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

Part 9 out of 10

day, having voted Death, he excuses himself by saying "that he did not
think he ought to put the life of one man in the scale against the
public welfare."[50] Fifteen or twenty deputies, influenced by his
example, voted as he did, which was enough to turn the majority.[51]
The same weakness is found at other decisive moments. Charged with the
denunciation of the conspiracy of the 10th of March, Vergniaud
attributes it to the aristocrats, and admits to Louvet that "he did
not wish to name the real conspirators for fear of embittering violent
men already pushing things to excess."[52] The truth is, the
Girondists, as formerly the Constitutionalists, are too civilized for
their adversaries, and submit to force for lack of resolution to
employ it themselves.

"To put down the faction," says one of them,[53] "can be done only by
cutting its throat, which, perhaps, would not be difficult to do. All
Paris is as weary as we are of its yoke, and if we had any liking for
or knowledge how to deal with insurrections, we could soon throw it
off. But how can we make men adopt such necessary atrocious measures
when they are criticizing their adversaries for taking these? And yet
they would have saved the country." Consequently, incapable of action,
able only to talk, reduced to protests, to barring the way to
revolutionary decrees, to making appeals to the department against
Paris, they stand as an obstacle to all the practical people who are
heartily engaged in the brunt of the action. -- "There is no doubt
that Carnot is as honest as they are, as honest as a fanatic spectator
can be."[54] Cambon, undoubtedly with as much integrity as Roland,
spoke as loudly up as he against the 2nd of September, the Commune,
and anarchy.[55] -- But, to Carnot and Cambon, who pass their nights,
one in establishing his budgets, and the other in studying his
military maps, they require, first of all, a government which will
provide them with money and with soldiers, and, therefore, an
unscrupulous and unanimous Convention ; that is to say, there being no
other expedient, a Convention under compulsion, i.e. a Convention
purged of troublesome some, dissentient speakers;[56] in other words,
the dictatorship of the Parisian proletariat. After the 15th of
December, 1792, Cambon completely accepts this, and even erects the
dictatorship of the proletariat into an European system. From that
time[57] he preaches universal sans-culotterie, a form of government
in which the poor will rule and the rich will pay, in short, the
restoration of privileges in an inverse sense. The later expression of
Siéyès which has already come true: the problem is no longer how to
apply the principles of the Revolution, but the salvation of its men.
Faced with this more and more distressing imperative, many of
undecided deputies go with the tide, letting the Montagnards have
their own way and separate themselves from the Girondists.

And, what is graver still, the Girondists, apart from all these
defections, are untrue to themselves. Not only are they ignorant of
how to draw a line, of how to form themselves into a compact body: not
only "is the very idea of a collective proceeding repulsive, each
member desiring to keep himself independent. and act as he thinks
best,"[58] make motions without consulting others, and vote as the
occasion calls for against his party, but, through its abstract
principle, they are in accord with their adversaries, and, on the
fatal declivity whereon their honorable and humane instincts still
retain them, this common dogma, like a concealed weight, causes them
to sink lower and lower down, even into the bottomless pit, where the
State, according to the formula of Jean Jacques, omnipotent,
philosophic, anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, despotic, leveling,
intolerant, and propagandist, seizes education, levels fortunes,
persecutes the Church, oppresses consciences, crushes out the
individual, and, by military foice, imposes its structures abroad.[59]
Basically, apart from the Jacobin excess of brutality and of
precipitation, the Girondists, setting out from the same principles as
the Jacobin "Mountain," march forward to the same end along with them.
Hence the effect of ideological prejudice on them in weakening their
moral attitudes. Secretly, in their hearts, revolutionary desires
conspire with those of their enemies, and, on many occasions, make
them betray themselves. -- Through these devices and multiplied
weaknesses, on the one hand, the majority diminishes so as to present
but 279 votes against 228.[60] And, on the other hand, through
frequent failures, it surrenders to the besiegers one by one every
commanding post of the public citadel. Now, at the first attack,
nothing remains but to fly, or to beg for mercy.

IV. Jacobin victory over Girondin majority.

Principal decrees of the Girondist majority. -- Arms and means of
attack surrendered by it to its adversaries.

The Convention had voted, on principle, for the establishment of a
military departmental guard, but, owing to the opposition of the
Montagnards, it fails to put the principle into operation. -- For six
months it is protected, and, on the 10th of March, saved, through the
spontaneous aid of provincial federates, but, far from organizing
these passing auxiliaries into a permanent body of faithful defenders,
it allows them to be dispersed or corrupted by Pache and the Jacobins.
-- It passes decrees frequently for the punishment of the abettors of
the September crime, but, on their menacing petition, the trials are
indefinitely postponed.[61] -- It has summoned to its bar Fournier,
Lazowski, Deffieux, and other leaders, who, on the 10th of March, were
disposed to throw it out of the windows, but, on making their impudent
apology, it sends them away acquitted, free, and ready to begin over
again.[62] At the War Department it raises up in turn two cunning
Jacobins, Pache and Bouchotte, who are to work against it unceasingly.
At the Department of the Interior it allows the fall of its firmest
support, Roland, and appoints Garat in his place, an ideologist, whose
mind, composed of glittering generalities, with a character made up of
contradictory inclinations, fritters itself away in reticences, in
falsehoods and in half-way treachery, under the burden of his too
onerous duties. -- It votes the murder of the King, which places an
insurmountable barrier of blood between it and all honest persons. --
It plunges the nation into a war in behalf of principles,[63] and
excites an European league against France, which league, in
transferring the perils arising from the September crime to the
frontier, permanently establishes the September régime in the
interior. -- It forges in advance the vilest instruments of the
forthcoming Reign of Terror,

* through the decree which establishes the revolutionary tribune, with
Fouquier-Tinville as public prosecutor, and the obligation for each
juryman to utter his verdict aloud;[64]

* through the decree condemning every émigré to civil death, and the
confiscation of his property "of either sex," even a simple fugitive,
even returned within six months;[65]

* through the decree which "outlaws aristocrats and enemies of the

* through the decree which, in each commune, establishes a tax on the
wealth of the commune in order to adapt the price of bread to

* through the decree which subjects every bag of grain to declaration
and to the maximum (price conrol);[68]

* through the decree which awards six years in irons for any traffic
in the currency;[69]

* through the decree which orders a forced loan of a billion,
extorted from the rich;[70]

* through the decree which raises in each town a paid army of sans-
culottes "to hold aristocrats under their pikes "[71] and at last,

* through the decree which, instituting the Committee of Public
Safety,[72] fashions a central motor to set these sharp scythes agoing
and mow down fortunes and lives with the utmost rapidity. -

To these engines of general destruction it adds one more, which is
special and operates against itself. Not only does it furnish its
rivals of the Commune with the millions they need to pay their bands;
not only does it advance to the different sections,[73] in the form of
a loan, the hundreds of thousands of francs which are needed to
satisfy the thirst of their yelpers; but again, at the end of March,
just at the moment when it happens to escape the first Jacobin
invasion, it provides for the election by each section of a Committee
of Supervision, authorized to make domiciliary visits and to disarm
the suspected;[74] it allows this committee to make arrests and
inflict special taxes; to facilitate its operations it orders a list
of the inmates of each house, legibly "stating names, surnames, ages
and professions," to be affixed to the entrance,[75] a copy of which
must be left with the committee, and which is subject to its control.

To end the matter, it submits itself; and, "regardless of the
inviolability of a representative of the French nation,"[76] it
decides that, in case of political denunciation, its own members may
be brought to trial.

V. Jacobin violence against the people.

Committees of Supervision after March 28, 1793. - The régime of August
and September, 1792, revived. - Disarmament. - Certificates of civism.
- Forced enlistment. - Forced loans. - Use made of the sums raised. -
Vain resistance of the population. - Manifestations by young men
repressed. - Violence and victory of the Jacobins in the assemblies of
the sections.

"I seem to hear you," writes a sarcastic observer,[77] "addressing the
(Jacobin) faction in these terms:

'Now, look here, we have the means, but we are not disposed to make
use of them against you; it would be unfair to attack you unarmed.
Public power emanates from two sources, legal authority and armed
force. Now we will at once create committees of supervision, of which
you shall appoint the heads, for the reason that, with a whip of this
kind, you can lash every honest man in Paris, and thus regulate public
opinion. We will do more than this, because our sacrifice is not yet
complete; we are disposed to make you a present of our armed force,
with authority to disarm anybody that you may suspect. As far as we
are concerned, we are ready to surrender even our pocketknives,[78]
and remain apart, content with our virtues and talents. -- But mind
what you are about. Should you be so ungrateful as to attack our
sacred persons, we shall find avengers in the departments.'

'What good will the departments do you, let loose against each other,
after you are out of the way?' " (was the imaginary Jacobin reply!)

No summary could be more exact nor any prediction more accurately
based. Henceforth, and by virtue of the Convention's own decrees, not
only have the Jacobins the whole of the executive power in their
hands, as this is found in civilized countries, but likewise the
discretionary power of the antique tyrant or modern pasha, that
arbitrary, strong arm which, singling out the individual, falls upon
him and takes from him his arms, his freedom, and his money. After the
28th of March, we see in Paris a resumption of the system which,
instituted by the 10th of August, was completed by the 2nd of
September. In the morning, drums beat to arms; at noon, the barriers
are shut, the bridges and passages guarded, and sentinels stand on the
corners of the streets; no one is allowed "to pass outside the limits
of his section," or circulate within them without showing his
certificate of civism; houses are invested, numbers of persons are
arrested,[79] and, during the succeeding months, this operation is
carried on under the sway of the Committee of Supervision. Now, this
Committee, in almost all the sections, "is made up of sans-culottes,"
not fathers of families, men of judgment and experience, people living
a long time in the quarter, but "strangers, or young men trying to be
something,"[80] ambitious underlings, ignorant daredevils, despotic
intruders, fierce, touchy and inexperienced inquisitors".

The first thing is the disarmament of the suspected. "It is enough
that any citizen shall be denounced, and that the case is made known
to the Committee";[81] or that his certificate of civism is less than
one month old,[82] to make a delegate, accompanied by ten armed men,
search his house. In the section of the Réunion alone, on the first
day, 57 denounced persons are thus disarmed for "acts of incivism or
expressions adverse to the Republic," not merely lawyers, notaries,
architects, and other prominent men, but petty tradesmen and shop-
keepers, hatters, dyers, locksmiths, mechanics, gilders, and bar-
keepers. One section; in defiance of the law, adds to these in block
the signers of the petition of the eight thousand and that of the
twenty thousand. "Through such schemes," says an observer,[83] "all
the guns in Paris, numbering more than a hundred thousand, pass into
the hands of the faction. None remain for its adversaries, even in
the gunshops; for, through an ordinance of the Commune, no one may
purchase a gun without a certificate issued by the Committee of
Supervision of the section.[84] -- On the other hand, owing to the
power of granting or refusing certificates of civism, each Committee,
on its own authority, interposes barriers as it pleases in all
directions, public or private, to every inhabitant within its bounds.
It is impossible for any person who has not obtained his
certificate[85] to have a passport for traveling, although a
tradesman; no public employee, no clerk of the administration,
advocate or notary can keep his place without it; no one can go out of
Paris or return late at night. If one goes out to take a walk, there
is danger of being arrested and brought back between two soldiers to
the committee of the section; if one stays at home, it is with the
chance of being inspected as a harbourer of priests or nobles. Any
Parisian opening his windows in the morning may find his house
surrounded by a company of carmagnoles, if he has not the
indispensable certificate in his pocket.[86] In the eyes of a Jacobin
committee, there is no civism but in Jacobinism, and we can imagine
whether this patent would be willingly conferred on opponents, or even
on the lukewarm; what examinations they would have to undergo; what
questions they would be obliged to answer; how many goings and
comings, solicitations, appearances and waitings would be imposed on
them; with what persistency it would excite delay, and with what
satisfaction it would be refused. Buzot presented himself four times
at the Committee of Quatre-Nations to obtain a certificate for his
domestic, and failed to get it.[87] There is another still more
effective expedient for keeping the ill-disposed in check The
committee of each section, aided by a member of the Commune,[88]
designates the twelve thousand men drafted for the expedition into La
Vendée, and picks them by name, one by one, as it may select them; the
effect of this is to purge Paris of twelve thousand anti-Jacobins, and
tranquilize the section assemblies, where opposition is often
objectionable. To this end the committee selects first, and gives the
preference to, the clerks of lawyers and notaries, those of banking-
houses, the administration, and of merchants, the unmarried in all
offices and counting-rooms, in short, all the Parisian middle class
bachelors, of which there are more than twenty-five thousand.[89] The
ordinance stipulates that one out of two should be taken, undoubtedly
those with the poorest reputation with the Committee, this proceeding
will silence the others and prevent them from speaking up in their

