Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XI - The French Revolution, vol. 2
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
CHAPTER XI - 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.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
I.The second stage of the Jacobin conquest—The importance and multitude of vacant offices—II.The elections—The young and the poor invited to the ballot-box—Danger of the Conservatives if candidates—Their chiefs absent themselves—Proportion of absentees at the primary assemblies—III.Composition and tone of the secondary assemblies—Exclusion of “Feuillant” electors—Pressure on other electors—Persons elected by the Conservatives obliged to resign—Elections by the Catholics cancelled—Secession of the Jacobin minorities—The election of their men made valid—Public opinion not in accord with official selections—IV.Composition of the National Convention—Number of Montagnards at the start—Opinions and sentiments of the deputies of the Plain—The Gironde—Ascendency of the Girondists in the Convention—Their intellectual character—Their principles—The plan of their Constitution—Their fanaticism—Their sincerity, culture and tastes—How they differ from pure Jacobins—How they comprehend popular sovereignty—Their stipulations with regard to the initiative of individuals and of groups—Weakness of philosophic thought and of parliamentary authority in times of anarchy—V.Opinion in Paris—The majority of the population constitutional—The new régime unpopular—Scarcity and dearness of food—Catholic customs obstructed—Universal and increasing discontent—Aversion or indifference to the Girondists—Political resignation of the majority—Modern customs incompatible with pure democracy—Men of property and income, manufacturers and tradesmen, keep aloof—Dissensions, timidity and feebleness of the Conservatives—The Jacobins alone form the sovereign people—VI.Composition of the party—Its numbers and quality decline—The Underlings—Idle and dissipated workmen—The suburban rabble—Bandits and blackguards—Prostitutes—The September actors—VII.The ruling representative man—His mental character and compass—The political ideas of M. Saule.
We now reach the second stage of the Jacobin conquest. After August 10 the Jacobins, for three consecutive months, extend and multiply all vacancies from the top to the bottom of the hierarchy, for the purpose of filling them with their own men.—In the first place, the faction installs representatives on the summits of public authority which represent itself alone, seven hundred and forty-nine omnipotent deputies, in a Convention which, curbed neither by collateral powers nor by a previously established constitution, disposes at pleasure of the property, the lives and the consciences of all French people.—After this, through this scarcely installed convention, it decrees the complete renewal1 of all administrative and judicial bodies, councils and directories of departments, councils and Commune municipalities, civil, criminal and commercial tribunals, justices and their assistants in the lower courts, deputies of the justices, national commissaries of the civil courts, with secretaries and bailiffs belonging to the various tribunals and administrations.2 The obligation of having practiced as a lawyer is abolished by the same stroke, so that the first comer, if he belongs to the club, may become a judge without knowing how to write, and even without being able to read.3 —Just before this the staff of the National Guard, in all towns above fifty thousand souls, and afterwards in all the towns on the frontier, has again passed through the electoral sieve.4 In like manner, the officers of the gendarmerie at Paris and throughout France once more undergo an election by their men. Finally, all post-masters and post-office comptrollers have to submit to election.—Again, this administrative weeding reaches all functionaries and employees not elective alongside of or below those who are, no matter how insignificant their service may be, however feebly and indirectly their office may be connected with political matters, such as tax receivers and assessors, directors and other agents of streams and forests, engineers, notaries, attorneys, clerks and scribes belonging to the administrative bureaus, all of whom are subject to dismissal if they do not obtain a certificate of civism from their municipality: at Troyes, out of fifteen notaries, it is refused to four,5 which leaves four places to be filled by their Jacobin clerks. At Paris,6 “all honest folks, all clerks who are educated,” are driven out of the navy offices; the war department is getting to be “a den where everybody on duty wears a red cap, where all thee-and-thou each other, even the Minister, where four hundred employees, among which are a number of women, show off in the dirtiest dress, affect the coolest cynicism, do nothing, and steal on all sides.”—Under the denunciation of the clubs, the broom is applied even at the bottom of the hierarchical scale, even to secretaries of village mayoralties, to messengers and call-boys in the towns, to jail-keepers and door-keepers, to beadles and sextons, to foresters, field-custodians, and others of this class.7 All these persons must be, or appear to be, Jacobin; otherwise, their place slips away from them, for there is always some one to covet it, apply for it and take it.—Outside of employees the sweeping operation reaches the commissariat; even here there are the faithful to be provided for, and nowhere is the bait so large. The State, in ordinary times, is always the largest of consumers, and, at this moment, it is expending monthly, merely on the war, two hundred millions extra. What fish may be caught in these disturbed waters!8 All these lucrative orders as well as paid employees are at the disposition of the Jacobin people, and it makes the distribution of them; it is a lawful proprietor, who comes home after a long absence and gives or withdraws his custom as he pleases, while he makes a clean sweep in his own household.—The administrative and judicial services alone number 1,300,000 places, all those in the treasury department, in that of public works, in that of public education, and in the Church; all posts in the National Guard and in the army, from that of commander-in-chief down to a drummer; the whole of the central or local power, with the vast patronage flowing from this. Never was a pile of similar booty got together at one time on a public square. Lots will be drawn, apparently, by vote; but it is clear enough that the Jacobins have no idea of surrendering their prey to the chances of a free ballot; they mean to keep it as they got it, by force, and will leave no stone unturned to control the elections.
They begin by opening the way for themselves. From the first day9 a decree has suppressed the feeble and last guarantee which the law required in relation to the independence, good-standing and competency of the elector and the éligible. There must no longer be any distinction between active and passive citizens; there must be no difference between the qualification tax of an elector of the first degree and that of the second degree; no electoral qualification whatever. All Frenchmen, except domestics, of whom they are distrustful, supposing them under their employer’s influence, may vote at the primary assemblages, and no longer at the age of twenty-five, but at twenty-one, which brings to the polls the two most revolutionary groups, on the one hand the young, and on the other the indigent, the latter in prodigious numbers in these times of no work, dearth and poverty, amounting in all to two millions and a half, and, perhaps, three millions of new electors. At Besançon the number of the registered is doubled.10 —Thus are the usual clients of the Jacobins admitted within the electoral pale, from which they had hitherto been excluded,11 and, to ensure their coming, their patrons decide that every elector obliged to leave his abiding-place “shall receive twenty sous mileage,” besides “three francs per diem for his sojourn.”12
In gathering together their patrons they at the same time keep away their adversaries. Political brigandage, through which they dominate and terrify France, has already provided for that. So many arbitrary arrests and unpunished murders are a warning to all candidates unwilling to join their sect; and I do not allude here to the nobles or friends of the ancient régime that have fled or are in prison, but to the Constitutionalists and the Feuillants. Any electoral enterprise on their part would be madness, almost a suicide. Accordingly, none of them step to the front. If any discreditable conservative, like Durand-Maillane, appears on the list, it is because the revolutionists have adopted him without knowing him, and because he is a sworn enemy to royalty.13 The rest, who are more frank, and not disposed to don the popular livery and resort to club patronage, carefully stay away; they know too well that to do otherwise would mark their heads for pikes and their homes for pillage. At the very moment of depositing the vote the domains of several deputies are sacked simply because, “on the comparative lists of seven calls by name,” sent to the departments from Paris by the Jacobins, their names are found on the right.14 —Through an excess of precaution the Constitutionalists of the Legislative body are kept at the capital, their passports being refused to them to prevent them from returning into the provinces and obtaining votes by publicly stating the truth in relation to the recent revolution.—In like manner, all conservative journals are suppressed, reduced to silence, or compelled to turn palinodists.—Now, when one has no organ for discussion, nor candidate for representative, of what use is it to vote? And especially, since the primary assemblies are places of disorder and violence,15 patriots alone, in many places, being admitted,16 a conservative being “insulted and overwhelmed with numbers,” and, if he utters an opinion, exposed to danger, also, if he remains silent, incurring the risk of denunciations, threats, and blows. To keep in the background, remain on one side, avoid being seen, and to strive to have it forgotten that one exists, is the rule under a pacha, and especially when this pacha is the commonalty. Hence the absenteeism of the majority; around the ballot-box there is an enormous void. At Paris, in the election of mayor and municipal officers, the ballottings of October, November and December collect together only 14,000 out of 160,000 registered voters, then 10,000, and, again, 7,000.17 At Besançon, 7,000 registered voters result in less than 600; there is the same proportion in other towns, as, for example, in Troyes. In like manner, in the rural cantons, east of Doubs and west of Loire-Inférieure, but one-tenth of the electors dare exercise their right to vote.18 The electoral spring is so exhausted, so often disturbed, and so stopped up as to be almost dry: in these primary assemblies which, directly or indirectly, delegate all public powers, and which, in the expression of the common will, should be full, there are lacking six millions three hundred thousand electors out of seven millions.
Through this anticipated purgation the assemblies of the first degree find themselves, for the most part, Jacobin; consequently the electors of the second degree, appointed by them, are, for the most part, Jacobin; in many departments, their assembly becomes the most anarchical, the most turbulent, and the most usurping of all the clubs. Here there is only shouting, denunciations, oath-takings, incendiary motions, cheerings which carry all questions, furious speeches by Parisian commissaries, by delegates from the local club, by passing Federates, and by female wretches demanding arms.19 The Pas-de-Calais assemblage sets free and applauds a woman imprisoned for having beaten a drum in a mob. The Paris assembly fraternises with the Versailles slaughterers and the assassins of the mayor of Etampes. The assembly of the Bouches-du-Rhône gives a certificate of virtue to Jourdan, the Glacière murderer. The assembly of Seine-et-Marne applauds the proposal to cast a cannon which might contain the head of Louis XVI. for a cannon-ball to be fired at the enemy.—It is not surprising that an electoral body without self-respect should respect nothing, and practice self-mutilation under the pretext of purification.20 The object of the despotic majority was to reign at once, without any contest, on its own authority, and to expel all offensive electors. At Paris, in the Aisne, in Haute-Loire, in Ille-et-Vilaine, in Maine-et-Loire, it excludes as unworthy the members of old Feuillants and monarchical clubs, and the signers of constitutionalist protests. In Hérault it cancels the elections in the canton of Servian, because the élus, it says, are “mad aristocrats.” In Orne it drives away an old Constituent, Goupil de Préfeln, because he voted for the revision, also, his son-in-law, because he is his son-in-law. In the Bouches-du-Rhône, where the canton of Seignon, by mistake or through routine, swore “to maintain the constitution of the kingdom,” it sets aside these retrograde élus, commences proceedings against the “crime committed,” and sends troops against Noves because the Noves elector, a justice who is denounced and in peril, has escaped from the electoral den.—After the purification of persons it proceeds to the purification of sentiments. At Paris, and in, at least, nine departments,21 and in contempt of the law, it suppresses the secret ballot, the last refuge of timid conservatives, and imposes on each elector a public vote by word of mouth, on his name being called; that is to say, if he does not vote as he ought to, he has the lantern before him.22 Nothing could more surely convert hesitation and indecision into good sense, while, in many a place, still more powerful machinery is violently opposed to the elections. At Paris the elections are carried on in the midst of atrocities, under the pikes of the butchers, and conducted by their instigators. At Meaux and at Rheims the electors in session were within hearing of the screeches of the murdered priests. At Rheims the butchers themselves ordered the electoral assembly to elect their candidates, Drouet, the famous post-master, and Armonville, a tipsy wool-carder, upon which one-half of the assembly withdrew, while the two candidates of the assassins are elected. At Lyons, two days after the massacre, the Jacobin commander writes to the Minister: “Yesterday’s catastrophe puts the aristocrats to flight, and ensures us the majority in Lyons.”23 From universal suffrage thus subjected to so much sifting, submitted to such heavy pressure, heated and refined in the revolutionary alembic, those who control it obtain all they want, a concentrated extract, the quintessence of the Jacobin spirit.
