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CHAPTER X - 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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The departments—The epidemic and contagious character of the revolutionary disease—I.Its essential principle is the Jacobin dogma of the sovereignty of the people—The new right is officially proclaimed—Public statement of the new régime—Its object, its opponents, its methods—Its extension from Paris to the provinces—II.In several departments it establishes itself in advance—An instance of this in the Var—III.Each Jacobin band a dictator in its own neighborhood—Saint-Afrique during the interregnum—IV.Ordinary practices of the Jacobin dictatorship—The stationary companies of the clubs—Their personnel—Their leaders—V.The companies of traveling volunteers—Quality of the recruits—Election of officers—Robberies and murders—VI.A tour of France in the cabinet of the Minister of the Interior—From Carcassonne to Bordeaux—Bordeaux to Caen—The north and the east—Châlons-sur-Marne to Lyons—The Comtat and Provence—The tone and the responses of the Jacobin administration—The programme of the party.
In the departments, it is by hundreds that we enumerate days like the 20th of June, August 10, September 2. The body has its epidemic, its contagious diseases; the mind has the same; the revolutionary malady is one of them. It appears throughout the country at the same time; each infected point infects others. In each city, in each borough the club is a centre of inflammation which disorganises the sound parts; and the example of each disorganised centre spreads afar like a miasm.1 Everywhere the same fever, delirium, and con vulsions mark the presence of the same virus. That virus is the Jacobin dogma. By virtue of the Jacobin dogma, theft, usurpation, murder, take on the guise of political philosophy, and the gravest crimes against persons, against public or private property, become legitimate; for they are the acts of the legitimate supreme power, the power that has the public welfare in its keeping.
That each Jacobin band should be invested with the local dictatorship in its own canton is, according to the Jacobins, a natural right. It becomes the written law from the day that the National Assembly declares the country in danger. “From that date,” says their most widely read journal,2 and by the mere fact of that declaration, “the people of France are assembled and insurgent. They have repossessed themselves of the sovereign power.” Their magistrates, their deputies, all constituted authorities, return to nothingness, their essential state. And you, temporary and revocable representatives, “you are nothing but presiding officers for the people; you have nothing to do but to collect their votes, and to announce the result when these shall have been cast with due solemnity.”—Nor is this the theory of the Jacobins only; it is also the official theory. The National Assembly approves of the insurrection, recognises the Commune, keeps in the background, abdicates as far as possible, and only remains provisionally in office in order that the place may not be left vacant. It abstains from exercising power, even to provide its own successors; it merely “invites” the French people to organise a national convention; it confesses that it has “no right to put the exercise of sovereign power under binding rules”; it does no more than “indicate to citizens” the rules for the elections “to which it invites them to conform.”3 Meanwhile it is subject to the will of the sovereign people, then so-called; it dares not resist their crimes; it interferes with assassins only by entreaties.—Much more; it authorises them, either by ministerial signature or counter-signature, to begin their work elsewhere. Roland has signed Fournier’s commission to Orleans; Danton has sent the circular of Marat over all France. To reconstruct the departments the council of ministers sends the most infuriated members of the Commune and the party, Chaumette, Fréron, Westermann, Auduoin, Huguenin, Momoro, Couthon, Billaud-Varennes,4 and others still more tainted and brutal, who preach the purest Jacobin doctrine. “They announce openly5 that laws no longer exist; that since the people are sovereign, every one is master; that each fraction of the nation can take such measures as suit it, in the name of the country’s safety; that they have the right to tax corn, to seize it in the laborer’s fields, to cut off the heads of the farmers who refuse to bring their grain to market.” At Lisieux, agrarian law is preached by Dufour and Momoro. At Douai, other declaimers from Paris say to the popular club, “Prepare scaffolds; let the walls of the city bristle with gallows, and hang upon them every man who does not accept our opinions.” Nothing is more logical, more in conformity with their principles. The journals, deducing consequences from these, expound to the people the use they ought to make of their reconquered sovereignty.6 “Under the present circumstances, community of goods is the law; everything belongs to everybody.” Besides, “an equalising of fortunes must be brought about, a levelling, which shall abolish the vicious principle of the preponderance of the rich over the poor.” This reform is all the more pressing because “the people, the real sovereign people, have nearly as many enemies as there are proprietors, large merchants, financiers, and wealthy men. In a time of revolution, we must regard all men who have more than enough as the enemies, secret or avowed, of popular government.” Therefore, “let the people of each commune, before they quit their homes” for the army, “put all those who are suspected of not loving liberty in a secure place, and under the safe-keeping of the law; let them be kept shut up until the war be ended; let them be guarded with pikes,” and let each one of their guardians receive thirty sous per day. As for the partisans of the fallen government, the members of the Paris directory, “with Roederer and Blondel at their head,” as for the general officers, “with Lafayette and d’Affry at their head,” as for “the inspecting deputies of the Constituent Assembly, with Barnave and Lameth at their head,” as for the Feuillant deputies of the Legislative Assembly, “with Ramond and Jaucourt at their head,”7 as for “all those who consented to soil their hands with the profits of the civil list,” as for “the 40,000 hired assassins who were gathered at the palace on the night of August 9–10, they are furious monsters, who ought to be strangled to the last one. People! you have risen to your feet; stand firm until not one of these conspirators remains alive. Your humanity requires you for once to show yourselves inexorable. Strike terror to the wicked. The proscriptions which we impose on you as a duty, are the sacred wrath of your country.” There is no mistaking this; it is a tocsin sounding against all the powers that be, against all social superiority, against administrations, tribunals, military authority, against priests and nobles, proprietors, capitalists, the leaders of business and industry; it is sounding, in short, against the whole élite of France, whether of old or recent origin. The Jacobins of Paris, by their journals, their examples, their missionaries, give the signal; and in the provinces their kindred spirits, imbued with the same principles, only wait the summons to hurl themselves forward.
In many departments8 they have forestalled the summons. In the Var, for example, pillages and proscriptions have begun with the month of May. According to custom, they first seize upon the castles and the monasteries, although these have become national property, at one time alleging as a reason for this that the administration “is too slow in carrying out sentence against the émigrés,” and again, that “the château, standing on an eminence, weighs upon the inhabitants.”9 There is scarcely a village in France that does not contain two-score wretches who are always ready to line their pockets, which is just the number of thieves who thoroughly sacked the château of Montaroux, carrying off “furniture, produce, clothing, even the jugs and bottles in the cellar.” There are the same doings by the same band at the château of Tournon; the château of Salerne is burned, that of Flagose is pulled down; the canal of Cabris is destroyed; then the convent of Montrieux, the châteaux of Grasse, of Canet, of Régusse, of Brovaz, and many others, all devastated, and the devastations are made “daily.”—It is impossible to suppress this country brigandage. The reigning dogma, weakening authority in the magistrates’ hands, and the clubs, “which cover the department,” have diffused the fermentation of anarchy everywhere. “Administrators, judges, municipal officers, all who are invested with any authority, and who have the courage to use it in forcing respect for law, are one by one denounced by public opinion as enemies of the constitution and of liberty; because, people say, they talk of nothing but the law, as if they did not know that the will of the people makes the law, and that we are the people.”10 This is the real principle; here, as at Paris, it instantly begets its consequences. “In many of these clubs nothing is discussed but the plundering of estates and cutting off the heads of aristocrats. And who are designated by this infamous title? In the cities, the great traders and rich proprietors; in the country, those whom we call the bourgeois; everywhere, all peaceable citizens, the friends of order, who wish to enjoy, under the shadow of the protecting law, the blessings of the Constitution. Such was the rage of their denunciations that in one of these clubs a good and brave peasant was denounced as an aristocrat; the whole of his aristocracy consisting in his having said to those who plundered the château of their seigneur, already mentioned, that they would not enjoy in peace the fruits of their crime.”—Here is the Jacobin programme of Paris in advance, namely, the division of the French into two classes, the spoliation of one, the despotism of the other; the destruction of the well-to-do, orderly and honest under the dictation of those who are not so.
Here, as in Paris, the programme is carried out step by step. At Beausset, near Toulon, a man named Vidal, captain of the National Guard, “twice set at liberty by virtue of two consecutive amnes ties,”11 punishes not resistance merely, but even murmurs, with death. Two old men, one of them a notary, the other a turner, having complained of him to the public prosecutor, the general alarm is beaten, a gathering of armed men is formed in the street, and the complainants are clubbed, riddled with balls, and their bodies thrown into a pit. Many of their friends are wounded, others take to flight; seven houses are sacked, and the municipality, “either overawed or in complicity,” makes no interference until all is over. There is no way of pursuing the guilty ones; the foreman of the jury, who goes, escorted by a thousand men, to hold an inquest, can get no testimony. The municipal officers feign to have heard nothing, neither the general alarm nor the guns fired under their windows. The other witnesses say not a word; but they declare, sotto voce, the reason for their silence. If they should testify, “they would be sure of being killed as soon as the troops should have gone away.” The foreman of the jury is himself menaced; after remaining three-quarters of an hour, he finds it prudent to leave the city.—After this the clubs of Beausset and of the neighborhood, gaining hardihood from the impotence of the law, break out into incendiary propositions: “It is announced that after the troops retreat, nineteen houses more will be sacked; it is proposed to behead all aristocrats, that is to say, all the land-owners in the country.” Many have fled, but their flight does not satisfy the clubs. Vidal orders those of Beausset who took refuge in Toulon to return at once; otherwise their houses will be demolished, and that very day, in fact, by way of warning, several houses in Beausset, among them that of a notary, are either pulled down or pillaged from top to bottom; all the riff-raff of the town are at work, “half-drunken men and women,” and, as their object is to rob and drink, they would like to begin again in the principal town of the canton.—The club, accordingly, has declared that “Toulon would soon see a new St. Bartholomew”; it has allies there, and arrangements are made; each club in the small towns of the vicinity will furnish men, while all will march under the leadership of the Toulon club. At Toulon, as at Beausset, the municipality will let things take their course, while the proceedings complained of by the public prosecutor and the district and department administrators will be applied to them. They may send reports to Paris, and denounce patriots to the National Assembly and the King, if they choose; the club will reply to their scribbling with acts. Their turn is coming. Lanterns and sabres are also found at Toulon, and the faction murders them because they have lodged complaints against the murderers.
We can conjecture what it will do during the interregnum by what it dared to do when the government still stood on its feet. Facts, then, as always, furnish the best picture, and, to obtain a knowledge of the new sovereign, we must first observe him on a limited stage.