While one hand clutches the collar, the other rummages the pocket. The
Committee of Supervision of each section, always aided by a member of
the Commune,[91] designates all persons in easy circumstances,
estimates their incomes as it pleases, or according to common report,
and sends them an order to pay a particular sum in proportion to their
surplus, and according to a progressive tax. The allowance which is
exempt for the head of a family is 1,500 francs per annum, besides
1,000 francs for his wife and 1,000 francs for each child; if the
excess is over 15,000 or 20,000 francs, they assess it 5,000 francs;
if more than 40,000 or 50,000 francs, they assess it 20,000; in no
case may the surplus retained exceed 30,000 francs; all above this
amount goes to the State. The first third of this sudden contribution
to the public funds is required in forty-eight hours, the second in a
fortnight, and the remaining third in a month, under serious
penalties. If the tax happens to be exaggerated, if an income is
uncertain or imaginary, if receipts are yet to come in, if there is no
ready money, if; like Francœur, the opera manager, a man "has nothing
but debts," so much the worse. "In case of refusal," writes the
section of Bon-Conseil, "his personal and real property shall be sold
by the revolutionary committee, and his person declared
suspected."[92] -- Even this is simply an installment on account:

"There is no desire on the part of the Committee at the present moment
to demand more than a portion of your surplus," that which rest will
be taken later. Desfieux, the bankrupt,[93] has already, in the
tribune of the Jacobin club, estimated the fortunes of one hundred of
the wealthiest notaries and financiers in Paris at 640,000,000 francs;
the municipality sent a list of their names to the sections to have it
completed; if only one-tenth was taken from them, it would amount to
64,000,000, which "big sponges," thoroughly squeezed, would disgorge a
much larger amount.

"The richest of Frenchmen," says Robespierre, "should not have more
than 3,000 francs a year."[94]

The contributions of "these gentlemen" suffice to arm the sans-
culottes, "remunerate artisans for their attendance in the section
meetings, and support laborers without work."[95] Already through the
sovereign virtue of summary requisitions, everything is spoil;
carriage-horses are seized in their stables, while vehicles belonging
to aged ladies, mostly widows, and the last of the berlins and elegant
carriages still remaining in Paris, are taken out of the livery-

With such powers used in this way, the section makes the most of the
old deep-seated enmity of the poor against the rich;[97] it secures
the firm loyalty of the needy and of vagabonds; thanks to the vigorous
arms of its active clients, it completely overcomes the feeble,
transient, poorly-contrived resistance which the National Convention
and the Parisian population still oppose to its rule.

On the 13th of April Marat, accused three months before and daily
becoming bolder in his fractiousness, is finally indicted through a
decree of the incensed majority;[98] on the 24th he appears before the
revolutionary tribunal. But the revolutionary tribunal, like other
newly organized institutions, is composed of pure Jacobins, and,
moreover, the party has taken its precautions. Marat, for his escort
to the court-room has "the municipal commissaries, envoys from the
various sections, delegates from all the patriotic clubs"; besides
these, "a multitude of good patriots" fill the hall beforehand; "early
in the morning the other chambers of the Palais de Justice, the
corridors, the courts and adjacent streets" overflow with "sans-
culottes ready to avenge any outrage that may be perpetrated on their
favorite defender."[99] Naturally, excessively conceited, he speaks
not like an accused, but "as an apostle and martyr." He is overwhelmed
with applause, unanimously acquitted, crowned with laurel, borne in
triumph to the Convention, where he thunders a song of victory, while
the Girondist majority is obliged to suffer his presence awaiting to
be subjected to their banishments. -- Equally as impotent as the
moderates of the Legislative Assembly are the moderates in the street
who recover themselves only again to be felled to the ground. On the
4th and 5th of May, five or six hundred young fellows, well-dressed
and without arms, have assembled in the Champs-Elysées and at the
Luxembourg to protest against the ordinance of the Commune, which
drafts them for the expedition to La Vendée;[100] they shout, "Vive la
Republique! Vive la Loi! Down with anarchists! Send Marat, Danton and
Robespierre to the Devil!" Naturally, Santerre's paid guard disperses
these young sparks; about a thousand are arrested, and henceforth the
rest will be careful not to make any open demonstration on the public
thoroughfares. -- Again, for lack of something better to do, we see
them frequently returning to the section assemblies, especially early
in May; they find themselves in a majority, and enter on discussions
against Jacobin tyranny; at the Bon-Conseil section, and at those of
Marseilles and l'Unité, Lhuillier is hooted at, Marat threatened, and
Chaumette denounced.[101] -- But these are only flashes in the pan; to
be firmly in charge in these permanent assemblies, the moderates, like
the sans-culottes, would have to be in constant attendance, and use
their fists every night. Unfortunately, the young men of 1793 have
not yet arrived at that painful experience, that implacable hate, that
athletic ruggedness which is to sustain them in 1795. "After one
evening, in which the seats everywhere were broken "[102] on the backs
of the contestants, they falter, and never recover themselves, the
professional roughs, at the end of a fortnight, being victorious all
along the line. -- The better to put resistance down, the roughs form
a special league amongst themselves, and go around from section to
section to give each other help.[103] Under the title of a
deputation, under the pretext of preventing disturbance, a troop of
sturdy fellows, dispatched by the neighboring section, arrives at the
meeting, and suddenly transforms the minority into a majority, or
controls the vote by force of clamor. Sometimes, at a late hour, when
the hall is nearly empty, they declare themselves a general meeting,
and about twenty or thirty will cancel the discussions of the day. At
other times, being, through the municipality, in possession of the
police, they summon an armed force to their aid, and oblige the
refractory to decamp. And, as examples are necessary to secure perfect
silence, the fifteen or twenty who have formed themselves into a full
meeting, with the five or six who form the Committee of Supervision,
issue warrants of arrest against the most prominent of their
opponents. The vice-president of the Bon-Conseil section, and the
juge-de-paix of the Unité section, learn in prison that it is
dangerous to present to the Convention an address against anarchists
or sign a debate against Chaumette.[104] -- Towards the end of May, in
the section assemblies, nobody dares open his mouth against a Jacobin
motion; often, even, there are none present but Jacobins; for example,
at the Gravilliers, they have driven out all not of their band, and
henceforth no "intriguer"[105] is imprudent enough to present himself
there. -- Having become the sovereign People assembled in Council,
with full power to

* disarm,

* put on the index,

* displace,

* tax,

* send off to the army, and

* imprison whoever gives them umbrage,

they are able now, with the municipality at their back and as guides,
to turn the armament which they have obtained from the Convention
against it, attack the Girondists in their last refuge, and possess
themselves of the only fort not yet surrendered.

VI. Jacobin tactics.

Jacobin tactics to constrain the Convention. - Petition of April 15
against the Girondins. - Means employed to obtain signatures. - The
Convention declares the petition calumnious. - The commission of
Twelve and the arrest of Hébert. - Plans for massacres. - Intervention
of the Mountain leaders.

To conquer the last bastion of the Girondists all they have to do is
simultaneously in all sections to do what they used to do separately
in each section: substituting themselves, by fraud and by force, for
the Veritable people, they are able to conjure up before the
Convention the phantom of popular disapproval. -- From the
municipality, holding its sessions at the Hôtel-de-ville, and from the
conventicle established at the Evêché, emissaries are sent forth who
present the same formal communication in writing at the same time in
every section in Paris.[106] "Here is a petition for signatures." --
"Read it." -- "But that is unnecessary -- it is already adopted by a
majority of the sections." -- This lie is accepted by some and
several sign in good faith without reading it. In others they read it
and refuse to sign it; in others, again, it is read and they pass to
the order of the day. What happens? The plotters and ringleaders
remain behind until all conscientious citizens have withdrawn; then,
masters of the debate, they decide that the petition must be signed,
and they accordingly affix their signatures. The next day, on the
arrival of citizens at the section, the petition is handed to them for
their names, and the debate of the previous evening is advanced
against them. If they offer any remarks, they are met with these
terrifying words:

Sign, or no certificate of civism!

And, as if approving this threat, several of the sections which are
mastered by those who draw up the lists of proscriptions, decide that
the certificates of civism must be renewed, new ones being refused to
those refusing to sign the petition. They do not rest content with
these moves; men armed with pikes are posted in the streets to force
the signatures of those who pass."[107] -- The whole weight of
municipal authority has been publicly cast into the scale.
"Commissaries of the Commune, accompanied by municipal secretaries,
with tables, inkstands, paper and registers, promenade about Paris
preceded by drums and a body of militia." From time to time, they make
"a solemn halt," and declaim against Brissot, Vergniaud, Guadet, and
then "demand and obtain signatures."[108]-- Thus extorted and borne to
the Convention by the mayor, in the name of the council-general of the
Commune and of the thirty-five sections, the imperious petition
denounces twenty-two Girondists as traitors, and insolently demands
their expulsion. -- Another day it is found that a similar summons and
similarly presented, in the name of the forty-eight sections, is
authorized only by thirteen or fourteen.[109] -- Sometimes the
political parade is still more incautious. Pretended deputies of the
Faubourg St. Antoine appear before the Convention and assert the
revolutionary program. "If you do not adopt it," they say, "we will
declare ourselves in a state of insurrection; there are 40,000 men at
the door."[110] The truth is, "about fifty bandits, scarcely known in
the Faubourg," and led by a former upholsterer, now a commissary of
police, "have gathered together on their route" all they could find in
the workshops "and in the stores," the multitude packed into the Place
Vendôme not knowing what was demanded in their name.[111] -- These
dummy tumults are, however, useful; they show the Convention its
master, and prepare the way for a more efficient invasion. The day
Marat was acquitted, the whole of his sewer, male and female, came
along with him; under pretext of parading before the Convention, they
invaded the hall, scattered themselves over the benches and steps,
and, supported by the galleries, installed anew in the tribune, amidst
a tempest of applause and of tumult, the usual promoter of
insurrection, pillage and assassination.[112] - And yet, however
energetic and however persistent the pressure, the Convention, which
has yielded on so many points, will not consent to mutilate itself. It
pronounces the petition presented against the Twenty-two calumnious;
it institutes a special commission of twelve members to search the
papers of the Commune and the sections for legal proofs of the plot
openly and steadily maintained by the Jacobins against the national
representation; Mayor Pache is summoned to the bar of the house;
warrants of arrest are issued against Hébert, Dobsen and Varlet. --
Since popular manifestations have not answered the purpose, and the
Convention, instead of obeying, is rebellious, nothing is left but to
employ force.

"Since the 10th of March," says Vergniaud, in the tribune,[113]
"murder is openly and unceasingly fomented against you." -- "It is a
terrible time," says an observer, "strongly resembling that preceding
the 2nd of September."[114] -- That same evening, at the Jacobin club,
a member proposes to "exterminate the scoundrels before leaving. "I
have studied the Convention," he says[115] "it is composed in part of
scoundrels who ought to be punished. All the supporters of Dumouriez
and the other conspirators should be put out of the way; fire the
alarm gun and close the barriers!" The following forenoon, "all the
walls in Paris are covered with posters," calling on the Parisians to
"hurry up and slit the throats of the statesmen."[116] -- " We must do
something to put an end to this!" is the slogan of the sans-culottes.
-- The following week, at the Jacobin club, as elsewhere, "immediate
insurrection is the order of the day. . . . What we formerly called
the sacred enthusiasm of freedom and patriotism, is now metamorphosed
into the fury of an excited populace, which can no longer be regulated
or disciplined except by force. There is not one of these scoundrels
who would not accept a counter-revolution, provided they could be
allowed to crush and stamp on the most noted conservatives.[117] . .
. The conclusion is that the day, the hour, the minute that the
faction believes that it can usefully and without risk bring into play
all the brigands in Paris,[118] then the insurrection will undoubtedly
take place." Already the plan of the massacre is under consideration
by the lowest class of fanatics at the mayoralty, the Evêché, and the
Jacobin club.[119]

Some isolated house is to be selected, with a suite of three rooms on
the ground floor, and a small court in the rear; the twenty-two
Girondists are to be caught in the night and brought to this
slaughter-house arranged beforehand; each in turn is to be passed
along to the last room, where he is to be killed and his body tumbled
into a hole dug in the middle of the court, and then the whole covered
over with quick-lime; it will be supposed that they have emigrated,
and, to establish the fact, false correspondence will be printed.[120]
A member of the Committee on the Municipal Police declares that the
plan is feasible:

"We will Septemberize(kill) them -- not we ourselves, but men who are
ready, and who will be well paid for it."

