The French Revolution, Volume 3 The Origins of Contemporary France, Volume 4
Hippolyte A. Taine

Part 5 out of 12

"Danton1 the most dangerous, if he had not been the most cowardly, of
the enemies of his country . . . . Danton, the coldest, the most
indifferent, during his country's greatest peril."

[150] Ibid., XXXIV., -- Cf. the description of him by Fievée, who saw
him in the tribune at the Jacobin Club.

[151] Merlin de Thionville "A vague, painful anxiety, due to his
temperament, was the sole source of his activity."

[152] Barère, " Mémoires." "He wanted to rule France influentially
rather than directly." - Buchez et Roux, XIV., 188. (Article by
Marat.) During the early sessions of the Legislative Assembly, Marat
saw Robespierre on one occasion, and explained to him his plans for
exciting popular outbreaks, and for his purifying massacres.
"Robespierre listened to me with dismay, turned pale and kept silent
for some moments. This interview confirmed me in the idea I always
had of him, that he combined the enlightenment of a wise senator with
the uprightness of a genuine good man and the zeal of a true patriot,
but that he equally lacked the views and boldness of a statesman." -
Thibaudeau, "Mémoires," 58. - He was the only member of the committee
of Public Safety who did not join the department missions.

[153] Someone is "grandisonian" when he is like the novelist
Richardson's hero, Sir Walter Grandison, beneficient, polite and
chivalrous. (SR).

[154] Buchez et Roux XX., 198. (Speech of Robespierre in the
Convention, November 5, 1792.)

[155] All these statements by Robespierre are opposed to the truth. -
("Procés-verbaux des Séances de la Commune de Paris.") Sep. 1, 1792,
Robespierre speaks twice at the evening session. - The testimony of
two persons, both agreeing, indicate, moreover, that he spoke at the
morning session, the names of the speakers not being given. "The
question," says Pétion (Buchez et Roux, XXI., 103), "was the decree
opening the barriers." This decree is under discussion at the Commune
at the morning session of September 1: "Robespierre, on this question,
spoke in the most animated manner, wandering off in sombre flights of
imagination; he saw precipices at his feet and plots of liberticides;
he designated the pretended conspirators."- Louvet (ibid., 130),
assigns the same date, (except that he takes the evening for the
morning session), for Robespierre's first denunciation of the
Girondists: "Nobody, then," says Robespierre, "dare name the traitors?
Very well, I denounce them. I denounce them for the security of the
people. I denounce the liberticide Brissot, the Girondist faction,
the villainous committee of twenty-one in the National Assembly. I
denounce them for having sold France to Brunswick and for having
received pay in advance for their baseness." - Sep. 2, ("Procès
verbaux de la Commune," evening session), "MM. Billaud-Varennes and
Robespierre, in developing their civic sentiments, . . denounce to
the Conseil-Général the conspirators in favor of the Duke of
Brunswick, whom a powerful party want to put on the throne of France."
- September 3, at 6 o'clock in the morning, (Buchez et Roux, 16, 132,
letter of Louvet), commissioners of the Commune present themselves at
Brissot's house with an order to inspect his papers; one of them says
to Brissot that he has eight similar orders against the Gironde
deputies and that he is to begin with Guadet. (Letter of Brissot
complaining of this visit, Monitur, Sep. 7, 1792.) This same day,
Sep. 31 Robespierre presides at the Commune. (Granier de Cassagnac,
"Les Girondins" II., 63.) It is here that a deputation of the
Mauconseil section comes to find him, and he is charged by the
"Conseil" with a commission at the Temple. - Sept. 4 (Buchez et
Roux, XXI., 106, Speech of Petion), the Commune issues a warrant of
arrest against Roland; Danton comes to the Mayoralty with Robespierre
and has the warrant revoked; Robespierre ends by telling Petion: " I
believe that Brissot belongs to Brunswick." - Ibid., 506.
"Robespierre (before Sept. 2), took the lead in the Conseil"- Ibid.,
107. " Robespierre," I said, "you are making a good deal of mischief.
Your denunciations, your fears, hatreds and suspicions, excite the

[156] Garat, 86.-Cf. Hamel, I., 264. (Speech, June 9, 1791.)

[157] "The Revolution," II., 338, 339. (Speech. Aug. 3, 1792.)

[158] Buchez et Roux, XXXIII., 420. (Speech, Thermidor 8.)

[159] Ibid., XXXII., 71. (Speech against Danton.) "What have you done
that you have not done freely?"

[160] Ibid., XXXIII., 199 and 221. (Speech on the law of Prairial

[161] Mirabeau said of Robespierre: "Whatever that man has said, he
believes in it. - Robespierre, Duplay's guest, dined every day with
Duplay, a juryman in the revolutionary tribunal and co-operator for
the guillotine, at eighteen francs a day. The talk at the table
probably turned on the current abstractions; but there must have been
frequent allusions to the condemnations of the day, and, even when not
mentioned, they were in their minds. Only Robert Browning, at the
present day, could imagine and revive what was spoken and thought in
those evening conversations before the mother and daughters.

[162] Today, more than 100 years later, where are we? Is it possible
that man can thus lie to himself and hence to others? Robert Wright,
in his book "The Moral Animal", describing "The New Science of
Evolutionary Psychology", writes (page 280): "The proposition here is
that the human brain is, in large part, a machine for winning
arguments, a machine for convincing others that its owner is in the
right - and thus a machine for convincing its owner of the same thing.
The brain is like a good lawyer: given any set of interests to defend,
its sets about convincing the world of their moral and logical worth,
regardless of whether they in fact have any of either. Like a lawyer,
it is sometimes more admirable for skill than for virtue." (SR).

[163] Buchez et Roux, XXXIII., 151. - Cf.. Dauban, "Paris en 1794,"
p.386 (engraving) and 392, Fête de l'Être Suprême à Sceaux," according
to the programme drawn up by the patriot Palloy. "All citizens are
requested to be at their windows or doors, even those occupying the
rear part of the main buildings."- Ibid., 399. "Youthful citizens
will strew flowers at each station, fathers will embrace their
children and mothers turn their eyes upward to heaven." - Moniteur,
XXX., 653. "Plan of the fête in honor of the Supreme Being, drawn up
by David, and decreed by the National Convention."

[164] Buchez et Roux, XXXIII., 176. (Narrative by Valate.)

[165] Hamel, III., 541.

[166] Buchez et Roux, XXVIII., 178, 180.

[167] Ibid., 177 (Narrative by Vilate.) Ibid., 170, Notes by
Robespierre on Bourdon (de l'Oise) 417. Passages erased by
Robespierre in the manuscript of his speech of Thermidor 8. - 249.
Analogous passages in his speech as delivered, - all these indications
enable us to trace the depths of his resentment.

[168] Ibid., 183. Memoirs of Billaud-Varennes, Collot d'Herbois,
Vadier and Barère. "The next day after Prairial 22, at the morning
session (of the committee of Public Safety) . . . . I now see,
says Robespierre, that I stand alone, with nobody to support me, and,
getting violently excited, he launched out against the members of the
committee who had conspired against him. He shouted so loud as to
collect together a number of citizens on the Tuileries terrace."
Finally, "he pushed hypocrisy so far as to shed tears." The nervous
machine, I imagine, broke down. - Another member of the committee,
Prieur, (Carnot, "Mémoires," II., 525), relates that, in the month of
Floréal, after another equally long and violent session, "Robespierre,
exhausted, became ill."

[169] Carnot, "Mémoires," II. 526. "As his bureau was in a separate
place, where none of us set foot, he could retire to it without coming
in contact with any of us, as in effect, he did. He even made a
pretence of passing through the committee rooms, after the session was
over, and he signed some papers; but he really neglected nothing,
except our common discussions. He held frequent conferences in his
house with the presidents of the revolutionary tribunals, over which
his influence was greater than ever."

[170] Dauban, "Paris en 1794," 563. - Archives Nationales, AF.II.,
58. The signature of Robespierre, in his own handwriting, is found
affixed to many of the resolutions of the Committee of Public Safety,
passed Thermidor 5 and 7, and those of St. Just and Couthon after
this, up to Thermidor 3, 6 and 7. On the register of the minutes of
the Committee of Public Safety, Robespierre is always recorded as
present at all meetings between Messidor 1 and Thermidor 8, inclusive.

[171] Archives Nationales, F.7, 4438. Report to the Committee of
Public Safety by Herman, Commissioner of the civil and Police
administrations and of the Courts, Messidor 3, year II. "The
committee charged with a general surpervision of the prisons, and
obliged to recognize that all the rascals mostly concerned with
liberticide plots are. . . . still in the prisons, forming a band
apart, and rendering surveillance very troublesome; they are a
constant source of disorder, always getting up attempts to escape,
being a daily assemblage of persons devoting themselves wholly to
imprecations against liberty and its defenders. . . . It would be
easy to point out in each prison, those who have served, and are to
serve, the diverse factions, the diverse conspiracies. . . . It
may be necessary, perhaps, to purge the prisons at once and free the
soil of liberty of their filth, the refuse of humanity." The Committee
of Public Safety consequently "charges the commission to ascertain in
the prisons of Paris. . . who have been more specially concerned in
the diverse factions and conspiracies that the National convention has
destroyed." The word "approved" appears at the foot of the resolution
in Robespierre's handwriting, then the signature of Robespierre, and
lower down, those of Billaud and Barère. A similar resolution
providing for the 7th of Messidor, signed by the same parties and five
others, is dispatched the same day. (M. de Martel came across and
made use of this conclusive document before I did, most of it being
quoted in "Les Types Revolutionnaires.")

[172] Buchez et Roux, XXXIII., 434.


Let us follow the operations of the new government from top to bottom,
from those of its ruling bodies and leaders, to its assemblies,
committees, delegates, administrators and underlings of every kind and
degree. Like living flesh stamped with a red-hot iron, so will the
situation put one their brows the two marks, each with its own
different depth and discoloration. In vain do they, too, strive to
conceal their scars: we detect under the crowns and titles they assume
the brand of the slave or the mark of the tyrant.

I. The Convention.

The Convention. - The "Plain." - The "Mountain." - Degradation of
Souls. - Parades which the Convention is obligated to make.

At the Tuileries, the omnipotent Convention sits enthroned in the
theater, converted into an Assembly room. It carries on its
deliberations daily, in grand style. Its decrees, received with blind
obedience, startle France and upset all Europe. At a distance, its
majesty is imposing, more august than that of the Republican senate in
Rome. Near by, the effect is quite otherwise; these undisputed
sovereigns are serfs who live in trances, and justly so, for, nowhere,
even in prison, is there more constraint and less security than on
their benches. After the 2nd of June, 1793, their inviolable
precincts, the grand official reservoir from which legal authority
flows, becomes a sort of tank, into which the revolutionary net
plunges and successfully brings out its choicest fish, singly or by
the dozen, and sometimes in vast numbers; at first, the sixty-seven
Girondist deputies, who are executed or proscribed; then, the seventy-
three members of the "Right," swept off in one day and lodged in the
prison of La Force; next, the prominent Jacobins:

Osselin, arrested on the 19th of Brumaire, Bazire, Chabot, and
Delaunay, accused by decree on the 24th Brumaire, Fabre d'Eglantine,
arrested on the 24th of Nivôse, Bernard, guillotined on the 3rd of
Pluviôse, Anacharsis Clootz guillotined on the 4th of Germinal,
Hérault de Séchelles, Lacroix, Philippeaux, Camille Desmoulins and
Danton, guillotined with four others on the 10th of Germinal, Simon,
guillotined on the 24th of Germinal, and Osselin, guillotined on the
8th of Messidor. - Naturally, the others take warning and are
careful. At the opening of the session they are seen entering the
hall, looking uneasy, full of distrust,"[1] like animals driven into a
pen and suspicious of a trap.

"Each," writes an eye-witness, "acted and spoke with circumspection,
for fear of being charged with some crime: in effect, nothing was
unimportant, the seat one took, a glance of the eye, a gesture, a
murmur, a smile."

Hence, they flock instinctively to the side which is best sheltered,
the left side.

"The tide flowed towards the summit of the Mountain; the right side
was deserted. . . . Many took no side at all, and, during the
session, often changed their seats, thinking that they might thus
elude the spy by donning a mixed hue and keeping on good terms with
everybody. The most prudent never sat down; they kept off the
benches, at the foot of the tribune, and, on matters getting to be
serious, slipped quietly out of the hall."

