The French Revolution, Volume 2 The Origins of Contemporary France, Volume 3
Hippolyte A. Taine

Part 6 out of 10

"The second of September is the great article in the credo of our
freedom."[5] It is peculiar to the Jacobin to consider himself as a
legitimate sovereign, and to treat his adversaries not as
belligerents, but as criminals. They are guilty of lèse- nation; they
are outlaws, fit to be killed at all times and places, and deserve
extinction, even when no longer able or in a condition do any harm. --
Consequently, on the 10th of August the Swiss Guards, who do not fire
a gun and who surrender, the wounded lying on the ground, their
surgeons, the palace domestics, are killed; and worse still, persons
like M. de Clermont-Tonnerre who pass quietly along the street. All
this is now called in official phraseology the justice of the people.
-- On the 11th the Swiss Guards, collected in the Feuillants building,
come near being massacred; the mob on the outside of it demand their
heads;[6] "it conceives the project of visiting all the prisons in
Paris to take out the prisoners and administer prompt justice on
them." - On the 12th in the markets "diverse groups of the low class
call Pétion a scoundrel," because "he saved the Swiss in the Palais
Bourbon"; accordingly, "he and the Swiss must be hung to-day."-In
these minds turned topsy-turvy the actual, palpable truth gives way to
its opposite; "the attack was not begun by them; the order to sound
the tocsin came from the palace; it is the palace which was besieging
the nation, and not the nation which was besieging the palace."[7]
The vanquished "are the assassins of the people," caught in the act;
and on the 14th of August the Federates demand a court-martial "to
avenge the death of their comrades."[8] And even a court-martial will
not answer. "It is not sufficient to mete out punishment for crimes
committed on the 10th of August, but the vengeance of the people must
be extended to all conspirators;" to that "Lafayette, who probably was
not in Paris, but who may have been there;" to all the ministers,
generals, judges, and other officials guilty of maintaining legal
order wherever it had been maintained, and of not having recognized
the Jacobin government before it came into being. Let them be brought
before, not the ordinary courts, which are not to be trusted because
they belong to the defunct régime, but before a specially organized
tribunal, a sort of "chambre ardente,"[9] elected by the sections,
that is to say, by a Jacobin minority. These improvised judges must
give judgment on conviction, without appeal; there must be no
preliminary examinations, no interval of time between arrest and
execution, no dilatory and protective formalities. And above all, the
Assembly must be expeditious in passing the decree; "otherwise," it is
informed by a delegate from the Commune,[10] "the tocsin will be rung
at midnight and the general alarm sounded; for the people are tired of
waiting to be avenged. Look out lest they do themselves justice! -- A
moment later, new threats and with an advanced deadline. "If the
juries are not ready to act in two or three hours great misfortunes
will overtake Paris."

Even if the new tribunal, set up on the spot, is quick, guillotining
three innocent persons in five days; it does not move fast enough. On
the 23rd of August one of the sections declares to the Commune in
furious language that the people themselves, "wearied and indignant"
with so many delays, mean to force open the prisons and massacre the
inmates.[11] -- Not only do the sections harass the judges, but they
force the accused into their presence: a deputation from the Commune
and the Federates summons the Assembly " to transfer the criminals at
Orleans to Paris to undergo the penalty of their heinous crimes".
"Otherwise," says the speaker, "we will not answer for the vengeance
of the people."[12] And in a still more imperative manner:

"You have heard and you know that insurrection is a sacred duty," a
sacred duty towards and against all: towards the Assembly if it
refuses, and towards the tribunal if it acquits. They dash at their
prey contrary to all legislative and judicial formalities, like a kite
across the web of a spider, while nothing detach them from their fixed
ideas. On the acquittal of M. Luce de Montmorin[13] the gross
audience, mistaking him for his cousin the former minister of Louis
XVI., break out in murmurs. The president tries to enforce silence,
which increases the uproar, and M. de Montmorin is in danger. On this
the president, discovering a side issue, announces that one of the
jurors is related to the accused, and that in such a case a new jury
must be impaneled and a new trial take place; that the matter will be
inquired into, and meanwhile the prisoner will be returned to the
Conciergerie prison. Thereupon he takes M. de Montmorin by the arm and
leads him out of the court-room, amidst the yells of the audience and
not without risks to himself; in the outside court a soldier of the
National Guard strikes at him with a saber, and the following day the
court is obliged to authorize eight delegates from the audience to go
and see with their own eyes that M. de Montmorin is really in prison.

At the moment of his acquittal a tragic remark is heard:

"You discharge him to-day and in two weeks he will cut our throats!"

Fear is evidently an adjunct of hatred. The Jacobin rabble is vaguely
conscious of their inferior numbers, of their usurpation, of their
danger, which increases in proportion as Brunswick draws near. They
feel that they live above a mine, and if the mine should explode! --
Since they think that their adversaries are scoundrels they feel they
are capable of a dirty trick, of a plot, of a massacre. As they
themselves have never behaved in any other way, they cannot conceive
anything else. Through an inevitable inversion of thought, they impute
to others the murderous intentions obscurely wrought out in the dark
recesses of their own disturbed brains. -- On the 27th of August,
after the funeral procession gotten up by Sergent expressly to excite
popular resentment, their suspicions, at once specific and guided,
begin to take the form of certainty. Ten "commemorative" banners,[14]
each borne by a volunteer on horseback, have paraded before all eyes
the long list of massacres "by the court and its agents":

1. the massacre at Nancy,

2. the massacre at Nîmes,

3. the massacre at Montauban,

4. the massacre at Avignon,

5. the massacre at La Chapelle,

6. the massacre at Carpentras,

7. the massacre of the Champ de Mars, etc.

Faced with such displays, doubts and misgivings are out of the
question. To the women in the galleries, to the frequenters of the
clubs, and to pikemen in the suburbs it is from now beyond any doubt
proved that the aristocrats are habitual killers.

And on the other side there is another sign equally alarming "This
lugubrious ceremony, which ought to inspire by turns both reflection
and indignation, . . . did not generally produce that effect." The
National Guard in uniform, who came "apparently to make up for not
appearing on the day of action," did not behave themselves with civic
propriety, but, on the contrary, put on "an air of inattention and
even of noisy gaiety"; they come out of curiosity, like so many
Parisian onlookers, and are much more numerous than the sans-culottes
with their pikes.[15] The latter could count themselves and plainly
see that they are just a minority, and a very small one, and that
their rage finds no echo. The organizers and their stooges are the
only ones to call for speedy sentencing and for death-penalties. A
foreigner, a good observer, who questions the shop-keepers of whom he
makes purchases, the tradesmen he knows, and the company he finds in
the coffee-houses, writes that he never had "seen any symptom of a
sanguinary disposition except in the galleries of the National
Assembly and at the Jacobin Club," but then the galleries are full of
paid "applauders,'1 especially "females, who are more noisy and to be
had cheaper than males." At the Jacobin Club are "the leaders, who
dread a turnaround or who have resentments to gratify[16]": thus the
only enragés are the leaders and the populace of the suburbs. -- Lost
in the crowd of this vast city, in the face of a National Guard still
armed and three times their own number, confronting an indifferent or
discontented bourgeoisie, the patriots are alarmed. In this state of
anxiety a feverish imagination, exasperated by the waiting,
involuntarily gives birth to imaginings passionately accepted as
truths. All that is now required is an incident in order to put the
final touch to complete the legend, the germ of which has unwittingly
grown in their minds.

On the 1st of September a poor wagoner, Jean Julien,[17] condemned to
twelve years in irons, has been exposed in the pillory. After two
hours he becomes furious, probably on account of the jeers of the
bystanders. With the coarseness of people of his kind he has vented
his impotent rage by abuse, he has unbuttoned and exposed himself to
the public, and has naturally chosen expressions which would appear
most offensive to the people looking at him:

"Hurrah for the King! Hurrah for the Queen! Hurra for Lafayette! To
hell with the nation!"

It is also natural that he missed being torn to pieces. He was at
once led away to the Conciergerie prison, and sentenced on the spot to
be guillotined as soon as possible, for being a promoter of sedition
in connection with the conspiracy of August the 10th. -- The
conspiracy, accordingly, is still in existence. It is so declared by
the tribunal, which makes no declaration without evidence. Jean Julien
has certainly confessed; now what has he revealed? -- On the following
day, like a crop of poisonous mushrooms, the growth of a single night,
the story obtains general credence. "Jean Julien has declared that
all the prisons in Paris thought as he did, that there would soon be
fine times, that the prisoners were armed, and that as soon as the
volunteers cleared out they would be let loose on all Paris."[18] The
streets are full of anxious faces. "One says that Verdun had been
betrayed like Longwy. Others shook their heads and said it was the
traitors within Paris and not the declared enemies on the frontier
that were to be feared."[19] On the following day the story grows:
"There are royalist officers and soldiers hidden away in Paris and in
the outskirts. They are going to open the prisons, arm the prisoners,
set the King and his family free, put the patriots in Paris to death,
also the wives and children of those in the army. . . Isn't it natural
for men to look after the safety of their wives and children, and to
use the only efficient means to arrest the assassin's dagger."[20] --
The working-class inferno has been stirred up, now it's up to the
contractors of public revolt to fan and direct the flames.

III. Terror is their Salvation.

Rise of the homicidal idea among the leaders. -- Their situation. --
The powers they seize. -- Their pillage. -- The risks they run --
Terror is their rescue.

They have been fanning the flames for a long time. Already, on the
11th of August, the new Commune had announced, in a proclamation,[21]
that "the guilty should perish on the scaffold," while its threatening
deputations force the national Assembly into the immediate institution
of a bloody tribunal. Carried into power by brutal force, it must
perish if it does not maintain itself, and this can be done only
through terror. - Let us pause and consider this unusual situation.
Installed in the Hôtel-de-ville by a nightly surprise attack, about
one hundred strangers, delegated by a party which thinks or asserts
itself to be the peoples' delegates, have overthrown one of the two
great powers of the State, mangled and enslaved the other, and now
rule in a capital of 700,000 souls, by the grace of eight or ten
thousand fanatics and cut-throats. Never did a radical change promote
men from so low a point and raise so high! The basest of newspaper
scribblers, penny-a-liners out of the gutters, bar-room oracles,
unfrocked monks and priests, the refuse of the literary guild, of the
bar, and of the clergy, carpenters, turners, grocers, locksmiths,
shoemakers, common laborers, many with no profession at all, strolling
politicians and [22]public brawlers, who, like the sellers of
counterfeit wares, have speculated for the past three years on popular
credulity. There were among them a number of men in bad repute, of
doubtful honesty or of proven dishonesty, who, in their youth led
shiftless lives. They are still besmirched with old slime, they were
put outside the pale of useful labor by their vices, driven out of
inferior stations even into prohibited occupations, bruised by the
perilous leap, with consciences distorted like the muscles of a tight-
rope dancer. Were it not for the Revolution, they would still grovel
in their native filth, awaiting prison or forced labor to which they
were destined. Can one imagine their growing intoxication as they
drink deep draughts from the bottomless cup of absolute power? -- For
it is absolute power which they demand and which they exercise.[23]
Raised by a special delegation above the regular authorities, they put
up with these only as subordinates, and tolerate none among them who
may become their rivals. Consequently, they reduce the Legislative
body simply to the function of editor and herald of their decrees;
they have forced the new department electors to "abjure their title,"
to confine themselves to tax assessments, while they lay their
ignorant hands daily on every other service, on the finances, the
army, supplies, the administration, justice, at the risk of breaking
the administrative wheels or of interrupting their action.