The Montagnards present Léonard Bourdon and Legendre, make no
objection. The latter simply remarks that the Girondists should not
be seized in the Convention; outside the Convention "they are
scoundrels whose death would save the Republic," and the act is
lawful; he would like to see "with them every rascal on the 'black'
side perish without interfering." -- Several, instead of 22 deputies,
demand 30 or 32, and some 300; the suspected of each district may be
added, while ten or a dozen proscription lists are already made out.
Through a clean sweep, executed the same night, at the same hour, they
may be conducted to the Carmelites, near the Luxembourg, and, "if
there is not room enough there," to Bicêtre; here, "they will
disappear from the surface of the globe."[121] Certain leaders desired
to entrust the purification of Paris to the sagacity of popular
instinct. "In loose and disconnected phrases" they address the people:
"Rouse yourselves, and act according to your inclinations, as my
indications might only startle those you should strike down and
thereby allow them to escape!" Varlet proposes, on the contrary, a
plan of public safety, very full and explicit, in fifteen articles:

"Sweep away the deputies of the 'Plain,' and other deputies of the
Constituent and Legislative Assemblies, all nobles, priests,
pettifoggers, etc.; exterminate the whole of that race, and the
Bourbons, too, with entire suppression of the Ministers."

Hébert, for his part, alluding to the Girondists, writes in his
gazette that "the last hour of their death is going to strike," and
that, "when their foul blood shall have been spilled, aristocratic
brawlers will return to their holes, the same as on the 10th of
August. "Naturally, the professional slaughterers are notified. A
certain Laforet, an old-clothes dealer on the Quai-du-Louvre, who,
with his wife, had already distinguished themselves on the 2nd of
September, reckons that "there are in Paris 6,000 sans-culottes ready
to massacre at the first sign all dangerous deputies, and eight
thousand petitioners," undoubtedly those who, in the several sections,
signed the addresses to the Convention against the Commune. -- Another
"Septemberizer,"[122] commanding the battalion of the Jardin des
Plantes, Henriot, on meeting a gang of men working on the wharves,
exclaims in his rough voice:

"Good morning, my good fellows, we shall need you soon, and at better
work. You won't have wood to carry in your carts -- you'll have to
carry dead bodies."

"All right," replies one of the hands, half tipsy, "we'll do it as we
did the 2nd of September. We'll turn a penny by it." -

Cheynard, a locksmith and machinist at the mint, is manufacturing
daggers, and the women of the tribunes are already supplied with two
hundred of them." -

Finally, on the 29th of May, Hébert proposes, in the Jacobin
club,[123] "to pounce down on the Commission of Twelve," and another
Jacobin declares that "those who have usurped dictatorial power,"
meaning by that the Girondists, "are outlawed."

All this is extreme, clumsily done, useless and dangerous, or, at
least, premature, and the chiefs of the "Mountain," Danton,
Robespierre, and Marat himself; better informed and less shortsighted,
are well aware that brutal murder would be revolting to the already
half-aroused departments.[124] The legislative machinery is not to be
shattered, but made use of; it must be employed against itself to
effect the required injury; in this way the operation at a distance
will appear legal, and, garnished with the usual high-flown speeches,
impose on the provincial mind.[125] From the 3rd of April,
Robespierre, in the Jacobin club, always circumspect and considerate,
had limited and defined in advance the coming insurrection. "Let all
good citizens," he says, "meet in their sections, and come and force
us to place the disloyal deputies under arrest." Nothing can be more
moderate, and, if they refer to principles, nothing can be more
correct. The people always reserves the right to cooperate with its
mandatories, which right it practices daily in the galleries. Through
extreme precaution, which well describes the man,[126] Robespierre
refuses to go any further in his interference. "I am incapable of
advising the people what steps to take for its salvation. That is not
given to one man alone. I, who am exhausted by four years of
revolution, and by the heart-rending spectacle of the triumph of
tyranny, am not thus favored. . . . I, who am wasted by a slow fever,
and, above all by the fever of patriotism. As I have said, there
remains for me no other duty to fulfill at the present moment."
What's more, he enjoins the municipality "to unite with the people,
and form a close alliance with it." -- In other words, the blow must
be struck by the Commune, the "Mountain" must appear to have nothing
to do with it. But, "it is privy to the secret";[127] its chiefs pull
the wires which set the brutal dancing-jacks in motion on the public
trestles of the Hôtel-de-ville. Danton and Lacroix wrote in the
bureau of the Committee of "Public Safety," the insolent summons which
the procureur of the Commune is to read to the Convention on the 31st
of May, and, during seven days of crisis, Danton, Robespierre and
Marat are the counselors, directors and moderators of all proceedings,
and lead, push on or restrain their stooges of the insurrection within
the limits of this program.

VII. The central Jacobin committee in power.

The 27th day of May. - The central revolutionary committee. - The
municipal body displaced and then restored. - Henriot, commanding
general. -

It is a tragicomic drama in three acts, each winding up with a coup de
théâtre, always the same and always foreseen. Legendre, one of the
principal stage hands, has taken care to announce beforehand that,

"If this lasts any longer," said he, at the Cordeliers club,[128] "if
the 'Mountain' remains quiet any longer, I shall call in the people,
and tell the galleries to come down and take part with us in the

At first, on the 27th of May, in relation to the arrest of Hébert and
his companions, the "Mountain," supported by the galleries, becomes
furious.[129] In vain does the majority again and again demonstrate
its numerical superiority. "We shall resist," says Danton, "so long as
there are a hundred true citizens to help us." -- "President,"
exclaims Marat to Isnard, you are a tyrant! a despicable tyrant!" --
"I demand," says Couthon, "that the President be impeached!" -- "Off
with the President to the Abbaye!" -- The "Mountain" has decided that
he shall not preside; it springs from the benches and rushes at him,
shouts "death to him," becomes hoarse with its vociferations, and
compels him to leave the chair through weariness and exhaustion. It
drives out his successor, Fonfrède, in the same manner, and ends by
putting Hérault-Séchelles, one of its own accomplices, in the chair.
-- Meanwhile, at the entrance of the Convention, "the regulations have
been violated"; a crowd of armed men "have spread through the passages
and obstructed the approaches"; the deputies, Meillan, Chiappe and
Lydon, on attempting to leave, are arrested, Lydon being stopped "by
the point of a saber at his breast,"[130] while the leaders on the
inside encourage, protect and justify their trusty aids outdoors. --
Marat, with his usual audacity, on learning that Raffet, the
commandant, was clearing the passages, comes to him "with a pistol in
his hand and puts him under arrest,"[131] on the ground that the
people and its sacred rights of petition and the petitioners must be
respected. There are "five or six hundred, almost all of them
armed,"[132] stationed for three hours at the doors of the hall; at
the last moment, two other troops, dispatched by the Gravilliers and
Croix-Rouge sections, arrive and bring them their final afflux. Thus
strengthened, they spring over the benches assigned to them, spread
through the hall, and mingle with the deputies who still remain in
their seats. It is after midnight; many of the representatives, worn
out with fatigue and disgust, have left; Pétion, Lasource, and a few
others, who wish to get in, "cannot penetrate the threatening crowd."
To compensate themselves, and in the places of the absent, the
petitioners, constituting themselves representatives of France, vote
with the "Mountain," while the Jacobin president, far from turning
them out, himself invites them "to set aside all obstacles prejudicial
to the welfare of the people.." In this gesticulating crowd, in the
half-light of smoky lamps, amidst the uproar of the galleries, it is
difficult to hear well what motion is put to vote; it is not easy to
see who rises or sits down, and two decrees pass, or seem to pass, one
releasing Hébert and his accomplices, and the other revoking the
commission of the Twelve.[133] Forthwith the messengers who await the
issue run out and carry the good news to the Hôtel-de-ville, the
Commune celebrating its triumph with an explosion of applause.

The next morning, however, notwithstanding the terrors of a call of
the House and the fury of the "Mountain," the majority, as a defensive
stroke, revokes the decree by which it is disarmed, while a new decree
maintains the commission of the Twelve; the operation, accordingly, is
to be done over again, but not the whole of it; for Hébert and the
others imprisoned remain at liberty, while the majority, which,
through a sense of propriety or the instinct of self-preservation, had
again placed its sentinels on the outposts, consents, either through
weakness or hopes of conciliation, to let the prisoners remain free.
The result is they have had the worst of the fight. Their adversaries,
accordingly, are encouraged, and at once renew the attack, their
tactics, very simple, being those which have already proved so
successful on the 10th of August.

The matter now in hand is to invoke against the derived and
provisional rights of the government, the superior and inalienable
right of the people; also, to substitute for legal authority, which,
in its nature, is limited, revolutionary power, which, in its essence,
is absolute. To this end the section of the City, under the vice-
presidency of Maillard, the "Septemberizer," invites the other forty-
seven sections each to elect two commissaries, with "unlimited
powers." In thirty-three sections, purged, terrified, or deserted, the
Jacobins, alone, or almost alone,[134] elect the most determined of
their band, particularly strangers and rascals, in all sixty-six
commissaries, who, on the evening of the 29th, meet at the Evêché, and
select nine from their midst to form, under the presidency of Dobsen,
a central and revolutionary executive committee. These nine persons
are entirely unknown;[135] all are obscure subordinates,[136] mere
puppets and manikins; eight days later, on finishing their
performance, when they are no longer needed, they will be withdrawn
behind the scenes. In the mean time they pass for the mandatories of
the popular sovereign, with full power in all directions, because he
has delegated his omnipotence to them, and the sole power, because
their investiture is the most recent; under this sanction, they stalk
around somewhat like supernumeraries at the Opera, dressed in purple
and gold, representing a conclave of cardinals or the Diet of the Holy
Empire. Never has the political drama degenerated into such an
impudent farce! -- On the 31st, at half-past six in the morning,
Dobsen and his bullies present themselves at the council-general of
the Commune, tender their credentials, and make known to it its
deposition. The Council, with edifying complacency, accepts the fiat
and leaves the department. With no less grateful readiness Dobsen
summons it back, and reinstates it in all its functions, in the name
of the people, and declares that it merits the esteem of the
country.[137] At the same time another demagogue, Varlet, performs
the same ceremony with the Council of the department, and both bodies,
consecrated by a new baptism, join the sixty-six commissaries to share
the dictatorship. -- What could be more legitimate? The Convention
would err in making any opposition:

"It was elected merely to condemn the tyrant and to frame a
constitution; the sovereign people has invested it with no other
power;[138] accordingly, the other acts, its warrants of arrest, are
simply usurpations and despotism. Paris, moreover, represents France
better than it does, for Paris is "the extract of all the departments,
the mirror of opinion,"[139] the advance-guard of patriotism.
"Remember the 10th of August;[140] previous to that time, the
opinions in the Republic were divided; but, scarcely had you struck
the decisive blow when all subsided into silence. Have no fear of the
departments; with a little terror and a few instructions, we shall
turn all minds in our favor." Grumblers persist in demanding the
convocation of primary assemblies. "Was not the 10th of August
necessary? Did not the departments then endorse what Paris did? They
will do so this time. It is Paris which saved them."[141]

Consequently, the new government places Henriot, a reliable man, and
one of the September slaughterers, in full command of the armed force;
then, through a violation by law declared as a capital offense, it
orders the alarm gun to be fired; then, on the other hand, it beats a
general call to arms, sounds the tocsin and closes the barriers; the
post office managers are put in arrest, and letters are intercepted
and opened; the order is given to disarm the suspected and hand their
arms over to patriots; "forty sous a day are allowed to citizens with
small means while under arms."[142] Notice is given without fail the
preceding evening to the trusty men of the quarter; accordingly, early
in the morning, the Committee of Supervision has already selected from
the Jacobin sections "the most needy companies in order to arm those
the most worthy of combating for liberty," while all its guns are
distributed "to the good republican workmen." [143] -- From hour to
hour as the day advances, we see in the refractory sections all
authority passing over to the side of force; at the Finistère, Butte-
des-Moulins, Lombards, Fraternité, and Marais[144] sections, the
encouraged sans-culottes obtain the ascendancy, nullify the
deliberations of the moderates, and, in the afternoon, their delegates
go and take the oath at the Hôtel-de-ville.