Most of them took refuge in their committee-rooms; each tries to be
over-looked, to be obscure, to appear insignificant or absent.[2]
During the four months following the 2nd of June, the hall of the
Convention is half or three-quarters empty; the election of a
president does not bring out two hundred and fifty voters;[3] only two
hundred, one hundred, fifty votes, elect the Committees of Public
Safety and General Security; about fifty votes elect the judges of the
Revolutionary Tribunal; less than ten votes elect their
substitutes;[4] not one vote is cast for the adoption of the decree
indicting the deputy, Dulaure;[5] "no member rises for or against it;
there is no vote;" the president, nevertheless, pronounces the act
passed and the Marais lets things take their course." - "Marais
frogs"[6] is the appellation bestowed on them before the 2nd of June,
when, amongst the dregs of the "Center," they "broke" with the
"Mountain;" now, they still number four hundred and fifty, three times
as many as the " Montagnards; "but they purposely keep quiet; their
old name "renders them, so to say, soft; their ears ring with eternal
menaces; their hearts shrivel up with terror;[7] while their tongues,
paralyzed by habitual silence, remain as if glued to the roofs of
their mouths. In vain do they keep in the back-ground, consent to
everything, ask nothing for themselves but personal safety, and
surrender all else, their votes, their wills and their consciences;
they feel that their life hangs by a thread. The greatest mute among
them all, Siéyès, denounced in the Jacobin Club, barely escapes, and
through the protection of his shoemaker, who rises and exclaims :
"That Siéyès ! I know him. He don't meddle with politics. He does
nothing but read his book. I make his shoes and will answer for

Of course, previous to the 9th of Thermidor, none of them open their
mouths; it is only the "Montagnards" who make speeches, and on the
countersign being given. If Legendre, the admirer, disciple and
confidential friend of Danton, dares at one time interfere in relation
to the decree which sends his friend to the scaffold, asking that he
may first be heard, it is only to retract immediately; that very
evening, at the Jacobin club, for greater security, "he wallows in the
mud;"[9] he declares "that he submits to the judgment of the
revolutionary Tribunal," and swears to denounce "whoever shall oppose
any obstacle to the execution of the decree."[10] Has not Robespierre
taught him a lesson, and in his most pedantic manner? What is more
beautiful, says the great moralist, more sublime, than an Assembly
which purges itself?[11] - Thus, not only is the net which has already
dragged out so many palpitating victims still intact, but it is
enlarged and set again, only, the fish are now caught on the "Left" as
well as on the "Right," and preferably on the topmost benches of the
"Mountain."[12] And better still, through the law of Prairial 22, its
meshes are reduced in size and its width increased; with such
admirable contraption, the fishpond could not fail to be exhausted. A
little before the 9th of Thermidor, David, who was one of
Robespierre's devoted adherents, himself exclaimed: "Will twenty of us
be left on the Mountain?" About the same time, Legendic, Thuriot,
Léonard Bourdon, Tallien, Bourdon de l'Oise, and others, each has a
spy all day long at his heels. There are thirty deputies to be
proscribed and their names are whispered about; whereupon, sixty stay
out all night, convinced that they will be seized the next morning
before they can get up.[13]

Subject to such a system, prolonged for so many months, people sink
down and become discouraged. "Everybody made themselves small so as
to pass beneath the popular yoke.[14] Everybody became one of the low
class. . . . Clothes, manners, refinement, cleanliness, the
conveniences of life, civility and politeness were all renounced." -
People wear their clothes indecently and curse and swear; they try to
resemble the sans-culottes Montagnards "who are profane and dress
themselves like so many dock-loafers;"[15] at Armonville, the carder,
who presides (at a meeting) wears a woolen cap, and similarly at
Cusset, a gauze-workman, who is always drunk. Only Robespierre dares
appear in neat attire; among the others, who do not have his
influence, among the demi-suspects with a pot-belly, such a residue of
the ancient régime might become dangerous; they do well not to attract
the attention of the foul-mouthed spy who cannot spell;[16] especially
is it important at a meeting to be one of the crowd and remain
unnoticed by the paid claqueurs, drunken swaggerers and "fat
petticoats" of the tribunes. It is even essential to shout in harmony
with them and join in their bar-room dances. The deputations of the
popular clubs come for fourteen months to the bar of the house and
recite their common-place or bombastic tirades, and the Convention is
forced to applaud them. For nine months,[17] street ballad-singers
and coffee-house ranters attend in full session and sing the rhymes of
the day, while the Convention is obliged to join in the chorus. For
six weeks,[18] the profaners of churches come to the hall and display
their dance-house buffooneries, and the Convention has not only to put
up with these, but also to take part in them. - Never, even in
imperial Rome, under Nero and Heliogabalus, did a senate descend so


How the parades are carried out. - Its slavery and servility - Its
participation in crime.

Observe one of their parades, that of Brumaire 20th, 22nd or 30th,
which masquerade often occurs several times a week and is always the
same, with scarcely any variation. - Male and female wretches march
in procession to the doors of the deputies' hall, still "drunk with
the wine imbibed from chalices, after eating mackerel broiled in
patens," besides refreshing themselves on the way. "Mounted astride
of asses which they have rigged out in chasuble and which they guide
with a stole," they halt at each low smoking-den, holding a drinking
cup in their hand; the bartender, with a mug in his hand, fills it,
and, at each station, they toss off their bumpers, one after the
other, in imitation of the Mass, and which they repeat in the street
in their own fashion. - On finishing this, they don copes, chasubles
and dalmatica, and, in two long lines, file before the benches of the
Convention. Some of them bear on hand-barrows or in baskets,
candelabra, chalices, gold and silver salvers, monstrances, and
reliquaries; others hold aloft banners, crosses and other
ecclesiastical spoils. In the mean time "bands play the air of the
carmagnole and 'Malbrook.' . . . On the entry of the dais, they
strike up 'Ah! le bel oiseau;'"[19] all at once the masqueraders throw
off their disguise, and, mitres, stoles, chasubles flung in the air,
"disclose to view the defenders of the country in the national
uniform." Peals of laughter, shouts and enthusiasm, while the
instrumental din becomes louder! The procession, now in full blast,
demands the carmagnole, and the Convention consents; even some of the
deputies descend from their benches and cut the pigeon-wing with the
merry prostitutes. - To wind up, the Convention decrees that it will
attend that evening the fête of Reason and, in fact, they go in a
body. Behind an actress in short petticoats wearing a red cap,
representing Liberty or Reason, march the deputies, likewise in red
caps, shouting and singing until they reach the new temple, which is
built of planks and pasteboard in the choir of Notre Dame. They take
their seats in the front rows, while the Goddess, an old frequenter of
the suppers of the Duc de Soubise, along with "all the pretty dames of
the Opera," display before them their operatic graces.[20] They sing
the "Hymn to Liberty," and, since the Convention has that morning
decreed that it must sing, I suppose that it also joined in.[21] After
this there follows dancing; but, unfortunately, the authorities are
wanting for stating whether the Convention danced or not. In any
event, it is present at the dance, and thus consecrates an unique
orgy, not Rubens' "Kermesse" in the open air, racy and healthy, but a
nocturnal boulevard-jollification, a "Mardi-gras" composed of lean and
haggard scapegraces. - In the great nave of the Cathedral, "the
dancers, almost naked, with bare necks and breasts, and stockings down
at the heel," writhe and stamp, "howling the carmagnole." In the side
chapels, which are "shut off by high tapestries, prostitutes with
shrill voices" pursue their avocation.[22] - To descend to this low
level so barefacedly, to fraternise with barrier sots, and wenches, to
endure their embraces and hiccoughs, is bad enough, even for docile
deputies. More than one half of them loathed it beforehand and
remained at home; after this they do not feel disposed to attend the
Convention.[23] - But the " Mountain sends for them, and an officer
brings them back;" it is necessary that they should co-operate through
their presence and felicitations in the profanations and apostasies
which follow;[24] it is necessary that they should approve of and
decree that which they hold in horror, not alone folly and nonsense,
but crime, the murder of innocent people, and that of their friends.
- All this is done. "Unanimously, and with the loudest applause,"
the Left, united with the Right, sends Danton to the scaffold, its
natural chieftain, the great promoter and leader of the
Revolution.[25] "Unanimously, and with the loudest applause," the
Right, united with the Left, votes the worse decrees of the
Revolutionary government.[26] "Unanimously," with approving and
enthusiastic cheers, manifesting the warmest sympathy for Collot
d'Herbois, Couthon, and Robespierre,[27] the Convention, through
multiplied and spontaneous re-elections, maintains the homicidal
government which the Plain detests, because it is homicidal, and which
the Mountain detests, because it is decimated by it. Plain and
Mountain, by virtue of terror, majority after majority, end in
consenting to and bringing about their own suicide: on the 22nd of
Prairial, the entire Convention has stretched out its neck;[28] on the
8th of Thermidor, for a quarter of an hour after Robespierre's
speech,[29] it has again stretched this out, and would probably have
succumbed, had not five or six of them, whom Robespierre designated or
named, Bourdon de l'Oise, Vadier, Cambon, Billaud and Panis,
stimulated by the animal instinct of self-preservation, raised their
arms to ward off the knife. Nothing but imminent, personal, mortal
danger could, in these prostrated beings, supplant long-continued fear
with still greater fear. Later on, Siéyès, on being asked how he
acted in these times, replied, "I lived." In effect, he and others
are reduced to that; they succeeded in doing this, at all costs, and
at what a price![30] His secret notes, his most private sketches
confirm this[31]. . .

"On the Committee of March 20, "Paillasse, half drunk, gives a
dissertation on the way to carry on the war, and interrogates and
censures the Minister. The poor Minister evades his questions with
café gossip and a review of campaigns. These are the men placed at
the head of the government to save the Republic!" - " H...., in his
distraction, had the air of a sly fox inwardly smiling at his own
knavish thoughts. Ruit irrevocabile vulgus . . . Jusque Datum
sceleri." - "Are you keeping silent?" - "Of what use is my glass of
wine in this torrent of ardent spirits? " -

All this is very well, but he did not merely keep silent and abstain.
He voted, legislated and decreed, along with the unanimous Convention;
he was a collaborator, not only passively, through his presence, but
also through his active participation in the acts of the government
which he elected and enthroned, re-elected twelve times, cheered every
week, and flattered daily, authorizing and keeping on to the end its
work of spoliation and massacre.

"Everybody is guilty here," said Carrier in the Convention, "even to
the president's bell."

In vain do they constantly repeat to themselves that they were forced
to obey under penalty of death: the conscience of the purest among
them, if he has any, replies:

"You too, in spite of yourself, I admit; less than others, if you
please, but you were a terrorist, that is to say, a brigand and an

III. The Committee of Public Safety.

The Men who do the work. - Carnot, Prieur de-la-Côte d'Or, Jean Bon
Saint André, Robert Lindet.

On a man becoming a slave, said old Homer, the Gods take away the half
of his soul; the same is true of a man who becomes a tyrant. - In the
Pavilion de Flore, alongside of and above the enslaved Convention, sit
the twelve kings it has enthroned, twice a day,[33] ruling over it as
well as over France.[34] Of course, some guarantee is required from
those who fill this place; there is not one of them who is not a
revolutionary of long standing, an impenitent regicide, a fanatic in
essence and a despot through principle; but the fumes of omnipotence
have not intoxicated them all to the same degree. - Three or four of
them, Robert Lindet, Jean Bon St. André, Prieur de la Côte-d'Or and
Carnot, confine themselves to useful and secondary duties; this
suffices to keep them partially safe. As specialists, charged with an
important service, their first object is to do this well, and hence
they subordinate the rest to this, even theoretical exigencies and the
outcries of the clubs.

Lindet's prime object is to feed the departments that are without
wheat, and the towns that are soon to be short of bread.

Prieur's business is to see that biscuits, brandy, clothes, shoes,
gunpowder and arms are manufactured.[35]

Jean Bon, that vessels are equipped and crews drilled.