One day they summon the Minister of War before them, or, for lack of
one, his chief clerk; another day they keep the whole body of
officials in his department in arrest for two hours, under the pretext
of finding a suspected printer.[24] At one time they affix seals on
the funds devoted to extraordinary expenses; at another time they do
away with the commission on supplies; at another they meddle with the
course of justice, either to aggravate proceedings or to impede the
execution of sentences rendered.[25] There is no principle, no law, no
regulation, no verdict, no public man or establishment that is not
subject to the risk of their arbitrariness. -- And, as they have laid
hands on power, they do the same with money. Not only do they extort
from the Assembly 850,000 francs a months, with arrears from the 1st
of January, 1792, more than six millions in all, to defray the
expenses of their military police, which means to pay their bands,[26]
but again, "invested with the municipal scarf," they seize, "in the
public establishment belonging to the nation, all furniture, and
whatever is of most value." "In one building alone, they carry off the
value of 100,000 crowns."[27] Elsewhere, in the hands of the treasurer
of the civil list, they appropriate to themselves, a box of jewels,
other precious objects, and 340, 000 francs.[28] Their commissioners
bring in from Chantilly three wagons each drawn by three horses
"loaded with the spoils of M. de Condé," and they undertake "removing
the contents of the houses of the émigrés."[29] They confiscate in the
churches of Paris "the crucifixes, music-stands, bells, railings, and
every object in bronze or of iron, chandeliers, cups, vases,
reliquaries, statues, every article of plate," as well "on the altars
as in the sacristies,"[30] and we can imagine the enormous booty
obtained; to cart away the silver plate belonging to the single church
of Madeleine-de-la-ville required a vehicle drawn by four horses. --
Now they use all this money, so freely seized, as freely as they do
power itself. One fills his pockets in the Tuileries without the
slightest concern; another, in the Garde-Meuble, rummages secretaries,
and carries off a wardrobe with its contents.[31] We have already
seen that in the depositories of the Commune "most of the seals are
broken," that enormous sums in plate, in jewels, in gold and silver
coin have disappeared. Future inquests and accounts will charge on
the Committee of Supervision, "abstractions, dilapidations, and
embezzlements," in short, "a mass of violations and breaches of
trust."-- When one is king, one easily mistakes the money-drawer of
the State for the drawer in which one keeps one's own money.

Unfortunately, this full possession of public power and the public
funds holds only by a slender thread. Let the evicted and outraged
majority dare, as subsequently at Lyons, Marseilles, and Toulon, to
Return to the section assemblies and revoke the false mandate which
they have arrogated to themselves through fraud and force, and, on the
instance, they again become, through the sovereign will of the people,
and by virtue of their own deed, what they really are, usurpers,
extortioners, and robbers, there is no middle course for them between
a dictatorship and the galleys. -- The mind, before such an
alternative, unless extraordinarily well-balanced, loses its
equilibrium; they have no difficulty in deluding themselves with the
idea that the State is menaced in their persons, and, in postulating
the rule, that all is allowable for them, even massacre. Has not
Bazire stated in the tribune that, against the enemies of the nation,
"all means are fair justifiable? Has not another deputy, Jean Debry,
proposed the formation of a body of 1,200 volunteers, who "will
sacrifice themselves," as formerly the assassins of the Old Man of the
Mountain, in "attacking tyrants, hand to hand, individually," as well
as generals?[32] Have we not seen Merlin de Thionville insisting that
"the wives and children of the émigrés should be kept as hostages,"
and declared responsible, or, in other words, ready for slaughter if
their relatives continue their attacks?[33]

That is all that is left to do, since all the other measures have
proved insufficient. -- In vain has the Commune decreed the arrest of
journalists belonging to the opposite party, and distributed their
printing machinery amongst patriotic printers.[34] In vain has it
declared the members of the Sainte-Chapelle club, the National Guards
who have sworn allegiance to Lafayette, the signers of the petition of
8,000, and of that of 20,000, disqualified for any service
whatever.[35] In vain has it multiplied domiciliary visits, even to
the residence and carriages of the Venetian ambassador. In vain,
through insulting and repeated examinations, does it keep at its bar,
under the hootings and death-cries of its tribunes, the most honorable
and most illustrious men, Lavoisier, Dupont de Nemours, the eminent
surgeon Desault, the most harmless and most refined ladies, Madame de
Tourzel, Mademoiselle de Tourzel, and the Princesse de Lamballe.[36]
In vain, after a profusion of arrests during twenty days, it envelopes
all Paris inside one cast of its net for a nocturnal search[37]during

1. the barriers are closed and doubly guarded,

2. sentinels are on the quays and boats stationed on the Seine to
prevent escape by water,

3. the city is divided beforehand into circumscriptions, and for each
section, a list of suspected persons,

4. the circulation of vehicles is stopped,

5. every citizen is ordered to stay at home,

6. the silence of death reigns after six o'clock in the evening, and

7. in each street, a patrol of sixty pikemen, seven hundred squads of
sans-culottes, all working at the same time, and with their usual

8. doors are burst in with pile drivers,

9. wardrobes are picked by locksmiths,

10. walls are sounded by masons,

11. cellars are searched even to digging in the ground,

12. papers are seized,

13. arms are confiscated,

14. three thousand persons are arrested and led off;[38] priests, old
men, the infirm, the sick.

The action lasts from ten in the evening to five o'clock in the
morning, the same as in a city taken by assault, the screams of women
rudely treated, the cries of prisoners compelled to march, the oaths
of the guards, cursing and drinking at each grog-shop; never was there
such an universal, methodical execution, so well calculated to
suppress all inclination for resistance in the silence of general

And yet, at this very moment, there are those who act in good faith in
the sections and in the Assembly, and who rebel at being under such
masters. A deputation from the Lombards section, and another from the
Corn-market, come to the Assembly and protest against the Commune's
usurpations.[39] Choudieu, the Montagnard, denounces its blatant
corrupt practices. Cambon, a stern financier, will no longer consent
to have his accounts tampered with by thieving tricksters.[40] The
Assembly at last seems to have recovered itself. It extends its
protection to Géray, the journalist, against whom the new pashas had
issued a warrant; it summons to its own bar the signers of the
warrant, and orders them to confine themselves in future to the exact
limits of the law which they transgress. Better still, it dissolves
the interloping Council, and substitutes for it ninety-six delegates,
to be elected by the sections in twenty-four hours. And, even still
better, it orders an account to be rendered within two days of the
objects it has seized, and the return of all gold or silver articles
to the Treasury. Quashed, and summoned to disgorge their booty, the
autocrats of the Hôtel-de-ville come in vain to the Assembly in force
on the following day[41] to extort from it a repeal of its decrees;
the Assembly, in spite of their threats and those of their satellites,
stands its ground. -- So much the worse for the stubborn; if they are
not disposed to regard the flash of the saber, they will feel its
sharp edge and point. The Commune, on the motion of Manuel, decides
that, so long as public danger continues, they will stay where they
are; it adopts an address by Robespierre to "restore sovereign power
to the people," which means to fill the streets with armed bands;[42]
it collects together its brigands by giving them the ownership of all
that they stole on the 10th of August.[43] The session, prolonged into
the night, does not terminate until one o'clock in the morning. Sunday
has come and there is no time to lose, for, in a few hours, the
sections, by virtue of the decree of the National Assembly, and
following the example of the Temple section the evening before, may
revoke the pretended representatives at the Hôtel-de-ville. To remain
at the Hôtel-de-ville, and to be elected to the convention, demands on
the part of the leaders some striking action, and this they require
that very day. -- That day is the second of September.


Date of the determination of this. -- The actors and their parts. -
Marat. -- Danton. - The Commune. -- Its co-operators. -- Harmony of
dispositions and readiness of operation.

Since the 23rd of August their resolution is taken.[44] They have
arranged in their minds a plan of the massacre, and each one, little
by little, spontaneously, according to his aptitudes, takes the part
that suits him or is assigned to him.

Marat, foremost among them all, is the proposer and preacher of the
operation, which, for him, is a perfectly natural one. It is the
epitome of his political system: a dictator or tribune, with full
power to slay, and with no other power but that; a good master
executioner, responsible, and "tied hand and foot"; this is his
program for a government since July the 14th, 1789, and he does not
blush at it: "so much the worse for those who are not on a level with
it!"[45] He appreciated the character of the Revolution from the
first, not through genius, but sympathetically, he himself being
equally as one-sided and monstrous; crazy with suspicion and beset
with a homicidal mania for the past three years, reduced to one idea
through mental impoverishment, that of murder, having lost the faculty
for even the lowest order of reasoning, the poorest of journalists,
save for pikemen and Billingsgate market-women, so monotonous in his
constant paroxysms that the regular reading of his journal is like
listening to hoarse cries from the cells of a madhouse.[46] From the
19th of August he excites people to attack the prisons. "The wisest
and best course to pursue," he says, "is to go armed to the Abbaye,
drag out the traitors, especially the Swiss officers and their
accomplices, and put them to the sword. What folly it is to give them
a trial! That is already done. You have massacred the soldiers, why
should you spare the officers, ten times guiltier?" -- Also, two days
later, his brain teeming with an executioner's fancies, insisting that
"the soldiers deserved a thousand deaths. As to the officers, they
should be drawn and quartered, like Louis Capet and his tools of the
Manège."[47] -- On the strength of this the Commune adopts him as its
official editor, assigns him a tribune in its assembly room, entrusts
him to report its acts, and soon puts him on its supervisory or
executive committee.

A fanatic of this stamp, however, is good for nothing but as a
mouthpiece or instigator; he may, at best, figure in the end among the
subordinate managers. -- The chief of the enterprise,[48] Danton, is
of another species, and of another stature, a veritable leader of men:
Through his past career and actual position, through his popular
cynicism, ways and language, through his capacity for taking the
initiative and for command, through his excessive corporeal and
intellectual vigor, through his physical ascendancy due to his ardent,
absorbing will, he is well calculated for his terrible office. -- He
alone of the Commune has become Minister, and there is no one but him
to shelter the violations of the Commune under the protection or under
the passivity of the central authority. -- He alone of the Commune and
of the ministry is able to push things through and harmonize action in
the pell-mell of the revolutionary chaos; both in the councils of the
ministry which he governs, as he formerly governed at the Hôtel-de
ville. In the constant uproar of incoherent discussions,[49] athwart
"propositions ex abrupto, among shouts, swearing, and the going and
coming of questioning petitioners," he is seen mastering his new
colleagues with his "stentorian voice, his gestures of an athlete, his
fearful threats," taking upon himself their duties, dictating to them
what and whom he chooses, "fetching in commissions already drawn up,"
taking charge of everything, "making propositions, arrests, and
proclamations, issuing brevets," and drawing millions out of the
public treasury, casting a sop to his dogs in the Cordeliers and the
Commune, "to one 20,000 francs, and to another 10,000," "for the
Revolution, and on account of their patriotism," -- such is a summary
report of his doings. Thus gorged, the pack of hungry "brawlers" and
grasping intriguers, the whole serviceable force of the sections and
of the clubs, is in his hands. One is strong in times of anarchy at
the head of such a herd. Indeed, during the months of August and
September, Danton was king, and, later on, he may well say of the 2d
of September, as he did of the 10th of August, "I did it!"[50]

Not that he is naturally vindictive or sanguinary: on the contrary,
with a butcher's temperament, he has a man's heart, and, at the risk
of compromising himself, against the wills of Marat and Robespierre,
he will, by-and-by, save his political adversaries, Duport, Brissot,
and the Girondists, the old party of the " Right. "[51] Not that he is
blinded by fear, enmities, or the theory; furious as a clubbist, he
has the clear-sightedness of the politician; he is not the dupe of the
sonorous phrases he utters, he knows the value of the rogues he
employs;[52] he has no illusions about men or things, about other
people or about himself; if he slays, it is with a full consciousness
of what he is doing, of his party, of the situation, of the
revolution, while the crude expressions which, in the tones of his
bull's voice, he flings out as he passes along, are but a vivid
statement of the precise truth "We are the rabble! We spring from the
gutters!" With the normal principles of mankind, "we should soon get
back into them. We can only rule through fear!"[53] "The Parisians are
so many j . . . f . . . ; a river of blood must flow between them and
the émigrés."[54] The tocsin about to be rung is not a signal of
alarm, but a charge on the enemies of the country. . . What is
necessary to overcome them? Boldness, boldness, always boldness![55]
I have brought my mother here, seventy years of age; I have sent for
my children, and they came last night. Before the Prussians enter
Paris, I want my family to die with me. Let twenty thousand torches be
applied, and Paris instantly reduced to ashes!"[56] "We must maintain
ourselves in Paris at all hazards. Republicans are in an extreme
minority, and, for fighting, we can rely only on them. The rest of
France is devoted to royalty. The royalists must be terrified!"[57] --
It is he who, on the 28th of August, obtains from the Assembly the
great domiciliary visit, by which the Commune fills the prisons. It is
he who, on the 2d of September, to paralyze the resistance of honest
people, causes the penalty of death to be decreed against whoever,
"directly or indirectly shall, in any manner whatsoever, refuse to
execute, or who shall interfere with the orders issued, or with the
measures of the executive power." It is he who, on that day, informs
the journalist Prudhomme of the pretended prison plot, and who, the
second day after, sends his secretary, Camille Desmoulins, to falsify
the report of the massacres,[58] It is he who, on the 3rd of
September, at the office of the Minister of Justice, before the
battalion officers and the heads of the service, before Lacroix,
president of the Assembly, and Pétion, mayor of Paris, before
Clavières, Servan, Monge, Lebrun, and the entire Executive Council,
except Roland, reduces at one stroke the head men of the government to
the position of passive accomplices, replying to a man of feeling, who
rises to stay the slaughter, "Sit down -- it was necessary!"[59] It
is he who, the same day, dispatches the circular, countersigned by
him, by which the Committee of Supervision announces the massacre, and
invites "their brethren of the departments" to follow the example of
Paris.[60] It is he who, on the 10th of September, "not as Minister
of Justice, but as Minister of the People," is to congratulate and
thank the slaughterers of Versailles.[61] -- After the 10th of August,
through Billaud-Varennes, his former secretary, through Fabre
d'Eglantine, his Keeper of the Seals, through Tallien, secretary of
the Commune and his most trusty henchman, he is present at all
deliberations in the Hôtel-de-ville, and, at the last hour, is careful
to put on the Committee of Supervision one of his own men, the head
clerk, Desforges.[62] -- Not only was the reaping-machine constructed
under his own eye, and with his assent, but, again, when it is put in
motion, he holds the handle, so as to guide the scythe.