Meanwhile the Commune, dragging behind it the semblance of popular
unanimity, besieges the Convention with multiplied and threatening
petitions. As on the 27th of May, the petitioners invade the hall, and
"mix in fraternally with the members of the 'Left."' Forthwith, on the
motion of Levasseur, the "Mountain," "confident of its place being
well guarded," leaves it and passes over to the "Right."[145] Invaded
in its turn, the "Right" refuses to join in the deliberations;
Vergniaud demands that "the Assembly join the armed force on the
square, and put itself under its protection"; he and his friends leave
the hall, and the decapitated majority falls back upon its usual
hesitating course. All is hubbub and uproar around it. In the hall the
clamors of the "Mountain," the petitioners, and the galleries, seem
like the constant roar of a tempest. Outside, twenty or thirty
thousand men will probably clash in the streets;[146] the battalion of
Butte-des-Moulins, with detachments sent by neighboring sections, is
entrenched in the Palais-Royal, and Henriot, spreading the report that
the rich sections of the center have displayed the white cockade, send
against it the sans-culottes of the faubourgs Saint-Antoine and Saint-
Marceau; cannon are pointed on both sides. -- These loaded cannon must
not be discharged; the signal of civil war must not be given; it is
simply necessary "to forestall the consequences of a movement which
could be only disastrous to liberty,"[147] and it is important to
ensure public order. The majority, accordingly, think that it is
acting courageously in refusing to the Commune the arrest of the
Twenty-two, and of the Ministers, Lebrun and Clavière; in exchange for
this it consents to suppress its commission of Twelve; it confirms the
act of the Commune which allows forty sous a day to the workmen under
arms; it declares freedom of entry into its tribunes, and, thanking
all the sections, those who defended as well as those who attacked it,
it maintains the National Guard on permanent call, announces a general
federation for the 10th of August following, and goes off to
fraternize with the battalions in the PalaisRoyal, in battle array
against each other through the calumnies of the Commune, and which,
set right at the last moment, now embrace instead of cutting each
other's throats.

This time, again, the advantage is on the side of the Commune. Not
only have many of its requirements been converted into decrees, but
again, its revolutionary baptism remains in full force; its executive
committee is tacitly recognized, the new government performs its
functions, its usurpations are endorsed, its general, Henriot, keeps
command of the entire armed force, and all its dictatorial measures
are carried out without let or hindrance. -- There is another reason
why they should be maintained and aggravated. "Your victory is only
half-won," writes Hébert in his Père Duchesne, "all those bastards of
intriguers still live! " -- On the evening of the 31st of May the
Commune issues warrants of arrest against the ministers Clavière and
Lebrun, and against Roland and his wife. That same evening and
throughout the following day and night, and again the day after, the
Committees of Supervision of the forty-eight sections, according to
instructions from the Hôtel-de-ville[148] study the lists of their
quarters,[149] add new names to these, and send commissaries to disarm
and arrest the suspected. Whoever has spoken against revolutionary
committees, or disapproved of the assaults of the 31st of May, or not
openly shown himself on the 10th of August, or voted on the wrong side
in the old Legislative Assembly, might be arrested. It is a general,
simultaneous raid; in all the streets we see nothing but people seized
and under escort sent to prison, or put before the section committee.
"Anti-patriotic" journalists are arrested first of all, the entire
impression of their journals being additionally confiscated, and the
journal suppressed; the printing-rooms of Gorsas are sacked, seals
placed on his presses,[150] and Prudhomme himself is locked up. All
resistance is overcome in the Contrat-Social, Fraternity, Marais and
Marseilles sections, leaving the Commune free, as far as the street is
concerned, to recommence its attack on the Convention. "Lists of sans-
culottes workmen" have been drawn up in each section, and six francs a
head is allowed them, payable by the Convention, as indemnity for
their temporary suspension from work;[151] this is a premium offered
to voters, and as nothing is more potent than cash in hand, Pache
provides the funds by diverting 150,000 francs intended for the
colonists in San Domingo; the whole day on the 2nd of June, trusted
men go about among the ranks distributing five-franc assignats.[152]
Vehicles loaded with supplies accompany each battalion, the better to
keep the men under arms;[153] the stomach needs filling up, and a pint
of wine is excellent for strengthening patriotic sentiment. Henriot
has ordered back from Courbevoie the battalions of volunteers which a
few days before had been enlisted for La Vendée,[154] crooked
adventurers and looters, later known as "the heroes of the 500
francs." Besides these he has under his thumb Rosenthal's hussars, a
body of German veterans who do not understand French, and will remain
deaf to any legal summons. Finally, he surrounds the Convention with
a circle of picked sans-culottes, especially the artillerists, the
best of Jacobins,[155] who drag along with them the most formidable
park of artillery, 163 cannons, with grates and charcoal to heat the
balls. The Tuileries is thus encircled by bands of roughs and
fanatics; the National Guard, five or six times as many,[156] brought
out "to give an appearance of a popular movement to the proceedings of
five or six thousand bandits," cannot come to the aid of the
Convention, it being stationed out of reach, beyond the Pont Tournant,
which is raised, and behind the wooden fence separating the Carrousel
from the palace. Kept in its position by its orders, merely serving
as a stationary piece of scenery, employed against itself unbeknown to
itself,[157] it can do no more than let the factionists act who serve
as its advanced guard. -- Early in the morning the vestibules, stairs
and passages in the hall of the convention have been invaded by the
frequenters of the galleries and the women under pay. The commandant
of the post, with his officers, have been confined by "men with
moustaches," armed with sabers and pistols; the legal guard has been
replaced with an extraordinary guard,[158] and the deputies are
prisoners. If one of them is obliged to go out for a moment, it is
under the supervision of four fusiliers, "who conduct him, wait for
him, and bring him back."[159] Others, in trying to look out the
windows, are aimed at; the venerable Dussaulx is struck, and Boissy
d'Anglas, seized by the throat, returns with his cravat and shirt all
in shreds. For six hours by the clock the Convention is under arrest,
and when the decree is passed, ordering the removal of the armed force
bearing upon it, Henriot replies to the officer who notifies him of
it: "Tell your damned president that he and his Assembly may go to
hell. If he don't surrender the Twenty-two in an hour, I'll send him

In the hall the majority, abandoned by its recognized guides and its
favorite spokesmen, grows more and more feeble from hour to hour.
Brissot, Pétion, Guadet, Gensonné, Buzot, Salle, Grangeneuve, and
others, two-thirds of the Twenty-two, kept away by their friends,
remain at home.[161] Vergniaud, who had come, remains silent, and
then leaves; the "Mountain," probably, gaining by his absence, allows
him to pass out. Four other Girondists who remain in the Assembly to
the end, Isnard, Dussaulx, Lauthenas, and Fauchet, consent to resign;
when the generals give up their swords, the soldiers soon lay down
their arms. Lanjuinais, alone, who is not a Girondist, but a Catholic
and Breton, speaks like a man against this outrageous attack on the
nation's representatives They rush at him and assail him in the
tribune; the butcher, Legendre, simulating "the cleaver's blow," cries
out to him, "Come down or I'll knock you down! A group of Montagnards
spring forward to help Legendre, and one of them claps a pistol to his
throat;[162] he clings fast to the tribune and strives in vain, for
his party around him are losing courage. -- At this moment Barrère,
remarkable for expedients, proposes to the Convention to adjourn, and
hold the session "amidst the armed force that will afford it
protection."[163] All other things failing, the majority avails itself
of this last straw. It rises in a body, in spite of the vociferations
in the galleries, descends the great staircase, and proceeds to the
entrance of the Carrousel. There the Montagnard president, Hérault-
Séchelles, reads the decree of Henriot, which enjoins him to withdraw,
and he officially and correctly summons him in the usual way. But a
large number of the Montagnards have followed the majority, and are
there to encourage the insurrection; Danton takes Henriot's hand and
tells him, in a low voice, "Go ahead, don't be afraid; we want to show
that the Assembly is free, be firm."[164] At this the tall bedizened
gawky recovers his assurance, and in his husky voice, he addresses the
president: "Hérault, the people have not come here to listen to big
words. You are a good patriot . . . Do you promise on your head that
the Twenty-two shall be given up in twenty-four hours?" -- "No." --
"Then, in that case, I am not responsible. To arms, cannoneers, make
your guns ready!" The cannoneers take their lighted matches, "the
cavalry draw their sabers, and the infantry aim at the deputies."[165]
Forced back on this side, the unhappy Convention turns to the left,
passes through the archway, follows the broad avenue through the
garden, and advances to the Pont-Tournant to find an outlet. There is
no outlet; the bridge is raised, and everywhere the barrier of pikes
and bayonets remains impenetrable; shouts of "Vive la Montagne! vive
Marat! To the guillotine with Brissot, Vergniaud, Guadet and Gensonné!
Away with bad blood!" greet the deputies on all sides, and the
Convention, similar to a flock of sheep, in vain turns round and round
in its pen. At this moment, to get them back into the fold, Marat,
like a barking dog, runs up as fast as his short legs will allow,
followed by his troop of tatterdemalions, and exclaims: "Let all loyal
deputies return to their posts!" With bowed heads, they mechanically
return to the hall; it is immediately closed, and they are once more
in confinement. To assist them in their deliberations a crowd of the
well-disposed entered pell-mell along with them. To watch them and
hurry on the matter, the sans-culottes, with fixed bayonets,
gesticulate and threaten them from the galleries. Outside and inside,
necessity, with its iron hand, has seized them and holds them fast.
There is a dead silence. Couthon, a paralytic, tries to stand up; his
friends carry him in their arms to the tribune; an intimate friend of
Robespierre's, he is a grave and important personage; he sits down,
and in his mild tone of voice, he speaks: "Citizens, all members of
the Convention must now be satisfied of their freedom. . . . You are
now aware that there is no restraint on your deliberations."[166]

The comedy is at an end. Even in Molière there is none like it. The
sentimental cripple in the tribune winds up by demanding that the
Twenty-two, the Twelve, and the Ministers, Clavière and Lebrun be
placed in arrest. Nobody opposes the motion,[167] "because physical
necessities begin to be felt, and an impression of terror pervades the
Assembly." Several say to themselves, "Well, after all, those who are
proscribed will be as well off at home, where they will be safe. . . .
It is better to put up with a lesser evil than encounter a greater
one." Another exclaims: "It is better not to vote than to betray one's
trust." The salvo being found, all consciences are easy. Two-thirds of
the Assembly declare that they will no longer take part in the
discussions, hold aloof; and remain in their seats at each calling of
the vote. With the exception of about fifty members of the "Right,"
who rise on the side of the Girondists, the "Mountain," whose forces
are increased by the insurgents and amateurs sitting fraternally in
its midst, alone votes for, and finally passes the decree. -- Now that
the Convention has mutilated itself; it is check-mated, and is about
to become a governing machine in the service of a clique; the Jacobin
conquest is completed, and in the hands of the victors, the grand
operations of the guillotine are going to commence.

VIII. Right or Wrong, my Country.

Character of the new governors. - Why France accepted them.

Let us observe them at this decisive moment. I doubt if any such
contrast ever presented itself in any country or in any age. - Through
a series of purifications in an inverse sense, the faction has become
reduced to its dregs; nothing remains of the vast surging wave of 1789
but its froth and its slime; the rest has been cast off or has
withdrawn to one side; at first the highest class, the clergy, the
nobles, and the parliamentarians; next the middle class of traders,
manufacturers, and the bourgeois; and finally the best of the inferior
class, small proprietors, farmers,[168] and master-workmen -- in
short, the prominent in every pursuit, profession, state, or
occupation, whoever possesses capital, a revenue, an establishment,
respectability, public esteem, education and mental and moral culture.
The party in June, 1793, is composed of little more than unreliable
workmen, town and country vagabonds, the habitués of hospices[169],
sluts of the gutter, degraded and dangerous persons,[170] the
déclassé, the corrupt, the perverted, the maniacs of all sorts. In
Paris, from which they command the rest of France, their troop, an
insignificant minority, is recruited from that refuse of humanity
infesting all capitals, amongst the epileptic and scrofulous rabble
which, heirs of vitiated blood and, further degrading this by its
misconduct, introduces into civilization the degeneracy, imbecility,
and infatuations of shattered temperaments, retrograde instincts, and
deformed brains.[171] What it did with the powers of the State is
narrated by three or four contemporary witnesses; we see it face to
face, in itself, and in its chiefs, we contemplate the true nature of
the men of action and of enterprise who have led the last attack and
who represent it the best.

