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CHAPTER VIII - Hippolyte Taine, The French Revolution, vol. 2 
The French Revolution, 3 vols., trans. John Durand, (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002). Vol. 2.
Part of: The French Revolution, 3 vols.
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I.Indignation of the Constitutionalists—Cause of their weakness—The Girondists renew the attack—Their double plan—II.Pressure on the King—Pétion and Manuel brought to the Hôtel-de-Ville—The Ministry obliged to resign—Jacobin agitation against the King—Pressure on the Assembly—Petition of the Paris Commune—Threats of the petitioners and of the galleries—Session of August 8th—Girondist strategy foiled in two ways—III.The Girondists work for the benefit of the Jacobins—The armed force sent away or disorganized—The Federates summoned—Brest and Marseilles send men—Public sessions of administrative bodies—Permanence of administrative bodies and of the sections—Effect of these two measures—The central bureau of the Hôtel-de-Ville—Origin and formation of the revolutionary Commune—IV.Vain attempts of the Girondists to put it down—Jacobin alarm, their enthusiasm, and their programme—V.Evening of August 8—Session of August 9—Morning of August 10—The Assembly purged—VI.Nights of August 9 and 10—The sections—Commissioners of the sections at the Hôtel-de-Ville—The revolutionary Commune is substituted for the legal Commune—VII.August 10—The King’s forces—Resistance abandoned—The King in the National Assembly—Conflict at the palace and discharge of the Swiss Guard—The palace evacuated by the King’s order—The massacres—The enslaved Assembly and its decrees—VIII.State of Paris in the interregnum—The mass of the population—Subaltern Jacobins—The Jacobin leaders.
The blow having missed its mark it must be repeated. This is the more urgent, inasmuch as the faction has thrown off the mask and “honest people”1 on all sides become indignant at seeing the Constitution subject to the arbitrament of the lowest class. Nearly all the higher administrative bodies, seventy-five of the department directories,2 give in their adhesion to Lafayette’s letter, or respond by supporting the proclamation, so noble and so moderate, in which the King, recounting the violence done to him, maintains his legal rights with mournful, inflexible gentleness. Many of the towns, large and small, thank him for his firmness, the addresses being signed by “the notables of the place,”3 chevaliers of St. Louis, former officials, judges and district-administrators, physicians, notaries, lawyers, recorders, post-masters, manufacturers, merchants, people who are settled down, in short the most prominent and the most respected men. At Paris, a similar petition, drawn up by two former Constituents, contains 247 pages of signatures attested by 99 notaries.4 Even in the council-general of the commune a majority is in favor of publicly censuring the mayor Pétion, the syndic-attorney Manuel, and the police administrators Panis, Sergent, Viguer, and Perron.5 On the evening of June 20th, the department council orders an investigation; it follows this up; it urges it on; it proves by authentic documents the willful inaction, the hypocritical connivance, the double-dealing of the syndic-attorney and the mayor;6 it suspends both from their functions, and cites them before the courts as well as Santerre and his accomplices. Lafayette, finally, adding to the weight of his opinion the influence of his presence, appears at the bar of the National Assembly and demands “effectual” measures against the usurpations of the Jacobin sect, insisting that the instigators of the riot of the 20th of June be punished “as guilty of lèse-nation.” As a last and still more significant symptom, his proceedings are approved of in the Assembly by a majority of more than one hundred votes.7
All this must and will be crushed out. For on the side of the Constitutionalists, whatever they may be, whether King, deputies, ministers, generals, administrators, notables or national-guards, volition evaporates in words; and the reason is, they are civilised beings, long accustomed to the ways of a regular community, interested from father to son in keeping the law, disturbed at incurring responsibility, agitated by a multiplicity of ideas, unable to comprehend that, in the state of nature to which France has reverted, but one idea is of any account, that of the man who, in accepting a declared war, meets the offensive with the offensive, loads his gun, descends into the street and contends with the savage destroyers of human society. Nobody comes to the support of Lafayette, who alone has the courage to take the lead; about one hundred men muster at the rendezvous named by him in the Champs-Elysées. They agree to march to the Jacobin club the following day and close it, provided the number is increased to three hundred; only thirty make their appearance. Lafayette can do no more than leave Paris and write a letter containing another protest. Protestations, appeals to the Constitution, to the law, to public interest, to common sense, well-reasoned deductions—never, on this side, amount to more than so many words spoken or in print; in the coming conflict words will be of no use.—Imagine a quarrel between two men, one ably pre senting his case and the other indulging in little more than invective; the latter, having encountered a big bull-dog on his road, has caressed him, enticed him, and led him along with him as an auxiliary. To the bull-dog, clever argumentation is only so much unmeaning sound; with his eager eyes fixed on his temporary master he awaits only his signal to spring on the adversaries he points out. On the 20th of June he has almost strangled one of them, and covered him with his slaver. On the 21st,8 he is ready to spring again. He continues to growl for fifty days, at first sullenly and then with terrific energy. On the 25th of June, July 14 and 27, August 3 and 5, he again makes a spring and is kept back only with great difficulty.9 Already on one occasion, July 29th, his fangs are wet with human gore.10 —At each turn of the parliamentary debate the defenceless Constitutionalist beholds those open jaws before him; it is not surprising that he throws to this dog, or allows to be thrown to him, all the decrees contended for by the Girondists as a bone for him to gnaw on.—Sure of their strength the Girondists renew the attack, and the plan of their campaign seems to be skillfully prepared. They are quite willing to retain the King on his throne, but on the condition that he shall be a mere puppet; that he shall recall the patriot ministers, allow them to appoint the Dauphin’s tutor, and that Lafayette shall be removed;11 otherwise the Assembly will pass the act of dethronement and possess themselves of the executive power. Such is the dilemma opening two ways in which they have placed the Assembly and the King. If the King, driven into a corner, does not pass out by the first door, the Assembly, equally nonplussed, will pass out through the second, and in either case, as the all-powerful ministers of the submissive King or as executive delegates of the submissive Assembly, they will become the masters of France.
They accordingly begin by attacking the King, and try to make him yield through fear.—They remove the suspension pronounced against Pétion and Manuel, and restore them both to their places in the Hôtel-de-Ville. Henceforth the latter will rule in Paris without restriction or oversight; for the Directory of the department has resigned, and no superior authority exists to prevent them from calling upon or giving orders as they please to the armed forces; they are exempt from all subordination, as well as from all control. Behold the King of France in good hands, in those of the men who, on the 20th of June, refused to muzzle the popular brute, declaring that it had done well, that it had right on its side, and that it may begin again. According to them, the palace of the monarch belongs to the public; people may enter it as they would a coffee-house; in any event, as the municipality is occupied with other matters, it cannot be expected to keep people out. “Is there nothing else to guard in Paris but the Tuileries and the King?”12 —Another ma noeuvre consists in rendering the King’s instruments powerless. Honorable and inoffensive as the new ministers may be, they never appear in the Assembly without being hooted at in the tribunes. Isnard, pointing with his finger to the principal one, exclaims: “That is a traitor!”13 Every popular outburst is imputed to them as a crime, while Guadet declares that, “as royal counsellors, they are answerable for any disturbances” that the double veto might produce.14 Not only does the faction declare them guilty of the violence provoked by itself, but, again, it demands their lives for the murders which it commits. “France must know,” says Vergniaud, “that hereafter ministers are to answer with their heads for any disorders of which religion is the pretext.” “The blood just split at Bordeaux,” says Ducos, “may be laid at the door of the executive power.”15 Lasource proposes to “punish with death,” not alone the minister who is not prompt in ordering the execution of a decree, but, again, the clerks who do not fulfill the minister’s instructions. Always death on every occasion, and for every one who is not of the sect! Under this constant terror, the ministers resign in a body, and the King is required at once to appoint others in their places; meanwhile, to increase the danger of their position, the Assembly decrees that hereafter they shall “be answerable for each other.” It is evident that they are aiming at the King over his minister’s shoulders, while the Girondists leave nothing unturned to render government to him impossible. The King, again, signs this new decree; he declines to protest; to the persecution he is forced to undergo he opposes nothing but silence, sometimes a simple, frank, good-hearted expression,16 some kindly, touching plaint, which seems like a suppressed moan.17 But dogmatic obstinacy and impatient ambition are wilfully dumb to the most sorrowful accents! His sincerity passes for a new falsehood. Vergniaud, Brissot, Torné, Condorcet, in the tribune, charge him with treachery, demand from the Assembly the right of suspending him,18 and give the signal to their Jacobin auxiliaries.—At the invitation of the parent club, the provincial branches bestir themselves, while all other instruments of agitation belonging to the revolutionary machine are likewise put in motion,—gatherings on the public squares, homicidal announcements on the walls, incendiary resolutions in the clubs, shoutings in the tribunes, insulting addresses and seditious deputations at the bar of the National Assembly.19 After the working of this system for a month, the Girondists regard the King as subdued, and, on the 26th of July, Guadet, and then Brissot, in the tribune, make their last advances to him, and issue the final summons.20 A profound delusion! He refuses, the same as on the 20th of June: “Girondist ministers, Never!”
Since he bars one of the two doors, they will pass out at the other, and, if the Girondists cannot rule through him, they will rule without him. Pétion, in the name of the Commune, appears personally and proposes a new plan, demanding the dethronement. “This important measure once passed,”21 he says, “the confidence of the nation in the actual dynasty being very doubtful, we demand that a body of ministers, jointly responsible, appointed by the National Assembly, but, as the constitutional law provides, outside of itself, elected by the open vote of freemen, be provisionally entrusted with the executive power.” Through this open vote the suffrage will be easily controlled. This is but one more decree extorted, like so many others, the majority for a long time having been subject to the same pressure as the King. “If you refuse to respond to our wishes,” as a placard of the 23d of June had already informed them, “our hands are lifted, and we shall strike all traitors wherever they can be found, even amongst yourselves.”22 “Court favorites,” says a petition of August 6, “have seats in your midst. Let their inviolability perish if the national will must always tamely submit to that pestiferous power!”—In the Assembly the yells from the galleries are frightful; the voices of those who speak against dethronement are overpowered; so great are the hootings, the speakers are driven out of the tribune.23 Sometimes the “Right” abandons the discussion and leaves the chamber. The insolence of the galleries goes so far that frequently almost the entire Assembly murmurs while they applaud; the majority, in short, loudly expresses anger at its slavishness.24 —Let it be careful! In the tribunes and at the approaches to the edifice, stand the Federates, men who have a tight grip. They will force it to vote the decisive measure, the accusation of Lafayette, the decree under which the armed champion of the King and the Constitution must fall. The Girondists, to make sure of it, exact a call of the house; in this way the names are announced and printed, thus designating to the populace the opponents of the measure, so that none of them are sure of getting to their homes safe and sound.—Lafayette, however, a liberal, a democrat, and a royalist, as devoted to the Revolution as to the Law, is just the man, who, through his limited mental grasp, his disconnected political conceptions, and the nobleness of his contradictory sentiments, best represents the present opinion of the Assembly, as well as that of France.25 Moreover, his popularity, his courage, and his army are the last refuge. The majority feels that in giving him up they themselves are given up, and, by a vote of 400 to 224, it acquits him.—On this side, again, the strategy of the Girondists is found erroneous. Power slips away from them the second time. Neither the King nor the Assembly have consented to restore it to them, while they can no longer leave it suspended in the air, or defer it until a better opportunity, and keep their Jacobin acolytes waiting. The feeble leash restraining the revolutionary dog breaks in their hands; the dog is free and in the street.