He is right; if he did not sometimes put on the brake, it would go to
pieces through its own action. Introduced into the Committee as
professor of political blood-letting, Marat, stubbornly following out
a fixed idea, cuts down deep, much below the designated line; warrants
of arrest were already out against thirty deputies, Brissot's papers
were rummaged, Roland's house was surrounded, while Duport, seized in
a neighboring department, is deposed in the slaughterhouse. The
latter is saved with the utmost difficulty; many a blow is necessary
before he can be wrested from the maniac who had seized him. With a
surgeon like Marat, and medics like the four or five hundred leaders
of the Commune and of the sections, it is not essential to guide the
knife; it is a foregone conclusion that the amputation will be
extensive. Their names speak for themselves: in the Commune, Manuel,
the syndic-attorney; and his two deputies Hébert and Billaud-
Varennes, Huguenin, Lhuillier, M.-J. Chénier, Audoin, Léonard Bourdon,
Boula and Truchon, presidents in succession. In the Commune and the
sections, Panis, Sergent, Tallien, Rossignol, Chaumette, Fabre
d'Eglantine, Pache, Hassenfratz, the cobbler Simon, and the printer
Momoro. From the National Guard, the commanding-general, Santerre,
and the battalion commander Henriot, and, lower down, the common herd
of district demagogues, Danton's, Hébert's, or Robespierre's side
kicks, guillotined later on with their file-leaders, in brief, the
flower of the future terrorists.[63] - Today they are taking their
first steps in blood, each with their own attitude and motives:

* Chénier denounced as a member of the Sainte-Chapelle club, in danger
because he is among the suspected;[64]

* Manuel, poor, excitable, bewildered, carried away, and afterwards
shuddering at the sight of his own work;

* Santerre, a fine circumspect figure-head, who, on the 2nd of
September, under pretense of watching the baggage, climbs on the seat
of a landau standing on the street, where he remains a couple of
hours, to avoid doing his duty as commanding-general;[65]

* Panis, president of the Committee of Supervision, a good
subordinate, his born disciple and bootlicker, an admirer of
Robespierre's whom he proposes for the dictatorship, as well as of
Marat, whom he extols as a prophet;[66]

* Henriot, Hébert, and Rossignol, simple evil-doers in uniform or in
their scarves;

* Collot d'Herbois, a stage poetaster, whose theatrical imagination
delights in a combination of melodramatic horrors;[67]

* Billaud-Varennes, a former oratorian monk, irascible and gloomy, as
cool before a murder as an inquisitor at an auto-da-fé;

finally, the wily Robespierre, pushing others without committing
himself, never signing his name, giving no orders, haranguing a great
deal, always advising, showing himself everywhere, getting ready to
reign, and suddenly, at the last moment, pouncing like a cat on his
prey, and trying to slaughter his rivals, the Girondists.[68]

Up to this time, in slaughtering or having it done, it was always as
insurrectionists in the street; now, it is in places of imprisonment,
as magistrates and functionaries, according to the registers of a
lock-up, after proofs of identity and on snap judgments, by paid
executioners, in the name of public security, methodically, and in
cool blood, almost with the same regularity as subsequently under "the
revolutionary government." September, indeed, is the beginning of it,
a summary and a model; they will not do it differently or better than
during the best days of the guillotine. Only, as they are as yet
poorly supplied with tools, they are obliged to use pikes instead of
the guillotine, and, as decency has not entirely disappeared, the
chiefs conceal themselves behind maneuvers. Nevertheless, we can
track them, take them in the act, and we have their signatures; they
planned commanded, and conducted the operation. On the 30th of
August, the Commune decided that the sections should try accused
persons, and, on the 2nd of September, five trusted sections reply to
it by resolving that the accused shall be murdered.69 The same day,
September 2, Marat takes his place on the Committee of Supervision.
The same day, September 2, Panis and Sergent sign the commissions of
"their comrades," Maillard and associates, for the Abbaye, and "order
them to judge," that is to say, kill the prisoners.[70] The same and
the following days, at La Force, three members of the Commune, Hébert,
Monneuse, and Rossignol, preside in turn over the assassin court.[71]
The same day, a commissar of the Committee of Supervision comes and
demands a dozen men of the Sans-Culottes section to help massacre the
priests of Saint Firmin.[72] The same day, a commissar of the Commune
visits the different prisons during the slaughter, and finds that
"things are going on well in all of them."[73] The same day, at five
o'clock in the afternoon, BillaudVarennes, deputy-attorney for the
Commune, "in his well-known puce-colored coat and black perruque,"
walking over the corpses, says to the Abbaye butchers: "Fellow-
citizens, you are immolating your enemies, you are performing your
duty." He returns during the night, highly commends them, and
confirms the promise of the "agreed wages." On the following any at
noon, he again returns, congratulates them more warmly, allows each
one twenty francs, and urges them to keep on.[74] -- In the mean time,
Santerre, summoned to the general staff headquarters by Roland,
hypocritically deplores his voluntary inability, and persists in not
giving the orders, without which the National Guard cannot move.[75]
At the sections, the presidents, Chénier, Ceyrat, Boula, Momoro,
Collot d'Herbois, dispatch or take their victims back under pikes. At
the Commune, the council-general votes 12,000 francs, to be taken from
the dead, to defray the expenses of the operation.[76] In the
Committee of Supervision, Marat sends off dispatches to spread murder
through the departments. -- It is evident that the leaders and their
subordinates are unanimous, each at his post and in the service he
performs; through the spontaneous co-operation of the whole party, the
command from above meets the impulse from below;[77] both unite in a
common murderous disposition, the work being done with the more
precision in proportion to its being easily done. -- Jailers have
received orders to open the prison doors, and give themselves no
concern. Through an excess of precaution, the knives and forks of the
prisoners have been taken away from them.[78] One by one, on their
names being called, they will march out like oxen in a slaughter-
house, while about twenty butchers to each prison, from to two to
three hundred in all,[79] will suffice to do the work.

V. Abasement and Stupor.

Common workers. -- Their numbers. -- Their condition. -- Their
sentiments.-- Effect of murder on the murderers. -- Their
degradation. -- Their insensibility.

Two kinds of men make up the recruits, and it is especially on their
crude brains that we have to admire the effect of the revolutionary

First, there are the Federates of the South, lusty fellows, former
soldiers or old bandits, deserters, bohemians, and scoundrels of all
lands and from every source, who, after finishing their work at
Marseilles and Avignon, have come to Paris to begin over again.
"Triple nom de Dieu!" exclaims one of them, "I didn't come a hundred
and eighty leagues to restrain myself from sticking a hundred and
eighty heads on the end of my pike!"[80] Accordingly, they form in
themselves a special, permanent, resident body, allowing no one to
divert them from their adopted occupation. "They turn a deaf ear to
the excitements of spurious patriotism";[81] they are not going to be
sent off to the frontier. Their post is at the capital; they have
sworn "to defend liberty"; neither before nor after September make
them deviate from this end. When, after having drawn money on every
treasury and under every pretext, they at last consent to leave Paris,
it is only on the condition that they return to Marseilles. Their
operations are limited to the interior of France, and only against
political adversaries. But their zeal in this field is only the
greater; it is their band which, first of all, takes the twenty-four
priests from the town hall, and, on the way, begins the massacre with
their own hands.[82]

Then there are the "enragés" of the Paris proletariat, a few of them
clerks or shopkeepers, most of them artisans of all the trades;
locksmiths, masons, butchers, wheelwrights, tailors, shoemakers,
waggoners, especially dockers working in the harbor, market-porters,
and, above all, journeymen and apprentices of all kinds, in short,
manual workers on the bottom of the social ladder.[83] Among these we
find beasts of prey, murderers by instinct, or simple robbers.[84]
Others who, like one of the disciples of Abbé Sicard, whom he loves
and venerates, confess that they never stirred except under
constraint.[85] Others are simple machines, who let themselves be
driven: for instance the local forwarding agent, a good sort of man,
but who, dragged along, plied with liquor, and then made crazy, kills
twenty priests for his share, and dies at the end of the month, still
drinking, unable to sleep, frothing at the mouth and trembling in
every limb.[86] And finally the few, who, with good intentions, are
carried away by the bloody whirlwind, and, struck by the grace of
Revolution, become converted to the religion of murder. One of them a
certain Grapin, deputized by his section to save two prisoners, seats
himself alongside of Maillard, sits in judgment at his side during
sixty-three hours, and demands a certificate from him.[87] The
majority, however, entertain the same opinions as the cook, who, after
taking the Bastille, finding himself on the spot and having cut off M.
de Launay's head, regards it as a "patriotic" action, and deems
himself worthy of a "medal for having destroyed a monster." These
people are not common criminals, but well-disposed persons living in
the vicinity, who, seeing a public service established in their
neighborhood,[88] issue from their homes to give a hand; their degree
of probity is about the same as we find nowadays among people of the
same condition in life.

