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CHAPTER I. - Hippolyte Taine, The Origins of Contemporary France: The Modern Regime, vol. I 
The Origins of Contemporary France: The Modern Regime, vol. 1, trans. John Durand (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1890).
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I. Conditions on which the public power can act.—Two points forgotten by the authors of the preceding constitutions.—Difficulty of the undertaking and poor quality of the available materials.—II. Results.—Insubordination of the local powers, conflict of the central powers, suppression of liberal institutions, and the establishment of an unstable despotism.—Evil-doing of the government thus formed.—III. In 1799, the undertaking is more difficult and the materials worse.—IV. Motives for suppressing the election of local powers.—The Electors.—Their egoism and partiality.—The Elected.—Their inertia, corruption, and disobedience.—V. Reasons for placing the executive central power in one hand.—Sieyès’ chimerical combinations.—Bonaparte’s objections.—VI. Difficulty of organizing a legislative power.—Fraudulent and violent elections for ten years.—Spirit and diffusion of hatred against the men and dogmas of the Revolution.—Probable composition of a freely elected Assembly.—Its two irreconcilable divisions.—Sentiments of the army.—Proximity and probable meaning of a new coup d’état.—VII. The electoral and legislative combinations of Sieyès.—Bonaparte’s use of them.—Paralysis and submission of the three legislative bodies.—The Senate as a ruling instrumentality.—Senatus-consultes and Plebiscites.—Final establishment of the Dictatorship.—Its dangers and necessity.—Public power now able to do its work.
In every human society a government is necessary, or, in other words, an organization of the power of the community. No other machine is so useful. But a machine is useful only as it is adapted to its purpose; otherwise it does not work well, or it works adversely to that purpose. Hence, in its construction, the prime necessity of calculating what work it has to do, also the quality of the materials one has at one’s disposal. It is very important to know beforehand whether it will raise a mass of 1000 or of 10,000 pounds, whether the pieces fitted together will be of iron or of steel, of sound or of unsound timber.
Legislators for ten years had never taken this into consideration; they had constituted things as theorists, and likewise as optimists, without closely studying them, or else regarding them as they wished to have them. In the national assemblies, as well as with the public, the task was deemed easy and ordinary, whereas it was extraordinary and immense, for the matter in hand consisted in effecting a social revolution and in carrying on an European war. The materials were supposed to be excellent, as manageable as they were substantial, while, in fact, they were very poor, being both refractory and brittle, for these human materials consisted of the Frenchmen of 1789 and of the following years; that is to say, of exceedingly sensitive men doing each other all possible harm, inexperienced in political business, Utopians, impatient, intractable, and over-excited. Calculations had been made on these prodigiously false data; consequently, although the calculations were very exact, the results obtained were found absurd. Relying on these data, the machine had been planned, adjusted, superposed, and set in operation. Hence, although irreproachable in theory, it turned out practically a failure; the more imposing it seemed on paper the quicker it broke down when set up on the ground.
A capital defect at once declared itself in the two principal combinations, in the working gear of the superposed powers and in the balance of the motor powers.—In the first place, the hold given to the central government on its local subordinates was evidently too feeble; with no right to appoint these, it could not select them as it pleased, according to the requirements of the service. Department, district, canton, and commune administrators, civil and criminal judges, assessors, appraisers, and collectors of taxes, officers of the national-guard and even of the gendarmerie, police-commissioners, and other agents who had to enforce laws on the spot, were nearly all recruited elsewhere, either in popular assemblies or furnished ready-made by elected bodies.1 They were for it merely borrowed instruments; thus originating, they escaped its control; it could not make them work as it wanted them to work. On most occasions they would shirk their duties; at other times, on receiving orders, they would stand inert; or, again, they would act outside of or beyond their special function, either going too far or acting in a contrary sense; never did they act with moderation and strictness, steadily, and with unanimity. For this reason any desire of the government to do its work faithfully proved unsuccessful. Its legal subordinates—incapable, timid, lukewarm, unmanageable, or even hostile—obeyed badly, did not obey at all, or wilfully disobeyed. The blade of the executive instrument, loose in the handle, glanced or broke off when the thrust had to be made.