Since the 2nd of June "nearly one-half of the deputies in the
Convention refrain from taking any part in its deliberations; more
than one hundred and fifty have even fled or disappeared[172]"; the
silent, the fugitives, the incarcerated, and the convicted, all this
has been accomplished by the party. On the evening of June 2nd its
bosom friend, its conscience, the filthy monstrosity, charlatan,
monomaniac and murderer, who regularly every morning, effuses his
political poison into its bosom, Marat, has at last obtained the
discretionary powers craved by him for the last four years, that of
Marius and Sylla, that of Octavius, Antony, and Lepidus; the power of
adding or removing names from lists of proscription:

"while the reading was going on he indicated cancellations or
additions, the secretary effacing or adding names as he suggested
them, without any consultation whatever with the Assembly."[173]

At the Hôtel-de-ville on the 3rd of June, in the Salle de la Reine,
Pétion and Guadet, under arrest, see with their own eyes this Central
Committee which has just started the insurrection, and which through
its singular delegation sits enthroned over all other established

"They were snoring,[174] some stretched out on the benches and others
leaning on the tables with their elbows, some were barefoot others
were wearing their shoes slipshod like slippers; almost all were dirty
and poorly clad; their clothes were unbuttoned, their hair uncombed,
and their faces frightful; they wore pistols in their belts, and
sabers, with scarves turned into shoulder-straps. Bottles, bits of
bread, fragments of meat and bones lay strewn around on the floor, and
smell was rotten."

It looks like a tapestry of a middle age battle field. The chief of
the band here is not Chaumette, who has legal qualms,[175] nor Pache,
who cunningly tacks under his mask of Swiss phlegm, but Hébert,
another Marat, yet more brutal and depraved, and who profits by the
opportunity to "put more coal into the furnace of his Père Duchesne,"
striking off 600,000 copies of it, pocketing 135,000 francs for the
numbers sent to the armies, and gaining seventy-five per cent on the
contract.[176] -- In the street the active body of supporters
consists of two bands, one military and other civil, the former
composed of roughs who are soon to furnish the revolutionary army.
"This army,[177] considered to be a recent institution, has actually
existed since 1789. The agents of the Duke of Orleans formed its first
nucleus. It grew, became organized, had officers appointed to it,
mustering points, orders of the day, and a peculiar slang. . . . All
the revolutions were carried out by its aid; it gave impetus to
popular violence wherever it did not appear en masse. On the 12th of
July, 1789, it had Necker's bust carried in public and the theaters
closed; on the 5th of October it started the populace off to
Versailles; on the 20th of April, 1791, it caused the king's arrest in
the court of the Tuileries. . . Led by Westermann and Fournier, it
formed the central battalion in the attack of August 10, 1792; it
carried out the September massacres; it protected the Maratists on the
31st of May, 1793, . . . its composition is in keeping with its
exploits and its functions. It contains the most determined
scoundrels, the brigands of Avignon, the scum of Marseilles, Brabant,
Liège, Switzerland and the shores of Genoa." Through a careful
sifting,[178] it is to be inspected, strengthened, aggravated, and
converted into a legal body of Janissaries on triple pay; once
"enlarged with idle hairdressers, unemployed lackeys, designers of
mad schemes, and other scoundrels unable to earn their keep in an
honest manner," it will supply the detachments needed for garrison at
Bordeaux, Lyons, Dijon and Nantes, still leaving "ten thousand of
these Mamelukes to keep down the capital."

The civilian body of supporters comprises, first, those who haunt the
sections, and are about to receive 40 sous for attending each meeting;
next; the troop of figure-heads who, in other public places, are to
represent the people, about 1,000 bawlers and claqueurs, "two-thirds
of which are women." "While I was free," says Beaulieu,[179] "I
closely observed their movements. It was a magic-lantern constantly in
operation. They traveled to and from the Convention to the
Revolutionary Tribunal, and from this to the Jacobin Club, or to the
Commune, which held its meetings in the evening. . . . They scarcely
took time for their natural requirements; they were often seen dining
and supping at their posts when some action or an important murder was
in the offing. Henriot, the commander-in-chief of both hordes, was at
one time a swindler, then a police-informer, then imprisoned at
Bicêtre for robbery, and then one of the September murderers. His
military bearing and popularity are due to parading the streets in the
uniform of a general, and appearing in humbug performances; he is the
type of a swaggerer, always drunk or soaked with brandy. A blockhead,
with a beery voice, blinking eyes, and a face distorted by nervous
twitching, he possesses all the external characteristics of his
employment. In talking, he vociferates like men with the scurvy; his
voice is sepulchral, and when he stops talking his features come to
rest only after repeated agitations; he blinks three times, after
which his face recovers its equilibrium."[180]

Marat, Hébert, and Henriot, the maniac, the thief and the brute. Were
it not for the dagger of Charlotte Corday,[181] it is probable that
this trio, master of the press and of the armed force, aided by
Jacques Roux, Leclerc, Vincent, Ronsin, and other madmen of the slums,
would have put aside Danton, suppressed Robespierre, and governed
France. Such are the counselors, the favorites, and the leaders of
the ruling revolutionary class; did one not know what was to occur
during the next fourteen months, one might form an idea of its
government from the quality of these men.

And yet, such as this government is, France accepts or submits to it.
In fact, Lyons, Marseilles, Toulon, Nîmes, Bordeaux, Caen, and other
cities, feeling the knife at their throats,[182] turn aside the stroke
with a movement of horror. They rise against their local Jacobins; but
it is nothing more than an instinctive movement. They do not think of
forming States within the State, as the "Mountain" pretends that they
do, nor of usurping the central authority, as the "Mountain" actually
does. Lyons cries, "Long live the Republic, one and indivisible,"
receives with honor the commissioners of the Convention, permits
convoys of arms and horses destined for the army of the Alps to pass.
To excite a revolt there, requires the insane demands of Parisian
despotism just as it requires the brutal persistence of religious
persecution to render the province of la Vendée insurgent. Without the
prolonged oppression that weighs down consciences, and the danger to
life always imminent, no city or province would have attempted
secession. Even under this government of inquisitors and butchers no
community, save those of Lyons and La Vendée, makes any sustained
effort to break up the State, withdraw from it and live by itself. The
national sheaf has been too strongly bound together by secular
centralization. One's country exists; and when that country is in
danger, when the armed stranger attacks the frontier, one follows the
flag-bearer, whoever he may be, whether usurper, adventurer,
blackguard, or cut-throat, provided only that he marches in the van
and holds the banner with a firm hand.[183] To tear that flag from
him, to contest his pretended right, to expel him and replace him by
another, would be a complete destruction of the common weal. Brave men
sacrifice their own repugnance for the sake of the common good; in
order to serve France, they serve her unworthy government. In the
committee of war, the engineering and staff officers who give their
days to the study of military maps, think of nothing else than of
knowing it thoroughly; one of them, d'Arcon, "managed the raising of
the siege of Dunkirk, and of the blockade of Maubeuge;[184] nobody
excels him in penetration, in practical knowledge, in quick perception
and in imagination; it is a spirit of flame, a brain compact of
resources. I speak of him, says Mallet du Pan, "from an intimate
acquaintance of ten years. He is no more a revolutionnaire than I am."
Carnot[185] does even more than this: he gives up his honor when, with
his colleagues on the Committee of Public Safety, Billaud-Varennes,
Couthon, Saint-Just, Robespierre, he puts his name to decrees which
are assassinations. A similar devotion brings recruits into the armies
by hundreds of thousands, bourgeois[186] and peasants, from the
volunteers of 1791 to the levies of 1793; and the latter class fight
not only for France, but also, and more than all, for the Revolution.
For, now that the sword is drawn, the mutual and growing exasperation
leaves only the extreme parties in the field. Since the 10th of
August, and more especially since the 21st of January, it has no
longer been a question how to deal with the ancient regime, of cutting
away its dead portions or its troublesome thorns, of accommodating it
to modern requirements, of establishing civil equality, a limited
monarchy, a parliamentary government. The question is how to escape
conquest by armed force to avert the military executions of
Brunswick,[187] the vengeance of the proscribed émigrés, the
restoration and the aggravation of the old feudal and fiscal order of
things. Both through their traditions and their experience, the mass
of the country people hate this ancient order, and with all the
accumulated hatred which an unceasing and secular spoliation has
caused. Irrespective of costs, the rural masses will never again
suffer the tax-collector among them, nor the excise man in the cellar,
nor the fiscal agent on the frontier. For them the ancient regime is
nothing more than these things; and, in fact, they have paid no taxes,
or scarcely any, since the beginning of the Revolution. On this matter
the people's idea is fixed, positive, unalterable; and as soon as they
perceive in the distant future the possible re-establishment of the
taille, the tithe, and the seignorial rights, they choose their side;
they will fight to the death. -- As to the artisans and lesser
bourgeois, their spur is the magnificent prospect of careers, to which
the doors are thrown open, of unbounded advancement, of promotion
offered to merit; more than all, their illusions are still intact.

Camped out there, facing the enemy, those noble ideals, which in the
hands of the Parisian demagogues had turned into sanguinary harlots,
remain pure and virginal in the minds of the soldiers and their
officers. Liberty, equality, the rights of man, the reign of reason --
all these vague and sublime images moved before their eyes when they
climbed the escarpment of Jemmapes under a storm of grapeshot, or when
they wintered, with naked feet, among the snows of the Vosges. These
ideas, in descending from heaven to earth, were not dishonored and
distorted under their feet, they did not see them transformed in their
hands to frightful caricatures. These men are not pillars of clubs,
nor brawlers in the sections, nor the inquisitors of a committee, nor
hired informers, nor providers for the scaffold. Apart from the
sabbath revolutionaire, brought back to earth by their danger, and
having understood the inequality of talents and the need for
discipline, they do the work of men; they suffer, they fast, they face
bullets, they are conscious of their generosity and their sacrifices;
they are heroes, and they look upon themselves as liberators.[188]
They are proud of this. According to an astute observer[189] who knew
their survivors,

"many of them believed that the French alone were reasonable beings.
. . In our eyes the people in the rest of Europe, who were fighting to
keep their chains, were only pitiable imbeciles or knaves sold to the
despots who were attacking us. Pitt and Cobourg seemed to us the
chiefs of these knaves and the personification of all the treachery
and stupidity in the world. . . In 1794 our inmost, serious sentiment
was wholly contained in this idea: to be useful to our country; all
other things, our clothes, our food, advancement, were poor ephemeral
details. As society did not exist, there was no such thing for us as
social success, that leading element in the character of our nation.
Our only gatherings were national festivals, moving ceremonies which
nourished in us the love of our country. In the streets our eyes
filled with tears when we saw an inscription in honor of the young
drummer, Barra. . . This sentiment was the only religion we

But it was a religion. When the heart of a nation is so high it will
deliver itself, in spite of its rulers, whatever their excesses may
be, whatever their crimes; for the nation atones for their follies by
its courage; it hides their crimes beneath its great achievements.



[1] "Archives Nationales," AF II, 45, May 6, 1793 (in English).

[2] Moore, II. 185 (October 20). "It is evident that all the
departments of France are in theory allowed to have an equal share in
the government; yet in fact the single department of Paris has the
whole power of the government." Through the pressure of the mob Paris
makes the law for the Convention and for all France. - Ibid., II. 534
(during the king's trial). "All the departments of France, including
that of Paris, are in reality often obliged to submit to the clamorous
tyranny of a set of hired ruffians in the tribunes who usurp the name
and functions of the sovereign people, and, secretly direct by a few
demagogues, govern this unhappy nation." Cf. Ibid., II. (Nov. 13).

[3] Schmidt, I. 96. Letter of Lauchou to the president of the
Convention, Oct. 11, 1792: "The section of 1792 on its own authority
decreed on the 5th of this month that all persons in a menial service
could be allowed to vote in our primary assemblies . . . It would be
well for the National Convention to convince the inhabitants of Paris
that they alone do not constitute the entire republic. However absurd
this idea may be, it is gaining ground every day." - Ibid., Letter of
Damour, vice-president of the Pantheon section, Oct. 29: "The citizen
Paris . . . has said that when the law is in conflict with general
opinion no attention must be paid to it. . . These disturbers of the
public peace who desire to monopolize all places, either in the
municipality or elsewhere, are themselves the cause of the greatest

[4] Schmidt, I. 223 (report by Dutard, May 14).