And yet, should this extract not seem to them sufficiently strong, wherever they are sovereign, they throw it away and begin over again. At Paris,24 by means of a purifying and surplus ballot, the new Council of the Commune undertakes the expulsion of its lukewarm members, while d’Ormesson, the mayor elect of the moderates, is assailed with so many threats that, on the verge of his installation, he resigns. At Lyons,25 another moderate, Nivière-Chol, twice elected, and, by 9,000 out of 11,000 votes, is twice compelled to abandon his place; after him, Gilibert, the physician, who, supported by the same voters, is about to obtain the majority, is seized suddenly and cast into prison; even in prison, he is elected; the clubbists confine him there more rigidly, and do not let him out even after extorting his resignation.—Elsewhere in the rural cantons, for example, in Franche-Comté,26 a number of elections are cancelled when the person elected happens to be a Catholic. The Jacobin minority frequently secede, meet in a tavern, elect their mayor or justice of the peace, and the validity of his election is secured because he is a patriot; so much the worse for that of the majority, whose more numerous votes are null because given by “fanatics.”—The response of universal suffrage thus appealed to cannot be other than that which is framed for it. Indisputable facts are to show to what extent this response is compulsive or perverted, what a distance there is between an official choice and public opinion, how the elections give a contrary meaning to popular sentiment. The departments of Deux-Sèvres, Maine-et-Loire, la Vendée, Loire-Infèrieure, Morbihan, and Finistère, send only anti-catholic republicans to the Convention, while these same departments are to become the inexhaustible nursery of the great catholic and royalist insurrection. Three regicides out of four deputies represent Lozère, where, six months later, thirty thousand peasants are to march under the white flag. Six regicides out of nine deputies represent la Vendée, which is going to rise from one end of it to the other in the name of the King.27
However vigorous the electoral pressure may have been, the voting machine has not answered what was expected from it. At the opening of the session, out of seven hundred and forty-nine deputies, only about fifty28 are found to approve of the Commune, nearly all of them elected, as at Rheims and Paris, where terror has the elector by the throat, “under the clubs, axes, daggers, and bludgeons of the butchers.”29 In other quarters, where the physical impressions of murder have not been so tangible and keen, some sense of propriety has prevented too glaring elections. The inclination to vote for well-known names could not be wholly arrested; seventy-seven members of the Constituent Assembly, and one hundred and eighty-six of the Legislative Assembly enter the Convention, and the practical knowledge which many of these have of government business has given them some light. In short, the consciences of six hundred and fifty deputies are only in part perverted.
They are all, unquestionably, decided republicans, enemies of tradition, apostles of reason, and trained in deductive politics; only on these conditions could they be elected. Every candidate is supposed to possess the Jacobin faith, or, at least, to recite the revolutionary creed. The Convention, consequently, at its opening session votes unanimously, with cheers and enthusiasm, the abolition of royalty, and three months later it pronounces, by a large majority, Louis XVI. “guilty of conspiring against the liberty of the nation, and of assaults on the general welfare of the State.”30 —Nevertheless, social habitudes still subsist under political prejudices. A man who is born in and lives for a long time in an old community, is, through this alone, marked with its imprint; the customs to which he conforms have crystallised in him in the shape of sentiments: if it is well-regulated and civilised, he has involuntarily arrived at respect for property and for human life, and, in most characters, this respect has taken very deep root. A theory, even if adopted, does not wholly succeed in destroying this respect; only in rare instances is it successful, when it encounters coarse and defective natures; to take full hold, it is necessary that it should fall on the scattered inheritors of former destructive appetites, on those hopelessly degenerate souls in which the passions of an anterior date are slumbering; then only does its malevolence fully appear, for it rouses the ferocious or plundering instincts of the barbarian, the raider, the inquisitor, and the pacha. On the contrary, with the greatest number, do what it will, integrity and humanity always remain powerful motors. Nearly all these legislators, born amongst the average of the middle class, are at bottom, whatever momentary excitement may stir their minds, what they always have been up to the time being, advocates, attorneys, merchants, priests, or physicians of the ancient régime, and what they continue to be later on, docile administrators or zealous functionaries of the empire,31 that is to say, ordinary civilised persons belonging to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, sufficiently honest in private life to have a desire to be equally so in public life.—Hence their horror of anarchy, of Marat,32 and of the September butchers and robbers. Three days after their assembling together they vote, “almost unanimously,” the preparation of a law “against the instigators of murder and assassination.” “Almost unanimously,” they desire to raise a guard, recruited in the eighty-three departments, against the armed bands of Paris and the Commune. Pétion is elected as their first president by “almost the totality of suffrages.” Roland, who has just read his report to them, is greeted with the “loudest” applause from nearly the “entire” Assembly. In short, they are for the ideal republic against actual brigands. This accounts for their ranging themselves around those upright and sincere deputies, who, in the two preceding Assemblies or alongside of them, were the ablest defenders of both principles and humanity, around Buzot, Lanjuinais, Pétion, and Rabaut-Saint-Etienne; around Brissot, Vergniaud, Guadet, Gensonné, Isnard, and Condorcet; around Roland, Louvet, Barbaroux, and the five hundred deputies of the “Plain,” marching in one body under the leadership of the one hundred and eighty Girondists who now form the “Right.”33
The latter, among the republicans, are the most sincere and have the most faith; for they have long been such, through reflection, study and system. Nearly all of them are reading men, reasoners, philosophers, disciples of Diderot or of Rousseau, satisfied that absolute truth had been revealed by their masters, thoroughly imbued with the Encyclopédie or the Contrat Social, the same as the Puritans formerly were with the Bible.34 At the age when the mind is matur ing, and fondly clings to general ideas,35 they espoused the theory and aimed at a reconstruction of society according to abstract principles. They have accordingly set to work as pure logicians, rigorously applying the superficial and false system of analysis then in vogue. They have formed for themselves an idea of man in general, the same in all times and ages, an extract or minimum of man; they have pondered over several thousands or millions of these abstract mortals, erected their imaginary wills into primordial rights, and drawn up in anticipation the chimerical contract which is to regulate their impossible union. There are to be no more privileges, no more heredity, no qualifications of any kind; all are to be electors, all eligible and all equal members of the sovereignty; all powers are to be of short date, and conferred through election; there must be but one assembly, elected and entirely renewed annually, one executive council elected and one-half renewed annually, a national treasury-board elected and one-third renewed annually; all local administrations and tribunals must be elected; a referendum to the people, the electoral body endowed with the initiative, a constant appeal to the sovereignty, which, always consulted and always active, will manifest its will not alone by the choice of its mandatories but, again, through “the censure” which it will apply to the laws—such is the Constitution they forge for themselves.36 “The English Constitution,” says Condorcet, “is made for the rich, that of America for citizens well-off; the French Constitution should be made for all men.”—Thus entitled, it is the only legitimate one; every institution that departs from it is opposed to natural right and, therefore, fit only to be put down.—This is what the Legislative Assembly has done, and we are well aware through what persecution of Catholic consciences, through what violations of feudal property, through what encroachments on the legal authority of the King, with what passion against the remains of the ancient régime, with what toleration of crime by the people, with what rigidity, haste and rashness, and with what illusions,37 even to plunging France into an European war, even to arming the vilest classes, even to seeing, in the overthrow of all government, the advent of philosophy and the triumph of reason.—The Girondist, where his Utopia is concerned, is a sectarian, and he knows no scruples. Little does he care whether nine out of ten electors vote; he regards himself as the authorised representative of the ten. Little does he care whether the great majority of Frenchmen favor the Constitution of 1791; it is his business to impose on them his own. Little does he care whether his former opponents, King, émigrés, unsworn ecclesiastics, are honorable men or at least excusable; he will launch against them every rigorous legal proceeding, transportation, confiscation, civil death and physical death.38 In his own eyes he is the justiciary, and his investiture is bestowed upon him by eternal right. There is no human infatuation so pernicious to man as that of absolute right; nothing is better calculated for the destruction in him of the hereditary accumulation of moral conceptions.—Within the narrow bounds of their creed, however, the Girondists are sincere and consistent. They are masters of their formulae; they know how to deduce consequences from them; they believe in them the same as a geometrician in his theorems, and a theologian in the articles of his faith; they are anxious to apply them, to devise a constitution, to establish a regular government, to emerge from a barbarous state, to put an end to fighting in the street, to pillaging, to murders, to the sway of brutal force and of naked arms.