At the outset, especially, no one considers filling his pockets. At
the Abbaye prison, they come honorably and place on the table in the
room of the civil committee the purses and jewels of the dead.[89] If
they appropriate anything to themselves, it is shoes to cover their
naked feet, and then only after asking permission. As to pay, all
rough work deserves it, and, moreover, between them and their
recruiters, the answer is obvious. With nothing but their own hands to
rely on, they cannot work for nothing,[90] and, as the work is hard,
they ought to be paid double time. They require six francs a day,
besides their meals and as much wine as they want. One caterer alone
furnished the men at the Abbaye with 346 pints:[91] when working
incessantly day and night with a task like that of sewer-cleaners and
miners, nothing else will keep their courage up. -- Food and wages
must be paid for by the nation; the work is done for the nation, and,
naturally, on interposing formalities, they get out of temper and
betake themselves to Roland, to the City treasurer, to the section
committees, to the Committee of Supervision,[92] murmuring,
threatening, and showing their bloody pikes. That is the evidence of
having done their work well. They boast of it to Pétion, impress upon
him how "just and attentive" they were,[93] their discernment, the
time given to the work, so many days and so many hours; they ask only
for what is "due to them"; when the treasurer, on paying them, demands
their names, they give them without the slightest hesitation. Those
who escort a dismissed prisoner; masons, hairdressers, federates,
require no recompense but "something to drink"; "we do not carry on
this business for money," they say; "here is your friend; he promised
us a glass of brandy, which we will take and then go back to our
work."[94] -- Outside of their business they possess the expansive
cordiality and ready sensitivity of the Parisian workman. At the
Abbaye, a federate,[95] on learning that the prisoners had been kept
without water for twenty-six hours, wanted to "exterminate" the
turnkey for his negligence, and would have done it if "the prisoners
themselves had not pleaded for him." On the acquittal of a prisoner,
the guards and the butchers, everybody, embraces him with enthusiasm;
Weber is greeted again and again for more than a hundred yards; they
cheer to excess. Each wants to escort the prisoner; the cab of Mathon
de la Varenne is invaded; "they perch themselves on the driver's seat,
at the doors, on top, and behind."[96] - A few even display strange
fits of tact. Two of the butchers, still covered with blood, who lead
the chevalier de Bertrand home, insist on going up stairs with him to
witness the joy of his family; after their terrible task they need the
relaxation of tender emotion. On entering, they wait discreetly in
the drawing-room until the ladies have been prepared; the happiness of
which they are witnesses melts them; they remain some time, refuse
money, expressing their gratitude and depart.[97] -- Still more
extraordinary are the vestiges of innate politeness. A market-porter
desirous of embracing a discharged prisoner, first asks his
permission. Old "hags," who had just clapped their hands at the
slaughtering, stop the guards "violently" as they hurry Weber along,
in white silk stockings, across pools of blood: "Hey, guard, look out,
you are making Monsieur walk in the gutter!"[98] In short, they
display the permanent qualities of their race and class; they seem to
be neither above nor below the average of their brethren, Most of
them, probably, would never have done anything very monstrous had a
rigid police, like that which maintains order in ordinary times, kept
them in their shops or at home in their lodgings or in their tap-

But, in their own eyes, they are so many kings; "sovereignty is
committed to their hands,"[99] their powers are unlimited; whoever
doubts this is a traitor, and is properly punished; he must be put out
of the way; while, for royal councillors, they take maniacs and
rascals, who, through monomania or calculation, have preach all that
to them: just like a Negro king surrounded by white slave-dealers, who
urge him into raids, and by black sorcerers, who prompt him to
massacre. How could such a man with such guides, and in such an
office, be retarded by the formalities of justice, or by the
distinctions of equity? Equity and justice are the elaborate products
of civilization, while he is merely a political savage. In vain are
the innocent recommended to his mercy!

"Look here, citizen,[100] do you, too, want to put us to sleep?
Suppose that those cursed Prussian and Austrian beggars were in Paris,
would they pick out the guilty? Wouldn't they strike right and left,
the same as the Swiss did on the 10th of August? Very well, I can't
make speeches, but I don't put anybody to sleep. I say, I am the
father of a family -- I have a wife and five children that I mean to
leave here for the section to look after, while I go and fight the
enemy. But I have no intention that while I am gone these villains
here in prison, and other villains who would come and let them out,
should cut the throats of my wife and children. I have three boys who
I hope will some day be more useful to their country than those
rascals you want to save. Anyhow, all that can be done is to let 'em
out and give them arms, and we will fight 'em on an equal footing.
Whether I die here or on the frontiers, scoundrels would kill me all
the same, and I will sell my life dearly. But, whether it is done by
me or by someone else, the prison shall be cleaned out of those cursed
beggars, there, now!" At this a general cry is heard: "He's right! No
mercy! Let us go in!"

All that the crowd assent to is an improvised tribunal, the reading of
the jailer's register, and prompt judgment; condemnation and slaughter
must follow, according to the famous Commune, which simplifies things
-- There is another simplification still more formidable, which is the
condemnation and slaughter by categories. Any title suffices, Swiss,
priest, officer, or servant of the King, "the 'worms' on the civil
list"; wherever a lot of priests or Swiss are found, it is not worth
while to have a trial, the throats of the lot can be slit. -- Reduced
to this, the operation is adapted to the operators; the arms of the
new sovereign are as strong as his mind is weak, and, through an
inevitable adaptation, he degrades his work to the level of his

His work, in its turn, degrades and perverts him. No man, and
especially a man of the people, rendered pacific by an old
civilization, can, with impunity, become at one stroke both sovereign
and executioner. In vain does he work himself up against the condemned
and heap insults on them to augment his fury;[101] I he is dimly
conscious of committing a great crime, and his soul, like that of
Macbeth, "is full of scorpions." Through a terrible tightening up, he
hardens himself against the inborn, hereditary impulses of humanity;
these resist while he becomes exasperated, and, to stifle them, there
is no other way but to "gorge himself on horrors,"[102] by adding
murder to murder. For murder, especially as he practices it, that is
to say, with a naked sword on defense-less people, introduces into his
animal and moral machine two extraordinary and disproportionate
emotions which unsettle it, on the one hand, a sensation of
omnipotence exercised uncontrolled, unimpeded, without danger, on
human life, on throbbing flesh[103] and, on the other hand, an
interest in bloody and diversified death, accompanied with an ever new
series of contortions and exclamations;[104] formerly, in the Roman
circus, one could not tear one's self away from it; the spectacle once
seen, the spectator always returned to see it again. Just at this time
each prison court is a circus, and what makes it worse is that the
spectators are likewise actors.-- Thus, for them, two fiery liquids
mingle together in one draught. To moral intoxication is added
physical intoxication, wine in profusion, bumpers at every pause,
revelry over corpses; and we see rising out of this unnatural creature
the demon of Dante, at once brutal and refined, not merely a
destroyer, but, again, an executioner, instigator and calculator of
suffering, and radiant and joyous over the evil it accomplishes.

They are merry; they dance around each new corpse, and sing the
carmagnole;[105] they arouse the people of the quarter "to amuse
them," and that they may have their share of "the fine fête."[106]
Benches are arranged for "gentlemen" and others for "ladies": the
latter, with greater curiosity, are additionally anxious to
contemplate at their ease "the aristocrats" already slain;
consequently, lights are required, and one is placed on the breast of
each corpse. -- Meanwhile, the slaughter continues, and is carried to
perfection. A butcher at the Abbaye[107] complains that "the
aristocrats die too quick, and that those only who strike first have
the pleasure of it"; henceforth they are to be struck with the backs
of the swords only, and made to run between two rows of their
butchers, like soldiers formerly running a gauntlet. If there happens
to be well-known person, it is agreed to take more care in prolonging
the torment. At La Force, the Federates who come for M. de Rulhières
swear "with frightful imprecations that they will cut the head of
anyone daring to end his sufferings with a thrust of his pike"; the
first thing is to strip him naked, and then, for half an hour, with
the flat of their sabers, they cut and slash him until he drips with
blood and is "skinned to his entrails." -- All the monstrous instincts
who grovels chained up in the dregs of the human heart, not only
cruelty with its bared fangs,[108] but also the slimier desires, unite
in fury against women whose noble or infamous repute makes them
conspicuous; against Madame de Lamballe, the Queen's friend; against
Madame Desrues, widow of the famous poisoner; against the flower-girl
of the Palais-Royal, who, two years before, had mutilated her lover, a
French guardsman, in a fit of jealousy. Ferocity here is associated
with lewdness to add debasement to torture, while life is violated
through outrages on modesty. In Madame de Lamballe, killed too
quickly, the libidinous butchers could outrage only a corpse, but for
the widow,[109] and especially the flower-girl, they revive, like so
many Neros, the fire-circle of the Iroquois.[110] -- From the Iroquois
to the cannibal, the gulf is small, and some of them jump across it.
At the Abbaye, an old soldier named Damiens, buries his saber in the
side of the adjutant-general la Leu, thrusts his hand into the
opening, tears out the heart "and puts it to his mouth as if to eat
it"; "the blood," says an eye-witness, "trickled from his mouth and
formed a sort of mustache for him."[111] At La Force, Madame de
Lamballe is carved up. What Charlot, the wig-maker, who carried her
head did, I to it, should not be described. I merely state that
another wretch, in the Rue Saint-Antoine, bore off her heart and "ate

They kill and they drink, and drink and kill again. Weariness comes
and stupor begins. One of them, a wheelwright's apprentice, has
dispatched sixteen for his share; another "has labored so hard at this
merchandise as to leave the blade of his saber sticking in it"; "I was
more tired," says a Federate, "with two hours pulling limbs to pieces,
right and left, than any mason who for two days has been plastering a
wall."[113] The first excitement is gone, and now they strike
automatically.[114] Some of them fall asleep stretched out on benches.
Others, huddled together, sleep off the fumes of their wine, removed
on one side. The exhalation from the carnage is so strong that the
president of the civil committee faints in his chair,[115] the fumes
of the tavern blending with those from the charnel-house. A heavy,
dull state of torpor gradually overcomes their clouded brains, the
last glimmerings of reason dying out one by one, like the smoky lights
on the already cold breasts of the corpses lying around them. Through
the stupor spreading over the faces of butchers and cannibals, we see
appearing that of the idiot. It is the revolutionary idiot, in which
all conceptions, save two, have vanished, two fixed, rudimentary, and
mechanical ideas, one destruction and the other that of public safety.
With no others in his empty head, these blend together through an
irresistible attraction, and the effect proceeding from their contact
may be imagined. "Is there anything else to do? "asks one of these
butchers in the deserted court. -- "If there is no more to do," reply
a couple of women at the gate, "you will have to think of
something,"[116] and, naturally, this is done.

As the prisons are to be cleaned out, it is as well to clean them all
out, and do it at once. After the Swiss, priests, the aristocrats, and
the "white-skinned gentlemen," there remain convicts and those
confined through the ordinary channels of justice, robbers, assassins,
and those sentenced to the galleys in the Conciergerie, in the
Châtelet, and in the Tour St. Bernard, with branded women, vagabonds,
old beggars, and boys confined in Bicêtre and the Salpétrière. They
are good for nothing, cost something to feed,[117] and, probably,
cherish evil designs. At the Salpétrière, for example, the wife of
Desrues, the poisoner, is, assuredly, like himself, "cunning, wicked,
and capable of anything"; she must be furious at being in prison; if
she could, she would set fire to Paris; she must have said so; she did
say it[118] -- one more sweep of the broom.-- This time, as the job is
more foul, the broom is wielded by fouler hands; among those who seize
the handle are the frequenters of jails. The butchers at the Abbaye
prison, especially towards the close, had already committed
thefts;[119] here, at the Châtelet and the Conciergerie prisons, they
carry away "everything which seems to them suitable," even to the
clothes of the dead, prison sheets and coverlids, even the small
savings of the jailers, and, besides this, they enlist their cronies.
"Out of 36 prisoners set free, many were assassins and robbers, the
killers attached them to their group. There were also 75 women,
confined in part for larceny, who promised to faithfully serve their
liberators." Later on, indeed, these are to become, at the Jacobin
and Cordeliers clubs, the tricoteuses (knitters) who fill their
tribunes.[120] -- At the Salpétrière prison, "all the pimps of Paris,
former spies, . . . libertines, the rascals of France and all Europe,
prepare beforehand for the operation," and rape alternates with
massacre.[121] -- Thus far, at least, slaughter has been seasoned with
robbery, and the grossness of eating and drinking; at Bicétre,
however, it is crude butchery, the carnivorous instinct alone
satisfying itself. Among other prisoners are 43 youths of the lowest
class, from 17 to 19 years of age, placed there for correction by
their parents, or by those to whom they are bound;[122] one need only
look at them to see that they are genuine Parisian scamps, the
apprentices of vice and misery, the future recruits for the reigning
band, and these the band falls on, beating them to death with clubs.
At this age life is tenacious, and, no life being harder to take, it
requires extra efforts to dispatch them. "In that corner," said a
jailer, "they made a mountain of their bodies. The next day, when they
were to be buried, the sight was enough to break one's heart. One of
them looked as if he were sleeping like one of God's angels, but the
rest were horribly mutilated."[123] -- Here, man has sunk below
himself, down into the lowest strata of the animal kingdom, lower that
the wolf; for wolves do not strangle their young.

VI. Jacobin Massacre.

Effect of the massacre on the public. -- General dejection and the
dissolution of society. -- The ascendancy of the Jacobins assured in
Paris. -- The men of September upheld in the Commune and elected to
the Convention.