In the second place, never could the two or three motor forces thrusting the handle act in harmony, owing to the clashing of so many of them; one always ended in breaking down the other. The Constituent Assembly had set aside the King, the Legislative Assembly had deposed him, the Convention had decapitated him. Afterward each fraction of the sovereign body in the Convention had proscribed the other; the Montagnards had guillotined the Girondists, and the Thermidorians had guillotined the Montagnards. Later, under the Constitution of the year iii, the Fructidorians had transported the Constitutionalists, the Directory had purged the Councils, and the Councils had purged the Directory.—Not only did the democratic and parliamentary institution fail in its work and break down on trial, but, again, through its own action, it became transformed into its opposite. In a year or two a coup d’état in Paris took place; a faction seized on the central power and converted it into an absolute power in the hands of five or six ringleaders. The new government at once reforged the executive instrument for its own advantage and refastened the blade firmly on the handle; in the provinces it dismissed those elected by the people and deprived the governed of the right to choose their own rulers; henceforth, through its proconsuls on mission, or through its resident commissioners, it alone appointed, superintended, and regulated on the spot all local authorities.1
Thus the liberal constitution, at its close, gave birth to a centralized despotism, and this was the worst of its species, at once formless and monstrous; for it was born out of a civil crime, while the government which used it had no support but a band of bigoted fanatics or political adventurers; without any legal authority over the nation, or any moral hold on the army, detested, threatened, discordant, exposed to the resistance of its own upholders, to the treachery of its own members, and living only from day to day, it could maintain itself only through a brutal absolutism and permanent terror, while the public power of which the first care is the protection of property, consciences, and lives, became in its hands the worst of persecutors, robbers, and murderers.
Twice in succession had the experiment been tried, the monarchical constitution of 1791, and the republican constitution of 1795; twice in succession had the same events followed the same course to attain the same end; twice in succession had the theoretical, cunningly-devised machine for universal protection changed into an efficient and brutal machine for universal oppression. It is evident that if the same machine were started the third time under analogous conditions, one might expect to see it work in the same manner; that is to say, contrary to its purpose.
Now, in 1799, the conditions were analogous, and even worse, for the work which the machine had to do was not less, while the human materials available for its construction were not so good.—Externally, the country was constantly at war with Europe; peace could not be secured except by great military effort, and peace was as difficult to preserve as to win. The European equilibrium had been too greatly disturbed; neighboring or rival States had suffered too much; the rancor and distrust provoked by the invading revolutionary republic were too active; these would have lasted a long time against pacified France even after she had concluded reasonable treaties. Although she might abandon a policy of propagandism and interference, brilliant acquisitions, domineering protectorates, and the disguised annexation of Italy, Holland, and Switzerland, the nation was bound to keep watch under arms; a government able to concentrate all its forces—that is to say, placed above and beyond all dispute and promptly obeyed—was indispensable, if only to remain intact and complete, to keep Belgium and the frontier of the Rhine.—Likewise internally, and for no other purpose than to restore civil order; for here, too, the outrages of the Revolution had been too great; there had been too much spoliation, too many imprisonments, exiles, and murders, too many violations of every kind, too many invasions of the rights of property and of persons, public and private. To insure respect for persons and all private and public possessions, to restrain at once both Royalists and Jacobins, to restore 140,000 émigrés to their country and yet satisfy 1,200,000 possessors of national property; to give back to 25,000,000 of orthodox Catholics the right, faculty, and means for worshipping, and yet not allow the schismatic clergy to be maltreated; to bring face to face in the same commune the dispossessed seigneur and the peasant holders of his domain; to compel the delegates of the Committee of Public Safety and their victims, the shooters and the shot of Vendémiaire, the Fructidorians and the Fructidorized, the Whites and the Blues of La Vendée and Brittany, to live in peace side by side,—was so much the less easy because the future laborers in this immense work, from the village mayor to the state-senator and state-councillor, had borne a part in the Revolution, either in effecting it or under subjection to it—Monarchists, Feuillantists, Girondists, Montagnards, Thermidorians, moderate Jacobins or desperate Jacobins, all oppressed in turn and disappointed in their calculations. Their passions, under this régime, had become embittered; each brought personal bias and resentment into the performance of his duties; to prevent him from being unjust and mischievous demanded a tightened curb.1 All sense of conviction, under this régime, had died out; nobody would serve gratis as in 1789;2 nobody would work without pay; disinterestedness had lost all charm; ostentatious zeal seemed hypocrisy; genuine zeal seemed self-dupery; each looked out for himself and not for the community; public spirit had yielded to indifference, to egotism, and to the need of security, of enjoyment, and of self-advancement. Human materials, deteriorated by the Revolution, were less than ever suited to providing citizens—they simply afforded functionaries. With such wheels combined together according to formulæ current between 1791 and 1795, the requisite work could not possibly be done; both the great liberal mechanisms were definitely and for a long time condemned as worthless. So long as such poor wheels lasted and such heavy work was imperative, the election of local powers and the division of the central power had to be abandoned.