[5] Mortimer-Ternaux, VI. 117; VII. 59 (balloting of Dec. 2 and 4). In
most of these and the following elections the number of voters is but
one-twentieth of those registered. Chaumette is elected in his section
by 53 votes; Hébert by 56; Gency, a master-cooper, by 34; Lechenard, a
tailor, by 39; Douce, a building-hand, by 24. -- Pache is elected
mayor Feb. 15, 1793, by 11,881 votes, out of 160,000 registered.

[6] Buchez et Roux, XVII. 101. (Decree of Aug. 19, 1792). - Mortimer-
Ternaux, IV. 223. - Beaulieu, "Essais," III. 454. "The National Guard
ceased to exist after the 10th of August." -- Buzot, 454. -- Schmidt,
I. 533 (Dutard, May 29). "It is certain that the armed forces of Paris
is nonexistent."

[7] Beaulieu, Ibid., IV. 6. -- "Archives Nationales," F7, 3249
(Oise). -- Letters of the Oise administrators, Aug. 24, Sept. 12 and
20, 1792. Letters of the administrators of the district of Clermont,
Sept. 14, etc.

[8] Cf. above, ch. IX.-"Archives Nationales," F7, 3249. Letter of the
administrators of the district of Senlis, Oct. 31, 1792. Two of the
administrators of the Senlis hospital were arrested by Paris
commissaries and conducted "before the pretended Committee of Public
Safety in Paris, with all that they possessed in money, jewels, and
assignats." The same commissaries carry off two of the hospital
sisters of charity, with all the silver plate in the establishment;
the sisters are released, but the plate is not returned. -- Buchez et
Roux, XXVI. 209 (Patriote Français). Session of April 30, 1793, the
final report of the commission appointed to examine the accounts of
the old Committee of Supervision: " Panis and Sergent are convicted of
breaking seals." . . . "67,580 francs found in Septenil's domicile
have disappeared, as well as many articles of value."

[9] Schmidt, I, 270.

[10] Mortimer-Ternaux, IV. 221 to 229, 242 to 260; VI. 43 to 52.

[11] De Sybel, "Histoire de l'Europe pendant la Révolution Française,"
II 76. -- Madame Roland, II.152. "It was not only impossible to make
out the accounts, but to imagine where 130,000,000 had gone. . . The
day he was dismissed he made sixty appointments, . . . from his son-
in-law, who, a vicar, was made a director at 19,000 francs salary, to
his hair-dresser, a young scapegrace of nineteen, whom he makes a
commissary of war" . . "It was proved that he paid in full regiments
that were actually reduced to a few men. -- Meillan, 20. "The faction
became the master of Paris through hired brigands, aided by the
millions placed at its disposition by the municipality, under the
pretext of ensuring supplies."

[12] See in the "Memoirs of Mme. Elliot," the particulars of this
vote. -- Beaulieu, I.445. "I saw a placard signed by Marat posted on
the corners of the streets, stating that he had demanded 15,000 francs
of the Duke of Orleans as compensation for what he had done for him.
Gouverneur Morris, I. 260 (Letter of Dec. 21, 1792). The galleries
force the Convention to revoke its decree against the expulsion of the
Bourbons. -- On the 22nd of December the sections present a petition
in the same sense, while there is a sort of riot in the suburbs in
favor of Philippe-Egalité.

[13] Schmidt, I. 246 (Dutard, May 13). "The Convention cannot count in
all Paris thirty persons ready to side with them.

[14] Buchez et Roux, XXV. 463. On the call of the houses, April 13,
1793, ninety-two deputies vote for Marat.

[15] Prudhomme, "Crimes de la Révolution," V. 133. Conversation with
Danton, December, 1792. -- De Barante, III.123. The same conversation,
probably after another verbal tradition. -- I am obliged to substitute
less coarse terms for those of the quotation.

[16] He is the first speaker on the part of the "Mountain" in the
king's trial, and at once becomes president of the Jacobin Club. His
speech against Louis XVI. is significant. " "Louis is another
Catiline." He should be executed, first as traitor taken in the act,
and next as king; that is to say, as a natural enemy and wild beast
taken in a net.

[17] Vatel, "Charlotte Corday and the Girondists," I. preface, CXLI.
(with all the documents, the letters of Madame de Saint-Just, the
examination on the 6th of October, 1786, etc.) The articles stolen
consisted of six pieces of plate, a fine ring, gold-mounted pistols,
packets of silver lace, etc.-- The youth declares that he is "about to
enter the Comte d'Artois' regiment of guards until he is old enough to
enter the king's guards." He also had an idea of entering the

[18] Cf. his upeech against the king, hishis report on Danton, on the
Girondists, etc. If the reader would comprehend Saint-Just's character
he has only to read his letter to d'Aubigny, July 20, 1792: "Since I
came here I am consumed with a republican fury, which is wasting me
away. . . It is unfortunate that I cannot remain in Paris. I feel
something within me which tells me that I shall float on the waves of
this century. . . You dastards, you have not appreciated me! My renown
will yet blaze forth and cast yours in the shade. Wretches that you
are, you call me a thief, a villain, because I can give you no money.
Tear my heart out of my body and eat it, and you will become what you
are not now -- great!"

[19] Buchez et Roux, XXIV. 296, 363; XXV. 323; XXVII. 144, 145. --
Moniteur, XIV 80 (terms employed by Danton, David, Legendre, and

[20] Moniteur, XV. 74. -- Buchez et Roux, XXVII. 254, 257, sessions of
Jan. 6 and May 27.

[21] Moniteur, XIV. 851. (Session of Dec.26, 1792. Speech by Julien.)

[22] Moniteur, XIV. 768 (session of Dec. 16). The president says: "I
have called Calon to order three times, and three times has he
resisted. " -- Vergnieud declares that "The majority of the Assembly
is under the yoke of a seditious minority." - Ibid, XIV. 851, 853, 865
(session of Dec. 26 and 27). -- Buchez et Roux, XXV. 396 (session of
April 11.)

[23] Louvet, 72

[24] Meillan, 24: "We were for some time all armed with sabres,
pistols, and blunderbusses." -- Moore, II. 235 (October, 1792). A
number of deputies already at this date carried sword canes and

[25] Dauban, "La Demagogie en 1793," p.101. Description of the hall by
Prudhomme, with illustrations. - Ibid., 199. Letter of Brissot to his
constituents: "The brigands and the bacchantes have found their way
into the new hall. - According to Prudhomme the galleries hold 1,400
persons in all, and according to Dulaure, 20,000 or 3,000.

[26] Moore, I.44 (Oct. 10), and II. 534.

[27] Moniteur. XIV. 795. Speech by Lanjuinais, Dec. 19, 1792.

[28] Buchez et Roux, XX. 5, 396. Speech by Duperret, session of April
11, 1793.

[29] Dauban, 143. Letter of Valazé, April 14. -- Cf. Moniteur, XIV.
746, session of Dec. 14. - Ibid., 800, session of Dec. 20. - Ibid.,
853, session of Dec. 26.

[30] Speech by Salles. -- Lanjuinais also says: "One seems to
deliberate here in a free Convention; but it is only under the dagger
and cannon of the factions." - Moniteur. XV. 180, session of Jan. 16.
Speech by N----, deputy, its delivery insisted on by Charles Vilette.

[31] Meillan, 24.

32 "Archives Nationales," AF, II.45. Police reports, May 16, 18, 19.
"There is fear of a bloody scene the first day." -- Buchez et Roux,
XXVII. 125. Report of Gamon inspector of the Convention hall.

[33] Moniteur, XIV. 362 (Nov. 1, 1792).- Ibid., 387, session of Nov.
4. Speech by Royer and Gorsas.-Ibid., 382. Letter by Roland, Nov. 5.

[34] Moniteur, XIV. 699. Letter of Roland, Nov. 28.

[35] Moniteur, XIV. 697, number for Dec. 11.

[36] Moniteur, XV. 180, session of Jan. 16. Speech by Lehardy, Hugues,
and Thibaut. -- Meillan, 14: "A line of separation between the two
sides of the Assembly was then traced. Several deputies which the
faction wished to put out of the way had voted for death (of the
king). Almost all of these were down on the list of those in favor of
the appeal to the people, which was the basis preferred. We were then
known as appellants."

[37] Moniteur, XV. 8. Speech by Rabaut-Saint-Ètienne. -- Buchez et
Roux, XXIII 24. Mortimer-Ternaux, V. 418. - Moniteur, XV.180, session
of Jan. 16. -- Buchez et Roux, XXIV. 292. -- Moniteur, XV. 182. Letter
of the mayor of Paris, Jan. 16. - Ibid., 179. Letter of Roland, Jan.
16. -- Buchez et Roux, XXIV. 448. Report by Santerre.

[38] Buchez et Roux, XXV. 23 to 26. -- Mortimer-Ternaux, VI. 184
(Manifesto of the central committee, March 9, 2 o'clock in the
morning).-Ibid. 193. Narrative of Fournier at the bar of the
Convention, March 12. -- Report of the mayor of Paris, March 10. --
Report of the Minister of Justice, March 13. -- Meillan, 24. --
Louvet, 72, 74.

[39] Pétion, "Mémoires," 106 (Ed. Dauban): "How many times I heard,
'You rascal, we'll have your head!' And I have no doubt that they
often planned my assassination."

[40] Taillandier, "Documents biographiques," on Daunou (Narrative by
Daunou),p. 38. -- Doulcet de Pontécoulant, "Mémoires," I. 139: "It was
then that the 'Mountain' used all the means of intimidation it knew so
well how to bring into play, filling the galleries with its
satellites, who shouted out to each other the name of each deputy as
he stepped up to the president's table to give his vote, and yelling
savagely at every one who did not vote for immediate and unconditional
death. - Carnot, "Mémoires," I.293. Carnot voted for the death of the
king; yet afterward he avowed that "Louis XVI. would have been saved,
if the Convention had not held its deliberations under the dagger."

[41] Durand-Maillane, 35, 38, 57.

[42] An expression by Dussaulx, in his "Fragments pour servir à
l'histoire de la Convention."

[43] Madame Roland, "Mémoires," ed. Barrière et Berville, II. 52. -
(Note by Roland.)

[44] Moniteur, XV, 187. Cambacérès votes: "Louis has incurred the
penalties established in the penal code against conspirators. . . The
execution to be postponed until hostilities cease. In case of invasion
of the French territory by the enemies of the republic, the decree to
be enforced." -- On Barrère, see Macaulay's crushing article in
"Biographical Essays."

[45] Sainte-Beuve, "Causeries du Lundi," V. 209. ("Sièyes," according
to his unpublished manuscripts.)

[46] Madame Roland, II.56. Note by Roland.

[47] Mortimer-Ternaux, V. 476.

[48] Mortimer-Ternaux, V. 513.

[49] Comte de Ségur, "Mémoires." I. 13.

[50] Harmand de la Meuse (member of the Convention), "Anecdotes
relative à la Révolution," 83, 85.

[51] Meissner, 148, Voyage à Paris" (last months of 1795).. Testimony
of the regicide Audrein.

[52] Louvet, 775.

[53] Meillan, 16.

[54] Remark by M. Guirot ("Mémoires"), II. 73.

[55] Moniteur, XIV. 432, session of Nov. 10, 1792. Speech by Cambon:
"That is the reason why I shall always detest the 2nd of September;
for never will I approve of assassinations." In the same speech he
justifies the Girondists against any reproach of federalism.

[56] "Le Maréchal Davoust," by Madame de Bocqueville. Letter of
Davoust, battalion officer, June 2, 1793: "We are animated with the
spirit of Lepelletier, which is all that need be said with respect to
our opinions and what we will do in the coming crisis, in which,
perhaps, a faction will try to plunge us anew into a civil war between
the departments and Paris. Perfidious eloquence. . . conservative

[57] Moniteur, XIV. 738. Report by Cambon, Dec. 15. "On the way
French generals are to act in countries occupied by the armies of the
republic." This important document is a true manifesto of the
Revolution. -- Buchez et Roux, XXVII 140, session of May 20, and XXVI.
177, session of April 27, speech by Cambon: "The department of Hérau1t
says to this or that individual: 'You are rich; your opinions cause us
expenditure . . I mean to fix you to the Revolution in spite of
yourself. You shall lend your fortune to the republic, and when
liberty is established the republic will return your capital to you. -
"I should like, then, following the example of the department of
Hérault, that the Convention should organize a civic loan of one
billion, to be supplied by egoists and the indifferent. - Decree of
May 20, "passed almost unanimously. A forced loan of one billion shall
be made on wealthy citizens."