Carnot, to draw up campaign plans and direct the march of armies: the
dispatch of so many bags of grain during the coming fortnight to this
or that town, or warehouse in this or that district; the making up of
so many weekly rations, to be deported during the month to certain
places on the frontier; the transformation of so many fishermen into
artillerymen or marines, and to set afloat so many vessels in three
months; to expedite certain Corps of Cavalry, infantry and artillery,
so as to arrive by such and such roads at this or that pass -

These are precise combinations which purge the brain of dogmatic
phrases, which force revolutionary jargon into the background and keep
a man sensible and practical; and all the more because three of them,
Jean Bon, former captain of a merchantman, Prieur and Carnot,
engineering officers, are professional men and go to the front to put
their shoulders to the wheel on the spot. Jean Bon, always visiting
the coasts, goes on board a vessel of the fleet leaving Brest to save
the great American convoy; Carnot, at Watignies, orders Jourdan to
make a decisive move, and, shouldering his musket, marches along with
the attacking column.[36] Naturally, they have no leisure for
speechmaking in the Jacobin club, or for intrigues in the Convention:
Carnot lives in his own office and in the committee-room; he does not
allow himself time enough to eat with his wife, dines on a crust of
bread and a glass of lemonade, and works sixteen and eighteen hours a
day;[37] Lindet, more overtasked than any body else, because hunger
will not wait, reads every report himself, and passes days and nights
at it;"[38] Jean Bon, in wooden shoes and woolen vest, with a bit of
coarse bread and a glass of bad beer,[39] writes and dictates until
his strength fails him, and he has to lie down and sleep on a mattress
on the floor. - Naturally, again, when interfered with, and the tools
in their hands are broken, they are dissatisfied; they know well the
worth of a good instrument, and for the service, as they comprehend
it, good tools are essential, competent, faithful employees, regular
in attendance at their offices, and not at the club. When they have a
subordinate of this kind they defend him, often at the risk of their
lives, even to incurring the enmity of Robespierre. Cambon,[40] who,
on his financial committee, is also a sort of sovereign, retains at
the Treasury five or six hundred employees unable to procure their
certificate of civism, and whom the Jacobins incessantly denounce so
as to get their places. Carnot saves and employs eminent engineers,
D'Arcon, de Montalembert, d'Obenheim, all of them nobles, and one of
them an anti-Jacobin, without counting a number of accused officers
whom he justifies, replaces, or maintains.[41] - Through these
courageous and humane acts, they solace themselves for their scruples,
at least partially and for the time being; moreover, they are
statesmen only because the occasion and superior force makes it
imperative, more led by others than leading, terrorists through
accident and necessity, rather than through system and instinct. If,
in concert with ten others, Prieur and Carnot order wholesale robbery
and murder, if they sign orders by twenties and hundreds, amounting to
assassinations, it is owing to their forming part of a body. When the
whole committee deliberates, they are bound, in important decrees, to
submit to the preponderating opinion of the majority, after voting in
the negative. In relation to secondary decrees, in which there has
been no preliminary discussion in common, the only responsible member
is the one whose signature stands first; the following signatures
affixed, without reading the document, are simply a "formality which
the law requires," merely a visa, necessarily mechanical; with "four
or five hundred business matters to attend to daily," it is impossible
to do otherwise. To read all and vote in every case, would be "a
physical impossibility."[42] - Finally, as things are, "is not the
general will, at least the apparent general will, that alone on which
the government can decide, itself ultra-revolutionary?"[43] In other
words, should not the five or six rascals in a State who vociferate,
be listened to, rather than a hundred honest folks who keep their
mouths shut? With this sophism, gross as it is, but of pure Jacobin
manufacture, Carnot ends by hoodwinking his honor and his conscience;
otherwise intact, and far more so than his colleagues, he likewise
undergoes moral and mental mutilation; constrained by the duties of
his post and the illusions of his creed, he succeeded in an inward
decapitation of the two noblest of human faculties, common-sense, the
most useful, and the moral sense, the most exalted of all.

IV. The Statesmen.

Billaud-Varennes, Collot d'Herbois, Robespierre, Couthon and Saint-
Just. - Conditions of this rule. - Dangers to which they are
subject. - Their dissensions. - Pressure of Fear and Theory.

If such are the ravages which are made in an upright, firm and healthy
personality, what must be the havoc in corrupt or weak natures, in
which bad instincts already predominate! - And note that they are
without the protection provided by a pursuit of some specific and
useful objective. They are "government men," also "revolutionaries"
or "the people in total control;"[44] they are in actual fact men with
an overall concept of things, also direct these. The creation,
organization and application of Terror belongs wholly to them; they
are the constructors, regulators and engineers of the machine,[45] the
recognized heads of the party, of the sect and of the government,
especially Billaud and Robespierre, who never serve on missions,[46]
nor relax their hold for a moment on the central motor. The former,
an active politician, with Collot for his second, is charged with
urging on the constituted authorities, the districts, the
municipalities, the national agents, the revolutionary committees, and
the representatives on mission in the interior.[47] The latter, a
theologian, moralist, titular doctor and preacher, is charged with
ruling the Convention and indoctrinating the Jacobins with sound
principles; behind him stands Couthon, his lieutenant, with Saint-
Just, his disciple and executor of works of great importance; in their
midst, Barère, the Committee's mouthpiece, is merely a tool, but
indispensable, conveniently at hand and always ready to start whatever
drum-beating is required on any given theme in honor of the party
which stuffs his brain. Below these comes the Committee of General
Security, Vadier, Amar, Vouland, Guffroy, Panis, David, Jagot and the
rest, those who undertook, reported on, and acted in behalf of
universal proscription. All these bear the imprint of their service;
they could be recognized by "their pallid hue, hollow and bloodshot
eyes,"[48] habits of omnipotence stamped "on their brows, and on their
deportment, something indescribably haughty and disdainful. The
Committee of General Security reminded one of the former lieutenants
of police, and the Committee of Public Safety, of the former ministers
of state." In the Convention, "it is considered an honor to talk with
them, and a privilege to shake hands with them; one seems to read
one's duty on their brows." On the days on which their orders are to
be converted into laws "the members of the Committee and the reporter
of the bill, keep people waiting, the same as the heads and
representatives of the former sovereign power; on their way to the
Assembly hall, they are preceded by a group of courtiers who seem to
announce the masters of the world."[49] - In fact, they reign - but
observe on what conditions.

"Make no complaints," said Barère,[50] to the composer of an opera,
the performance of which had just been suspended: "as times go, you
must not attract public attention. Do we not all stand at the foot of
the guillotine, all, beginning with myself?" Again, twenty years
later, in a private conversation, on being interrogated as to the
veritable object, the secret motive of the Committee of Public Safety,
he replied:

"As we were animated by but one sentiment,[51] my dear sir, that of
self-preservation, we had but one desire, that of maintaining an
existence which each of us believed to be menaced. You had your
neighbor guillotined to prevent your neighbor from guillotining

The same apprehension exists in stouter souls, although there may have
been, along with fear, motives of a less debased order.

"How many times," says Carnot,[53] "we undertook some work that
required time, with the conviction that we should not be allowed to
complete it!" - " It was uncertain[54] whether, the next time the
clock struck the hour, we should not be standing before the
revolutionary Tribunal on our way to the scaffold without, perhaps,
having had time to bid adieu to our families. . . . We pursued our
daily task so as not to let the machine stand still, as if a long life
were before us, when it was probable that we should not see the next
day's sun."

It is impossible to count on one's life, or that of another, for
twenty-four hours; should the iron hand which holds one by the throat
tighten its grasp, all will be over that evening.

"There were certain days so difficult that one could see no way to
control circumstances; those who were directly menaced resigned
themselves wholly to chance."[55] - " The decisions for which we are
so much blamed," says another,[56] "were not generally thought of two
days, or one day, beforehand; they sprung out of the crisis of the
moment. We did not desire to kill for the sake of killing . . .
but to conquer at all hazards, remain masters, and ensure the sway of
our principles." - That is true, - they are subjects as well as
despots. At the Committee table, during their nocturnal sessions,
their sovereign presides, a formidable figure, the revolutionary Idea
which confers on them the right to slay, on condition of exercising it
against everybody, and therefore on themselves. Towards two o'clock,
or three o'clock in the morning, exhausted, out of words and ideas,
not knowing where to slay, on the right or on the left, they anxiously
turn to this figure and try to read its will in its fixed eyes.

"Who shall fall to-morrow? " -

Ever the same reply steadily expressed on the features of the
impassable phantom: "the counter-revolutionaries," under which name is
comprised all who by act, speech, thought or inmost sentiment, either
through irritation or carelessness, through humanity or moderation,
through egoism or nonchalance, through passive, neutral or indifferent
feeling, serve well or ill the Revolution.[57] - All that remains is
to add names to this horribly comprehensive decree. Shall Billaud do
it? Shall Robespierre do it? Will Billaud put down Robespierre's name,
or Robespierre put down Billaud's, or each the name of the other, with
those he chooses to select from among the two Committees? Osselin,
Chabot, Bazire, Julien de Toulouse, Lacroix, Danton, were on them, and
when they left, their heads fell.[58] Hérault-Séchelles, again, was
on them, maintained in office with honor through the recent
approbation of the Convention,[59] one of the titular twelve, and on
duty when an order issued by the other eleven suddenly handed him over
to the revolutionary Tribunal for execution. - Whose turn is it now
among the eleven? Seized unawares, the docile Convention unanimously
applauding, after three days of a judicial farce, the cart will bear
him to the Place de la Révolution; Samson will tie him fast, shouters
at thirty sous a day will clap their hands, and, on the following
morning, the popular politicians will congratulate each other on
seeing the name of a great traitor on the bulletin of the
guillotined.[60] To this end, to enable this or that king of the day
to pass from the national Almanac to the mortuary list, merely
required an understanding among his colleagues, and, perhaps, this is
already arrived at. Among whom and against whom? - It is certain
that, as this idea occurs to the eleven, seated around the table, they
eye each other with a shudder they calculate the chances and turn
things over in their minds; words have been uttered that are not
forgotten. Carnot often made this charge against Saint-Just: "You and
Robespierre are after a dictatorship."[61] Robespierre replied to
Carnot : "I am ready for you on the first defeat."[62] On another
occasion, Robespierre, in a rage, exclaimed: "The Committee is
conspiring against me!" and, turning to Billaud, "I know you, now!"
Billaud retorted, "I know you too, you are a counter-
revolutionary!"[63] There are conspirators and counter-
revolutionaries, then, on the committee itself; what can be done to
avoid this appellation, which is a sentence of death ? - Silently, the
fatal phantom enthroned in their midst, the Erinyes[64] through which
they rule, renders his oracle and all take it to heart:

"All who are unwilling to become executioners are conspirators and


Official Jacobin organs.- Reports by Saint-Just are Barère. -
Quality of reports and reporters.

Thus do they march along during twelve months, goaded on by the two
sharp thongs of theory and fear, traversing the red pool which they
have created, and which is daily becoming deeper and deeper, all
together and united, neither of them daring to separate from the
group, and each spattered with the blood thrown in his face by the
others' feet. It is not long before their eyesight fails them; they
no longer see their way, while the degradation of their language
betrays the stupor of their intellect. - When a government brings to
the tribune and moves the enactment of important laws, it confronts
the nation, faces Europe, and takes a historical position. If it
cares for its own honor it will select reporters of bills that are not
unworthy, and instruct them to support these with available arguments,
as closely reasoned out as possible; the bill, discussed and adopted
in full council, will show the measure of its capacity, the
information it possesses and its common-sense.

To estimate all this, read the bills put forth in the name of the
Committee; weigh the preambles, remark the tone, listen to the two
reporters usually chosen, Saint-Just, who draws up the acts of
proscription, special or general, and Barère, who draws up all acts
indifferently, but particularly military announcements and decrees
against the foreigner; never did public personages, addressing France
and posterity, use such irrational arguments and state falsehoods with
greater impudence.[65]

The former, stiff in his starched cravat, posing "like the Holy
Ghost," more didactic and more absolute than Robespierre himself,
comes and proclaims to Frenchmen from the tribune, equality, probity,
frugality, Spartan habits, and a rural cot with all the voluptuousness
of virtue;[66] this suits admirably the chevalier Saint-Just, a former
applicant for a place in the Count d'Artois' body-guard, a domestic
thief, a purloiner of silver plate which he takes to Paris, sells and
spends on prostitutes, imprisoned for six months on complaint of his
own mother,[67] and author of a lewd poem which he succeeds in
rendering filthy by trying to render it fanciful. - Now, indeed, he
is grave; he no longer leers; he kills - but with what arguments, and
what a style![68] The young Laubardemont as well as the paid informers
and prosecutors of imperial Rome, have less disgraced the human
intellect, for these creatures of a Tiberius or a Richelieu still used
plausible arguments in their reasoning, and with more or less
adroitness. With Saint-Just, there is no connection of ideas; there
is no sequence or march in his rhapsody; like an instrument strained
to the utmost, his mind plays only false notes in violent fits and
starts; logical continuity, the art then so common of regularly
developing a theme, has disappeared; he stumbles over the ground,
piling up telling aphorisms and dogmatic axioms. In dealing with
facts there is nothing in his speech but a perversion of the truth;
impostures abound in it of pure invention, palpable, as brazen as
those of a charlatan in his booth;[69] he does not even deign to
disguise them with a shadow of probability; as to the Girondists, and
as to Danton, Fabre d'Eglantine and his other adversaries, whoever
they may be, old or new, any rope to hang them with suffices for him;
any rough, knotted, badly-twisted cord he can lay his hands on, no
matter what, provided it strangles, is good enough; there is no need
of a finer one for confirmed conspirators; with the gossip of the club
and an Inquisition catechism, he can frame his bill of indictment. -
Accordingly, his intellect grasps nothing and yields him nothing; he
is a sententious and overexcited declaimer, an artificial spirit
always on the stretch, full of affectations,[70] his talent reducing
itself down to the rare flashes of a somber imagination, a pupil of
Robespierre, as Robespierre himself is a pupil of Rousseau, the
exaggerated scholar of a plodding scholar, always rabidly ultra,
furious through calculation, deliberately violating both language and
ideas,[71] confining himself to theatrical and funereal paradoxes, a
sort of "grand vizier"[72] with the airs of an exalted moralist and
the bearing of the sentimental shepherd.[73] Were one of a mocking
humor one might shrug one's shoulders; but, in the present state of
the Convention, there is no room for anything but fear. Launched in
imperious tones, his phrases fall upon their ears in monotonous
strokes, on bowed heads, and, after five or six blows from this leaden
hammer, the stoutest are stretched out stupefied on the ground;
discussion is out of the question; when Saint-Just, in the name of the
Convention, affirms anything, it must be believed; his dissertation is
a peremptory injunction and not an effort of reason; it commands
obedience; it is not open to examination; it is not a report which he
draws from his coat pocket, but a bludgeon.