All were agreed on the first point. If any still doubted, they had only to open their eyes, fix them on the local authorities, watch them as soon as born, and follow them throughout the exercise of their functions.—Naturally, in filling each office, the electors had chosen a man of their own species and calibre; their fixed and dominant disposition was accordingly well known; they were indifferent to public matters and therefore their candidate was as indifferent as themselves. Too great zeal for the State would have prevented his election; the State to them was a troublesome moralist and remote creditor; their candidate must choose between them and this interloper, side with them against it, and not act as a pedagogue in its name or as bailiff in its behalf. When power is born on the spot and conferred to-day by constituents who are to submit to it to-morrow as subordinates, they do not put the whip in the hands of one who will flog them; they demand sentiments of him in conformity with their inclinations; in any event they will not tolerate in him the opposite ones. From the beginning, this resemblance between them and him is great, and it goes on increasing from day to day because the creature is always in the hands of his creators; subject to their daily pressure, he at last becomes as they are; after a certain period they have shaped him in their image.—Thus the candidate-elect, from the start or very soon after, became a confederate with his electors. At one time, and this occurred frequently, especially in the towns, he had been elected by a violent sectarian minority; he then subordinated general interests to the interests of a clique. At another, and especially in the rural districts, he had been elected by an ignorant and brutal majority, when he accordingly subordinated general interests to those of a village.—If he chanced to be conscientious and somewhat intelligent and was anxious to do his duty, he could not; he felt himself weak and was felt to be weak;1 both authority and the means for exercising it were wanting in him. He had not the force which a power above communicates to its delegates below; nobody saw behind him the government and the army; his only resource was a national-guard, which either shirked or refused to do its duty, and which often did not exist at all.—On the contrary, he could prevaricate, pillage, and persecute for his own advantage and that of his clique with impunity; for there was no restraint on him from above; the Paris Jacobins would not be disposed to alienate the Jacobins of the province; they were partisans and allies, and the government had few others, it was bound to retain them, to let them intrigue and embezzle at will.
Suppose an extensive domain of which the steward is appointed, not by the absent owner, but by his tenants, debtors, farmers, and dependents: the reader may imagine whether rents will be paid and debts collected, whether road-taxes will be worked out, what care will be taken of the property, what its annual income will be to the owner, how abuses of commission and omission will be multiplied indefinitely, how great the disorder will be, the neglect, the waste, the fraud, the injustice, and the license.—The same in France,1 and for the same reason: every public service disorganized, destroyed, or perverted; no justice, no police; authorities abstaining from prosecution, magistrates not daring to condemn; a gendarmerie which receives no orders or which stands still; rural marauding become a habit; roving bands of brigands in forty-five departments; mail wagons and coaches stopped and pillaged even up to the environs of Paris; highways broken up and rendered impassable; open smuggling, customs yielding nothing, national forests devastated, the public treasury empty,1 its revenues intercepted and expended before being deposited; taxes decreed and not collected, arbitrary assessments of real and personal estate, no less wicked exemptions than overcharges, no tax-lists made out in many places, communes which here and there, under pretext of defending the republic against neighboring consumers, exempt themselves from both tax and conscription; conscripts to whom their mayor gives false certificates of infirmity and marriage, who do not turn out when ordered out, who desert by hundreds on the way to headquarters, who form mobs and use guns in defending themselves against the troops,—such were the fruits of the system. The government, with agents provided through the egotism and folly of rural majorities, could not constrain rural majorities. With agents furnished through the partiality and corruption of urban minorities it could not repress urban minorities. Hands are necessary, and hands as firm as tenacious, to seize conscripts by the collar, to rummage the pockets of taxpayers, and the State had no hands. These must be procured and immediately, if only to prepare and provide for urgent needs. If the western departments had to be subdued and tranquilized, relief furnished to Massena besieged in Genoa, Mélas prevented from invading Provence, Moreau’s army transported over the Rhine, the first thing was to restore to the central government the appointment of local authorities.