[58] Meillan. 100.

[59] Speech by Ducos, March 20. "We must choose between domestic
education and liberty. So long as the poor and the rich are not
brought close together through a common education, in vain will your
laws proclaim sacred equality! " -- Rabaut-Saint-Étienne: "In every
township a national temple will be erected, in which every Sunday its
municipal officers will give moral instruction to the assembled
citizens. This instruction will be drawn from books approved of by the
legislative body, and followed by hymns also approved of by the
legislative. A catechism, as simple as it is short, drawn up by the
legislative body, shall be taught and every boy will know it by
heart." -- On the sentiments of the Girondists in relation to
Christianity, see chapters V. and XI. of this volume. -- On the means
for equalizing the fortunes, see articles by Rabaut-Saint-Étienne
(Buchez et Roux, XXIII. 467). - Ibid., XXIV. 475 (March 7-11) decree
abolishing the testamentary right. -- Condorcet, in his "Tableau des
progrés de l'Esprit humain," assigns the leveling of conditions as the
purpose of society. -- On propaganda abroad, read the report by Cambon
(Dec. 15). This report is nearly unanimously accepted, and Buzot
exacerbates it by adding an amendment

[60] Buchez et Roux, XXVII. 287, session of May 28, vote on the
maintenance of the Commission of Twelve.

[61] Moniteur. XV. 395, session of Feb. 8, 1793.

[62] Decrees of March 13 and 14.

[63] Moore, II. 44 (October 1792). Danton declares in the tribune that
"the Convention should be a committee of instruction for kings
throughout the universe." On which Moore remarks that this is
equivalent to declaring war against all Europe except Switzerland. -
Mallet du Pan, "Considerations sur la Revolution de France," p.37: "In
a letter which chance has brought to my notice, Brissot wrote to one
of his minister-generals towards the close of last year: 'The four
quarters of Europe must be set on fire; that is our salvation.'"

[64] Duvergier, "Collection des lois et décrets." Decree of March 10-
12. Title I. articles 4, 12, 13; title II. articles 2, 3. Add to this
the decree of March 29-31, establishing the penalty of death against
whoever composes or prints documents favoring the re-establishment of

[65] Ib., Decree of March 28 - April 5 (article 6). - Cf. the decrees
of March 18-22, and April 23-24.

[66] Decree of March 27-30.

[67] Decree of April 5-7.

[68] Decree of May 4. (A law fixing the highest price at which grain
shall be sold. TR.)

[69] Decree of April 11-16 (bearing on the reduction in value of the
legal currency. -TR).

[70] Decree of May 20-25.

[71] Decree of April 5-7. Words used by Danton in the course of the

[72] Decree of April 5-11.

[73] Decrees of May 13, 16, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, and 29, June 1.

[74] Decrees of March 21-23 and March 26-30.

[75] Decrees of March 29-31.

[76] Decree of April 1-5.

[77] Schmidt, I. 232. Report by Dutard, May 10.

[78] "Archives Nationales," F7, 2401 to 2505. Records of the section
debates in Paris. -- Many of these begin March 28, 1793, and contain
the deliberations of revolutionary committees; for example, F7, 2475,
the section of the Pikes or of the Place Vendôme. We see by the
official reports dated March 28 and the following days that the
suspected were deprived all weapons, even the smallest, every species
of swordcane, including dress-swords with steel or silver handles.

[79] Buchez et Roux, XXV. 157. -- "Archives Nationales," F7, 2494,
section of the Réunion, official report, March 28.

[80] Schmidt, I. 223 (Dutard, May 14). -- Ibid., 224. "If the
Convention allows committees of supervision to exercise its authority,
I will not give it eight days." - Meillan, 111: "Almost all the
section agitators were strangers" --"Archives Nationales," F7, 3294
and 3297, records of debate in the committees of supervision belonging
to the sections of the Réunion and Droits de l'Homme. Quality of mind
and education are both indicated by orthography. For instance: "Le dit
jour et an que déçus." - "Orloger." - "Lecture d'une lettre du comité
de surté général de la convention qui invite le comité à se
transporter de suites chez le citoyen Louis Féline rue Baubourg, à
leffets de faire perquisition chez lui et dans tout ces papiers, et
que ceux qui paraîtrons suspect lon y metes les selés."

[81] "Archives Nationales," F7, 3294. Section of the Réunion, official
report. March 28.

[82] Buchez et Roux, XXV. 168. An ordinance of the commune, March 27.

[83] Schmidt, I.223. Report by Dutard, May 14.

[84] Buchez et Roux, XXV. 167. Ordinance of May 27. XXXVII. 151.
Ordinance of May 20.

[85] "Archives Nationales," F7, 3294. See in particular, the official
reports of the month of April. -- Buchez et Roux, XXV. 149, and XXVI.
342. (ordinances of the Commune, March 27 and May 2).

[86] Buchez et Roux, XXVI. 402 (article from the Patriote Français,
May 8). "Arrests are nultiplied lately to a frightful extent. The
mayoralty overflows with prisoners. Nobody has any idea of the
insolence and harshness with which citizens are treated. Slaughter and
a Saint-Bartholomew are all that are talked of. " -- Meillan, 55. "Let
anybody in any assemblage or club express any opinion not in unison
with municipal views, and he is sure to be arrested the following
night. " -- Gouverneur Morris, March 29, 1793. "Yesterday I was
arrested in the street and conducted to the section of Butte-des-
Moulins. . . Armed men came to my house yesterday. " -- Reply of the
minister Lebrun, April 3. "Domiciliary visits were a general measure
from which no house in Paris was exempt."

[87] Buchez et Roux, XXVI. 384. Speech by Buzot, session of May 8.

[88] Buchez et Roux, XXVI. 332. Ordinance of the commune, May 1.

[89] Schmidt, I. 216. Report by Dutard, May 13.

[90] Schmidt, I.301. "In our sections the best class of citizens are
still afraid of imprisonment or of being disarmed. Nobody talks
freely." -- The Lyons revolutionaries make the same calculation
("Archives Nationales," AF, II. 43). Letter addressed to the
representatives of the people by the administrators of the department
of the Rhône, June 4, 1793. The revolutionary committee "designated
for La Vendée those citizens who were most comfortably off or those it
hated, whilst conditional enlistment with the privilege of remaining
in the department were granted only to those in favor of
disorganization."-- Cf. Guillon de Montléon, I. 235.

[91] Buchez et Roux, XXVI. 399. Ordinance of the commune, May 3, on a
forced loan of twelve millions, article 6. "The revolutionary
committees will regard the apportionment 'lists simply as guides,
without regarding them as a basis of action." -- Article 14. "The
personal and real property of those who have not conformed to the
patriotic draft will be seized and sold at the suit of the
revolutionary committees, and their persons declared suspected."

[92] Buchez et Roux, XXVII. 17 (Patriote Français, number for May 14).
Francœur is taxed at 3,600 francs. -- The same process at Lyons
(Balleydier, 174, and Guillon de Montléon, I. 238). The authorized tax
by the commissaries of the convention amounted to six millions. The
revolutionary committee levied thirty and forty millions, payable in
twenty-four hours on warrants without delay (May 13 and 14). Many
persons are taxed from 80,000 to 100,000 francs, the text of the
requisitions conveying ironically a hostile spirit.

[93] Buchez et Roux, XXVI. 463, session of the Jacobin Club, May 11.

[94] Meillan, 17.

[95] Buchez et Roux, XXVI. 463, session of the Jacobin club, May11.
Speech by Hassenfratz. - Ibid., 455, session of the Jacobin club, May
10, speech by Robespierre. "The rich are all anti-revolutionaries;
only beggars and the people can save the country." - Ibid. N----:
"Revolutionary battalions should be maintained in the department at
the expense of the rich, who are cowards." -Ibid., XXVII. 317.
Petition of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, May 11. -- Schmidt, I. 315
(Report by Dutard, May 13). "There is no recruiting in the faubourgs,
because people there know that they are more wanted here than in La
Vendée. They let the rich go and fight. They watch things here, and
trust nobody but themselves to guard Paris."

[96] "Archives Nationales," F7, 2494. Section of the Réunion,
official reports of May 15 and 16. -- Buchez et Roux, XXV. 167,
ordance of the commune, March 27.

[97] Schmidt, I.327. Report of Perriére, May 28. "Our group itself
seemed to governed by nothing but hatred of the rich by the poor. One
must be a dull observer not to see by a thousand symptoms that these
two natural enemies stand in battle array, only awaiting the signal or
the opportunity."

[98] Buchez et Roux, XXV. 460. The papers examined by the accusers
are the numbers of Marat's journal of the 5th of January and of the
25th of February. The article which provoked the decree is his
"Address to the National Convention," pp. 446 and 450.

[99] Buchez et Roux, XXVI. 149; Narrative by Marat,114. Bulletin of
the revolutionary tribunal, session of the Convention.

[100] Buchez et Roux, XXVI. 358, article in the Chronique de Paris;
358, article by Marat. - Schmidt, I. 184. Report by Dutard, May 5. --
Paris, Histoire de Joseph Lebon," I. 81. Letter by Robespierre, Jr.,
May 7.

[101] Buchez et Roux, XXV. 240 and 246. Protest of the Mail section,
of the electoral body of the Arsenal, Marais, Gravelliers, and Arcis
sections. (The Convention, session of April 2; the commune, session of
April 2.) -- XXVI. 358 Protests of the sections of Bon-Conseil and the
Unité, (May 5). -- XXVII. 71. Defeat of the anarchists in the section
of Butté-des-Moulins. "A great many sections openly show a
determination to put anarchy down." (Patriote Français, May 15). -
Ibid., 137. Protests of the Panthéon Français, Piques, Mail, and
several other sections (Patriote Français, May 19). - Ibid., 175.
Protest of the Fraternité section (session of the Convention, May 23).

[102] Schmidt, I. 189. Dutard, May 6.

[103] Mortimer-Ternaux, VII. 218. Official report of the reunion of
the two sections of the Lombards and Bon-Conseil (April 12), "by which
the two said sections promise and swear union, aid, fraternity, and
mutual help, in case the aristocracy are disposed to destroy liberty."
-- "Consequently," says the Bon-Conseil section, "many of the citizens
of the Lombards section, justly alarmed at the disturbances occasioned
by the evil-disposed, came and proffered their assistance." --
Adhesion of the section of Les Amis de la Patrie. -- Buchez et Roux,
XXVII. 138. (Article of the Patriote Français, May 19): "This
brigandage is called assembly of combined sections." -- Ibid., 236,
May 26, session of the commune. "Deputations of the Montreuil, Quinze-
Vingts and Droits de l'Homme sections came to the assistance of the
Arsenal patriots; the aristocrats took to flight, leaving their hats
behind them." -- Schmidt, I. 213, 313 (Dutard, May 13 and 27). Violent
treatment of the moderates in the Bon-Conseil and Arsenal sections;
"struck with chairs, several persons wounded, one captain carried off
on a bench; the gutter-jumpers and dumpy shopkeepers cleared out,
leaving the sans-culottes masters of the field." -- Meillan, 111. --
Buchez et Roux, XXVII. 237, session of the Jacobin club, May 26. "In
the section of Butte-des-Moulins the patriots, finding they were not
in force, seized the chairs and drove the aristocrats out."

[104] Buchez et Roux, 78, XXVII. On the juge-de-paix Roux, carried off
at night and imprisoned. April 16. - Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 220, on
the vice-president Sagnier, May 10. - Buchez et Roux, XXVII. 231, May
26, on the five citizens of the Unité section arrested by the
revolutionary committee of the section "for having spoken against
Robespierre and Marat."

[105] Buchez et Roux, XXVII. 154. Speech of Léonard Bourdon to the
Jacobins, May 20.

[106] Buchez et Roux, XXVI. 3. Address drawn up by the commissaries of
the 48 sections approved of by 35 sections, also by the commune, and
presented to the Convention April 15. - Others have preceded it, like
pilot ballons. - Ibid., XXV. 319. Petition of the Bon-Conseil, Alpril
8. - XXV. 320. Petition of the section of the Halleau-Blé, April 10.

