LOUIS THE SIXTEENTH AND CHARLES THE TENTH.
IT is well known, that at a very early period of the French Revo- lution, the Count d'Airrois withdrew from France ; that a num- ber of the nobility as well as gentry followed him; • and that from their position on the Rhine they made many demonstrations against France, which terminated in strengthening and consoli- dating the Republican party, and led indirectly to many of the outrages to which Louis the Sixteenth was subjected, if they did not procure his most illegal condemnation. It was the favourite topic of Count d'Aarois—who, however, took care to place him- self at a safe distance from the consequence of failure; before he gave utterance to his opinions—that if Louis would but employ more energy in repressing the encroachments of the anti-monar- chical party, he might put it down. The Count was nowise scrupulous of the means to be adopted; nor did he heSitale at the contemplation of the bloodshed that must be the result of eompli- , ance with his schemes. The following letters, in answer to his ex- hortations and complaints, were published in this country in 1803, by Miss HELEN MARIA WILLIAMS; who, living in Paris, where her conversazioni were attended by most of the political chiefs, and among others by the celebrated ROBESPIERRE and his compeers of the Mountain, had undeniable opportunities, if any one had, of getting possession of such documents. They were not permitted to be pub- lished in France. We have given our own translation of the let- ters; which are curiosities, not only as exhibiting marked proofs of the very amiable disposition of Louis, but as they are con- nected with the despotic and insolent temper of his exiled brother. The second letter places in a curious point of view the ridiculous conduct of the French noblesse who accompanied D'Aarois in. his flight. It is indeed well known, that at the time when poor Louis looked forward to no shelter but the grave, and no victory over the malignity of his fate but death, these fellows, the miser- able offscourings of a worthless court, were so confident of crushing their countrymen, that they regarded with stupid envy and dislike every man who joined their ranks, as adding not so much to their assurance of conquest, as to the diminution of the value of the prize which they deemed themselves powerful enough to ravish without assistance. In another year, they were scattered abroad, not again to reassemble for a quarter of a century.
" TO THE COUNT D'ARTOIS. "September 7th, 1789.
"You indulge in complaints, brother ; and while respect and fraternal affection guide your pen, your letter is filled with what you consider well-
founded reproaches. You speak to me of courage—of resisting the pro- jects of faction—of determination—of will. Brother, you are not a king.
-Heaven, which placed me on the throne, while it gave me a feeling heart, gave me also the sentiments of a good father. Every Frenchman is my son ; I am the common father of the great family confided to my care.
Ingratitude and hatred have taken up arms against me, but men's eyes are dimmed, their hearts wander, the disease of revolution has turned their heads. The people imagine that they are engaged in their own cause, and that I alone am opposed to them. I might give the signal for the battle ; but how great must be the horrors of that fight, how much greater the horrors of the victory in which it issued ! Do you think that the triumph would have been mine, at a moment when every order of the state was combining, when the whole of the population was arming against me, when the whole of the army had forgotten their oaths, their honour, and their king? I might, it is true, bang out the signal of slaughter—thousands of Frenchmen might be sacrificed. You will tell me, perhaps, that the people have triumphed, that they have testified by their excesses how destitute they are of gene- rosity, that they have assassinated the enemies whom they had overcome. Ah, do you then think the calm of a good conscience no consolation ? I have done my duty, and while the assassin is torn with_remorse; I can pro- claim aloud to all that I am iibt responsible for his murders. I have-saved Frenchmen, I have saved my family, my friends, the whole of my people; I have the secret satisfaction of having done well: my enemies have had recourse to crime. Which of our conditions is the more truly worthy of envy ? Cease brother, cease to accuse : time, peculiar circumstances, and a thousand causes too tedious to enumerate, have led to the misfor- tunes of France. It is very cruel to blame me as the cause. This is com- bining with my enemies to grieve my paternal heart. Brother, I have sacrificed myself for my people : this first duty fulfilled, be assured I can equally sacrifice myself for you and the Frenchmen who have followed you. Your departure has already given rise to many murmurs—the fac- tions even now indulge in the anticipation of our accusation, and of the advantage which your conduct affords them ; even now they term it a flight a conspiracy, a crime. These notions are daily spreading, and will lead to fatal consequences if tranquillity be not ft-established—if your recal be im- possible—if I neglect the favourable opportunity of summoninc,° back to France those who have voluntarily banished themselves from it, and who ought to obey the wish which I shall, when such an opportunity arrives, make it a point of duty to manifest. Farewell brother 1 forget not that
I love you, and that my mind is ever occupied with you. Louis."
"TO M. THE COUNT D'ARTOIS. "March 20th, 1791:
"Brother, the gentlemen that have followed you and who have aban- doned their country on our account, make bitter complaints. They have abandoned everything for honour's sake—for the defence of the throne and the altar. The question now is, not whether you and they have done wisely or not; I have often vexed you by my complaints on that head. The sacrifices they have made are so much the more meritorious that they were then hidden, banished as it were, in the heart of the provinces, where the favours of the Court but rarely visited them; and yet they have not the less cheerfully devoted their fortunes in the defence of the state. These gentlemen complain that they are treated harshly by the high nobility, who will scarcely condescend to look on them or regard them except as inferiors ; and yet the devoted- ness of this class of gentlemen appears to inc worthy of the highest praise. What interest had they in embracing the cause of their exiled princes? None in the world; and yet they have taken up arms and girded themselves for the fight, while those who pretend to contemn them seem to have fled for no other purpose than to get out of danger. Brother, pay attention to those brave Frenchmen who have devoted themselves to you, and per- mit them not to be trodden upon. Tell them that every. rank of my nobles is dear to me—that every Frenchman has a place in my heart. Alas ! I suffer too keenly from your absence, not to sigh over a decree of banishment which has left me entirely at the mercy of my enemies ; which, instead of the countenances of my nobles, and of the princes of my blood, presents nothing but misfortunes to my eyes. Oh, tell the Frenchmen, and tell them frequently, who are now assembled on the Rhine, in spite of my wishes, in spite of My commands, that I have lost every hope—that I find it impossible to put down the hydra of discord that opposes me, to conciliate the kindness of my subjects, or to bring back peace to my country; but that in the worst dangers to which I am. exposed, I have still one resource left—I can die. "Louis." We republish these documents at the suggestion of an esteemed correspondent ; who justly considers them as not unworthy of a place in the SPECTATOR at the present crisis—" to me," says our correspondent, "they speak volumes, politically and morally."