Never was better work done for another. Every measure relied on by them for getting power back, serves only to place it in the hands of the populace.—On the one hand, through a series of legislative acts and municipal ordinances, they have set aside or disbanded the army, alone capable of repressing or intimidating it. On the 29th of May they dismissed the king’s guard. On the 15th of July they ordered away from Paris all the regular troops. On the 16th of July,26 they select “for the formation of a body of infantry-gendarmerie, the former French-guardsmen who served in the Revolution about the epoch of the 1st day of June, 1789, the officers, under-officers, gunners, and soldiers who gathered around the flag of liberty after the 12th of July of that year,” that is to say, a body of recognised insurgents and deserters. On the 6th of July, in all towns of 50,000 souls and over, they strike down the National Guard by discharging its staff, “an aristocratic corporation,” says a petition,27 “a sort of modern feudality composed of traitors, who seem to have formed a plan for directing public opinion as they please.” Early in August,28 they strike into the heart of the National Guard by suppressing special companies, grenadiers, and chasseurs, recruited amongst well-to-do-people, the genuine élite, stripped of its uniform, reduced to equality, lost in the mass, and now, moreover, finding its ranks degraded by a mixture of interlopers, federates, and men armed with pikes. Finally, to complete the pell-mell, they order that the palace guard be hereafter composed daily of citizens taken from the sixty battalions,29 so that the chiefs may no longer know their men nor the men their chiefs; so that no one may place confidence in his chief, in his subordinate, in his neighbor, or in himself; so that all the stones of the human dike may be loosened beforehand, and the barrier crumble at the first onslaught.—On the other hand, they have taken care to provide the insurrection with a fighting army and an advanced guard. By another series of legislative acts and munic ipal ordinances, they authorise the assemblage of the Federates at Paris; they allow them pay and military lodgings;30 they allow them to organise under a central committee sitting at the Jacobin club, and to take their instructions from that club. Of these new-comers, two-thirds, genuine soldiers and true patriots, set out for the camp at Soissons and for the frontier; one-third of them, however, remain at Paris,31 perhaps 2,000, the rioters and politicians, who, feasted, entertained, indoctrinated, and each lodged with a Jacobin, become more Jacobin than their hosts, and incorporate themselves with the revolutionary battalions, so as to serve the good cause with their guns.32 —Two bands, later arrivals, remain separate, and are only the more formidable; both are despatched by the towns on the sea-coast in which, four months before this, “twenty-one capital acts of insurrection had occurred, all unpunished, and several under sentence of the maritime jury.”33 One of these bands, numbering 300 men, comes from Brest, where the municipality, as infatuated as those of Marseilles and Avignon, engages, like those of Marseilles and Avignon, in armed expeditions against its neighbors; where popular murder is tolerated; where M. de la Jaille is nearly killed; where the head of M. de Patry is borne on a pike; where veteran rioters compose the crews of the fleet; where “workmen, under the pay of the State, clerks, masters, under-officers, converted into motionnaires, agitators, political stump-orators, and critics of the administration,” ask only to have work for their hands to do on a more conspicuous stage. The other troop, summoned from Marseilles by the Girondists, Rebecqui and Barbaroux,34 comprises 516 men, intrepid, ferocious adventurers, from every quarter, either Marseilles or abroad, Savoyards, Italians, Spaniards, driven out of their country,” almost all of the vilest class, or gaining a livelihood by infamous pursuits, “the bravos and demons of evil haunts,” used to blood, quick to strike, good cut-throats, picked men out of the bands that had marched on Aix, Arles, and Avignon, the froth of that froth which, for three years, in the Comtat and in the Bouches-du-Rhône, boiled over the useless barriers of the law.—The very day they reach Paris they show what they can do.35 Welcomed with great pomp by the Jacobins and by Santerre, they are conducted, for a purpose, to the Champs-Elysées, into a drinking-place, near the restaurant in which the grenadiers of the Filles St. Thomas, bankers, brokers, leading men well-known for their attachment to a monarchical constitution, were dining in a body, as announced several days in advance. The populace, which had formed a convoy for the Marseilles battalion, gathers before the restaurant, shouts, throws mud, and then lets fly a volley of stones; the grenadiers draw their sabres. Forthwith a shout is heard just in front of them, à nous les Marseillais! upon which the gang jump out of the windows with true southern agility, clamber across the ditches, fall upon the grenadiers with their swords, kill one and wound fifteen.—No début could be more brilliant. The party at last possesses men of action;36 and they must be kept within reach! Men who do such good work, and so expeditiously, must be well posted near the Tuileries. The mayor, consequently, on the night of the 8th of August, without informing the commanding general, solely on his own authority, orders them to leave their barracks in the Rue Blanche and take up their quarters, with their arms and cannon, in the barracks belonging to the Cordeliers.37
Such is the military force in the hands of the Jacobin masses; nothing remains but to place the civil power in their hands also, and, as the first gift of this kind was made to them by the Girondists, they will not fail to make them the second one.—On the 1st of July, they decree that the sessions of administrative bodies should thenceforth be public; this is submitting municipalities, district, and department councils, as well as the National Assembly itself, to the clamour, the outrages, the menaces, the rule of their audiences, which, in these bodies as in the National Assembly, will always be Jacobin.38 On the 11th of July, on declaring the country in danger,39 they render the sessions permanent, first of the administrative bodies, and next of the forty-eight sections of Paris, which is a surrender of the administrative bodies and the forty-eight sections of Paris to the Jacobin minority, which minority, through its zeal and being ever present, knows how to convert itself into a majority.—Let us trace the consequences of this, and see the winnowing which is thus effected by the double decree. Those who attend these meetings day and night are not the steady, occupied class. In the first place, they are too busy in their own counting-rooms, shops, and factories to lose so much time. In the next place, they are too sensible, too docile, and too honest to go and lord it over their magistrates in the Hôtel-de-Ville, or regard themselves in their various sections as the sovereign people. Moreover, they are disgusted with all this bawling. Lastly, the streets of Paris, especially at night, are not safe; owing to so much outdoor politics, there is a great increase of caning and of knocking down. Accordingly, for a long time, they do not attend at the clubs, nor are they seen in the galleries of the National Assembly; nor will they be seen again at the sessions of the municipality, nor at the meetings of the sections.—Nothing, on the other hand, is more attractive to the idle tipplers of the cafés, to bar-room oracles, loungers, and talkers, living in furnished rooms,40 to the parasites and refractory of the social army, to all who are out of the traces and unable to get back again, who want to tear things to pieces, and, for lack of a private career, establish one for themselves in public. Permanent sessions, even at night, are not too long either for them, or for lazy Federates, for disordered intellects, and for the small troop of genuine fanatics. Here they are either performers or claqueurs, an uproar not being offensive to them, because they create it. They relieve each other, so as to be always on hand in sufficient number, or they make up for a deficiency by usurpations and brutality. The section of the Théâtre-Français, for instance, in contempt of the law, removes the distinction between active and passive citizens, by granting to all residents in its circumscription the right to be present at its meetings and the right to vote. Other sections41 admit to their sittings all well-disposed spectators, all women, children, and nomads, all agitators, and the agitated, who, as at the National Assembly, applaud or hoot at the word of command. In the sections not disposed to be at the mercy of an anonymous public, the same herd of frantic characters make a racket at the doors, and insult the electors who pass through them.—Thanks to this itinerant throng of co-operating intruders, the Jacobin extremists rule the sections the same as the Assembly; in the sections, as in the Assembly, they drive away or silence the moderates, and when the hall becomes half empty or dumb, their motion is passed. Hawked about in the vicinity, the motion is even carried off; in a few days it makes the tour of Paris, and returns to the Assembly as an authentic and unanimous expression of popular will.42
At present, to ensure the execution of this counterfeit will, it requires a central committee, and through a masterpiece of delusion, Pétion, the Girondist mayor, is the one who undertakes to lodge, sanction, and organise the committee. On the 17th day of July,43 he establishes in the offices belonging to the Commune, “a central bureau of correspondence between the sections.” To this a duly elected commissioner is to bring the acts passed by his section each day, and carry away the corresponding acts of the remaining forty-seven sections. Naturally, these elected commissioners will hold meetings of their own, appointing a president and secretary, and making official reports of their proceedings in the same form as a veritable municipal council. As they are elected to-day, and with a special mandate, it is natural that they should consider themselves more legitimate than a municipal council elected four or five months before them, and with a very uncertain mandate. Installed in the Hôtel-de-Ville, only two steps from the municipal council, it is natural for them to attempt to take its place; to substitute themselves for it, they have only to cross over to the other side of a corridor.
Thus, hatched by the Girondists, does the terrible Commune of Paris come into being, that of August 10th, September 2d, and May 31st. Scarcely does the viper leave its nest before it begins to hiss. A fortnight before the 10th of August44 it begins to uncoil, and the wise statesmen who have so diligently sheltered and fed it, stand aghast at its hideous, flattened head. Accordingly, they back away from it up to the last hour, and strive to prevent it from biting them. Pétion himself visits Robespierre on the 7th of August, in order to represent to him the perils of an insurrection, and to allow the Assembly time enough to discuss the question of dethronement. The same day Verginaud and Guadet propose to the King, through the medium of Thierry, his valet-de-chambre, that, until peace is assured, the government be carried on under a regency. Pétion, on the night of August 9–10, issues a pressing circular to the sections, urging them to remain tranquil.45
But it is too late. Fifty days of excitement and alarm have worked up the aberrations of morbid imaginations into a delirium.—On the second of August, a crowd of men and women rush to the bar of the Assembly, exclaiming, “Vengeance! Vengeance! our brethren are being poisoned!”46 The fact as ascertained is this: at Soissons, where the bread of the soldiery was prepared in a church, some fragments of broken glass were found in the oven, on the strength of which a rumor was started that 170 volunteers had died, and that 700 were lying in the hospital. A ferocious instinct creates adversaries in its own image, and sanctions projects against them of its own invention.—The committee of Jacobin leaders states positively that the Court is about to attack, and, accordingly, has devised “not merely signs of this, but the most unmistakable proof.”47 “It is the Trojan horse,” exclaimed Panis. “We are lost if we do not succeed in disemboweling it. … The bomb is to burst on the night of August 9–10. … Fifteen thousand aristocrats stand ready to slaughter all patriots.” Patriots, consequently, attribute to themselves the right to slaughter aristocrats.—Late in June, in the Minimes section, “a French guardsman had already determined to kill the King,” if the King persisted in his veto; the president of the section having desired the expulsion of the regicide, the latter was retained and the president was expelled.48 On the 14th of July, the day of the Federation festival, another predecessor of Louvel and Fieschi, provided with a cutlass, had introduced himself into the battalion on duty at the palace, for the same purpose; during the ceremony the crowd was furious, and, for a moment, the King owed his life to the firmness of his escort. On the 27th of July, in the garden of the Tuileries, d’Espréménil, the old Constituent, beaten, slashed, and his clothes torn, pursued like a stag across the Palais Royal, falls bleeding on a mattress at the gates of the Treasury.49 On the 29th of July, whilst one of Lafayette’s aids, M. Bureau de Pusy, is at the bar of the house, “they try to have a motion passed in the Palais Royal to parade his head on the end of a pike.”50 —To such an extent are rage and fear carried, the brutal and the excited can wait no longer. On the 4th of August,51 the Mauconseil section declares “to the Assembly, to the municipality, and to all the citizens of Paris, that it no longer recognises Louis XVI. as King of the French”; its president, the foreman of a tailor’s shop, and its secretary, employed in the leather market, support their manifesto with three lines of a tragedy floating vaguely in their minds,52 and name the Boulevard Madeleine St. Honoré as a rendezvous on the following Sunday for all well-disposed persons. On the 6th of August, Varlet, a post-office clerk, makes known to the Assembly, in the name of the petitioners of the Champ de Mars, the programme of the faction: the dethronement of the King, the indictment, arrest, and speedy condemnation of Lafayette, the immediate convoking of the primary assemblies, universal suffrage, the discharge of all staff officers, the renewal of the departmental directories, the recall of all ambassadors, the suppression of diplomacy, and a return to the state of nature.
The Girondists may now interpose delay, negotiate, beat about and argue as much as they please; their hesitation has no other effect than to consign them into the background, as being lukewarm and timid. Thanks to them, the faction now has its deliberative assemblies, its executive powers, its central seat of government, its enlarged, tried, and ready army, and, forcibly or otherwise, its programme will be carried out.
The first point to gain is to constrain the Assembly to depose the King. Several times already,53 on the 26th of July and August 4, secret conventicles had been held, in which obscure individuals decided the fate of France, and gave the signal for insurrection.—Restrained with great difficulty, they consented “to have patience until August 9, at 11 o’clock in the evening.”54 On that day the discussion of the dethronement is to take place in the Assembly, and calculations are made on a favorable vote under such a positive threat; its reluctance must yield to the certainty of an armed investment.—On the 8th of August, however, the Assembly refuses, by a majority of two-thirds, to indict the great enemy, Lafayette. The double amputation, therefore, so essential for public safety, must be begun with this majority.