On the reception of the news of the 10th of August, the Jacobins of Saint-Afrique, a small town of the Aveyron,12 likewise undertook to save the country, and, to this end, like their fellows in other boroughs of the district, they organised themselves into an “Executive Power.” This institution is of an old date, especially in the South; it had flourished for eighteen months from Lyons to Montpellier, from Agen to Nismes; but after the interregnum, its condition is still more flourishing; it consists of a secret society, the object of which is to carry out practically the motions and instructions of the club.13 Ordinarily, they work at night, wearing masks or slouched hats, with long hair falling over the face. A list of their names, each with a number opposite to it, is kept at the meeting-place of the society. A triangular club, decked with a red ribbon, serves them both as weapon and badge; with this club, each member “may go anywhere,” and do what seems good to him. At Saint-Afrique they number about eighty, among whom must be counted the rascals forming the seventh company of Tarn, staying in the town; their enrollment in the band is effected by constantly “preaching pillage to them,” and by assuring them that the contents of the châteaux in the vicinity belong to them.14 —Not that the châteaux excite any fear; most of them are empty; neither in Saint-Afrique nor in the environs do the men of the ancient régime form a party; for many months orthodox priests and the nobles have had to fly, and now the well-to-do people are escaping. The population, however, is Catholic; many of the shop-keepers, artisans, and farmers are discontented, and the object now is to make these laggards keep step.—In the first place, they order women of every condition, work-girls and servants, to attend mass performed by the sworn curé, for, if they do not, they will be made acquainted with the cudgel.—In the second place, all the suspected are disarmed; they enter their houses during the night in force, unexpectedly, and, besides their gun, carry off their provisions and money. A certain grocer who persists in his lukewarmness is visited a second time; seven or eight men, one evening, break open his door with a stick of timber; he takes refuge on his roof, dares not descend until the following day at dawn, and finds that everything in his store has been either stolen or broken to pieces.15 In the third place, there is “punishment of the ill-disposed.” At nine o’clock in the evening a squad knocks at the door of a distrusted shoemaker; it is opened by his apprentice; six of the ruffians enter, and one of them, showing a paper, says to the poor fellow: “I come on the part of the Executive Power, by which you are condemned to a bastinadoing.” “What for?” “If you have not done anything wrong, you are thinking about it,”16 and so they beat him in the presence of his family, and many others like him are seized and unmercifully beaten on their own premises.—As to the expenses of the operation, these must be defrayed by the malevolent. These, therefore, are taxed according to their occupations; this or that tanner or dealer in cattle has to pay 36 francs; another, a hatter, 72 francs; otherwise “they will be attended to that very night at nine o’clock.” Nobody is exempt, if he is not one of the band. Poor old men who have nothing but a five-franc assignat are compelled to give that; they take from the wife of “a ground-digger,” whose savings consist of seven sous and a half, the whole of this, exclaiming, “that is good for three mugs of wine.”17 When money is not to be had, they take goods in kind; they make short work of cellars, bee-hives, clothes-presses, and poultry-yards; they eat, drink, and break, giving themselves up to it heartily, not only in the town, but in the neighboring villages. One detachment goes to Brusque, and proceeds so vigorously that the mayor and syndic-attorney scamper off across the fields, and dare not return for a couple of days.18 At Versol, the dwelling of the sworn curé, and at Lapeyre, that of the sworn vicar, are both sacked; the money is stolen and the casks are emptied. In the house of the curé of Douyre, “furniture, clothes, cabinets, and window-sashes are destroyed”; they feast on his wine and the contents of his cupboard, throw away what they could not consume, then go in search of the curé and his brother, a former Carthusian, shouting that “their heads must be cut off, and sausage-meat made of the rest of their bodies!” Some of them, a little shrewder than the others, light on a prize; for example, a certain Bourguière, a trooper of the line, seized a vineyard belonging to an old lady, the widow of a physician and former mayor;19 he gathered in its crop, “publicly in open day,” for his own benefit, and warns the proprietress that he will kill her if she makes a complaint against him, and, as she probably does complain of him, he obliges her, in the name of the Executive Power, to pay him fifty crowns damages.—As to the roughs in common, their reward, besides their carousings, is perfect license. In all houses invaded at eleven o’clock in the evening, whilst the father flies, or the husband screams under the cudgel, one of the villains stations himself at the entrance with a drawn sabre in his hands, and the wife or daughter remains at the mercy of the others; they seize her by the neck and maintain their hold.20 In vain does she scream for help. “Nobody in Saint-Afrique dares go outdoors at night”; nobody comes, and, the following day, the juge-de-paix dares not receive the complaint, because “he is afraid himself.”—Accordingly, on the 23d of September, the municipal officers and the town-clerk, who made their rounds, were nearly beaten to death with clubs and stones; on the 10th of October another municipal officer was left for dead; a fortnight before this, a lieutenant of volunteers, M. Mazières, “trying to do his duty, was assassinated in his bed by his own men.” Naturally, nobody dares whisper a word, and, after two months of this order of things, it may be presumed that at the municipal elections of the 21st of October, the electors will be docile. In any event, as a precaution, their notification eight days before, according to law, is dispensed with; as extra precaution, they are informed that if they do not vote for the Executive Power, they will have to do with the triangular cudgel.21 In consequence of this, most of them stay away; in a town of over 600 active citizens, 40 votes give a majority; Bourgougnon and Sarrus, the two chiefs of the Executive Power, are elected, one mayor, and the other syndic-attorney, and henceforth the authority they seized by force is conferred on them by the law.
Such is about the type of government which starts up in every commune of France after the 10th of August; the club reigns, but the form and processes of its dictatorship are different, according to circumstances.—Sometimes it operates directly through the executive band led by it, or through the rioting populace which it launches forth. Again, it operates indirectly through the electoral assembly, of which it controls the election, or through the municipality, which is its accomplice. If the administrations are Jacobin, it governs through them. If they are passive, it governs alongside of them. If they are refractory, it purges them,22 or breaks them up,23 and, to put them down, it resorts not only to blows, but even to murder24 and massacre.25 Between massacre and threats, all middle-courses meet, the revolutionary seal being everywhere impressed with inequalities of relief.
In many places, threats suffice. In regions where the temperament of the people is cool, and where there is no resistance, it is useless to resort to affrays. Of what use is slaughter in a town like Arras, for instance, where, on the day of the civic oath, the president of the department, a prudent millionaire, stalks through the streets arm in arm with Aunty Duchesne, who sells cookies down in a cellar, where, on election days, the townspeople, through cowardice, elect the club candidates under the pretence that “rascals and beggars” must be sent off to Paris to purge the town of them!26 It would be labor lost to strike people who cringe and crouch so well.27 The faction is content to mark them as mangy curs, to put them in pens, hold them with leashes, and to annoy them.28 It posts at the entrance of the guard-room a list of inhabitants related to an émigré; it makes domiciliary visits; it draws up a fancied list of the suspected, on which list all that are rich are found inscribed. It insults and disarms them; it confines them to the town; it forbids them to go outside of it even on foot; it orders them to present themselves daily before its committee of public safety; it condemns them to pay their taxes for a year in twenty-four hours; it breaks the seals of their letters; it confiscates, demolishes, and sells their family tombs in the cemeteries. This is all in order, as well as the religious persecution, the irruption into private chapels where mass is said, blows with gun-stocks and the fist bestowed on the officiating priest, the obligation of orthodox parents to have their children baptised by the schismatic curé, the expulsion of nuns, and the pursuit, imprisonment and transportation of unsworn ecclesiastics.
But if the domination of the club is not always a bloody one, its judgments are always those of an armed man, who, putting his gun to his shoulder, aims at the wayfarers whom he has stopped on the road; generally they kneel down, tender their purses, and the shot is not fired. But the gun is cocked, nevertheless, and, to be certain of this, we have only to look at the shrivelled hand grasping the trigger. We are reminded of those swarms of banditti which infested the country under the ancient régime;29 the double-girdle of smugglers and receivers embraced within twelve hundred leagues of internal excise-duties, the poachers abounding on the four hundred leagues of guarded captainries, the deserters so numerous that in eight years they amounted to sixty thousand, the mendicants with which the prisons overflowed, the thousands of thieves and vagabonds thronging the highways, all that police-game which the Revolution let loose and armed, and which, in its turn, from game, became the hunters of game. For three years these strong-armed rovers have served as the kernel of local jacqueries; at the present time they form the staff of the universal jacquerie. At Nismes,30 the head of the Executive Power is a “dancing-master.” The two leading demagogues of Toulouse are a shoemaker, and an actor who plays valets.31 At Toulon,32 the club, more absolute than any Asiatic despot, is recruited from among the indigent, sailors, harbor-hands, soldiers, “stray peddlers,” while its president, Sylvestre, sent away from Paris, is a criminal of the lowest degree. At Rheims,33 the principal leader is an unfrocked priest, married to a nun, aided by a baker, who, an old soldier, came near being hung. Elsewhere,34 it is some deserter tried for robbery; here, a cook or innkeeper, and there, a former lackey. The oracle of Lyons is an ex-commercial traveler, an emulator of Marat, named Châlier, whose murderous delirium is complicated with morbid mysticism. The acolytes of Châlier are a barber, a hair-dresser, an old-clothes dealer, a mustard and vinegar manufacturer, a cloth-dresser, a silk-worker, a gauze-maker, while the time is near when authority is to fall into still meaner hands, those of “the dregs of the female population,” who, aided by “a few bullies,” elect “female commissaries,” tax food, and for three days pillage the warehouses.35 Avignon has for its masters the Glacière bandits. Arles is under the yoke of its porters and bargemen. Marseilles belongs to “a band of wretches spawned out of houses of debauchery, who recognise neither laws nor magistrates, and ruling the city through terror.”36 —It is not surprising that such men, invested with such power, use it in conformity with their nature, and that the interregnum, which is their reign, spreads over France a circle of devastations, robberies, and murders.
Usually, the stationary band of clubbists has an auxiliary band of the same species which roves about. I mean the volunteers, who inspire more fear and do more harm, because they march in a body and are armed.37 Like their brethren in the ordinary walks of life, many of them are town and country vagabonds; most of them, living from hand to mouth, have been attracted by the pay of fifteen sous a day; they have become soldiers for lack of work and bread.38 Each commune, moreover, having been called upon for its army contingent, “they have picked up whatever could be found in the towns, all the scamps hanging around street-corners, men with no pursuit, and, in the country, wretches and vagabonds of every description; nearly all have been forced to march by money or drawing lots,” and it is probable that the various administrations thought that “in this way they would purge France.”39 To the wretched “bought by the communes,” add others of the same stamp, procured by the rich as substitutes for their sons.40 Thus do they pick over the social dunghill and obtain at a discount the natural and predestined inmates of houses of correction, poor-houses and hospitals, with an utter disregard of quality, even physical, “the halt, the maimed and the blind,” the deformed and the defective, “some too old, and others too young and too feeble to support the fatigues of war, others so small as to stand a foot lower than their guns,” a large number of boys of sixteen, fourteen, and thirteen; in short, the reprobate of great cities as we now see him, stunted, puny, and naturally insolent and insurgent.41 “One-third of them are found unfit for service” on reaching the frontier.42 —But, before reaching the frontier, they act like “pirates” on the road.—The others, with sounder bodies and better hearts, become, under the discipline of constant danger, good soldiers at the end of a year. In the mean time, however, they make no less havoc, for, if they are less disposed to robbery, they are more fanatical. Nothing is more delicate than the military organisation, owing to the fact that it represents force, and man is always tempted to abuse force; for any free company of soldiers to remain inoffensive in a civil community, it must be restrained by the strongest curbs, which curbs, either within or without, were wholly wanting with the volunteers of 1792.43
Artisans, peasants, the petty bourgeois class, youthful enthusiasts stimulated by the prevailing doctrine, they are still much more Jacobin than patriotic; the dogma of popular sovereignty, like a heady wine, has turned their inexperienced brains; they are fully persuaded that, “destined to contend with the enemies of the republic, is an honor which permits them to exact and to dare all things.”44 The least among them believes himself superior to the law, “as formerly a Condé,” and he becomes king on a small scale, self-constituted, an autocratic justiciary and avenger of wrongs, a supporter of patriots and the scourge of aristocrats, the disposer of lives and property, and, without delay or formality, taking it upon himself to complete the Revolution on the spot in every town he passes through.—He is not to be hindered in all this by his officers.45 “Having created his chiefs, they are of no more account to him than any of a man’s creations usually are”; far from being obeyed, they are not even respected, “and that comes from resorting to analogies without considering military talent or moral superiority.”46 Through the natural effects of the system of election, all grades of rank have fallen upon demagogues and blusterers. “The intriguers, loud-talkers, and especially great drinkers, have prevailed against the capable.”47 Besides, to retain his popularity, the new officer will go to a groggery and drink with his men,48 and he must show himself more Jacobin than they are, from which it follows that, not content with tolerating their excesses, he provokes them.—Hence, after March, 1792, and even before,49 we see the volunteers behaving in France as in a conquered country. Sometimes they make domiciliary visits, and break everything to pieces in the house they visit. Again, they force the re-baptism of infants by the complying curés, and fire on the orthodox father. Here, of their own accord, they make arrests; there, they join in with mutineers and stop grain-boats; elsewhere, they force a municipality to tax bread; farther on, they burn or sack châteaux, and, if a mayor happens to inform them that the château now belongs to the nation and not to an émigré, they reply with “thrusts,” and threaten to cut his throat.50 —As the 10th of August draws near, the phantom of authority, which still occasionally imposed on them, completely vanishes, and “it costs them nothing to massacre” whoever displeases them.51 Exasperated by the perils they are about to encounter on the frontier, they begin war in the interior; provisionally, and as a precaution, they slaughter probable aristocrats on the way, and treat the officers, nobles and priests they meet on the road worse than their club allies. For, on the one hand, being merely on the march, they are much safer from punishment than local murderers; in a week, lost in the army, they will not be sought for in camp, and they may slay with perfect security. On the other hand, as strangers and newcomers, incapable of discriminating persons the same as people on the spot, on account of name, dress, and qualifications, on coffee-house rumors, on appearances, however venerable and harmless a man may be, they kill him, not because they know him, but because they do not know him.