There are six days and five nights of uninterrupted butchery,[124] 171
murders at the Abbaye, 169 at La Force, 223 at the Châtelet, 328 at
the Consciergerie, 73 at the Tour-Saint-Bernard, 120 at the
Carmelites, 79 at Saint Firmin, 170 at Bicêtre, 35 at the Salpétrière;
among the dead,[125] 250 priests, 3 bishops or archbishops, general
officers, magistrates, one former minister, one royal princess,
belonging to the best names in France, and, on the other side, one
Negro, several working class women, kids, convicts, and poor old men:
What man now, little or big, does not feel himself threatened? -- And
all the more because the band has grown larger. Fournier, Lazowski,
and Bécard, the chiefs of robbers and assassins, return from Orleans
with fifteen hundred cut-throats.[126] One the way they kill M. de
Brissac, M. de Lessart, and 42 others accused of lése-nation, whom
they wrested from their judges' hands, and then, by the way of
surplus, "following the example of Paris," twenty-one prisoners taken
from the Versailles prisons. At Paris the Minister of Justice thanks
them, the Commune congratulates them, and the sections feast them and
embrace them.[127] -- Can anybody doubt that they were ready to begin
again? Can a step be taken in or out of Paris without being subject to
their oppression or encountering their despotism? Should one leave the
city, sentinels of their species are posted at the barriers and on the
section committees in continuous session. Malouet, led before that of
Roule,[128] sees before him a pandemonium of fanatics, at least a
hundred individuals in the same room, the suspected, those denouncing
them, collaborators, attendants, a long, green table in the center,
covered with swords and daggers, with the committee around it, "twenty
patriots with their shirt sleeves rolled up, some holding pistols and
others pens," signing warrants of arrest, "quarreling with and
threatening each other, all talking at once, and shouting: Traitor! --
Conspirator! -- Off to prison with him! -- Guillotine him! -- and
behind these, a crowd of spectators, pell-mell , yelling, and
gesticulating" like wild beasts pressed against each other in the same
cage, showing their teeth and trying to spring at each other. "One of
the most excited, brandishing his saber in order to strike an
antagonist, stopped on seeing me, and exclaimed, 'There's Malouet!' --
The other, however, less occupied with me than with his enemy, took
advantage of the opportunity, and with a blow of his club, knocked him
down." Malouet had a close shave, in Paris escapes take place by such
accidents. -- If one remains in the city, one is beset with lugubrious
fears by,

1. the hurrying step of squads of men in each street, leading the
suspected to prison or before the committee;

2. around each prison the crowds that have come "to see the

3. in the court of the Abaye the cry of the auctioneer selling the
clothes of the dead;

4. the rumbling of carts on the pavement bearing away 1,300 corpses;

5. the songs of the women mounted aloft on the carts, beating time on
the naked bodies.[129]

Is there a man who, after one of these encounters, does not see
himself in imagination before the green table of the section
committee, after this, in prison with sabers over his head, and then
in the cart in the midst of the bloody pile?

Courage falters before a vision like this. All the journals approve,
palliate, or keep silent; nobody dares offer resistance.[130] Property
as well as lives belong to whoever wants to take them. At the
barriers, at the markets, on the boulevard of the Temple, thieves,
decked with the tricolor ribbon, stop people as they pass along, seize
whatever they carry, and, under the pretext that jewels should be
deposited on the altars of Patriotism, take purses, watches, rings,
and other articles, so rudely that women who are not quick enough,
have the lobes of their ears torn in unhooking their earrings[131].
Others, installed in the cellars of the Tuileries, sell the nation's
wine and oil for their own profit. Others, again, given their liberty
eight days before by the people, scent out a bigger job by finding
their way into the Garde-meuble and stealing diamonds to the value of
thirty millions.[132]

Like a man struck on the head with a mallet, Paris, felled to the
ground, lets things go; the authors of the massacre have fully
attained their ends. The faction has fast hold of power, and will
maintain its hold. Neither in the Legislative Assembly nor in the
Convention will the aims of the Girondins be successful against its
tenacious usurpation. It has proved by a striking example that it is
capable of anything, and boasts of it; it is still armed, it stands
there ever prepared and anonymous on its murderous basis, with its
speedy modes of operation, its own group of fanatical agents and
bravos, with Maillard and Fournier, with its cannon and its pikes. All
that does not live within it lives only through its favor from day to
day, through its good will. Everybody knows that. The Assembly no
longer thinks of dislodging people who meet decrees of expulsion with
massacre; it is no longer a question of auditing their accounts, or of
keeping them within the confines of the law. Their dictatorship is not
to be disputed, and their purification continue. From four to five
hundred new prisoners, arrested within eleven days, by order of the
municipality, by the sections, and by this or that individual Jacobin,
are crowded into cells still dripping with blood, and the report is
spread that, on the 20th of September, the prisons will be emptied by
a second massacre.[133] -- Let the Convention, if it pleases,
pompously install itself as sovereign, and grind out decrees -- it
makes no difference; regular or irregular, the government still
marches on in the hands of those who hold the sword.[134] The
Jacobins, through sudden terror, have maintained their illegal
authority; through a prolongation of terror they are going to
establish their legal authority. A forced suffrage is going to put
them in office at the Hôtel-de-ville, in the tribunals, in the
National Guard, in the sections, and in the various administrations,
while they have already elected to the Convention, Marat, Danton,
Fabre d'Eglantine, Camille Desmoulins, Manuel, Billaud-Varennes,
Panis, Sergent, Collot d'Herbois, Robespierre, Legendre, Osselin,
Fréron, David, Robert, Lavicourterie, in short, the instigators,
leaders and accomplices of the massacre.[135] Nothing that could
force or falsify voting is omitted.[136] In the first place the
presence of the people is imposed on the electoral assembly, and, to
this end, it is transferred to the large hall of the Jacobin club,
under the pressure of the Jacobin galleries. As a second precaution,
every opponent is excluded from voting, every Constitutionalist, every
former member of the monarchical club, of the Feuillants, and of the
Sainte-Chapelle club, of the Feuillants, and of the Sainte-Chapelle
club, every signer of the petition of the 20,000 , or of that of the
8,000, and, on the sections protesting against this, their protest is
thrown out on the ground of its being the fruit of "an intrigue."
Finally, at each balloting, each elector's vote is called out, which
ensures the right vote beforehand, the warnings he has received being
very explicit.[137] On the 2nd of September, during the first meeting
of the electoral body, held at the bishop's palace, the Marseilles
troop, 500 yards away, came and took the twenty-four priests from the
town-hall, and, on the way, hacked them to pieces on the Pont-Neuf.
Throughout the evening and all night the agents of the municipality
carried on their work at the Abbaye, at the Carmelites, and at La
Force, and, on the 3rd of September, on the electoral assembly
transferring itself to the Jacobin club, it passed over the Pont-au-
Change between two rows of corpses, which the slaughterers had brought
there from the Châtelet and the Conciergerie prisons.


[1] 'Thierry, son of Clovis, unwilling to take part in an expedition
of his brothers into Burgundy, was told by his men: "If thou art
unwilling to march into Burgundy with thy brothers, we will leave thee
and follow them in thy place."-- Clotaire, another of his sons,
disposed to make peace with the Saxons, "the angry Francs rush upon
him, revile him, and threaten to kill him if he declines to accompany
them. Upon which he puts himself at their head."

[2] Social condition and degree of culture are often indicated
orthographically. -- Granier de Cassagnac, II. .480. Bécard,
commanding the expedition which brought back the prisoners from
Orleans, signs himself: "Bécard, commandant congointement aveque M.
Fournier generalle. " -- "Archives Nationales," F7, 4426. Letter of
Chemin, commissioner of the Gravilliers section, to Santerre, Aug.11,
1792. "Mois Charles Chemin commissaire . . . fait part à Monsieur
Santaire générale de la troupe parisiene que le nommé Hingray
cavaliers de la gendarmeris nationalle . . me délarés qu'ille sestes
trouvés aux jourduis 11 aoux avec une home attachés à la cours aux
Equris; quille lui aves dis quiere 800 home a peupres des sidevant
garde du roy étes tous près a fondre sure Paris pour donaire du sécour
a naux rébelle et a signer avec moi la presante."

[3] On the 19th of March, 1871, I met in the Rue de Varennes a man
with two guns on his shoulder who had taken part in the pillage of the
Ecole d'Etat-major and was on his way home. I said to him: "But this
is civil war, and you will let the Prussians in Paris."- "I'd rather
have the Prussians than Thiers. Thiers is Prussian on the inside!"

[4] Today, 115 years after these words were written, we have seen
others, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao Tse Tung, etc following in
the Jacobin's footsteps. Nobles, Bourgeois, Jews and other
undesirables have been methodically put away. The sheeplike majority
did not read Taine or did not profit from his warnings while most of
the great tyrants learned from him or from the events he described

[5] Moniteur, Nov. 14, 1792.

[6] "Archives Nationales," F7, 4426. Letter of the police
administrators, Aug. 11. Declaration of Delaunay, Aug. 12.

[7] Buchez et Roux, XVII. 59 (session of Aug. 12) Speech by Leprieur
at the bar of the house.

[8] Buchez et Roux, XVII. 47. - Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 31. Speech by
Robespierre at the bar of the Assembly in the name of the commune,
Aug. 15.

[9] Brissot, in his report on Robespierre's petition. - The names of
the principal judges elected show its character: Fouquier-Tinville,
Osselin, Coffinhal.

[10] Buchez et Roux, XVII.91 (Aug. 17).

[11] Stated by Pétion in his speech (Moniteur, Nov. 10, 1792).

[12] Buchez et Roux, XVII. 116 (session of Aug. 23).

[13] Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 461. - Moore, I. 273 (Aug. 31).

[14] Buchez et Roux, XVII. 267 (article by Prudhomme in the
"Révolutions de Paris").

[15] "Les Révolutions de Paris," Ibid., "A number of sans-culottes
were there with their pikes; but these were largely outnumbered by the
multitude of uniforms of the various battalions." -- Moore, Aug, 31:
"At present the inhabitants of the faubourgs Saint-Antoine and Saint-
Marceau are all that is felt of the sovereign people in Paris."

[16] More, Aug. 26.

[17] Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 471. Indictment against Jean-Julien. -- In
referring to M. Mortimer-Ternaux we do so because, like a true critic,
he cites authentic and frequently unedited documents.

[18] Rétif de la Bretonne, "les Nuits de Paris," 11th night, p. 372.

[19] Moore, Sept. 2.

[20] Moore, Sept. 3. -- Buchez et Roux, XVI. 159 (narrative by
Tallien).-- Official report of the Paris commune, Sept. 4 (in the
collection of Barrière and Berville, the volume entitled "Mémoires sur
les journées de Septembre"). The commune adopts and expands the fable,
probably invented by it. Prudhomme well says that the story of the
prison plot, so scandalously circulated during the Reign of Terror,
appears for the first time on the 2d of September. The same report was
spread through the rural districts. At Gennevilliers, a peasant while
lamenting the massacres, said to Malouet: "It is, too, a terrible
thing for the aristocrats to want to kill all the people by blowing up
the city" (Malouet, II. 244).

[21] Official reports of the commune, Aug. 11.

[22] Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 446. List of the section commissioners
sitting at the Hôtel-de-ville, Aug. 10, before 9 o'clock in the

[23] Official reports of the commune, Aug. 21. "Considering that, to
ensure public safety and liberty, the council-general of the commune
required all the power delegated to it by the people, at the time it
was compelled to resume the exercise of its rights," sends a
deputation to the National Assembly to insist that "the new department
be converted, pure and simple, into a tax-commissioners' office." --
Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 25. Speech of Robespierre in the name of the
commune: "After the people have saved the country, after decreeing a
National Convention to replace you, what remains for you to do but to
gratify their wishes? . . . The people, forced to see to its own
salvation, has provided for this through its delegates. . . It is
essential that those chosen by itself for its magistrates should enjoy
the plenary powers befitting the sovereign."

[24] Official reports of the commune, Aug. 10. - Mortimer-Ternaux,
III. 155. Letter of the Minister Servan, Aug. 30.-Ibid., 149.-- Ibid.,
148. The commission on supplies having been broken up by the commune,
Roland, the Minister of the Interior, begs the Assembly to act
promptly, for "he will no longer be responsible for the supplies of

[25] Official reports of the commune, Aug. 21. A resolution requiring
that, on trials for lésé-nation, those who appear for the defendants
should be provided with a certificate of their integrity, issued by
their assembled section, and that the interviews between them and the
accused be public. - Ibid., Aug.17, a resolution to suspend the
execution of the two assassins of mayor Simonneau, condemned to death
by the tribunal of Seine-et-Oise.

