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CHAPTER I - Hippolyte Taine, The French Revolution, vol. 3 
The French Revolution, 3 vols., trans. John Durand, (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002). Vol. 3.
Part of: The French Revolution, 3 vols.
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I.Programme of the Jacobin party—Abstract principle and spontaneous development of the theory—II.The Jacobin conception of Society—The Contrat-Social—Total surrender of the Individual to the Community—Everything belongs to the State—Confiscations and Sequestrations—Preemption and requisitions of produce and merchandise—Individuals belong to the State—Drafts of persons for Military service—Drafts of persons for the Civil service—Personal sentiments and ideas subject to the State, at once philanthropist, pedagogue, theologian, censor, moralist and director—III.The object of the State is the regeneration of man—Two branches of this work—Restoration of the Natural man—Formation of the Social man—Grandeur of the undertaking—Force a right and duty in carrying it out—IV.The two distortions of the natural man—Positive religion—Proscription of the orthodox cult—Measures against unsworn priests—Measures against the loyal orthodox—Destruction of the constitutional cult—Pressure on the sworn priests—Churches closed and ceremonies suppressed—Prolongation of these persecutions until the Consulate—V.Social inequality—Evil doings of the upper aristocracy—Measures against the King and Nobles—Evil doings of the aristocracy of wealth—Measures against land-owners, capitalists and people with incomes—Destruction of large fortunes—Measures taken to prevent large fortunes—VI.Conditions requisite for making a citizen—Plans for suppressing poverty—Measures in favor of the poor—VII.Repression of Egoism—Measures against agriculturists, manufacturers and merchants—Socialistic projects—Repression of Federalism—Measures against the local, professional and family spirit—VIII. Formation of soul and intellect—Civil religion—National education—Measures for equality—Obligatory civism—The recasting and reduction of human nature to the Jacobin type.
Nothing is more dangerous than a general idea in narrow and empty minds: as they are empty, it finds no knowledge there to interfere with it; as they are narrow it is not long before it occupies the place entirely. Henceforth they no longer belong to themselves but are mastered by it; it works in them and through them, the man, in the true sense of the word, being possessed. Something which is not himself, a monstrous parasite, a foreign and disproportionate conception, lives within him, developing and giving birth to the evil purposes with which it is pregnant. He did not foresee that he would have them; he did not know what his dogma contained, what venomous and murderous consequences were to issue from it. They issue from it fatally, each in its turn, and under the pressure of circumstances, at first anarchical consequences and now despotic consequences. Having obtained power, the Jacobin brings his fixed idea along with him; whether at the head of the government or in opposition to it, this idea is fruitful, and the all-powerful dogma projects over a new domain the innumerable links of its endless chain.
Let us trace this inward development and go back, along with the Jacobin, to first principles, to the original pact, to the first organisation of society. There is but one legitimate society, that founded on the “contrat-social,” and “the clauses of this contract fully understood, reduce themselves to one, the total alienation of each individual, with all his rights, to the community, … each surrendering himself up absolutely, just as he actually stands, he and all his forces, of which the property he possesses forms a part.”1 There must be no exception or reservation. Nothing of what he previously was, or had, now belongs to him in his own right; henceforth, what he is, or has, devolves upon him only through delegation. His property and his person now form a portion of the commonwealth. If he is in possession of these, his ownership is at second hand; if he derives any benefit therefrom, it is as a concession. He is their depository, trustee, and administrator, and nothing more.2 In other words, with respect to these he is simply a managing director, that is to say a functionary like others, with a precarious appointment and always revocable by the State which has commissioned him. “As nature gives to every man absolute power over the members of his body the social pact gives the social body absolute power over all its members.” The State, as omnipotent sovereign and universal proprietor, exercises at discretion, its boundless rights over persons and things; consequently we, its representatives, take all things and persons into our hands; as they belong to it, so do they belong to us.
We have confiscated the possessions of the clergy, amounting to about four billion livres; we confiscate the property of the emigrés, amounting to three billion livres;3 we confiscate the property of the guillotined and transported: all this amounts to some hundreds of millions; later on, the count will be made, because the list remains open and is being daily added to. We sequestrate the property of “suspects,” which gives us its usufruct: here are many hundred millions more; after the war and the banishment of “suspects,” we shall seize the property along with its usufruct: here, again, are millions of capital.4 Meanwhile, we take the property of hospitals and of other benevolent institutions, about eight hundred million livres; we take the property of factories, of endowments, of educational institutions, and of literary and scientific associations: another lot of millions.5 We take back the domains rented or alienated by the State for the past three centuries and more, which gives again about a couple of billions.6 We take the possessions of the communes up to the amount of their indebtedness. We have already received as an inheritance the ancient domains of the crown, also the later domain of the civil list. More than three-fifths7 of the soil thus falls into our hands, which three-fifths are much the best stocked; they comprise almost all the large and fine edifices, châteaux, abbeys, mansions, houses of superintendents; and nearly all the royal, episcopal, seignorial, and bourgeois stock of rich and elegant furniture; all plate, libraries, pictures and artistic objects accumulated for centuries. Remark, again, the seizure of specie and all other articles of gold and silver; in the months alone of November and December, 1793, this swoop puts into our coffers three or four hundred millions,8 not assignats, but ringing coin. In short, whatever the form of established capital may be we take all we can get hold of, probably more than three-fourths of it. There remains the portion which is not fixed capital, that which disappears in use, namely, all that is consumed, all the fruits of the soil, every description of provision, all the products of human art and labor which contribute to the maintenance of existence. Through “the right of preemption” and through the right of “requisition,” “the Republic becomes temporary proprietor of whatever commerce, manufacture, and agriculture have produced and added to the soil of France”: all food and merchandise9 is ours before being owned by their holder. We carry out of his house whatever suits us; we pay him for this with worthless paper; we frequently do not pay him at all. For greater convenience, we seize objects directly and wherever we find them, grain in the farmer’s barn, hay in the reaper’s shed, cattle in the fold, wine in the vats, hides at the butcher’s, leather in the tanneries, soap, tallow, sugar, brandy, cloths, linens, and the rest, in stores, depots, and ware-houses. We stop vehicles and horses in the street. We enter the premises of mail or coach contractors and empty their stables. We carry away kitchen utensils to obtain the copper; we turn people out of their rooms to get their beds; we strip them of their coats and shirts; in one day, we make ten thousand individuals in one town go barefoot.10 “When public needs require it,” says representative Isoré, “all belongs to the people and nothing to individuals.”
By virtue of the same right we dispose of persons as we do of things. We decree a general uprising of the people, and, stranger still, we carry it out, at least in many parts of the country, and we keep it up for months: in Vendée, and in the northern and eastern departments, the entire male, able-bodied population, all up to fifty years of age, are driven in flocks against the enemy.11 We afterwards muster in an entire generation, all young men between eighteen and twenty-five, almost a million of men:12 whoever fails to appear is put in irons for ten years; he is regarded as a deserter; his property is confiscated, and his relations are punished along with him; later, he is assimilated with the emigrants, condemned to death, and his father, mother, and progenitors, treated as “suspects,” are imprisoned and their possessions taken. To clothe, shoe, and equip our recruits, we must have workmen: we summon to head-quarters all gunsmiths, blacksmiths, and locksmiths, all the tailors and shoemakers of the district, “foremen, apprentices, and boys”;13 we imprison those who do not come; we install the rest in squads in public buildings and assign them their tasks; they are forbidden to furnish anything to private individuals; henceforth, French shoemakers must work only for us, and each must deliver to us, under penalty, so many pairs of shoes per decade. But, the civil service is no less important than the military service, and to feed the people is as urgent as it is to defend them. Hence we put “in requisition all who have anything to do with handling, transporting or selling provisions and articles of prime necessity,”14 especially combustibles and food—wood-choppers, carters, raftsmen, millers, reapers, threshers, wine-growers, mowers, field-hands, “country people” of every kind and degree. Their hands belong to us: we make them bestir themselves and work under the penalty of fine and imprisonment. There shall be no idlers, especially in crop time: we take the entire population of a commune or canton into the fields, comprising “the lazy of both sexes”;15 willingly or not, they shall do the harvesting under our eyes, banded together in fields belonging to others as well as in their own, and they shall put the sheaves indiscriminately into the public granary.
But in labor all hangs together, from the initial undertaking to the final result, from the raw material to the most finished production, from the great manufacturer down to the pettiest jobber; grasping the first link of the chain involves grasping the last one. The requisition here again answers the purpose: we apply it to all pursuits; each is bound to continue his own; the manufacturer to manufacture, the trader to trade, even to his own detriment, because, if a loser by this, the public gains, and every good citizen ought to prefer public profit to his own profit.16 In effect, let his office be what it will, he is an employee of the community; therefore, the community may not only prescribe task-work to him, but select his task; it need not consult him in the matter, for he has no right to refuse. Hence it is that we appoint or maintain people in spite of themselves, in the magistracy, in the army and in every other species of employment; in vain may they excuse themselves or get out of the way; they must remain, or become generals, judges, mayors, national agents, town councillors, commissioners of charity or of the government, in self-defence.17 So much the worse for them if the duty be onerous or dangerous, if they cannot afford the time, if they do not feel themselves qualified for it, if the rank or service seems to them to be a step in the direction of a prison or the guillotine; on their alleging that the office is a burdensome tax we reply that they are taxable property of the State. Such is, henceforth, the condition of all Frenchmen, and likewise of all French women. We force mothers to take their daughters to the meetings of popular clubs. We oblige women to parade in companies, and march in procession at republican festivals; we invade the family and select the most beautiful to be draped as antique goddesses, and publicly promenaded on a car; we often designate those among the rich who must wed patriots:18 there is no reason why marriage, which is the most important of all services, should not be put in requisition like the others. Accordingly, we enter families, we carry off the child, we subject him to a civic education. We are schoolmasters, philanthropists, theologians, and moralists. We impose by force our religion and our ritual, our morality and our social customs. We lord it over private lives and consciences; we dictate ideas, we scrutinise and punish secret inclinations, we tax, imprison and guillotine not only the evil-disposed, but again “the indifferent, the moderate and the egotistical.”19 Over and above his visible acts we dictate to the individual his ideas and his deepest feelings; we prescribe to him his affections as well as his beliefs, and, according to a preconceived type, we refashion his intellect, his conscience and his sensibilities.
There is nothing arbitrary in this operation; for the ideal model is traced beforehand. If the State is omnipotent, it is for the purpose of regenerating man, and the theory which confers rights on it, at the same time assigns to it its object.
In what does this regeneration of man consist? Consider an animal in a domestic state, the dog or the horse. Emaciated, flogged, tied or chained, a thousand are strained and overworked against one which has an easy time and dies of good living; and with all of them, whether fat or lean, the soul is still more abused than the body. A superstitious respect keeps them cowed under the load they carry, or makes them cringe before their master. Servile, slothful, gluttonous, feeble, incapable of resisting changes in the weather, if they have learned to adapt themselves to slavery they have also contracted its infirmities, necessities, and vices. A crust of absurd habits and perverse inclinations, a sort of artificial and supplementary existence, has covered over their original nature. Again, on the other hand, the better side of their original nature has had no chance to develop itself, for lack of use. Each separated from the other, they have not acquired the sentiment of community; they do not know, like their brethren of the prairies, how to help each other and subordinate private interests to the interests of the flock. Each pulls his own way, nobody cares for others, all are egoists; social interests have miscarried. Such is man nowadays, a disfigured being that has to be made over, an imperfect creature that has to be completed. Our task, accordingly, is two-fold; we have to demolish and we have to construct; we must first set free the natural man that we may afterward build up the social man.