The disorder, moreover, so repugnant to them as logicians is still more repugnant to them as cultivated, polished men. They have a sense of what is proper,39 of becoming ways, and their tastes are even refined. They are not familiar with, nor do they desire to imitate, the rude manners of Danton, his coarse language, his oaths, and his low associations with the populace. They have not, like Robespierre, gone to lodge with a boss-carpenter, to live with him and eat with his family. Unlike Pache, Minister of War, no one among them “feels honored” by “going down to dine with his porter,” and by sending his daughters to the club to give a fraternal kiss to drunken Jacobins.40 At Madame Roland’s house there is a salon, although it is stiff and pedantic; Barbaroux sends verses to a marchioness, who, after the 2d of June, elopes with him to Caen.41 Condorcet has lived in high society, while his wife, a former canoness, possesses the charms, the repose, the instruction, and the finesse of an accomplished woman. Men of this stamp cannot endure close alongside of them the inept and gross dictatorship of an armed rabble. In providing for the public treasury they require regular taxes and not tyrannical confiscations.42 To repress the malevolent they require “punishments and not proscriptions.”43 In all State trials they oppose irregular courts, and strive to maintain for those under indictment some of the usual safeguards.44 On declaring the King guilty they hesitate in pronouncing sentence of death, and try to lighten their responsibility by appealing to the people. “Laws and not blood,” an expression uttered with great effect in a drama of the day, is the statement in brief of their political ideas.—Now the law, in its essence, especially Republican law, is the law of all; once enacted, nobody, no citizen, no city, no party, can refuse to obey it without being criminal. It is monstrous that one city should arrogate to itself the privilege of ruling the nation; Paris, like other departments, ought to be reduced to its one-eighty-third proportion of influence. It is monstrous that, in a capital of 700,000 souls, five or six thousand radical Jacobins should oppress the sections and alone elect their candidates; in the sections and at the polls, all citizens, at least all republicans, should enjoy an equal and free vote. It is monstrous that the principle of popular sovereignty should be used to cover up attacks against popular sovereignty, that, under the pretence of saving the State, the first-comer may kill whom he pleases, that, under the color of resisting oppression, each mob should have the right to put the government down.—Hence, this militant right must be moderated, kept within legal bounds and subjected to a fixed process.45 Should any individual desire a law, a reform or a public measure, let him state this on paper over his own signature and that of fifty other citizens of the same primary assembly; then the proposition must be submitted to his own primary assembly; then, in case it obtains a majority, to the primary assemblies of his arrondissement; then, in case of a majority, to the primary assemblies of his department; then, in case of a majority, to the Legislative body; then, in case of rejection, to all the primary assemblies of the empire, so that after a second verdict of the same assemblies twice consulted, the Legislative body, yielding to the majority of primary suffrages, may dissolve and a new Legislative body, in which all old members shall be declared ineligible, take its place.—This is the final expression, and the master idea, of the theory. Condorcet, its able constructor, surpassed himself. No more ingenious nor more complicated piece of mechanism could be drawn out on paper. The Girondists, in the closing article of this unobjectionable constitution, think that they have discovered a way to muzzle the brute and give the sovereign full sway.
Just as if the brute could be muzzled with any constitution, and especially this one! Just as if it was in the humor to let the muzzle be put on! Robespierre, on the part of the Jacobins, replies by an article opposing that of Condorcet.46 “To subject resistance to oppression to legal formalities is the last refinement of tyranny. … When a government violates the people’s rights, a general insurrection of the people, as well as of portions of the people, is the most sacred of duties.” Now, political orthodoxy, close reasoning, and oratorical talent are no arms against this ever-muttering insurrection. “Our philosophers,” says a good observer,47 “want to attain their ends by persuasion; which is equivalent to saying that battles are won by eloquence, fine speeches, and plans of a constitution. Very soon, according to them, … it will suffice to take complete copies of Machiavelli, Rousseau and Montesquieu into a fight instead of cannon, it never occurring to them that these men, like their works, never were, and are not still, anything but simpletons against a cut-throat provided with a good sword.”—The parliamentary ground is fallen away; things have returned to a state of nature, that is, to a state of war, and not discussion but force is the question now on hand. To be in the right, to convince the convention, to obtain majorities, to pass decrees, would be suitable in ordinary times, under a government provided with an armed force and a regular administration, by which, from the summits of public authority, the decrees of a majority descend through submissive functionaries to a sympathetic and obedient population. But, in times of anarchy, and above all, in the den of the Commune, in Paris, such as the 10th of August and the 2d of September made it, all this is of no account.
And, first of all, because in this great city of Paris they are isolated, and have no group of zealous partisans to depend upon. For, if the large majority is opposed to their adversaries, that is not in their favor, it having secretly, at heart, remained “constitutionalist.”48 “I would make myself master of Paris,” says a professional observer, “in ten days without striking a blow if I had but six thousand men, and one of Lafayette’s stable-boys to command them.”49 Lafayette, indeed, since the departure or concealment of the royalists, represents the old, fixed, and deep-seated opinion of the capital. Paris submits to the Girondists as well as to the Montagnards as usurpers; the mass of the public regards them with ill-will, and not only the bourgeoisie, but likewise the majority of the people, is opposed to the established régime.
Work is scarce and food is dear; brandy has tripled in price; only four hundred oxen are brought in at the Poissy market instead of seven or eight thousand; the butchers declare that, the following week, there will be no meat in Paris except for the sick. To obtain a small ration of bread it is necessary to wait five or six hours in a line at the baker’s shops, and,50 as is customary, workmen and housekeepers impute all this to the government. This government, which so poorly provides for its needs, injures them yet more in their deepest feelings, in the habits most dear to them, in their faith and worship. The common people, even at Paris, is still at this time very religious, much more so than at the present day. When the priest bearing the Host passes along the street, the crowd “gathers from all sides, men, women, and children, young and old, and fall on their knees in adoration.”51 The day on which the relics of Saint-Leu are borne in procession through the Rue St. Martin, “everybody kneels; I did not see a man,” says a careful observer, “that did not take off his hat. At the guard-house of the Mauconseil section, the entire company presented arms.” At the same time the “citoyennes around the markets talked with each other to know if there was any way of decking houses with tapestry.”52 The following week they compel the revolutionary committee of Saint-Eustache53 to authorise another procession, and again each one kneels: “everybody approved of the ceremony, no one, that I heard of, making any objection. This is a striking picture. … I saw repentance, I saw the parallel each is forced to draw between the actual state of things and the former one. I saw what a privation the people had to endure in the loss of that which, formerly, was the most imposing of all church ceremonies. People of all ranks and ages were deeply affected and humble, and many had tears in their eyes.” Now, in this respect, the Girondists, by virtue of being philosophers, are more iconoclastic, more intolerant than any one, and there is no reason for preferring them to their adversaries. At bottom, the government installed by the recent electoral comedy, for the major portion of the Parisians, has no authority but the fact of its existence; people put up with it because there is no other, fully recognising its worthlessness;54 it is a government of strangers, of interlopers, of cavillers, of bunglers, the weak and the violent. The Convention has no hold either on the people or on the bourgeois class, and in proportion as it glides more rapidly down the revolutionary hill, it severs one by one the ties which still bind it to the indifferent.
In a reign of eight months it has alienated public opinion entirely. “Almost all who have property of any kind are conservative,”55 and all the conservatives are against it. “The gendarmes here openly talk against the Revolution, even up to the revolutionary tribunal, whose judgments they loudly condemn. All the old soldiers detest the actual order of things.”56 —The volunteers “who come back from the army appear angry at putting the King to death, and on that account they would flay all the Jacobins.”57 —No party in the Convention escapes this universal disaffection and growing aversion. “If the question of guillotining the members of the Convention could be put to an open vote, it would be carried against them by a majority of nineteen-twentieths,”58 which, in fact, is about the proportion of electors who, through fright or disgust, keep away from the polls. Let the “Right” or the “Left” of the Convention be victors or vanquished, that is a matter which concerns them; the public at large does not enter into the discussions of its conquerors, and no longer cares for either Gironde or “Mountain.” Its old grievances always revive “against the Vergniauds, Guadets” and company;59 it does not like them, and has no confidence in them, and will let them be crushed without helping them. The infuriates may expel the Thirty-Two, if they choose, and put them under lock and key. “There is nothing the aristocracy (meaning by this, owners of property, merchants, bankers, the rich, and the well-to-do), desire so much as to see them guillotined.”60 “Even the inferior aristocracy (meaning petty trades men and head-workmen) take no more interest in their fate than if they were so many escaped wild beasts … again caught and put in their cages.”61 “Guadet, Pétion, Brissot, would not find thirty persons in Paris who would take their part, or even take the first step to save them.”62
Apart from all this, it makes but little difference whether the majority has any preferences; its sympathies, if it has any, will never be other than platonic. It no longer counts for anything in either camp, it has withdrawn from the battle-field, it is now simply the sport of the conflict, the prey or the booty of the future conqueror. For, unable or unwilling to comply with the political system imposed on it, it is self-condemned to utter powerlessness. This system is the direct government of the people by the people, with all that ensues, permanence of the section assemblies, debates in public of the clubs, uproar in the galleries, motions in the open air, mobs and manifestations in the streets; nothing is less attractive and more impracticable to occupied and civilised beings. In our modern communities, work, the family, and social intercourse absorb nearly all our time; hence, such a system suits only the indolent and brutal, who, without homes or a calling, pass their days at the club, the same as in a tavern or café, and there find themselves in their place; the others refuse to enter a circle which seems wholly and expressly shaped for celibates, foundlings, and persons with no profession, living in lodgings, foul-mouthed, destitute of the sense of smell, with a gift of the gab, robust arms, tough hide, solid haunches, expert in hustling, and with whom blows are the substitute for arguments.63 —After the September massacres, and on the opening of the barriers, a number of proprietors and persons living on their incomes, not alone the suspected but those who thought they might become so, escaped from Paris, and, during the following months, the emigration increases along with the danger. Towards December lists have been reported against former Feuillants; “we are assured that during the past eight days more than fourteen thousand persons have left the capital.”64 According to the report of the Minister himself,65 “many who are independent in fortune and position abandon a city where the renewal of proscription is talked of daily.”—“Grass grows in the finest streets,” writes a deputy, “while the silence of the grave reigns in the Thébaîdes of the faubourg Saint-Germain.”—As to the conservatives who remain, they confine themselves to private life, from which it follows that, in the political balance, those present are of no more account than the absentees. At the municipal elections in October, November, and December, out of 160,000 registered, there are 144,000, then 150,000, and then 153,000 who stay away from the polls; these, certainly, and for a much stronger reason, do not show themselves at the assemblies of their sections. Commonly, out of three or four thousand citizens, only fifty or sixty attend; one of these, called a general assembly, which signifies the will of the people to the Convention, is composed of twenty-five voters.66 Ac cordingly, what would a sensible man, a friend of order, do in these dens of fanatics? He stays at home, as on stormy days; he lets the shower of words spend itself, not caring to be spattered in the gutter of nonsense which carries off the filth of his district.
If he leaves his house at all he goes out for a walk, the same as in old times, to indulge the tastes he had under the old régime, those of the well-cared-for (administré) Parisian, those of the talkative, loitering, refined cockney. “Yesterday evening,” writes a man who feels the coming Reign of Terror, “I took my stand in the middle of the right alley of the Champs-Elysées;67 it was thronged with—who do you think? Would you believe it, with moderates, aristocrats, those who have any property, and very pretty women, elegantly dressed, seeking the caresses of the balmy spring breeze! It was a charming sight. All were gay and smiling. I was the only one that was not so. … I withdrew hastily, and, on passing through the Tuileries garden, I saw a repetition of what I had seen before, forty thousand proprietors scattered here and there, almost as many as Paris contains.”—These are evidently the sheep ready for the slaughter-house. They no longer think of defence, they have abandoned their posts to the sans-culottes, “they refuse all civil and military functions,”68 they avoid doing duty in the National Guard and pay their substitutes. In short, they withdraw from a game which, in 1789, they desired to play without understanding it, and in which, since the end of 1791, they have always burnt their fingers. The cards may be handed over to others, especially as the cards are dirty and the players fling them in each others’ faces; as for themselves they are content to be lookers-on.—“Leave them their old enjoyments,69 leave them the pleasure of going and coming throughout the kingdom; do not force them to take part in the war. Subject them to the heaviest taxation and they will not complain; nobody will even know that they exist, while the most serious question that disturbs them in their thoughtful days is, can one amuse one’s self as much under a republican form of government as under the ancient régime?” They hope, perhaps, to escape under cover of inoffensive neutrality. Is it likely that the victor, whoever he is, will regard people as enemies who are resigned to his rule beforehand? “A dandy70 alongside of me remarked, yesterday morning, ‘They will not take my arms away, for I never had any.’ ‘Alas,’ I replied to him, ‘don’t make a boast of it, for you may find forty thousand ninnies in Paris that would say the same thing, and, indeed, it is not at all to the credit of Paris.’ ”—Such is the blindness or self-complacency of the city denizen who, having always lived under a good police, is unwilling to change his habits, and is not aware that the time has come for him to turn fighting man in his turn.