The other reporter, Barère, is of quite another stamp, a "patent-
right" haranguer, an amusing Gascon, alert, "free and easy," fond of a
joke, even on the Committee of Public Safety,[74] unconcerned in the
midst of assassinations, and, to the very last, speaking of the reign
of Terror as "the simplest and most innocent thing in the world."[75]
No man was ever less trammeled by a conscience; in truth, he has
several, that of two days ago, that of the previous day, that of the
present day, that of the morrow, of the following day, and still
others, as many as you like, all equally pliant and supple, at the
service of the strongest against the weakest, ready to swing round at
once on the wind changing, but all joined together and working to one
common end through physical instinct, the only one that lasts in the
immoral, adroit and volatile being who circulates nimbly about, with
no other aim than self-preservation, and to amuse himself.[76] - In
his dressing-gown, early in the morning, he receives a crowd of
solicitors, and, with the ways of a "dandified minister," graciously
accepts the petitions handed to him; first, those of ladies,
"distributing gallantries among the prettiest;" he makes promises, and
smiles, and then, returning to his cabinet, throws the papers in the
fire: "There," he says, my correspondence is done." - He sups twice
every decade in his fine house at Clichy, along with three more than
accommodating pretty women; he is gay, awarding flatteries and
attentions quite becoming to an amiable protector: he enters into
their professional rivalries, their spites against the reigning
beauty, their jealousy of another who wears a blonde wig and pretends
"to set the fashion." He sends immediately for the National Agent and
gravely informs him that this head-dress, borrowed from the
guillotined, is a rallying point for anti-revolutionaries, whereupon,
the next day, wigs are denounced at the Commune-council, and
suppressed; "Barère roared with laughter on alluding to this piece of
fun." The humor of an undertaker and the dexterity of a commercial
drummer: he plays with Terror. - In like manner he plays with his
reports, and at this latter exercise, he improvises; he is never
embarrassed; it is simply necessary to turn the faucet and the water
runs. " Had he any subject to treat, he would fasten himself on
Robespierre, Hérault, Saint-Just, or somebody else, and draw them out;
he would then rush off to the tribune and spin out their ideas; "they
were all astonished at hearing their thoughts expressed as fully as if
reflected in a mirror." No individual on the Committee, or in the
Convention, equaled him in promptness and fluency, for the reason that
he was not obliged to think before he spoke: with him, the faculty of
speaking, like an independent organ, acted by itself, the empty brain
or indifferent heart contributing nothing to his loquacity.
Naturally, whatever issues from his mouth comes forth in ready-made
bombast, the current jargon of the Jacobin club, sonorous, nauseous
commonplace, schoolboy metaphors and similes derived from the
shambles.[77] Not an idea is found in all this rhetoric, nothing
acquired, no real mental application. When Bonaparte, who employed
everybody, even Fouché, were disposed to employ Barère, they could
make nothing out of him for lack of substance, except as a low
newsmonger, common spy, or agent engaged to stir up surviving
Jacobins; later on, a listener at keyholes, and a paid weekly
collector of public rumors, he was not even fit for this vile service,
for his wages were soon stopped Napoleon, who, having no time to
waste, cut short his driveling verbiage. - It is this verbiage which,
authorized by the Committee of Public Safety, now forms the eloquence
of France; it is this manufacturer of phrases by the dozen, this
future informer and prison-spy under the empire, this frolicking
inventor of the blonde-wig conspiracy, that the government sends into
the tribune to announce victories, trumpet forth military heroism and
proclaim war unto death. On the 7th of Prairial,[78] Barère, in the
name of the committee, proposes a return to savage law : "No English
or Hanoverian prisoner shall henceforth be made;" the decree is
endorsed by Carnot and passes the Convention unanimously. Had it been
executed, as reprisals, and according to the proportion of prisoners,
there would have been for one Englishman shot, three Frenchmen hung:
honor and humanity would have disappeared from the camps; the
hostilities between Christians would have become as deadly as among
savages. Happily, French soldiers felt the nobleness of their
profession; on the order being given to shoot the prisoners, a decent
sergeant replied:

"We will not shoot - send them to the Convention. If the
representatives delight in killing prisoners - let them do it
themselves, and eat them, too, savages as they are!"

The sergeant, an ordinary man, is not on a level with the Committee,
or with Barère; and yet Barère did his best in a bill of indictment of
twenty-seven pages, full of grand flourishes, every possible
ritornello, glaring falsehood and silly inflation, explaining how "the
Britannic leopard" paid assassins to murder the representatives; how
the London cabinet had armed little Cécile Renault, "the new Corday,"
against Robespierre; how the Englishman, naturally barbarous, "is
unable to deny his origins; how he descends from the Carthaginians and
Phenicians, and formerly dealt in the skins of wild beasts and slaves;
how his trading occupation is not changed; how Cesar, formerly, on
landing in the country, found nothing but a ferocious tribe battling
with wolves in the forest and threatening to burn every vessel which
would try to land there; and how he still remains like that." A
lecture from a fairground surgeon who, using bombastic words,
recommends extensive amputations, a fairground-prospectus so crude
that it does not even deceive a poor sergeant, - such is the
exposition of motives by a government for the purpose of enforcing a
decree that might have been drawn up by redskins; to horrible acts he
adds debased language, and employs the inept to justify their

VI. Commissars of the Revolution.

Representatives on Mission. - Their absolute power. - Their perils
and their fear. - Fit for their work. - Effect of this situation.

A hundred or so representatives of the Committee of Public Safety, are
sent to the provinces, "with unlimited power," to establish, enforce
or exacerbate the revolutionary government, and their proclamations at
once explain the nature of this government.[79] - " Brave and vigorous
sans-culottes !" writes a deputy on leaving a mission and announcing
his successor,[80] "You seem to have desired a good b. . . of a
representative, who has never swerved from his principles, that is to
say, a regular Montagnard. I have fulfilled your wishes, and you will
have the same thing in citizen Ingrand. Remember, brave sans-
culottes, that, with the patriot Ingrand, you can do everything, get
anything, cancel whatever you please, imprison, bring to trial, deport
and guillotine every-body and regenerate society. Don't try to play
with him; everybody is afraid of him, he overcomes all resistance and
restores at once the most complete order! " - The representative
arrives at the center of the department by post, and presents his
credentials. All the authorities at once bow to the ground. In the
evening, in his saber and plume, he harangues the popular club,
blowing into a flame the smoldering embers of Jacobinism. Then,
according to his personal acquaintances, if he has any in the place,
or according to the votes of the Committee of General Security, if he
is a new-comer, he selects five or six of the "warmest sans-culottes"
there, and, forming them into a Revolutionary Committee, installs them
permanently at his side, sometimes in the same building, in a room
next to his own, where, on lists or with verbal communications
furnished to him, he works with a will and without stopping.[81]

First comes a purification of all the local authorities. They must
always remember that "there can be no exaggeration in behalf of the
people; he who is not imbued with this principle, who has not put it
in practice, cannot remain on an advanced post;"[82] consequently, at
the popular club, in the department, in the district, in the
municipality, all doubtful men are excluded, discharged, or
incarcerated; if a few weak ones are retained provisionally, or by
favor, they are berated and taught their duty very summarily:

"They will strive, by a more energetic and assiduous patriotism, to
atone for the evil committed by them in not doing all the good they
could do."

Sometimes, through a sudden change of scene, the entire administrative
staff is kicked out so as to give place to a no less complete staff,
which the same kick brings up out of the ground. Considering that
"everything stagnates in Vaucluse, and that a frightful moderation
paralyses the most revolutionary measures," Maignet, in one order[83]
appoints the administrators and secretary of the department, the
national agent, the administrators and council-general of the
district, the administrators, council-general and national agent of
Avignon, the president, public prosecutor and recorder of the criminal
court, members of the Tribunal de Commerce, the collector of the
district, the post-master and the head of the squadron of gendarmerie.
And the new functionaries will certainly go to work at once, each in
his office. The summary process, which has brusquely swept away the
first set of puppets, is going to brusquely install the second one.
"Each citizen appointed to any of the above mentioned offices, shall
betake himself immediately to his post, under penalty of being
declared suspect," on the simple notification of his appointment.
Universal and passive obedience of governors, as well as of the
governed! There are no more elected and independent functionaries; all
the authorities, confirmed or created by the representative, are in
his hands; there is not one among them who does not subsist or survive
solely through his favor; there is not one of them who acts otherwise
than according to his approval or by his order. Directly, or through
them, he makes requisitions, sequestrates or confiscates as he sees
fit, taxes, imprisons, transports or decapitates as he see fit, and,
in his circumscription, he is the pasha.

But he is a pasha with a chain around his neck, and at short tether.
- From and after December, 1793, he is directed "to conform to the
orders of the Committee of Public Safety and report to it every ten
days."[84] The circumscription in which he commands is rigorously
"limited;" "he is reputed to be without power in the other
departments,"[85] while he is not allowed to grow old on his post.
"In every magistrature the grandeur and extent of power is compensated
by the shortness of its duration. Over-prolonged missions would soon
be considered as birthrights."[86] Therefore, at the end of two or
three months, often at the end of a month, the incumbent is recalled
to Paris or dispatched elsewhere, at short notice, on the day named,
in a prompt, absolute and sometimes threatening tone, not as a
colleague one humors, but as a subordinate who is suddenly and
arbitrarily revoked or displaced because he is deemed inadequate, or
"used up." For greater security, oftentimes a member of the Committee,
Couthon, Collot, Saint-Just, or some near relation of a member of the
Committee, a Lebas or young Robespierre, goes personally to the spot
to give the needed impulsion; sometimes, agents simply of the
Committee, taken from outside the Convention, and without any personal
standing, quite young men, Rousselin, Julien de la Drôme, replace or
watch the representative with powers equal to his. - At the same
time, from the top and from the center, he is pushed on and directed:
his local counselors are chosen for him, and the directors of his
conscience;[87] they rate him soundly on the choice of his agents or
of his lodgings;[88] they force dismissals on him, appointments,
arrests, executions; they spur him on in the path of terror and
suffering. - Around him are paid emissaries,[89] while others watch
him gratis and constantly write to the Committees of Public Safety and
General Security, often to denounce him, always to report on his
conduct, to judge his measures and to provoke the measures which he
does not take.[90]

Whatever he may have done or may do, he cannot turn his eyes toward
Paris without seeing danger ahead, a mortal danger which, on the
Committee, in the Convention, at the Jacobin Club, increases or will
increase against him, like a tempest. - Briez, who, in Valenciennes
under siege, showed courage, and whom the Convention had just
applauded and added to the Committee of Public Safety, hears himself
reproached for being still alive: "He who was at Valenciennes when the
enemy took it will never reply to this question - are you dead?"[91]
He has nothing to do now but to declare himself incompetent, decline
the honor mistakenly conferred on him by the Convention, and
disappear. - Dubois-Crancé took Lyons, and, as pay for this immense
service, he is stricken off the roll of the Jacobin Club; because he
did not take it quick enough, he is accused of treachery; two days
after the capitulation, the Committee of Public Safety withdraw his
powers; three days after the capitulation, the Committee of Public
Safety has him arrested and sent to Paris under escort.[92] - If such
men after such services are thus treated, what is to become of the
others? After the mission of young Julien, then Carrier at Nantes,
Ysabeau and Tallien at Bordeaux, feel their heads shake on their
shoulders; after the mission of Robespierre jr. in the East and
South, Barras, Fréron and Bernard de Saintes believe themselves
lost.[93] Fouché, Rovère, Javogue, and how many others, compromised by
the faction, Hébertists or Dantonists, of which they are, or were
belonging. Sure of perishing if their patrons on the Committee
succumb; not sure of living if their patrons keep their place; not
knowing whether their heads will not be exchanged for others;
restricted to the narrowest, the most rigorous and most constant
orthodoxy; guilty and condemned should their orthodoxy of to-day
become the heterodoxy of to-morrow. All of them menaced, at first the
hundred and eighty autocrats who, before the concentration of the
revolutionary government, ruled for eight months boundlessly in the
provinces; next, and above all, the fifty hard-fisted "Montagnards,"
unscrupulous fanatics or authoritarian high livers, who, at this
moment, tread human flesh under foot and spread out in arbitrariness
like wild boars in a forest, or wallow in scandal, like swine in a

There is no refuge for them, other than temporary, and temporary
refuge only in zealous and tried obedience, such as the Committee
demands proof of, that is to say, through rigor. - "The Committees so
wanted it," says later on Maignet, the arsonist of Bédouin; "The
Committees did everything. . . . . Circumstances controlled me.
. . . . The patriotic agents conjured me not to give way. . . .
. I did not fully carry out the most imperative orders."[94] Similarly,
the great exterminator of Nantes, Carrier, when urged to spare the
rebels who surrendered of their own accord:

"Do you want me to be guillotined? It is not in my power to save those

And another time:

"I have my orders; I must observe them; I do not want to have
my head cut off!"