On this second point, the evidence was scarcely less.—And clearly, the moment the local powers owed their appointment to the central powers, it is plain that the central executive power, on which they depend, should be unique. For, this great team of functionaries, driven from aloft, could not have aloft several distinct drivers, being several and distinct, the drivers would each pull his own way, while the horses, pulling in opposite directions, would do nothing but prance. In this respect the combinations of Sieyès do not bear examination. A mere theorist and charged with preparing the plan of a new constitution, he had reasoned as if the drivers on the box were not men, but automatons: perched above all, a grand-elector, a show sovereign, with two places to dispose of and always passive, except to appoint or revoke two active sovereigns, the two governing consuls; one, a peace-consul, appointing all civil officers, and the other a war-consul, making all military and diplomatic appointments; each with his own ministers, his own council of state, his own court of judicature; all these functionaries, ministers, consuls, and the grand-elector himself, revocable at the will of a senate which from day to day could absorb them, that is to say, make them senators with a salary of 30,000 francs and an embroidered dress-coat.1 Sieyès evidently had not taken into account either the work to be done or the men who would have to do it, while Bonaparte, who was doing the work at this very time, who understood men and who understood himself, at once put his finger on the weak spot of this complex mechanism, so badly adjusted and so frail. Two consuls, “one controlling the ministers of justice, of the interior, of the police, of the treasury, and the other the ministers of war, of the navy, and of foreign affairs.”2 The conflict between them is certain; look at them facing each other, subject to contrary influences and suggestions: around the former “only judges, administrators, financiers, and men in long robes,” and round the latter “only epaulets and men of the sword.” Certainly “one will need money and recruits for his army which the other will not grant.”—And it is not your grand-elector who will make them agree. “If he conforms strictly to the functions which you assign to him he will be the mere ghost, the fleshless phantom of a roi fainéant. Do you know any man vile enough to take part in such contrivances? How can you imagine any man of talent or at all honorable contentedly playing the part of a hog fattening himself on a few millions?”—And all the more because if he wants to abandon his part the door stands open. “Were I the grand-elector I would say to the war-consul and to the peace-consul on appointing them, If you put in a minister or sign a bill I don’t like I’ll put you out.” Thus does the grand-elector become an active, absolute monarch.
“But,” you may say, “the senate in its turn will absorb the grand-elector.”—“The remedy is worse than the disease; nobody, according to this plan, has any guarantees,” and each, therefore, will try to secure them to himself, the grand-elector against the senate, the consuls against the grand-elector, and the senate against the grand-elector and consuls combined, each uneasy, alarmed, threatened, threatening, and usurping to protect himself; these are the wheels which work the wrong way, in a machine constantly getting out of order, stopping, and finally breaking down entirely.
Thereupon, and as Bonaparte, moreover, was already master, all the executive powers were reduced to one, and this power was vested in him.1 In reality, “to humor republican opinion”2 they gave him two associates with the same title as his own; but they were appointed only for show, simply as consulting, inferior, and docile registrars, with no rights save that of signing their names after his and putting their signatures to the procès verbal declaring his orders; he alone commanded, “he alone had the say, he alone appointed to all offices,” so that they were already subjects as he alone was already the sovereign.
It remained to frame a legislative power as a counterpoise to this executive power, so concentrated and so strong.—In organized and tolerably sound communities this point is reached through an elective parliament which represents the public will; it represents this because it is a copy, a faithful reduction of that will on a small scale; it is so organized as to present a loyal and proportionate expression of diverse controlling opinions. In this case, the electoral selection has worked well; one superior right, that of election, has been respected, or, in other words, the passions excited have not proved too strong, which is owing to the most important interests not having proved too divergent.—Unfortunately, in France, rent asunder and discordant, all the most important interests were in sharp antagonism; the passions brought into play, consequently, were furious; no right was respected, and least of all that of election; hence the electoral test worked badly, and no elected parliament was or could be a veritable expression of the public will. Since 1791, the elections, violated and deserted, had brought intruders only to the legislative benches, under the name of mandatories. These were endured for lack of better; but nobody had any confidence in them, and nobody showed them any deference. People knew how they had been elected and how little their title was worth. Through inertness, fear, or disgust, the great majority of electors had not voted, while the voters at the polls fought among themselves, the strongest or least scrupulous expelling or constraining the rest. During the last three years of the Directory the electoral assembly was often divided; each faction elected its own deputy and protested against the election of the other. The government then chose between the two candidates elected, arbitrarily and always with barefaced partiality; and again, if but one candidate was elected, and that one an adversary, his election was invalidated. In sum, for nine years, the legislative body, imposed on the nation by a faction, was scarcely more legitimate than the executive power, another usurper, and which, later on, filled up or purged its ranks. Any remedy for this defect in the electoral machine was impossible; it was due to its internal structure, to the very quality of its materials. At this date, even under an impartial and strong government, the machine could not have answered its purpose, that of deriving from the nation a body of sober-minded and respected delegates, providing France with a parliament capable of playing its own part, or any part whatever, in the conduct of public business.