The moment the acquittal is announced, the galleries, usually so vociferous, maintain “gloomy silence.”55 The word of command for them is to keep themselves in reserve for the streets. One by one the deputies who voted for Lafayette are designated to the mob at the doors, and a shout goes up, “The rascals, the knaves, the traitors living on the civil list! Hang them! Kill them! Put an end to them!” Mud, mortar, plaster, stones are thrown at them, and they are severely pummelled. M. Mézières, in the Rue du Dauphin, is seized by the throat, and a woman strikes at him, which he parries. In the Rue St. Honoré, a number of men in red caps surround M. Regnault-Beauceron, and decide to “string him up at the lantern”; a man in his jacket had already grabbed him from behind and raised him up, when the grenadiers of Sainte-Opportune arrive in time to set him free. In the Rue St. Louis, M. Deuzy, repeatedly struck on the back with stones, has a sabre twice raised over his head. In the Passage des Feuillants, M. Desbois is pummelled, and a “snuff-box, his pocket-book, and cane” are stolen from him. In the lobbies of the Assembly, M. Girardin is on the point of being assassinated.56 Eight deputies besides these are pursued, and take refuge in the guard-room of the Palais Royal. A Federate enters along with them, and “there, his eyes sparkling with rage and thumping on the table like a madman,” he exclaims to M. Dumolard, who is the best known: “If you are unlucky enough to put your feet in the Assembly again, I’ll cut off your head with my sword!” As to the principal defender of Lafayette, M. Vaublanc, he is assailed three times, but he is wary enough not to return home; a number of infuriates, however, invest his house, yelling out that “eighty citizens are to perish by their hands, and he one of the first”; a dozen of the gang ascend to his apartments, rummage them in every corner, make another effort to find him in the adjoining houses, and, not being able to secure him, try to find his family; he is notified that, if he returns to his house, he will be massacred.—In the evening, on the Feuillants terrace, other deputies are subjected to the same outrages; the gendarmerie tries in vain to protect them, while the “commandant of the National Guard, on leaving his post, is attacked and cut down.”57 —Meanwhile, some of the Jacobins in the lobbies “doom the majority of the Assembly to destruction”; one orator declares that “the people have a right to form lists of proscription,” and the club accordingly decides on printing and publishing the names of all the deputies who acquitted Lafayette.—Never was physical constraint displayed and applied with such open shamelessness.
On the following day, August 9, armed men gather around the approaches to the Assembly, and sabres are seen even in the corridors.58 The galleries, more imperious than ever, cheer, and break out in ironic shouts of triumph and approval every time the attacks of the previous evening are denounced in the tribune. The president calls the offenders to order more than twenty times, but his voice and his bell are drowned in the uproar. It is impossible to express an opinion. Most of the representatives who were maltreated the evening before, write that they will not return, while others, who are present, declare that they will not vote again “if they cannot be secure of freedom of conscience of their deliberations.” At this utterance, which expresses the secret sentiment of “nearly the whole of the Assembly,”59 “all the members of the ‘Right,’ and many of the ‘Left,’ arise simultaneously and exclaim: ‘Yes, yes; we will debate no longer unless we are free!’ ”—As usual, however, the majority gives way the moment effective measures are to be adopted; its heart sinks, as it always has done, on being called upon to act in self-defence, while these official declarations, one on top of the other, in hiding from it the gravity of the danger, sink it deeper in its own timidity. At this same session the syndic-attorney of the department reports that the mob is ready, that 900 armed men had just entered Paris, that the tocsin would be rung at midnight, and that the municipality tolerates or favors the insurrection. At this same session, the Minister of Justice gives notice that “the laws are powerless,” and that the government is no longer responsible. At this same session, Pétion, the mayor, almost avowing his complicity, appears at the bar of the house, and declares positively that he will have nothing to do with the public forces, because “it would be arming one body of citizens against another.”60 —Every support is evidently knocked away. Feeling that it is abandoned, the Assembly gives up, and, as a last expedient, and with a degree of weakness or simplicity which admirably depicts the legislators of the epoch, it adopts a philosophic address to the people, “instructing it what to do in the exercise of its sovereignty.”
How this is done, it may see the next morning. At 7 o’clock, a Jacobin deputy stops in a cab before the door of the Feuillants club; a crowd gathers around him, and he gives his name, Delmas. The crowd understood it as Dumas, a notorious Constitutionalist, and, in a rage, drag him out of the vehicle and knock him down; had not other deputies run up and given assurances that he was the patriot Delmas, of Toulouse, instead of “the traitor, Mathieu Dumas,” he was a lost man.61 Dumas makes no effort to enter. He finds on the Place Vendôme a second and not less instructive warning. Some wretches, followed by the usual rabble, carry about a number of heads on pikes, those probably of the journalist Suleau, and three others, massacred a quarter of an hour before; “boys quite young, mere children, play with these heads by tossing them in the air, and catching them on the ends of their sticks.”—There is no doubt but that the deputies of the “Right,” and even of the “Centre,” would do well to go home and stay there. In fact, they are no longer seen in the Assembly.62 In the afternoon, out of the 630 members still present the evening before, 346 do not answer the call, while about thirty others had either withdrawn before this or sent in their resignations.63 The purging is complete, like that to which Cromwell, in 1648, subjected the Long Parliament. Henceforth the Legislative body, reduced to 224 Jacobins or Girondists, with 60 frightened or tractable neutrals, will obey the orders of the street without any difficulty. A change has come over the spirit of the body as well as over its composition; it is nothing more now than a servile instrument in the hands of the seditious, who have mutilated it, and who, masters of it through a first misdeed, are going to use it to legalise other crimes.
During the night of the 9th and 10th of August their government is organised for action, its organisation, as its forth coming action will be, being due to violence and fraud.—In vain have they wrought up and wearied the sections for the past fortnight; they are not yet submissive, only six out of forty-eight at the present hour, eleven o’clock at night, being found sufficiently excited or purged to send their commissioners forthwith, with full power, to the Hôtel-de-Ville. The others will follow, but the majority rests inert or refractory.64 —It is necessary, therefore, to deceive or force this majority, and, to this end, darkness, the late hour, disorder, dread of the coming day, and the uncertainty of what to do, are precious auxiliaries. In many of the sections,65 the meetings are already adjourned or deserted; only a few members of the permanent bureau remain in the room, with a few men, perhaps asleep, on the nearly empty benches. An emissary arrives from the insurgent sections, along with a company of trusty fellows belonging to the quarter, and cries out, Save the country! The sleepers open their eyes, stretch themselves, raise their hands, and elect whoever is designated, oftentimes strangers and other unknown individuals, who will be disowned the coming day at a full meeting of the section. There is no official report drawn up, no ballotting, the course pursued being the most prompt. At the Arsenal section, six electors present choose three among their own number to represent 1,400 active citizens. Elsewhere, a throng of harridans, vagabonds, and others who “make night hideous,” invade the premises, drive out the friends of order, and carry all the nominations made.66 Other sections consent to elect, but without giving full power. Several make express reservations, stipulating that their delegates shall act in concert with the legal municipality, distrusting the future committee, and declaring in advance that they will not obey it. A few elect their commissioners only to obtain information, and, at the same time, to show that they intend earnestly to stop all rioting.67 Finally, at least twenty sections abstain from or disapprove of the proceedings and send no delegates.—It makes but little difference—they can be dispensed with. At three o’clock in the morning, 19 sections, and, at seven o’clock, 24 or 25,68 are represented one way or another at the Hôtel-de-Ville, and this representation forms a central committee. At all events, there is nothing to prevent seventy or eighty subordinate intriguers and desperadoes, who have slipped in or pushed through, from calling themselves authorised delegates and ministers plenipotentiary of the entire Paris population,69 and of going to work at once. Scarcely are they installed under the presidency of Huguenin, with Tallien for a secretary, when they issue a summons for “twenty-five armed men from each section,” five hundred vigorous fellows, to act as guards and serve as an executive force.—Against a band of this description the municipal council, in session in the opposite chamber, is feeble enough. Moreover, the most moderate and firmest of its members, sent away on purpose, are on missions to the Assembly, at the palace, and in different quarters of Paris, while its galleries are crammed with villainous looking men, posted there to create an uproar, its deliberations being carried on under menaces of death.—Hence, as the night wears on, between the two assemblages, one legal and the other illegal, in session at the same time, facing each other like the two sides of a scale, the equilibrium disappears. Lassitude, fear, discouragement, desertion, increase on one side, while numbers, audacity, force, and usurpation increase on the other. At length, the latter wrests from the former all the acts it needs to start the insurrection and render defence impossible. About six o’clock in the morning the intruding committee, in the name of the people, ends the matter by suspending the legitimate council, which it then expels, and takes possession of its chairs.
The first act of the new sovereigns indicates at once what they mean to do. M. de Mandat, in command of the National Guard, summoned to the Hôtel-de-Ville, had come to explain to the council what disposition he had made of his troops, and what orders he had issued. They seize him, interrogate him in their turn,70 depose him, appoint Santerre in his place, and, to derive all the benefit they can from his capture, they order him to withdraw one-half of his men stationed around the palace. Fully aware of what he was exposed to in this den of thieves, he nobly refuses; forthwith they consign him to prison, and send him to the Abbaye “for his greater safety.” At these significant words from Danton,71 he is murdered at the door as he leaves by Rossignol, one of Danton’s accolytes, with a pistol-shot at arm’s length.—After tragedy comes comedy. At the urgent request of Pétion, who is unwilling to be called out against the rioters,72 they send him a guard of 400 men, thus confining him in his own house, and, apparently, in spite of himself.
With treachery as a shelter on one side, and assassination on the other, the insurrection may now go on in full security before the big hypocrite (tartufe) who solemnly complains of his voluntary captivity, and before the corpse, with shattered brow, lying on the steps of the Hôtel-de-Ville. On the right bank of the river, the battalions of the faubourg Saint-Antoine, and, on the left, those of the faubourg Saint-Marcel, the Bretons, and the Marseilles band, march forth as freely as if going to parade. Measures of defence are disconcerted by the murder of the commanding general, and by the mayor’s duplicity; there is no resistance on guarded spots, at the arcade Saint-Jean, the passages of the bridges, along the quays, and in the court of the Louvre. An advance guard of the populace, women, children, and men, armed with shoe-knives, cudgels, and pikes, spread over the abandoned Carrousel, and, towards eight o’clock, the advance column, led by Westermann, debouches in front of the palace.
If the King had been willing to fight, he might still have defended himself, saved himself, and even been victorious.—In the Tuileries, 950 of the Swiss Guard and 200 gentlemen stood ready to die for him to the last man. Around the Tuileries, two or three thousand National Guard, the élite of the Parisian population, had just cheered him as he passed:73 “Hurrah for the King! Hurrah for Louis XVI.! He is our King and we want no other; we want him only! Down with the rioters! Down with the Jacobins! We will defend him unto death! Let him put himself at our head! Hurrah for the Nation, the Law, the Constitution, and the King, which are all one!” If the cannoneers were silent, and seemed ill-disposed,74 it was simply necessary to disarm them suddenly, and hand over their pieces to loyal men. Four thousand guns and eleven pieces of artillery, protected by the walls of the courts and by the thick masonry of the palace, were certainly sufficient against the nine or ten thousand Jacobins in Paris, most of them pikemen, badly led by improvised or refractory battalion officers, and, still worse, commanded by their new general, Santerre, who, always cautious, kept himself aloof in the Hôtel-de-Ville, out of harm’s way.75 The only staunch men in the Carrousel were the eight hundred men from Brest and Marseilles; the rest consisted of a rabble like that of July 14, October 5, and June 20;76 the palace, says Napoleon Bonaparte, was attacked by the vilest canaille, professional rioters, Maillard’s band, and the bands of Lazowski, Fournier, and Théroigne, by all the assassins, indeed, of the previous night and day, and of the following day, which species of combatants, as was proved by the event, would have scattered at the first discharge of a cannon.—But, with the governing as with the governed, all notion of the State was lost, the former through humanity become a duty, and the latter through insubordination erected into a right. At the close of the eighteenth century, in the upper as well as in the middle class, there was a horror of blood;77 refined social ways, coupled with an idyllic imagination, had softened the militant disposition. Everywhere the magistrates had forgotten that the maintenance of society and of civilisation is a benefit of infinitely greater importance than the lives of a parcel of maniacs and malefactors; that the prime object of government, as well as of a police, is the preservation of order by force; that a gendarme is not a philanthropist; that, if attacked on his post, he must use his sword, and that, in sheathing it for fear of wounding his aggressors, he fails to do his duty.