[107] Buchez et Roux, XXVL 83. Speech by Vergniaud to the convention,
session of April 20. "These facts are accepted. Nobody can contradict
them. More than 10,000 witnesses would confirm them." -- There are the
same proceedings at Lyons Jan.13, 1792, against the petition far an
appeal to the people (Guillon de Montléon, I.145, 155). The official
report of the Jacobins claims that the petition obtained 40,215
signatures. "The petition was first signed by about 200 clubbists, who
pretended to be the people. . . They spread the report among the
people that all who would not sign the address would be blacklisted or
proscribed. That's why they had desks set up in all the public
squares, and seized by the arm all who came, and forced them to sign.
As this approach did not prove fruitful they made children ten years
of age, women, and ignorant rustics put down their name." They were
told that the object was to put down the price of bread. "I swear to
you that this address is the work a hundred persons at most; the great
majority of the citizens of Lyons desire to avail themselves of their
own sovereignty in the judgment of Louis." (Letter of David of Lyons
to the president of the convention, Jan. 16.)

[108] "Fragment," by Lanjuinais (in the memoirs of Durand-Maillane, p.

[109] Meillan, 113.

[110] Buchez et Roux, XXVI. 3!9 (May 12). - Meillan, 113.

[111] Buchez et Roux, XVI. 327. On being informed of this the crowd
sent new deputies, the latter stating in relation to the others: "We
do not recognise them."

[112] Buchez et Roux, XXVI. 143.

[113] Buchez et Roux, XXVII. 175, May 23.

[114] Schmidt, I. 212. Report of Dutard, May 13. - I. 218. "A plot is
really under way, and many heads are singled out." (Terrasson, May

[115] Buchez et Roux, XXVII 9. Speech of Guadet to the Convention, May

[116] Buchez et Roux, XXVII. 2. Patriote Français, May 13.

[117] Schmidt, I 242. Report of Dutard, May 18. - Also 245.

[118] Schmidt, I 254. Report of Dutard, May 19.

[119] Bergoeing, Chatry, Dubosq, "Pièces recueillies par la Commission
des Douze et publiées à Caen." June 28, 1793 (in the "Mémoires" of
Meillan, pp. 176-198). Attempts at murder had already occurred.
"Lanjuinais came near being killed. Many of the deputies were insulted
and threatened. The armed force joins with the malefactors; we have
accordingly no means of repression." (Mortimer-Ternaux, VII.562,
letter of the deputy Michel to his constituents, May 20.)

[120] Bergoeing, "Pièces, etc." -- Meillan, pp. 39 and 40. -- The
depositions are all made by eye witnesses. The propositions for the
massacre were made in the meetings at the town-hall, May 19, 20 and
21, and at the Cordeliers club May 22 and 23.

[121] The Jacobins at Lyons plot the same thing (Guilion de Montléon,
248). Chalier says to the club: "We shall not fail to have 300 noted
heads. Get hold of the members of the department, the presidents and
secretaries of the sections, and let us make a bundle of them for the
guillotine; we will wash our hands in their blood." Thereupon, on the
night of May 28 the revolutionary municipality seize the arsenal and
plant cannon on the Hôtel-de-ville. The Lyons sections, however, more
energetic than those of Paris, take, up arms and after a terrible
fight they get possession of the Hôtel-de-ville. The moral difference
between the two parties is very marked in Gonchon's letters.
("Archives Nationales," AF, II. 43. letters of Gonchon to Garat, May
31, June 1 and 3.) "Keep up the courage of the Convention. It need not
be afraid. The citizens of Lyons have covered themselves with glory.
They displayed the greatest courage in every fight that took place in
various quarters of the town, and the greatest magnanimity to their
enemies, who behaved most villainously." The municipal body had sent a
flag of truce, pretending to negotiate, and then treacherously opened
fire with its cannon on the columns of the sections, and cast the
wounded into the river. The citizens of Lyons, so often slandered,
will be the first to have set an example of true republican character.
Find me a similar instance, if you can, in the history of revolutions:
being victorious and yet not then to have shed a drop of blood!" They
cared for the wounded, and raised a subscription for the widows and
orphans of the dead, without distinction of party. Cf. Lauvergue,
"Histoire du Var," 175. The same occurs at Toulon (insurrection of the
moderates, July 12 and 13, 1793). -- At Toulon, as at Lyons, there was
no murder after the victory; only regular trials and the execution of
two or three assassins whose crimes were legally proved.

[122] Schmidt, I. 335. Report of Perrière, May 29.

[123] Bergoeing, "Pièces, etc.", p. 195. - Buchez et Roux, XXVII 296.

[124] The insurrection at Lyons took place on May 29. On the 2nd of
June it is announced in the Convention that the insurgent army of
Lozère, more than 30,000 strong, has taken Marvejols, and is about to
take Mende (Buchez et Roux XXVII. 387).-- A threatening address from
Bordeaux (May 14) and from thirty-two sections in Marseilles (May 25)
against the Jacobins (Buchez et Roux, XXVII. 3. 214). - Cf. Robinet in
"Le procès des Dantonistes, 303, 305.

[125] Mortimer-Ternaux, VII 38.

[126] Buchez et Roux, XXVII. 297, session of the Jacobins, May 29.

[127] Barrère, "Mémoires," II. 91, 94. As untruthful as Barrère is,
here his testimony may be accepted. I see no reason why he should
state what is not true; he was well informed, as he belonged to the
Committee of Public Safety. His statements, besides, on the complicity
d the Mountain and on the rôle of Danton are confirmed by the whole
mass of facts. - Buchez et Roux, XXVIII. 200 (speech by Danton in the
Convention, June 13). "Without the canon of the 31st of May, without
the insurrection the conspirators would have triumphed; they would
have given us the law. Let the crime of that insurrection be on our
heads! That insurrection - I myself demanded it! . . . I demand a
declaration by the Convention, that without the insurrection of May
31, liberty would be no more! "-- Ibid., 220. Speech by Leclerc at the
Cordeliers club, June 27: "Was it not Legendre who rendered abortive
our wise measures, so often taken, to exterminate our enemies? He and
Danton it was, who, through their culpable resistance, reduced us to
the moderation of the 31st of May, Legendre and Danton are the men who
opposed the revolutionary steps which we had taken on those great days
to crush out all the aristocrats in Paris!"

[128] Schmidt, I. 244. Report by Dutard, May 18.

[129] Buchez et Roux, XXVII. 253 and following pages, session of May
27. - Mortimer-Ternaux, VII. 294. -- Buchez et Roux, XXVIII. 9
("Précis rapide" by Gorsas).

[130] Buchez et Roux, XXVII. 258. Meillan, 43.

[131] Buchez et Roux, XXVII. 259 (words of Raffet).

[132] Meillan, 44. -- Buchez et Roux, XXVII. 267, 280.

[133] Meillan, 44. Placed opposite the president, within ten paces of
him, with my eyes constantly fixed on him, because in the horrible din
which disgraced the Assembly we could have no other compass to steer
by, I can testify that I neither saw nor heard the decree put to
vote."-- Buchez et Roux, XXVII. 278. Speech by Osselin, session of May
28: "I presented the decree as drawn up to the secretaries for their
signatures this morning. One of them, after reading it, observed to me
that the last article had not been decreed, but that the preceding
articles had been." - Mortimer-Ternaux, VII. 562. Letter of the deputy
Michel. May 29. "The guards were forced, and the sanctuary of the law
invested from about four to ten hours, so that nobody could leave the
hall even for the most urgent purposes.

[134] Mortimer-Ternaux, VII. 308. Extract from the official reports of
the patriotic club of Butte-des-Moulins, May 30. "Considering that the
majority of the section, known for incivism and its antirevolutionary
spirit, would decline this election or would elect commissaries not
enjoying the confidence of patriots," . . the patriotic club takes
upon itself the duty of electing the two commissaries demanded.

[135] Durand-Maillan, 297. "Fragment," by Lanjuinais. "Seven
strangers, seven outside agents, Desfieux, Proly, Pereyra, Dubuisson,
Gusman, the two brothers Frey, etc., were set up by the commune as an
insurrectionary committee." Most of them are vile fellows, as is the
case with Varlet, Dobsen, Hassenfratz, Rousselin, Desfieux, Gusman,

[136] Buchez et Roux, XXVIII. 156. "We, members of the revolutionary
commission, citizens Clémence, of the Bon-Conseil section; Dunouy, of
the Sans-culottes section; Bonin, of the section of Les Marchés,
Auvray of the section of Mont-Blanc; Séguy, of the section of Butte-
des-Moulins; Moissard, of Grenelle; Berot, canton d'Issy; Rousselin,
section of the Unité; Marchand, section of Mont-Blanc; Grespin,
section of Gravilliers." They resign on the 6th of June. -- The
commission, at first composed of nine members, ends in comprising
eleven (Buchez et Roux, XXVII. 316, official reports of the commune.
May 31.) then 25 (Speech by Pache to the Committee of Public Safety,
June 1.)

[137] Buchez et Roux XXVII. 306. Official reports of the commune, May
31. - Ibid., 316. Mortimer-Ternaux, VII. 319.

[138] Buchez et Roux, XXVII. 274 Speech by Hassenfratz to the Jacobin
Club, May 27.

[139] Buchez et Roux, XXVII. 346 (speech by Lhuillier in the
Convention, May 31).

[140] Buchez et Roux, XXVII. 302, session of the Convention, May 30.
Words uttered by Hassenfratz, Varlet, and Chabot, and denounced by

[141] Madame Roland, "Appel à l'impartiale postérité." Conversation of
Madam Roland on the evening of May 31on the Place du Carrusel with an

[142] Buchez et Roux, 307-323. Official reports of the commune, May

[143] "Archives Nationales," F7, 2494, register of the revolutionary
committee of the Réunion section, official report of May 31, 6 o'clock
in the morning.

[144] Buchez et Roux, XXVII. 335, session of the Convention, May 31.
Petition presented by the commissaries in the name of forty-eight
sections; their credentials show that they are not at first authorized
by more than twenty-six sections.

[145] Buchez et Roux, 347, 348. Mortimer-Ternaux, VII. 350 (third
dispatch of the Hôtel-de-ville delegates, present at the session):
"The National Assembly was not able to accept the above important
measures. . . until the perturbators of the Assembly, known under the
title of the 'Right,' did themselves the justice to perceive that they
were not worthy of taking part in them; they evacuated the Assembly,
after the great gesticulations and imprecations, to which you know
they are liable."

[146] Dauban, "La Demagogie en 1793." Diary of Beaulieu, May 31. -
Declaration of Henriot, Germinal 4, year III. - Buchez et Roux,

[147] Mortimer-Ternaux, VII. 565. Letter of the deputy Loiseau, June

[148] Buchez et Roux, XXVII. 352 to 360, 368 to 377. Official reports
of the commune, June 1 and 2. Proclamation of the revolutionary
committee, June 1. "Your delegates have ordered the arrest of all
suspected persons concealing themselves in the sections of Paris. This
arrest is in progress in all quarters."

[149] "Archives Nationales," F7, 2494. Section of the Réunion,
official report, June 1.-- Ibid., June 2. Citizen Robin is arrested on
the 2nd of June, "for having manifested opinions contrary to the
sovereignty of the people in the National Assembly." The same day a
proclamation is made on the territory of the section by a deputation
of the commune, accompanied by one member and two drummers, "tending
(tendantes) to make known to the people that the country will be saved
by awaiting (en atendans) with courage the decree which is to be
rendered to prevent traitors (les traitre) from longer sitting in the
senate house." -- Ibid., June 4. The committee decides that it will
add new members to its number, but they will be taken only from all
"good sans-culote; no notary, no notary's clerk, no lawyers nor their
clerks, no banker nor rich landlord" being admissible, unless he gives
evidence of unmistakable civism since 1789. --Cf. F7, 2497 (section of
the Droits de l'Homme), F7, 2484 (section of the Halle-au-blé), the
resemblance in orthography and in their acts; the registry of the
Piques section (F7, 2475) is one of the most interesting; here may be
found the details of the appearance of the ministers before it; the
committee that examines them does not even spell their names
correctly, "Clavier" being often written for Clavière, and "Goyer" for

[150] Buchez et Roux, XXVIII. 19.

[151] Buchez et Roux, XXVII.357. Official reports of the commune, June

[152] Meillan, 307. -- "Fragment," by Lanuinais. - "Diurnal," of
Beaulieu, June 2. - Buchez et Roux, XXVII. 399 (speech by Barère).


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