Fear > Storming of the Bastille > A Royalist Journalist Comments on the King's Acceptance of the July 14 Revolution
His Majesty, seeing that it would be necessary to drown the insurrection in pools of blood, preferred to recognize it by dint of his clemency. He appeared without preliminary ceremonies before the States General which for the first time he called the National Assembly. He confirmed the dismissal of the army camped around Paris, approved the establishment of the bourgeois militia, handed a letter for the recall of Necker to the president of the assembly, authorized eighty deputies to be sent to Paris to bring the tidings of his generosity and, by his silence, ignored the defection of the French Guard and the murder of his officers.
But, if Paris frightened Versailles, no less did Versailles terrify Paris. The capital, which could not believe in so much clemency on the part of the King, barricaded its streets and was covered with armed men who seemed to have sprung from the earth.... The national cockade was hoisted everywhere; it was white, blue, and red. These colors decorated everything, sanctioned everything, justified everything.
These successes led on to others and the appetite for power could not be appeased. The City Hall and the bourgeoisie of Paris, not content with the sacrifices which His Majesty had made to keep the public peace, and in the drunken throes of sovereignty, demanded that His Majesty come to the capital to show it a king without an army, without ministers, without a council, and since it must be said, a king stripped [of his powers]: His Majesty, with an instinct which we would call genius, if we did not fear to denigrate the goodness of his heart, confounded the evil-minded and all those who had counted on his taking an extreme stand or at least upon a little resistance: he announced that he would go to Paris....
It was on the 17th of June
that the Third Estate declared itself the National Assembly and it was on the
17th of the following month that the King confirmed the new order of things
by going to Paris. Versailles will never forget that day and that departure:
the King's former servants could not, without shedding tears, watch the French
monarch, whose very name was invested with thoughts of love and authority, proceed
without ceremony and without defence, in the midst of an armed populace, toward
a capital in delirium, in order to sanction an insurrection.
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