This time again, in the court of the Carrousel, the magistrates on the spot, finding that “their responsibility is insupportable,” concern themselves only with how to “avoid the effusion of blood”; it is with regret, and this they state to the troops, “in faltering tones,” that they proclaim martial law.78 They “forbid them to attack,” merely “authorising them to repel force with force”; in other words, they order them to support the first fire: “you are not to fire until you are fired upon.”—Still better, they go from company to company, “openly declaring that opposition to such a large and well-armed assemblage would be folly, and that it would be a very great misfortune to attempt it.”—“I repeat to you,” said Leroux, “that a defence seems to me madness.”—Such is the way in which, for more than an hour, they encourage the National Guard. “All I ask,” says Leroux again, “is that you wait a little longer. I hope that we shall induce the King to yield to the National Assembly.”—Always the same tactics,—surrender the general and the fortress rather than fire on the mob. To this end they return to the King, with Roederer at their head, and renew their efforts: “Sire,” says Roederer, “time presses, and we ask you to consent to accompany us.”—For a few moments, the last and most solemn of the monarchy, the King hesitates.79 His good sense, probably, enabled him to see that a retreat was abdication; but his phlegmatic understanding is at first unable to clearly define its consequences; moreover, his optimism had never compassed the vastness of popular imbecility, nor sounded the depths of human wickedness; he cannot imagine calumny transforming his dislike of shedding blood into a disposition to shed blood.80 Besides, he is bound by his past, by his habit of always yielding; by his determination, declared and maintained for the past three years, never to cause civil war; by his obstinate humanitarianism, and especially by his religious equanimity. The animal instinct of resistance has been systematically extinguished in him, the flash of anger in all of us which starts up under unjust and brutal aggressions; the Christian has supplanted the King; he is no longer aware that duty obliges him to be a man of the sword, that, in his surrender, he surrenders the State, and that to yield like a lamb is to lead all honest people, along with himself, into the shambles. “Let us go,” said he, raising his right hand, “we will give, since it is necessary, one more proof of our self-sacrifice.”81 Accompanied by his family and Ministers, he sets out between two lines of National Guards and the Swiss Guard,82 and reaches the Assembly, which sends a deputation to meet him; entering the chamber he says: “I come here to prevent a great crime.”—No pretext, indeed, for a conflict now exists. An assault on the insurgent side is useless, since the monarch, with all belonging to him and his government, have left the palace. On the other side, the garrison will not begin the fight; diminished by 150 Swiss and nearly all the grenadiers of the Filles St. Thomas, who served as the King’s escort to the Assembly, it is reduced to a few gentlemen, 750 Swiss, and about a hundred National Guards; the others, on learning that the King is going, consider their services at an end and disperse.83 —All seems to be over in the sacrifice of royalty. Louis XVI. imagines that the Assembly, at the worst, will suspend him from his functions, and that he will return to the Tuileries as a private individual. On leaving the palace, indeed, he orders his valet to keep up the service until he himself returns from the National Assembly.84
He did not count on the exigencies, delusions and disorders of an insurrection.—Threatened by the Jacobin cannoneers remaining with their artillery in the inside courts, the gate-keepers open the gates. The insurgents rush in, fraternise with the cannoneers, reach the vestibule, ascend the grand staircase, and summon the Swiss to surrender.85 —These show no hostile spirit; many of them, as a mark of good humor, throw packets of cartridges out of the windows; some even go so far as to let themselves be embraced and led away. The regiment, however, faithful to its orders, will not yield to force.86 “We are Swiss,” replies the sergeant, Blaser; “the Swiss do not part with their arms but with their lives. We think that we do not merit such an insult. If the regiment is no longer wanted, let it be legally discharged. But we will not leave our post, nor will we let our arms be taken from us.” The two bodies of troops remain facing each other on the staircase for three-quarters of an hour, almost intermingled, one silent and the other excited, turbulent, and active, with all the ardor and lack of discipline peculiar to a popular gathering, each insurgent striving apart, and in his own way, to corrupt, intimidate, or constrain the Swiss Guards. Granier, of Marseilles, at the head of the staircase, holds two of them at arms’ length, trying in a friendly manner to draw them down.87 At the foot of the staircase the crowd is shouting and threatening; lightermen, armed with boat-hooks, harpoon the sentinels by their shoulder-straps, and pull down four or five, like so many fishes, amid shouts of laughter.—Just at this moment a pistol goes off, nobody being able to tell which party fired it.88 The Swiss, firing from above, clean out the vestibule and the courts, rush down into the square and seize the cannon; the insurgents scatter and fly out of range. The bravest, nevertheless, rally behind the entrances of the houses on the Carrousel, throw cartridges into the courts of the small buildings and set them on fire. During another half-hour, under the dense smoke of the first discharge and of the burning buildings, both sides fire haphazard, while the Swiss, far from giving way, have scarcely lost a few men, when a messenger from the King arrives, M. d’Hervilly, who orders in his name the firing to cease, and the men to return to their barracks.
Slowly and regularly they form in line and retire along the broad alley of the garden. At the sight of these foreigners, however, in red coats, who had just fired on Frenchmen, the guns of the battalion stationed on the terraces go off of their own accord, and the Swiss column divides in two. One body of 250 men turns to the right, reaches the Assembly, lays down its arms at the King’s order, and allows itself to be shut up in the Feuillants church. The others are annihilated on crossing the garden, or cut down on the Place Louis XV. by the mounted gendarmerie. No quarter is given. The warfare is that of a mob, not civilised war, but primitive war, that of barbarians. In the abandoned palace into which the insurgents entered five minutes after the departure of the garrison,89 they kill the wounded, the two Swiss surgeons attending to them,90 the Swiss who had not fired a gun, and who, in the balcony on the side of the garden, “cast off their cartridge-boxes, sabres, coats, and hats, and shout: ‘Friends, we are with you, we are Frenchmen, we belong to the nation!’ ”91 They kill the Swiss, armed or unarmed, who remain at their posts in the apartments. They kill the Swiss gate-keepers in their boxes. They kill everybody in the kitchens, from the head cook down to the pot boys.92 The women barely escape. Madame Campan, on her knees, seized by the back, sees an uplifted sabre about to fall on her, when a voice from the foot of the staircase calls out: “What are you doing there? The women are not to be killed!” “Get up, you hussy, the nation forgives you!”—To make up for this the nation helps itself and indulges itself to its heart’s content in the palace which now belongs to it. Some honest persons do, indeed, carry money and valuables to the National Assembly, but others pillage and destroy all that they can.93 They shatter mirrors, break furniture to pieces, and throw clocks out of the window; they shout the Marseilles hymn, which one of the National Guards accompanies on a harpsichord,94 and descend to the cellars, where they gorge themselves. “For more than a fortnight,” says an eye-witness,95 “one walked on fragments of bottles.” In the garden, especially, “it might be said that they had tried to pave the walks with broken glass.”—Porters are seen seated on the throne in the coronation robes; a trollop occupies the Queen’s bed; it is a carnival in which base and cruel instincts, with the curb taken off, find plenty of good forage and abundant litter. Runaways come back after the victory and stab the dead with their pikes. Prostitutes, “well-dressed,” cut capers with naked corpses.96 And, as the destroyers enjoy their work, they are not disposed to be disturbed in it. In the courts of the Carrousel, where nine hundred toises of building are burning, the firemen try four times to extinguish the fire; “they are shot at, and threatened with being pitched into the flames,”97 while petitioners appear at the bar of the Assembly, and announce in a threatening tone that the Tuileries are blazing, and shall blaze until the dethronement becomes a law.
The poor Assembly, become Girondist through its late mutilation, strives in vain to arrest the downhill course of things, and maintain, as it has just sworn to do, “the constituted authorities”;98 it strives, at least, to put Louis XVI. in the Luxembourg palace, to appoint a tutor for the Dauphin, to keep the ministers temporarily in office, and to save all prisoners, and those who walk the streets. Equally captive, and nearly as prostrate as the King himself, the Assembly merely serves as a recording office for the popular will, that very morning furnishing evidence of the value which the armed commonalty attaches to its decrees. That morning murders were committed at its door, in contempt of its safe conduct; at eight o’clock Suleau and three others, wrested from their guards, are cut down under its windows. In the afternoon, from sixty to eighty of the unarmed Swiss still remaining in the church of the Feuillants are taken out to be sent to the Hôtel-de-Ville, and massacred on the way at the Place de Grève. Another detachment, conducted to the section of the Roule, is likewise disposed of in the same way.99 Carle, at the head of the gendarmerie, is called out of the Assembly and assassinated on the Place Vendôme, and his head is carried about on a pike. The founder of the old monarchical club, M. de Clermont-Tonnerre, withdrawn from public life for two years past, and quietly passing along the streets, is recognised, dragged through the gutter and cut to pieces.—After such warnings the Assembly can only obey, and, as usual, conceal its submission beneath sounding words. If the dictatorial committee, self-imposed at the Hôtel-de-Ville, still condescends to keep it alive, it is owing to a new investiture,100 and by declaring to it that it must not meddle with its doings now or in the future. Let it confine itself to its function, that of rendering decrees made by the faction. Accordingly, like fruit falling from a tree vigorously shaken, these decrees rattle down, one after another, into the hands that await them:101 the suspension of the King, the convoking of a national convention, electors and the eligible exempted from all property qualifications, an indemnity for displaced electors, the term of Assemblies left to the decision of the electors,102 the removal and arrest of the late ministers, the re-appointment of Servan, Clavières and Roland, Danton as Minister of Justice, the recognition of the usurping Commune, Santerre confirmed in his new rank, the municipalities empowered to look after general safety, the arrest of suspicious persons confided to all well-disposed citizens,103 domiciliary visits prescribed for the discovery of arms and ammunition,104 all the justices of Paris to be re-elected by those within their jurisdiction, all officers of the gendarmerie subject to re-election by their soldiers,105 thirty sous per diem for the Marseilles troops from the day of their arrival, a court-martial against the Swiss, a tribunal for the despatch of justice against the vanquished of August 10, and a quantity of other decrees of a still more important bearing;—the suspension of the commissioners appointed to enforce the execution of the law in civil and criminal courts,106 the release of all persons accused or condemned for military insubordination, for press offences and pillaging of grain,107 the partition of communal possessions,108 the confiscation and sale of property belonging to émigrés,109 the relegation of their fathers, mothers, wives and children into the interior, the banishment or transportation of unsworn ecclesiastics,110 the establishment of easy divorce at two months’ notice and on the demand of one of the parties,111 in short, every measure tending to disturb property, break up the family, persecute conscience, suspend the law, pervert justice, rehabilitate crime, and hand over the magistracy, public offices, the choice of the future omnipotent Assembly, in brief, the entire commonwealth, to an autocratic, violent minority, which, daring all things, obtains the dictatorship and dares all to keep it.
Let us stop a moment to contemplate this great city and its new kings.—From afar, Paris seems a club of 700,000 fanatics, vociferating and deliberating on the public squares; near by, it is nothing of the sort. The slime, on rising from the bottom, has become the surface, and given its color to the stream; but the human stream flows in its ordinary channel, and, under this turbid exterior, remains about the same as it was before. It is a city of people like ourselves, governed, busy, and fond of amusement. To the great majority, even in revolutionary times, private life, too complex and absorbing, leaves but an insignificant corner for public affairs. Through routine and through necessity, manufacturing, display of wares, selling, purchasing, keeping accounts, trades, and professions, go on in the usual way. The clerk goes to his office, the workman to his shop, the artisan to his loft, the merchant to his warehouse, the student to his cabinet, and the functionary to his duty;112 they are devoted, first of all, to their pursuits, to their daily bread, to the discharge of their obligations, to their own advancement, to their families, and to their pleasures; to provide for these things the day is not too long. Politics diverts them aside only for so many quarter-hours, and then rather out of curiosity, like a play one applauds or hisses in his seat without stepping upon the stage.—“The declaration that the country is in danger,” says many eye-witnesses,113 “has made no change in the physiognomy of Paris. There are the same amusements, the same gossip. … The theatres are full as usual. The wine-shops and places of diversion overflow with the people, National Guards, and soldiers. … The fashionable world enjoys its pleasure-parties.”—The day after the decree, the effect of the ceremony, so skilfully managed, is very slight. “The National Guard in the procession,” writes a patriotic journalist,114 “first shows indifference and even ennui”; it is overtasked with watchings and patrol duty; it probably thinks that in parading for the nation, one finds no time to work for one’s self. A few days after this the manifesto of the Duke of Brunswick “produces no sensation whatever. People laugh at it. Only the newspapers and their readers are familiar with it. … The mass know nothing about it. Nobody fears the coalition nor foreign troops.”115 —On the 10th of August, outside the theatre of the combat, all is tranquil in Paris. People walk about and chat in the streets as usual.”116 —On the 19th of August, Moore, the Englishman,117 sees, with astonishment, the heedless crowd filling the Champs-Elysées, the various diversions, the air of a fête, the countless small shops in which refreshments are sold accompanied with songs and music, and the quantities of pantomimes and marionettes. “Are these people as happy as they seem to be?” he asks of a Frenchman along with him. “They are as jolly as gods!” “Do you think the Duke of Brunswick is ever in their heads?” “Monsieur, you may be sure of this, that the Duke of Brunswick is the last man they think of.”
