UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Pierre-Victor Malouet and the 'monarchiens' in the French revolution and counter-revolution Griffiths, Robert Howell


This thesis presents a reassessment of the 'monarchiens', the group of constitutional monarchists of whom the most prominent were Malouet, Mounier, Lally-Tolendal, Mallet du Pan and Montlosier, in the whole period from 1787 to 1799. Previous study of the monarchiens has concentrated on their unsuccessful.attempt to secure an English type of constitution in the summer of 1789. But the proposals, presented by the first constitutional committee of the Constituent Assembly led by Mounier, were hastily compiled and supported by a far from homogeneous group, many members of which would not have considered themselves as 'monarchien' later in the revolution (Chapters 2 and 4). The word 'monarchien' was not used in 1789; it was first used to describe the monarchist clubs led by Malouet and Clermont-Tonnerre in 1790 and 1791. A study of the controversy which surrounded these clubs reveals that both the Left and the Right conceived of the monarchiens primarily as the inheritors of the ministerial reformist tradition of the pre-revolution (Chapter 3). This was even more the case after the closure of the Constituent Assembly when 'monarchien-ism' became the vogue word of opprobrium in the polemical vocabulary of the counter-revolutionary Right (Chapter 5). An analysis of the monarchiens' own pronouncements in the clubs of 1790/91 (Chapter 3) and in their pamphlets of 1791/92 (Chapter 5) suggests that the Right was reasonably accurate in judging the monarchiens to be revolutionary constitutionalists who favoured the centralisation and unification of political power to complement a streamlined monarchical administration. The Right need not have feared the monarchiens who, by the end of the Constituent Assembly, were numerically very weak and wielded no political power. But the bogy of monarchienism held a grip on the counter-revolutionary mentality because the controversy which the monarchiens engendered was essentially an extension of the political battles of the ancien régime: an ideological conflict between the advocates of ministerial reformism and those who above all wished to preserve and extend autonomous provincial or corporate 'liberties' against such encroaching 'rational' bureaucracy. After the fall of the monarchy in August 1792, some of the monarchiens settled in London and continued to fight for a monarchy-dominated rather than an assembly-dominated new constitution (Chapter 8). They returned to France after 18 Brumaire because the Constitution of the Year VIll seemed to offer the sort of polity they had been advocating for ten years. Pierre-Victor Malouet is the prime focus of this study because he was the most persistent and consistent member of the monarchien group. His political orientation in the pre-revolution (Chapter 1), during the whole of the Constituent Assembly (Chapters 2-4 , and through eight years of sustained activity in the counter-revolution (Chapters 5-9), epitomise the distinctive character which this thesis assigns to monarchienism. During the emigration period, Malouet's political influence was increased by his official position as representative of the counter-revolutionary colonial interests in protracted negotiations with the British government during the ill-fated British intervention in Saint Domingue (Chapters 6-7). The violent quarrels which these negotiations caused between Malouet and the other émigré interests not only throw new light on colonial interests in the counter-revolution and on British policy in the revolutionary wars, but they also reflect the broader political conflict concerning monarchienism. The last chapter (9) places the monarchiens' political, social and economic pronouncements in the wider context of constitutionalist thought throughout the revolutionary decade. Sources for the thesis include monarchien and anti-monarchien pamphlets; the monarchiens' correspondence and memoranda (both published and unpublished); a wide range of revolutionary and counter-revolutionary journals; British government papers (1792-99) and the monarchien correspondence with the French court-in-exile.

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