Source Problems on the French Revolution

Contents:

2. Le Point Du Jour, No. 4.

After the vote passed by the clergy, an immense crowd of spectators betook themselves Saturday at a very early hour to the hall of the national assembly. They wished to witness a union so much the more remarkable, as the majority was constantly increasing through the addition of new signers; but the military force already prohibited entrance and arrested this patriotic curiosity.

About nine o’clock the president of the assembly and the two secretaries presented themselves at the principal door; entrance having been refused to them as well as to a large number of deputies, the president asked for the officer of the guard. The Comte de Vassan presented himself and said he had been ordered to prevent any one entering the hall, because of preparations which were being made for a royal session. M. Bailly declared to him with firmness that he protested against the obstacles put in the way of the holding of the session fixed yesterday for to-day, and which he declared open.

The Comte de Vassan having added that he was authorized to allow the officers to enter to get the papers they might need, the president and the secretaries entered. They saw, in truth, that the most of the benches had been removed, and that all the passageways of the hall were guarded by soldiers. They noticed at the same time in the court and on the outside door several placards, the tenor of which we have given in the last number.

The president and the two secretaries betook themselves soon after to the tennis court near Saint-Francis Street, where the members of the assembly went also; and, finding that nearly all of them had gathered there, they held their session and continued to deliberate upon public questions, perfectly convinced that the national assembly existed in any place where its members had come together.

At about half past ten, the assembly being complete, the president gave an account of two letters which he had received in the morning from the Marquis de Brézé, grand master of ceremonies, and of the reply he had made to them.

First letter of M. de Brézé

"The King having ordered me, Sir, to make public by heralds his intention to hold on Monday, the twenty-second of this month, a royal session, and at the same time his purpose to suspend the assemblies, which the preparations to be made in the three halls of the orders render necessary, I have the honor to inform you of it. I am with respect, Sir," etc.

"P. S.—I believe it would be well, Sir, if you would charge the secretary with the responsibility of gathering up the papers for fear they might be lost. Would you also have the kindness to have the names of the secretaries sent to me, that I may give instructions permitting them to enter, the necessity of not interrupting the task of the workmen, who have no time to spare, not making it possible to admit everybody to the halls."

Reply of the president of the national assembly

"I have not yet received any order from the King, Sir, for the royal session, nor for the suspension of the assemblies, and it is my duty to go to the one I set for this morning at eight o’clock."

Second letter of M. de Brézé

"It was by positive orders of the King that I had the honor to write to you this morning, Sir, and inform you that His Majesty, wishing to hold a royal session on Monday, which calls for preparations in the three assembly halls of the orders, his intention was that no one should be allowed to enter, and that the sessions should be suspended until after the one His Majesty will hold. I am with respect," etc.

After the reading of these letters, the assembly, having deliberated, passed unanimously the following decree:

"The national assembly, considering itself called to establish the constitution of the kingdom, to work for the regeneration of public order, and to maintain the true principles of the monarchy, cannot be prevented in any way from continuing its deliberations in whatever place it may be forced to establish itself, and, finally, wherever its members are gathered, there is the national assembly; resolved that all the members of this assembly immediately take the solemn oath never to separate, and to reassemble wherever circumstances require until the constitution of the kingdom shall be established and fixed on solid bases; and, that the oath being taken, all the members and each one of them in particular shall confirm by their signatures this unshakable resolution."

After the reading of this decree the president requested that he and the secretaries might take the oath first. The president took the oath alone, and he had the secretaries take the oath after the following formula: "We swear never to separate from the national assembly, and to reassemble where circumstances may require until the constitution of the kingdom shall be established and fixed on solid foundations." Then the assembly took the same oath at the dictation of its president. A minute before, the deputies of the colony of Saint-Domingo had presented themselves to ask permission to asso-date themselves provisionally with the nation by talcing the same oath. The report of the committee on credentials having been favorable to this provisional request, the assembly granted it, and they took the same oath. This ceremony formed the most imposing spectacle. It was followed by applause and reiterated and universal cries of "Long live the King!" The oath taken, the Marquis de Gouy addressed the assembly, saying: "The colony of Saint-Domingo was very young when it gave itself to Louis XIV.; to-day, richer and more brilliant, it puts itself under the protection of the national assembly, and declares that it will henceforth call itself a national colony."

The roll call of the deputies of the baillages, the sénéchaussées, the provinces, and cities took place according to alphabetical order, and each one of the members, on responding, approached the desk and signed.

During the roll call, and in his turn, a deputy of the sénéchaussée of Castelnaudary signed opposed. Camus, one of the secretaries, announced it to the assembly, and there arose a general cry of indignation. The president having first asked that the reasons of the one opposed be heard, the latter declared that he did not believe he could swear to execute deliberations which had not been sanctioned by the king. The president replied to him that the assembly had already made public the same principles in its addresses and deliberations, and that it was in the hearts and minds of all the members of the assembly to recognize the necessity of the royal sanction for all resolutions passed upon the constitution and legislation. The deputy in opposition having persisted in his opinion, it was voted that his signature should be left on the document to prove the liberty of opinion. The roll call of the deputies and the signing of the decree having been finished at about half past four, the question came up of preparing an address to the king to inform him of this decree. Chapelier, De Gouy, and some others improvised addresses, but the assembly did not make use of them, and it resolved that the president should simply present to the king the above decree, at the same time testifying to his majesty its astonishment and its grief at having been interrupted in the holding of its sessions without having been previously notified. Before the end of this session, which lasted until six o’clock, it was decided that that of the assembly was adjourned and continued on Monday at the usual hour. It was also decided that if the royal session took place in the national hall all the members would remain there after the adjournment of the session to take up their deliberations and usual tasks. Finally the printing of the minutes and the decree of this day was ordered, that they might be made public the next day.

Yesterday, Sunday, no session.

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Chicago: "2. Le Point Du Jour, No. 4," Source Problems on the French Revolution in Source Problems on the French Revolution, ed. Fred Morrow Fling and Helene Dresser Fling (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1913), 23–29. Original Sources, accessed July 3, 2022, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=33RYJW873P3A673.

MLA: . "2. Le Point Du Jour, No. 4." Source Problems on the French Revolution, in Source Problems on the French Revolution, edited by Fred Morrow Fling and Helene Dresser Fling, New York, Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1913, pp. 23–29. Original Sources. 3 Jul. 2022. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=33RYJW873P3A673.

Harvard: , '2. Le Point Du Jour, No. 4' in Source Problems on the French Revolution. cited in 1913, Source Problems on the French Revolution, ed. , Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York, pp.23–29. Original Sources, retrieved 3 July 2022, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=33RYJW873P3A673.