Such is the unconcern and lukewarmness of the gross, egoistic mass, otherwise busy, and always passive under any government whatever it may be, a veritable flock of sheep, allowing government to do as it pleases, provided it does not hinder it from browsing and capering as it chooses.—As to the men of sensibility who love their country, they are still less troublesome, for they are gone or going, often at the rate of a thousand and even two thousand a day, ten thousand in the last week of July,118 fifteen thousand in the first two weeks of September,119 in all perhaps forty thousand volunteers fur nished by the capital alone, and who, with their fellows proportionate in number supplied by the departments, are the salvation of France. Through this departure of the worthy, and this passivity of the flock, Paris belongs to the fanatics among the populace. “These are the sans-culottes,” wrote the patriotic Palloy, “the debauchees and rabble of Paris, and I glory in belonging to that class which has put down the so-called honest folks.”120 “Three thousand workmen,” says the Girondist Soulavie, later, “made the Revolution of the 10th of August, against the kingdom of the Feuillants, the majority of the capital and against the Legislative Assembly.”121 Workmen, day laborers, and petty shop-keepers, without counting women, common vagabonds and regular bandits, form, indeed, one-twentieth of the adult male population of the city, about 9,000 spread over all sections of Paris, the only ones to vote and act in the midst of universal stupor and indifference.—We find in the Rue de Seine, for example, seven of them, Lacaille, keeper of a roasting-shop; Philippe, “a cattle-breeder, who leads around she-asses for consumptives,” now president of the section, and soon to become one of the Abbaye butchers; Guérard, “a Rouen waterman who has abandoned the navigation of the Seine on a large scale and keeps a skiff, in which he ferries people over the river from the Pont du Louvre to the Quai Mazarin,” and four other characters of the same stamp. Energy, however, on this side supplies the place of education and of numbers. One day, Guérard, on passing M. Hua, the deputy, tells him in the way of a warning, “You big rascal, you were lucky to have other people with you. If you had been alone, I would have capsized my boat, and had the pleasure of drowning a blasted aristocrat!” These are the “matadors of the quarter.”122 —Their ignorance gives them no concern; on the contrary, they take pride in coarseness and vulgarity. One of the ordinary speechmakers of the faubourg Saint-Antoine, Gouchon, a designer for calicos, comes to the bar of the Assembly, “in the name of the men of July 14 and August 10,” to glorify the political reign of brutal incapacity; according to him, it is more enlightened than that of the cultivated:123 “those great geniuses who bear the fine title of Constitutionalists are forced to do justice to men who never studied the art of governing elsewhere than in the book of nature. … Consulting customs and not principles, these clever folks have been long occupied with the political balance of things; we have found it without looking for it in the heart of man. Obtain a government which will place the poor above their feeble resources and the rich below their means, and the balance will be perfect.” This is intelligible, and all that follows. Their avowed end is a complete levelling, not alone of political rights, but, again, and especially, of conditions and fortunes; they promise themselves “absolute equality, real equality,” and, still better, “the magistracy and all government powers.”124 France belongs to them, if they are bold enough to seize hold of it.—And, on the other hand, should they miss their prey, they feel themselves lost, for the Brunswick manifesto, which had made no impression on the public, remains deeply impressed in their minds. They apply its threats to themselves, while their imagination, as usual, has converted it into a positive plot:125 the inhabitants of Paris are to be led out on the plain of St. Denis, and there decimated; previous to this, the most notorious patriots will be selected, and then broken on the wheel, as well as forty or fifty market-women. Already, on the 11th of August, a rumor is current that 800 men of the late royal guards are ready to make a descent on Paris;126 that very day the dwelling of Beaumarchais is ransacked for seven hours; the walls are pierced, the privies sounded, and the garden dug down to the rock. The same search is repeated in the adjoining house. The women are especially “enraged at not finding anything,”127 and wish to renew the attempt, swearing that they will discover where things are hidden in ten minutes. The “coinage of the brain” is evidently too much for these unballasted minds; the head swims at this chance-formed royalty; a lofty self-conceit and extravagant desires coupled with deep-seated, silent fear form in them that morbid, mischievous compound, which, in democracy as well as in a monarchy, fashions a Nero.128
More infatuated, more despotic, more alarmed, their leaders have no scruples to restrain them, for the most noted among them are men of tarnished reputations, and just those who hurry along others or act by themselves. Of the three chiefs of the old municipality, Pétion, the mayor, really deposed, but verbally respected, is set aside and viewed in the same light as a piece of old furniture. As to the other two, who remain active and in office, Manuel,129 the syndic- attorney, son of a porter, a loud-talking, talentless bohemian, stole the private correspondence of Mirabeau from a public depository, falsified it, and sold it for his own benefit. Danton,130 Manuel’s deputy, faithless in two ways, receives the King’s money to prevent the riot, and makes use of it to urge it on.—Varlet, “that extraordinary speech-maker, led such a foul and prodigal life as to bring his mother in sorrow to the grave; afterwards he spent what was left, and soon had nothing.”131 Others were not only false to their honor but to common honesty. Carra, with a seat in the secret Directory of the Federates, and who drew up the plan of the insurrection, had been condemned by the Mâcon tribunals to two years’ imprisonment for theft and burglary.132 Westermann, who led the attacking column, had stolen a silver dish, with a coat of arms on it, of Jean Creux, keeper of a restaurant, Rue des Poules, and was twice sent away from Paris for swindling.133 Panis, chief of the Committee of Supervision,134 was turned out of the Treasury Department, where his uncle was a sub-cashier, in 1774, for robbery. His colleague, Sergent, appropriates to himself “three gold watches, an agate ring, and other jewels,” left with him on deposit.135 “Breaking seals, false charges, breaches of trust,” embezzlements, are familiar transactions. In their hands piles of silver plate and 1,100,000 francs in gold are to disappear.136 Among the members of the new Commune, Huguenin, the president, a clerk at the barriers, is a shameless peculator.137 Rossignol, a journeyman jeweller, implicated in an assassination, is at this moment subject to judicial prosecution.138 Hébert, a journalistic mine of filth, formerly check-taker in a theatre, is turned away from the Variétés for larceny.139 Among men of action, Fournier, the American, Lazowski, and Maillard are not only murderers, but likewise robbers,140 while, by their side, arises the future general of the Paris National Guard, Henriot, at first a domestic in the family of an attorney who turned him off for theft, then a tax-clerk, again turned adrift for theft, and, finally, a police spy, and still incarcerated in the Bicêtre prison for another theft, and, at last, a battalion officer, and one of the September executioners.141 —The monster maniacs emerge from their dens at the same time with the rogues and bandits. De Sades,142 who lived the life of “Justine” before he wrote it, and whom the Revolution delivered from the Bastille, is secretary of the section of the Place Vendôme. Marat, the homicidal monomaniac, constitutes himself, after the 23d of August, head journalist at the Hôtel-de-Ville, political councillor and confessor of the new Commune, while his favorite plan, which he has preached for three years, is now reduced to a wholesale butchery, without either words or delay. “Give me,” said he to Barbaroux,143 “two hundred Neapolitans armed with daggers, and with only a handkerchief on their left arms for a buckler, and I will overrun France and ensure the Revolution.” According to him it is necessary to put 260,000 men out of the way “on humane grounds,” for, unless this is done, there is no safety for the rest. “The National Assembly may still save France; let it decree that all aristocrats shall wear a blue ribbon, and the moment that three of them are seen in company, let them be hung.”—Another way would be “to lay in wait in dark streets and at corners for the royalists and Feuillants, and cut their throats. Should ten patriots chance to be killed among a hundred men, what does it matter? It is only ninety for ten, which prevents mistakes. Fall upon those who own carriages, employ valets, wear silk coats, or go to the theatres. You may be sure that they are aristocrats.”—The Jacobin commonalty have certainly found the staff that suits them. Both can comprehend each other without difficulty. In order that this spontaneous massacre may become an administrative measure, the Neros of the gutter have but to await the word of command from the Neros of the Hôtel-de-Ville.
[1. ]An expression of Lafayette’s in his address to the Assembly.
[2. ]Lafayette, “Mémoires,” I. 452.—Malouet (II. 213) states that there were seventy.
[3. ]Cf., for example, “Archives Nationales,” A.F. II. 116. Petition of 228 notables of Montargis.
[4. ]Petition of the 20,000, so-called, presented by Messrs. Guillaume and Dupont de Nemours.—Cf. Mortimer-Ternaux, I. 278.—According to Buchez et Roux, the petition contains only 7,411 names.
[5. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, I. 277.
[6. ]Moniteur, XIII. 89. The act (July 7) is drawn up with admirable precision and force. On comparing it with the vague, turgid exaggerations of their adversaries, it seems to measure the intellectual distance between the two parties.
[7. ]339 against 224.—Roederer (“Chronique des cinquante jours,” p. 79). “A strong current of opinion by a majority of the inhabitants of Paris sets in in favor of the king.”—“C. Desmoulins,” by Jules Claretie, 191. The words of C. Desmoulins: “That class of petty traders and shopkeepers, who are more afraid of the revolutionists than of so many Uhlans.”
[8. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, I. 236. Letter of Roederer to the president of the National Assembly, June 25. “Mr. President, I have the honor to inform the Assembly that an armed mob is now marching towards the Château.”
[9. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, I. 245, 246.—II. 81, 131, 148, 170.
[10. ]The murder of M. Duhamel, sub-lieutenant of the national guard.
[11. ]Letter of Vergniaud and Guadet to the painter Boze (in the “Mémoires de Dumouriez”).—Roederer, “Chronique des cinquante jours,” 295.—Bertrand de Molleville, “Mémoires,” III. 29.
[12. ]Moniteur, XIII. 155 (session of July 16).—Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 69. “Favored by you,” says Manuel, “all citizens are entitled to visit the first functionary of the nation. … The prince’s dwelling should be open, like a church. Fear of the people is an insult to the people. If Louis XVI. possessed the soul of a Marcus Aurelius, he would have descended into his gardens and tried to afford consolation to a hundred thousand beings, on account of the lingering delays of the Revolution. … Never were fewer robbers in the Tuileries than on that day, for the courtiers had fled. … The red cap was an honor to Louis XVI.’s head, and ought to be his crown.” At this solemn moment the fraternisation of the king with the people took place, and “the next day the same king betrayed, calumniated, and disgraced the people!” Manuel’s rigmarole surpasses all that can be imagined. “After this there arises in the panellings of the Louvre, at the confluence of the civil list, another channel, which leads through the shades below to Pétion’s dungeon. … The department, in dealing a blow at the municipality, explains how, at the banquet of the Law, it represents the Law in the form of a crocodile, etc.”
[13. ]Moniteur, XIII. 93 (session of July 9);—27 (session of July 2).
[14. ]Moniteur, XII. 751 (session of June 24); XIII. 33 (session of July 3).
[15. ]Moniteur, XIII. 224 (session of July 23). Two unsworn priests had just been massacred at Bordeaux and their heads carried through the streets on pikes. Ducos adds: “Since the executive power has put its veto on laws repressing fanaticism, popular executions begin to be repeated. If the courts do not render justice, etc.”—Ibid., XIII. 301 (session of July 31).
[16. ]Moniteur, XIII. 72 (session of July 7). The king’s speech to the Assembly after the Lamourette kiss. “I confess to you, M. le President, that I was very anxious for the deputation to arrive, that I might hasten to the Assembly.”
