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compromise ourselves by the slightest imprudence; that, as statesmen, we should not, for a moment, deprive ourselves of the strictly lawful position which we have assumed. With regard to the second, far from perceiving the necessity of our siding either with the guards or with the people, which has been urged by our honourable colleague, it appears to me that our office is to place ourselves as mediators between both. Now, to fulfil such an office, it is of the first importance that we should not in the slightest degree overstep the ascertained boundary of legal order. Let us explain to his Majesty in what degree he has been misled by his Ministers; and let us, at the same time, arrest the popular movement.”
At this moment, a young man rushed to the door, calling for M. Audry de Puyraveau. The host went out, and the deputies could distinctly hear the excited messenger announce that the populace had taken the Hôtel de Ville.*
“Well !” said M. Audry, when he had returned
* This report, which was, we shall see, repeated, was unfounded : the people never took the Hôtel de Ville till the morning of the 29th, when they took entire possession of it, the troops having evacuated it in the night. These reports were, no doubt, occasioned by the people's obtaining possession of the Place de Grève, which they did two or three times.
and formally apprised them of the event; “ I think we may now venture to give up writing a respectful letter to Charles."
M. Guizot. 66 We will substitute for it a protest; I have here a slight sketch.”
« Let us see it ! let us see it ! ”
M. Guizot then produced that protest which has been since published in Le Temps, with the formula of fidelity to the King, &c. A few deputies, — Daunou, Lafayette, Mauguin, Audry, Laborde, - considered it too weak, and conceived that it must be ineffective.
M. Lafitte.—“We must ever remember, Gentlemen, that the demands of the people must proportionately increase with bloodshed. This protest would have answered yesterday; to-day it is insufficient.”
M. Sebastiani, 66 What is it to us what the people think? Our business is to maintain our perfectly lawful position.”
M. Perier. — “Gentlemen, one thing is more urgent than all others. We must stop the effusion of blood. If we are to negotiate, we must secure a hearing. You see Paris is a camp. Marmont commands the place: let us, therefore, endeavour to obtain a truce from him, while we attempt also to obtain an audience from the King.
I propose, that a commission of five members be
M. Labbey de Pompières. -“ Well, then, we can do nothing more at present."
M. Sebastiani. — “Nothing, nothing. We must watch events.”
M. Lafayette. — “Very true; but affairs press, and we must decide. At present, we deliberate, and determine nothing."
M. Mauguin. — “And, in the mean time, they fight, kill, and murder in every corner of the city.”
Several Deputies. —"Ah! it is very unfortunate.”
The assembly broke up, agreeing to meet again at four o'clock, at M. Bérard's, to receive the report of the commissioners.
As the deputies dispersed, they were beset by the mob, enquiring what had been done.
“ Act! act!” cried the populace: “it is you who have excited us to do all this, and now you will not direct us. What are you going to do ?”
“ We are going to send a protest to his Ma
jesty," said M. Guizot : “ it is already sent to the printer's, and, in all probability, it will be ready to-morrow."
“A protest! poh! To-morrow ! pah!”
PRIVATE MEETING OF THE
AT M. BÉRARD'S, JULY 28., FOUR O'CLOCK.
Ar four o'clock they met at M. Bérard's; but, in the mean time, the Hôtel de Ville had been retaken by the troops.* In other quarters, the populace had been repulsed. Ardour and defiance had now given way to terror and despair. It was thought to be all over. The attendance of the deputies was very thin indeed.
The Commissioners made their report. Indignant at the answer of the Marshal, several deputies declared the civil war commenced, and proposed to head the people: a proposition received with profound silence. The meeting broke into desultory conversation, chiefly on the subject of personal safety.
66 They say that Paris is in a state of siege.” “ It is, positively.”
* Such was the rumour: but it is meant, that the troops had repulsed the people from the Place de Grève.