Let us enter the cabinet of Roland, Minister of the Interior, a fortnight after the opening of the Convention, and suppose him contemplating, some evening, a foreshortened picture of the state of the country administered by him. His clerks have placed the correspondence of the past few weeks on his table, arranged in proper order; his replies are noted in brief on the margin; he has a map of France before him, and, placing his finger on the southern section, he moves it along the great highway across the country. At every stage he recurs to the paper file of letters, and passing innumerable reports of violence, he merely gives his attention to the great revolutionary exploits.52 Madame Roland, I imagine, works with her husband, and the couple, sitting together alone under the lamp, ponder over the doings of the ferocious brute which they have set free in the provinces the same as in Paris.
Their eyes go first to the southern extremity of France. There,53 on the canal of the Deux-Mers, at Carcassonne, the populace has seized three boats loaded with grain, exacted food, then a diminution of the price of bread, then guns and cannons from the magazine, and, lastly, the heads of the administrators; an inspector-general has been wounded by an axe, and the syndic-attorney of the department, M. Verdier, massacred.—The Minister follows with his eye the road from Carcassonne to Bordeaux, and on the right and on the left he finds traces of blood. At Castres,54 a report is spread that a dealer in grain was trying to raise the price, whereupon a mob congregates, and, to save the dealer, he is placed in the guard-house; the volunteers, however, force open the guard-house, and throw the man out of the first-story window; they then finish him with “blows with clubs and weights,” drag his body along the street and cast it into the river.—The evening before, at Clairac,55 M. Lartigue-Langa, an unsworn priest, pursued through the street by a troop of men and women, determined to strip off his cassock and ride him on an ass, found refuge, with great difficulty, in his country-house; they go there for him, however, fetch him back to the public promenade, and there kill him. A number of brave fellows who interfered were charged with incivisme, and severely handled. Repression is impossible; the department writes to the Minister that “at this time it would be impolitic to follow the matter up.” Roland knows that by experience. The letters in his hands show him that there, as in Paris, murder engenders murder; M. d’Alespée, a gentleman, has just been assassinated at Nérac; “all reputable citizens formed around him a rampart with their bodies,” but the rabble prevailed, and the murderers, “through their obscurity,” escaped.—The Minister’s finger stops at Bordeaux. There the federation festivities are marked with a triple assassination.56 In order to let this dangerous moment pass by, M. de Langoirac, vicar-general of the archbishopric, had retired half a league off, in the village of Cauderan, to the residence of an octogenarian priest, who, like himself, had never meddled with public matters. On the 15th of July the National Guards of the village, excited by the speeches of the previous night, take them both out of the house, and, by way of an extra, a third priest belonging in the neighborhood. There is nothing to lay to their charge; neither the municipal officers, nor the justices before whom they are brought, can avoid declaring them innocent. As a last recourse, they are conducted to Bordeaux, before the Directory of the department. But it is getting dark, and the riotous crowd becoming impatient, makes an attack on them. The octogenarian “is so pounded as to make it impossible for him to revive”; the abbé du Puy is knocked down and dragged along by a rope attached to his feet; M. de Langoirac’s head is cut off, carried about on a pike, taken to his house and presented to the servant, who is told that “her master will not come home to supper.” The torment of the priests has lasted from five o’clock in the morning to seven o’clock in the evening, and the municipal authorities were duly advised; but they cannot put themselves out of the way to give succor; they are too seriously occupied in erecting a liberty-pole.
Route from Bordeaux to Caen.—The Minister’s finger turns to the north, and stops at Limoges. The day following the federation has been here celebrated the same as at Bordeaux.57 An unsworn priest, the abbé Chabrol, assailed by a gang of men and women, is first conducted to the guard-house and then to the dwelling of the juge-de-paix; for his protection a warrant of arrest is gotten out, and he is kept under guard, in sight, by four chasseurs, in one of the rooms. But the populace are not satisfied with this. In vain do the municipal officers appeal to it, in vain do the gendarmes interpose themselves between it and the prisoner; it rushes in upon them and disperses them. Meanwhile, volleys of stones smash in the windows, and the entrance door yields to the blows of axes; about thirty of the villains scale the windows, and pass the priest down like a bale of goods. A few yards off, “struck down with clubs and other instruments,” he draws his last breath, his head “crushed” by twenty mortal wounds.—Farther up, towards Orleans, Roland reads the following despatches, taken from the file for Loiret:58 “Anarchy is at its height,” writes one of the districts to the Directory of the department; “there is no longer recognition of any authority; the administrators of the district and of the municipalities are insulted, and are powerless to enforce respect. … Threats of slaughter, of destroying houses and giving them up to pillage prevail; plans are made to tear down all the châteaux. The municipal authorities of Achères, along with many of the inhabitants, have gone to Oison and Chaussy, where everything is smashed, broken up and carried off. On the 16th of September six armed men went to the house of M. de Vaudeuil and obliged him to return the sum of 300 francs, for penalties pretended to have been paid by them. We have been notified that M. Dedeley will be visited at Achères for the same purpose to-day. M. de Lory has been similarly threatened. … Finally, all those people there say that they want no more local administrations or tribunals, that the law is in their own hands, and they will execute it. In this extremity we have decided on the only safe course, which is to silently accept all the outrages inflicted upon us. We have not called upon you for protection, for we are well aware of the embarrassment you labor under.”—The best part of the National Guard, indeed, having been disarmed at the county-town, there is no longer an armed force to put riots down. Consequently, at this same date,59 the populace, increased by the afflux of “strangers” and ordinary nomads, hang a corn-inspector, plant his head on the end of a pike, drag his body through the streets, sack five houses and burn the furniture of a municipal officer in front of his own door. Thereupon, the obedient municipality sets the arrested rioters free, and lowers the price of bread one-sixth. Above the Loire, the despatches of Orne and Calvados complete the picture. “Our district,” writes a lieutenant of the gendarmerie,60 “is a prey to brigandage. … About thirty rascals have just sacked the château of Dampierre. Calls for men are constantly made upon us,” which we cannot satisfy, “because the call is general on all sides.” The details are curious, and here, notwithstanding the Minister’s familiarity with popular misdeeds, he cannot avoid noting one extortion of a new species. “The inhabitants of the villages61 collect together, betake themselves to different châteaux, seize the wives and children of their proprietors, and keep them as bail for promises of re-embursement which they force the latter to sign, not merely for feudal taxes, but, again, for expenses to which this taxation may have given rise,” first under the actual proprietor and then under his predecessors; in the mean time they install themselves on the premises, demand payments for their time, devastate the buildings on the place, and sell the furniture.—All this is accompanied with the usual slaughterings. A letter of the Directory of the department of Orne advises the Minister62 that “a former noble has been killed (homicidé) in the canton of Sepf, an ex-curé in the town of Bellême, an unsworn priest in the canton of Putanges, an ex-capuchin in the territory of Alençon.” The same day, at Caen, the syndic-attorney of Calvados, M. Bayeux, a man of sterling merit, imprisoned by the local Jacobins, has just been shot down in the street and bayonetted, while the National Assembly was passing a decree proclaiming his innocence and ordering him to be set at liberty.63
Route of the East.—At Rouen, in front of the Hôtel-de-Ville, the National Guard, stoned for more than an hour, finally fire a volley and kill four men; throughout the department violence is committed in relation to grain, while wheat is taxed and carried off by force;64 but Roland is obliged to restrict himself; he can note only political disturbances. Besides, he is obliged to move on fast, for murders abound along the whole course; between the effervescence of the army and that of the capital,65 each department in the vicinity of Paris or near the frontier furnishes its quota of murders. They take place at Gisors, in the Eure, at Chantilly, and at Clermont in the Oise, at Saint-Amand in the Pas-de-Calais, at Cambray in the Nord, at Retel and Charleville in the Ardennes, at Rheims and at Châlons in the Marne, at Troyes in the Aube, at Meaux in Seine-et-Marne, and at Versailles in Seine-et-Oise.66 —Roland, I imagine, does not open this file, and for a good reason; he knows too well how M. de Brissac and M. Delessart, and the other sixty-three persons perished at Versailles; it was he who signed Fournier’s commission, the head murderer. At this very moment he is forced to correspond with this villain, to send him certificates of “zeal and patriotism,” and to assign him, over and above his robberies, 30,000 francs to defray the expenses of the operation.67 —But some among the despatches he cannot overlook, if he desires to know to what his authority is reduced, in what contempt all authority is held, how the civil or military populace exercises its power, with what promptitude it disposes of the most illustrious and most useful lives, especially those who have been, or are now, in command, the Minister perhaps saying to himself that his turn will come next.
A philanthropist from his youth up, a liberal on entering the Constituent Assembly, elected president of the Paris department, one of the most persistent, most generous, and most respected patriots from first to last,—who better deserved to be spared than M. de la Rochefoucauld? Arrested at Gisors68 by order of the Paris Commune, he left the inn, escorted by the Parisian commissary, surrounded by the municipal council, twelve gendarmes and one hundred National Guards; behind him walked his mother, eighty years of age, his wife following in a carriage; there could be no fear of an escape. But, for a suspected person, death is more certain than a prison; three hundred volunteers of the Orne and the Sarthe departments, on their way through Gisors, collect and cry out: “We must have his head—nothing shall stop us!” A stone hits M. de la Rochefoucauld on the temple; he falters, his escort is broken up, and they finish him with clubs and sabres, while the municipal council “have barely time to drive off the carriage containing the ladies.”—Accordingly, national justice, in the hands of the volunteers, has its sudden outbursts, its excesses, its reactions, the effect of which it is not advisable to wait for. For example, at Cambray,69 a division of foot-gendarmerie had just left the town, and it occurs to them that they had forgotten “to purge the prison”; it retraces its steps, seizes the keeper, takes him to the Hôtel-de-Ville, examines the prison register, sets at liberty those whose crimes seem to it excusable, and provides them with passports; on the other hand, it massacres a former royal procureur, on whom addresses are found tainted with “aristocratic principles,” an unpopular lieutenant-colonel, and a suspected captain.—However slight or ill-founded a suspicion, so much the worse for the officer on whom it falls! At Charleville,70 two loads of arms having passed through one gate instead of another, to avoid a bad road, M. Juchereau, inspector of the manufacture of arms and commander of the place, is declared a traitor by the volunteers and the populace, torn from the hands of the municipal officers, clubbed to the ground, stamped on, and stabbed; his head, fixed to a pike, is paraded through Charleville, then into Mézières, where it is thrown into the river running between the two towns. The body remains, and this the municipality orders to be interred; but it is not worthy of burial; the murderers obtain possession of it, and cast it into the water that it may join the head. In the mean time the lives of the municipal officers hang by a single thread. One of these is seized by the throat; another is knocked out of his chair and threatened with the lantern, a gun is aimed at him and he is beaten and kicked; subsequently a plot is devised “to cut off their heads and plunder their houses.”