[17. ]Moniteur, XIII. 323 (session of Aug. 3). The declaration read in the king’s name must be weighed sentence by sentence; it sums up his conduct with perfect exactness and thus ends: “What are personal dangers to a king, from whom they would take the love of his people? That is what affects me most. The day will come, perhaps, when the people will know how much I prize its welfare, how much this has always been my concern and my first need. What sorrows would disappear at the slightest sign of its return!”
[18. ]Moniteur, XIII. 33, 56 bis, 85, 97 (sessions of July 3, 5, 6, and 9).
[19. ]Moniteur, XIII. 26, 170, 273 (sessions of July 12, 17, 28).—Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 122 (session of July 23). Addresses of the municipal council of Marseilles, of the federates, of the Angers petitioners, of the Charente volunteers, etc. “A hereditary monarchy is opposed to the Rights of Man. Pass the act of dethronement and France is saved. … Be brave, let the sword of the law fall on a perjured functionary and conspirator! Lafayette is the most contemptible, the guiltiest, … the most infamous of the assassins of the people,” etc.
[20. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 126.—Bertrand de Molleville, III. 294.
[21. ]Moniteur XIII. 325 (session of Aug. 3).
[22. ]Moniteur, XII. 738; XII. 340.
[23. ]Moniteur, XIII. 170, 171, 187, 208, 335 (sessions of July 17, 18, and 23, and Aug. 5).
[24. ]Moniteur, XIII. 187 (session of July 18). “The galleries applaud. The Assembly murmurs.”—208 (July 21). “Murmurings, shouts, and cries of Down with the speaker! from the galleries. The president calls the house to order five times, but always fruitlessly.”—224 (July 23). “The galleries applaud; long-continued murmurs are heard in the Assembly.”
[25. ]Buzot, “Mémoires” (Ed. Dauban, 83 and 84). “The majority of the French people yearned for royalty and the constitution of 1790. … It was at Paris particularly that this desire governed the general plan, the discussion of it being the least feared in special conversations and in private society. There were only a few noble-minded, superior men that were worthy of being republicans. … The rest desired the constitution of 1791, and spoke of the republicans only as one speaks of very honest maniacs.”
[26. ]Duvergier, “Collection des lois et décrets,” May 29, 1792; July 15, 16, and 18; July 6–20.
[27. ]Moniteur, XIII. 25 (session of July 1). Petition of 150 active citizens of the Bonne-Nouvelle section.
[28. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 194. Buchez et Roux, XVI. 253. The decree of dismissal was not passed until the 12th of August, but after the 31st of July the municipality demanded it and during the following days several Jacobin grenadiers go to the National Assembly, stamp on their felt cap, and put on the red cap.
[29. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 192 (municipal action of Aug. 5).
[30. ]Decree of July 2.
[31. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 129.—Buchez et Roux, XV. 458. According to the report of the Minister of War, read the 30th of July, at the evening session, 5,314 department federates left Paris between July 14 and 30. Pétion wrote that the levy of federates then in Paris amounted to 2,960, “of which 2,032 were getting ready to go to the camp at Soissons.”—A comparison of these figures leads to the approximate number that I have adopted.
[32. ]Buchez et Roux, XVI. 120, 133 (session of the Jacobins, Aug. 6). The federates “resolved to watch the Château, each taking a place in the battalions respectively of the sections in which they lodge, and many incorporated themselves with the battalions of the faubourg St. Antoine.”
[33. ]Mercure de France, April 14, 1792.—“The Revolution,” I. p. 332.
[34. ]Barbaroux, “Mémoires,” 37–40.—Laurent-Lautard, “Marseilles depuis 1789 jusqu’ à 1815,” I. 134. “The mayor, Mourdeille,” who had recruited them, “was perhaps very glad to get rid of them.”—On the composition of this group and on the previous rôle of Rebecqui, see chapter vi.
[35. ]Buchez et Roux, XVI. 197 and following pages.—Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 148 (the grenadiers numbered only 166).—Moniteur, XIII. 310 (session of Aug. 1). Address of the grenadiers: “They swore on their honor that they did not draw their swords until after being threatened for a quarter of an hour, then insulted and humiliated, until forced to defend their lives against a troop of brigands armed with pistols, and some of them with carbines.”—“The reading of this memorial is often interrupted by hootings from the galleries, in spite of the president’s orders.”—Hootings again, when they file out of the chamber.
[36. ]The lack of men of action greatly embarrassed the Jacobin party. (“Correspondence de Mirabeau et du Comte de la Marck,” II. 326.) Letter of M. de Montmorin, July 13, 1792 on the disposition of the people of Paris, wearied and worn out “to excess.” “They will take no side, either for or against the king. They no longer stir for any purpose. Riots are wholly factitious. So true is this, they are obliged to bring men from the South to get them up. Nearly the whole of those who forced the gates of the Tuileries, or rather, who got inside of them on the 20th of June, were foreigners or lookers-on, got together at the sight of such a lot of pikes and red caps, etc. The cowards ran at the slightest indication of presenting arms, which was done by a portion of the national guard on the arrival of a deputation from the National Assembly, their leaders being obliged to encourage them by telling them that they were not to be fired at.”
[37. ]Buchez et Roux, XVI. 447. “Chronique des cinquante jours,” by Roederer.
[38. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 378.—127 Jacobins of Arras, led by Geoffroy and young Robespierre, declare to the Directory that they mean to come to its meetings and follow its deliberations. “It is time that the master should keep his eye on his agents.” The Directory, therefore, resigns (July 4, 1792).—Ibid., 462 (report of Leroux, municipal officer). The Paris municipal council, on the night of August 9–10 deliberates under threats of death and the furious shouts of the galleries.
[39. ]Duvergier’s “Collection of Laws and Decrees,” July 4, 5–8, 11–12, 25–28.—Buchez et Roux, XVI. 250. The section of the Theatre Français (of which Danton is president and Chaumette and Momoro secretaries) thus interpret the declaration of the country being in danger. “After a declaration of the country being in danger by the representatives of the people, it is natural that the people itself should take back its sovereign oversight.”
[40. ]Schmidt, “Tableaux de la Révolution,” I. 99–100. Report to Roland, Oct. 29, 1792.
[41. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 199.—Buchez et Roux, XVI. 230.—Moniteur, XIII. 336 (session of Aug. 5). Speech by Collot d’Herbois.
[42. ]Moniteur, XI. 20, session of Feb. 4. At this meeting Gorguereau, reporter of the committee on legislation, had already stated that “The authors of these multiplied addresses seem to command rather than demand. … It is ever the same sections or the same individuals who deceive you in bringing to you their own false testimony for that of the capital.”—“Down with the reporter! from the galleries.”—Ibid., XIII. 93, session of July 11. M. Gastelier: “Addresses in the name of the people are constantly read to you, which are not even the voice of one section. We have seen the same individual coming three times a week to demand something in the name of sovereignty.” [Shouts of down! down! in the galleries.]—Ibid., 208, session of July 21. M. Dumolard: “You must distinguish between the people of Paris and these subaltern intriguers … these habitual oracles of the cafés and public squares, whose equivocal existence has for a long time occupied the attention and claimed the supervision of the police.” [Down with the speaker! murmurs and hootings in the galleries.]—Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 398. Protestation of the arsenal section, read by Lavoisier (the chemist): “The caprice of a knot of citizens (thus) becomes the desire of an immense population.”
[43. ]Buchez et Roux, XVI. 251.—Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 239 and 243. The central bureau is first opened in “the building of the Saint-Esprit, in the second story, near the passage communicating with the common dwelling.” Afterwards the commissioners of the sections occupy another room in the Hôtel-de-Ville, nearly joining the throne-room, where the municipal council is holding its sessions. During the night of August 9–10 both councils sit four hours simultaneously within a few steps of each other.
[44. ]Robespierre, “Seventh letter to his constituents,” says: “The sections … have been busy for more than a fortnight getting ready for the last Revolution.”
[45. ]Robespierre, “Seventh letter to his constituents.”—Malouet, II. 233, 234.—Roederer, “Chronique des cinquante jours.”
[46. ]Moniteur, XIII. 318, 319. The petition is drawn up apparently by people who are beside themselves. “If we did not rely on you, I would not answer for the excesses to which our despair would carry us! We would bring on ourselves all the horrors of civil war, provided we could, on dying, drag along with us some of our cowardly assassins!”—The representatives, it must be noted, talk in the same vein. Lasource exclaims: “The members here, like yourselves, call for vengeance!” Thuriot declares that “It is an atrocious crime!”
[47. ]Buchez et Roux, XIX. 93, session of Sept. 23, 1792. Speech by Panis: “Many worthy citizens would like to have judicial proof; but political proofs satisfy us.”—Towards the end of July the Minister of the Interior had invited Pétion to send two municipal officers to examine the Tuileries; but this the council refused to do, so as to keep up the excitement.
[48. ]Mallet-Dupan, “Mémoires,” 303. Letter of Malouet, June 29.—Bertrand de Molleville, “Mémoires,” II. 301.—Hua, 148.—Weber, II. 208.—Madame Campan, “Mémoires,” II. 188. Already, at the end of 1791, the king was told that he was liable to be poisoned by the pastry-cook of the palace, a Jacobin. For three or four months the bread and pastry he ate were secretly purchased in other places. On the 14th of July, 1792, his attendants, on account of the threats against his life, put a breastplate on him under his coat.
[49. ]Moniteur, VIII. 271, 278. A deputy, excusing his assailants, pretends that d’Espréménil urged the people to enter the Tuileries garden. It is scarcely necessary to state that during the Constituent Assembly d’Espréménil was one of the most conspicuous members of the extreme “Right.”—Duc de Gaëte, “Mémoires,” I. 18.
[50. ]Lafayette, “Mémoires,” I. 465.
[51. ]Moniteur, XIII. 327.—Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 176.
[52. ]Moniteur, XIII. 340.—The style of these petitions is highly instructive. We see in them the state of mind and degree of education of the petitioners: at one time a half-educated writer attempting to reason in the vein of the Contrat Social; at another, a schoolboy spouting the tirades of Raynal; and again, the corner letter-writer putting together the periods forming his stock in trade.
[53. ]Carra, “Précis historique sur l’origine et les véritables auteurs de l’insurrection du 10 Août.”—Barbaroux, “Mémoires,” 49. The executive directory, appointed by the central committee of the confederates, held its first meeting in a wine-shop, the Soleil d’or, on the square of the Bastille; the second at the Cadran bleu, on the boulevard; the third in Antoine’s room, who then lodged in the same house with Robespierre. Camille Desmoulins was present at this latter meeting. Santerre, Westermann, Fournier the American, and Lazowski were the principal members of this Directory. Another insurrectionary plan was drawn up on the 30th of July in a wine-shop at Charenton by Barbaroux, Rebecqui, Pierre Bayle, Heron, and Fournier the American.—Cf. J. Claretie, “Camille Desmoulins,” p. 192. Desmoulins wrote, a little before the 10th of August: “If the National Assembly thinks that it cannot save the country, let it declare then, that, according to the Constitution, and like the Romans, it hands this over to each citizen. Let the tocsin be rung forthwith, the whole nation assembled, and every man, as at Rome, be invested with the power of putting to death all well-known conspirators!”
[54. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 182. Decision of the Quinze-Vingt Section, Aug. 4.—Buchez et Roux, XVI. 402–410. History of the Quinze-Vingt Section.
[55. ]Moniteur, XIII. 367, session of Aug. 8.—Ibid., 369 and following pages. Session of Aug. 9. Letters and speeches of maltreated deputies.
[56. ]Moniteur, 371. Speech of M. Girardin: “I am confident that most of those who insulated me were foreigners.”—Ibid., 370. Letter of M. Frouvières: “Many of the citizens, coming out of their shops, exclaimed: How can they insult the deputies in this way? Run away! run off!”—M. Jolivet, that evening attending a meeting of the Jacobin Club, states “that the Jacobin tribunes were far from sharing in this frenzy.” He heard “one individual in these tribunes exclaim, on the proposal to put the dwellings of the deputies on the list, that it was outrageous.”—Countless other details show the small number and character of the factions.—Ibid., 374. Speech of Aubert-Dubacet: “I saw men dressed in the coats of the national guard, with countenances betraying everything that is most vile in wickedness.” There are “a great many evil-disposed persons among the federates.”
