September 4, 1789: Abbé Grégoire on the Royal Veto and the Legislature of Two Chambers
Abbé Henri Grégoire, born in 1750 and destined to live until 1831, had been one of the leaders of the deputies of the clergy when they joined the deputies of the Third Estate in June, 1789, and had played a prominent part in the resistance to the court and the aristocracy on June 20 and July 14. His name remains associated with many causes: the defense of the civil and political rights of the Jews, opposition to slavery, defense of the constitutional Church, cultural projects such as the Institute, opposition to “vandalism”—he is said to have coined the word—and eventually resistance to Napoleon and persistence in his own liberal ideas under the Restoration. His speech on September 4, 1789, against the Anglophile constitutional measures, Opinion de M. Grégoire, curé d’Embermenil, député de Nanci, sur la sanction royale, à la séance du 4 systembre, was printed in the Procès-Verbal de l’Assemblée nationale, imprimé par son ordre. Deuxième Livraison, Tome Quatrième (Paris, s.d.). His appeal was that of a man who was well known, if rather radical for that period, and who argued in everyday terms accessible to a great many people. The opinions of men like Grégoire prevailed over those of Mirabeau and of Jean Joseph Mounier, the Anglophile leader whose views have already been illustrated in Document 6. Mounier and Lally-Tollendal had spoken on August 31 for the Constitutional Committee, and Mounier and others spoke again in September, but the Anglophiles had lost the majority.
KeywordsProminent Part Liberal Idea English Constitution Cultural Project Religious Liberty
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