THE FAILURE TO COMPROMISE
DOI link for THE FAILURE TO COMPROMISE
THE FAILURE TO COMPROMISE book
D U R I N G the second half of August 1789 the advocates of compromise tried to form themselves into an organized political party. Their leaders, a committee of fifteen led by Malouet, Mounier, the bishop of Langres and the comtes de Virieu and de Lally-Tollendal, claimed the support of about half the deputies of the Third Estate.1 From 17th August to 28th September they won every one of the fortnightly elections to the presidency of the Assembly. Masters of the influential committee charged with the preparation of a draft constitution, the monarchiens, as they were known, hoped to dictate the form that political institutions were to take. At Lafayette's house they met the leaders of the more radical deputies to discuss the formulation of a common policy.2 The radicals, Duport, Lameth and Barnave, were prepared to accept an Upper House, provided that it had no absolute veto over legislation, and an absolute royal veto, provided that the king were not authorized to dis-
solve the Assembly. Confident of their majority, the mortarchiens refused these terms and negotiations were broken off on 29th August. It was probably no coincidence that a violent meeting at the Palais Royal on the following evening proposed taking the law into its own hands and was with difficulty restrained from marching on Versailles in order to bring the king back to Paris. In the face of this popular hostility the monarchiens drew towards the aristocratic Right and after a meeting with some of the leading royalists urged the king to withdraw farther away from Paris-advice which Louis rejected. The constitutional debate in the Assembly therefore opened somewhat ominously, with the Third Estate divided, the radicals looking to popular forces in Paris to intimidate the Assembly and the monarchiens turning towards an aristocracy whose intentions they had good reason to suspect.