Under penalty of death, the representative on mission is a Terrorist,
like his colleagues in the Convention and on the Committee of Public
Safety, but with a much more serious disturbance of his nervous and
his moral system; for he does not operate like them on paper, at a
distance, against categories of abstract, anonymous and vague beings;
his work is not merely an effort of the intellect, but also of the
senses and the imagination. If he belongs to the region, like
Lecarpentier, Barras, Lebon, Javogue, Couthon, André Dumont and many
others, he is well acquainted with the families he proscribes; names
to him are not merely so many letters strung together, but they recall
personal souvenirs and evoke living forms. At all events, he is the
spectator, artisan and beneficiary of his own dictatorship; the
silver-plate and money he confiscates passes under his eye, through
his hands; he sees the "suspects" he incarcerates march before him; he
is in the court-room on the rendering of the sentence of death;
frequently, the guillotine he has supplied with heads works under his
windows; he sleeps in the mansion of an emigré he makes requisitions
for the furniture, linen and wine belonging to the decapitated and the
imprisoned,[96] lies in their beds, drinks their wine and revels with
plenty of company at their expense, and in their place. In the same
way as a bandit chief who neither kills nor robs with his own hands,
but has murder and robbery committed in his presence, by which he
substantially profits, not by proxy, but personally, through the well-
directed blows ordered by him. - To this degree, and in such
proximity to physical action, omnipotence is a noxious atmosphere
which no state of health can resist. Restored to the conditions which
poisoned man in barbarous times or countries, he is again attacked by
moral maladies from which he was thenceforth believed to be exempt; he
retrogrades even to the strange corruptions of the Orient and the
Middle Ages; forgotten leprosies, apparently extinct, with exotic
pestilences to which civilized lands seemed closed, reappear in his
soul with their issues and tumors.

VII. Brutal Instincts.

Eruption of brutal instincts. - Duquesnoy at Metz. - Dumont at
Amiens. - Drunkards. - Cusset, Bourbotte, Moustier, Bourdon de
l'Oise, Dartigoyte.

"It seems," says a witness who was long acquainted with Maignet, "that
all he did for these five or six years was simply the delirious phase
of an illness, after which he recovered, and lived on as if nothing
had happened."[97] And Maignet himself writes "I was not made for
these tempests." That goes for everyone but especially for the coarser
natures; subordination would have restrained them while dictatorial
power make the instincts of the brute and the mob appear.

Contemplate Duquesnoy, a sort of mastiff, always barking and biting,
when gorged he is even more furious. Delegate to the army of the
Moselle, and passing by Metz[98] he summoned before him Altmayer, the
public prosecutor, although he had sat down to dinner. The latter
waits three hours and a half in the ante-chamber, is not admitted,
returns, and, at length received, is greeted with a thundering

"Who are you?"

"The public prosecutor," he replies.

"You look like a bishop - you were once a curé or monk - you can't be
a revolutionary . . . . I have come to Metz with unlimited powers.
Public opinion here is not satisfactory. I am going to drill it. I
am going to set folks straight here. I mean to shoot, here in Metz,
as well as in Nancy, five or six hundred every fortnight."

The same at the house of General Bessières, commandant of the town
encountering there M. Cledat, an old officer, the second in command,
he measures him from head to foot:

"You look like a muscadin. Where did you come from? You must be a bad
republican - you look as if you belonged to the ancient régime."

"My hair is gray," he responds, "but I am not the less a good
republican: you may ask the General and the whole town."

"Be off! Go to the devil, and be quick about it, or I will have you
arrested!" -

The same, in the street, where he lays hold of a man passing, on
account of his looks; the justice of the peace, Joly, certifies to the
civism of this person, and he "eyes" Joly:

"You too, you are an aristocrat! I see it in your eyes! I never make
a mistake."

Whereupon, tearing off the Judge's badge, he sends him to prison. -
Meanwhile, a fire, soon extinguished, breaks out in the army bakery;
officers, townspeople, laborers, peasants and even children form a
line (for passing water) and Duquesnoy appears to urge them on in his
way: using his fists and his foot, he falls on whoever he meets, on an
employee in the commissariat, on a convalescent officer, on two men in
the line, and many others. He shouts to one of them, "You are a
muscadin!" To another:

"I see by your eyes that you are an aristocrat!"

To another:

"You are a bloody beggar, an aristocrat, a rascal,"

and he strikes him in the stomach; he seizes a fourth by his collar
and throws him down on the pavement.[99] In addition to this, all are
imprisoned. The fire being extinguished, an indiscreet fellow, who
stood by looking on, recommends " the dispenser of blows "to wipe his
forehead." "You can't see straight - who are you? Answer me, I am the
representative." The other replies mildly: "Representative, nothing
could be more respectable." Duquesnoy gives the unlucky courtier a
blow under the nose: "You are disputing - go to prison," " which I did
at once," adds the docile subject. - That same evening, "whereas, in
the conflagration, none of the inhabitants in good circumstances
offered their services in extinguishing the fire,[100] and none but
sans-culottes came thereto, from the garrison as well as from the
commune," Duquesnoy orders "that a tax of 40,000 livres be imposed on
the commune of Metz, levied on the fortunes of the rich and
distributed among the poor, payable within ten days."[101] -- "Fais-
moi f.... dedans tous ces b... là[102]," "quatre j...f... à
raccourcir;"[103] At Arras, as at Metz, the lout is ever the ruffian
and the butcher.

Others are either jolly fellows, or blackguards. A certain André
Dumont, an old village attorney, now king of Picardie, or sultan, as
occasion offers, "figures as a white Negro," sometimes jovial, but
generally as a rude hardened cynic, treating female prisoners and
petitioners as in a kermesse.[104] - One morning a lady enters his
ante-room, and waits amidst about twenty sans-culottes, to solicit the
release of her husband. Dumont appears in a morning-gown, seats
himself and listens to the petitioner.

"Sit down, citoyenne."

He takes her on his lap, thrusts his hand in her bosom and exclaims:

"Who would suppose that the bust of a marchioness would feel so soft
to one of the people's representatives."

The sans-culottes shout with laughter. He sends the poor woman away
and keeps her husband locked up. In the evening he may write to the
Convention that he investigates things himself, and closely examines
aristocrats. - If one is to maintain the revolutionary enthusiasm at
a high level it is helpful to have a drop too much in one's head, and
most of them take precautions in this direction. At Lyons,[105] "the
representatives sent to ensure the people's welfare, Albitte and
Collot," call upon the Committee of Sequestrations to deliver at their
house two hundred bottles of the best wine to be found, and five
hundred bottles more of Bordeaux red wine, first quality, for table
use. - In three months, at the table of the representatives who
devastate la Vendée, nineteen hundred and seventy-four bottles of wine
are emptied,[106] taken from the houses of the emigrés belonging to
the town; for, "when one has helped to preserve a commune one has a
right to drink to the Republic." Representative Bourbotte presides at
this bar; Rossignol touches his glass, an ex-jeweler and then a
September massacreur, all his life a debauchee and brigand, and now a
major-general; alongside of Rossignol, stand his adjutants, Grammont,
an old actor, and Hazard, a former priest; along with them is
Vacheron, a good républican, who ravishes women and shoots them when
they refuse to succumb;[107] in addition to these are some "brilliant"
young ladies, undoubtedly brought from Paris, "the prettiest of whom
share their nights between Rossignol and Bourbotte," whilst the others
serve their subordinates: the entire band, male and female, is installed
in a Hotel de Fontenay, where they begin by breaking the seals, so as t
o confiscate "for their own benefit, furniture, jewelry, dresses,
feminine trinkets and even porcelains."[108] Meanwhile, at Chantonney,
representative Bourdon de l'Oise drinks with General Tunck, becomes "
frantic" when tipsy, and has patriotic administrators seized in their
beds at midnight, whom he had embraced the evening before. - Nearly
all of them, like the latter, get nasty after a few drinks, - Carrier
at Nantes, Petit-Jean at Thiers, Duquesnoy at Arras, Cusset at
Thionville, Monestier at Tarbes. At Thionville, Cusset drinks like
a "Lapithe" and, when drunk, gives the orders of a "vizier," which
orders are executed.[109] At Tarbes, Monestier "after a heavy meal
and much excited," warmly harangues the court, personally examines
the prisoner, M. de Lasalle, an old officer, whom he has condemned
to death, and signs the order to have him guillotined at once. M.
de Lasalle is guillotined that very evening, at midnight, by torchlight.
The following morning Monestier says to the president of the court:
"Well, we gave poor Lasalle a famous fright last night, didn't we ?"
"How a famous fright? He is executed !" Monestier is astonished - he
did not remember having issued the order.[110] - With others, wine,
besides sanguinary instincts, brings out the foulest instincts. At
Nîmes; Borie, in the uniform of a representative, along with Courbis,
the mayor, Géret, the justice and a number of prostitutes, dance the
farandole around the guillotine. At Auch, one of the worst tyrants in
the South, Dartigoyte, always heated with liquor "vomited every species
of obscenity " in the faces of women that came to demand justice; "he
compels, under penalty of imprisonment, mothers to take their daughters
to the popular club," to listen to his filthy preaching; one evening, at
the theatre, probably after an orgy, he shouts at all the women between
the acts, lets loose upon them his smutty vocabulary, and, by way of
demonstration, or as a practical conclusion, ends by stripping himself
naked.[111] - This time, the genuine brute appears. All the clothing
woven during the past centuries and with which civilization had dressed
him, the last drapery of humanity, falls to the ground. Nothing remains
but the primitive animal, the ferocious, lewd gorilla supposed to be
tamed, but which still subsists indefinitely and which a dictatorship,
joined to drunkenness, revives in an uglier guise than in remotest times.

VIII. Delirium.

Approach of madness. - Loss of common-sense. - Fabre, Gaston,
Guiter, in the army of the Eastern Pyrenees. - Baudot, Lebas, Saint-
Just, and the predecessors and successors in the army of the Rhine. -
Furious excitement. - Lebon at Arras, and Carrier at Nantes.