The disposers of lives, indeed, are also the disposers of property. Roland has only to turn over the leaves of two or three reports to see how patriotism furnishes a cloak for brutal license and greed. At Coucy, in the department of Aisne,71 the peasantry of seventeen parishes, assembled for the purpose of furnishing their military quota, rush with a loud clamor to two houses, the property of M. des Fossés, a former deputy to the Constituent Assembly, and the two finest in the town; one of them had been occupied by Henry IV. Some of the municipal officers who try to interfere are nearly cut to pieces, and the entire municipal body takes to flight. M. des Fossés, with his two daughters, succeed in hiding themselves in an obscure corner in the vicinity, and afterwards in a small tenement offered to them by a humane gardener, and finally, after great difficulty, they reach Soissons. Of his two houses, “nothing remains but the walls. Windows, casings, doors, and wainscottings, all are shattered”; twenty thousand francs of assignats in a portfolio are destroyed or carried off; the title-deeds of the property are not to be found, and the damage is estimated at 200,000 francs. The pillage lasted from seven o’clock in the morning to seven o’clock in the evening, and, as is always the case, ended in a jollification; the plunderers, entering the cellars, drank “two hogsheads of wine and two casks of brandy; thirty or forty remained dead drunk, and were taken away with considerable difficulty.” There is no prosecution, no investigation; the new mayor, who, one month after, makes up his mind to denounce the act, begs the Minister not to give his name, for, he says, “the agitators in the council-general of the Commune threaten, with fearful consequences, whoever is discovered to have written to you.”72 —Such is the ever-present threatening under which the gentry live, even when venerable in the service of freedom; Roland, foremost in his files, finds heartrending letters addressed directly to him, as a last recourse. Early in 1789, M. de Gouy d’Arcy73 was the first to put his pen to paper in behalf of popular rights. A deputy of the noblesse to the Constituent Assembly, he is the first to rally to the Third-Estate; when the liberal minority of the noblesse came and took their seats in the hall of the Communes, he had already been there eight days, and, for thirty months, he “invariably seated himself on the side of the ‘Left.’ ” Senior major-general, and ordered by the Legislative Assembly to suppress the outbreak of the 6,000 insurgents at Noyon, “he kept his rigorous orders in his pocket for ten days”; he endured their insults; he risked his life “to save those of his misguided fellow-citizens, and he had the good fortune not to spill a drop of blood.” Exhausted by so much labor and effort, almost dying, ordered into the country by his physicians, “he devoted his income to the relief of poverty”; he planted on his own domain the first liberty tree that was erected; he furnished the volunteers with clothes and arms; “instead of a fifth, he yielded up a third of his revenue under the forced system of taxation.” His children live with him on the property, which has been in the family four hundred years, and the peasantry call him “their father.” No one could lead a more tranquil or, indeed, a more meritorious existence. But, being a noble, he is suspected, and a delegate from the Paris Commune denounces him at Compiègne as having in his house two cannon and five hundred and fifty muskets. There is at once a domiciliary visit. Eight hundred men, infantry and cavalry, appear before the château d’Arcy in battle array. He meets them at the door and tenders them the keys. After a search of six hours, they find twelve fowling pieces and thirteen rusty pistols, which he has already declared. His disappointed visitors grumble, break, eat and drink to the extent of 2,000 crowns damage.74 Nevertheless, urged by their leaders, they finally retire. But M. de Gouy has 60,000 francs in rentals, which would be so much gain to the nation if he would emigrate; this must be effected, by expelling him, and, moreover, during his expulsion, they may fill their pockets. For eight days this matter is discussed in the Compiègne club, in the groggeries, in the barracks, and, on the ninth day, 150 volunteers issue from the town, declaring that they are going to kill M. de Gouy and all who belong to him. Informed of this, he departs with his family, leaving the doors of his house wide open. There is a general pillage for five hours; the mob drink the costly wines, steal the plate, demand horses to carry their booty away, and promise to return soon and take the owner’s head.—In effect, on the following morning at four o’clock, there is a new invasion, a new pillage, and, this time, the last one; the servants escape under a fire of musketry, and M. de Gouy, at the request of the villagers, whose vineyards are devastated, is obliged to quit that part of the country.75 —There is no need to go through the whole file. At Houdainville, at the house of M. de Saint-Maurice, at Nointel, on the estate of the Duc de Bourbon, at Chantilly, on the estate of the Prince de Condé, at the house of M. de Fitz-James, and elsewhere, a certain Gauthier, “commandant of the Paris detachment of Searchers, and charged with the powers of the Committee of Supervision,” makes his patriotic circuit, and Roland knows beforehand of what that consists, namely, a dragonnade in regular form on the domains of all nobles, absent or present.76
Favorite game is still found in the clergy, more vigorously hunted than the nobles; Roland, charged with the duty of maintaining public order, asks himself how the lives of inoffensive priests, which the law recommends to him, can be protected.—At Troyes, at the house of M. Fardeau, an old non-conformist curé, an altar decked with its sacred vessels is discovered, and M. Fardeau, arrested, refuses to take the civic oath. Torn from his prison, and ordered to shout “Vive la Nation!” he again refuses. On this, a volunteer, borrowing an axe from a baker, chops off his head, and this head, washed in the river, is borne to the Hôtel-de-Ville.77 —At Meaux, a brigade of Parisian gendarmerie murders seven priests, and, as an extra, six ordinary malefactors in confinement.78 At Rheims, the Parisian volunteers first make way with the post-master and his clerk, both under suspicion because the smell of burnt paper had issued from their chimney, and, next, M. de Montrosier, an old retired officer, which is the opening of the hunt. Afterwards they fall upon two ecclesiastics with pikes and sabres, whom their game-beaters have brought in from the country, then on the former curé of Saint-Jean, and on that of Rilly; their corpses are cut up, paraded through the streets in portions, and burnt in a bonfire; one of the wounded priests, the abbé Alexandre, is thrown in still alive.79 —Roland recognises the men of September, who, exposing their still bloody pikes, came to his domicile to demand their wages; wherever the band passes it announces, “in the name of the people,” its “plenary power to spread the example of the capital.” Now, as 40,000 unsworn priests are condemned by the decree of August 26 to leave their departments in a week and France in a fortnight—shall they be allowed to depart? Eight thousand of them at Rouen, in obedience to the decree, charter transports, which the riotous population of both sides of the Seine prevent from leaving. Roland sees in his despatches that in Rouen, as elsewhere, they crowd the municipalities for their passports,80 but that these are often refused; better still, at Troyes, at Meaux, at Lyons, at Dôle, and in many other towns, the same thing is done as at Paris; they are confined in particular houses or in prisons, at least, provisionally, “for fear that they may congregate under the German eagle”; so that, made rebellious and declared traitors in spite of themselves, they may still remain in their pens subject to the knife. As the exportation of specie is prohibited, those who have procured the necessary coin are robbed of it on the frontier, while others, who fly at all hazards, tracked like wild boars, or run down like hares, escape like the bishop of Barral, athwart bayonets, or like the abbé Guillon, athwart sabres, when they are not struck down, like the abbé Pescheur, by the blows of a gun-stock.81
It is getting far into the night. The files are too numerous and too large; Roland finds that, out of eighty-three, he can examine but fifty; he must hasten on; leaving the East, his eyes again turn to the South.—On this side, too, there are strange sights. On the 2d of September, at Châlons-sur-Marne,82 M. Chanlaire, an octogenarian and deaf, is returning, with his prayer-book under his arm, from the Mall, to which he resorted daily to read his prayers. A number of Parisian volunteers who meet him, seeing that he looks like a devotee, order him to shout, “Vive la Liberté!” Unable to understand them, he makes no reply. They then seize him by the ears, and, not marching fast enough, they drag him along; his old ears give way, and, excited by seeing blood, they cut off his ears and nose, and thus, the poor old man dripping with blood, they reach the Hôtel-de-Ville. At this sight a notary, posted there as sentinel, and who is a man of feeling, is horror-stricken and escapes, while the other National Guards hasten to shut the iron gates. The Parisians, still dragging along their captive, go to the district and then to the department bureau “to denounce aristocrats”; on the way they continue to strike the tottering old man, who falls down; they then decapitate him, place pieces of his body on pikes, and parade these about. Meanwhile, in this same town, twenty-two gentlemen; at Beaune, forty priests and nobles; at Dijon, eighty-three heads of families, locked up as suspected without evidence or examination, and confined at their own expense two months under pikes, ask themselves every morning whether the populace and the volunteers, who shout death cries through the streets, mean to release them in the same way as in Paris.83 —A trifle is sufficient to provoke a mur der. On the 19th of August, at Auxerre, as the National Guard is marching along, three citizens, after having taken the civic oath, “left the ranks,” and, on being called back, “to make them fall in,” one, either impatient or in ill-humor, “replied with an indecent gesture”; the populace, taking it as an insult, instantly rush at them, and shoving aside the municipal body and the National Guards, wound one and kill the other two.84 A fortnight after, in the same town, several young ecclesiastics are massacred, and “the corpse of one of them remains three days on a manure heap, the relatives not being allowed to bury it.” About the same date, in a village of sabot-makers, five leagues from Autun, four ecclesiastics provided with passports, among them a bishop and his two grand-vicars, are arrested, then examined, robbed, and murdered by the peasantry.—Below Autun, especially in the district of Roanne, the villagers burn the rent-rolls of national property; the volunteers put property-owners to ransom; both, apart from each other or together, give themselves up “to every excess and to every sort of iniquity against those whom they suspect of incivisme under pretense of religious opinions.”85 However obfuscated Roland’s mind may be by the phil osophic generalities with which it is filled, he has long inspected manufactures in this country; the name of every place is familiar to him; objects and forms are this time clearly defined to his arid imagination, and he begins to see things through and beyond mere words.