The shopman, below the manufacturers, the merchants and the man living on his income, is still less disposed to give up his private affairs for public affairs, inasmuch as his business will not wait for him, he being confined to his office, store or counting-room. For example, “the wine-dealers71 are nearly all aristocrats in the sense of this word at this period,” but “never were their sales so great as during the insurrections of the people and in revolutionary days.” Hence the impossibility of obtaining their services in those days. “They are seen on their premises very active, with three or four of their assistants,” and turn a deaf ear to every appeal. “How can we leave when custom is so good? People must have their wants supplied. Who will attend to them if I and the waiters should go away?”—There are other causes of weakness. All grades in the National Guard and all places in the municipality having been given up to the Jacobin extremists, they have no chiefs; the Girondists are incapable of rallying them, while Garat, the Minister, is unwilling to employ them. Moreover, they are divided amongst themselves, no one having any confidence in the other, “it being necessary to chain them together to have anything accomplished.”72 Besides this, the remembrance of September weighs upon their spirits like a nightmare.—All this converts people into a timid flock, ready to scamper at the slightest alarm. “In the Contrat Social section,” says an officer of the National Guard, “one-third of those who are able to defend the section are off in the country; another third are hiding away in their houses, and the other third dare not do anything.”73 “If, out of fifty thousand of the conservatised, you can collect together three thousand, I shall be very much astonished. And if, out of these three thousand, five hundred only are found to agree, and have courage enough to express their opinion, I shall be still more astonished. The latter, for instance, must expect to be Septemberised!”74 This they know, and hence they keep silent and bend beneath the yoke. “What, in deed, would the majority of the sections do when it is demonstrated that a dozen raving maniacs at the head of a sans-culottes section puts the other forty-seven sections of Paris to flight?”75 —Through this desertion of the commonwealth and their self-abandonment, they surrender in advance, and, in this great city, as formerly in ancient Athens and Rome, we see alongside of an immense population of subjects without any rights, a small despotic oligarchy in itself composing the sovereign people.
Not that this minority has been on the increase since the 10th of August, but on the contrary.—On the 19th of November, 1792, its candidate for the mayoralty, Lhuillier, obtains only 4,896 votes.76 On the 18th of June, 1793, its candidate for the command of the National Guard, Henriot, will secure but 4,573 votes; to ensure his election it will be necessary to cancel the election twice, impose the open vote, and relieve voters from showing their section tickets, which will permit the trusty to vote successively in other quarters and apparently double their number by allowing each to vote two or three times.77 Putting all together, there are not six thousand Jacobins in Paris, all of them sans-culottes and partisans of the “Mountain.”78 Ordinarily, in a section assembly, they number “ten or fifteen,” at most “thirty or forty,” “organised into a permanent tyrannical board.” … “The rest listen and raise their hands mechanically.” … “Three or four hundred visionaries, whose devotion is as frank as it is stupid, and two or three hundred more to whom the result of the last revolution did not bring the places and honors they too evidently relied on,” form the entire staff of the party; “these are the clamorers of the sections and of the groups, the only ones who have clearly declared themselves against order, the apostles of a new sedition, scathed or ruined men who need disturbance to keep alive,” while under these comes the train of Marat, vile women, worthless wretches, and “paid shouters at three francs a day.”79
The quality, again, of the factious is still more reduced than their number. Plenty of worthy men, small tradesmen, wine-dealers, cook-shop keepers, clerks, who, on the 10th of August, were against the Court, are now against the Commune.80 The September affair, probably, disgusted them, and they were not disposed to recommence the massacres. A workman named Gonchon, for example, the usual spokesman of the faubourg Saint-Antoine, an upright man, sincere and disinterested, supports Roland, and, very soon, at Lyons, seeing how things are with his own eyes, he is to loyally endorse the revolt of the moderates against the Maratists.81 “Insensibly,” say observers, “the respectable class of the arts is leaving the faction to join the healthy party.”82 “Now that water-carriers, porters and the like storm the loudest in the sections, it is plain to all eyes that the gangrene of disgust has reached the fruit-sellers, tailors, shoe-makers, keepers of refreshment saloons,” and others of that class.83 —Towards the end, “butchers of both classes, high and low, are aristocratised.”—In like manner, “the women in the markets, except a few who are paid and whose husbands are Jacobins, curse and swear, fume, fret and storm.” “This morning,” says a merchant, “four or five of them were here; they no longer insist on being called citoyennes; they declare that they “spit on the republic.”84 —There are no patriot females now but the lowest of the low class, the harpies who pillage shops as much through envy as through necessity, “boat-women, embittered by hard labor,85 … jealous of the grocer’s wife, better dressed than herself, as the latter was of the wives of the attorney and counsellor, as these were of those of the financier and noble. The woman of the people thinks she cannot do too much to degrade the grocer’s wife to her own level.”
Thus reduced to its dregs through the withdrawal of its tolerably honest recruits, the faction now comprises none but the scum of the populace, first, “subordinate workmen who look upon the downfall of their employers with a certain satisfaction,” then, the meanest of petty vendors, old-clothes dealers, hucksters, “those who offer second-hand coats for sale around the market, fourth-class cooks who, at the cemetery of the Innocents, sell meat and beans under umbrella tops,”86 next, domestics highly pleased with now being masters of their masters, scullions, grooms, lackeys, concierges, every species of valet, who, in contempt of the law, voted at the elections87 and formed at the Jacobin club “stupid people” satisfied “that they were universal geographers because they had ridden post once or twice,” and that they were politicians “because they had read ‘The Four Sons of Aymon.’ ”88 —But, in this overflowing slime, spreading around in broad sunshine, it is the ordinary scum of great cities which forms the grossest flux, the outcasts of every trade and profession, dissipated workmen of all kinds, the irregular and marauding troops of the social army, the class which, “discharged from La Pitié, run through a career of disorder and end in Bicêtre.”89 “From La Pitié to Bicêtre is a well known popular adage. Men of this stamp are without any principle whatever. If they have fifty francs they live on fifty, and if they have only five they live on five; spending everything, they are always out of pocket and save nothing. This is the class that took the Bastille,90 got up the 10th of August, etc. It is the same class which filled the galleries in the Assembly with all sorts of characters, filling up the groups,” and, during all this time it never did a stroke of work. Consequently, “a wife who owns a watch, ear-rings, finger-rings, any jewels, first takes them to the pawnbrokers where they are at last sold. At this period many of these personages owe the butcher, the baker, the wine-dealer, etc.; nobody trusts them any more. They have ceased to love their wives, and their children cry for food, while the father is at the Jacobin club or at the Tuileries. Many of them have abandoned their pursuits and lost standing,” while, either through “indolence” or consciousness “of their incapacity,” … “they would see this pursuit prospering with a sort of regret.” That of a political gossip, of a paid clamorer, is more agreeable, and such is the opinion of all the loungers which the bugle summons to the works on the camp around Paris.—Here,91 eight thousand men are paid forty sous a day “to do nothing”; “the workmen come along at eight, nine and ten o’clock in the morning. If they remain after roll-call … they merely trundle about a few wheelbarrow loads of dirt. Others play cards all day, and most of them leave at three or four o’clock, after dinner. On asking the inspectors about this they reply that they are not strong enough to enforce discipline, and are not disposed to be killed.” Whereupon, on the Convention decreeing piece-work, the pretended workmen fall back on their equality, remind it that they had risen on the 10th of August, and wish to massacre the commissioners. It is not until the 2d of November that they are finally dismissed with an allowance of three sous per league mileage for those of the departments. Enough, however, remain in Paris to increase immeasurably the troop of drones which, accustomed to consuming the store of honey, think they have a right to be paid by the public for buzzing around the State.
As a rear-guard, they have “the rabble of the suburbs of Paris, which flocks in at every tap of the drum because it hopes to make something.”92 As advance-guard they have “brigands,” while the front ranks contain “all the robbers in Paris, which the faction has enrolled in its party to use when required”; the second ranks are made up of “a number of former domestics, the bullies of gambling-houses and of houses of ill-fame, all the vilest class.”93 —Naturally, lost women form a part of the crowd. “Citoyennes,” Henriot says, addressing the prostitutes of the Palais-Royal, whom he has assembled in its garden, “citoyennes, are you good republicans?” “Yes, general, yes!” “Have you, by chance, any refractory priest, any Austrian, any Prussian, concealed in your apartments?” “Fie, fie! We have nobody but sans-culottes!”94 —Along with these are the thieves and prostitutes out of the Châtelet and Conciergerie, set at liberty and then enlisted by the September slaughterers, under the command of an old hag named Rose Lacombe,95 forming the usual audience of the Convention; on important days, seven or eight hundred of these may be counted, sometimes two thousand, stationed at the entrance and in the galleries, from nine o’clock in the morning.96 —Male and female, “this anti-social vermin”97 thus crawls around at the sessions of the Assembly, the Commune, the Jacobin club, the revolutionary tribunal, the sections, and one may imagine the physiognomies it offers to view. “It would seem,” says a deputy,98 “as if every sink in Paris and other great cities had been scoured to find whatever was foul, the most hideous, and the most infected. … Ugly, cadaverous features, black or bronzed, surmounted with tufts of greasy hair, and with eyes sunken half-way into the head. … They belched forth with their nauseous breath the grossest insults amidst sharp cries like those of carnivorous animals.” Among them there can be distinguished “the September murderers, whom” says an observer99 in a position to know them, “I can compare to nothing but lazy tigers licking their paws, growling and trying to find a few more drops of blood just spilled, awaiting a fresh supply.” Far from hiding away they strut about and show themselves. One of them, Petit-Mamain, son of an innkeeper at Bordeaux and a former soldier, “with a pale, wrinkled face, sharp eyes and bold air, wearing a scimetar at his side and pistols at his belt,” promenades the Palais-Royal100 “accompanied or followed at a distance by others of the same species,” and “taking part in every conversation.” “It was me,” he says, “who ripped open La Lamballe and tore her heart out. … All I have to regret is that the massacre was such a short one. But we shall have it over again. Only wait a fortnight!” and, thereupon, he calls out his own name in defiance.—Another, who has no need of stating his well-known name, Maillard, president of the Abbaye massacres, has his head-quarters at the café Chrétien,101 Rue Favart, from which, guzzling drams of brandy, “he despatches his moustached men, sixty-eight cut-throats, the terror of the surrounding region”; we see them in coffee-houses and in the foyers of the theatres “drawing their huge sabres,” and telling inoffensive people: “I am Mr. so and so; if you look ugly at me I’ll cut you down!”—A few months more and, under the command of one of Henriot’s aids, a squad of this band will rob and toast (chauffer) peasants in the environs of Corbeil and Meaux.102 In the mean time, even in Paris, they toast, rob, and commit rape on grand occasions. On the 25th and 26th of February, 1793,103 they pillage wholesale and retail groceries, “save those belonging to Jacobins,” in the Rue des Lombards, Rue des Cinq-Diamants, Rue Beaurepaire, Rue Montmartre, in the Ile Saint-Louis, on the Port-au-Blé, before the Hôtel-de-Ville, Rue Saint-Jacques, in short, twelve hundred of them, not alone articles of prime necessity, soap and candles, but again, sugar, brandy, cinnamon, vanilla, indigo and tea. “In the Rue de la Bourdonnaie, a number of persons came out with loaves of sugar they had not paid for and which they re-sold.” The affair was arranged beforehand, the same as on the 5th of October, 1789; among the women are seen “several men in disguise who did not even take the precaution of shaving,” and in many places, thanks to the confusion, they heartily abandon themselves to it. With his feet in the fire or a pistol at his head, the master of the house is compelled to give them “gold, money, assignats and jewels,” only too glad if his wife and daughters are not outraged before his eyes as in a town taken by assault.