If intoxication is needed to awaken the brute, a dictatorship suffices
to arouse the madman. The mental equilibrium of most of these new
sovereigns is disturbed; the distance between what the man once was
and what he now is, is too great. Formerly he was a petty lawyer,
village doctor, or schoolmaster, an unknown mover of a resolution in a
local club, and only yesterday he was one voter in the Convention out
of seven hundred and fifty. Look at him now, the arbiter, in one of
the departments, of all fortunes and liberties, and master of five
thousand lives. Like a pair of scales into which a disproportionate
weight has been thrown, his reason totters on the side of pride. Some
of them regard their competency unlimited, like their powers, and
having just joined the army, claim the right of being appointed major-
generals.[112] "Declare officially," writes Fabre to the Committee of
Public Safety,[113] "that, in future, generals shall be simply the
lieutenants of the delegates to the Convention." Awaiting the required
declaration, they claim command and, in reality, exercise it. "I know
of neither generals nor privates," says Gaston, a former justice of
the peace, to the officers; "as to the Minister, he is like a bull in
a china shop; I am in command here and must be obeyed." "What are
generals good for?" adds his colleague Guiter; "the old women in our
faubourgs know as much as they do. Plans, formal maneuvers, tents,
camps, redoubts? All this is of no use! The only war suitable to
Frenchmen after this will be a rush with side arms." To turn out of
office, guillotine, disorganize, march blindly on, waste lives
haphazard, force defeat, sometimes get killed themselves, is all they
know, and they would lose all if the effects of their incapacity and
arrogance were not redeemed by the devotion of the officers and the
enthusiasm of the soldiers. - The same spectacle is visible at
Charleroy where, through his absurd orders, Saint-Just does his best
to compromise the army, leaving that place with the belief that he is
a great man.[114] - There is the same spectacle in Alsace, where
Lacoste, Baudot, Ruamps, Soubrany, Muhaud, Saint-Just and Lebas,
through their excessive rigor, do their best to break up the army and
then boast of it. The revolutionary Tribunal is installed at
headquarters, soldiers are urged to denounce their officers, the
informer is promised money and secrecy, he and the accused are not
allowed to confront each other, no investigation, no papers allowed,
even to make exception to the verdict - a simple examination without
any notes, the accused arrested at eight o'clock, condemned at nine
o'clock, and shot at ten o'clock.[115]

Naturally, under such a system, no one wants to command; already,
before Saint Just's arrival, Meunier had consented to act as Major-
General only ad interim; "every hour of the day" he demanded his
removal; unable to secure this, he refused to issue any order. The
representatives, to procure his successor, are obliged to descend down
to a depot captain, Carlin, bold enough or stupid enough to allow
himself to take a commission under their lead, which was a commission
for the guillotine. - If such is their presumption in military
matters, what must it be in civil affairs! On this side there is no
external check, no Spanish or German army capable of at once taking
them in flagrante delicto, and of profiting by their ambitious
incapacity and mischievous interference. Whatever the social
instrumentality may be - judiciary, administration, credit, commerce,
manufactures, agriculture - they can dislocate and destroy it with
impunity. - They never fail to do this, and, moreover, in their
dispatches, they take credit to themselves for the ruin they cause.
That, indeed, is their mission; otherwise, they would be regarded as
bad Jacobins; they would soon become "suspects;" they rule only on
condition of being infatuated and destructive; the overthrow of
common-sense is with them an act of State grace, a necessity of the
office, and, on this common ground of compulsory unreason, every
species of physical delirium may be set established.

With those that we can follow closely, not only is their judgment
perverted, but the entire nervous apparatus is affected; a permanent
over-excitement and a morbid restlessness has begun. - Consider
Joseph Lebon, son of a sergeant-at-arms, subsequently, a teacher with
the Oratoriens of Beaune, next, curé of Neuville-Vitasse, repudiated
as an interloper by the élite of his parishioners, not respected,
without house or furniture, and almost without a flock.[116] Two
years after this, finding himself sovereign of his province, his head
is spinning. Lesser events would have made it turn; his is only a
twenty-eight-year-old head, not very solid, without any inside
ballast,[117] already disturbed by vanity, ambition, rancor, and
apostasy, by the sudden and complete volteface which puts him in
conflict with his past educational habits and most cherished
affections: it breaks down under the vastness and novelty of this
greatness. - In the costume of a representative, a Henry IV hat, tri-
color plume, waving scarf, and saber dragging the ground, Lebon orders
the bell to be rung and summons the villagers into the church, where,
aloft in the pulpit in which he had formerly preached in a threadbare
cassock, he displays his metamorphosis.

"Who would believe that I should have returned here with unlimited

And that, before his counterfeit majesty, each person would be humble,
bowed down and silent! To a member of the municipality of Cambray who,
questioned by him, looked straight at him and answered curtly, and
who, to a query twice repeated in the same terms, dared to answer
twice in the same terms, he says:

"Shut up ! You disrespect me, you do not behave properly to the
national representative."

He immediately commits him to prison.[119] - One evening, at the
theater, he enters a box in which the ladies, seated in front, keep
their places. In a rage, he goes out, rushes on the stage and,
brandishing his great saber, shouts and threatens the audience, taking
immense strides across the boards and acting and looking so much like
a wild beast that several of the ladies faint away:

"Look there !" he shouts, at those muscadines who do not condescend
to move for a representative of twenty-five millions of men! Everybody
used to make way for a prince - they will not budge for me, a
representative, who am more than a king!"[120]

The word is spoken. But this king is frightened, and he is one who
thinks of nothing but conspiracy;[121] in the street, in open
daylight, the people who are passing him are plotting against him
either by words or signs. Meeting in the main street of Arras a young
girl and her mother talking Flemish, - that seems to him "suspect."
"Where are you going?" he demands. "What's that to you?" replies the
child, who does not know him. The girl, the mother and the father are
sent to prison.[122] - On the ramparts, another young girl,
accompanied by her mother, is taking the air, and reading a book.
"Give me that book," says the representative. The mother hands it to
him; it is the " History of Clarissa Harlowe." The young girl,
extending her hand to receive back the book, adds, undoubtedly with a
smile: "That is not 'suspect.'" Lebon deals her a blow with his fist
on her stomach which knocks her down; both women are searched and he
personally leads them to the guard-room. - The slightest expression,
a gesture, puts him beside himself; any motion that he does not
comprehend makes him start, as with an electric shock. Just arrived
at Cambray, he is informed that a woman who had sold a bottle of wine
below the maximum, had been released after a procès-verbal. On
reaching the Hotel-de-ville, he shouts out: "Let everybody here pass
into the Consistory!" The municipal officer on duty opens a door
leading into it. Lebon, however, not knowing who he is, takes alarm.
"He froths at the mouth," says the municipal officer, "and cries out
as if possessed by a demon. 'Stop, stop, scoundrel, you are running
off!' He draws his saber and seizes me by the collar; I am dragged and
borne along by him and his men. 'I have hold of him, I have hold of
him!' he exclaims, and, indeed, he did hold me with his teeth, legs,
and arms, like a madman. At last, 'scoundrel, monster, bastard,' says
he, 'are you a marquis?' ' No,' I replied, 'I am a sans-culotte.' 'Ah,
well people, you hear what he says,' he exclaims, 'he says that he is
a sans-culotte, and that is the way he greets a denunciation on the
maximum! I remove him. Let him be kicked in prison!'"[123] It is
certain that the King of Arras and Cambray is not far from a raging
fever; with such symptoms an ordinary individual would be sent to an

Not so vain, less fond of parading his royalty, but more savage and
placed in Nantes amidst greater dangers, Carrier, under the pressure
of more somber ideas, is much more furious and constant in his
madness. Sometimes his attacks reach hallucination. "I have seen
him," says a witness, "so carried away in the tribune, in the heat of
his harangue when trying to overrule public opinion, as to cut off the
tops of the candles with his saber," as if they were so many
aristocrats' heads.[124] Another time, at table, after having
declared that France could not feed its too numerous population, and
that it was decided to cut down the excess, all nobles, magistrates,
priests, merchants, etc., he becomes excited and exclaims, "Kill,
kill!" as if he were already engaged in the work and ordering the
operation.[125] Even when fasting, and in an ordinary condition, he
is scarcely more cooled down. When the administrators of the
department come to consult with him,[126] they gather around the door
to see if he looks enraged, and is in a condition to hear them. He
not only insults petitioners, but likewise the functionaries under him
who make reports to him, or take his orders; his foul nature rises to
his lips and overflows in the vilest terms:

"Go to hell and be damned. I have no time."[127]

They consider themselves lucky if they get off with a volley of
obscene oaths, for he generally draws his saber:

"The first bastard that mentions supplies, I will cut his head

And to the president of the military commission, who demands that
verdicts be rendered before ordering executions:

"You, you old rascal, you old bastard, you want verdicts, do you! Go
ahead! If the whole pen is not emptied in a couple of hours I will
have you and your colleagues shot!"

His gestures, his look have such a powerful effect upon the mind that
the other, who is also a "bruiser," dies of the shock a few days
after.[129] Not only does he draw his saber, but he uses it; among
the petitioners, a boatman, whom he is about to strike, runs off as
fast as he can; he draws General Moulins into the recess of a window
and gives him a cut.[130] - People "tremble" on accosting him, and yet
more in contradicting him. The envoy of the Committee of Public
Safety, Julien de la Drôme, on being brought before him, takes care to
" stand some distance off, in a corner of the room," wisely trying to
avoid the first spring; wiser still, he replies to Carrier's
exclamations with the only available argument:

"If you put me out of the way to-day, you yourself will be guillotined
within a week!"[131]

On coming to a stand before a mad dog one must aim the knife straight
at its throat; there is no other way to escape its fangs and slaver.
Accordingly, with Carrier, as with a mad dog, the brain is mastered by
the steady mechanical reverie, by persistent images of murder and
death. He exclaims to President Tronjolly, apropos of the Vendean

"The guillotine, always the guillotine!"[132]

In relation to the drownings:

"You judges must have verdicts; pitch them into the water, which is
much more simple."

Addressing the popular club of Nantes, he says:

"The rich, the merchants, are all monopolizers, all anti-
revolutionists; denounce them to me, and I will have all their heads
under the national razor. Tell me who the fanatics are that shut
their shops on Sunday and I will have them guillotined." "When will
the heads of those rascally merchants fall ? " - " I see beggars here
in rags; you are as big fools at Ancenis as at Nantes. Don't you know
that the money, the wealth of these old merchants, belongs to you, and
is not the river there?" "My brave bastards, my good sansculottes your
time is come! Denounce them to me! The evidence of two good sans-
culottes is all I want to make the heads of those old merchants
tumble! " - "We will make France a grave-yard rather than not
regenerate it in our own way."[133] - His steady howl ends in a cry of

"We shall all be guillotined, one after the other!"[134] -

Such is the mental state to which the office of representative on
mission leads. Below Carrier, who is on the extreme verge, the
others, less advanced, likewise turn pale at the lugubrious vision,
which is the inevitable effect of their work and their mandate.
Beyond every grave they dig, they catch a glimpse of the grave already
dug for them. There is nothing left for the gravedigger but to dig
mechanically day after day, and, in the meantime, make what he can out
of his place; he can at least render himself insensible by having "a
good time."

IX. Vice.

The development of vice. - Vanity and the need of gambling. - Collot
d'Herbois, Ysabeau, Tallien. - The Robbers. - Tallien, Javogues,
Rovère, Fouché. - Two sources of cruelty. - Need of demonstrating
one's power. - Saint-Just in the Pas-de-Calais department, and in
Alsace. - Collot d'Herbois at Lyons. - Pressure exercised by the
Representatives on the tribunals. - Pleasure caused by death and
suffering. - Monestier, Fouché, Collot d'Herbois, Lebon and Carrier.

Most of them follow this course, some instinctively and through
lassitude, and others because the display they make adds to their
authority. "Dragged along in Carriages with six horses, surrounded by
guards, seated at sumptuous tables set for thirty persons, eating to
the sound of music along with a Cortege of actors, courtesans and
praetorians,"[135] they impress the imagination with an idea of their
omnipotence, and people bow all the lower because they make a grand
show. - At Troyes, on the arrival of young Rousselin, cannon are
discharged as if for the entry of a prince. The entire population of
Nevers is called upon to honor the birth of Fouché's child; the civil
and military authorities pay their respects to him, and the National
Guards are under arms.[136] At Lyons, " The imposing display of
Collot d'Herbois resembles that of the Grand Turk. It requires three
successive applications to obtain an audience; nobody approaches
nearer than a distance of fifteen feet; two sentinels with muskets
stand on each side of him, with their eyes fixed on the
petitioners."[137] - Less menacing, but not less imposing, is the pomp
which surrounds the representatives at Bordeaux; to approach them,
requires "a pass from the captain of the guards,"[138] through several
squads of sentinels. One of them, Ysabeau, who, after having
guillotined to a considerable extent, has become almost tractable,
allows adulation, and, like a Duc de Richelieu coming down from
Versailles, tries to play the popular potentate, with all the luxuries
which the situation affords. At the theaters, in his presence, they
give a ballet in which shepherds form with garlands of flowers the
words "Ysabeau, Liberty, Equality." He allows his portrait to pass
from hand to hand, and condescendingly smiles on the artist who
inscribes these words at the bottom of an engraving of the day: "An
event which took place under Ysabeau, representative of the people."
"When he passes in the street people take off their hats to him, cheer
him, and shout 'Hurrah for Ysabeau! Hurrah for the savior of Bordeaux,
our friend and father!' The children of aristocrats come and
apostrophize him in this way, even at the doors of his carriage; for
he has a Carriage, and several of them, with a coachman, horses, and
the equipage of a former noble, gendarmes preceding him everywhere,
even on excursions into the country," where his new courtiers call him
"great man," and welcome him with "Asiatic magnificence." There is
good cheer at his table, "superb white bread," called
"representatives' bread," whilst the country folk of the neighborhood
live on roots, and the inhabitants of Bordeaux can scarcely obtain
more than four ounces of musty bread per day. - There is the same
feasting with the representatives at Lyons, in the midst of similar
distress. In the reports made by Collot we find a list of bottles of
brandy at four francs each, along with partridges, capons, turkeys,
chickens, pike, and crawfish, note also the white bread, the other
kind, called "equality bread," assigned to simple mortals, offends
this august palate. Add to this the requisitions made by Albitte and
Fouché, seven hundred bottles of fine wine, in one lot, another of
fifty pounds of coffee, one hundred and sixty ells of muslin, three
dozen silk handkerchiefs for cravats, three dozen pairs of gloves, and
four dozen pairs of stockings: they provide themselves with a good
stock.[139] - Among so many itinerant tyrants, the most audaciously
sensual is, I believe, Tallien, the Septembriseur at Paris and
guillotineur at Bordeaux, but still more rake and robber, caring
mostly for his palate and stomach. Son of the cook of a grand
seignior, he is doubtless swayed by family traditions: for his
government is simply a larder where, like the head-butler in "Gil
Blas," he can eat and turn the rest into money. At this moment, his
principal favorite is Teresa Cabarrus, a woman of society, or one of
the demi-monde, whom he took out of prison; he rides about the streets
with her in an open carriage, "with a courier behind and a courier in
front," sometimes wearing the red cap and holding a pike in her
hand,[140] thus exhibiting his goddess to the people. And this is the
sentiment which does him the most credit; for, when the crisis comes,
the imminent peril of his mistress arouses his courage against
Robespierre, and this pretty woman, who is good-natured, begs him, not
for murders, but for pardons.[141] - Others, as gallant as he is, but
with less taste, obtain recruits for their pleasures in a rude way,
either as fast-livers on the wing, or because fear subjects the honor
of women to their caprices, or because the public funds defray the
expenses of their guard-room habits. At Blois, for this kind of
expenditure, Guimberteau discharges his obligations by drafts on the
proceeds of the revolutionary tax.[142] Carrier, at Nantes,
appropriates to himself the house and garden of a private person for
"his seraglio"; the reader may judge whether, on desiring to be a
third party in the household, the husband would make objections. At
other times, in the hotel Henry IV., "with his friends and prostitutes
brought under requisition, he has an orgy;" he allows himself the same
indulgence on the galiot during the drownings; there at the end of a
drunken frolic, he is regaled with merry songs, for example, "la
gamelle":[143] he needs his amusements.