It is a vast enterprise and we are conscious of its vastness. “It is necessary,” says Billaud-Varennes,20 “that the people to which one desires to restore their freedom should in some way be created anew, since old prejudices must be destroyed, old habits changed, depraved affections improved, superfluous wants restricted, and inveterate vices extirpated.” How sublime the undertaking, for the object is “to fulfil the desires of nature,21 accomplish the destinies of humanity, and fulfil the promises of philosophy.” “Our purpose,” says Robespierre,22 “is to substitute morality for egoism, honesty for honor, principles for usages, duties for proprieties, the empire of reason for the tyranny of fashion, contempt of vice for indifference to misfortune, dignity for insolence, nobleness for vanity, love of glory for the love of lucre, good people for good society, merit for intrigue, genius for intellectual brilliancy, the charm of contentment for the satiety of pleasure, the majesty of man for the high-breeding of the great, a magnanimous, powerful, and happy people, for an amiable, frivolous and wretched people, that is to say, every virtue and miracle of the Republic in the place of the vices and absurdities of the monarchy.” We will do this, the whole of it, cost what it will. Little do we care for the present generation; we are working for generations to come. “Man, forced to isolate himself from society, anchors himself in the future and presses to his heart a posterity innocent of existing evils.”23 He sacrifices to this work his own and the lives of others. “On the day that I am satisfied,” writes Saint-Just, “that it is impossible to render the French people kind, energetic, tender, and inexorable against tyranny and injustice, I will stab myself.” “What I have done in the South I will do in the North,” says Baudot; “I will convert them into patriots; either they or I must die.” “We will make France a cemetery,” says Carrier, “rather than not regenerate it our own way.” In vain may the ignorant or the vicious protest; they protest because they are ignorant or vicious. In vain may the individual plead his personal rights; he has none, for, through the social contract, which is obligatory and solely valid, he has surrendered his entire being; having made no reservation, “he has nothing to claim.” Undoubtedly, some will kick, because, with them, the old wrinkle remains and artificial habits still cover over the original instinct. Untie the mill-horse, and he will still go round in the same track; let the mountebank’s dog be turned loose, and he will still raise himself on his hind-legs; if we would bring them back to their natural gait we must handle them roughly. In like manner, to restore man to his normal attitude, you must handle him roughly. But, in this respect, have no scruples,24 for we do not bow him down, we raise him up; as Rousseau says, “we compel him to be free”; we confer on him the greatest boon a human being can receive; we bring him back to nature and to justice. For this reason, now that he is warned, if he persists in his resistance, he is criminal and merits every kind of chastisement,25 for, he declares himself a rebel and a perjurer, inimical to humanity, and a traitor to the social compact.
Let us begin by figuring to ourselves the natural man; certainly we of today have some difficulty in recognising him; he bears but little resemblance to the artificial being who stands in his shoes, the creature which an antiquated system of constraint and fraud has deformed, held fast in his hereditary harness of thraldom and superstition, blinded by his religion and held in check by prestige, speculated on by his government and trained by blows, always with a halter on, always made to work in a counter sense and against nature, whatever stall he may occupy, high or low, however full or empty his crib may be, now in menial service like the blinded hack-horse which turns a mill-wheel, and now on parade like the learned dog which, decked with flags, shows off its antics before the public.26 But imagine all these out of the way, the flags and the bands, the trammels and compartments in the social stable, and you will see a new man appearing, the original man, intact and healthy in mind, soul, and body.
In this condition, he is free of prejudice, he has not been circumvented by falsities, he is neither Jew, Protestant, nor Catholic; if he tries to form an idea of the universe and of the origin of things he will not allow himself to be duped by a pretended revelation; he will listen only to his own reason; he may chance, now and then, to become an atheist, but, generally, he will settle down into a deist. In this condition of things he is not fettered by a hierarchy; he is neither noble nor commoner, land-owner nor tenant, inferior nor superior. Independent of the others, all are equal, and, if all agree in the forming of an association, their common-sense will stipulate that its first article shall secure the maintenance of this primordial equality. Such is man, as nature made him, as history has unmade him, and as the Revolution is to remake him.27 One cannot batter away too vigorously against the two casings that hold him tight, one the positive religion which narrows and perverts his intellect, and the other the social inequality which perverts and weakens his will;28 for, at every effort, some band is loosened, and, as each band gives way, the paralysed limbs recover their action.
Let us trace the progress of this liberating operation. Always timid and at loggerheads with the ecclesiastical organisation, the Constituent Assembly could take only half-measures; it cut into the bark without daring to drive the axe into the solid trunk. Its work reduced itself down to the confiscation of clerical property, to a dissolution of the religious orders, and to a check upon the authority of the pope; its object was to establish a new church and transform priests into sworn functionaries of the State, and this was all. As if Catholicism, even administrative, would cease to be Catholicism! As if the noxious tree, once stamped with the public seal, would cease to be noxious! Instead of the old laboratory of falsehoods being destroyed another is patented alongside of it, so that there are now two instead of one. With or without the official label it operates in every commune in France and, as in the past, it supplies the public with its nostrum with impunity. This is precisely what we cannot tolerate. We must, indeed, keep up appearances, and, as far as words go, we will decree anew freedom of worship.29 But, in fact and in practice, we will demolish the laboratory and prevent the nostrum from being sold; there shall no longer be any Catholic worship in France, no baptism, no confession, no marriage, no extreme unction, no mass: nobody shall preach or listen to a sermon; nobody shall administer or receive a sacrament, save in concealment, and with the prospect before him of imprisonment or the scaffold. To this end, we will take things in their order. There is no difficulty in regard to the self-styled orthodox Church: its members having refused to take the oath are outlaws; one excludes oneself from an association when one repudiates the pact; they have lost their qualifications as citizens and have become ordinary foreigners under the surveillance of the police; and, as they propagate around them discontent and disobedience, they are not only foreigners but seditious persons, enemies in disguise, the authors of a secret and widespread Vendée; it is not necessary for us to prosecute them as charlatans, it is sufficient to strike them down as rebels. As such, we have already banished from France all unsworn ecclesiastics, about forty thousand priests, and we are transporting those who did not cross the frontier within the allotted time: we allow only sexagenarians and the infirm to remain on French soil, and, again, as prisoners and in seclusion; they incur the penalty of death if they do not of their own accord crowd to the prisons of their county town; the banished who return home incur the penalty of death, and there is penalty of death against those who harbor priests.30 Consequently, in default of an orthodox clergy, there must no longer be an orthodox worship; the most dangerous of the two manufactories of superstition is shut up. That the sale of this poisonous food may be more surely stopped we punish those who ask for it the same as those who provide it, and we prosecute not only the pastors, but, again, the fanatics of the flock; if these are not the authors of the ecclesiastical rebellion they are its promoters and accomplices. Now, thanks to the schism among them, we already know who they are, and, in each commune, the list is made out. We style as fanatics all who reject the ministry of the sworn priests, the bourgeois who calls him an interloper, all the nuns who confess to him, all the peasants who stay away from his mass, all the old women who do not kiss his paten, all the relations of an infant who do not wish him to baptise it. All these people and those who associate with them, whether nearly related, kinsmen, friends, guests, or visitors, of whatever class, either men or women, are seditious at heart, and, therefore, “suspects.” We deprive them of their electoral rights, we withdraw their pensions, we impose on them special taxation, we confine them to their dwellings, we imprison them by thousands, and guillotine them by hundreds; the rest will gradually become discouraged and abandon an impracticable cult.31 The lukewarm remain, the sheep-like crowd which holds on to its rites: the Constituent Assembly will seize them wherever it finds them, and, as they are the same in the authorised as in the refractory church, instead of seeking them with the priest who does not submit, it will seek them with the one who does. But it will proceed without zeal, without confidence, often even with distrust, questioning itself whether these rites, being administered by one who is excommunicated, are not base metal. Such a church is not substantial, and we have only to give it a push to knock it down. We will do all we can to discredit constitutional priests: we will prohibit them from wearing the ecclesiastical costume, and force them by law to bestow the nuptial benediction on their apostate brethren; we will employ terror and imprisonment to constrain them to marry; we will give them no respite until they return to civil life, some admitting themselves to be impostors, many by surrendering their priestly credentials, and most of them by resigning their places.32 Deprived of leaders by these voluntary or forced desertions, the Catholic flock will allow itself to be easily led out of the fold, while, to remove all temptation to go back, we will tear the enclosure down. In the communes in which we are masters we will make the Jacobins of the place demand the abolition of worship, while, in other communes, we will get rid of this authoritatively through our missionary representatives. We will close the churches, demolish the steeples, melt down the bells, send all sacred vessels to the Mint, smash the images of the saints, desecrate relics, prohibit religious burials, impose the civil burial, prescribe rest during the décadi,33 and labor on Sundays. No exception whatever. Since all positive religions maintain error, we will proscribe every form of worship: we will exact from Protestant clergymen a public abjuration; we will not let the Jews practise their ceremonies; we will have “an ‘auto-da-fé,’ of all the books and symbols of the faith of Moses.”34 But, of all these various juggling machines, the worst is the Catholic, the most hostile to nature in the celibacy of its priesthood, the most opposed to reason in the absurdity of its dogmas, the most opposed to democracy, since its powers are delegated from above downwards, the best protected from civil authority because its head is outside of France. Accordingly, we must be most furious against it; even after Thermidor, we will keep up constant persecution, great and small; up to the Consulate, we will transport and shoot down priests, we will revive against fanatics the laws of the Reign of Terror, we will hamper their movements, we will exhaust their patience; we will keep them anxious during the day and restless at night; we will not give them a moment’s repose.35 We will restrict the population to the decadal cult; we will pursue it with our propagandism even to the dinner-table; we will change the market-days, so that no believer shall be able to buy fish on a fast-day.36 We have nothing more at heart than this war against Catholicism; no article on our programme will be carried out with more determination and perseverance. The question involved is truth. We are its guardians, its champions, its ministers, and never did the servants of truth apply force with such minute detail and such effect to the extirpation of error.