[26] Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 11. Decree of Aug.11.

[27] Prudhomme, "Révolutions de Paris" (number for Sep. 22).. Report
by Roland to the National Assembly (Sept. 16, at 9 o'clock in the

[28] Madame Roland, "Mémoires," II. 414 (Ed. Barrière et Berville).
Report by Roland Oct. 29. The seizure in question tool place Aug.27.

[29] Mémoirs sur les journées de Septembre" (Ed. Barrière et Berville,
pp. 307-322). List of sums paid by the treasurer of the commune. --
See, on the prolongation of this plundering, Roland's report, Oct. 29,
of money, plate, and assignats taken from the Senlis Hospital (Sept.
13), the Hotel de Coigny emptied, and sale of furniture in the Hotel
d'Egmont, etc.

[30] Official reports of the commune, Aug. 17 and 20. -- List of sums
paid by the treasurer of the commune, p. 321. -- On the 28th of August
a "Saint-Roch in silver is brought to the bar of the National

[31] Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 150, 161, 511. -- Report by Roland, Oct.
29. P. 414.

[32] Moniteur.514, 542 (sessions of Aug. 23 and 26).

[33] Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 99 (sessions of Aug.15 and 23). "Procès-
verbaux de la Commune," Aug. 18, a resolution to obtain a law
authorizing the commune "to collect together with wives and children
of the émigrés in places of security, and to make use of the former
convents for this purpose."

[34] Procès-verbaux de la Commune," Aug. 12. - Ibid., Aug. 18. Not
being able to find M. Geoffrey, the journalist, the commune "passes a
resolution that seals be affixed to Madame Geoffroy's domicile and
that she be placed in arrest until her husband appears to release

[35] Procès-verbaux de la Commune." Aug.17 and 18. Another resolution,
again demanding of the National Assembly a list of the signers for

[36] Procès-verbaux de la Commune," Aug. 18, 19, 20. -- On the 20th of
August the commune summons before it and examines the Venetian
Ambassador. "A citizen claims to be heard against the ambassador, and
states that several carriages went out of Paris in his name. The name
of this citizen is Chevalier, a horse-shoer's assistant . . . The
Council decrees that honorable mention be made of the affidavits
brought forward in the accusation." On the tone of these examinations
read Weber ("Mémoires," II. 245), who narrates his own.

[37] Buchez et Roux, XVII. 215. Narration by Peltier. -- In spite of
the orders of the National Assembly the affair is repeated on the
following day, and it lasts from the 19th to the 31st of August, in
the evening. -- Moore, Aug.31. The stupid, sheep-like vanity of the
bourgeois enlisted as a gendarme for the sans-culottes is here well
depicted. The keeper of the Hôtel Meurice, where Moore and Lord
Lauderdale put up, was on guard and on the chase the night before: "He
talked a good deal of the fatigue he had undergone, and hinted a
little of the dangers to which he had been exposed in the course of
this severe duty. Being asked if he had been successful in his search
after suspected persons --'Yes my lord, infinitely; our battalion
arrested four priests.' He could not have looked more lofty if he had
taken the Duke of Brunswick,"

[38] According to Rœderer, the number arrested amounted to from 5,000
to 6,000 persons.

[39] Mortimer-Ternaux, III.147, 148, Aug.28 and 29. - Ibid., 176.
Other sections complain of the Commune with some bitterness. -- Buchez
et Roux, XVII. 358. -- "Procès-verbaux de la Commune," Sept. 1. "The
section of the Temple sends a deputation which declares that by virtue
of a decree of the National Assembly it withdraws its powers entrusted
to the commissioners elected by it to the council-general."

[40] Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 154 (session of Aug. 30).

[41] Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 171 (session of Aug. 31). -- Ibid., 208. -
- On the following day, Sept. 1, at the instigation of Danton, Thuriot
obtains from the National Assembly an ambiguous decree which seems to
allow the members of the commune to keep their places, provisionally
at least, at the Hotel-de-ville.

[42] "Procès-verbaux de la Commune," Sept. 1.

[43] "Procès-verbaux de la Commune," Sept. 1. "It is resolved that
whatever effects fell into the hands of the citizens who fought for
liberty and equality on the 10th of August shall remain in their
possession; M. Tallien, secretary-general, is therefore authorized to
return a gold watch to M. Lecomte, a gendarme."

[44] Four circumstances, simultaneous and in full agreement with each
other, indicate this date:
1. On the 23d of August the council-general resolves "that a tribune
shall be arranged in the chamber for a journalist (M. Marat), whose
duty it shall be to conduct a journal giving the acts passed and what
goes on in the commune" ("Procès-verbaux de la Commune," Aug.23)
2. On the same day, "on the motion of a member with a view to
separate the prisoners of lése-nation from those of the nurse's
hospital and others of the same stamp in the different prisons, the
council has adopted this measure" (Granier de Cassagnac, II. 100).
3. The same day the commune applauds the deputies of a section, which
"in warm terms" denounce before it the tardiness of justice and
declare to it that the people will "immolate" the prisoners in their
prisons (Moniteur, Nov. 10, 1793, Narrative of Pétion).
The same day it sends a deputation to the Assembly to order a transfer
of the Orleans prisoners to Paris (Buchez et Roux, XVII. 116). The
next day, in spite of the prohibitions of the Assembly, It sends
Fournier and his band to Orleans (Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 364), and
each knows beforehand that Fournier is commissioned to kill them on
the way. (Balleydier, "Histoire politique et militaire du people de
Lyon," I.79. Letter of Laussel, dated at Paris, Aug.28): "Our
volunteers are at Orleans for the past two or three days to bring the
anti-revolutionary prisoners here, who are treated too well there." On
the day of Fournier's departure (Aug. 24) Moore observes in the Palais
Royal and at the Tuileries "a greater number than usual of stump-
speakers of the populace, hired for the purpose of inspiring the
people with a horror of monarchy."

[45] Moniteur, Sept. 25,1792, speech by Marat in the Convention.

[46] See his two journals, "L'Ami du people" and the "Journal de la
Républic Française," especially for July and October 1792. -- The
number for August 16 is headed: "Development of the vile plot of the
court to destroy all patriots with fire and sword." -- That of August
19: "The infamous conscript Fathers of the Circus, betraying the
people and trying to delay the conviction of traitors until Mottié
arrives, is marching with his army on Paris to destroy all patriots!"
-- That of Aug. 21: "The rotters of the Assembly, the perfidious
accomplices of Mottié arranging for flight . . . The conscript
Fathers, the assassins of patriots at Nancy, the Champ de Mars and in
the Tuileries, etc." -- All this was yelled out daily every morning by
those who hawked these journals through the streets.

[47] Ami du Peuple, Aug.19 and 21.

[48] "Lettres autographs de Madame Roland," published by Madame Bancal
des Issarts, Sept. 9. "Danton leads all; Robespierre is his puppet;
Marat holds his torch and dagger."

[49] Madame Roland "Mémoires," II. 19 (note by Roland). - Ibid., 21,
23, 24. Monge says: "Danton wants to have it so; if I refuse he will
denounce me to the Commune and at the Cordeliers, and have me hung."
Fournier's commission to Orleans was all in order, Roland probably
having signed it unawares, like those of the commissioners sent into
the departments by the executive council (Cf. Mortimer-Ternaux, III.

[50] The person who gives me the following had it from the king, Louis
Philippe, then an officer in Kellerman's corps:

On the evening of the battle of Valmy the young officer is sent to
Paris to carry the news. On his arrival (Sept. 22 or 23. 1792) he
learns that he is removed from his post and appointed governor of
Strasbourg. He goes to Servan's house, Minister of War, and at first
they refuse to let him in. Servan is unwell and in bed, with the
ministers in his room. The young man states that he comes from the
army and is the bearer of dispatches. He is admitted, and finds,
indeed, Servan in bed with various personages around him, and he
announces the victory. -- They question him and he gives the details.
-- He then complains of having been displaced, and, stating that he is
too young to command with any authority at Strasbourg, requests to he
reinstated with the army in the field. "Impossible," replies Servan;
"your place is given to another." Thereupon one of the personages
present, with a peculiar visage and a rough voice, takes him aside and
says to him: "Servan is a fool! Come and see me to-morrow and I will
arrange the matter." "Who are you?" "I am Danton, the Minister of
Justice." -- The next day he calls on Danton, who tells him: "It is
all right; you shall have your post back -- not under Kellerman,
however, but under Dumouriez; are you content?" The young man,
delighted, thanks him. Danton resumes: "Let me give you one piece of
advice before you go: You have talent and will succeed. But get rid of
one fault . You talk too much. You have been in Paris twenty-four
hours, and already you have repeatedly criticized the affair of
September. I know this; I have been informed of it" "But that was a
massacre; how can one help calling it horrible?" "I did it," replies
Danton, "The Parisians are all so many j--- f---. A river of blood had
to flow between them and the émigrés.. You are too young to understand
these matters. Return to the army; it is the only place nowadays for a
young man like you and of your rank. You have a future before you; but
mind this -- keep your mouth shut!"

[51] Hua, 167.. Narrative by his guest, the physician Lambry, an
intimate friend of Danton ultra-fanatical and member of a committee in
which the question came up whether the members of the "Right" should
likewise be put out of the way. "Danton had energetically repelled
this sanguinary proposal. 'Everybody knows,' he said, 'that I do not
shrink from a criminal act when necessary; but I disdain to commit a
useless one."'

[52] Mortimer-Ternaux, Iv. 437. Danton exclaims, in relation to the
hot-headed commissioners sent by him into the department: "Eh! damn
it, do you suppose that we would send you young ladies?"

[53] Philippe de Ségur, "Mémoires,"I.12. Danton, in a conversation
with his father, a few weeks after the 2nd of September.

[54] See above, narrative of the king, louis Philippe.

[55] Buchez et Roux, xvii. 347. The words of Danton in the National
Assembly, Sept. 2nd a little before two o'clock, just as the tocsin
and cannon gave the signal of alarm agreed upon. Already on the 31st
of August, Tailien, his faithful ally, had told the National Assembly:
"We have arrested the priests who make so much trouble. They are in
confinement in a certain domicile, and in a few days the soil of
liberty will be purged of their presence."

[56] Meillan, "Mémoires," 325 (Ed. Barrière et Berville). Speech by
Fabre d'Eglantine at the Jacobin Club, sent around among the
affiliated clubs, May 1, 1793.

[57] Robinet, "Procès des Dantonistes," 39, 45 (words of Danton in
the committee on general defense). - Madame Roland, 2Mémoires," II.
30. On the 2nd of September Grandpré ordered to report to the Minister
of the Interior on the state of the prisons, waits for Danton as he
leaves the council and tells him his fears. "Danton, irritated by the
description, exclaims in his bellowing way, suiting his word to the
action. 'I don't give a damn about the prisoners! Let them take care
of themselves! And he proceeded on in an angry mood. This took place
in the second ante-room, in the presence of twenty persons." -
Arnault, II. 101. About the time of the September massacres "Danton,
in the presence of one of my friends, replied to someone that urged
him to use his authority in stopping the spilling of blood: 'Isn't it
time for the people to take their revenge?' "

[58] Prudhomme, "Crimes de la Révolution," iv. 90. On the 2nd of
September, at the alarm given by the tocsin and cannon, Prudhomme
calls on Danton at his house for information. Danton gives him the
agreed story and adds: "The people, who are now aroused and know what
to do, want to administer justice themselves on the nasty imprisoned
persons. -- Camille Desmoulins enters: "Look here," says Danton,
"Prudhomme has come to ask what is going to be done?" -- "Didn't you
tell him that the innocent would not be confounded with the guilty?
All those that are demanded by their Sections will be given up." --
On the 4th, Desmoulins calls at the office of the journal and says to
the editors: "Well, everything has gone off in the most perfect order.
The people even set free a good many aristocrats against whom there
was no direct proof. I trust that you will state all this exactly,
because the Journal des Révolutions is the compass of public opinion."