Such is the political populace which, after the last months of the year 1792, rules over Paris, and, through Paris, over the whole of France, five thousand brutes and blackguards with two thousand hussies, about the number a good police force would expel from the city, were it important to give the capital a cleaning out;104 they also, convinced of their rights, are all the more ardent in their revolutionary faith, because their creed converts their vices into virtues, and transforms their misdeeds into public services.105 They are really the sovereign people, and it is their innermost thought which has to be brought to light. If we would clearly understand passing events we must discern the emotions which spontaneously arise in them on the trial of the King, at the defeat of Neerwinden, at the defection of Dumouriez, on the insurrection in La Vendée, at the accusation of Marat, the arrest of Hébert, and each of the dangers which in turn fall on their heads. For, this is not borrowed emotion; it does not descend from above; they are not a trusty army of disciplined soldiers, but a suspicious accumulation of temporary adherents. To command them requires obedience to them, while their leaders must always be their instruments. However popular and firmly established a chief may seem to be, he is there only for a short time, for what he is worth as a speaking-trumpet for their passions, and as purveyor to their appetites. Such was Pétion in July, 1792, and such is Marat since the days of September. “One Marat more or less (which will soon be seen) would not change the course of events.”106 —“But one only would remain,107 Chaumette, for instance; one would suffice to lead the horde,” because it is the horde itself which leads. “Its attachment will always be awarded to whoever shows a disposition to follow it the closest in its outrages without in any respect caring for its old patrons. … Its liking for Marat and Robespierre is not so great as for those who will exclaim, Let us kill, let us plunder!” Let the leader of the day stop following the current of the day, and he will be crushed as an obstacle or cast off as an incubus.—Judge if they are willing to be entangled in the spider’s web which the Girondists put in their way. Instead of the metaphysical constitution with which the Girondists confront them, they have one in their own head ready made, simple to the last point, adapted to their capacity and their instincts. The reader will call to mind one of their chiefs, whom we have already met, M. Saule, “a stout, stunted little old man, drunk all his life, formerly an upholsterer, then a peddler of quackeries in the shape of fourpenny boxes of hangman’s grease, to cure pains in the loins,”108 afterwards head applauder in the galleries of the Constituent Assembly and driven out for rascality, restored under the Legislative Assembly, and, under the protection of a groom of the Court, favored with a spot near the Assembly door, to set up a patriotic coffee-house, then awarded six hundred francs as a recompense, provided with national quarters, appointed inspector of the tribunes, a regulator of public opinion, and now “one of the madcaps of the Corn-market.” Such a man is typical, an average specimen of his party, not only in education, character and conduct, but, again, in ambition, principles, logic and success. “He swore that he would make his fortune, and he did it. His constant cry was that nobles and priests should be put down, and we no longer have either. He has constantly shouted against the civil list, and the civil list has been suppressed. At last, lodged in the house belonging to Louis XVI., he told him to his face that his head ought to be struck off, and the head of Louis XVI. has fallen.”—Here, in brief compass, is the history and the portrait of all the rest; it is not surprising that genuine Jacobins comprehend the Revolution in the same way as M. Saule,109 when, for them, the sole legitimate Constitution is the definitive establishment of their omnipotence; when they call order and justice the boundless despotism they exercise over property and life; when their instinct, as narrow and violent as that of a Turkish bey, comprises only extreme and destructive measures, arrests, transportations, confiscations, executions, all of which is done with head erect, with delight as if a patriotic duty, by right of a moral priesthood, in the name of the people, either directly and tumultuously with their own hands, or indirectly and legally by the hands of their docile representatives. This is the sum of their political system, from which nothing will detach them; for they are anchored fast to it with the full weight and with every hold upon it that characterises their immorality, ignorance and folly. Through the hypocritical glitter of compulsory parades, their one fixed idea imposes itself on the orator that he may utter it in tirades, on the legislator that he may put it into decrees, on the administrator that he may put it in practice, and, from their opening campaign up to their final victory, they will tolerate but one variation, and this variation is trifling. In September, 1792, they declare by their acts: “Those whose opinions are opposed to ours will be assassinated, and their gold, jewels and pocket-books will belong to us.” In November, 1793, they are to declare through the official inauguration of the revolutionary government: “Those whose opinions differ from ours will be guillotined and we shall be their heirs.”110 Between this programme, which is supported by the Jacobin populace and the programme of the Girondists which the majority in the Convention supports, between Condorcet’s Constitution and the summary articles of M. Saule, it is easy to see which will prevail. “These Parisian blackguards,” says a Girondist, “take us for their valets!”111 Let a valet contradict his master and he is sure to lose his place. From the first day, when the Convention in a body traversed the streets to begin its sessions, certain significant expressions enabled it to see into what hands it had fallen: “Why should so many folks come here to govern France,” says a by-stander, “haven’t we enough in Paris?”112
[1. ]Duvergier, “Collection des lois et décrets,” decrees of Sept. 22 and Oct. 19, 1792. The electoral assemblies and clubs had already proceeded in many places to renew on their own authority the decree rendering their appointments valid.
[2. ]The necessity of placing Jacobins everywhere is well shown in the following letter: “Please designate by a cross, on the margin of the jury-panel for your district, those Jacobins that it will do to put on the list of 200 for the next quarter. We require patriots.” (Letter from the attorney-general of Doubs, Dec. 23, 1792. Sauzay, III. 220.)
[3. ]Pétion, “Mémoires” (Ed. Dauban), p. 118: “The justice who accompanied me was very talkative, but could not speak a word of French. He told me that he had been a stone-cutter before he became a justice, having taken this office on patriotic grounds. He wanted to draw up a statement and give me a guard of two gendarmes; he did not know how, so I dictated to him what to say; but my patience was severely taxed by his incredibly slow writing.”
[4. ]Decrees of July 6, Aug. 15 and 20, Sept. 26, 1792.
[5. ]Decree of Nov. 1, 1792.—Albert Babeau, II. 14, 39, 40.
[6. ]Dumouriez, III. 309, 355.—Miot de Melito, “Mémoires,” I. 31, 33.—Gouverneur Morris, letter of Feb. 14, 1793: “The state of disorganisation appears to be irremediable. The venality is such that, if there be no traitors, it is because the enemy have not common sense.”
[7. ]“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,268. Letter of the municipal officers of Rambouillet, Oct. 3, 1792. They denounce a petition of the Jacobins of the town, who strive to deprive forty foresters of their places, nearly all with families, “on account of their once having been in the pay of a perjured king.”—Arnault (“Souvenirs d’un sexagénaire”), II. 15. He resigns a small place he had in the assignat manufactor, because, he says, “the most insignificant place being sought for, he found himself exposed to every kind of denunciation.”
[8. ]Dumouriez, III. 339.—Meillan, “Mémoires,” 27. “Eight days after his installation as Minister of War, Beurnonville confessed to me that he had been offered sums to the amount of 500,000 francs to lend himself to embezzlements.” He tries to sweep out the vermin of stealing employees, and is forthwith denounced by Marat.—Barbaroux, “Mémoires” (Ed. Dauban). (Letter of Feb. 5, 1793.) “I found the Minister of the Interior in tears at the obstinacy of Vieilz, who wanted him to violate the law of Oct. 12, 1791 (on promotion).” Vieilz had been in the service only four months, instead of five years, as the law required, and the Minister did not dare to make an enemy of a man of so much influence in the clubs. Buchez et Roux, XXVIII. 19 (“Publication des pièces relatives au 31 Mai,” at Caen, by Bergoing, June 28, 1793): “My friend learned that the place had been given to another, who had paid 50 louis to the deputy.—The places in the bureaus, the armies, the administrations and commissions are estimated at 9,000. The deputies of the Mountain have exclusive disposal of them and set their price on them, the rates being almost publicly stated.” The number greatly increases during the following year (Mallet-Dupan, II. 56, March, 1794). “The public employees at the capital alone amount to 35,000.”
[9. ]Decree of Aug. 11, 12, 1792.
[10. ]Sauzay, III. 45. The number increases from 3,200 to 7,000.
[11. ]Durand-Maillane, “Mémoires,” p. 30: “This proceeding converted the French proletariat, which had no property or tenacity, into the dominant party at electoral assemblages. … The various clubs established in France (were) then masters of the elections.” In the Bouches-du-Rhône “400 electors in Marseilles, one-sixth of whom had not the income of a silver marc, despotically controlled our Electoral Assembly. Not a voice was allowed to be raised against them. Only those were elected whom Barbaroux designated.”
[12. ]Decree of Aug. 11, 12, “Archives Nationales,” CII. 58 to 76. Official report of the Electoral Assembly of the Rhône-et-Loire, held at St. Etienne. The electors of St. Etienne demand remuneration the same as the others, considering that they gave their time in the same way. Granted.
[13. ]“Archives Nationales,” CII. 1 to 32. Official report of the Electoral Assembly of the Bouches-du-Rhône, speech by Durand-Maillane: “Could I in the National Convention be otherwise than I have been in relation to the former Louis XVI., who, after his flight on the 22d of June, appeared to me unworthy of the throne? Can I do otherwise than abhor royalty, after so many of our regal crimes?”