[57. ]Moniteur, XIII. 170 (letter of M. de Joly, Minister of Justice).—Ibid., 371, declaration of M. Jollivet.—Buchez et Roux, XVI. 370 (session of the Jacobin Club, Aug. 8, at evening). Speech by Goupilleau.
[58. ]Moniteur, XIII. 370.—Cf. Ibid., the letter of M. Chapron.—Ibid., 372. Speech by M. A. Vaublanc.—Moore, “Journal during a Residence in France,” I. 25 (Aug. 10). The impudence of the people in the galleries was intolerable. There was “a loud and universal peal of laughter from all the galleries” on the reading of a letter, in which a deputy wrote that he was threatened with decapitation.—“Fifty members were vociferating at once; the most boisterous night I ever was witness to in the House of Commons was calmness itself alongside of this.”
[59. ]Moniteur, Ibid., p. 371.—Lafayette, I. 467. “On the 9th of August, as can be seen in the unmutilated editions of the Logographe, the Assembly, almost to a man, arose and declared that it was not free.” Ibid., 478. “On the 9th of August the Assembly had passed a decree declaring that it was not free. This decree was torn up on the 10th. But it is no less true that it was passed.”
[60. ]Moniteur, XIII. 370, 374, 375. Speech by Roederer, letter of M. de Joly, and speech by Pétion.
[61. ]Mathieu Dumas, “Mémoires,” II. 461.
[62. ]“Chronique des cinquante jours,” by Roederer.—Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 260.—Buchez et Roux, XVI. 458.—Towards half-past seven in the morning there were only from sixty to eighty members present. (Testimony of two of the Ministers who leave the Assembly.)
[63. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 205. At the ballot of July 12, not counting members on leave of absence or delegated elsewhere, and the dead not replaced, there were already twenty-seven not answering the call, while after that date three others resigned.—Buchez et Roux, XVII. 340 (session of Sept. 2, 1792). Hérault de Séchelles is elected president by 248 out of 257 voters.—Hua, 164 (after Aug. 10). “We attended the meetings of the House simply to show that we had not given them up. We took no part in the discussions, and on the vote being taken, standing or sitting, we remained in our seats. This was the only protest we could make.”
[64. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 229, 233, 417 and following pages. M. Mortimer-Ternaux is the first to expose, with documents to support him and critical discussion, the formation of the revolutionary commune.—The six sections referred to are the Lombards, Gravilliers, Mauconseil, Gobelins, Théatre-Français, and Faubourg Poissonnière.
[65. ]For instance, the Enfants Rouges, Louvre, Observatoire, Fontaine-Grenelle, Faubourg St. Denis, and Thermes de Julien.
[66. ]For example, at the sections of Montreuil, Popincourt, and Roi de Sicile.
[67. ]For example, Ponceau, Invalides, Sainte-Geneviève.
[68. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 240.
[69. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, 446 (list of the commissioners who took their seats before 9 o’clock in the morning). “Le Tableau général des Commissaires des 48 sections qui ont composé le conseil général de la Commune de Paris, le 10 Août, 1792,” it must be noted, was not published until three or four months later, with all the essential falsifications. It may be found in Buchez et Roux, XVI. 450.—“Relation de l’abbé Sicard.” “At that time a lot of scoundrels, after the general meeting of the sections was over, passed acts in the name of the whole assemblage and had them executed, utterly unknown to those who had done this, or by those who were the unfortunate victims of these proceedings” (supported by documents).
[70. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 270, 273. (The official report of Mandat’s examination contains five false statements, either through omission or substitution.)
[71. ]Claretie, “Camille Desmoulins,” p. 467 (notes of Topino-Lebrun on Danton’s trial). Danton, in the pleadings, says: “I left at 1 o’clock in the morning. I was at the revolutionary commune and pronounced sentence of death on Mandet, who had orders to fire on the people.” Danton in the same place says: “I had planned the 10th of August.” It is very certain that from 1 to 7 o’clock in the morning (when Mandat was killed) he was the principal leader of the insurrectional commune. Nobody was so potent, so overbearing, so well endowed physically for the control of such a conventicle as Danton. Besides, among the new-comers he was the best known and with the most influence through his position as deputy of the syndic-attorney. Hence his prestige after the victory and appointment as Minister of Justice. His hierarchical superior, the syndic-attorney Manuel, who was there also and signed his name, showed himself undoubtedly the pitiful fellow he was, an affected, crazy, ridiculous loud-talker. For this reason he was allowed to remain syndic-attorney as a tool and servant.—Beaulieu, “Essais sur la Révolution Française,” III. 454. “Rossignol boasted of having committed this assassination himself.”
[72. ]“Pièces intéressantes pour l’histoire,” by Pétion, 1793. “I desired the insurrection, but I trembled for fear that it might not succeed. My position was a critical one. I had to do my duty as a citizen without sacrificing that of a magistrate; externals had to be preserved, without derogating from forms. The plan was to confine me in my own house; but they forgot or delayed to carry this out. Who do you think repeatedly sent to urge the execution of this measure? Myself; yes, myself!”
[73. ]Napoleon, at this moment, was at the Carrousel, in the house of Bourrienne’s brother. “I could see conveniently,” he says, “all that took place during the day. … The king had at least as many troops in his defence as the Convention since had on the 13th Vendémaire, while the enemies of the latter were much more formidable and better disciplined. The greater part of the national guard showed that they favored the king; this justice must be done to it.”
[74. ]Official report of Leroux. On the side of the garden, along the terrace by the river, and then on the return were “a few shouts of Vive le roi! many for Vive la nation! Vivent les sans-culottes! Down with the king! Down with the veto! Down with the old porker! etc.—But I can certify that these insults were all uttered between the Pont-Tournant and the parterre, and by about a dozen men, among which were five or six cannoneers following the king, the same as flies follow an animal they are bent on tormenting.”
[75. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 223, 273.—Letter of Bonnaud, chief of the Sainte-Marguerite battalion: “I cannot avoid marching at their head under any pretext. … Never will I violate the Constitution unless I am forced to.”—The Gravilliers section and that of the Faubourg Poissonnière cashiered their officers and elected others.
[76. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, IV. 342. Speech of Fabre d’Eglantine at the Jacobin Club, Nov. 5, 1792. “Let it be loudly proclaimed that these are the same men who captured the Tuileries, broke into the Abbaye prisons, those of Orleans and those of Versailles.”
[77. ]In this respect the riot of the Champ-de-Mars (July 17, 1791), the only one that was suppressed, is very instructive: “As the militia would not as usual ground their arms on receiving the word of command from the mob, this last began, according to custom, to pelt them with stones. To be disappointed in their amusement, to be paraded through the streets under a scorching sun, and then stand like holiday-turkeys to be knocked down with brick-bats was a little more than they had patience to bear: so that, without waiting for orders, they fired and killed a dozen or two of the ragged regiment. The rest ran off like lusty fellows. If the militia had waited for orders they might, I fancy, have been all knocked down before they received any. … Lafayette was very near being killed in the morning; but the pistol snapped at his breast. The assassin was immediately secured, but he ordered him to be discharged” (Gouverneur Morris, letter of July 20, 1791). Likewise, on the 29th of August, 1792, at Rouen, the national guard, defending the Hôtel-de-Ville, is pelted with stones more than an hour, while many are wounded. The magistrates make every concession and try every expedient, the mayor reading the riot act five or six times. Finally the national guard, forced into it, exclaim: “If you do not allow us to repel force with force we shall leave.” They fire and four persons are killed and two wounded, and the crowd breaks up. (“Archives Nationales,” F7, 2,265, official report of the Rouen municipality, Aug. 29: addresses of the municipality, Aug. 28; letter of the lieutenant-colonel of the gendarmerie, Aug. 30, etc.)
[78. ]Official report of Leroux.—“Chronique des cinquante jours,” by Roederer.—“Détails particuliers sur la journée du 10 Août,” by a bourgeois of Paris, an eye-witness (1822).
[79. ]Barbaroux, “Mémoires,” 69. “Everything betokened victory for the court if the king had not left his post. … If he had shown himself, if he had mounted on horseback the battalions of Paris would have declared for him.”
[80. ]“Révolution de Paris,” number for Aug. 11, 1792. “The 10th of August, 1792, is still more horrible than the 24th of August, 1572, and Louis XVI. a greater monster than Charles IX.” “Thousands of torches were found in cellars, apparently placed there to burn down Paris at a signal from this modern Nero.” In the number for Aug. 18: “The place for Louis Nero and for Medicis Antoinette is not in the towers of the Temple; their heads should have fallen from the guillotine on the night of the 10th of August.” (Special details of a plan of the king to massacre all patriot deputies, and intimidate Paris with a grand pillaging and by keeping the guillotine constantly at work.) “That crowned ogre and his Austrian panther.”
[81. ]Narrative of the Minister Joly (written four days after the event). The king departs about half-past eight.—Cf. Madame Campan, “Mémoires,” and Moniteur, XIII. 378.
[82. ]“Révolution de Paris,” number for Aug. 18. On his way a sans-culotte steps out in front of the rows and tries to prevent the king from proceeding. The officer of the guard argues with him, upon which he extends his hand to the king, exclaiming: “Shake that hand, f—— of an honest man! But I have no idea of your wife going to the Assembly with you. That —— is not wanted there!” “Louis XVI.,” says Prudhomme, “kept on his way without being at all struck with this noble impulse.” I regard this as a masterpiece of Jacobin interpretation.
[83. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 311, 325. The king, at the foot of the staircase, had asked Roederer: “What will become of the persons remaining above?” “Sire,” he replies, “they seem to be in plain dress. Those who have swords have merely to take them off, follow you, and leave by the garden.” A certain number of gentlemen, indeed, do so, and thus depart, while others escape by the opposite side through the gallery of the Louvre.
[84. ]Mathon de la Varenne, “Histoire particulière,” etc., 108. (Testimony of the valet-de-chambre Lorimier de Chamilly, with whom Mathon was imprisoned in the prison of La Force.)
[85. ]De Lavalette, “Mémoires,” I. 81. “We there found the grand staircase barred by a sort of beam placed across it, and defended by several Swiss officers, who were civilly disputing its passage with about fifty mad fellows, whose odd dress very much resembled that of the brigands in our melodramas. They were intoxicated, while their coarse language and queer imprecations indicated the town of Marseilles, which had belched them forth.”
[86. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 314, 317, 487 (examination of M. de Diesbach). “Their orders were not to fire until the word was given, and not before the national guard had set the example.”
[87. ]Buchez et Roux, XVI. 443, narrated by Pétion.—Peltier, “Histoire du 10 Août.”
[88. ]M. de Nicolaï was there the next day, Aug. 11. “The federates fired first, which was followed by a sharp volley from the château windows” (Le Comte de Fersen et la Cour de France, II. 347).
[89. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 491. The abandonment of the Tuileries is proved by the small loss of the assailants. (List of the wounded belonging to the Marseilles corps and of the killed and wounded of the Brest corps, drawn up Oct. 16, 1792.—Statement of the aid granted to wounded Parisians, to widows, to orphans, and to the aged, October, 1792, and then 1794.)—The total amounts to 74 dead and 54 severely wounded. The two corps in the hottest of the fight were the Marseilles band, which lost 22 dead and 14 wounded, and the Bretons, who lost 2 dead and 5 wounded. The sections that suffered the most were the Quinze-Vingts (4 dead and 4 wounded), the Faubourg-Montmartre (3 dead), the Lombards (4 wounded), and the Gravilliers (3 wounded).—Out of twenty-one sections reported, seven declare that they did not lose a man.—The Swiss regiment, on the contrary, lost 760 men and 26 officers.
[90. ]Napoleon’s narrative.
[91. ]Pétion’s account.
[92. ]Prudhomme’s “Révolution de Paris,” XIII. 236 and 237.—Barbaroux, 73.—Madame Campan, II. 250.
[93. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 258.—Moore, I. 59. Some of the robbers are killed. Moore saw one of them thrown down the grand staircase.
[94. ]Michelet, III. 289.
[95. ]Mercier, “Le Nouveau Paris,” II. 108—“The Comte de Fersen et la Cour de France,” II. 348. (Letter of Sainte-Foix, Aug. 11). “The cellars were broken open and more than 10,000 bottles of wine, of which I saw the fragments in the court, so intoxicated the people that I made haste to put an end to an investigation imprudently begun amidst 2,000 sots with naked swords, handled by them very carelessly.”
[96. ]Napoleon’s narrative.—Memoirs of Barbaroux.