[59] Prudhomme, "Crimes de la Révolution," IV. 123. According to the
statements of Théophile Mandar, vice-president of a section, witness
and actor in the scene; he authorizes Prudhomme to mention his name. -
- Afterwards, in the next room, Mandar proposes to Pétion and
Robespierre to attend the Assembly the next day and protest against
the massacre; if necessary, the Assembly may appoint a director for
one day. "Take care not to do that," replied Robespierre; "Brissot
would be the dictator." -- Pétion says nothing. "The ministers were in
perfect agreement to let the massacres continue."

[60] Madame Roland, II. 37. -- "Angers et le départment de Maine-et-
Loire de 1787 à 1830," by Blordier Langlois. Appended to the circular
was a printed address bearing the title of Compte rendu au peuple
souverain, "countersigned by the Minister of Justice and with the
Minister's seal on the package," and addressed to the Jacobin Clubs of
the departments, that they, too, might preach massacre.

[61] Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 391, 398. -- Warned by Alquier,
president of the criminal court of Versailles, of the danger to which
the Orleans prisoners were exposed, Danton replied: "What is that to
you? That affair does not concern you. Mind your own business, and do
not meddle with things outside of it!" -- "But, Monsieur, the law
says that prisoners must be protected."-- "What do you care? Some
among them are great criminals, and nobody knows yet how the people
will regard them and how far their indignation will carry them."
Alquier wished to pursue the matter, but Danton turned his back on him

[62] Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 217

[63] Madame Roland, "Lettres autographes, etc.," Sept. 5, 1792. "We
are here under the knives of Marat and Robespierre. These fellows are
striving to excite the people and turn them against the National
Assembly and the council. They have organized a Star Chamber and they
have a small army under pay, aided by what they found or stole in the
palace and elsewhere, or by supplies purchased by Danton, who is
underhandedly the chieftain of this horde." -- Dusaulx, "Mémoires,"
441. "On the following day (Sept. 3) I went to see one of the most
estimated personalities at this epoch. 'You know,' said I to him,
'what is going on?' -- 'Very well; but keep quiet; it will soon be
over. A little more blood is still necessary.' -- I saw others who
explained themselves much more definitely. " -- Mortimer-Ternaux, II.

[64] Madame Roland, "Lettres autographes, etc.," Sept. 5, 1792. "We
are here under the knives of Marat and Robespierre. These fellows are
striving to excite the people and turn them against the National
Assembly and the council. They have organized a Star Chamber and they
have a small army under pay, aided by what they found or stole in the
palace and elsewhere, or by supplies purchased by Danton, who is
underhandedly the chieftain of this horde." -- Dusaulx, "Mémoires,"
441. "On the following day (Sept. 3) I went to see one of the most
estimated personalities at this epoch. 'You know,' said I to him,
'what is going on?' -- 'Very well; but keep quiet; it will soon be
over. A little more blood is still necessary.' -- I saw others who
explained themselves much more definitely. " -- Mortimer-Ternaux, II.

[65] Madame de Staël, "Considérations sur la Révolution Française,"
3rd part, ch. X.

[66] Prudhomme, "Les Révolutions de Paris" (number for Sept. 22). At
one of the last sessions of the commune "M. Panis spoke of Marat as of
a prophet, another Siméon Stylite. 'Marat,' said he, 'remained six
weeks sitting on one thigh in a dungeon.' " - Barbaroux, 64.

[67] Weber, II. 348. Collot dwells at length, "in cool-blooded
gaiety," on the murder of Madame de Lamballe and on the abominations
to which her corpse was subjected. "He added, with a sigh of regret,
that if he had been consulted he would have had the head of Madame de
Lamballe served in a covered dish for the queen's supper."

[68] On the part played by Robespierre and his presence constantly at
the Commune see Granier de Cassagnac, II. 55. -- Mortimer-Ternaux,
III. 205. Speech by Robespierre at the commune, Sept. 1: "No one dares
name the traitors. Well, I give their names for the safety of the
people: I denounce the libertycide Brissot, the Girondist factionists,
the rascally commission of the Twenty-One in the National Assembly; I
denounce them for having sold France to Brunswick, and for having
taken in advance the reward for their dastardly act." On the 2nd of
September he repeats his denunciation, and consequently on that day
warrants are issued by the committee of supervision against thirty
deputies and against Brissot and Roland (Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 216,

[69] "Procès-verbaux de la Commune," Aug. 30. - Mortimer-Ternaux, III.
217 (resolutions of the sections Poissonnière and Luxembourg). --
Granier de Cassagnac, II. 104 (adhesion of the sections Mauconseil,
Louvre, and Quinze-Vingt).

[70] Granier de Cassagnac, II. 156.

[71] Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 265. -- Granier de Cassagnac, XII. 402.
(The other five judges were also members of the commune.)

[72] Granier de Cassagnac, II. 313. Register of the General Assembly
of the sans-culottes, section, Sept. 2. -- "Mémoires sur les journées
de Septembre," 151 (declaration of Jourdan).

[73] "Mémoires sur les journées de Septembre," narrative of Abbé
Sicard, 111.

[74] Buchez et Roux, XVIII. 109, 178. ("La vérite tout entière," by
Méhée, Jr.) - Narrative of Abbé Sicard, 132, 134.

[75] Granier de Cassagnac, II. 92, 93. - On the presence and
complicity of Santerre. Ibid, 89-99.

[76] Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 277 and 299 (Sept. 3). - Granier de
Cassagnac, II. 257. A commissary of the section of the Quatre-Nations
states in his report that "the section authorized them to pay expenses
out of the affair." - Declaration of Jourdan, 151. - Lavalette,
"Mémoires," I. 91. The initiative of the commune is further proved by
the following detail: "Towards five o'clock (Sept. 2) city officials
on horseback, carrying a flag, rode through the streets crying: 'To
arms! To arms!' They added: 'The enemy is coming; you are all lost;
the city will be burnt and given up to pillage. Have no fear of the
traitors or conspirators behind your backs. They are in the hands of
the patriots, and before you leave the thunderbolt of national justice
will fall on them!" - Buchez et Roux, XXVIII. 105. Letter of Chevalier
Saint-Dizier, member of the first committee of supervision, Sept. 10.
"Marat, Duplain, Fréron, etc., generally do no more in their
supervision of things than wreak private vengeance. . . Marat states
openly that 40,000 heads must still be knocked off to ensure the
success of the revolution."

[77] Buchez et Roux, XVIII. 146. "Ma Résurrection," by Mathon de la
Varenne. "The evening before half-intoxicated women said publicly on
the Feuillants terrace: 'To-morrow is the day when their souls will be
turned inside out in the prisons."

[78] "Mémoires sur les journées de Septembre. Mon agonie," by Journiac
de Saint-Méard. -- Madame de la Fausse-Landry, 72. The 29th of August
she obtained permission to join her uncle in prison: "M. Sergent and
others told me that I was acting imprudently; that the prisons were
not safe."

[79] Granier de Cassagnac, -- II. 27. According to Roch Marcandier
their number "did not exceed 300." According to Louvet there were
"200, and perhaps not that number." According to Brissot, the
massacres were committed by about "a hundred unknown brigands." --
Pétion, at La Force (Ibid., 75), on September 6, finds only about a
dozen executioners. According to Madame Roland (II. 35), "there were
not fifteen at the Abbaye." Lavalette the first day finds only about
fifty killers at the La Force prison.

[80] Mathon de la Varenne, ibid., 137.

[81] Buchez et Roux, XVII. 183 (session of the Jacobin Club, Aug. 27).
Speech by a federate from Tarn. - Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 126.

[82] Sicard, 80. -- Méhée, 187. -- Weber, II. 279. -- Cf., in Journiac
de Saint-Méard, his conversation with a Provençal. -- Rétif de la
Bretonne, "Les Nuits de Paris," 375. "About 2 o'clock in the morning
(Sept. 3) I heard a troop of cannibals passing under my window, none
of whom appeared to have the Parisian accent; they were all

[83] Granier de Cassagnac, II. 164, 502. -- Mortimer-Ternaux, III.
530. -- Maillard's assessors at the Abbaye were a watchmaker living in
the Rue Childebert, a fruit-dealer in the Rue Mazarine, a keeper of a
public house in the Rue du Four-Saint-Germain, a journeyman hatter in
the Rue Sainte-Marguerite, and two others whose occupation is not
mentioned. -- On the composition of the tribunal at La Force, Cf.
Journiac de Saint-Méard, 120, and Weber, II. 261.

[84] Granier de Cassagnac, II. 507 (on Damiens), 513 (on L'empereur).
-- Meillan, 388 (on Laforet and his wife, old-clothes dealers on the
Quai du Louvre, who on the 31st of May prepare for a second blow, and
calculate this time on having for their share the pillaging of fifty

[85] Sicard, 98

[86] De Ferrières (Ed. Berville et Barrière), III. 486. -- Rétif de la
Bretonne, 381. At the end of the Rue des Ballets a prisoner had just
been killed, while the next one slipped through the railing and
escaped. "A man not belonging to the butchers, but one of those
thoughtless machines of which there are so many, interposed his pike
and stopped him. . . The poor fellow was arrested by his pursuers and
massacred. The pikeman coolly said to us: 'I couldn't know they wanted
to kill him.'"

[87] Granier de Cassagnac, II. 511.

[88] The judges and slaughterers at the Abbaye, discovered in the
trial of the year IV., almost all lived in the neighborhood, in the
rues Dauphine, de Nevers, Guégénaud, de Bussy, Childebert, Taranne, de
l'Egoût, du Vieux Colombier, de l'Echaudé-Saint-Benoit, du Four-Saint-
Germain, etc.

[89] Sicard, 86, 87, 101. -- Jourdan, 123. "The president of the
committee of supervision replied to me that these were very honest
persons; that on the previous evening or the evening before that, one
of them, in a shirt and wooden shoes, presented himself before their
committee all covered with blood, bringing with him in his hat twenty-
five louis in gold, which he had found on the person of a man he had
killed." -- Another instance of probity may be found in the "Procès-
verbaux du conseil-général de la Commune de Versailles," 367, 371. --
On the following day, Sept. 3, robberies commence and go on

[90] Méhée, 179. "'Would you believe that I have earned only twenty-
four francs?' said a baker's boy armed with a club. 'I killed more
than forty for my share.'"

[91] Granier de Cassagnac. II. 153. -- Cf. Ibid., 202-209, details on
the meals of the workmen and on the more delicate repast of Maillard
and his assistants.

[92] Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 175-176. - Granier de Cassagnac. II. 84. -
- Jourdan, 222. -- Méhée, 179. "At midnight they came back swearing,
cursing, and foaming with rage, threatening to cut the throats of the
committee in a body if they were not instantly paid."

[93] Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 320. Speech by Pétion on the charges
preferred against Robespierre.

[94] Mathon de la Varenne, 156. -- Journiac de Saint-Méard, 129. -
Moore, 267.

[95] Journiac de Saint-Méard, 115.

[96] Weber, II. 265. -- Journiac de Saint-Méard, 129. -- Mathon de la
Varenne, 155.

[97] Moore, 267. -- Cf. Malouet, II. 240. Malouet, on the evening of
Sept. 1, was at his sister-in-law's; there is a domiciliary visit at
midnight; she faints on hearing the patrol mount the stairs. "I
begged them not to enter the drawing-room, so as not to disturb the
poor sufferer. The sight of a woman in a swoon and pleasing in
appearance affected them, and they at once withdrew, leaving me alone
with her." -- Beaulieu, "Essais," I. 108. (Regarding the two Abbaye
butchers he meets in the house of Journiac-de-Saint-Méard, and who
chat with him while issuing him with a safe-conduct): "What struck me
was to detect generous sentiments through their ferocity, those of men
determined to protect any one whose cause they adopted."

[98] Weber, II. 265, 348.

[99] Sicard, 101. Billaud-Varennes, addressing the slaughterers. -
Ibid.75. "Greater power," replied a member of the committee of
supervision, "what are you thinking of? To give you greater power
would be limiting those you have already. Have you forgotten that you
are sovereigns? That the sovereignty of the people is confided to you,
and that you are now in full exercise of it?"

[100] Méhée, 171.

[101] Sicard, 81. At the beginning the Marseilles men themselves were
averse to striking the disarmed, and exclaimed to the crowd: "Here,
take our swords and pikes and kill the monsters!"

[102] Macbeth by Shakespeare: "I have supped full with horrors."