For, suppose that the new governors show uncommon loyalty, energy, and vigilance, remarkable political abnegation and administrative omnipresence, factions kept down without suppression of discussion, the central powers neutral yet active, no official candidature, no pressure from above, no constraint from below, police-commissioners respectful and gendarmes protecting the entrance to every electoral assembly, all proceedings regular, no disturbance inside, voting perfectly free, the electors numerous, five or six millions of Frenchmen gathered at the polls, and see what choice they will make. After Fructidor, there is a renewal of religious persecution and of excessive civil oppression; the brutality and unworthiness of the rulers have doubled and diffused hatred against the men and the ideas of the Revolution.—In Belgium, recently annexed, the regular and secular clergy had just been proscribed in a mass,1 and a great rural insurrection had broken out. The uprisal had spread from the Waes country and the ancient seignory of Malines, around Louvain as far as Tirlemont, and afterward to Brussels, to Campine, to South Brabant, to Flanders, to Luxembourg, in the Ardennes, and even to the frontiers of Liège; many villages had to be burned, and many of their inhabitants killed, and the survivors keep this in mind. In the twelve western departments,1 at the beginning of the year 1800, the royalists were masters of nearly the whole country and had control of forty thousand armed men in regimental order; undoubtedly these were to be overcome and disarmed, but they were not to be deprived of their opinions, as of their guns.—In the month of August, 1799,2 sixteen thousand insurgents in Haute Garonne and the six neighboring departments, led by Count de Paulo, had unfurled the white flag; one of the cantons, Cadours, “had risen almost entirely;” a certain town, Muret, sent all its able-bodied men. They had penetrated even to the faubourgs of Toulouse, and several engagements, including a pitched battle, were necessary to subdue them. On one occasion, at Montréjean, 2000 were slain or drowned. The peasants fought with fury, “a fury that bordered on frenzy;” “some were heard to exclaim with their last breath, ‘Vive le Roi!’ and others were cut to pieces rather than shout, ‘Vive la République!’ ” From Marseilles to Lyons the revolt lasted five years on both banks of the Rhone, under the form of brigandage; the royalist bands, increased by refractory conscripts and favored by the inhabitants whom they spared, killed or pillaged the agents of the republic and the buyers of national possessions.1 There were thus, in more than thirty departments, intermittent and scattered Vendées. In all the Catholic departments there was a latent Vendée. Had the elections been free during this state of exasperation it is probable that one-half of France would have voted for men of the ancient régime—Catholics, Royalists, or, at least, the Monarchists of 1790.
Let the reader imagine facing this party, in the same chamber, about an equal number of representatives elected by the other party; the only ones it could select, its notables, that is to say, the survivors of preceding assemblies, probably Constitutionalists of the year iv and the year v, Conventionalists of the Plain and of the Feuillants of 1792, from Lafayette and Dumolard to Daunou, Thibaudeau and Grégoire, among them Girondists and a few Montagnards, Barère,2 with others, all of them wedded to the theory the same as their adversaries to traditions. To one who is familiar with the two groups, behold two inimical doctrines confronting each other; two irreconcilable systems of opinions and passions, two contradictory modes of conceiving sovereignty, law, society, the State, property, religion, the Church, the ancient régime, the Revolution, the present and the past; it is civil war transferred from the nation to the parliament. Certainly the “Right” would like to see the First Consul a Monk, which would lead to his becoming a Cromwell; for his power depends entirely on his credit with the army, then the sovereign force; at this date the army is still republican, at least in feeling if not intelligently, imbued with Jacobin prejudices, attached to revolutionary interests, and hence blindly hostile to aristocrats, kings, and priests.1 At the first threat of a monarchical and Catholic restoration it will demand of him an eighteenth Fructidor; otherwise, some Jacobin general, Jourdan, Bernadotto, or Augereau, will make one without him, against him, and they fall back into the rut from which they wished to escape, into the fatal circle of revolutions and coups d’état.
Sieyès comprehended this: he detects on the horizon the two spectres which, for ten years, have haunted all the governments of France, legal anarchy and unstable despotism; he has found a magic formula with which to exorcise these two phantoms; henceforth “power is to come from above and confidence from below.”2 —Consequently, the new constitutional act withdraws from the nation the right to elect its deputies; it will simply elect candidates to the deputation and through three degrees of election, one above the other; thus, it is to take part in the choice of its candidates only through “an illusory and metaphysical participation.”3 The right of the electors of the first degree is wholly reduced to designating one-tenth among themselves; the right of those of the second degree is also reduced to designating one-tenth among themselves; the right of those of the third degree is finally reduced to designating one-tenth of their number, about six thousand candidates. On this list, the government itself, by right and by way of increasing the number, inscribes its own high functionaries; evidently, on such a long list, it will have no difficulty in finding men devoted to it, its creatures. Through another excess of precaution, the government, on its sole authority, in the absence of any list, alone names the first legislature. Last of all, it is careful to attach handsome salaries to these legislative offices, 10,000f., 15,000f., and 30,000f. a year; parties canvass with it for these places the very first day, the future depositaries of legislative power being, to begin with, solicitors of the antechamber.—To render their docility complete, there is a dismemberment of this legislative power in advance; it is divided among three bodies, born feeble and passive by institution. Neither of these has any initiative; their deliberations are confined to laws proposed by the government. Each possesses only a fragment of function; the “Tribunat” discusses without passing laws, the “Corps Législatif” decrees without discussion, the conservative “Sénat” is to maintain this general paralysis. “What do you want?” said Bonaparte to Lafayette.1 “Sieyès everywhere put nothing but phantoms, the phantom of a legislative power, the phantom of a judiciary, the phantom of a government. Something substantial had to be put in their place. Ma foi, I put it there,” in the executive power.