Madame Roland rests her finger on Lyons, so familiar to her two years before; she becomes excited against “the quadruple aristocracy of the town, petty nobles, priests, heavy merchants, and limbs of the law; in short, those formerly known as honest folks, according to the insolence of the ancient régime”;86 she now finds there an aristocracy of another kind, that of the gutter. Following the example of Paris, the Lyons clubbists, led by Charlier, have arranged for a massacre on a grand scale of the evil-disposed or suspected; another ringleader, Dodieu, has drawn up a list by name of two hundred aristocrats to be hung; on the 9th of September, women with pikes, the maniacs of the suburbs, bands of “the unknown,” collected by the central club,87 undertake to clean out the prisons. If the butchery is not equal to that of Paris, it is because the National Guard, more energetic, interferes just at the moment when a Parisian emissary, Saint-Charles, reads off a list of names in the prison of Roanne, already taken from the prison register. But, in other places, it arrives too late.—Eight officers of the Royal-Pologne regiment, in garrison at Auch, some of them having been in the service twenty and thirty years, had been compelled to resign owing to the insubordination of their men; but, at the express desire of the Minister of War, they had patriotically remained at their posts, and, in twenty days of laborious marching, they had led their regiment from Auch to Lyons. Three days after their arrival, seized at night in their beds, conducted to Pierre-Encize, pelted with stones on the way, kept in secret confinement, and with frequent and prolonged examinations, all this merely places their services and their innocence in stronger light. They are taken from the prison by the Jacobin populace; of the eight, seven are killed in the street, and four priests along with them, while the display of their work by the murderers is still more brazen than at Paris. They parade the heads of the dead all night on the ends of their pikes; they carry them to the Place des Terreaux into the coffee-houses; they set them on the tables and derisively offer them beer; they then light torches, enter the Célestins theatre, and, marching on the stage with their trophies, mingle together real and mock tragedy.—The epilogue is both grotesque and horrible. Roland, at the bottom of the file, finds a letter from his colleague, Danton,88 who begs him to release the officers, already three months massacred, “for,” says Danton, “if no charge can be found against them, it would be crying injustice to keep them longer in irons.” Roland’s clerk makes a minute on Danton’s letter: “This matter disposed of.” At this, I imagine the couple looking at each other in silence. Madame Roland may remember that, at the beginning of the Revolution, she herself demanded heads, especially “two illustrious heads,” and hoped “that the National Assembly would formally try them, or that some generous Decius” would devote himself to “striking them down.”89 Her prayers are granted. The trial is about to begin in the regular way, and the Decius she has invoked is everywhere found throughout France.
The south-east corner remains, that Provence, described to him by Barbaroux as the last retreat of philosophy and freedom. Roland follows the Rhône down with his finger, and on both banks he finds, as he passes along, the usual characteristic misdeeds.—On the right bank, in Cantal and in the Gard, “the defenders of the country” fill their pockets at the expense of rate-payers designated by themselves;90 this forced subscription is called “a voluntary gift.” “Poor laborers at Nismes were taxed 50 francs, others 200, 300, 900, 1,000, under penalty of devastation and of bad treatment.” In the country near Tarascon the volunteers, returning to the old-fashioned ways of brigands, brandish the sabre over the mother’s head, threaten to smother the aunt in her bed, hold the child over a deep well, and thus extort from the farmer or proprietor even as much as 4,000 or 5,000 francs; generally he keeps silent, for, in case of complaint, he is sure to have his buildings burnt and his olive trees cut down.91 —On the left bank, in the Isère, Lieutenant-colonel Spendeler, seized by the populace of Tullins, was murdered, and then suspended by his feet to a tree on the roadside;92 in the Drôme, the volunteers of Gard forced the prison at Montélimart and hacked an innocent person to death with a sabre;93 in Vaucluse, the pillaging is general and constant. With all public offices in their hands, and they alone admitted into the National Guard, the old brigands of Avignon, with the municipality for their accomplice, sweep the town and raid about the country; in town, 450,000 francs of “voluntary gifts” are handed over to the Glacière murderers by the friends and relatives of the dead; in the country, ransoms of 1,000 and 10,000 francs are imposed on rich cultivators, to say nothing of the orgies of conquest and the pleasures of despots, money forcibly obtained in honor of innumerable liberty trees, banquets at a cost of five or six hundred francs, paid for by extorted funds, revelling of every sort and unrestrained havoc on the invaded farms;94 in short, every abuse characteristic of force, delighting in brutality and proud of its performances.
Following this long line of murders and robbery, the Minister reaches Marseilles, and I imagine him stopping at this city somewhat dumbfounded. Not that he is anywise astonished at popular murders; undoubtedly he has had advices of them from Aix, Aubagne, Apt, Brignolles, and Eyguières, while there are a series of them at Marseilles, one in July, two in August, and two in September;95 but this he must be accustomed to. What disturbs him here is to see the national bond dissolving; he sees departments breaking away, new, distinct, independent, complete governments forming on the basis of popular sovereignty; publicly and officially, they keep funds raised for the central government for local uses; they institute penalties against their inhabitants seeking refuge in France; they organise tribunals, levy taxes, raise troops, and undertake military expeditions.96 Assembled together to elect representatives to the Conven tion, the electors of the Bouches-du-Rhône were, additionally, disposed to establish throughout the department “the reign of liberty and equality,” and to this effect they found, says one of them, “an army of 1,200 heroes to purge the districts in which the bourgeois aristocracy still raises its bold, imprudent head.” Consequently, at Sonas, Noves, St. Rémy, Maillane, Eyrages, Graveson, Eyguières, extended over the territory consisting of the districts of Tarascon, Arles and Salon, these twelve hundred heroes are authorised to get a living out of the inhabitants at pleasure, while the rest of the expenses of the expedition are to be borne “by suspected citizens.”97 These expeditions are prolonged six weeks and more; one of them goes outside of the department, to Monosque, in the Basses-Alpes, and Monosque, obliged to pay 104,000 francs to its “saviors and fathers,” as an indemnity for travelling expenses, writes to the Minister that, henceforth, it can no longer meet his impositions.
What kind of improvised sovereigns are these who have instituted perambulating brigandage? Roland, on this point, has simply to question his friend Barbaroux, their president and the executive agent of their decrees. “Nine hundred persons,” Barbaroux himself writes, “generally of slight education, impatiently listening to conservatives, and yielding all attention to the effervescent, cunning in the diffusion of calumnies, petty suspicious minds, a few men of integrity but unenlightened, a few enlightened but cowardly; many of them patriotic, but without judgment, without philosophy”; in short, a Jacobin club, and Jacobin to such an extent as to “make the hall ring with applause98 on receiving the news of the September massacre”; in the foremost ranks, “a crowd of men eager for office and money, eternal denunciators, imagining trouble or exaggerating it to obtain for themselves lucrative commissions”;99 in other words, the usual pack of hungry appetites in full chase.—Perfectly to comprehend them, Roland has only to examine the last file, that of the neighboring departments, and consider their colleagues in Var. In this great wreck of reason and of integrity, which is termed the Jacobin Revolution, a few stray waifs still float on the surface; many of the department administrations are composed of liberals, friends of order, intelligent men, upright and firm defenders of the law. Such was the Directory of Var.100 To get rid of it the Toulon Jacobins contrived an ambush worthy of the Borgias and Oliverettos of the sixteenth century.101 On the 28th of July, in the forenoon, Sylvestre, president of the club, distributed among his trusty men in the suburbs and purlieus of the town an enormous sack of red caps, while he posted his squads in convenient places. In the mean time the municipal body, his accomplices, formally present themselves at the department bureau, and invite the administrators to join them in fraternising with the people. The administrators, suspecting nothing, accompany them, each arm in arm with a municipal officer or delegate of the club. They scarcely reach the square when there rushes upon it from every avenue a troop of red-caps lying in wait. The syndic-attorney, the vice-president of the department, and two other administrators, are seized, cut down and hung; another, M. Debaux, succeeding in making his escape, hides away, scales the ramparts during the night, breaks his thigh and lies there on the ground; he is discovered the next morning; a band, led by Jassaud, a harbor-laborer, and by Lemaille, calling himself “town hanger,” come and raise him up, carry him away in a barrow, and hang him at the first lantern. Other bands despatch the public prosecutor in the same fashion, a district administrator, a merchant, and then, spreading over the country, pillage and slay among the country houses.—In vain has the commandant of the place, M. Dumerbion, entreated the municipality to proclaim martial law. Not only does it refuse, but it enjoins him to order one-half of his troops back to their barracks. By way of an offset, it sets free a number of soldiers condemned to the galleys, and all that are confined for insubordination.—Henceforth every shadow of discipline vanishes, and, in the following month, murders multiply. M. de Possel, a navy administrator, is taken from his dwelling, and a rope is passed around his neck; he is saved just in time by a bombardier, the secretary of the club. M. Senis, caught in his country-house, is hung on the Place du Vieux Palais. Desidery, a captain in the navy, the curé of La Valette, and M. de Sacqui des Thourets, are decapitated in the suburbs, and their heads are brought into town on the ends of three poles. M. de Flotte d’Argenson, vice-admiral, a man of Herculean stature, of such a grave aspect, and so austere that he is nicknamed the “Père Eternel,” is treacherously enticed to the entrance of the Arsenal, where he sees the lantern already dropping; he seizes a gun, defends himself, yields to numbers, and after having been slashed with sabres, is hung. M. de Rochemaure, a major-general of marines, is likewise sabred and hung in the same manner; a main artery in the neck, severed by the blow of the sabre, spouts blood from the corpse and forms a pool on the pavement; Barry, one of the executioners, washes his hands in it and sprinkles the by-standers as if bestowing a blessing on them.—Barry, Lemaille, Jassaud, Sylvestre, and other leading assassins, the new kings of Toulon, sufficiently resemble those of Paris. Add to these a certain Figon, who gives audience in his garret, straightens out social inequalities, forces the daughters of large farmers to marry poor republicans, and rich young men to marry prostitutes,102 and, taking the lists furnished by the club or neighboring municipalities, ransoming all the well-to-do and opulent persons inscribed on them. In order that the portraiture of the band may be complete, it must be noted that, on the 23d of August, it attempted to set free the sixteen hundred convicts; the latter, not comprehending that they were wanted for political allies, did not dare sally forth, or, at least, the reliable portion of the National Guard arrived in time to put their chains on again. But here its efforts cease, while for more than a year public authority remains in the hands of a faction which, as far as public order is concerned, does not even entertain the sentiments of a convict.
More than once during the course of this long review the Minister must have been conscious of a blush of shame; for, to the reprimands despatched by him to these listless administrations, they reply by citing himself as an example: “You desire us to bring arbitrary arrests before the public prosecutor; have you denounced similar and yet greater crimes committed at the capital?”103 —From all quarters come the cries of the oppressed appealing to “the patriot Minister, the sworn enemy of anarchy,” to “the good and incorruptible Minister of the Interior, … his only reproach, the good sense of his wife,” and his sole return for this is condolence and dissertations: “To lament the events which so grievously distress the province, all administrations being truly useful when they forestall evils, it being very sad to be obliged to resort to such remedies, and recommend to them a more active supervision.”104 “To lament and find consolation in the observations made in the letter,” which announces four murders, but calls attention to the fact that “the victims immolated are anti-revolutionists.”105 He has carried on written dialogues with the village municipalities, and given lessons in constitutional law to communities of pot-breakers.106 But, on this territory, he is defeated by his own principles, while the pure Jacobins read him a lesson in turn; they, likewise, are able to deduce the consequences of their own creed. “Brother and Friend, Sir,” write those of Rouen, “not to be always at the knees of the municipality, we have declared ourselves permanent, deliberative sections of the Commune.”107 Let the so-called constituted authorities, the formalists and pedants of the Executive Council and the Minister of the Interior, look twice before censuring the exercise of popular sovereignty. This sovereign lifts its voice and drives its clerks back into their holes; spoliation and murder, all is just that it has done. “Can you have forgotten that, after the tempest, as you yourself declared in the height of the storm, it is the nation which saves itself? Well, sir, this is what we have done.108 … What! when all France was resounding with that long expected proclamation of the abolition of tyranny, you were willing that the traitors, who strove to reestablish it, should escape public prosecution! My God, what century is this in which we find such Ministers!” Arbitrary taxes, penalties, confiscations, revolutionary expeditions, nomadic garrisons, pillagings, what fault can be found with all that? “We do not pretend that these are legal ways; but, drawing nearer to nature, we demand what object the oppressed have in view in invoking justice. Is it to lag behind and vainly pursue an equitable adjustment which is rendered fleeting by judicial forms? Correct these abuses or do not complain of the sovereign people suppressing them in advance. … You, sir, with so many reasons for it, would do well to recall your insults and redeem the wrongs you have inflicted before we happen to render them public.” … “Citizen Minister, people flatter you; you are told too often that you are virtuous; the moment this gives you pleasure you cease to be so. … Discard the astute brigands who surround you, listen to the people, and remember that a citizen Minister is merely the executor of the sovereign will of the people.” However narrow Roland may be, he must finally comprehend that the innumerable robberies and murders which he has conned over are not a thoughtless eruption, a passing crisis of delirium, but a manifesto of the victorious party, the beginning of an established regimen. Under this system, write the Marseilles Jacobins, “to-day, in our happy region, the good rule over the bad, and form a body which allows no contamination; whatever is vicious is in concealment or exterminated.”—The programme is very precise, and acts form its commentary. This is the programme which the faction, throughout the interregnum, sets openly before the electors.
