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7 - The Constitution in the balance: events after the king's return

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 September 2012

David Andress
Affiliation:
University of Portsmouth
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Summary

The apparent calm which greeted the return of the king did not last long. The Argus Patriote reported that on 28 June ‘a crowd of workers went … to the Abbaye, to ask that they should be given the Gardes-du-Corps who are confined there’. This was not a rescue, but a lynch-mob, the dispersal of which required the summoning of the Guard by sounding the générale. It was in response to a ‘false rumour’ that the royal bodyguards, couriers for the Flight to Varennes, ‘were to be set free by their comrades’.

Some smaller incidents, meanwhile, point to the continued high level of social and political tensions. On 26 June, at around 6.30 p.m., Simeon Charles François Vallée, a former master-painter and gilder, now a seller of pictures and prints, was seized by a group of citizens in the Palais-Royal for reading from a copy of the Ami du Peuple. Two witnesses deposed that he had ‘occasioned tumult’ and had made ‘several commentaries against Lafayette, the Lameths and several other deputies … as well as against M. Bailly’. He had been charging them with complicity in the king's flight and general perfidy. Three other witnesses confirmed the substance of this accusation.

Vallée said he had been passing on his way through the Palais-Royal when he had met ‘around twenty women who were talking together and who asked him, “Hey brother, have you got today's Marat?”’. He had a copy in his pocket, and at their request read it out, but protested that this had lasted only ‘half a quarter-hour’ – not long enough therefore to have made the alleged ‘commentaries’.

Type
Chapter
Information
Massacre at the Champ de Mars
Popular Dissent and Political Culture in the French Revolution
, pp. 157 - 173
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2000

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