
GOUVERNEUR MORRIS MINISTER AT THE FRENCH COURT-HIS REPRESENTATIONS OF THE STATE OF AFFAIRS-WASHINGTON'S CONCERN FOR LAFAYETTE-JEFFERSON ANNOYED AT HIS FOREBODINGS-OVERTHROW OF THE FRENCH MONARCHY IMPRISONMENT OF LAFAYETTE JEFFERSON CONCERNED, BUT NOT DISCOURAGED AT THE REPUBLICAN MASSACRES-WASHINGTON SHOCKED-HIS LETTER TO THE MARCHIONESS
EARLY in 1792, Gouverneur Morris had received the appointment of minister plenipotentiary to the French court. His diplomatic correspondence from Paris gave shocking accounts of the excesses attending the revolution. France, he represented as governed by Jacobin clubs. Lafayette, by endeavoring to check their excesses, had completely lost his authority. "Were he to appear just now in Paris, unattended by his army," writes Morris, "he would be torn to pieces." Washington received these accounts with deep concern. What was to be the fate of that distracted country-what was to be the fate of his friend!
Jefferson was impatient of these gloomy picturings; especially when he saw their effect upon Washington's mind. "The fact is," writes he, "that Gouverneur Morris, a high-flying monarchy man, shutting his eyes and his faith to every fact against his wishes, and believing every thing he desires to be true, has kept the
President's mind constantly poisoned with his forebodings."
DOWNFALL OF LAFAYETTE.
His forebodings, however, were soon verified. Lafayette addressed from his camp, a letter to the Legislative Assembly, formally denouncing the conduct of the Jacobin club as violating the declaration of rights and the constitution.
His letter was of no avail. On the 20th of June bands from the Faubourg St. Antoine, armed with pikes, and headed by Santerre, marched to the Tuileries, insulted the king in the presence of his family, obliging him to put on the bonnet rouge, the baleful cap of liberty of the revolution. Lafayette, still loyal to his sovereign, hastened to Paris, appeared at the bar of the Assembly, and demanded, in the name of the army, the punishment of those who had thus violated the constitution, by insulting in his palace, the chief of the executive power. His intervention proved of no avail, and he returned with a sad and foreboding heart to his army.
On the 9th of August, Paris was startled by the sound of the fatal tocsin at midnight. On the 10th the chateau of the Tuileries was attacked, and the Swiss guard who defended it, were massacred. The king and queen took refuge in the National Assembly, which body decreed the suspension of the king's authority.
It was at once the overthrow of the monarchy, the annihilation of the constitutional party, and the commencement of the reign of terror. Lafayette, who was the head of the constitutionalists, was involved in their downfall. The Jacobins denounced him in the National Assembly; his arrest was decreed, and emissaries were sent to carry the decree into effect. At first he thought
of repairing at once to Paris and facing his accusers, but, on second thoughts, determined to bend before the storm and await the return of more propitious days.
Leaving every thing in order in his army, which remained encamped at Sedan, he set off with a few trusty friends for the Netherlands, to seek an asylum in Holland or the United States, but, with his companions, was detained a prisoner at Rochefort, the first Austrian post.
"Thus his circle is completed," writes Morris. "He has spent his fortune on a revolution, and is now crushed by the wheel which he put in motion. He lasted longer than I expected."
Washington looked with a sadder eye on this catastrophe of Lafayette's high-hearted and gallant aspirations, and mourned over the adverse fortunes of his friend.
The reign of terror continued. "We have had one week of unchecked murders, in which some thousands have perished in this city," writes Morris to Jefferson, on the 10th of September. "It began with between two and three hundred of the clergy, who had been shot because they would not take the oaths prescribed by the law, and which they said, were contrary to their conscience." Thence these executors of speedy justice went to the abbaye where persons were confined who were at court on the 10th of August. These were despatched also, and afterwards they visited the other prisons. "All those who were confined either on the accusation or suspicion of crimes, were destroyed."
The accounts of these massacres grieved Mr. Jeffer
JEFFERSON'S SANGUINE VIEWS.
son. They were shocking in themselves, and he feared they might bring great discredit upon the Jacobins of France, whom he considered republican patriots, bent on the establishment of a free constitution. They had acquiesced for a time, said he, in the experiment of retaining an hereditary executive, but finding, if pursued, it would insure the re-establishment of a despotism, they considered it absolutely indispensable to expunge that office. "In the struggle which was necessary, many guilty persons fell without the forms of trial, and with them, some innocent. These I deplore as much as anybody, and shall deplore some of them to the day of my death. But I deplore them as I should have done, had they fallen in battle. It was necessary to use the arm of the people, a machine not quite so blind as balls and bombs, but blind to a certain degree. A few of their cordial friends met at their hands the fate of enemies. But time and truth will rescue and embalm their memories, while their posterity will be enjoying that very liberty for which they would never have hesitated to offer up their lives. The liberty of the whole earth was depending on the issue of the contest, and was ever such a prize won with so little innocent blood? My own affections have been deeply wounded by some of the martyrs to this cause, but rather than it should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated; were there but an Adam and Eve left in every country, and left free, it would be better than as it now is.
Washington, who contemplated the French revolution with a less sanguine eye than Jefferson, was simply
* Letter to Mr. Short. Jefferson's Works, iii. 501.