[14. ]Moniteur, XIII. 623, session of Sept. 8, speech by Larivière.—“Archives Nationales,” CII. 1 to 83. (The official reports make frequent mention of the despatch of this comparative list, and the Jacobins who send it request the Electoral Assembly to have it read forthwith.)
[15. ]Rétif de la Bretonne, “Les Nuits de Paris,” Night X. p. 301: “Primary assemblies were soon formed, the intriguers were active, electors were nominated, and through the vicious system adopted in the sections, uproar took the place of a majority of voices.” Cf. Schmidt, “Tableaux de la Révolution Française,” I. 98. Letter of Damour, vice-president of the section of the Théâtre-Français, Oct. 29.—“Un Séjour en France,” p. 29. “The primary assemblies are already begun in this department (Pas-de-Calais). We happened to enter a church, where we found young Robespierre haranguing an audience as small in point of number as it was in that of respectability. In other respects noise made up for all deficiencies.”
[16. ]Albert Babeau, I. 518. At Troyes, Aug. 26, the revolutionists in most of the sections have it decided that the relations of an émigré, designated as hostages and the signers of royalist addresses, shall not be entitled to vote: “The sovereign people in their primary assembly may admit among its members only pure citizens against whom there is not the slightest reproach” (resolution of the Madeleine section).—Sauzay, III. 47, 49 and following pages. At Quingey, Aug. 26, Louvot, working the Chatillon furnaces, along with a hundred of his men armed with clubs, keeps away from the ballot-box the electors of the commune of Courcelles, “suspected of incivisme.”—“Archives Nationales,” F7 3,217. Letters of Gilles, justice in the canton of Roquemaure (Gard), Oct. 31, 1792, and Jan. 23, 1793, on the electoral proceedings employed in this canton: Dutour, president of the club, left his chair to support the motion for “lanterning” the cross-grained and all false patriots. … On the 4th of November “he forced contributions by threatening to cut off heads and destroy houses.” He was elected juge-de-paix.—Another, Magère, “approved of the motion for setting up a gallows, provided that it was not placed in front of his windows, and stated openly in the club that if people followed the law they would never accomplish anything to be remembered.” He was elected member of the department directory.—A third, Fournier, “wrote that the gifts which citizens made to save their lives were voluntary gifts.” He is made a department councillor. “Peaceable citizens are storing their furniture in safe places in order to take to flight. … There is no security in France; the epithet of aristocrat, of Feuillant, of moderate affixed to the most honest citizen’s name suffices to make him an object of spoliation and to expose him to losing his life. … I insist on regarding the false idea which is current in relation to popular sovereignty as the principal cause of the existing anarchy.”
[17. ]Schmidt, “Pariser Zustande,” I. 50 and following pages.—Mortimer-Ternaux, V. 95, 109, 117, 129. (Ballot of Oct. 4, 14,137 voters; Oct. 22, 14,006; Nov. 19, 9,800; Nov. 10, 10,223; Dec. 6, 7,062.)
[18. ]Sauzay, III. 45, 46, 221.—Albert Babeau, I. 517.—Lallié, “Le district de Machecoul,” 225.—Cf. in the above the history of the elections of St. Afrique: out of more than 600 registered electors the mayor and syndic-attorney are elected by forty votes.—The plébiscite of September, 1795, on the constitution of the year III. calls out only 958,000 voters. Repugnance to voting still exists. “Ninety times out of a hundred, on asking: ‘Citizen, how did the Electoral Assembly of your canton go off?’ he would reply (in patois): ‘Me, citizen? why should I go there? They had a good deal of trouble in getting along together.’ Or, ‘What would you? There were not many there; honest people stayed at home!’ ” (Meissner, “Voyage à Paris,” towards the end of 1795.)
[19. ]“Archives Nationales,” CII. 1 to 76, passim, especially the official reports of the assemblies of the Bouches-du-Rhône, Hérault and Paris. Speech by Barbaroux to the Electoral Assembly of the Bouches-du-Rhône, “Brothers and friends, liberty will perish if you do not elect men to the National Convention whose hearts are filled with hatred of royalty. … Mine is the soul of a freeman; ever since my fourth year it has been nourished on hatred to kings. I will relieve France from this detestable race, or I will die in the attempt. Before I leave you I will sign my own death-warrant, I will designate what I love most, I will show you all my possessions, I will lay a dagger on the table which shall pierce my heart if ever for an instant I prove false to the cause of the people!” (session of Sept. 3).—Guillon de Montléon, I. 135.—Sauzay, III. 140.
[20. ]Durand-Maillane, I. 33. In the Electoral Assembly of the Bouches-du-Rhône “there was a desire to kill an elector suspected of aristocracy.”
[21. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, IV. 52. “Archives Nationales,” CII. 1 to 32.—Official report of the Electoral Assembly of Bouches-du-Rhône. Speech by Pierre Bayle, Sept. 3: “That man is not free who tries to conceal his conscience in the shadow of a vote. The Romans openly elected their tribunes. … Who amongst us would reject so wise a measure? The galleries of the National Assembly have had as much to do with fostering the Revolution as the bayonets of patriots.”—In Seine-et-Marne the Assembly at first decided for the secret vote; at the request of the Paris commissaries, Ronsin and Lacroix, it rescinds its decision and adopts voting aloud and by call.
[22. ]Barbaroux, “Mémoires,” 379: “One day, on proceeding to the elections, tumultuous shouts break out: ‘That is an anti-revolutionist from Arles, hang him!’ An Arlesian had, indeed, been arrested on the square, brought into the Assembly, and they were letting down the lantern to run him up.”
[23. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, III. 338.—De Sybel, “Histoire de l’Europe pendant la Révolution Française” (Dosquet’s translation), I. 525. (Correspondence of the army of the South, letter by Charles de Hesse, commanding the regular troops at Lyons.)
[24. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, V. 101, 122 and following pages.
[25. ]Guillon de Montléon, I. 172, 196 and following pages.
[26. ]Sauzay, III. 220 and following pages.—Albert Babeau, II. 15. At Troyes, two mayors elected refuse in turn. At the third ballot in this town of from 32,000 to 35,000 souls, the mayor-elect obtains 400 out of 555 votes.
[27. ]Moniteur, XV. 184 to 223 (the roll-call of those who voted for the death of Louis XVI).—Dumouriez, II. 73 (Dumouriez reaches Paris Feb. 2, 1793, after visiting the coasts of Dunkirk and Antwerp): “All through Picardy, Artois, and maritime Flanders Dumouriez found the people in consternation at the tragic end of Louis XVI. He noticed that the very name of Jacobin excited horror as well as fear.”
[28. ]This number, so important, is verified by the following passages:—Moniteur, session of Dec. 29, 1792. Speech by Birotteau: “Fifty members against 690. … About twenty former nobles, fifteen or twenty priests, and a dozen September judges (want to prevail against) 700 deputies.”—Ibid., 851 (Dec. 26, on the motion to defer the trial of the king): “About fifty voices, with energy, No! no!”—Ibid., 865, (Dec. 27, a violent speech by Lequinio, applauded by the extreme “Left” and the galleries; the president calls them to order): “The applause continues of about fifty members of the extreme ‘Left.’ ”—Mortimer-Ternaux, VI. 557. (Address by Tallien to the Parisians, Dec. 23, against the banishment of the Duke of Orleans): “To-morrow, under the vain pretext of another measure of general safety, the 60 or 80 members who on account of their courageous and inflexible adherence to principles are offensive to the Brissotine faction, will be driven out.”—Moniteur, XV. 74 (Jan. 6). Robespierre, addressing Roland, utters this expression: “the factious ministers.” “Cries of Order! A vote of censure! To the Abbaye! ‘Is the honest minister whom all France esteems,’ says a member, ‘to be treated in this way?’—Shouts of laughter greet the exclamation from about sixty members.”—Ibid., XV. 114 (Jan. 11). Denunciation of the party of anarchists by Buzot. Garnier replies to him: “You calumniate Paris; you preach civil war!” “Yes! yes!” exclaim about sixty members.—Buchez et Roux, XXIV. 368 (Feb. 26). The question is, whether Marat shall be indicted. “Murmurs from the extreme ‘Left,’ about a dozen members vociferously demanding the order of the day.”
[29. ]Mercier, “Le nouveau Paris,” II. 200.
[30. ]Buchez et Roux, XIX. 17, XXVIII. 168.—The king is declared guilty by 683 votes; 37 abstain from voting, as judges; of these 37, 26, either as individuals or legislators, declare the king guilty. None of the other 11 declare him innocent.
[31. ]“Dictionnaire biographique,” by Eymery, 1807 (4 vols.). The situation of the conventionists who survive the Revolution may here be ascertained. Most of them become civil or criminal judges, prefects, commissaries of police, heads of bureaus, post-office employees, or registry clerks, collectors, review-inspectors, etc. The following is the proportion of regicides among those thus in office: Out of 23 prefects 21 voted for the king’s death; 42 out of 43 magistrates voted for it, the 43d being ill at the time of the sentence. Of 5 senators 4 voted for his death, and 14 deputies out of 16. Out of 36 other functionaries of various kinds 35 voted for death. Among the remaining regicides we again find 2 councillors of state, 4 diplomatic agents and consuls, 2 generals, 2 receiver-generals, 1 commissary-general of the police, 1 minister in the cabinet of King Joseph, the minister of police, and the arch-chancellor of the empire.
[32. ]Buchez et Roux, XIX. 97, session of Sept. 25, 1792. Marat states: “ ‘I have many personal enemies in this assembly.’ ‘All! all!’ exclaim the entire Assembly, indignantly rising.”—Ibid., XIX. 9, 49, 63, 338.
[33. ]Meillan, “Mémoires,” 20.—Buchez et Roux, XXVI. Session of April 15, 1793. Denunciation of the Twenty-Two Girondists by the sections of Paris: Royer-Fonfrède regrets “that his name is not inscribed on this honorable list. ‘And all of us—all! all!’ exclaim three-quarters of the Assembly, rising from their seats.”
[34. ]“Archives Nationales,” AF. 45. Letter of Thomas Paine to Danton, May 6, 1792 (in English). “I do not know better men or better patriots.” This letter, compared with the speeches or publications of the day, produces a singular impression through its practical good sense. This Anglo-American, however radical he may be, relies on nothing but experience and example in his political discussions.
[35. ]Cf. the memoirs of Buzot, Barbaroux, Louvet, Madame Roland, etc.
[36. ]Buchez et Roux, XXIV. 102. (Plan drawn up by Condorcet, and reported in the name of the Committee on the Constitution, April 15 and 16, 1793.) Condorcet adds to this a report of his own, of which he publishes an abstract in the Chronique de Paris.
[37. ]Buchez et Roux, XXIV. 102. Condorcet’s abstract contains the following extraordinary sentence: “In all free countries the influence of the populace is feared with reason; but give all men the same rights and there will be no populace.”