There it is, completely in his hands; other authorities to him are merely for show or as instruments.2 The mutes of the Corps Législatif come annually to Paris to keep silent for four months; one day he will forget to convoke them, and nobody will remark their absence.—As to the Tribunat, which talks too much, he will at first reduce its words to a minimum “by putting it on the diet of laws;” afterward, through the interposition of the senate, which designates retiring members, he gets rid of troublesome babblers; finally, and always through the interposition of the senate, titular interpreter, guardian, and reformer of the constitution, he ventilates and then suppresses the Tribunat itself.—The senate is the grand instrument by which he reigns; he commands it to furnish the senatus-consultes of which he has need. Through this comedy played by him above, and through another complementary comedy which he plays below, the plébiscite, he transforms his ten-year consulate into a consulate for life, and then into an empire, that is to say, into a permanent, legal, full, and perfect dictatorship. In this way the nation is handed over to the absolutism of a man who, being a man, cannot fail to think of his own interest before all others. It remains to be seen how far and for how long a time this interest, as he comprehends it, or imagines it, will accord with the interest of the public. All the better for France should this accord prove complete and permanent; all the worse for France should it prove partial and temporary. It is a terrible risk, but inevitable. There is no escape from anarchy except through despotism, with the chance of encountering in one man, at first a savior and then a destroyer, with the certainty of henceforth belonging to an unknown will fashioned by genius and good sense, or by imagination and egoism, in a soul fiery and disturbed by the temptations of absolute power, by success and universal adulation, in a despot responsible to no one but himself, in a conqueror condemned by the impulses of conquest to regard himself and the world under a light growing falser and falser.
Such are the bitter fruits of social dissolution. Public force perishes or becomes perverted; each uses it for his own purposes, and nobody is disposed to intrust it to a third party. The usurpers who possess themselves of it remain its depositaries only on condition that they may abuse it; when it works in their hands it is only to work against its office. The risk must be taken for better or for worse, when, through a final usurpation, it falls into the only hands able to restore it, organize it, and apply it at last to the service of the public.
“The Revolution,” p. 193 and following pages, also p. 224 and following pages. The provisions of the constitution of the year iii, somewhat less anarchical, are analogous; those of the “Mountain” constitution (year ii) are so anarchical that nobody thought of enforcing them.
“The Revolution,” vol. iii., pp. 446, 450, 476.
Sauzay, “Histoire de la persécution révolutionnaire dans le département du Doubs,” x., 472 (Speech of Briot to the five-hundred, Aug. 29, 1799): “The country seeks in vain for its children; it finds the chouans, the Jacobins, the moderates, and the constitutionalists of ’91 and ’93, clubbists, the amnestied, fanatics, scissionists and anti-scissionists; in vain does it call for republicans.”
“The Revolution,” iii., 427, 474.—Rocquain, “L’état de la France au 18 Brumaire,” 360, 362: “Inertia or absence of the national agents . . . . It would be painful to think that a lack of salary was one of the causes of the difficulty in establishing municipal administrations. In 1790, 1791, and 1792, we found our fellow-citizens emulously striving after these gratuitous offices and even proud of the disinterestedness which the law prescribed.” (Report of the Directory, end of 1795.) After this date public spirit is extinguished, stifled by the Reign of Terror.—Ibid., 368, 369: “Deplorable indifference for public offices . . . . Out of seven town officials appointed in the commune of Laval, only one accepted, and that one the least capable. It is the same in the other communes.”—Ibid., 380 (Report of the year vii): “General decline of public spirit.”—Ibid., 287 (Report by Lacuée, on the 1st military division, Aisne, Eure-et-Loire, Loiret, Oise, Seine, Seine-et-Marne, (year ix): “Public spirit is dying out and is even gone.”