Alongside of superstition there is another monster to be destroyed, and, on this side also, the Constituent Assembly began its attack. But on this side also, through lack of courage or of logic, it stopped, after two or three feeble blows. All that it did to restore natural equality consisted in this—an interdiction of heraldic insignia, titles of nobility and territorial names; the abolition, without indemnity, of all the dues belonging to the seigneur by right of his former proprietorship over persons; the permission to purchase other feudal rights at a price agreed upon, and the limitation of royal power. This was little enough; when it concerns usurpers and tyrants they must be treated in another fashion; for their privilege is, of itself, an outrage on the rights of man. Consequently, we have dethroned the King and cut off his head;37 we have suppressed, without indemnity, the entire feudal debt, comprising the rights vested in the seigneurs by virtue of their being owners of real-estate, and merely lessors; we have abandoned their persons and possessions to the claims and rancor of local jacqueries; we have reduced them to emigration; we imprison them if they stay at home; we guillotine them if they return. Reared in habits of supremacy, and convinced that they are of a different species from other men, the prejudices of race are incorrigible; they are incapable of companionship with their social equals; we cannot too carefully crush them out, or, at the very least, hold them firmly down.38 Besides, they are guilty from the fact of having existed; for, they have taken both the lead and the command without any right to do so, and, in violation of all right, they have misused mankind; having enjoyed their rank, it is but just that they should pay for it. Privileged the wrong way, they must be treated the same as vagabonds were treated under their reign, stopped by the police and sent off with their families into the interior, crowded into prisons, executed in a mass, or, at least, expelled from Paris, the seaports and fortified towns, put on the limits, compelled to present themselves daily at the municipality, deprived of their political rights, excluded from public offices, “popular clubs, committees of supervision and from communal and section assemblages.”39 Even this is indulgence; branded with infamy, we ought to class them with galley-slaves, and set them to work on the public highways.40 “Justice condemns the people’s enemies and the partisans of tyranny to eternal slavery.”41
But that does not suffice; for, apart from the aristocracy of rank, there are other aristocracies which the Constituent Assembly has left untouched,42 especially the aristocracy of wealth. Of all the sovereignties, that of the rich man over the poor one is the most burdensome. In effect, not only, in contempt of equality, does he consume more than his share of the common products of labor, and without producing anything himself, but again, in contempt of liberty, he may fix wages as he pleases, and, in contempt of humanity, he always fixes them at the lowest point. Between himself and the necessitous he never makes other than the most iniquitous contracts. Sole possessor of land, capital and the necessaries of life, he imposes conditions which others, deprived of means, are forced to accept at the risk of starvation; he speculates at his discretion on wants which cannot be put off, and makes the most of his monopoly by maintaining the indigent in their indigent situations. “Hence,” writes Saint-Just,43 “opulence is infamous; it consists in feeding fewer natural or adopted children according to every thousand livres of income.” “The richest Frenchman,” says Robespierre, “ought not to have now more than three thousand livres rental.” Beyond what is strictly necessary, no property is legitimate; we have the right to take the superfluous wherever we find it; not only today, because we now require it for the State and for the poor, but at all times, because the superfluous, in all times, confers on its possessor an advantage in contracts, a control of wages, an arbitrament over the means of living, in short, a supremacy of condition worse than preëminence in rank. Consequently, our hand is not against the nobles merely, but against the rich and well-to-do bourgeois,44 also the large land-owners and capitalists; we are going to demolish their crafty feudalism from top to bottom.45 In the first place, we prevent, and solely through the operation of new institutions, any recipient of a large income from levying on, as is customary with him, the best portion of the fruits of another’s labor; the drones shall no longer annually consume the honey of other bees. To bring this about, we have only to let the assignats and the forced rate (at which they shall be received) work things out. Through the depreciation of paper-money, the indolent land-owner or capitalist sees his income melting away in his hands; his receipts consist only of nominal values. On the 1st of January, his tenant pays him really for a half term instead of a full term; on the 1st of March, his farmer settles his account with a bag of grain;46 the effect is just the same as if we had made fresh contracts, and reduced by one-half, three-quarters, or, even more, the rate of interest on loans, the rent of houses and the leases of farm lands. Whilst the revenue of the landlord evaporates, his capital melts away, and we do the best we can to help this along. If he has claims on ancient corporations or civil and religious establishments of any description, whether provincial governments, congregations, associations, endowments or hospitals, we withdraw his special guarantee; we convert his title-deeds into a state annuity, we combine his private fortune with the public fortune whether he will or not, we drag him into the universal bankruptcy, toward which we are conducting all the creditors of the Republic.47
Besides, to effect his ruin, we have more direct and prompt means. If an emigré, and there are hundreds of thousands of emigrés, we confiscate his possessions; if he has been guillotined or transported, and there are tens of thousands of these, we confiscate his possessions; if he is “a marked enemy of the Revolution,”48 and “all the rich pray for the counter-revolution,”49 we sequestrate his property; we enjoy the usufruct of it until peace is declared, and we shall have the property after the war is over; usufruct or property, the State, in either case, inherits; at most, we may sometimes grant temporary aid to the family, which is not even entitled to food.
It is impossible to uproot fortunes more thoroughly. As to those which are not at once eradicated we get rid of them piece-meal, and against these we employ two axes. On the one hand, we decree the principle of progressive taxation, and on this basis we establish the forced loan:50 in incomes, we distinguish between the essential and the surplus; we fix the essential at one thousand francs per head; according as the excess is greater or less we take a quarter, a third or the half of it, and, when above nine thousand francs, the whole; beyond its small alimentary reserve, the most opulent family will keep only four thousand five hundred francs income. On the other hand, we cut deep into capital through revolutionary taxes; our committees and provincial proconsuls levy arbitrarily what suits them, three hundred, five hundred, up to one million two hundred thousand francs,51 on this or that banker, trader, bourgeois or widow, payable within a week; all the worse for the person taxed if he or she has no money on hand and is unable to borrow it; we declare them “suspects,” we imprison them, we sequestrate their property and the State enjoys it in their place. In any event, even when the amount is paid, we force him or her to deposit their silver and gold coin in our hands, sometimes with assignats as security, and often nothing; henceforth, coin must circulate and the precious metals are in requisition;52 everybody will deliver up what plate he possesses. And let nobody presume to conceal his hoard; all treasure, whether silver-plate, diamonds, ingots, gold or silver, coined or uncoined, “discovered, or that may be discovered, buried in the ground or concealed in cellars, inside of walls or in garrets, under floors, pavements, or hearthstones, or in chimneys and other hiding places,”53 becomes the property of the Republic, with a premium of twenty per cent. in assignats to the informer. As, furthermore, we make requisitions for bed-linen, beds, clothes, provisions, wines and the rest, along with specie and the precious metals, the condition of a mansion may be imagined, especially after we have lodged in it; it is the same as if the house had been on fire; all personal capital is gone, as well as other capital. Now that both are destroyed they must not be allowed to accumulate again. To ensure this, we abolish, according to rule, the freedom of bequest,54 we prescribe equal and obligatory divisions of all inheritances;55 we include bastards in this under the same title as legitimate children; we admit représentation à l’infini,56 “in order to multiply heirs and parcel out inheritances;”57 we reduce the disposable portion to one-tenth, in the direct line, and one-sixth in a collateral line; we forbid any gift to persons whose income exceeds one thousand quintals of grain; we inaugurate adoption, “an admirable institution,” and essentially republican, “since it brings about a division of large properties without a crisis.” Already, in the Legislative Assembly a deputy had stated that “equal rights could be maintained only by a persistent tendency to uniformity of fortunes.”58 We have provided for this for the present day and we likewise provide for it in the future. None of the vast excrescences which have sucked the sap of the human plant are to remain; we have cut them away with a few telling blows, while the steady-moving machine, permanently erected by us, will shear off their last tendrils should they chance to sprout again.
Through this restoration of the natural man we have prepared for the advent of the social man. The object now is to form the citizen, and this is possible only through a levelling of conditions; “neither rich nor poor are necessary” in a well constituted society;59 we have already destroyed the opulence which corrupts; it now remains for us to suppress the indigence which degrades. Under the tyranny of material things, which is as oppressive as the tyranny of men, man falls below himself; never will a citizen be made out of a poor fellow condemned to remain valet, hireling, or beggar, to think only of himself and his daily bread, to ask in vain for work, to plod twelve hours a day at a monotonous pursuit, to live like a beast of burden and die in a hospital.60 He must have his own bread, his own roof and all that is indispensable for life; he must not be overworked, nor suffer anxiety or constraint; “he must live independently, respect himself, have a tidy wife and healthy and robust children.”61 The community should guarantee him comfort, security, the certainty of not going hungry if he becomes infirm, and, if he dies, of not leaving his family in want. “It is not enough,” says Barère,62 “to bleed the rich, to pull down colossal fortunes; the slavery of poverty must be made to disappear from the soil of the Republic.” “The unfortunate,” says Saint-Just, “are the powerful of the earth; they have a right to speak as masters to the governments which neglect them;63 they have a right to national beneficence. … In a democracy under organisation, everything should tend to raise each citizen above the prime necessities, by labor if he is fit for work, by education if he is a child, by succor if he is an invalid or in old age.”64 And never was there so propitious a moment. “Rich in domains, the Republic is calculating the millions intended by the rich for counter revolution, for the amelioration of the lot of its less fortunate citizens. … Those who would assassinate liberty have made it the richer. … The possessions of conspirators exist for the benefit of the unfortunate.”65 Let the poor take with a quiet conscience: it is not a charity but “an indemnity” which we provide for them; we save their pride by providing for their comfort, and we solace them without humiliating them. “We leave charitable enterprises to monarchies; this vile and insolent way of furnishing assistance is fit only for slaves and masters; we substitute for it a system of national works, on a grand scale, over the whole territory of the Republic.”66 On the other hand, we cause a statement to be drawn up in each commune, of “the condition of citizens without property,” and “of national possessions not disposed of”; we divide these possessions in small lots; we distribute them “in the shape of national sales” to poor folks able to work; we give, “through form of rental,” an acre to each head of a family who has less than an acre of his own; “we thus bind all citizens to the country as well as to property; we restore to the soil idle and robust arms, and families lost or enervated in the workshops and in the towns.” As to old and infirm farmers or mechanics, also poor mothers, wives, and widows of mechanics and farmers, we keep in each department a “big ledger of national beneficence”; we inscribe thereon for every thousand inhabitants, four farmers, two mechanics, five women, either mothers or widows; each registered person shall be pensioned by the State, the same as a maimed soldier; labor-invalids are as respectable as war-invalids. Over and above those who are privileged on account of poverty, we relieve and elevate the entire poor class, not alone the thirteen hundred thousand indigent enumerated in France,67 but, again, all who, having little or no means on hand, live from day to day on what they can earn. We have passed a law68 by which the public treasury shall, through a tax on large fortunes, “furnish to each commune or district the necessary funds for adapting the price of bread to the rate of wages.” Our representatives in the provinces impose on the wealthy the obligation of “lodging, feeding, and clothing all infirm, aged, and indigent citizens and orphans of their respective cantons.”69 Through the decree on monopolisation and the establishment of the maximum we bring within reach of the poor all objects of prime necessity. We pay them forty sous a day for attending district meetings; and three francs a day for serving on committees of surveillance. We recruit from amongst them our revolutionary army;70 we select amongst them the innumerable custodians of sequestrés: in this way, hundreds of thousands of sans-culottes enter into the various public services. At last, the poor are taken out of a state of poverty: each will now have his plot of ground, his salary or pension; “in a well-ordered republic nobody is without some property.”71 Henceforth, among individuals, the difference in welfare will be small; from the maximum to the minimum, there will be only a degree, while there will be found in every dwelling about the same sort of household, a plain, simple household, that of the small rural proprietor, well-off farmer or factory foreman; that of Rousseau at Montmorency, or that of the Savoyard Vicar, or that of Duplay, the carpenter, with whom Robespierre lodges.72 There will be no more domestic servitude: “only the bond of help and gratitude will exist between employer and employee.”73 “He who works for another citizen belongs to his family and sits at his table.”74 Through the transformation of low conditions into average conditions we restore men to their dignity, and out of the proletaire, the valet, and the workman, we begin to liberate the citizen.