[1. ]Guillon de Montléon, I. 122. Letter of Laussel, dated Paris, 28th of August, 1792, to the Jacobins of Lyons: “Tell me how many heads have been cut off at home. It would be infamous to let our enemies escape.”
[2. ]“Les Révolutions de Paris,” by Prudhomme, Vol. XIII. pp. 59–63 (14th of July, 1792).
[3. ]Decrees of the 10th and 11th of August, 1792.
[4. ]Prudhomme, number of the 15th of September, p. 483.—Mortimer-Ternaux, IV. 430.
[5. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, IV. 11. Fauchet’s report, Nov. 6, 1792, IV. 91, 142. Discourse of M. Fockedey, administrator of the department of the north, and of M. Bailly, deputy of Seine-et-Marne.
[6. ]Prudhomme, number of Sept. 1, 1792, pp. 375, 381, 385; number of Sept. 22, pp. 528–530.—Cf. Guillon de Montléon, I. 144. Here are some of the principles announced by the Jacobin leaders of Lyons, Châlier, Laussel, Cusset, Rouillot, etc. “The time has come when this prophecy must be fulfilled: The rich shall be put in the place of the poor, and the poor in the place of the rich.”—“If a half of their property be left them the rich will still be happy.”—“If the laboring people of Lyons are destitute of work and of bread, they can profit by these calamities in helping themselves to wealth in the quarter where they find it.”—“No one who is near a sack of wheat can die of hunger. Do you wish the word that will buy all that you want? Slay!—or perish!”
[7. ]Prudhomme, number for the 28th of August, 1792, pp. 284–287.
[8. ]Cf. “The French Revolution,” I. 346. In ten of the departments the seventh jacquerie continues the sixth without a break. Among other examples, this letter from the administrators of Tarn, June 18, 1792, may be read (“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,271). “Numerous bands overran both the city (Castres) and the country. They forcibly entered the houses of the citizens, broke the furniture to pieces, and pillaged everything that fell into their hands. Girls and women underwent shameful treatment. Commissioners sent by the district and the municipality to advocate peace were insulted and menaced. The pillage was renewed; the home of the citizen was violated.” The administrators add: “In many places the progress made by the constitution was indicated by the speedy and numerous emigrations of its enemies.”
[9. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7 3,272. Letter of the administrators of the Var, May 27, 1792.—Letter of the minister, Duranthon, May 28.—Letter of the commission composing the directory, Oct. 31.
[10. ]“Archives Nationales,” Letter of the administrators of Var, May 27.—This saying is the summary of the revolutionary spirit; it recurs constantly.—Cf. the Duc de Montpensier, “Mémoires,” p. 11. At Aix one of his guards said to the sans-culottes who were breaking into the room where he was kept: “Citizens, by what order do you enter here? and why have you forced the guard at the door?” One of them answered: “By order of the people. Don’t you know that the people is sovereign?”
[11. ]“Archives Nationales,” Letter of the public prosecutor, May 23.—Letters of the administrators of the department, May 22 and 27 (on the events of the 13th of May at Beausset).
[12. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,193 and 3,194. Previous details may be found in these files. This department is one of those in which the seventh jacquerie is merely a prolongation of the sixth.—Cf. F7, 3,193. Letter of the royal commissioner at Milhau, May 5, 1791. “The situation is getting worse; the administrative bodies continue powerless and without resources. Most of their members are still unable to enter upon their duties; while the factions, who still rule, multiply their excesses in every direction. Another house in the country, near the town, has been burnt; another broken into, with a destruction of the furniture and a part of the dinner-service, and doors and windows broken open and smashed; several houses visited, under the pretence of arms or powder being concealed in them; all of this found with private persons and dealers not of the factious party carried off; tumultuous shouts, nocturnal assemblages, plots for pillage or burning; disturbances caused by the sale of grain, searches under this pretext in private granaries, forced prices at current reductions; forty louis taken from a lady retired into the country, found in her trunk, which was broken into, and which, they say, should have been in assignats. The police and municipal officers, witnesses of these outrages, are sometimes forced to sanction them with their presence: they neither dare suppress them nor punish the well-known authors of them. Such is a brief statement of the disorders committed in less than eight days.”—In relation specially to Saint-Afrique. Cf. F7, 3,194, the letter, among others, of the department administrator, March 29, 1792.
[13. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,193. Extract from the registers of the clerk of the juge-de-paix of Saint-Afrique, and report by the department commissioners, Nov. 10, 1792, with the testimony of the witnesses, forming a document of 115 pages.
[14. ]Deposition of Alexis Bro, a volunteer, and three others.
[15. ]Deposition of Pons, a merchant. After this devastation he is obliged to address a petition to the executive power, asking permission to remain in the town.
[16. ]Deposition of Capdenet, a shoemaker.
[17. ]Depositions of Marguerite Galzeng, wife of Guibal a miller, Pierre Canac, and others.
[18. ]Depositions of Martin, syndic-attorney of the commune of Brusque; Aussel, curé of Versol; Martial Aussel, vicar of Lapeyre, and others.
[19. ]Deposition of Anne Tourtoulon.
[20. ]Depositions of Jeanne Tuffon, of Marianne Terral, of Marguerite Thomas, of Martin, syndic-attorney of the commune of Brusque, of Virot, of Brassier, and others. The details do not warrant quotation.
[21. ]Depositions of Moursol, wool-carder; Louis Grand, district-administrator, and others.
[22. ]For example, at Limoges, Aug. 16.—Cf. Louis Guibert, “le Parti Girondin dans la Haute-Vienne,” p. 14.
[23. ]Paris, “Histoire de Joseph Lebon,” I. 60. Restoration of the Arras municipality. Joseph Lebon is proclaimed mayor Sept. 16.
[24. ]For example, at Caen and at Carcassonne.
[25. ]For example, at Toulon.
[26. ]“Un séjour en France,” 19, 29.
[27. ]Ibid., p. 38: “M. de M——, who had served for thirty years, gave up his arms to a boy, who treated him with the greatest insolence.”
[28. ]Paris, ibid., p. 55 and the following pages.—Albert Babeau, “Histoire de Troyes,” I. 503, 575.—Sauzay, III. ch. i.
[29. ]“The Ancient Régime,” 381, 391, 392.
[30. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,217. Letter of Castanet, an old gendarme, Aug. 21 1792.
[31. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,219. Letter of M. Alquier to the first consul, Pluviôse 18, an VIII.
[32. ]Lauvergne, “Histoire du Var,” p. 104.
[33. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 325, 327.
[34. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,271. Letter of the Minister of Justice, with official reports of the municipality of Rabastens. “The juge-de-paix of Rabastens was insulted in his place by putting an end to the proceedings commenced against an old deserter at the head of the municipality, and tried for robbery. They threatened to stab the judge if he recommenced the trial. Numerous mobs of vagabonds overrun the country, pillaging and putting to ransom all owners of property. … The people has been led off by a municipal officer, a constitutional curé, and a brother of sieur Tournal, one of the authors of the evils which have desolated the Comtat” (March 5, 1792).
[35. ]Guillon de Montléon, I. 84, 109, 139, 155, 158, 464.—Ibid., p. 441, details concerning Châlier by his companion Chassagnon.—“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,255. Letter by Laussel, Sept. 22, 1792.
[36. ]Barbaroux, “Mémoires,” 85. Barbaroux is an eye-witness, for he has just returned to Marseilles and is about to preside over the electoral assembly of the Bouches-du-Rhône.
[37. ]C. Rousset, “Les Volontaires,” p. 67.—In his report of June 27, 1792, Albert Dubayet estimates the number of volunteers at 84,000.
[38. ]C. Rousset, “Les Volontaires,” 101. Letter of Kellermann, Aug. 23, 1792.—“Un séjour en France,” I. 347 and following pages.—“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,214. Letter of an inhabitant of Nogent-le-Rotrou (Eure). “Out of 8,000 inhabitants one-half require assistance; and two-thirds of these are in a sad state, having scarcely straw enough to sleep on” (Dec. 3, 1792).
[39. ]C. Rousset, “Les Volontaires,” 106 (Letter of General Biron, Aug. 23, 1792).—226, Letter of Vezu, major, July 24, 1793.
[40. ]C. Rousset, “Les Volontaires,” 144 (Letter of a district administrator of Moulins to General Custines, Jan. 27, 1793).—“Un séjour en France,” p. 27: “I am sorry to see that most of the volunteers about to join the army are old men or very young boys.”—C. Rousset, ibid., 74, 108, 226 (Letter of Biron, Nov. 7, 1792); 105 (Letter of the commander of Fort Louis, Aug. 7); 127 (Letter of Captain Motmé). One-third of the 2d battalion of Haute-Saône is composed of children 13 and 14 years old.
[41. ]Moniteur, XIII. 742 (Sept. 21). Marshal Lückner and his aids-de-camp just miss being killed by Parisian volunteers.—“Archives Nationales,” B B, 16, 703. Letter by Labarrière, aid-de-camp of General Flers, Antwerp, March 19, 1793. On the desertion en masse of gendarmes from Dumouriez’s army, who return to Paris.
[42. ]Cf. “L’armée et la garde nationale,” by Baron Poisson, III. 475. “On hostilities being declared (April, 1792), the contingent of volunteers was fixed at 200,000 men. This second attempt resulted in nothing but confused and disorderly levies. Owing to the lack of the firmness of the volunteer troops it was impossible to continue the war in Belgium, which allowed the enemy to cross the frontier.” Gouverneur Morris, so well informed, had already written, under date of Dec. 27, 1791: “The national guards, who have turned out as volunteers, are in many instances that corrupted scum of overgrown population of which large cities purge themselves, and which, without constitutions to support the fatigues … of war, have every vice and every disease which can render them the scourge of their friends and the scoff of their foes.”—Buchez et Roux, XXVI. 177. Plan of the administrators of Hérault, presented to the Convention April 27, 1793. “The composition of the enlistment should not be concealed. Most of those of which it is made up are not volunteers; they are not citizens of all classes of society, who, submitting to draft on the ballot, have willingly made up their minds to go and defend the Republic. The larger part of the recruits are substitutes who, through the attraction of a large sum, have concluded to leave their homes.”
[43. ]C. Rousset, 47. Letter of the directory of Somme, Feb. 26, 1792.
[44. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,270. Deliberations of the council-general of the commune of Roye, Oct. 8, 1792 (in relation to the violence committed by two divisions of Parisian gendarmerie during their passage, Oct. 7 and 8).
[45. ]Moore, I. 338 (Sept. 8, 1792).
[46. ]C. Rousset, 189 (Letter of the Minister of War, dated at Dunkirk, April 29, 1793)—“Archives Nationales,” B B, 16, 703. (Parisian national guard staff major-general, order of the day, letter of citizen Férat, commanding at Ostend, to the Minister of War, March 19, 1793): “Since we have had the gendarmes with us at Ostend there is nothing but disturbance every day. They attack the offices and volunteers, take the liberty of pulling off epaulettes and talk only of cutting and slashing, and declare that they recognise no superior, being equals with everybody, and that they will do as they please. They threaten and run after with sabres and pistols in their hands, all to whom I give orders to arrest them.”