Some, who are shrewd, think of the more substantial and look out for
the future. Foremost among these is Tallien, the king of robbers, but
prodigal, whose pockets, full of holes, are only filled to be at once
emptied; Javogues, who makes the most of Montbrison; Rovère, who, for
eighty thousand francs in assignats, has an estate adjudged to him
worth five hundred thousand francs in coin; Fouché, who, in Nièvre,
begins to amass the twelve or fourteen millions which he secures later
on;[144] and so many others, who were either ruined or impoverished
previous to the outbreak of the Revolution, and who are rich when it
ends: Barras with his domain of Gros Bois; André Dumont, with the
Hotel de Plouy, its magnificent furniture, and an estate worth four
hundred thousand livres; Merlin de Thionville, with his country-
houses, equipages, and domain of Mont-Valérien, and other domains;
Salicetti, Reubell, Rousselin, Chateauneuf-Randon, and the rest of the
gluttonous and corrupted members of the Directory. Without mentioning
the taxes and confiscations of which they render no account, they
have, for their hoard, the ransoms offered underhandedly by "suspects"
and their families; what is more convenient?[145] And all the more,
because the Committee of General Security, even when informed, let
things take their course: to prosecute "Montagnards," would be "making
the Revolution take a step backward." One is bound to humor useful
servants who have such hard work, like that of the September killings,
to do. Irregularities, as with these September people, must be
overlooked; it is necessary to allow them a few perquisites and give
them gratuities.[146]

All this would not suffice to keep them at work if they had not been
held by an even greater attraction. - To the common run of civilized
men, the office of Septembriseur is at first disagreeable; but, after
a little practice, especially with a tyrannical nature, which, under
cover of the theory, or under the pretext of public safety, can
satiate its despotic instincts, all repugnance subsides. There is
keen delight in the exercise of absolute power; one is glad, every
hour, to assert one's omnipotence and prove it by some act, the most
conclusive of all acts being some act of destruction. The more
complete, radical and prompt the destruction is, the more conscious
one is of one's strength. However great the obstacle, one is not
disposed to recede or stand still; one breaks away all the barriers
which men call good sense, humanity, justice, and the satisfaction of
breaking them down is great. To crush and to subdue becomes
voluptuous pleasure, to which pride gives keener relish, affording a
grateful incense of the holocaust which the despot consumes on his own
altar; at this daily sacrifice, he is both idol and priest, offering
up victims to himself that he may be conscious of his divinity. -
Such is Saint-Just, all the more a despot because his title of
representative on mission is supported by his rank on the Committee of
Public Safety: to find natures strained to the same pitch as his, we
must leave the modern world and go back to a Caligula, or to a caliph
Hakem in Egypt in the tenth century.[147] He also, like these two
monsters, but with different formulae, regards himself as a God, or
God's vicegerent on earth, invested with absolute power through Truth
incarnated in him, the representative of a mysterious, limitless and
supreme power, known as the People; to worthily represent this power,
it is essential to have a soul of steel.[148] Such is the soul of
Saint-Just, and only that. All other sentiments merely serve to
harden it; all the metallic agencies that compose it - sensuality,
vanity, every vice, every species of ambition, all the frantic
outbursts and melancholy vaporings of his youth - are violently
commingled and fused together in the revolutionary mold, so that his
soul may take the form and rigidity of trenchant steel. Suppose this
an animated blade, feeling and willing in conformity with its temper
and structure; it would delight in being brandished, and would need to
strike; such is the need of Saint-Just. Taciturn, impassible, keeping
people at a distance, as imperious as if the entire will of the people
and the majesty of transcendent reason resided in his person, he seems
to have reduced his passions to the desire of dashing everything to
atoms, and to creating dismay. It may be said of him that, like the
conquering Tartars, he measures his self-attributed grandeur by what
he fells; no other has so extensively swept away fortunes, liberties
and lives; no other has so terrifically heightened the effect of his
deeds by laconic speech and the suddenness of the stroke. He orders
the arrest and close confinement of all former nobles, men and women,
in the four departments, in twenty-four hours; he orders the
bourgeoisie of Strasbourg to pay over nine millions in twenty-four
hours; ten thousand persons in Strasbourg must give up their shoes in
twenty-four hours; random and immediate discharges of musketry on the
officers of the Rhine army - such are the measures.[149] So much the
worse for the innocent; there is no time to discern who they are; "a
blind man hunting for a pin in a dust-heap takes the whole heap."[150]
- And, whatever the order, even when it cannot be executed, so much
the worse for him to whom it is given, for the captain who, directed
by the representative to establish this or that battery in a certain
time, works all night with all his forces, "with as many men as the
place will hold."[151] The battery not being ready at the hour named,
Saint-Just sends the captain to the guillotine. - The sovereign
having once given an order it cannot be countermanded; to take back
his words would be weakening himself;[152] in the service of
omnipotence, pride is insatiable, and, to mollify it, no barbaric act
is too great. - The same appetite is visible in Collot d'Herbois,
who, no longer on the stage, plays before the town the melo-dramatic
tyrant with all becoming ostentation. One morning, at Lyons, he
directs the revolutionary Tribunal to arrest, examine and sentence a
youthful "suspect" before the day is over. "Towards six o'clock,[153]
Collot being at table enjoying an orgy with prostitutes, buffoons and
executioners, eating and drinking to choice music, one of the judges
of the Tribunal enters; after the usual formalities, he is led up to
the Representative, and informs him that the young man had been
arrested and examined, and the strictest inquiries made concerning
him; he is found irreproachable and the Court decided to set him free.
Collot, without looking at the judge, raises his voice and says to

"I ordered you to punish that young man and I want him out of the way
before night. If the innocent are spared, too many of the guilty will
escape. Go."

The music and gaiety begin again, and in an hour the young man is
shot." - And so in most of the other pachalics; if any head mentally
condemned by the pacha escapes or does not fall soon enough, the
latter is indignant at the delays and forms of justice, also against
the judges and juries, often selected by himself. Javogues writes an
insulting letter to the commission of Feurs which has dared acquit two
former nobles. Laignelot, Lecarpentier, Michaud, Monestier, Lebon,
dismiss, recompose, or replace the commissions of Fontenoy, Saint-
Malo, and Perpignan, and the tribunals of Pau, Nîmes, and Arras, whose
judgments did not please them.[154] Lebon, Bernard de Saintes,
Dartigoyte and Fouché re-arrest prisoners on the same charge, solemnly
acquitted by their own tribunals. Bô, Prieur de la Marne, and Lebon,
send judges and juries to prison that do not always vote death.[155]
Barras and Fréron dispatch, from brigade to brigade, to the
revolutionary Tribunal in Paris, the public prosecutor and president
of the revolutionary Tribunal of Marseilles, for being indulgent to
anti-revolutionaries, because, out of five hundred and twenty-eight
prisoners, they guillotined only one hundred and sixty-two.[156] - To
contradict the infallible Representative! That of itself is an
offense. He owes it to himself to punish those who are not docile, to
re-arrest absolved delinquents, and to support cruelty with cruelty.

When for a long time someone has been imbibing a strong and nauseating
drink, not only does the palate get accustomed, but it often acquires
a taste for it; it soon wants to have it stronger; finally, it
swallows it pure, completely raw, with no admixture or condiment to
disguise its repulsiveness - Such, to certain imaginations, is the
spectacle of human gore; after getting accustomed to it they take
delight in seeing it. Lequinio, Laignelot and Lebon invite the
executioner to dine with them;[157] Monestier, "with his cut-throats,
is going himself in search of prisoners in the dungeons, so that he
may accompany them to the Tribunal and overwhelm them with charges, if
they are disposed to defend themselves; after their condemnation, he
attends in uniform" at their execution.[158] Fouché, lorgnette in
hand, looks out of his window upon a butchery of two hundred and ten
Lyonnese. Collot, Laporte and Fouché feast together in a large
company on the days when executions by shooting takes place, and, at
each discharge, stand up and cheer lustily, waving their hats.[159]
At Toulon, Fréron, in person, orders and sees executed, the first
grand massacre on the Champ de Mars.[160] - On the Place d'Arras, M.
de Vielfort, already tied and stretched out on the plank, awaits the
fall of the knife. Lebon appears on the balcony of the theatre, makes
a sign to the executioner to stop, opens the newspaper, and, in a loud
voice, reads off the recent successes of the French armies; then,
turning to the condemned man, exclaims: "Go, wretch, and take the news
of our victories to your brethren."[161] At Feurs, where the shootings
take place at the house of M. du Rosier, in the great avenue of the
park, his daughter, quite a young woman, advances in tears to
Javogues, and asks for the release of her husband. "Oh, yes, my
dear," replies Javogues, "you shall have him home to-morrow." In
effect, the next day, her husband is shot, and buried in the
avenue.[162] - It is evident that they get to liking the business.
Like their September predecessors, they find amusement in murdering:
people around them allude gaily to "the red theater" and "the national
razor." An aristocrat is said to be "putting his head at the national
window," and "he has put his head through the cathole."[163] They
themselves have the style and humor of their trade. "To-morrow, at
seven o'clock," writes Hugues, "let the sacred guillotine be erected!"
- "The demoiselle guillotine," writes Lecarlier, "keeps steadily
agoing."[164] - "The relatives and friends of emigrés and of
refractory priests," writes Lebon, "monopolize the guillotine. .
.[165] Day before yesterday, the sister of the former Comte de
Bethune sneezed in the sack." Carrier loudly proclaims "the pleasure
he has derived" from seeing priests executed: "I never laughed in my
life as I did at the faces they made in dying."[166] This is the
extreme perversity of human nature, that of a Domitian who watches the
features of the condemned, to see the effect of suffering, or, better
still, that of the savage who holds his sides with laughter at the
aspect of a man being impaled. And this delight of contemplating
death throes, Carrier finds it in the sufferings of children.
Notwithstanding the remonstrances of the revolutionary Tribunal and
the entreaties of President Phélippes-Tronjolly,[167] he signs on the
29th of Frimaire, year II., a positive order to guillotine without
trial twenty-seven persons, of whom seven are women, and, among these,
four sisters, Mesdemoiselles de la Metayrie, one of these twenty-eight
years old, another twenty-seven, the third twenty-six, and the fourth
seventeen. Two days before, notwithstanding the remonstrances of the
same tribunal and the entreaties of the same president, he signed a
positive order to guillotine twenty-six artisans and farm-hands, among
them two boys of fourteen, and two of thirteen years of age. He was
driven " in a cab to the place of execution and he followed it up in
detail. He could hear one of the children of thirteen, already bound
to the board, but too small and having only the top of the head under
the knife, ask the executioner, "Will it hurt me much?" What the
triangular blade fell upon may be imagined! Carrier saw this with his
own eyes, and whilst the executioner, horrified at himself, died a few
days after in consequence of what he had done, Carrier put another in
his place, began again and continued operations.

