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CAPTURE OF GODOY. (See p. 551.)
Thus entered the year 1717. It had been intended to open Parliament immediately on the king's return, but the discovery of a new and singular phase of the Jacobite conspiracy compelled its postponement. We have seen that the trafficking of George with Denmark for the bishoprics of Bremen and Verden, reft in the king of Sweden's absence from his possession, had incensed that monarch, and made him vow that he would support the Pretender and march into Scotland with twelve thousand men. Such a menace on the part of a general like Charles XII. was not likely to pass unnoticed by the Jacobites. The Duke of Berwick had taken up the idea very eagerly. He had held several conferences upon it with Baron Spaar, the Swedish Minister at Paris, and he had sent a trusty minister to Charles at Stralsund, with the proposal that a body of seven or eight thousand Swedes, then encamped near Gothenburg, should embark at that port, whence, with a favourable wind, they could land in Scotland in eight-and-forty hours. The Pretender agreed to furnish one hundred and fifty thousand livres for their expenses. At that time, however, Charles was closely besieged by the Danes, Prussians, and their new ally, George of Hanover, purchased by the bribe of Bremen and Verden. Charles was compelled by this coalition to retire from Stralsund, but only in a mood of deeper indignation against the King of England, and therefore more favourable to his enemies.
The king agreed to visit the Assembly in the morning; and he went, attended by his two brothers. He addressed them in a kind and conciliatory tone. He said, "You have been afraid of me; but, for my part, I put my trust in you." This avowal was received with applause, in one of those bursts of sentiment, so sudden and so soon over, which mark French history one moment with tearful emotions and the next with savage bloodshed. The deputies surrounded the monarch, and escorted him back to the palace with tears in their eyes. The queen, from a balcony, saw this enthusiastic procession. She stood with the little dauphin in her arms, and her daughter holding by her dress; and herself, greatly moved, was hailed for the moment also by the senators. For the time all seemed to be forgotten. The king consented to the recall of Necker. The Duke de Liancourt was appointed president of the Assembly, in the place of Bailly; and the nobles, who had hitherto absented themselves from the sittings, now attended and voted. Thus was the Assembly apparently amalgamated, and the revolution completed. A sudden fit of generosity seemed to seize the nobles in the Assemblywhich, in fact, was a fit of terrorfor they had come to the conclusion that no protection was to be expected from the Assembly against the fury and cupidity of the people. They saw that the Assembly was the slave of the people; that the army had fraternised with the people; and that they were at the mercy of the merciless populace. The Viscount de Noailles and the Duke d'Aiguillon declared that it would be wicked and absurd to employ force to quiet the people. They must destroy the cause of their sufferings, and all would be accomplished. The nobles hastened to renounce their privileges. They crowded round the table to enumerate what they surrendered. The Commons, having nothing of their own to give up, surrendered the privileges and charters of towns and provinces. Some offered up their pensions; and one deputy, having nothing else, surrendered his personal convenience, pledging himself to devote his energies to the public welfare. The whole Assembly was in a ferment and fever-heat paroxysm of renunciation, such as could only be witnessed in France. Lally Tollendal, unable to approach the tribunal, sent up a note to the President"Everything is to be apprehended, from the enthusiasm of the Assembly. Break up the sitting!" Lally moved that the king should be proclaimed the restorer of French liberty, which was carried by acclamation; that a Te Deum should be performed for this joyful event; and the Assembly broke up about midnight in a bewilderment of rapture and wonder at its own deed.
The people having collected in great crowds in the neighbourhood of the Council House, Dalton ordered out a company of soldiers, under a young ensign, to patrol the streets, and overawe any attempts at demonstrations in support of the Council. The young ensign, having a stone flung at him, without further ceremony ordered his men to fire into the crowd, and six persons were killed, and numbers of others wounded. No sooner did Joseph hear of this rash and cruel act, than he wrote highly approving of it, and promoting the ensign. The people, greatly enraged, rose in the different towns, and were attacked by the Imperial troops, and blood was shed in various places. With his usual disregard of consequences, Joseph was at this moment endeavouring to raise a loan in the Netherlands, to enable him to carry on the war against Turkey. But this conduct completely quashed all hope of it; not a man of money would advance a stiver. Trautmansdorff continued to threaten the people, and Dalton was ready to execute his most harsh orders. It was determined to break up the University of Antwerp, and on the 4th of August, 1789, troops were drawn up, and cannon planted in the public square, to keep down the populace, whilst the professors were turned into the streets, and the college doors locked. Here there occurred an attack on the unarmed people, as wanton as that which took place at Brussels, and no less than thirty or forty persons were killed on the spot, and great numbers wounded. This Massacre of Antwerp, as it was called, roused the indignation of the whole Netherlands, and was heard with horror by all Europe. The monks and professors who had been turned out became objects of sympathy, even to those who regarded with wonder and contempt their bigotry and superstition. But Joseph, engaged in his miserable and disgraceful war against the Turks, sent to Dalton his warmest approval of what he called these vigorous measures.