[47. ]C. Rousset, 20 (Letter of General Wimpfen, Dec. 30, 1791).—“Souvenirs” of General Pelleport, pp. 7 and 8.
[48. ]C. Rousset, 45 (Report of General Wimpfen, Jan. 20, 1792).—103, Letter of General Biron, Aug. 23, 1792.
[49. ]C. Rousset, 47, 48.—“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,249. Official report of the municipality of Saint-Maxence, Jan. 21, 1792.—F7, 3,275. Official report of the municipality of Châtellerault, Dec. 27, 1791.—F7, 3,285 and 3,286.—F7, 3,213. Letter of Servan, Minister of War, to Roland, June 12, 1792: “I frequently receive, as well as yourself and the Minister of Justice, complaints against the national volunteers. They commit the most reprehensible offences daily in places where they are quartered, and through which they pass on their way to their destination.”—Ibid., Letter of Duranthon, Minister of Justice, May 5: “These occurrences are repeated, under more or less aggravating circumstances, in all the departments.”
[50. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,193. Official report of the commissaries of the department of Aveyron, April 4, 1792. “Among the pillagers and incendiaries of the châteaux of Privesac, Vaureilles, Péchins, and other threatened mansions, were a number of recruits who had already taken the road to Rhodez to join their respective regiments.” Nothing remains of the château of Privesac but a heap of ruins. The houses in the village “are filled to overflowing with pillaged articles, and the inhabitants have divided the owners’ animals amongst themselves.”—Comte de Seilhac, “Scènes et portraits de la Révolution dans le Bas-Limousin,” p. 305. Pillage of the châteaux of St. Jéal and Seilhac, April 12, 1792, by the 3d battalion of la Corrèze, commanded by Bellegarde, a former domestic in the château.
[51. ]“Archives Nationales” F7, 3,270. Deliberation of the council-general of the commune of Roye, Oct. 8, 1792 (passage of two divisions of Parisian gendarmes). “The inhabitants and municipal officers were by turns the sport of their insolence and brutality, constantly threatened in case of refusal with having their heads cut off, and seeing the said gendarmes, especially the cannoneers, with naked sabres in their hands, always threatening. The citizen mayor especially was treated most outrageously by the said cannoneers … forcing him to dance on the Place d’armes, to which they resorted with violins and where they remained until midnight, rudely pushing and hauling him about, treating him as an aristocrat, clapping the red cap on his head, with constant threats of cutting it off and that of every aristocrat in the town, a threat they swore to carry out the next day, openly stating, especially two or three amongst them, that they had massacred the Paris prisoners on the 2d of September, and that it cost them nothing to massacre.”
[52. ]Summaries, in the order of their date or locality, and similar to those about to be placed before the reader, sometimes occur in these files. I pursue the same course as the clerk, in conformity with Roland’s methodical habits.
[53. ]Aug 17, 1792 (Moniteur, XIII. 383, report of M. Emmery).
[54. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,271. Letter of the administrators of Tarn, July 21.
[55. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,234. Report of the municipal officers of Clairac, July 20.—(Letter of the syndic-attorney of Lot-et-Garonne, Sept. 16.)
[56. ]Mercure de France, number for July 28 (letters from Bordeaux).
[57. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,275. Letter of the administrators of Haute-Vienne, July 28 (with official reports).
[58. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,223. Letter of the directory of the district of Neuville to the department-administrators, Sept. 18.
[59. ]“Archives Nationales,” report of the administrators of the department and council-general of the commune of Orleans, Sept. 16 and 17. (The disarmament had been effected through the decrees of Aug. 26 and Sept. 2.)
[60. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,249. Letter of the lieutenant of the gendarmerie of Dampierre, Sept. 23 (with official report dated Sept. 19).
[61. ]“Archives Nationales,” draft of a letter by Roland, Oct. 4, and others of the same kind.—Letter of the municipal officers of Ray, Sept. 24.—Letter of M. Desdouits, proprietor, Sept. 30.—Letter of the permanent council of Aigle, Oct. 1, etc.
[62. ]“Archives Nationales,” Letter of the administrators of the Orne department, Sept. 7.
[63. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 337 (Sept. 6).
[64. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,265. Letter of the lieutenant-general of the gendarmerie, Aug. 30.—Official report of the Rouen municipality on the riot of Aug. 29.—Letters of the department-administrators, Sept. 18 and Oct. 11.—Letter of the same, Oct. 13, etc.—Letter of David, cultivator and department-administrator, Oct. 11.
[65. ]Albert Babeau, “Letters of a deputy of the municipality of Troyes to the army of Dumouriez,” p. 8.—(Sainte-Menehould, Sept. 7, 1792): “Our troops burn with a desire to meet the enemy. The massacre reported to have taken place in Paris does not discourage them; on the contrary, they are glad to know that suspected persons in the interior are got rid of.”
[66. ]Moore, I. 338 (Sept. 4). At Clermont, the murder of a fish-dealer, killed for insulting the Breton volunteers.—401 (Sept. 7), the son of the post-master at Saint-Amand is killed on suspicion of communicating with the enemy.—“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,249. Letter of the district-administrators of Senlis, Oct. 31 (Aug. 15). At Chantilly, M. Pigeau is assassinated in the midst of 1,200 persons.—C. Rousset, p. 84 (Sept. 21), Lieutenant-colonel Imonnier is assassinated at Châlons-sur-Marne.—Mortimer-Ternaux, IV. 172. Four Prussian deserters are murdered at Rethel, Oct. 5, by the Parisian volunteers.
[67. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 378, 594 and following pages.
[68. ]Lacretelle, “Dix années d’épreuves,” p. 58. Description of Liancourt.—“Archives Nationales,” letter of the department-administrators of the Eure, Sept. 11 (with official report of the Gisors municipality, Sept. 4).—Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 550.
[69. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 4,394. Letter of Roland to the convention, Oct. 31 (with a copy of the documents sent by the department of the Nord on the events of Oct. 10 and 11).
[70. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,191. Official report of the municipality of Charleville, Sept. 4, and letter, Sept. 6.—Moniteur, XIII. 742, number for Sept. 21, 1792 (Letter of Sept. 17, on the Parisian volunteers of Marshal Lückner’s army). “The Parisian volunteers again threatened to have several heads last evening, among others those of the marshal and his aids. He had threatened to return some deserters to their regiments. At this the men exclaimed that the ancient régime no longer existed, that brothers should not be treated in that way, and that the general should be arrested. Several of them had already seized the horse’s bridle.”
[71. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,185. Documents relating to the case of M. des Fossés. (The pillaging takes place Sept. 4.)
[72. ]Letter of Goulard, mayor of Coucy, Oct. 4.—Letter of Osselin, notary, Nov. 7. “Threats of setting fire to M. de Fossés’ two remaining farm-houses are made.”—Letter of M. de Fossés, Jan. 28, 1793. He states that he has entered no complaint, and if anybody has done so for him he is much displeased. “A suit might place me in the greatest danger, from my knowledge of the state ofthe public mind in Coucy, and of what the guilty have done and will do to affect the minds of the people in the seventeen communes concerned in the devastation.”
[73. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,249. Letter of M. de Gouy to Roland, Sept. 21. (An admirable letter, which, if copied entire, would show the character of the gentleman of 1789. It is full of feeling as well as of illusions, and somewhat formal in style.) The first attack was made Sept. 4 and the second on the 13th.
[74. ]Most of the domiciliary visits end in similar depredations. For example, (“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,265, letter of the administrators of Seine-Inférieure, Sept. 18, 1792). Visit to the château de Catteville, Sept. 7, by the national guard of the neighborhood. “The national guard get drunk, break the furniture to pieces, and fire repeated volleys at the windows and mirrors: the château is a complete ruin.” The municipal officers on attempting to interfere are nearly killed.
[75. ]The letter ends with the following: “No, never will I abandon the French soil!” He is guillotined at Paris, Thermidor 5, year II., as an accomplice in the pretended prison-plot.
[76. ]“Archives Nationales,” Letter of the Oise administrators, Sept. 12 and 15.—Letter of the syndic-attorney of the department, Sept. 23.—Letter of the administrators, Sept. 20 (on Chantilly). “The vast treasures of this domain are being plundered.” In the forest of Hez and in the park belonging to M. de Fitz-James, now national property, “the finest trees are sold on the spot, cut down, and carried off.”—F7, 3,268, Letter of the overseer of the national domains at Rambouillet, Oct. 31. Woods devastated “at a loss of more than 100,000 crowns since August 10.”—“The agitators who preach liberty to citizens in the rural districts are the very ones who excite the disorders with which the country is menaced. They provoke the demand for a partition of property, with all the accompanying threats.”
[77. ]Albert Babeau, I. 504 (Aug. 20).
[78. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 322 (Sept. 4).
[79. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 325.—“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,239. Official report of the municipality of Rheims, Sept. 6.
[80. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 4,394. Correspondence of the ministers in 1792 and 1793. Lists presented by Roland to the convention, on the part of various districts and departments, containing the names of priests demanding passports to go abroad, those who have gone without passports, and of infirm or aged priests in the department asylums.
[81. ]Albert Babeau, I. 515–517. Guillon de Montléon, I. 120. At Lyons after the 10th of August the unsworn conceal themselves; the municipality offers them passports; many who come for them are incarcerated; others receive a passport with a mark on it which serves for their recognition on the road, and which excites against them the fury of the volunteers. “A majority of the soldiers filled the air with their cries of ‘Death to kings and priests!’ ”—Sauzay, III. ch. ix., and especially p. 193: “M. Pescheur, while running along the road from Belfort to Porentruy, is seen by a captain of the volunteers, riding along the same road with other officers: demanding his gun, he aimed at M. Pescheur and shot him.”
[82. ]“Histoire de Chalons-sur-Marne et de ses monuments,” by L. Barbat, pp. 420, 425.
[83. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,207. Letter of the directory of the Côte d’Or, Aug. 28 and Sept. 26. Address of the Beaune municipality, Sept. 2. Letter of M. Jean Sallier, Oct. 9: “Allow me to appeal to you for justice and to interest yourself in behalf of my brother, myself, and five servants, who on the 14th of September last, at the order of the municipality of La Roche-en-Bressy, where we have lived for three years, were arrested by the national guard of Saulieu, and, first imprisoned here in this town, were on the 18th transferred to Semur, no reason for our detention being given, and where we have in vain demanded a trial from the directory of the district, which body, making no examination or inquiry into our case, sent us on the 25th, at great expense, to Dijon, where the department has imprisoned us again without, as before, giving any reason therefor.”—The directory of the department writes “the communes of the towns and of the country arrest persons suspected by them, and instead of caring for these themselves, send them to the district.”—These arbitrary imprisonments multiply towards the end of 1792 and early in 1793. The commissaries of the convention arrest at Sedan 55 persons in one day; at Nancy, 104 in three weeks; at Arras, more than 1,000 in two months; in the Jura, 4,000 in two months. At Lons-le-Saulnier all the nobles with their domestics, at Aix all the inhabitants of one quarter without exception are put in prison (De Sybel, II. 305.)
[84. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,276. Letters of the administrators of the Yonne, Aug. 20 and 21.—Ibid., F7, 3,255. Letter of the commissary, Bonnemant, Sept. 11.—Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 338.—De Lavalette, “Mémoires,” I. 100.