Two leading obstacles hinder the development of civism, and the first is egoism. Whilst the citizen prefers the community to himself, the egoist prefers himself to the community. He cares only for his own interest, he gives no heed to public necessities; he sees none of the superior rights which take precedence of his derived right; he supposes that his property is his own without restriction or condition; he forgets that, if he is allowed to use it, he must not use it to another’s detriment.75 Thus, even in the middle or low class, do those who possess the necessaries of life, act. The greater the demand for these the higher they raise their prices; soon, they sell only at an exorbitant rate, and worse still, stop selling and store their goods or products, in the expectation of selling them dearer. In this way, they speculate on another’s wants; they augment the general distress and become public enemies. Nearly all the agriculturists, manufacturers, and tradesmen of the day, little and big, are public enemies—farmers, metayers, market-gardeners, cultivators of every degree, as well as foremen, shopkeepers, especially wine-dealers, bakers, and butchers. “All tradesmen are essentially antirevolutionists, and would sell their country to gain a few sous.”76 We will not tolerate this legal brigandage. Since “agriculture has done nothing for liberty and has sought only its own gain,”77 we will put it under surveillance, and, if necessary, under control. Since “commerce has become a species of miserly tyrant,” since “it has become self-paralysed,” and, “through a sort of antirevolutionary contempt, neglected the manufacture, handling, and expedition of diverse materials,” we will “defeat” the calculations of its barbarous arithmetic, and purge it of the aristocratic and corrupting fermentation which oppresses it.” We make monopoly “a capital crime”;78 we call him a monopolist who “takes food and wares of prime necessity out of circulation,” and “keeps them stored without daily and publicly offering them for sale.” Penalty of death against whoever, within eight days, does not make a declaration, or if he makes a false one. Penalty of death against any person who keeps more bread on hand than he needs for his subsistence.79 Penalty of death against the cultivator who does not bring his grain weekly to market. Penalty of death against the dealer who does not post up the contents of his warehouse, or who does not keep open shop. Penalty of death against the manufacturer who does not verify the daily use of his workable material. As to prices, we intervene authoritatively between buyer and seller; we fix the extreme price for all objects which, near or remotely, serve to feed, warm, and clothe man; we will imprison whoever offers or demands anything more. Whether the dealer or manufacturer pays expenses at this rate, matters not; if, after the maximum is fixed, he closes his factory, or gives up business, we declare him a “suspect”; we chain him down to his pursuit, we oblige him to lose by it. That is the way to clip the claws of beasts of prey, little and big! But the claws grow out again, and, instead of paring them down, it would, probably be better to pull them out. Some amongst us have already thought of that; the right of preemption might be applied to every article; “in each department, national storehouses might be established where cultivators, land-owners, and manufacturers would be obliged to deposit at a fixed price, paid down, the surplus of their consumption of every species of merchandise. The nation would distribute this merchandise to wholesale dealers, reserving a profit of six per centum. The profit of the wholesale dealer would be fixed at eight per centum and that of the retailer at twelve per centum.”80 In this way, agriculturists, manufacturers, and merchants would all become clerks of the State, appointed on a premium or a discount; unable to gain a great deal, they would not be tempted to gain too much; they would cease to be greedy and soon cease to be egoists. Since, fundamentally, egoism is the capital vice and individual proprietorship the food that nourishes it, why not suppress individual proprietorship altogether? Our extreme logicians, with Baboeuf at the head of them, go as far as that, and Saint-Just seems to be of that opinion.81 A decretal of the Agrarian law is not the point; the nation would reserve the soil to itself and divide among individuals, not lands but rents. The outcome of this principle affords us a glimpse of an order of things in which the State, sole proprietor of real-estate, sole capitalist, sole manufacturer, sole trader, having all Frenchmen in its pay and service, would assign to each one his task according to his aptitude, and distribute to each one his rations according to his wants. These various uncompleted plans still float in a hazy distance; but their common purpose is clearly distinguishable. “All which tends to concentrating human passions in the abjection of personality must be repudiated or repressed”;82 the point is, to annihilate special interests, to deprive the individual of the motives and means for self-isolation, to suppress preoccupations and ambitions by which he makes himself a centre at the expense of the veritable centre, in short, to detach him from himself in order to attach him wholly to the State.
This is why, outside the narrow egoism through which the individual prefers himself to the community, we follow out the broad egoism by which the individual prefers to the community the group of which he forms a part. Under no pretext must he separate himself from the whole; at no price, must he be allowed to form for himself a small patrimony within the large one, for, by the affection he entertains for the small one, he frustrates the objects of the large one. Nothing is worse than political, civil, religious and domestic federalism; we combat it under all its forms.83 In this particular, the Constituent Assembly has paved the way for us, since it has broken up all the principal historic or material groups by which men have separated themselves from the masses and formed a band apart, provinces, clergy, nobles, parliaments, religious orders, and trades-unions. We complete its work: we destroy churches, we suppress literary or scientific associations, educational or benevolent societies, even down to financial companies.84 We prohibit any departmental or commercial “local spirit”: we find “odious and opposed to all principles, that, amongst municipalities, some should be rich and others poor, that one should have immense patrimonial possessions and another nothing but indebtedness.”85 We regard these possessions as the nation’s, and we place indebtedness to the nation’s account. We take grain from rich communes and departments, to feed poor communes and departments. We build the bridges, roads, and canals of each district, at the expense of the State; “we centralise the labor of the French people in a broad, opulent fashion.”86 We want no more local interests, souvenirs, idioms, and patriotisms. One tie only should subsist between individuals, that which attaches them to the social body; we sunder all others; we do not tolerate any special aggregation; we do the best we can to break up the most tenacious of all, the family. To this end, we assimilate marriage with ordinary contracts: we render this loose and precarious, as nearly resembling the free and transient union of the sexes as possible; it shall be dissolved at the option of both parties, and even of one of the parties, after one month of formalities and of probation; if the couple has lived separate six months, the divorce may be granted without any probation or delay; divorced parties may remarry. On the other hand, we suppress marital authority: since spouses are equal, each has equal rights over common property and the property of each other; we deprive the husband of its administration and render it “common” to both parties. We abolish “paternal authority”; “it is cheating nature to enforce her rights through constraint. … The only rights that parents have are those of protection and watchfulness.”87 The father can no longer control the education of his children; the State takes charge of it. The father is no longer master of his possessions; the portion he can dispose of by donation or testament is of the smallest; we prescribe an equal and forced division of property. Finally, we preach adoption, we efface bastardy, we confer on children born of free love, or of a despotic will, the same rights as those of legitimate children. In short, we break up that sacred circle, that exclusive group, that aristocratic organisation which, under the name of the family, was created out of pride and egoism.88 Henceforth, affection and obedience will no longer be frittered away; the miserable supports to which they have clung like ivy vines, castes, churches, corporations, provinces, communes, or families, are ruined and rooted out; on the ground which is thus levelled, the State alone remains standing, and it alone offers any point of adhesion; all these vines are about to twine themselves in one trunk about the great central column.
Let them not go astray, let us lead them on, let us direct minds and souls, and, to this end, let us enfold man in our doctrines. He needs general ideas and the daily experiences flowing out of them; he needs some theory explaining the origin and nature of things, one which assigns him his place and the part he has to play in the world, which teaches him his duties, which regulates his life, which fixes the days he shall work and the days he shall rest, which stamps itself on his mind through commemorations, festivals and ceremonies, through a catechism and a calendar. Up to this time Religion has been the power charged with this service, interpreted and served by the Church; now it is to be Reason, interpreted and served by the State. In this connection, many among us, disciples of the encyclopedists, constitute Reason a divinity, and honor her with a system of worship; but it is plain that they personify an abstraction; their improvised goddess is simply an allegorical phantom; none of them see in her the intelligent cause of the world; in the depths of their hearts they deny this Supreme Cause, their pretended religion being merely a show or a sham. We discard atheism, not only because it is false, but again, and more especially, because it is disintegrating and unwholesome.89 We want an effective, consolatory, and fortifying religion, and that religion is natural religion, which is social as well as true. “Without this,” Rousseau says, “it is impossible to be a good citizen.90 … The existence of divinity, the future life, the sacredness of the social contract and of the laws,” all are its dogmas; “no one may be forced to believe in these, but whoever dares say that he does not believe in them, sets himself up against the French people, the human species and nature.” Consequently, we decree that “the French people recognises the Supreme Being and the immortality of the soul.” The important thing now is to plant this entirely philosophic faith in all hearts. We introduce it into the civil order of things, we take the calendar out of the hands of the Church, we purge it of its Christian imagery; we make the new era begin with the advent of the Republic; we divide the year according to the metric system, we name the months according to the vicissitudes of the seasons, “we substitute, in all directions, the realities of reason for the visions of ignorance, the truths of nature for a sacerdotal prestige,”91 the decade for the week, the décadi for Sundays, lay festivals for ecclesiastical festivals.92 On each décadi, through solemn and appropriate pomp, we impress on the popular mind one of the highest truths of our creed; we glorify, in the order of their dates, Nature, Truth, Justice, Liberty, Equality, the People, Adversity, Humanity, the Republic, Posterity, Glory, Patriotism, Heroism, and other virtues. Besides this, we honor the important days of the Revolution, the taking of the Bastille, the fall of the Throne, the punishment of the tyrant, the expulsion of the Girondists. We, too, have our anniversaries, our relics, the relics of Chalier and Marat,93 our processions, our services, our ritual,94 and the vast system of visible pageantry by which dogmas are made manifest and propagated. But ours, instead of leading men off to an imaginary heaven, brings them back to a living patrimony, and, through our ceremonies as well as through our creed, we inculcate civism.