[97. ]Moniteur, XIII. 387. Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 340.
[98. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 303. Words of the president Vergniaud on receiving Louis XVI.—Ibid., 342, 340, 350.
[99. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, 356, 357.
[100. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, 337. Speech of Huguenin, president of the Commune, at the bar of the National Assembly: “The people by whom we are sent to you have instructed us to declare to you that they invest you anew with its confidence; but they at the same time instruct us to declare to you that, as judge of the extraordinary measures to which they have been driven by necessity and resistance to oppression, they know no other authority than the French people, your sovereign and ours, assembled in its primary meetings.”
[101. ]Duvergier, “Collection des lois et décrets” (between Aug. 10 and Sept. 20).
[102. ]Duvergier, “Collection des lois et décrets,” Aug. 11–12. “The National Assembly considering that it has not the right to subject sovereignty in the formation of a national Convention to imperative regulations, … invites citizens to conform to the following rules.”
[103. ]August 11 (article 8).
[104. ]Aug. 10–12 and Aug. 28.
[105. ]Ibid., Aug. 10, Aug. 13.—Cf. Moniteur, XIII. 399 (session of Aug. 12).
[106. ]Ibid., Aug. 18.
[107. ]Aug. 23 and Sept. 3. After the 11th of August the Assembly passes a decree releasing Saint-Huruge and annulling the warrant against Antoine.
[108. ]Ibid., Aug. 14.
[109. ]Ibid., Aug. 14. Decree for dividing the property of the émigrés into lots of from two to four arpents, in order to “multiply small proprietors.”—Ibid., Sept. 2. Other decrees against the émigrés and their relations, Aug. 15, 23, 30, and Sept. 5 and 9.
[110. ]Ibid., Aug. 26. Other decrees against the persons or property of ecclesiastics, Aug. 17, 18, 19, and Sept. 9 and 19.
[111. ]Ibid., Sept. 20.
[112. ]Malouet, II. 241.
[113. ]Mercure de France, July 21, 1792.
[114. ]“Révolutions de Paris,” XIII. 137.
[115. ]Mallet-Dupan, “Mémoires,” I. 322. Letters to Mallet-Dupan, Aug. 4 and following days.
[116. ]Buchez et Roux, XVI. 446. Pétion’s narrative.—Arnault, “Souvenirs d’un sexagénaire,” I. 342. (An eye-witness on the 10th of August.) “The massacre extended but little beyond the Carrousel, and did not cross the Seine. Everywhere else I found a population as quiet as if nothing had happened. Inside the city the people scarcely manifested any surprise; dancing went on in the public gardens. In the Marais, where I lived then, there was only a suspicion of the occurrence, the same as at St. Germain; it was said that something was going on in Paris, and the evening newspaper was impatiently looked for to know what it was.”
[117. ]Moore, I. 122.—The same thing is observable at other crises in the Revolution. On the 6th of October, 1789 (Sainte-Beuve, “Causeries du Lundi,” XII. 461), Sénac de Meilhan at an evening reception hears the following conversations: “ ‘Did you see the king pass?’ asks one. ‘No, I was at the theatre.’ ‘Did Molé play?’—‘As for myself, I was obliged to stay in the Tuileries; there was no way of getting out before 9 o’clock.’ ‘You saw the king pass then?’ ‘I could not see very well; it was dark.’—Another says: ‘It must have taken six hours for him to come from Versailles.’—Others coolly add a few details.—To continue: ‘Will you take a hand at whist?’ ‘I will play after supper, which is just ready.’ Cannon are heard, and then a few whisperings, and a transient moment of depression. ‘The king is leaving the Hôtel-de-Ville. They must be very tired.’ Supper is taken and there are snatches of conversation. They play trente et quarante, and while walking about watching the game and their cards they do some talking: ‘What a horrid affair!’ while some speak together briefly and in a low tone of voice. The clock strikes two and they all leave or go to bed.—These people seem to you insensible. Very well; there is not one of them who would not accept death at the king’s feet.”—On the 23rd of June, 1791, at the news of the king’s arrest at Varennes, “the Bois de Boulogne and the Champs-Elysées were filled with people talking in a frivolous way about the most serious matters, while young men are seen pronouncing sentences of death in their frolics with courtesans.” (Mercure de France, July 9, 1791. It begins with a little piece entitled Dépit d’un Amant.)—See ch. xi. for the sentiment of the population in May and June, 1793.
[118. ]Moniteur, XIII. 290 (July 29) and 278 (July 30).
[119. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 145. Letter of Santerre to the Minister of the Interior, Sept. 16, 1792, with the daily list of all the men that have left Paris between the 3d and 15th of September, the total amounting to 18,635, of which 15,504 are volunteers. Other letters from the same, indicating subsequent departures: Sept. 17, 1,071 men; none the following days until Sept. 21, 243; 22d, 150; up to the 26th, 813; on Oct. 1, 113; 2d and 3d, 1,088; 4th, 1,620; 16th, 196, etc.—I believe that amongst those who leave, some are passing through Paris, coming from the provinces; this prevents an exact calculation of the number of Parisian volunteers. M. de Lavalette, himself a volunteer, says 60,000; but he furnishes no proofs of this.
[120. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 362.
[121. ]Soulavie, “Vie privée du Maréchal duc de Richelieu,” IX. 384.—“One can scarcely comprehend,” says Lafayette (“Mémoires,” I. 454), “how the Jacobin minority and a gang of pretended Marseilles men could render themselves masters of Paris, whilst almost the whole of the 40,000 citizens forming the national guard desired the Constitution.”
[122. ]Hua, 169.
[123. ]Moniteur, XIII. 437 (session of Aug. 16, the applause reiterated and the speech ordered to be printed).
[124. ]Roederer, “Oeuvres Complètes,” VIII. 477. “The club orators displayed France to the proletariat as a sure prey if they would seize hold of it.”
[125. ]“Moore’s Journal,” I. 303–309.
[126. ]“Archives Nationales,” 474, 426. Section of Gravilliers, letter of Charles Chemin, commissary, to Santerre, and deposition of Hingray, of the national gendarmerie, Aug. 11.
[127. ]Beaumarchais, “Oeuvres complètes,” letter of Aug. 12, 1792.—This very interesting letter shows how mobs are composed at this epoch. A small gang of regular brigands and thieves plot together some enterprise, to which is added a frightened, infatuated crowd, which may become ferocious, but which remains honest.
[128. ]The words of Hobbes applied by Roederer to the democracy of 1792: “In democratia tot possent esse Nerones quot sunt oratores qui populo adulantur; simul et plures sunt in democratia, et quotidie novi suboriuntur.”
[129. ]Lucas de Montigny, “Mémoires de Mirabeau,” II. 231 and following pages.—The preface affixed by Manuel to his edition (of Mirabeau’s letters) is a masterpiece of nonsense and impertinence.—Peltier, “Histoire du 10 Août,” II. 205.—Manuel “came out of a little shop at Montargis and hawked about obscene tracts in the upper stories of Paris. He got hold of Mirabeau’s letters in the drawers of the public department and sold them for 2,000 crowns” (testimony of Boquillon, juge-de-paix).
[130. ]Lafayette, “Mémoires,” I. 467, 471. “The queen had 50,000 crowns put into Danton’s hands a short time before these terrible days.”—“The court had Danton under pay for two years, employing him as a spy on the Jacobins.”—“Correspondence de Mirabeau et du Comte de la Marck,” III. 82. (Letter from Mirabeau, March 10, 1791.) “Danton received yesterday 30,000 livres.”—Other testimony, Bertrand de Molleville, I. 354; II. 288. Brissot, IV. 193. Miot de Melito, “Mémoires,” I. 40, 42. Miot was present at the conversations which took place between Danton, Legendre, etc., at the table of Desforges, Minister of Foreign Affairs. “Danton made no concealment of his love of pleasure and money, and laughed at all conscientious and delicate scruples.”—“Legendre could not say enough in praise of Danton in speaking of his talents as a public man; but he loudly censured his habits and expensive tastes, and never joined him in any of his odious speculations.”—The opposite thesis has been maintained by Robinet and Bougeart in their articles on Danton. The discussion would require too much space. The important points are as follows: 1. Danton, a barrister in the royal council in March, 1787, loses about 10,000 francs on the sale of his place. 2. In his marriage-contract, dated June, 1787, he admits 12,000 francs patrimony in lands and houses, while his wife brings him only 20,000 francs dowry. 3. From 1787 to 1791 he could not earn much, being in constant attendance at the Cordeliers club and devoted to politics; Lacretelle saw him in the riots of 1788. 4. He left at his death about 85,000 francs in national property bought in 1791. 5. Besides, he probably held property and valuables under third parties, who kept them after his death. (De Martel, “Types Révolutionnaires,” 2d part, p. 139. Investigations of Blache at Choisy-sur-Seine, where a certain Fauvel seems to have been Danton’s assumed name.)—See on this question, “Avocats aux conseils du Roi,” by Emil Bos, pp. 513–520. According to accounts proved by M. Bos, it follows that Danton, at the end of 1791, was in debt to the amount of 53,000 francs; this is the hole stopped by the court. On the other side, Danton before the Revolution signs himself Danton even in authentic writing, which is an usurpation of nobility and at that time subject to the penalty of the galleys.—The double-faced infidelity in question must have been frequent, for their leaders were anything else but sensitive. On the 7th of August Madame Elizabeth tells M. de Montmorin that the insurrection would not take place; that Pétion and Santerre were concerned in it, and that they had received 750,000 francs to prevent it and bring over the Marseilles troop to the king’s side (Malouet, II. 223).—There is no doubt that Santerre, in using the king’s money against the king, thought he was acting patriotically. Money is at the bottom of every riot, to pay for drink and to stimulate subordinate agents.
[131. ]Buchez et Roux, XXVIII. 92. Letter of Gadol to Roland, October, 1792, according to a narrative by one of the teachers in the college d’Harcourt, in which Varlet was placed.
[132. ]Buchez et Roux, XIII. 254.
[133. ]“C. Desmoulins,” by Claretie, 238 (in 1786 and in 1775). “The inquest still exists; unfortunately it is convincing.”—Westermann was accused of these acts in December, 1792, by the section of the Lombards, “proofs in hand”—Gouverneur Morris, so well informed, writes to Washington, Jan. 10, 1793: The retreat of the King of Prussia “was worth to Westermann about 10,000 pounds. … The council … exerted against him a prosecution for old affairs of no higher rank than petty larceny.”
[134. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 4,434 (papers of the committee of general safety). Note on Panis, with full details and references to the occurrence.
[135. ]“Révolutions de Paris,” No. 177 (session of the council-general at the Hôtel-de-Ville, Nov. 8, 1792, report of the committee of surveillance). “Sergent admits, except as to one of the watches, that he intended to pay for the said object the price they would have brought. It was noticed, as he said this, that he had on his finger the agate ring that was claimed.”
[136. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 638; III. 500 and following pages; IV. 132.—Cf. II. 451.
[137. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, II. 456.
[138. ]Buchez et Roux, XVI. 138, 140 (testimony of Mathon de la Varenne, who was engaged in the case).
[139. ]“Dictionnaire biographique,” by Eymery (Leipsic, 1807), article Hebert.
[140. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 484, 601. Cf. Letter of the representative Cavaignac, Ibid., 399.
[141. ]“Dictionnaire biographique,” article Henriot.—The lives of many of these subordinate leaders are well done. Cf. “Stanislas Maillard,” by Al. Sorel; “Le Patriote Palloy,” by V. Fournel.
[142. ]Granier de Cassagnac, “Histoire des Girondins,” 409.—“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,196. Letters of de Sades on the sacking of his house near Apt, with supporting documents and proofs of his civism; among others a petition drawn up by him in the name of the Piques section and read at the Convention year II. brumaire 25: “Legislators, the reign of philosophy has come to annihilate that of imposture. … The worship of a Jewish slave of the Romans is not adapted to the descendants of Scaevola. The general prosperity which is certain to proceed from individual happiness will spread to the farthest regions of the universe, and everywhere the dreaded hydra of ultramontane superstition, hunted down through the combined lights of reason and virtue, no longer finding a refuge in the hateful haunts of an expiring aristocracy, will perish at her side in despair at finally beholding on this earth the triumph of philosophy!”
[143. ]Barbaroux, “Mémoires,” 57, 59. The latter months of the legislative assembly.