[38. ]Cf. Edmond Biré, “La légende des Girondins,” on the part of the Girondists in all these odious measures.
[39. ]These traits are well defined in the charges of the popular party against them made by Fabre d’Eglantine. Maillan, “Mémoires,” 323. (Speech of Fabre d’Eglantine at the Jacobin Club in relation to the address of the commune, demanding the expulsion of the Twenty-Two.) “You have often taken the people to task; you have even sometimes tried to flatter them; but there was about this flattery that aristocratic air of coldness and dislike which could deceive nobody. Your ways of a bourgeois patrician are always perceptible in your words and acts; you never wanted to mix with the people. Here is your doctrine in few words: after the people have served in revolutions they must return to dust, be of no account, and allow themselves to be led by those who know more than they and who are willing to take the trouble to lead them. You, Brissot, and especially you, Pétion, you have received us formally, haughtily, and with reserve. You extend to us one finger, but you never grasp the whole hand. You have not even refused yourselves that keen delight of the ambitious, insolence and disdain.”
[40. ]Buzot, “Mémoires,” 78.
[41. ]Edmond Biré, “La légende des Girondins.” (Inedited fragments of the memoirs of Pétion and Barbaroux, quoted by Vatel in “Charlotte Corday and the Girondists,” III. 471, 478.)
[42. ]Buchez et Roux, XXVI. 177. A financial plan offered by the department of Hérault, adopted by Cambon and rejected by the Girondists.
[43. ]Buchez et Roux, XXV. Speech by Vergniaud (April 10), pp. 376, 377, 378. “An effort is made to accomplish the Revolution by terror. I would accomplish it through love.”
[44. ]Maillan, 22.
[45. ]Buchez et Roux, XXIV. 109. Plan of a constitution presented by Condorcet. Declaration of rights, article 32. “In every free government the mode of resistance to different acts of oppression should be regulated by law.”—Ibid., 136. Title VIII. of the Constitution “De la Censure des lois.”
[46. ]Buchez et Roux, XXIV. 93. Session of the Jacobin Club, April 21, 1793.
[47. ]Schmidt, “Tableaux de la Révolution Française,” II. 4. (Report of Dutard, June 6, 1793.)—The mental traits of the Jacobins form a contrast and are fully visible in the following speeches: “We desire despotically a popular constitution.” (Address of the Paris Jacobin Club to the clubs in the departments, Jan. 7, 1793.)—Buchez et Roux, XXIII. 288.—Ibid., 274. (Speech by Legros in the Jacobin Club, Jan. 1.) “Patriots are not counted; they go by weight. … One patriot in a scale weighs more than 100,000 aristocrats. One Jacobin weighs more than 10,000 Feuillants. One republican weighs more than 100,000 monarchists. One patriot of the Mountain weighs more than 100,000 Brissotins. Hence I conclude that the convention should not be stopped by the large number of votes against the death-sentence of Louis XVI., (and that) even (if there should be) but a minority of the nation desiring Capet’s death.”—“Applauded.” (I am obliged to correct the last sentence, as it would otherwise be obscure.)
[48. ]Buzot, “Mémoires,” 33: “The majority of French people yearned after royalty and the Constitution of 1790. This was the strongest feeling, and especially at Paris. … This people is republican under the guillotine. … All its desires, all its hopes incline to the constitution of 1791.”—Schmidt, I. 232 (Dutard, May 16). Dutard, an old advocate and friend of Garat, is one of those rare men who see facts behind words; clear-sighted, energetic, active, abounding in practical counsels, and deserving of a better chief than Garat.
[49. ]Schmidt, ibid., I. 173, 179 (May 1, 1793).
[50. ]Dauban (“Diurnal de Beaulieu,” April 17), “La Demagogie à Paris en 1793,” p. 152.—“Archives Nationales,” AFII. 45 (report by the police, May 20). “The dearness of supplies is the leading cause of agitation and complaints.”—(Ibid., May 24). “The tranquillity which now prevails in Paris will soon be disturbed if the prices of the prime necessities of life do not shortly diminish.”—(Ibid., May 25). “Complaints against dear food increase daily and this circumstance looks as if it might become one of the motives of forthcoming events.”
[51. ]Schmidt, I. 198 (Dutard, May 9).
[52. ]Schmidt, I. 350; II. 6 (Dutard, May 30, June 7 and 8).
[53. ]Durand-Maillane, 100: “The Girondist party was yet more impious than Robespierre.”—A deputy having demanded that mention should be made of the Supreme Being in the preamble of the constitution, Vergniaud replied: “We have no more to do with Numa’s nymph than with Mahomet’s pigeon; reason is sufficient to give France a good constitution.”—Buchez et Roux, XIII. 444. Robespierre having spoken of the Emperor Leopold’s death as a stroke of Providence, Guadet replies that he sees “no sense in that idea,” and blames Robespierre for “endeavoring to restore the people to the slavishness of superstition.”—Ibid., XXVI. 63 (session of April 19, 1793). Speech by Vergniaud against article IX. of the Declaration of Rights, which states that “all men are free to worship as they please.” This article, says Vergniaud, “is a result of the despotism and superstition under which we have so long groaned.”—Salles: “I ask the Convention to draw up an article by which each citizen, whatever his form of worship, shall bind himself to submit to the law.”—Lanjuinais, often ranked along with the Girondists, is a Catholic and confirmed Gallican.
[54. ]Schmidt, I. 347 (Dutard, May 30). “What do I now behold? A discontented people hating the Convention, all its administrators, and the actual state of things generally.”
[55. ]Schmidt, I. 278 (Dutard, May 23).
[56. ]Schmidt, I. 216 (Dutard, May 13).
[57. ]Schmidt, I. 240 (Dutard, May 17).
[58. ]Schmidt, I. 217 (Dutard, May 13).
[59. ]Schmidt, I. 163 (Dutard, April 30).
[60. ]Schmidt, II. 37 (Dutard, June 13). Cf. Ibid., II. 80. (Dutard, June 21): “If the guillotining of the Thirty-Two were subject to the call by name, and the vote a secret one, I declare to you that every respectable man would hasten in from the country to give his vote and that none of those now in Paris would fail to betake themselves to their sections.”
[61. ]Schmidt, II. 35 (Dutard, June 13). On the sense of these two words, inferior aristocracy, Cf. all of Dutard’s reports and those of other observers in the employ of Garat.
[62. ]Schmidt, II. 37 (Dutard, June 13).
[63. ]Schmidt, I. 328 (Perrière, May 28): “Intelligent men and property-owners abandoned the section assemblies to others as places where the workman’s fist prevailed against the orator’s tongue.”—Moniteur, XV. 114 (session of Jan. 11, speech by Buzot). “There is not a man in this town who owns anything, that is not afraid of being insulted and struck in his section if he dares raise his voice against the ruling power. … The permanent assemblies of Paris consist of a small number of men who have succeeded in keeping other citizens away.”—Schmidt, I. 325 (Dutard, May 28): “Another plan would be to drill young men in the use of the club. One must be a sans-culotte, must live with sans-culottes, to find out expedients of this sort. There is nothing the sans-culottes fear so much as a club. A number of young men lately carried them in their pantaloons, and everybody trembled as they passed. I wish that the fashion were general.”
[64. ]Moniteur, XV. 95 (Letter of Charles Villette, deputy).
[65. ]Moniteur, XV. 179 (Letter of Roland, Jan. 11. 1793).
[66. ]Moniteur, XV. 66, session of Jan. 5, speech of the mayor of Paris; XV. 114, session of Jan. 14, speech by Buzot; XV. 136, session of Jan. 13, speech by a deputation of Federates.—Buchez et Roux, XXVIII. 91 (Letter of Gadol to Roland, October, 1792).—XXI. 417 (Dec. 20, article by Marat): “The assemblies are deserted through ennui and disgust.”—Schmidt, II. 69 (Dutard, June 18).
[67. ]Schmidt, I. 203 (Dutard, May 10). The engravings published during the early period of the Revolution and under the directory exhibit this scene perfectly (cabinet des estampes).
[68. ]Moniteur, XV. 67 (session of Jan. 5, 1793). Speech by the mayor of Paris.
[69. ]Schmidt, I. 378 (Blanc, June 12).
[70. ]Schmidt, II. 5 (Dutard, June 5).
[71. ]Schmidt, II. (Dutard, June 11).—Ibid., II. (Dutard, June 18): “I should like to visit with you,” if it were possible, “the 3,000 or 4,000 wine-dealers, and as many other places of refreshment in Paris; you would find the 15,000 clerks they employ constantly busy. If we should then go to the offices of the 114 notaries, we should again find two-thirds of these gentlemen in their caps and red slippers, also very much engaged. We might then, again, go to the 200 or 300 printing establishments, where we should find 4,000 or 5,000 editors, compositors, clerks, and porters all conservatised because they no longer earn what they did before; and some because they have made a fortune.”—The incompatibility between modern life and direct democratic rule strikes one at every step, owing to modern life being carried on under other conditions than those which characterise life in ancient times. For modern life these conditions are, the magnitude of States, the division of labor, the suppression of slavery and the requirements of personal comforts and prosperity. Neither the Girondists nor the Montagnards, who aimed to revive Athenian and Spartan ways, comprehended the precisely opposite conditions on which Athens and Sparta flourished.
[72. ]Schmidt, I. 207 (Dutard, May 10).
[73. ]Schmidt, II. (Dutard, June 19).
[74. ]Schmidt, II. 70 (Dutard, June 10).
[75. ]Schmidt, II. 81 (Dutard, June 19).—Cf. I 333 (Dutard, May 29): “It is a positive fact that twenty moderates often surround two or three obstreperous fellows who apparently force them to applaud the most incendiary motions.”—I. 163 (Dutard, April 30): “A dozen Jacobins can frighten 200 or 300 aristocrats.”
[76. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, V. 101.
[77. ]Meillan, 54.—Raffet, Henriot’s competitor and denounced as an aristocrat, had at first the most votes, 4,953 against 4,578. At the last ballot, out of about 15,000 he still has 5,900 against 9,087 for Henriot.—Mortimer-Ternaux, VIII. 31: “The electors had to vote thirty at a time. All who dared give their votes to Raffet were marked with a red cross on the roll-call, followed by the epithet of anti-revolutionist.”
[78. ]Schmidt, II. 37 (Dutard, June 13): “Marat and others have a party of from 4,000 to 6,000 men, who would do anything to rescue them.”—Meillan, 155 (depositions taken by the Commission of the Twelve): Laforet has stated that there were 6,000 sans-culottes ready to massacre objectionable deputies at the first signal.—Schmidt, II, 87 (Dutard, June 24): “I know that there are not in all Paris 3,000 decided revolutionists.”