Rocquain, Ibid., p. 27 (Report of François de Nantes, on the 8th military division, Vaucluse, Bouches-du-Rhone, Var, Basses-Alpes, and Alpes-Maratimes, year ix): “Witnesses, in some communes, did not dare furnish testimony, and, in all, the justices of the peace were afraid of making enemies and of not being re-elected. It was the same with the town officials charged with prosecutions and whom their quality as elected and temporary officials always rendered timid.”—Ibid., 48: “All the customs directors complained of the partiality of the courts. I have myself examined several cases in which the courts of Marseilles and Toulon decided against the plain text of the law and with criminal partiality.—Archives nationales, series F7, Reports “on the situation, on the spirit of the public,” in many hundreds of towns, cantons, and departments, from the year iii to the year viii and after.
Cf. “The Revolution,” iii., book ix., ch. 1.—Rocquain, passim.—Schmidt, “Tableaux de la Révolution française,” iii., parts 9 and 10.—Archives nationales, F7, 3250 (Letter of the commissioner of the executive directory, Fructidor 23, year vii): “Armed mobs on the road between Saint-Omer and Arras have dared fire on the diligences and rescue from the gendarmerie the drawn conscripts.”—Ibid., F7, 6565. Only on Seine-inférieure, of which the following are some of the reports of the gendarmerie for one year.—Messidor, year vii, seditious mobs of conscripts and others in the cantons of Motteville and Doudeville. “What shows the perverted spirit of the communes of Gremonville and of Héronville is that none of the inhabitants will make any declaration, while it is impossible that they should not have been in the rebels’ secrets.”—Similar mobs in the communes of Guerville. Millebose, and in the forest of Eu: “It is stated that they have leaders, and that drilling goes on under their orders.”—(Vendémiarie 27, year viii.) “Twenty-five armed brigands or drafted men in the cantons of Réauté and Bolbec have put cultivators to ransom.”—(Nivôse 12, year viii.) In the canton of Cuny another band of brigands do the same thing.—(Germinal 14, year viii.) Twelve brigands stop the diligence between Neufchâtel and Rouen; a few days after, the diligence between Rouen and Paris is stopped and three of the escort are killed.—Analogous scenes and mobs in the other departments.
“Mémoires” (unpublished) of M. X——, i., 260. Under the Directory, “one-day, in order to despatch a special courier, the receipts of the Opera had to be taken because they were in coin. Another day, it was on the point of sending every gold piece in the musée of medals to be melted down (worth in the crucible from 5000 to 6000 francs).”
“Théorie constitutionnelle de Sieyès.” (Extract from unpublished memoirs by Boulay de la Meurthe.) Paris, 1866, Renouard.
“Correspondance de Napoléon Ier” xxx., 345. (“Mémoires.”)—“Mémorial de Sainte-Hélène.
“Extrait des Mémoires” de Boulay de la Meurthe, p. 50. (Words of Bonaparte to Rœderer about Sieyès, who raised objections and wanted to retire.) “If Sieyès goes into the country, draw up for me at once the plan of a constitution. I will summon the primary assemblies in a week and make them accept it after discharging the (Constituant) committees.”
“Correspondance de Napoléon Ier” xxx., 345, 346. (“Mémoires.”) “Circumstances were such as to still make it necessary to disguise the unique magistracy of the president.”
“The Revolution,” iii., 458, 417.—“Mercure britannique,” nos. for November 1798 and January 1799. (Letters from Belgium.)—“More than 300 millions have been seized by force in these desolated provinces; there is not a landowner whose fortune has not been ruined, or sequestrated, or fatally sapped by forced levies and the flood of taxes which followed these, by robberies of movable property and the bankruptcy due to France having discredited claims on the emperor and on the governments, in short through confiscation.”—The insurrection breaks out, as in Vendée, on account of the conscription; the war-cry of the insurgents is, “Better die here than elsewhere.”
De Martel, “Les Historiens fantaisistes,” part 2 (on the Pacification of the West, according to reports of the royalist leaders and of the republican generals).
Archives nationales, F7, 3218. (Summary of despatches arranged according to dates.—Letters of Adjutant-General Vicose, Fructidor 3, year vii.—Letters of Lamagdelaine, commissioner of the executive Directory, Thermidor 26 and Fructidor 3, year vii.)—“The rascals who led the people astray had promised them, in the King’s name, that they should not be called on for further taxes, that the conscripts and requisitionnaires should not leave, and, finally, that they should have the priests they wanted.”—Near Montréjean “the carnage was frightful, nearly 2000 men slain or drowned and 1000 prisoners.”—(Letter of M. Alquier to the first consul, Pluviôse 18, year viii.) “The insurrection of Thermidor caused the loss of 3000 cultivators.”—(Letters of the department administrators and of the government commissioners, Nivôse 25 and 27, Pluviôse 13, 15, 25, 27, and 30, year viii.)—The insurrection is prolonged through a vast number of isolated outrages, with sabres or guns, against republican functionaries and partisans, justices of the peace, mayors, etc. In the commune of Balbèze, fifty conscripts, armed deserters with their knapsacks, impose requisitions, give balls on Sunday, and make patriots give up their arms. Elsewhere, this or that known patriot is assaulted in his house by a band of ten or a dozen young folks who make him pay a ransom, shout “Vive le Roi!” etc.—Cf. “Histoire de l’insurrection royaliste de l’an vii,” by B. Lavigne, 1887.