If it is important to preach this to adults, it is still more important to teach it to children, for children are more easily moulded than adults. Our hold on these still flexible minds is complete, and, through national education “we possess ourselves of coming generations.”95 Naught is more essential and naught is more legitimate. “The country,” says Robespierre, “has a right to bring up its own children; it cannot confide this trust to family pride nor to the prejudices of individuals, the eternal nourishment of aristocracies and of a domestic federalism which narrows the soul by keeping it isolated.” We are determined to have “education common and equal for all French people,” and “we stamp on it a great character, analogous to the nature of our government and the sublime doctrines of our Republic. The aim is no longer to form gentlemen (messieurs) but citizens.”96 We oblige97 teachers, male and female, to present certificates of civism, that is to say, of Jacobinism. We close their school if “precepts or maxims opposed to revolutionary morality” are taught in it, that is to say, in conformity with Christian morality. Children will learn to read in the Declaration of Rights and in the Constitution of 1793. Republican manuals and catechisms will be prepared for their use.98 “They must be taught the virtuous traits which most honor free men, and especially the traits characteristic of the French Revolution, the best calculated to elevate the soul and render them worthy of equality and liberty.” The 14th of July, 10th of August, 2d of September, 21st of January, and 31st of May must be lauded or justified in their presence. They must be taken to meetings of the municipalities, to the law courts,99 “and especially to the popular clubs; from these pure sources they will derive a knowledge of their rights, of their duties, of the laws, of republican morality,” and, on entering society, they will find themselves imbued with all good maxims. Over and above their political opinions we shape their ordinary habits. We apply on a grand scale the plan of education drawn out by Jean-Jacques (Rousseau).100 We want no more literary prigs; in the army, “the ‘swell’ breaks down the first campaign”;101 we want young men able to endure privation and fatigue, toughened, like Emile, “by hard work” and physical exercise. We have, thus far, only sketched out this department of education, but the agreement amongst the various plans shows the meaning and bearings of our principle. “Children generally, without distinction and without exception,” says Lepelletier de Saint-Fargeau,102 “boys from five to twelve, and girls from five to eleven years of age, must be brought up in common at the expense of the Republic; all, under the sacred law of equality, are to receive the same clothing, the same food, the same education, the same attention” in boarding-schools distributed according to cantons, and containing each from four to six hundred pupils. “Pupils will be made to submit every day and every moment to the same rigid rules. … Their beds must be hard, their food healthy, but simple, their clothing comfortable, but coarse.” Servants will not be allowed; children must help themselves and, besides this, they must wait on the old and infirm, lodged with or near them. “Among daily duties, manual labor will be the principal thing; all the rest will be accessory.” Girls must learn to spin, sew and wash clothes; the boys will work the roads, be shepherds, ploughmen and work-hands; both will have tasks set them, either in the school-workshops, or in the fields and factories in the neighborhood; they will be hired out to surrounding manufacturers and to the tillers of the soil. Saint-Just is more specific and rigid.103 “Male children from five to sixteen years of age, must be raised for their country. They must be clad in common cloth at all seasons, and have mats for beds, and sleep eight hours. They are to have common food only, fruits, vegetables, preparations of milk, bread and water. They must not eat meat before sixteen. … Their education, from ten to sixteen, is to be military and agricultural. They will be formed into companies of sixty; six companies make a battalion; the children of a district form a legion; they will assemble annually at the district town, encamp there and drill in infantry tactics, in arenas specially provided for the purpose; they will also learn cavalry manoeuvres and every other species of military evolution. In harvest time they are to be distributed amongst the harvesters.” After sixteen, “they enter the arts,” along with some farmer, artisan, merchant, or manufacturer, who becomes their titulary “instructor,” and with whom they are bound to remain up to the age of twenty-one, “under the penalty of being deprived for life of a citizen’s rights.104 … All children will dress alike up to sixteen years of age; from sixteen to twenty-one, they will dress as workmen; from twenty-one to twenty-five, they will dress as soldiers, if they are not in the magistracy.” Already we show the effects of the theory by one striking example; we founded the “Ecole de Mars”;105 we select out of each district six boys from sixteen to seventeen and a half years old “among the children of sans-culottes”; we summon them to Paris, “to receive there, through a revolutionary education, whatever belongs to the knowledge and habits of a republican soldier. They are schooled in fraternity, in discipline, in frugality, in good habits, in love of country and in detestation of kings.” Three or four thousand young people are lodged at the Sablons, “in a palisaded enclosure, the intervals of which are guarded by chevaux de frises and sentinels.”106 We put them into tents; we feed them with bran bread, rancid pork, water, and vinegar; we drill them in the use of arms; we march them out on national holidays and stimulate them with patriotic harangues. Suppose all Frenchmen educated in such a school; the habits they acquire in youth will persist in the adult, and, in each adult we shall find the sobriety, energy and patriotism of a Spartan or Roman.
Already, under the pressure of our decrees, civism affects customs, and there are manifest signs, on all sides, of public regeneration. “The French people,” says Robespierre, “seem to have outstripped the rest of humanity, by two thousand years; one might be tempted to regard them, living amongst them, as a different species. In the rest of Europe, a ploughman, an artisan, is an animal formed for the pleasures of a noble; in France, the nobles are trying to transform themselves into ploughmen and artisans, but do not succeed in obtaining that honor.”107 Life in all directions is gradually assuming democratic forms. Wealthy prisoners are prohibited from purchasing delicacies, or procuring special conveniences; they eat along with the poor prisoners the same ration, at the common mess.108 Bakers have orders to make but one quality of bread, the brown bread called equality bread, and, to obtain his ration, each person must place himself in line with the rest of the crowd. On holidays109 everybody will bring his provisions down into the street and eat as one family with his neighbor; on the décadi, all are to sing and dance together, pell-mell, in the temple of the Supreme Being. The decrees of the Convention and the orders of the representatives impose the republican cockade on women; public opinion and example impose on men the costume and appearance of sans-culottes; we see even “swells” wearing mustaches, long hair, red cap, vest, and heavy wooden shoes.110 Nobody calls a person Monsieur or Madame; the only titles allowed are citoyen and citoyenne while thee and thou is the general rule. Rude familiarity takes the place of monarchical politeness; all greet each other as equals and comrades. There is now only one tone, one style, one language; revolutionary forms constitute the tissue of speech, as well as of written discourse; thought now seems to consist entirely of our ideas and phrases. All names are transformed, those of months and of days, those of places and of monuments, baptismal names and names of families: St. Denis has become Franciade; Peter Gaspard is converted into Anaxagoras, and Antoine-Louis into Brutus; Leroi, the deputy, calls himself Laloi, and Leroy, the jurist, calls himself August-Tenth. By dint of thus shaping the exterior we reach the interior, and through outward civism we prepare internal civism. Both are obligatory, but the latter much more so than the former; for that is the fundamental principle,111 the mainspring which sustains and impels a democratic and popular government. “It is impossible to apply the social contract if everybody does not scrupulously observe the first clause of it, namely, the complete surrender of himself to the community; everybody, then, must give himself up entirely, not only actually but heartily, and devote himself to the public weal, which public weal is the regeneration of man as we have defined it. The veritable citizen is he who thus marches along with us. With him, as with us, abstract truths of philosophy control the conscience and govern the will. He starts with our articles of faith and follows them out to the end; he derives from them all the consequences which we derive from them; he endorses our acts, he recites our creed, he observes our discipline, he is a believing and practicing Jacobin, an orthodox Jacobin, unsullied, and without taint of heresy or schism. Never does he swerve to the left toward exaggeration, nor to the right toward toleration; without haste or delay he travels along on the narrow, steep and straight path which we have marked out for him; this is the pathway of reason, for, as there is but one reason, there is but one pathway. Let no one swerve from the line; there are abysses on each side of it. Let us follow our guides, men of principles, the pure, especially Couthon, Saint-Just, and Robespierre; they are choice specimens, all cast in the true mould, and it is this unique and rigid mould in which all French men are to be recast.
[1. ]This and the following text are taken from the “Contrat-Social” by Rousseau. Cf. “The Ancient Régime,” book iii., ch. iv.
[2. ]This idea, so universally prevalent and precocious, is uttered by Mirabeau in the session of the 10th of August, 1789. (Buchez et Roux, ii., 257.) “I know of but three ways of maintaining one’s existence in society, and these are to be either a beggar, a robber, or a hireling. The proprietor is himself only the first of hirelings. What we commonly call his property is nothing more than the pay society awards him for distributing amongst others that which is entrusted to him to distribute through his expenses and through what he consumes; proprietors are the agents, the stewards of the social body.”
[3. ]Report by Roland, January 6, 1793, and by Cambon, February 1, 1793.
[4. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxi., 311. Report by Saint-Just, Ventose 8, year II., and decree in conformity therewith.
[5. ]Decree of 13 Brumaire, year II.—Report by Cambon, Feb. 1, 1793. Cambon estimates the property alone of the order of Malta and of the colleges at four hundred million livres.
[6. ]Moniteur, xviii., 419 and 486. Reports by Cambon, 1 Frimaire and Brumaire 22, year II. “Let us begin with taking possession of the leased domains, notwithstanding preceding laws.”
[7. ]Cf. “The Ancient Régime,” p. 14.
[8. ]Mallet-Dupan, “Mémoires,” ii., 19. Moniteur, xviii., 565. (Report by Cambon, 11 Frimaire, year II.) Requested to do so by a popular club of Toulouse, the department of Haute-Garonne has ordered all possessors of articles in gold or silver to bring them to the treasuries of their districts to be exchanged for assignats. This order has thus far brought into the Toulouse treasury about one million five hundred thousand or one million six hundred thousand livres in gold and silver. The same at Montauban and other places. “Several of our colleagues have even decreed the death penalty against whoever did not bring their gold and silver within a given time.”
[9. ]Moniteur, xviii., 320. (Session of Brumaire 11, year II.), the words of Barère, reporter of the law.
[10. ]Archives Nationales, AF.II., 106. (Orders by representative Beauchamp, l’Isle Jourdain, Pluviose 2, year II.) “All blue and green cloaks in the departments of Haute-Garonne, as well as of the Landes, Gers, and others, are put in requisition from the present day. Every citizen possessing blue or green cloaks is required to declare them at the depot of the municipality or other locality where he may chance to be.” Simon, “suspect” is treated as such. Ibid., AF.II., 92. (Order issued by Taillefer, Brumaire 3, year II., at Villefranche-l’Aveyron.)—De Martel, “Etude sur Fouché,” 368. (Order by Fouché, Collot d’ Herbois and Delaporte: Lyons, Brumaire 21, year II.) Moniteur, xv., 384. (Session of 19th Brumaire. Letter of Barras and Fréron, dated at Marseilles.)—Moniteur, xviii., 513. (Orders by Lebon and Saint-Just, at Strasbourg, Brumaire 24 and 25, year II.) Letter of Isoré to the minister Bouchotte, November 4, 1793. (Legros, “La Revolution telle qu’elle est.”) The principle of these measures was laid down by Robespierre in his speech on property (April 24, 1793), and in his declaration of rights unanimously adopted by the Jacobin Club (Buchez et Roux, xxvi., 93 and 130).
[11. ]Rousset, “Les Volontaires,” p. 234 and 254.
[12. ]Report by Cambon, Pluviose 3, year III., p. 3. “One-fifth of the active population is employed in the common defence.”—Decrees of May 12 and Aug. 23, 1793.—Decree of November 22, 1793.—Order of the Directory, October 18, 1798.
[13. ]Moniteur, xix., 631. Decree of Ventose 14, year II. Archives Nationales, D.SI., 10. (Orders by representatives Delacroix, Louchet, and Legendre; Pont-Audemer, Frimaire 14, year II.) Moniteur, xviii., 622.—(Decree of Frimaire 18, year II.)
[14. ]Decree of 15—Floréal 18, year II. Decree of September 29, 1793, (in which forty objects of prime necessity are enumerated).—Article 9 decrees three days imprisonment against workmen and manufacturers who “without legitimate reason, shall refuse to do their ordinary task.”—Decrees of September 16 and 20, 1793, and that of September 11, articles 16, 19, 20, and 21.
[15. ]Archives Nationales, AF.II., iii. Order of the representative Ferry; Bourges, 23 Messidor, year II. Ibid., AF.II., 106. Order of the representative Dartigoyte, Auch, Prairial 18, year II.
[16. ]Decree of Brumaire 11, year II., article 7.
[17. ]Gouvion Saint Cyr, “Mémoires sur les campagnes de 1792 à la paix de Campo-For mio,” i., 91–109. “Promotion, which every one feared at this time.” … Ibid., 229. “Men who had any resources obstinately held aloof from any kind of advancement.” Archives Nationales, D. SI., 5. Mission of representative Albert in L’Aube and La Marne, and especially the order issued by Albert, Chalons, Germinal 7, year III., with the numerous petitions of judges and town officers soliciting their removal.—Letter of the painter Gosse (published in Le Temps, May 31, 1872), which is very curious, showing the trials of those in private life during the Revolution. “My father was appointed charity commissioner and quartermaster for the troops; at the time of the Reign of Terror it would have been imprudent to have refused any office.”—Archives Nationales, F7, 3,485. The case of Girard Toussaint, notary at Paris, who “fell under the sword of the law, Thermidor 9, year II.” This Girard, who was very liberal early in the revolution, was president of his section in 1789, but, after the 10th of August, he had kept quiet. The committee of the section of the “Amis de la Patrie,” “considering that citizen Girard … came forward only at the time when the court and Lafayette prevailed against the sans-culottes”; that, “since equality was established by the Revolution he has deprived his fellow citizens of his knowledge, which, in a revolution, is criminal, unanimously agree that the said citizen is “suspect” and order “him to be sent to the Luxembourg.”