[103] Observe children drowning a dog or killing a snake. Tenacity of
life irritates them, as if it were a rebellion against their
despotism, the effect of which is to render them only the more violent
against their victim.

[104] One may recall to mind the effect of bull-fights, also the
irresistible fascination which Saint-Augustin experienced on first
hearing the death-cry of a gladiator in the amphitheater.

[105] Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 131. Trial of the September actors; the
judge's summing up. "The third and forty-sixth witnesses stated that
they saw Monneuse (member of the commune) go to and come from la
Force, express his delight at those sad events that had just occurred,
acting very immorally in relation thereto, adding that there was
violin playing in his presence, and that his colleague danced." -
Sicard, 88.

[106] Sicard, 87, 91. This expression by a wine-merchant, who wants
the custom of the murderers. - Granier de Cassagnac, II. 197-200. The
original bills for wine, straw, and lights have been found.

[107] Sicard, 91. - Maton de la Varenne, 150.

[108] Mathon de la Varenne, 154. A man from the suburbs said to him
(Mathon is an advocate):

"All right, Monsieur Fine-skin; I shall treat myself to a glass of
your blood

[109] Rétif de la Bretonne, "Les Nuits de Paris," 9th night, p.388.
"She screamed horribly, whilst the brigands amused themselves with
their disgraceful acts. Her body even after death was not exempt.
These people had heard that she had been beautiful."

[110] Prudhomme, "Les Révolutions de Paris," number for Sept. 8, 1792.
"The people subjected the flower-girl of the Palais-Royal to the law
of retaliation." - Granier de Cassagnac, II. 329. According to the
bulletin of the revolutionary tribunal, number for Sept. 3. --
Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 291. Deposition of the caretaker's office of
the Conciergerie prison. -- Buchez et Roux, XVII.198. "Histoire des
hommes de proi," by Roch Marcandier.

[111] Mortimer-Ternaux III, 257. Trial of the September murderers;
deposition of Roussel. - Ib., 628.

[112] Deposition of the woman Millet, ibid., 63. -- Weber, II. 350. -
- Roch Marcandier, 197, 198. - Rétif de la Bretonne, 381.

[113] Deposition of the woman Millet, ibid., 63. -- Weber, II. 350. -
- Roch Marcandier, 197, 198. - Rétif de la Bretonne, 381.

[114] On this mechanical and murderous action Cf: Dusaulx, "Mémoires,"
440. He addresses the bystanders in favor of the prisoners, and,
affected by his words, they hold out their hands to him. "But before
this the executioners had struck me on the cheeks with the points of
their pikes, from which hung pieces of flesh. Others wanted to cut off
my head, which would have been done if two gendarmes had not kept them

[115] Jourdan, 219.

[116] Méhée, 179.

[117] Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 558. The same idea is found among the
federates and Parisians composing the company of the Egalité, which
brought the Orleans prisoners to Versailles and then murdered them.
They explain their conduct by saying that they "hoped to put an end to
the excessive expenditure to which the French empire was subject
through the prolonged detention of conspirators."

[118] Rétif de la Bretonne, 388.

[119] Méhée, 177.

[120] Prudhomme, "Les Crimes de la Révolution." III. 272.

[121] Rétif de la Bretonne, 388. There were two sorts of women at the
Salpétrière, those who were banded and young girls brought in the
prison. Hence the two alternatives.

[122] Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 295. See list of names, ages, and

[123] Barthélemy Maurice, "Histoire politique and anecdotique des
prisons de la Seine," 329.

[124] Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 295. See list of names, ages, and

[125] The Encyclopedia "QUID" (ROBERT LAFONT, PARIS 1998) advises us
that the number of victims killed with "cold steel and clubs" etc
total 1395 persons. the total number of French victims due to the
Revolution is considered to be between 600 000 and 800 000 dead. (SR)

[126] Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 399, 592, 602-606. - "Procès-verbal des
8, 9, 10 Septembre, extrait des registres de la municipalité de
Versailles." (In the "Mémoires sur les journées de Septembre"), p. 358
and following pages. - Granier de Cassagnac, II. 483. Bonnet's exploit
at Orleans, pointed out to Fournier, Sept. I. Fournier replies: "In
God's name, I am not to be ordered; when the bloody beggars have had
their heads cut off the trial may be held later!"

[127] Roch Marcandier, 210. Speech by Lazowski to the section of
Finistère, fauborg Saint-Marceau. Lazowski had, in addition, set free
the assassins of the mayor of Etampes, and laid their manacles on the
bureau table.

[128] Malouet, II. 243 (Sept. 2). - Moniteur, XIII. 48 (session of
Sept. 27, 1792). We see in the speech of Panis that analogous scenes
took place in the committee of supervision. "Imagine our situation. We
were surrounded by citizens irritated against the treachery of the
court. We were told: 'Here is an aristocrat who is going to fly; you
must stop him, or your yourselves are traitors!' Pistols were pointed
at us and we found ourselves obliged to sign warrants, not so much for
our own safety as for that of the persons denounced."

[129] Granier de Cassagnac, II. 258. - Prudhomme, "Les Crimes de la
Révolution," III. 272. - Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 631. - De Ferrière,
III. 391. - (The expression quoted was recorded by Rétif de la

[130] That is how to do it, must any anarchist or hopeful
revolutionary have thought, upon reading Taine's livid description.-
But also: "Do not let the bourgeois read this, it might scare them and
make our task more difficult." (SR).

[131] Moniteur, XIII. 698, 698 (numbers for Sept. 15 and 16). Ibid.,
Letter of Roland, 701; of Pétion, 711. - Buchez et Roux, XVIII. 33.
34. - Prudhomme's journal contains an engraving of this subject (Sept.
14) - "An Englishman admitted to the bar of the house denounces to
the National Assembly a robbery committed in a house occupied by him
at Chaillot by two bailiffs and their satellites. The robbery
consisted of twelve louis, five guineas, five thousand pounds in
assignats, and several other objects." The courts before which he
appeared did not dare take up his case (Buchez et Roux, XVII. P. 1,
Sept. 18).

[132] Buchez et Roux, XVII. 461. - Prudhomme, "Les Révolutions de
Paris," number for Sept. 22, 1792.

[133] Moniteur, XIII. 711 (session of Sept. 16). Letter of Roland to
the National Assembly. - Buchez et Roux, XVIII. 42. -- Moniteur,
XIII. 731 (session of Sept. 17). Speech by Pétion: "Yesterday there
was some talk of again visiting the prisons, and particularly the

[134] Perhaps Mao read this and later coined his famous slogan "that
all political power emanates from the barrels of guns." (SR).

[135] "Archives Nationales," II. 58 to 76. Official reports of the
Paris electoral assembly. - Robespierre is elected the twelfth (Sept.
5), then Danton and Collot d'Herbois (Sept. 6) then Manuel and
Billaud-Varennes (Sept. 7), next C. Desmoulins (Sept. 8), Marat (Sept.
9) etc. - Mortimer-Ternaux, IV. 35 (act passed by the commune at the
instigation of Robespierre for the regulation of electoral
operations). - Louvet, "Mémoires." Louvet, in the electoral assembly
asks to be heard on the candidacy of Marat, but is unsuccessful. "On
going out I was surrounded by those men with big clubs and sabers by
whom the future dictator was always attended, Robespierre's body-
guard. They threatened me and told me in very concise terms: 'Before
long you shall have your turn. This is the freedom of that assembly in
which one declared his vote under a dagger pointed at him."'

[136] In reading this all socialist and communists and other potential
manipulators of democracy would have taken and will continue to take
note. Once the hidden combination can manage to invest all the
different, in theory opponent, parties with their own men, an eternal
control by a hidden mafia can now take place. (SR).

[137] Such procedures set a precedence for 200 years of 'guided
democracy' in many trade unions and elsewhere. (SR).



In the departments, it is by hundreds that we enumerate days like the
20th of June, August 10, September 2. The body has its epidemic, its
contagious diseases; the mind has the same; the revolutionary malady
is one of them. It appears throughout the country at the same time;
each infected point infects others. In each city, in each borough, the
club is a Center of inflammation which disorganizes the sound parts;
and the example of each disorganized Center spreads afar like
contagious fumes.[1] Everywhere the same fever, delirium, and
convulsions mark the presence of the same virus. That virus is the
Jacobin dogma. By virtue of the Jacobin dogma, theft, usurpation,
murder, take on the guise of political philosophy, and the gravest
crimes against persons, against public or private property, become
legitimate; for they are the acts of the legitimate supreme power, the
power that has the public welfare in its keeping.

I. The Sovereignty of the People..

Its principle is the Jacobin dogma of the sovereignty of the people. -
- The new right is officially proclaimed. -- Public statement of the
new régime. -- Its object, its opponents, its methods. -- Its
extension from Paris to the provinces.-

That each Jacobin band should be invested with the local dictatorship
in its own canton is, according to the Jacobins, a natural right. It
becomes the written law from the day that the National Assembly
declares the country in danger. "From that date," says their most
widely read Journal,[2] and by the mere fact of that declaration, "the
people of France are assembled and insurgent. They have repossessed
themselves of the sovereign power." Their magistrates, their
deputies, all constituted authorities, return to nothingness, their
essential state. And you, temporary and revocable representatives,
"you are nothing but presiding officers for the people; you have
nothing to do but to collect their votes, and to announce the result
when these shall have been cast with due solemnity." -- Nor is this
the theory of the Jacobins only; it is also official theory. The
National Assembly approves of the insurrection, recognizes the
Commune, keeps in the background, abdicates as far as possible, and
only remains provisionally in office in order that the place may not
be left vacant. It abstains from exercising power, even to provide its
own successors; it merely "invites" the French people to organize a
national convention; it confesses that it has "no right to put the
exercise of sovereign power under binding rules"; it does no more than
"indicate to citizens" the rules for the elections "to which it
invites them to conform."[3] Meanwhile it is subject to the will of
the sovereign people, then so-called; it dares not resist their
crimes; it interferes with assassins only by entreaties. -- Much more;
it authorizes them, either by ministerial signature or counter-
signature, to begin their work elsewhere. Roland has signed Fournier's
commission to Orleans; Danton has sent the circular of Marat over all
France. To reconstruct the departments the council of ministers sends
the most infuriated members of the Commune and the party, Chaumette,
Fréron, Westerman, Auduoin, Huguenin, Momoro, Couthon, Billaud-
Varennes,[4] and others still more tainted and brutal, who preach the
purest Jacobin doctrine. "They announce openly[5] that laws no longer
exist; that since the people are sovereign, every one is master; that
each fraction of the nation can take such measures as suit it, in the
name of the country's safety; that they have the right to tax corn, to
seize it in the laborer's fields, to cut off the heads of the farmers
who refuse to bring their grain to market." At Lisieux, agrarian law
is preached by Fufour and Momoro. At Douai, other preachers from
Paris say to the popular club, "Prepare scaffolds; let the walls of
the city bristle with gallows, and hang upon them every man who does
not accept our opinions." -- Nothing is more logical, more in
conformity with their principles. The journals, deducing their
consequences, explain to the people the use they ought to make of
their reconquered sovereignty.[6] "Under the present circumstances,
community of property is the law; everything belongs to everybody."
Besides, "an equalizing of fortunes must be brought about, a leveling,
which shall abolish the vicious principle of the domination of the
rich over the poor." This reform is all the more pressing because "the
people, the real sovereign people, have nearly as many enemies as
there are proprietors, large merchants, financiers, and wealthy men.
In a time of revolution, we must regard all men who have more than
enough as the enemies, secret or avowed, of popular government."
Therefore, "let the people of each commune, before they quit their
homes" for the army, "put all those who are suspected of not loving
liberty in a secure place, and under the safe-keeping of the law; let
them be kept shut up until war is over; let them be guarded with
pikes," and let each one of their guardians receive thirty sous per

* As for the partisans of the fallen government, the members of the
Paris directory, "with Roederer and Blondel at their head,"

* as for the general officers, "with Lafayette and d'Affry at their

* as for "the critical deputies of the Constituent Assembly, with
Barnave and Lameth at their head,"

* as for the Feuillant deputies of the Legislative Assembly, "with
Ramond and Jaucourt at their head,"[7]

* as for "all those who consented to soil their hands with the profits
of the civil list,"

* as for "the 40,000 hired assassins who were gathered at the palace
on the night of August 9-10,


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