[79. ]Moniteur, XV. 114, session of Jan 11, speech by Buzot.—Ibid., 136, session of Jan. 13, speech of the federates.—XIV. 852, session of Dec. 23, 1792, speech of the Federates of Finisterre.—Buchez et Roux, XXVIII. 80, 81, 87, 91, 93 (Letter of Gadol to Roland, October 1792).—Schmidt, I. 207 (Dutard, May 10, 1793).
[80. ]Schmidt, II. 37 (Dutard, June 13).
[81. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, IV. 269 (petition presented by Gonchon).—Buchez et Roux, XXVIII. 82, 83, 93 (Letter by Gadol, testimony in relation to Gonchon).—“Archives Nationales,” AF, II. 43. (Letters of Gonchon to the Minister Garat, May 31, June 1, June 3, 1793). These letters are very ingenuous and interesting. He addresses the Minister: “Citizen Garra.”
[82. ]Schmidt, I, 254 (Dutard, May 19).—Moniteur, XIV. 522 (Letter addressed to Roland, number for Nov. 21, 1792): “The sections (are) composed of, or at least frequented, nineteen-twentieths of them, by the lowest class, both in manners and information.”
[83. ]Schmidt, II. 39 (Dutard, June 13).
[84. ]Schmidt, II. 87 (Dutard, June 14). The expression of these fish-women is still coarser.
[85. ]Rétif de la Bretonne (“Bibliographie de ses oeuvres, par Jacob,” 287).—(On the pillage of shops, Feb. 25 and 26, 1793).
[86. ]Schmidt, II. 61; I. 265 (Dutard, May 21 and June 17).
[87. ]Schmidt, I. 96 (Letter of citizen Lauchou to the president of the Convention, Oct. 11, 1792).—II. 37 (Dutard, June 13). Statement of a barber’s wife. “They are a vile set, the servants. Some of them come here every day. They chatter away and say all sorts of horrible things about their masters. They are all just alike. Nobody is crazier than they are. I knew that some of them had received favors from their masters, and others who were still being kindly treated; but nothing stopped them.”
[88. ]Schmidt, I. 246 (Dutard, May 18).—Grégoire, “Mémoires,” I. 387. The mental and moral decline of the party is well shown in the new composition of the Jacobin Club after September, 1792: “I went back there,” says Grégoire in September, 1792 (after a year’s absence), “and found it inrecognisable; no opinions could be expressed there other than those of the Paris faction. … I did not set foot there again; (it was) a factious gambling-hell.”—Buchez et Roux, XXVI. 214 (session of April 30, 1793, speech by Buzot). “Behold that once famous club. But thirty of its founders remain there; you find there none but men steeped in debt and crime.”
[89. ]Schmidt, I. 189 (Dutard, May 6).
[90. ]Cf. Rétif de la Bretonne, “Nuits de Paris,” vol. XVI. (July 12, 1789). At this date Rétif is in the Palais-Royal, where “since the 13th of June numerous meetings have been held and motions made. … I found there none but brutal fellows with keen eyes, preparing themselves for plunder rather than for liberty.”
[91. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, V. 226 and following pages (address of the sans-culottes section, Sept. 25).—“Archives Nationales,” F7, 146 (address of the Roule section, Sept. 23). In relation to the threatening tone of those at work on the camp, the petitioners add: “Such was the language of the workshops in 1789 and 1790.”
[92. ]Schmidt, II. 12 (Dutard, June 7): “During a few days past I have seen men from Neuilly, Versailles, and St. Germain staying here, attracted by the scent.”
[93. ]Schmidt, I. 254 (Dutard, May 19).—At this date robbers swarm in Paris; Mayor Chambon, in his report to the Convention, himself admits it. (Moniteur, XV. 67, session of Jan. 5, 1793.)
[94. ]De Goncourt, “La Société Française pendant la Révolution.” (According to the “Courrier de l’Egalité,” July, 1793.)
[95. ]Buzot, 72.
[96. ]Moore, Nov. 10, 1792 (according to an article in the Chronique de Paris). The day Robespierre made his “apology,” “the galleries contained from seven to eight hundred women, and two hundred men at most. Robespierre is a priest who has his congregation of devotees.”—Mortimer-Ternaux, VII. 562 (letter of the deputy Michel, May 20, 1793): “Two or three thousand women, organised and drilled by the Fraternal Society in session at the Jacobin Club, began their uproar, which lasted until 6 o’clock, when the house adjourned. Most of these creatures are prostitutes.”
[97. ]An expression of Gadol’s in his letter to Roland.
[98. ]Buzot, 57.
[99. ]Buchez et Roux, XXVIII. 80 (Letter of Gadol to Roland).
[100. ]Beaulieu, “Essais,” I. 108 (an eye-witness).—Schmidt, II. 15. Report by Perrières, June 8.
[101. ]Beaulieu, Ibid., I. 100. “Maillard died, his stomach eaten away by brandy” (April 15, 1794).—Alexandre Sorel, “Stanislas Maillard,” pp. 32 to 42. Report of Fabre d’Eglantine on Maillard, Dec. 17, 1793. A decree subjecting him to indictment along with Ronsin and Vincent, Maillard publishes his apology, in which we see that he was already active in the Rue Favart before the 31st of May. “I am one of the members of that meeting of true patriots and I am proud of it, for it is there that the spark of that sacred insurrection of the 31st of May was kindled.”
[102. ]Alexandre Sorel, ibid. (denunciation of the circumstance by Lecointre, Dec. 14, 1793, accompanied with official reports of the justices).—“Archives Nationales,” F7, 3,268 (letter of the directory of Corbeil to the Minister, with official report, Nov. 28, 1792). On the 26th of November eight or ten armed men, foot-soldiers, and others on horseback, entered the farm-house of a man named Ruelle, in the commune of Lisse. They dealt him two blows with their sabres, then put a bag over his head, kicked him in the face, tormented him, and almost smothered his wife and two women servants, to make him give up his money. A carter was shot with a pistol in the shoulder and twice struck with a sabre; the hands about the premises were tied and bound like so many cattle. Finally the bandits went away, carrying with them silver plate, a watch, rings, laces, two guns, etc.
[103. ]Moniteur, XV. 565.—Buchez et Roux, XXIV. 335 and following pages.—Rétif de la Bretonne, “Nuits de Paris,” VIII. 460 (an eye-witness). The last of these details are given by him.
[104. ]Cf. Ed. Fleury, “Baboeuf,” pp. 139 and 150. Through a striking coincidence the party staff is still of the same order in 1796. Baboeuf estimates his adherents in Paris as “4,000 revolutionists, 1,500 members of old governments, and 1,000 bourgeois cannoneers,” besides soldiers, prisoners, and a police force. He also recruited a good many prostitutes. The men who come to him are workmen who pretend to have arsouillé in the Revolution and who are ready to repeat the job, provided it is for the purpose of killing those rich rascals, the monopolisers, merchants, informers, and panachés at the Luxembourg.” (Letter of the agent of the Bonne-Nouvelle section, April 13, 1796.)
[105. ]The proportion, composition and spirit of the party are everywhere the same, especially at Lyons (Guillon de Montléon, “Mémoires,” and Balleydier, “Histoire du peuple de Lyon,” passim); at Toulon (Lauvergne, “Histoire du départment du Var”); at Marseilles, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Besançon, etc.—At Bordeaux (Riouffe, “Mémoires,” 23) “it consisted wholly of vagabonds, Savoyards, Biscayans, even Germans … errand-men and water-carriers, so powerful that they arrested the rich, and so well-off that they travelled by post.” Riouffe adds: “When I read this passage in the Conciergerie men from every corner of the republic exclaimed in one voice: ‘It is the same in all the communes!’ ”—Cf. Durand-Maillane, “Mémoires,” 67: “This people, thus qualified, since the suppression of the silver marc has been the most vicious and most depraved in the community.”—Dumouriez, II. 51. “The Jacobins, taken for the most part, from the most abject and most brutal of the nation, unable to furnish men of sufficient dignity for offices, have degraded offices to their own level. … They are drunken, barbarous Helots that have taken the places of the Spartans.”—The sign of their advent is the expulsion of the liberals and of the refined of 1789. (“Archives Nationales,” F7, 4,434, No. 6. Letter of Richard to the Committee on Public Safety, Ventôse 3, year II.). During the proconsulate of Baudot at Toulouse “almost all the patriots of 1789 were excluded from the popular club they had founded; an immense number were admitted whose patriotism reached only as far back as the 10th of August, 1792, if it even went so far as the 31st of last May. It is an established fact that out of more than 1,000 persons who now compose the club there are not fifty whose patriotism dates as far back as the beginning of the Revolution.”
[106. ]Roederer, “Chronique des cinquante jours.”
[107. ]Schmidt, I. 246 (Dutard, May 18).
[108. ]Schmidt, I. 215 (Dutard, May 23).
[109. ]Buchez et Roux, XXV. 156 (extract from the Patriote Français, March 30, 1793). Speech by Chasles at the Jacobin Club, March 27: “We have announced to our fellow-citizens in the country that by means of the war-tax the poor could be fed by the rich, and that they would find in the purses of those egoists the wherewithal to live on.”—Ibid., 269. Speech by Rose Lacombe: “Let us make sure of the aristocrats; let us force them to meet the enemies which Dumouriez is bringing against Paris. Let us give them to understand that if they prove treacherous their wives and children shall have their throats cut, and that we will burn their houses. … I do not want patriots to leave the city; I want them to guard Paris. And if we are beaten, the first man who hesitates to apply the torch, let him be stabbed at once. I want all the owners of property who have grabbed everything and excited the people’s anger, to kill the tyrants themselves or else be killed.” [Applause—April 3.]—Ibid., 302 (in the Convention, April 8): “Marat demands that 100,000 relations and friends of the émigrés be seized as hostages for the safety of the commissioners in the hands of the enemy.”—Cf. Balleydier, 117, 122. At Lyons, Jan. 26, 1793, Challier addresses the central club: “Sans-culottes, rejoice! the blood of the royal tiger has flowed in sight of his den! But full justice is not yet done to the people. There are still 500 among you deserving of the tyrant’s fate!”—He proposes on the 5th of February a revolutionary tribunal for trying arrested persons in a revolutionary manner. “It is the only way to force it (the Revolution) on royal and aristocratic factionists, the only rational way to avenge the sovereignty of the brave sans-culottes, who belong only to us.”—Hydens, a national commissioner, adds: “Let 25,000,000 of Frenchmen perish a hundred times over rather than one single indivisible Republic!”
[110. ]Mallet-Dupan, the last expression.
[111. ]Buzot, 64.
[112. ]Michelet, IV. 6 (according to an oral statement by Daunou).—Buchez et Roux, 101 (Letter of Louvet to Roland): “At the moment of the presentation of their petition against armed force (departmental) by the so-called commissioners of the 48 sections of Paris, I heard Santerre say in a loud tone to those around him, somewhat in these words: ‘You see, now, these deputies are not up to the Revolution. … That all comes from fifty, a hundred, two hundred leagues off; they don’t understand one word you say!’ ”