[18. ]Ludovic Sciout, “Histoire de la Constitution civile du clergé,” iv., 131, 135, (orders issued by Dartigoyte and de Pinet).—“Recueil de pieces authentiques serrant à l’histoire de la révolution à Strasbourg,” vol. i., p. 230. (Speech by Schneider at Barr, for marrying the patriot Funck.) Schneider, it appears, did still better on his own account. (Ibid., 317).
[19. ]Buchez et Roux, xxix., 160. (Report of Saint-Just, October 20, 1793.) “You have to punish not only traitors, but even the indifferent; you must punish all in the Republic who are passive and do nothing for it.”
[20. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxii., 338. Report of the Convention on the theory of democratic government, by Billaud-Varennes (April 20, 1794).
[21. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxi., 270. Report by Robespierre, on the principles which should guide the National Convention in the internal administration of the Republic, February 5, 1794.—Cf. “The Ancient Régime,” 227–230, the ideas of Rousseau, of which those of Robespierre are simply a recast.
[22. ]Ibid., 270. The pretension of reforming men’s sentiments is found in all the programmes. Ibid., 305. (Report of Saint-Just, February 26, 1794.) “Our object is to create an order of things such as a universal tendency toward the good establishes, and to have factions immediately hurled upon the scaffold.”—Ibid., 337. (Report of Saint-Just, March 13, 1794.) “We see but one way of arresting the evil, and that is to convert the revolution into a civil power and wage war on every species of perversity, as designedly created amongst us for the enervation of the republic.”
[23. ]Ibid., xxxv., 276. (Institutions, by Saint-Just.—Ibid., 287.)—Moniteur, xviii., 343. Meeting of the Jacobin Club, Brumaire 13, year II., speech by Baudot.
[24. ]Buchez et Roux, xxix., 142. (Speech by Jean Bon St. André in the Convention, Sep. 25, 1793.) “We are said to exercise arbitrary power, we are charged with being despots. We, despots! … Ah, no doubt, if despotism is to secure the triumph of liberty, such a despotism is political regeneration.” (Applause.) Ibid., xxxi., 276. (Report by Robespierre, Pluviose 17, year II.) “It has been said that terror is the mainspring of despotic government. Does yours, then, resemble despotism? Yes, as the sword which flashes in the hands of the heroes of liberty resembles that with which the satellites of tyranny are armed. … The government of the Revolution is the despotism of freedom against tyranny.”
[25. ]Ibid., xxxii, 253. Decree of April, 1791. “The Convention declares, that, supported by the virtues of the French people, it will insure the triumph of the democratic revolution and show no pity in punishing its enemies.”
[26. ]The bombast and credulity of the day, in this portrayal of the ancient régime, overflows in the most extravagant exaggeration. (Buchez et Roux, xxxi., 300, Report, by Saint-Just, February 26, 1794.) “In 1788, Louis XVI. caused eight thousand persons of both sexes and of every age to be sacrificed in the rue Meslay and on the Pont-Neuf. These scenes were repeated by the court on the Champs de Mars; the court had hangings in the prisons, and the bodies of the drowned found in the Seine were its victims. There were four hundred thousand prisoners in confinement; fifteen thousand smugglers were hung in a year, and three thousand men were broken on the wheel; there were more prisoners in Paris than there are now. … Look at Europe. There are four millions of people shut up in Europe whose shrieks are never heard.”—Ibid., xxiv., 132. (Speech by Robespierre, May 10, 1793). “Up to this time the art of governing has simply consisted in the art of stripping and subduing the masses for the benefit of the few, and legislation, the mode of reducing these outrages to a system.”
[27. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxii., 353. (Report by Robespierre to the Convention, May 7, 1794.) “Nature tells us that man is born for freedom while the experience of man for centuries shows him a slave. His rights are written in his heart and history records his humiliation.”
[28. ]Ibid., 372. “Priests are to morality what charlatans are to medical practice. How different is the God of nature from the God of the priests! I know of nothing which is so much like atheism as the religions they have manufactured!” Already, in the Constituent Assembly, Robespierre wanted to prevent the father from endowing a child. “You have done nothing for liberty if your laws do not tend to diminish by mild and efficacious means the inequality of fortunes.” (Hamel, i., 403.)
[29. ]Decree of Frimaire 18, year II. Note the restrictions. “The Convention, in the foregoing arrangement, has no idea of derogating from any law or precaution for public safety against refractory or turbulent priests, or against those who might attempt to abuse the pretext of religion in order to compromise the cause of liberty. Nor does it mean to disapprove of what has thus far been done by virtue of the ordinances of the representatives of the people, nor to furnish anybody with a pretext for unsettling patriotism and relaxing the energy of public spirit.”
[30. ]Decrees of May 27 and August 26, 1792, March 18, April 20, and October 20, 1793, April 11, and May 11, 1794.—Add (Moniteur, xix., 697) the decree providing for the confiscation of the possessions of ecclesiastics “who have voluntarily left or been so reported, who are retired as old or infirm, or who have preferred transportation to retirement.”—Ibid., xviii., 492, (session of Frimaire 2). A speech by Forester. “As to the priesthood, its continuation has become a disgrace and even a crime.”—Archives Nationales, AF. II., 36. (An order by Lequinio, representative of the people in Charante-Inférieur, la Vendée and Deux-Sévres, Saintes, Nivose 1, year ii.) “In order that freedom of worship may exist in full plenitude it is forbidden to all whom it may concern to preach or write in favor of any form of worship or religious opinion whatsoever,” and especially “it is expressly forbidden to any former minister, belonging to any religious sect whatever, to preach, write, or teach morality under penalty of being regarded as a suspect and, as such, immediately put under arrest. … Every man who undertakes to preach any religious precepts whatsoever is, by that fact, culpable before the people. He violates … social equality, which does not permit the individual to publicly raise his ideal pretensions above those of his neighbor.”
[31. ]Ludovic Sciout, “Histoire de la Constitution Civile du clergé,” vols. iii. and iv., passim.—Jules Sauzay, “Histoire de la persécution révolutionaire dans le Doubs,” vols. iii., iv., v., and vi., particularly the list, at the end of the work, of those transported, guillotined, sent into the interior and imprisoned.
[32. ]Order of the day of the Convention September 17, 1792; circular of the Executive Council, January 22, 1793; decrees of the Convention, July 19, August 12, September 17, November 15, 1793.—Ludovic Sciout, iii., ch. xv., and the following chapters; iv., chapters i. to vii.—Moniteur, October and November, 1793, passim. (November 23, Order of the Paris Commune, closing the churches.)—In relation to the terror the constitutional priests were under, I merely give the two following extracts (Archives Nationales, F7, 3,1167); “Citizen Pontard, bishop of the department of Dordogne, lodging in the house of citizen Bourbon, No. 66 Faubourg St. Honoré, on being informed that there was an article in a newspaper called “le Republicain” stating that a meeting of priests had been held in the said house, declares that he had no knowledge of it; that all the officers in charge of the apartments are in harmony with the Revolution; that, if he had had occasion to suspect such a circumstance, he would have moved out immediately, and that if any motive can possibly be detected in such a report it is his proposed marriage with the niece of citizen Caminade, an excellent patriot and captain of the 9th company of the Champs-Elysées section, a marriage which puts an end to fanaticism in his department, unless this be done by the ordination of a priest à la sans-culotte which he had done yesterday in the chapel, another act in harmony with the Revolution. It is well to add, perhaps, that one of his curés now in Paris has called on him, and that he came to request him to second his marriage. The name of the said curé is Greffier Sauvage; he is still in Paris, and is preparing to be married the same time as himself. Aside from these motives, which may have given rise to some talk, citizen Pontard sees no cause whatever for suspicion. Besides, so thoroughly patriotic is he, he asks nothing better than to know the truth, in order to march along unhesitatingly in the revolutionary path. He signs his declaration, promising to support the Revolution on all occasions, by his writings as well as by his conduct. He presents the two numbers of his journal which he has had printed in Paris in support of the principles he adheres to. At Paris, September 7, 1793, year II. of the Republic, one and indivisible. F. Pontard, bishop of the Republic in the department of Dordogne.”—Dauban La Demagogie en 1793, p. 557. Arrest of representative Osselin, letter of his brother, curé of St. Aubin, to the committee of section Mutius Scaevola, Brumaire 20, year II., “Like Brutus and Mutius Scaevola, I trample on the feelings with which I idolised my brother! O, truth, thou divinity of republicans, thou knowest the incorruptibility of my intentions!” (and so on for fifty-three lines). “These are my sentiments. I am fraternally, Osselin, minister of worship at St. Aubin.”—P.S. “It was just as I was going to answer a call of nature that I learned this afflicting news.” (He keeps up this fustian until words fail him, and finally, frightened to death, and his brain exhausted, he gives this postscript to show that he was not an accomplice.)
[33. ]A term denoting the substitution of ten instead of seven days as a division of time in the calendar, and forced into use during the Revolution.
[34. ]“Recueil de pieces authentiques servant à l’histoire de la revolution à Strasbourg,” ii., 299. (A district order.)
[35. ]Ludovic Sciout, iv., 426. (Instructions sent by the Directory to the National Commissions, Frimaire, year II.)—Ibid., ch. x. to xviii.
[36. ]Ibid., iv., 688. An order of the Directory, Germinal 14, year VI. “The municipal governments will designate special days in each decade for market days in their respective districts, and not allow, in any case, their ordinance to be set aside on the plea that the said market days would fall on a holiday. They will specially strive to break up all connection between the sales of fish and the days of fasting designated on the old calendar. Every person exposing food or wares on sale in the markets on days other than those fixed by the municipal government will be prosecuted in the police court for obstructing a public thoroughfare.”—The Thermidorians remain equally as anti-Catholic as their predecessors; only, they disavow open persecution and rely on slow pressure. (Moniteur, xiii., 523. Speech by Boissy d’Anglas, Ventose 3, year II.) “Superintend what you cannot hinder; regulate what you cannot prohibit. … It will not be long before these absurd dogmas, the offspring of fear and error, whose influence on the human mind has been so steadily destructive, will be known only to be despised. … It will not be long before the religion of Socrates, of Marcus Aurelius and Cicero will be the religion of the whole world.”
[37. ]Moniteur, xiv., 646. (The King’s trial.) Speech by Robespierre: “The right of punishing the tyrant and of dethroning him is one and the same thing.”—Speech by Saint-Just: “Royalty is an eternal crime, against which every man has the right of taking up arms. … To reign innocently is impossible!”
[38. ]Epigraph of Marat’s journal: Ut redeat miseris, abeat fortuna superbis.
[39. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxii., 323. (Report of Saint-Just, Germinal 21, year II., and a decree of Germinal 26–29, Art. 4, 13, 15.)—Ibid., 315.