[1] Thibaudeau: "Mémoires," I., 47, 70. - Durand-Maillane,
"Mémoires," 183. - Vatel, "Charlotte Corday et les Girondins," II.,
269. Out of the seventy-six presidents of the convention eighteen
were guillotined, eight deported, twenty-two declared outlaws, six
incarcerated, three who committed suicide, and four who became insane,
in all sixty-one. All who served twice perished by a violent death.

[2] Moniteur, XVIII., 38. (Speech by Amar, reporter, Oct. 3. '793.)
"The apparently negative behavior of the minority in the convention,
since the 2nd of June, is a new plot hatched by Barbaroux."

[3] Mortimer-Ternaux, VIII., 44. Election of Collot d'Herbois as
president by one hundred and fifty-one out of two hundred and forty-
one votes, June 13, 1793.-Moniteur, XVII., 366. Election of Hérault-
Sechelles as president by one hundred and sixty-five out of two
hundred and thirty-six votes, Aug. 3, 1793.

[4] "The Revolution," vol. III., ch. I. - Mortimer-Ternaux, VII.,
435. (The three substitutes obtain, the first, nine votes, the
second, six votes, and the third, five votes.)

[5] Marcelin Boudet, "Les conventionnels d' Auvergne," 206.

[6] Le Marais or the Swamp (moderate party in the French Revolution).

[7] Dussault: " Fragment pour servir a' l'histoire de la convention."

[8] Sainte-Beuve "causeries du Lundi," V., 216. (According to the
unpublished papers of Siéyès.)

[9] Words of Michelet.

[10] Moniteur, XX., 95, 135. (Sessions of Germinal II. in the
Convention and at the Jacobin club.)

[11] Buchez et Roux, XXXII., 17. (Sessions of Ventôse 26, year II.
Speech of Robespierre.) "In what country has a powerful senate ever
sought in its own bosom for the betrayers of the common cause and
handed them over to the sword of the law? Who has ever furnished the
world with this spectacle? You, my fellow citizens."

[12] Miot de Melito, "Mémoires," I. 44. Danton, at table in the
ministry of Foreign Affairs, remarked: "The Révolution, like Saturn,
eats its own children." As to Camille Desmoulins, "His melancholy
already indicated a presentiment of his fate; the few words he allowed
to escape him always turned on questions and observations concerning
the nature of punishment, inflicted on those condemned by the
revolutionary Tribunal and the best way of preparing oneself for that
event and enduring it."

[13] Buchez et Roux, XXXIII., 363.357. (Police reports on the
deputies, Messidor 4, and following days.) - Vilate: "coups secrètes
de la Revolution du 9 et 10 Thermidor," a list designated by Barère.
- Denunciation by Lecointre. (2nd ed. p.13.)

[14] Thibaudeau, I., 47. "Just as in ordinary times one tries to
elevate oneself, so does one strive in these times of calamity to
lower oneself and be forgotten, or atone for one's inferiority by
seeking to degrade oneself."

[15] Madame Roland: "Mémoires," I., 23.

[16] Archives Nationales, F.7, 31167. This set of papers contains
five hundred and thirty-seven police reports, especially those of
Nivôse, year II. The following is a sample Report of Nivôse 25, year
II. "Being on a deputation to the convention, some colleagues took me
to dine in the old Breteuil gardens, in a large room with a nice
floor. . . . The bill-of-fare was called for, and I found that
after having eaten a ritz soup, some meat, a bottle of wine and two
potatoes, I had spent, as they told me, eight francs twelve sous,
because I am not rich. 'Foutre!' I say to them how much do the rich
pay here? . . . It is well to state that I saw some deputies come
into this large hall, also former marquises, counts and knights of the
poniard of the ancient regime . . . but I confess that I cannot
remember the true names of these former nobles . . . . for the
devil himself could not recognize those bastards, disguised like sans-

[17] Buchez et Roux, XXVIII., 237, 308. (July 5 and 14, 1793.) -
Moniteur, XIX., 716. (Ventôse 26, year II.) Danton secures the
passage of a decree "that nothing but prose shall be heard at the
bar." Nevertheless, after his execution, this sort of parade begins
again. On the 12th of Messidor, "a citizen admitted to the bar reads
a poem composed by him in honor of the success of our arms on the
Sambre." (Moniteur, XVI., 101.)

[18] Moniteur, XVIII. 369, 397, 399, 420, 455, 469, 471, 479, 488,
492, 500, etc. - Mercier, "Le Nouveau Paris," II., 96. - Dauban, "La
Demagogie en 1793," 500, 505. (Articles by Prudhomme and Diurnal by

[19] Moniteur, XVIII., 420, 399. - "Ah, le bel oiseau," was a song
chosen for its symbolic and double meaning, one pastoral and the other

[20] De Goncourt, "La Societé française pendant la Révolution," 418.
(Article from" Pêre Duchesne ".) - Dauban, ibid., 506. (Article by
Prud'homme.) "Liberty on a seat of verdure, receives the homage of
republicans, male and female, . . . and then. . . . she turns
and bestows a benevolent regard on her friends."

[21] Moniteur, XVIII., 399. Session of Brumaire 20, on motion of
Thuriot: "I move that the convention attends the temple of Reason to
sing the hymn to Liberty." - "The motion of Thuriot is decreed."

[22] Mercier, ibid., 99. (Similar scenes in the churches of St.
Eustache and St. Gervais.)

[23] Durand-Maillane, '"Mémoires," 182. - Gregoire, "Mémoires," II.,
34. On the 7th of November, 1793, in the great scene of the
abjurations, Grégoire alone resisted, declaring: "I remain a bishop; I
invoke freedom of worship." "Outcries burst forth to stifle my voice
the pitch of which I raised proportionately. . . . A demoniac
scene occurred, worthy of Milton. . . . I declare that in making
this speech I thought I was pronouncing sentence of death on myself."
For several days, emissaries were sent to him, either deputies or
bandits, to try and make him retract. On the 11th of November a
placard posted throughout Paris declared him responsible for the
continuance of fanaticism. "For about two years, I was almost the
only one in Paris who wore the ecclesiastical costume."

[24] Moniteur, XVIII., 480. (Session of Brumaire 30.) N...."I must
make known the ceremony which took place here to-day. I move that the
speeches and details of this day be inserted in full in the bulletin,
and sent to all the departments." (Another deputy): "And do not
neglect to state that the Right was never so well furnished."
(Laughter and applause.)

[25] Buchez et Roux, XXXII., 103. (Germinal 11.) - Moniteur, XX.,
124. (Germinal 15.) Decree for cutting short the defense of Danton
and his accused associates.

[26] Moniteur, XX., 226. (Germinal 26. Report by Saint-Just and
decree on the police.)- Ibid., XIX., 54. (Report by Robespierre, and
decree on the principles of revolutionary government, Nivôse 5.) -
Ibid., XX., 567, 589. Prairial 6, (Decree forbidding the imprisonment
of any Englishman or Hanoverian), and XXI., 13. (Messidor 16.)

[27] Moniteur, XX., 544. After the effort of L'Admiral against Collot
d'Herbois, the latter appears in the tribune. "The loudest applause
greets him from all sides of the house." - Ibid., XXI., 173.
(Messidor 21.) On the report of Barère who praises the conduct of
Joseph Lebon, criticizing nothing but "somewhat harsh formalities," a
decree is passed to the order of the day, which is "adopted
unanimously with great applause."

[28] Moniteur, XX., 698, 715, 716, 719. (Prairial 22 and 24.) After
the speeches of Robespierre and Couthon "Loud and renewed applause;
the plaudits begin over again and are prolonged." Couthon, having
declared that the Committee of Public Safety was ready to resign, "on
all sides there were cries of No, No."- Ibid., XXI., 268. (Thermidor
2.) Eulogy of the revolutionary government by Barère and decree of the
police "unanimously adopted amidst the loudest applause."

[29] Moniteur, XXI., 329.

[30] Lafayette, "Mémoires," IV., 330. "At last came the 9th of
Thermidor. It was not due to people of common sense. Their terror
was so great that an estimable deputy, to whom one of his colleagues
put the question, no witness being present, 'how long must we endure
this tyranny?' was upset by it to such a degree as to denounce him."

[31] Sainte-Beuve, "Causeries du Lundi," V., 209. (Siéyès'
unpublished papers.)- Moniteur, XVIII., 631, containing an example of
both the terror and style of the most eminent men, among others of
Fourcroy the celebrated chemist, then deputy, and later, Counselor of
State and Minister of Public Instruction. He is accused in the
Jacobin Club, Brumaire 18, year II., of not addressing the Convention
often enough, to which he replies: "After twenty years' devotion to
the practice of medicine I have succeeded in supporting my sans-
culotte father and my sans-culottes sisters. . . . As to the
charge made by a member that I have given most of my time to science.
. . . I have attended the Lycée des Arts but three times, and then
only for the purpose of sans-culotteising it."

[32] Michelet, (1798-1874), "Histoire de la Révolution," V., preface
XXX (3rd ed.). "When I was young and looking for a job, I was
referred to an esteemed Review, to a well-known philanthropist,
devoted to education, to the people, and to the welfare of humanity.
I found a very small man of a melancholic, mild and tame aspect. We
were in front of the fire, on which he fixed his eyes without looking
at me. He talked a long time, in a didactic, monotonous tone of
voice. I felt ill at ease and sick at heart, and got away as soon as
I could. It was this little man, I afterwards learned, who hunted
down the Girondists, and had them guillotined, and which he
accomplished at the age of twenty." - This man's name was Julien de la
Drôme. I (Taine) saw him once when quite young. He is well known;
first, through his correspondence, and next, by his mother's diary.
("Journal d'une bourgeoise pendant la Revolution," ed. Locroy.) - We
have a sketch of David ("La Demagogie à Paris en 1793," by Dauban, a
fac-simile at the beginning of the volume), representing Queen Marie
Antoinette led to execution. Madame Julien was at a window along with
David looking at the funeral convoy, whilst he made the drawing. -
Madame Julien writes in her "Journal," September 3, 1792: "To attain
this end we must will the means. No barbarous humanity! The people
are aroused, the people are avenging the crimes of the past three
years." - Her son, a sort of raw, sentimental Puritan, fond of
bloodshed, was one of Robespierre's most active agents. He remembered
what he had done, as is evident by Michelet's narrative, and cast his
eyes down, well knowing that his present philanthropy could not
annihilate past acts.

[33] Archives Nationales, AF. II., 46. Register of the Acts of the
Committee of Public Safety, vol. II., orders of August 3, 1793.

[34] On the concentration and accumulation of business, cf. Archives
Nationales, ibid., acts of Aug. 4, 5, 6, 1793; and AF. II., 23, acts
of Brumaire I and 15, year II. - On the distribution and dispatch of
business in the Committee and the hours devoted to it, see Acts of
April 6, June 13, 17, 18, Aug. 3, 1793, and Germinal 27, year II. -
After August 3, two sessions were held daily, from 8 o'clock in the
morning to 1 o'clock in the afternoon, and from 7 to 10 o'clock in the
evening; at 10 o'clock, the Executive Council met with the Committee
of Public Safety, and papers were signed about 2 or 3 o'clock in the
morning. - The files of AF. II., 23 to 42, contain an account of the
doings of the Committee, the minutes of its meetings and of its
correspondence. A perusal of these furnishes full details concerning
the initiative and responsibility of the Committee. For example,
(Nivôse 4, year II., letters to Freron and Barras, at Marseilles,)
"The Committee commend the vigorous measures you have sanctioned in
your orders at Marseilles. - Marseilles, through you, affords a great
example. Accustomed, as you are, to wielding thunderbolts, you are
best calculated for still governing it. . . How glorious, citizen
colleagues, to be able like you, after long continued labors and
immortal fame, how gratifying, under such auspices, to return to the
bosom of the National Convention! " - (AF. II., 36, Pluviôse 7, year
II., letter to the representatives on mission at Bordeaux, approving
of the orders issued by them against merchants.) "concealed behind the
obscurity of its complots, mercantilism cannot support the ardent,
invigorating atmosphere of Liberty; Sybaritic indolence quails before
Spartan virtue. " - (AF. II., 37, Pluviôse 20, letter to Prieur de
la Marne, sent to Nantes to replace Carrier.) "Carrier, perhaps, has
been badly surrounded; . ... his ways are harsh, the means he
employs are not well calculated to win respect for the national
authority; . . . he is used up in that city. He is to leave and go
elsewhere." - (AF. II., 36, Nivôse 21, letter to Fouché, Laporte, and
Albitte, at Commune-affranchie, signed by Billaud-Varennes and


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