Page:French Revolution (Belloc 1911).djvu/108

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The eighteen months that intervened between the fixing of the Assembly and the royal family in Paris, and the death of Mirabeau, are remarkable for the following points, which must all be considered abreast, as it were, if we are to understand their combined effects.

1. This was the period in which the constructive work of the National Assembly was done, and in which the whole face of the nation was changed. The advising bodies of lawyers called “Parliaments” were abolished (eleven months after the King had come to Paris), the Modern Departments were organised in the place of the old provinces, the old national and provincial militia was destroyed; but (as it is very important to remember) the old regular army was left untouched. A new judicature and new rules of procedure were established. A new code sketched out in the place of “Common Law” muddle. In a word, it was the period during which most of those things which we regard as characteristic of the revolutionary work were either brought to their theoretic conclusion or given at least their main lines.

2. Among these constructive acts, but so important that it must be regarded separately, was the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, which will be dealt with at length further in this book; it was the principal work (and the principal error) of that year and a half.

3. The general spirit of the Revolution, more difficult to define than its theory but easy to appreciate as one follows the develop-