[40. ]Buchez et Roux, xxix., 166. (Report of Saint-Just, October 10, 1793.) “That would be the only good they could do their country. … It would be no more than just for the people to reign over its oppressors in its turn, and that their pride should be bathed in the sweat of their brows.”
[41. ]Ibid., xxxi., 309. (Report of Saint-Just, Ventose 8, year II.)
[42. ]Ibid., xxvi., 435. (Speech by Robespierre on the Constitution, May 10, 1793.) “What were our usages and pretended laws other than a code of impertinence and baseness, where contempt of men was subject to a sort of tariff, and graduated according to regulations as odd as they were numerous? To despise and be despised, to cringe in order to rule, slaves and tyrants in turn, now kneeling before a master, now trampling the people under foot—such was the ambition of all of us, so long as we were men of birth or well-educated men, whether common folks or fashionable folks, lawyers or financiers, pettifoggers or wearing swords.”—Archives Nationales, F7, 3,1167. (Report of the observateur Charmont, Nivose 10, year II.)—“Boileau’s effigy, placed in the college of Lisieux, has been lowered to the statues of the saints, the latter being taken out of their niches. There is now no kind of distinction. Saints and authors are of the same class.”
[43. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxv., 296. (“Institutions” by Saint-Just.) Meillan, “Mémoires,” p. 17. Anne Plumptre, “A narrative of three years’ residence in France, from 1802 to 1805,” ii., 96. At Marseilles: “The two great crimes charged on those who were doomed to destruction, were here as elsewhere, wealth and aristocracy. … It had been decreed by the Terrorists that no person could have occasion for more than two hundred livres a year, and that no income should be permitted to exceed that sum.”
[44. ]Archives Nationales, F7, 4,437. (Address of the people’s club of Clavisson (Gard), Messidor 7, year II.) “The Bourgeoisie, the merchants, the large land-owners have all the pretension of ex-nobles. The law provides no means for opening the eyes of the common people in relation to these new tyrants. The club desires that the revolutionary Tribunal should be empowered to condemn this proud class of individuals to a prompt partial confinement. The people would then see that they had committed a misdemeanor and would withdraw that sort of respect in which they hold them.” A note in the hand-writing of Couthon: “Left to the decision of popular commissions.”
[45. ]Gouverneur Morris, in a letter of January 4, 1796, says that French capitalists have been financially ruined by assignats, and physically by the guillotine.—Buchez et Roux, xxx., 26. (Notes written by Robespierre in June, 1793.) “Internal dangers come from the bourgeois … who are our enemies? The vicious and the rich.”
[46. ]Narrative by M. Silvestre de Sacy (May 23, 1873): His father owned a farm bringing in four thousand francs per annum; the farmer offered him four thousand francs in assignats or a hog; M. de Sacy took the hog.
[47. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxi., 441. (Report by Cambon on the institution of the grand livre of the public debt, August 15, 1793.)
[48. ]Ibid., xxxi., 311. Report by Saint-Just, February 26, 1794, and decree in accordance therewith, unanimously adopted. See, in particular, article 2.—Moniteur, 12 Ventose, year II. (meeting of the Jacobin club, speech by Collot d’Herbois). “The Convention has declared that prisoners must prove that they were patriots from the 1st of May, 1789. When the patriots and enemies of the Revolution shall be fully known, then the property of the former shall be inviolable and held sacred, while that of the latter will be confiscated for the benefit of the republic.”
[49. ]Buchez et Roux, xxvi., 1455. (Session of the Jacobin Club, May 10, 1793, speech by Robespierre.)—Ibid., xxxi. (Report by Saint-Just, Feb. 26, 1794.) “He who has shown himself an enemy of his country cannot be one of its proprietors. Only he has patrimonial rights who has helped to free it.”
[50. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxi., 93 and 130. (Speech by Robespierre on property, and the declaration of rights adopted by the Jacobin club.) Decree of Septem. 3, 1794 (articles 13 and 48).
[51. ]Moniteur, xxii., 719. (Report by Cambon, Frimaire 6, year III.) At Bordeaux Raba was condemned to a fine of one million two hundred thousand francs, Péchotte to five hundred thousand, Martin-Martin to three hundred thousand.—Cf. Rodolphe Reuss, “Séligmann Alexandre, ou les Tribulations d’ un Israélite de Strasbourg.”
[52. ]Ibid., xviii., 486. (Report by Cambon, Frimaire 1, year II.) “The egotists who, some time ago, found it difficult to pay for the national domains they had acquired from the Republic, even in assignats, now bring us their gold. … Collectors of the revenue who had buried their gold have come and offered to pay what they owe the nation in ingots of gold and silver. These have been refused, the Assembly having decreed the confiscation of these objects.”
[53. ]Decree of Brumaire 23, year II. On taxes and confiscations in the provinces see M. de Martel, “Etude sur Fouché et Pieces authentiques servant à l’histoire de la revolution à Strasbourg.” And further on the details of this operation at Troyes.—Meillan, 90: “At Bordeaux, merchants were heavily taxed, not on account of their incivisme, but on account of their wealth.”
[54. ]Decree of March 7–11, 1793.
[55. ]Moniteur, xviii., 274, decrees of Brumaire 4, and ibid., 305, decree of Brumaire 9, year II., establishing equal partition of inheritances with retroactive effect to July 14, 1789. Adulterous bastards are excepted. The reporter of the bill, Cambacèrés, laments this regretable exception.
[56. ]Rights of inheritance allowed to the descendants of a deceased person who never enjoyed these rights, but who might have enjoyed them had he been living when they fell to him.—Tr.
[57. ]Fenet, “Travaux du Code civil.” (Report by Cambacèrés on the Code civil, August 9, 1793). The framer of the bill makes excuses for not having deprived the father of all the disposable portion. “The committee believed that such a clause would seriously violate our customs without being of any benefit to society or of any moral advantage. We assured ourselves, moreover, that there should always be a division of property.” With respect to donations: “It is repugnant to all ideas of beneficence to allow donations to the rich. Nature is averse to the making of such gifts so long as our eyes dwell on misery and misfortune. These affecting considerations have determined us to fix a point, a sort of maximum, which prohibits gifts on the part of those who have reached that point.”
[58. ]Moniteur, xii., 730, (June 22, 1792) speech by Lamarque.—But this principle is encountered everywhere. “Equality, indeed, (is) the final aim of social art.” (Condorcet, “Tableau des progrès de l’esprit humain,” ii., 59.—“We desired,” writes Baudot, “to apply to politics the equality which the Gospel awards to Christians.” (Quinet, “Revolution Française,” ii., 407.)
[59. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxv., 296. (The words of Saint-Just.)—Moniteur, xviii., 505. (Ordinance of the Paris Commune, Frimaire 3. year II.), “Wealth and Poverty must alike disappear under the régime of equality.”
[60. ]Buchez et Rouz, xxxv., 296. (“Institutions,” by Saint-Just.) “A man is not made for trades, nor for a hospital, nor for an asylum; all this is frightful.”—Ibid., xxxi., 312. (Report of Saint-Just, Ventose 8, year II.) “Let Europe see that you will not allow a miserable man on French territory! … Happiness is a new idea in Europe.”
[61. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxv., 296. (“Institutions,” by Saint-Just.)
[62. ]Moniteur, xx., 444. (Report by Barère, Floréal 22, year II.) “Mendicity is incompatible with popular government.”
[63. ]Ibid., xix., 568. (Report by Saint-Just, Ventose, year II.)
[64. ]Ibid. Report by Barère, Floréal 22.
[65. ]Ibid., xix., 568. (Report by Saint-Just, Ventose 8, and decree of Ventose 13.) “The Committee of Public Safety will report on the means of indemnifying the unfortunate with property belonging to the enemies of the Revolution.”
[66. ]Ibid. xix., 484. (Report by Barère, Ventose 21, year II.)—Ibid., xx., 445. (Report by Barère, Floréal 22, year II.)—Decrees on public assistance, June 28, 1793, July 25, 1793, Frimaire 2, and Floréal 22, year II.—This principle, moreover, was set forth in the Constitution of 1793. “Public help is a sacred obligation; society owes a subsistence to unfortunate citizens, whether by providing work for them, or by ensuring the means of existence to those who are not in a condition to work.”—Archives Nationales, AF.II., 39. The character of this measure is very clearly expressed in the following circular of the Committee of Public Safety to its representatives on mission in the departments, Ventose, year II. “A summary act was necessary to put the aristocracy down. The national Convention has struck the blow. Virtuous indigence was to recover property of which the usurpations of crime had deprived it. The national Convention has proclaimed its rights. A general list of all prisoners should be sent to the Committee of General Security, charged with deciding on their fate. The Committee of Public Safety will receive the statement of the indigent in each commune so as to regulate what is due to them. Both these proceedings demand the utmost despatch and should go together. It is necessary that terror and justice be brought to bear on all points at once. The Revolution is the work of the people and it is time they should have the benefit of it.”
[67. ]Moniteur, xx., 449. (Report by Barère, Floréal 22, year II.)
[68. ]Decree of April 2–5, 1793.
[69. ]Moniteur, xviii., 505. (Orders of Fouché and Collot d’Herbois, dated at Lyons and communicated to the commune of Paris, Frimaire 3, year II.)—De Martel, “Etude sur Fouché,” 132. Orders of Fouché on his mission in the Nievre, Sept. 19, 1793. “There shall be established in each district town a Committee of Philanthropy, authorised to levy on the rich a tax proportionate to the number of the indigent.”
[70. ]Decree of April 2–5, 1793. “There shall be organised in each large commune a guard of citizens selected from the least fortunate. These citizens shall be armed and paid at the expense of the Republic.”
[71. ]Moniteur, xx., 449. (Report of Barère, Floréal 22, year II.)
[72. ]Ibid., xix., 689. (Report by Saint-Just, Ventose 23, year II.) “We spoke of happiness. It is not the happiness of Persepolis we have offered to you. It is that of Sparta or Athens in their best days, the happiness of virtue, that of comfort and moderation, the happiness which springs from the enjoyment of the necessary without the superfluous, the luxury of a cabin and of a field fertilised by your own hands. A cart, a thatched roof affording shelter from the frosts, a family safe from the lubricity of a robber—such is happiness!”
[73. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxi., 402. (Constitution of 1793.)
[74. ]Ibid., xxxv., 310. (“Institutions,” by Saint-Just.)
[75. ]Ibid., xxvi., 93 and 131. (Speech by Robespierre on property, April 24, 1793, and declaration of rights adopted by the Jacobin Club.)—Mallet-Dupan, “Mémoires,” i., 401. (Address of a deputation from Gard.) “Material wealth is no more the special property of any one member of the social body than base metal stamped as a circulating medium.”
[76. ]Moniteur, viii., 452. (Speech by Hébert in the Jacobin Club, Brumaire 26, year II.) “Un Séjour en France de 1792 à 1795,” p. 218. (Amiens, Oct. 4, 1794.) “While waiting this morning at a shop door I overheard a beggar bargaining for a slice of pumpkin. Unable to agree on the price with the woman who kept the shop, he pronounced her ‘gaugrened with aristocracy.’ ‘I defy you to prove it!’ she replied. But, as she spoke, she turned pale and added, ‘Your civism is beyond all question—but take your pumpkin.’ ‘Ah,’ returned the beggar, ‘what a good republican!’ ”
[77. ]Ibid., xviii., 320. (Meeting of Brumaire 11, year II. Report by Barère.)—Meillan, 17. Already, before the 31st May: “The tribune resounded with charges against monopoly, every man being a monopolist who was not reduced to living on daily wages or on alms.”