[85. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,255. Letter of the district-administrators of Roanne, Aug. 18. Fourteen volunteers of the canton of Néronde betake themselves to Chenevoux, a mansion belonging to M. Dulieu, a supposed émigré. They exact 200 francs from the keeper of the funds of the house under penalty of death, which he gives them.—Letter of the same, Sept. 11. “Repressive means are daily becoming a nullity. Juges-de-paix before whom complaints are made dare not report them, nor try citizens who cause themselves to be feared. Witnesses dare not give testimony for fear of being maltreated or pillaged by these malefactors.”—Letter of the same, Aug. 22.—Official report of the municipality of Charlieu, Sept. 9, on the destruction of the rent-rolls. “We represented to them that not having force at command to oppose them, since they themselves were the force, we would retire.”—Letter of an officer of the gendarmerie, Sept. 9, etc.
[86. ]“Lettres autographes de Madame Roland,” published by Madame Bancal des Issarts, p. 5 (June 2, 1790).
[87. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,245.—Letter of the mayor and municipal officers of Lyons, Aug. 2.—Letter of the deputy procureur of the commune, Aug. 29.—Copy of a letter by Dodieu, Aug. 27. (Roland replies with consternation and says that there must be a prosecution.)—Official report of the 9th of September, and letter of the municipality, Sept. 11.—Memorial of the officers of the Royal-Pologne regiment, Sept. 7.—Letter of M. Perigny, father-in-law of one of the officers slain, Sept. 19.—Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 342.—Guillon de Montléon, I. 124.—Balleyder, “Histoire du peuple de Lyon,” 91.
[88. ]“Archives Nationales,” Letter of Danton, Oct. 3.
[89. ]“Etude sur Madame Roland,” by Dauban, 82. Letter of Madame Roland to Bosc, July 26, 1798. “You busy yourselves with a municipality and allow heads to escape which will devise new horrors. You are mere children; your enthusiasm is merely a straw bonfire! If the National Assembly does not try two illustrious heads in regular form or some generous Décius strike them down, you are all ——.” Ibid., May 17, 1790: “Our rural districts are much dissatisfied with the decree on feudal privileges. … A reform is necessary, in which more châteaux must be burnt. It would not be a serious evil were there not some danger of the enemies of the Revolution profiting by these discontents to lessen the confidence of the people in the National Assembly.”—Sept. 27, 1790. “The worst party is successful; it is forgotten that insurrection is the most sacred of duties when the country is in danger.”—Jan. 24, 1791. “The wise man shuts his eyes to the grievances or weaknesses of the private individual; but the citizen should show no mercy, even to his father, when the public welfare is at stake.”
[90. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,202. Report of the commissary, member of the Cantal directory, Oct. 24. On the 16th of October at Chaudesaigues the volunteers break open a door and then kill one of their comrades who opposes them, whom the commissary tries to save. The mayor of the place, in uniform, leads them to the dwellings of aristocrats, urging them on to pillage; they enter a number of houses by force and exact wine. The next day at St. Urcise they break into the house of the former curé, devastate or pillage it, and “sell his furniture to different persons in the neighborhood.” The same treatment is awarded to sieur Vaissier, mayor, and to dame Lavalette; their cellars are forced open, barrels of wine are taken to the public square, faucets put in, and drunk. After this “the volunteers go in squads into the neighboring parishes and compel the inhabitants to give them money or effects.” The commissary and municipal officers of St. Urcise who tried to mediate were nearly killed and were saved only through the efforts of a detachment of regular cavalry. As to the Jacobin mayor of Chaudesaigues, it was natural that he should preach pillage: on the sale of the effects of the nuns “he kept all bidders away, and had things knocked down to him for almost nothing.”
[91. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,217. Letter of Castanet, an old gendarme, Nismes, Aug. 21.—Letter of M. Griolet, syndic-attorney of the Gard, Sept. 8: “I beg, sir, that this letter may be considered as confidential; I pray you, do not compromise me.”—Letter of M. Gilles, juge-de-paix at Rocquemaure, Oct. 31 (with official reports).
[92. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,227. Letter of the municipal officers of Tullins, Sept. 8.
[93. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,190. Letter of Danton, Oct. 9.—Memorial of M. Casimir Audiffret (with documents in support of it). His son had been locked up by mistake, instead of another Audiffret, belonging to the Comtat; he was sabred in prison Aug. 25. Report of the surgeon, Oct. 17: “The wounded man has two gashes more on the head, one on the left cheek, and the right leg is paralysed; he has been so roughly treated in carrying him from prison to prison as to bring on an abscess on the wrist; if he is kept there he will soon die.”
[94. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,195. Letter of M. Amiel, president of the bureau of conciliation, Oct. 28.—Letter of an inhabitant of Avignon, Oct. 7.—Other letters without signatures.—Letter of M. Gilles, juge-de-paix, Jan. 23, 1793.
[95. ]Fabre, “Histoire de Marseilles,” II. 478 and following pages.—“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,195. Letter of the Minister of Justice, M. de Joly (with supporting documents), Aug. 6.—Official reports of the Marseilles municipality, July 21, 22, 23.—Official report of the municipality of Aix, Aug. 24.—Letter of the syndic-attorney of the department (with a letter of the municipality of Aubagne), Sept. 22, etc., in which M. Jourdan, a ministerial officer, is accused of “aristocracy.” A guard is assigned to him. About midnight the guard is overcome, he is carried off, and then killed in spite of the entreaties of his wife and son. The letter of the municipality ends with the following: “Their lamentations pierced our hearts. But, alas! who can resist the French people when aroused? We remain, gentlemen, very cordially yours, the municipal officers of Aubagne.”
[96. ]Moniteur, XIII. 560. Act passed by the administrators of the Bouches-du-Rhône, Aug. 3, “forbidding special collectors from henceforth paying taxes with the national treasury.”—Ibid., 744. A report by Roland. The department of Var, having called a meeting of commissaries at Avignon to provide for the defense of these regions, the Minister says: “This step, subversive of all government, nullifies the general regulations of the executive power.”—“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,195. Deliberation of the three administrative bodies assembled at Marseilles, Nov. 5, 1792.—Petition of Anselm, a citizen of Avignon residing in Paris, Dec. 14.—Report of the Saint-Rémy affair, etc.
[97. ]“Archives Nationales,” CII. I. 32. Official Report of the Electoral Assembly of Bouches-du-Rhône, Sept. 4. “To defray the expenses of this expenditure the syndic-attorney of the district of Tarascon is authorised to draw upon the collector of stamps and of the registry, and in addition thereto on the collector of direct taxation. The expenses of this expedition will be borne by the anti-revolutionary agitators who have made it necessary. A list, therefore, is to be drawn up and sent to the National Assembly. The commissioners will be empowered to suspend the district administrations, municipal officers, and generally all public functionaries who, through incivisme or improper conduct, shall have endangered the public weal. They may even arrest them as well as suspected citizens. They will see that the law regarding the disarming of suspected citizens and the banishment of priests be faithfully executed.”—Ibid., F7, 3,195. Letter of Truchement, commissary of the department, Nov. 15.—Memorial of the community of Eyguières and letter of the municipality of Eyguières, Sept. 23.—Letter of M. Jaubert, secretary of the Salon popular club, Oct. 22: “The department of Bouches-du-Rhône has for a month past been ravaged by commissions. … The despotism of one is abolished, and we now stagger under the much more burdensome yoke of a crowd of despots.”—Situation of the department in September and October, 1792 (with supporting documents).
[98. ]Barbaroux, “Mémoires,” 89.
[99. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,196.—Letters and petition of citizen de Sades, Nov., 1792, Feb. 17, 1793, and Ventose 8, year III.: “Towards the middle of Sept., 1792 (old style), some Marseilles brigands broke into a house of mine near Apt. Not content with carrying away six loads of furniture … they broke the mirrors and wood-work.” The damage is estimated at 80,000 francs. Report of the executive council according to the official statement of the municipality of Coste. On the 27th of September Montbrion, commissioner of the administration of the Bouches-du-Rhône, sends two messengers to fetch the furniture to Apt. On reaching Apt Montbrion and his colleague Bergier have the vehicles unloaded, putting the most valuable effects on one cart, which they appropriate to themselves, and drive away with it to some distance out of sight, paying the driver out of their own pockets: “No doubt whatever exists as to the knavery of Montbrion and Bergier, administrators and commissioners of the administration of the department.”—De Sades, the author of “Justine,” pleads his well-known civism and the ultra-revolutionary petitions drawn up by him in the name of the section of the Pikes.
[100. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,272. Read in this file the entire correspondence of the directory and the public prosecutor.
[101. ]Deliberation of the commune of Toulon, July 28 and following days.—That of the three administrative bodies, Sept. 10.—Lauvergne, “Histoire du department du Var,” 104–137.
[102. ]“Souvenirs,” (manuscript) of M. X——. M. X—— and his wife, stopped in Picardy, were brought to Paris by a member of the commune, a small, bandy-legged fellow formerly a chair-letter in his parish church, imbued with the doctrines of the day and a determined leveller. At the village of Saralles they passed the house of M. de Livry, a rich man enjoying an income of 50,000 francs, and the lover of Saunier, an opera-dancer. “He is a good fellow,” exclaims the bandy-legged conductor: “we have just made him marry. Look here, we said to him, it is time that was put a stop to! Down with prejudices! Marquises and dancers ought to marry each other. He made her his wife, and it is well he did; otherwise he would have been done for before this, or caged behind the Luxembourg walls.”—Elsewhere, on passing a château in progress of demolition, the former chair-letter quotes Rousseau: “For every château that falls, twenty cottages rise in its place.” His mind was stored with similar phrases and tirades, uttered by him as the occasion warranted. This man may be considered as an excellent specimen of the average Jacobin.
[103. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,207. Letter of the administrators of the Côte d’Or to the Minister, Oct. 6, 1792.
[104. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,195. Letter of the administrators of the Bouches-du-Rhône, Oct. 29, and the Minister’s answer on the margin.
[105. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,249. Letter of the administrators of the Orne, Sept. 7, and the Minister’s reply noted on the margin.
[106. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,249. Correspondence with the municipality of St. Firmin (Oise). Letter of Roland, Dec. 3: “I have read the letter addressed to me on the 25th of the past month, and I cannot conceal from you the pain it gives me to find in it principles so destructive of all the ties of subordination existing between constituted authorities, principles so erroneous that should the communes adopt them every form of government would be impossible and all society broken up. Can the commune of St. Firmin, indeed, have persuaded itself that it is sovereign, as the letter states? and have the citizens composing it forgotten that the sovereign is the entire nation, and not the forty-four thousandth part of it? that St. Firmin is simply a fraction of it, contributing its share to endowing the deputies of the National Convention, the administrators of departments and districts with the power of acting for the greatest advantage of the commune, but which, the moment it elects its own administrators and agents, can no longer revoke the powers it has bestowed, without a total subversion of order? etc.” All the documents belonging to this affair ought to be given; there is nothing more instructive or ludicrous, and especially the style of the secretary-clerk. “We conjure you to remember that the administrators of the district of Senlis strive to play the part of the sirens who sought to enchant Ulysses.”
[107. ]Letter of the central bureau of the Rouen sections, Aug. 30.
[108. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,195. Letter of the three administrative bodies and commissaries of the sections of Marseilles, Nov. 15, 1792. Letter of the electors of Bouches-du-Rhône, Nov. 28.—(Forms of politeness are omitted at the end of these letters, and no doubt purposely.) Roland replies (Dec. 31): “While fully admiring the civism of the brave Marseilles people, . . I do not fully agree with you on the exercise of popular sovereignty.” He ends by stating that all their letters with replies have been transmitted to the deputies of the Bouches-du-Rhône, and that the latter are in accord with him and will arrange matters.