Archives nationales, F7, 3273 (Letter of the commissioner of the executive Directory, Vaucluse, Fructidor 6, year vii.): “Eighty armed royalists have carried off, near the forest of Suze, the cash-box of the collector, Bouchet, in the name of Louis XVIII. These rascals, it must be noted, did not take any of the money belonging to the collector himself.”—(Ibid., Thermidor 3, year vii.) “On looking around among our communes I find all of them under the control of royalist or town-councillors. That is the spirit of the peasants generally. . . . Public spirit it so perverted, so opposed to the constitutional régime, that a miracle only will bring them within the pale of freedom.”—Ibid., F7, 3199. (Similar documents on the department of Bouches-du-Rhone.) Outrages continue here far down into the consulate, in spite of the vigor and multitude of military executions.—(Letter of the sub-prefect of Tarascon, Germinal 15, year ix.) “In the commune of Eyragues, yesterday, at eight o’clock, a band of masked brigands surrounded the mayor’s house, while some of them entered it and shot this public functionary without anybody daring to render him any assistance. . . . Three-quarters of the inhabitants of Eyragues are royalists.”—In series F7, 7152 and those following may be found an enumeration of political crimes classified by department and by the month, especially for Messidor, year vii.
Barère, representative of Hautes Pyrénées, had preserved a good deal of credit in this remote department, especially in the district of Argèles, with populations which knew nothing about the “Mountain.” In 1805, the electors presented him as a candidate for the legislative body and the senate; in 1815, they elected him deputy.
“Mémoires” (unpublished) of M. X——, i., 366. At the time the Concordat was under consideration the aversion to “priest rule” was very great in the army; there were secret meetings held against it. Many of the superior officers took part in them, and even some of the leading generals. Moreau was aware of them although he did not attend them. In one of these gatherings, things were carried far enough to resolve upon the assassination of the first consul. A certain Donnadieu, then of a low rank in the army, offered to strike the blow. General Oudinot, who was present, informed Davoust, and Donnadieu, imprisoned in the Temple, made revelations. Measures were at once taken to scatter the conspirators, who were all sent away more or less farther off; some were arrested and others exiled, among them General Mounier, who had commanded one of Desaix’s brigades at Marengo. General Lecourbe was also one of the conspirators.
“Extrait des Mémoires de Boulay de la Meurthe,” p. 10.
Napoleon’s words. (“Correspondance,” xxx., 343, memoirs dictated at Saint Helena.)
Lafayette, “Mémoires,” ii., 192.
Pelet de la Lozère, “Opinions de Napoléon au conseil d’état,” p. 63: “The senate is mistaken if it thinks it possesses a national and representative chamber. It is merely a constituted authority emanating from the government like the others.” (1804.)—Ibid., p. 147: “It must not be in the power of a legislative body to impede government by refusing taxes; once the taxes are established they should be levied by simple decrees. The court of cassation regards my decrees as laws; otherwise, there would be no government.” (January 9, 1808.)—Ibid., p. 149: “If I ever had any fear of the senate I had only to put fifty young state-councillors into it.” (December 1, 1803.)—Ibid., p. 150: “If an opposition should spring up in the legislative corps I would fall back on the senate to prorogue, change it, or break it up.” (March 29, 1806.)—Ibid., p. 151: “Sixty legislators go out every year which one does not know what to do with; those who do not get places go and grumble in the departments. I should like to have old land-owners married, in a certain sense, to the state through their family or profession, attached by some tie to the commonwealth. Such men would come to Paris annually, converse with the emperor in his own circle, and be contented with this little bit of vanity relieving the monotony of their existence.” (Same date.)—Cf. Thibaudeau, “Mémoires sur le Consulat,” ch. xiii., and M. de Metternich, “Mémoires,” i., 120 (Words of Napoleon at Dresden, in the spring of 1812): “I shall give the senate and the council of state a new organization. The former will take the place of the upper chamber, the latter that of the chamber of deputies. I shall continue to appoint the senators; I shall have the state councillors elected one-third at a time on triple lists; the rest I will appoint. Here will the budget be prepared and the laws elaborated.”—We see the corps législatif, docile as it is, still worrying him, and very justly; he foresaw the session of 1813.