[78. ]Decrees of July 26, 1793, Sept. 11 and 29; Brumaire 11, and Ventose 6, year II.
[79. ]Moniteur, xviii., 359. “Brumaire 16, year II. Sentence of death of Pierre Gourdier, thirty-six years of age, stock-broker, resident in Paris, rue Bellefond, convicted of having monopolised and concealed in his house a large quantity of bread, in order to breed scarcity in the midst of abundance.” He had gastritis and could eat nothing but panada made with toast, and the baker who furnished this gave him thirty pieces at a time (Wallon, ii., 155).
[80. ]Journal of the debates of the Jacobin Club, No. 532, Brumaire 20, year II. (Plan of citizen Dupré, presented in the Convention by a deputation of the Arcis Club.)—Dauban, “Paris en 1794,” p. 483 (a project similar to the former, presented to the Committee of Public Safety by the Jacobin Club of Montereau, Thermidor, year II.)
[81. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxv., 272. (“Institutions,” by Saint-Just.)
[82. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxi., 273. (Report by Robespierre, Pluviose 17, year II.)
[83. ]Moniteur, xix., 653. (Report by Barère, Ventose 21, year II.) “You should detect and combat federalism in all your institutions, as your natural enemy. … A grand central establishment for all the work of the Republic is an efficacious means against federalism.”—Buchez et Roux, xxxi., 351, and xxxii., 316. (Report by Saint-Just, Ventose 23, and Germinal 26, year II.) “Immorality is a federalism in the civil state. … Civil federalism, by isolating all parts of the state, has dried up abundance.”
[84. ]Decree of Germinal 26–29, year II. “Financial companies are and hereby remain suppressed. All bankers, commission merchants, and other persons, are forbidden to form any establishment of this order under any pretext or under any denomination.”
[85. ]“Mémoires de Carnot,” i., 278. (Report by Carnot.) “That is not family life. If there are local privileges there will soon be individual privileges and local aristocracy will bring along in its train the aristocracy of inhabitants.”
[86. ]Moniteur, xix., 683. (Report by Barère, Ventose 21, year II.) This report should be read in full to comprehend the communistic and centralising spirit of the Jacobins.
[87. ]Feret, “Travaux du Code civil,” 105. (Reports by Cambacèrés, August 9, 1793, and Septem. 9, 1794.)—Decrees of September 20, 1793, and Floréal 4, year II. (on Divorce.)—Cf. “Institutions,” by Saint-Just. (Buchez et Roux, xxxv., 302.) “A man and woman who love each other are married; if they have no children they may keep their relationship secret.”
[88. ]This article of the Jacobin programme, like the others, has its practical result.—“At Paris, in the twenty-seven months after the promulgation of the law of September, 1792, the courts granted five thousand nine hundred and ninety-four divorces, and in year VI. the number of divorces exceeded the marriages.” (Glasson, “Le Mariage Civil et le Divorce,” p. 51).—“The number of foundlings which, in 1790, in France, did not exceed twenty-three thousand, is now (year X.) more than sixty-three thousand. (“Statistique de la Sarthe,” by Auvray, préfet, year X.).—In Lot-et-Garonne (“Statistique,” by Pieyre, préfet, year X.), more than fifteen hundred foundlings are counted: “this extraordinary number increased during the Revolution through the too easy admission of foundlings into the asylums, through the temporary sojourning of soldiers in their homes, through the disturbance of every moral and religious principle.”—“It is not rare to find children of thirteen and fourteen talking and acting in a way that would have formerly disgraced a young man of twenty.” (Moselle, “Analyse,” by Ferrière).—“The children of workmen are idle and insubordinate; some indulge in the most shameful conduct against their parents”; others try stealing and use the coarsest language.” (Meurthe, “Statistique,” by Marquis, préfet.)—Cf. Anne Plumptre (A narrative of three years residence in France, from 1802 to 1805, i., 46). “You would not believe it, madame, said a gardener to her at Nismes, that during the Revolution we dared not scold our children for their faults. Those who called themselves patriots regarded it as against the fundamental principles of liberty to correct children. This made them so unruly that, very often, when a parent presumed to scold its child the latter would tell him to mind his business, adding, ‘we are free and equal, the Republic is our only father and mother; if you are not satisfied, I am. Go where you like it better.’ Children are still saucy. It will take a good many years to bring them back to minding.”
[89. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxii., 364. (Report by Robespierre, Floréal 8, year II.)—At Bayeux, the young girl who represented Liberty, had the following inscription on her breast or back: “Do not make me an instrument of licentiousness.” (Gustave Flaubert, family souvenirs.)
[90. ]Ibid., 385. (Address of a Jacobin deputation to the Convention, Floréal 27, year II.)
[91. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxi., 415. (Report by Fabre d’Eglantine. October 6, 1793.)—(Grégoire, “Mémoires,” i., 341.) “The new calendar was invented by Romme in order to get rid of Sunday. That was his object; he admitted it to me.”
[92. ]Ibid., xxxii., 274. (Report by Robespierre, Floréal 18, year II.) “National Festivals form an essential part of public education. … A system of national festivals is the most powerful means of regeneration.”
[93. ]Ibid., xxviii., 335. Marat’s heart, placed on a table in the Cordéliers Club, was an object of religious reverence.—(Grégoire, “Mémoires,” i., 341.) “In some schools the pupils were obliged to make the sign of the cross at the names of Marat, Lazowski, etc.”
[94. ]De Martel, “Étude sur Fouché,” 137. Fête at Nevers, on the inauguration of a bust of Brutus.—Ibid., 222, civic festival at Nevers in honor of valor and morals.—Dauban, “Paris en 1704.” Programme of the fête of the Supreme Being at Sceaux.
[95. ]An expression by Rabaut Saint-Etienne.
[96. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxii., 373. (Report by Robespierre, Floréal 15, year II.)—Danton had expressed precisely the same opinion, supported by the same arguments, at the meeting of Frimaire 22, year II. (Moniteur, xviii., 654.) “Children first belong to the Republic before belonging to their parents. Who will assure me that these children, inspired by parental egoism, will not become dangerous to the Republic? What do we care for the ideas of an individual alongside of national ideas? … Who among us does not know the danger of this constant isolation? It is in the national schools that the child must suck republican milk! … The Republic is one and indivisible. Public instruction must likewise relate to this centre of unity.”
[97. ]Decree of Vendémiaire 30 and Brumaire 7, year II.—Cf. Sauzay, vi., 252, on the application of this decree in the provinces.
[98. ]Albert Duruy, “L’Instruction publique et la Revolution,” 164 to 172 (extracts from various republican spelling-books and catechisms).—Decree of Frimaire 29, year II., section i., art. 1, 83; section ii., art. 2; section iii., arts. 6 and 9.
[99. ]Moniteur, xviii., 653. (Meeting of Frimaire 22, speech by Bouquier, reporter.)
[100. ]Moniteur, xviii., 351–359. (Meeting of Brumaire 15, year II., report by Chénier.) “You have made laws—create habits. … You can apply to the public instruction of the nation the same course that Rousseau follows in ‘Emile.’ ”
[101. ]The words of Bouquier, reporter. (Meeting of Frimaire 22, year II.)
[102. ]Bouchez et Roux, xxiv., 57. (Plan by Lepelletier St. Fargeau, read by Robespierre at the Convention, July 13, 1793.)—Ibid., 35. (Draft of a decree by the same hand.)
[103. ]Ibid., xxxv., 229. (“Institutions,” by Saint-Just.)
[104. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxi., 261. (Meeting of Nivose 17.) On the committee presenting the final draft of the decrees on public instruction the Convention adopts the following article: “All boys who, on leaving the primary schools of instruction, do not devote themselves to tillage, will be obliged to learn some science, art or occupation useful to society. Otherwise, on reaching twenty, they will be deprived of citizens’ rights for ten years, and the same penalty will be laid on their father, mother, tutor or guardian.”
[105. ]Decree of Prairial 13, year II.
[106. ]Langlois, “Souvenirs de l’ Ecole de Mars.”
[107. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxii., 355. (Report by Robespierre, Floréal 18, year II.)
[108. ]Moniteur, xviii., 326. (Meeting of the Commune, Brumaire 11, year II.) The commissary announces that, at Fontainebleau and other places, “he has established the system of equality in the prisons and places of confinement, where the rich and the poor partake of the same food.”—Ibid., 210. (Meeting of the Jacobins, Vendémiaire 29, year II. Speech by Laplanche on his mission to Gers.) “Priests had every comfort in their secluded retreats; the sans-culottes in the prisons slept on straw. The former provided me with mattresses for the latter.”—Ibid., xviii., 445. (Meeting of the Convention, Brumaire 26, year II.) “The Convention decrees that the food of persons kept in places of confinement shall be simple and the same for all, the rich paying for the poor.”
[109. ]Archives Nationales. (AF.II., 37, order of Lequinio, Saintes, Nivose 1, year II.) “Citizens generally in all communes, are requested to celebrate the day of the decade by a fraternal banquet which, served without luxury or display … will render the man bowed down with fatigue insensible to his forlorn condition; which will fill the soul of the poor and unfortunate with the sentiment of social equality and raise man up to the full sense of his dignity; which will suppress with the rich man the slightest feeling of pride and extinguish in the public functionary all germs of haughtiness and aristocracy.”
[110. ]Archives Nationales, AF.II., ii., 48 (Act of Floréal 25, year II.) “The Committee of Public Safety request David, representative of the people, to present his views and plans in relation to modifying the present national costume, so as to render it appropriate to republican habits and the character of the Revolution.”—Ibid., (Act of Prairial 5, year II.) for engraving and coloring twenty thousand impressions of the design for a civil uniform, and six thousand impressions of the three designs for a military, judicial, and legislative uniform.
[111. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxi., 271. (Report by Robespierre, Pluviose 1, year II.) “This sublime principle supposes a preference for public interests over all private interests; from which it follows that the love of country supposes again, or produces, all the virtues.” “As the essence of a republic or of democracy is equality, it follows that love of country necessarily comprises a love of equality.” “The soul of the Republic is virtue, equality.”—Lavalette, “Mémoires,” i., 254. (Narrated by Madame Lavalette.) She was compelled to attend public festivals, and, every month, the patriotic processions. “I was rudely treated by my associates, the low women of the quarter; the daughter of an emigré, of a marquis, or of an imprisoned mother, ought not to be allowed the honor of their company; … it was all wrong that she was not made an apprentice. … Hortense de Beauharnais was apprenticed to her mother’s seamstress, while Eugene was put with a carpenter in the Faubourg St. Germain.” The prevailing dogmatism has a singular effect with simple-minded people. (Archives Nationales, AF. II., 135, petition of Ursule Riesler, servant to citizen Estreich and arrested along with him, addressed to Garnerin, agent of the Committee of Public Safety. She begs citizen Garnerin to interest himself in obtaining her freedom. She will devote her life to praying to the Supreme Being for him, since he will redeem her life. He is to furnish her, moreover, with the means for espousing a future husband, a genuine republican, by whom she is pregnant, and who would not allow her to entertain any idea of fanatical capers.