Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER II - The French Revolution, vol. 3
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
CHAPTER II - 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.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
The Rulers of the Country—I.The Convention—The “Plain”—The “Mountain”—Degradation of Souls—Parades which the Convention is obliged to make—II.How these are carried out—Its slavery and servility—Its participation in crime—III.The Committee of Public Safety—Men who do the work—Carnot, Prieur de-la-Côte d’Or, Jean Bon Saint André, Robert Lindet—IV.The Statesmen—Billaud-Varennes, Collot d’Herbois, Robespierre, Couthon, and Saint-Just—Conditions of this rule—Dangers to which they are subject—Their dissensions—Pressure of Fear and Theory—V.Their official organs—Reports by Saint-Just and Barère—Quality of reports and reporters—VI.Representatives on Mission—Their absolute power—Their perils and their fear—Fit for their work—Effect of this situation—VII.Eruption of brutal instincts—Duquesnoy at Metz—Dumont at Amiens—Drunkards—Cusset, Bourbotte, Moustier, Bourdon de l’Oise, Dartigoyte—VIII.Approach of madness—Loss of common-sense—Fabre, Gaston, Guiter, in the army of the Eastern Pyrenees—Baudot, Lebas, Saint-Just, and their predecessors and successors in the army of the Rhine—Furious excitement—Lebon at Arras, and Carrier at Nantes— IX. The development of vice—Vanity and the need of gambling—Collot d’Herbois, Ysabeau, Tallien—The Robbers—Tallien, Javogues, Rovère, Fouché—Two sources of cruelty—Need of demonstrating one’s power—Saint-Just in the Pas-de-Calais department, and in Alsace—Collot d’Herbois at Lyons—Pressure exercised by the Representatives on the tribunals—Pleasure caused by death and suffering—Monestier, Fouché, Collot d’Herbois, Lebon, and Carrier.
Let us follow the operations of the new government from the first to the last of its derivations, those of its ruling bodies and leaders, its assemblies, committees, delegates, administrators, and underlings of every kind and degree. Like living flesh stamped with a red-hot iron, so do their brows bear the imprint of two stigmata, each with its own cicatrice and discoloration. In vain do they, too, strive to conceal their scars: we detect under the crowns and titles they assume the brand of the slave or the mark of the tyrant.
At the Tuileries, the omnipotent Convention sits enthroned in the theatre, converted into an Assembly room. It carries on its deliberations daily, in grand style. Its decrees, received with blind obedience, startle France and upset all Europe. At a distance, its majesty is imposing, more august than that of the republican senate in Rome. Near by, the effect is quite otherwise; these undisputed sovereigns are serfs who live in trances, and justly so, for, nowhere, even in prison, is there more constraint and less security than on their benches. After the 2d of June, 1793, their inviolable precincts, the grand official reservoir from which legal authority flows, becomes a sort of tank, into which the revolutionary net plunges and successfully brings out its choicest fish, singly or by the dozen, and sometimes in vast numbers; at first, the sixty-seven Girondist deputies, who are executed or proscribed; then, the seventy-three members of the “Right,” swept off in one day and lodged in the prison of La Force; next, the prominent Jacobins: Osselin, arrested on the 19th of Brumaire, Bazire, Chabot, and Delaunay, accused by decree on the 24th Brumaire, Fabre d’Eglantine, arrested on the 24th of Nivose, Bernard, guillotined on the 3d of Pluviose, Anacharsis Clootz guillotined on the 4th of Germinal, Hérault-Séchelles, Lacroix, Philippeaux, Camille Desmoulins and Danton, guillotined with four others on the 10th of Germinal, Simon, guillotined on the 24th of Germinal, and Osselin, guillotined on the 8th of Messidor. Naturally, the others take warning and are careful. At the opening of the session they are seen entering the hall, looking uneasy, “full of distrust,”1 like animals driven into a pen and suspicious of a trap. “Each,” writes an eye-witness, “acted and spoke with circumspection, for fear of being charged with some crime: in effect, nothing was unimportant, the seat one took, a glance of the eye, a gesture, a murmur, a smile.” Hence, they flock instinctively to the side which is best sheltered, the left side. “The tide flowed towards the summit of the Mountain; the right side was deserted. … Many took no side at all, and, during the session, often changed their seats, thinking that they might thus elude the spy by donning a mixed hue and keeping on good terms with everybody. The most prudent never sat down; they kept off the benches, at the foot of the tribune, and, on matters getting to be serious, slipped quietly out of the hall.” Most of them took refuge in their committee-rooms; each tries to be overlooked, to be obscure, to appear insignificant or absent.2 During the four months following the 2d of June, the hall of the Convention is half or three-quarters empty; the election of a president does not bring out two hundred and fifty voters;3 only two hundred, one hundred, fifty votes, elect the Committees of Public Safety and General Security; about fifty votes elect the judges of the revolutionary Tribunal; less than ten votes elect their substitutes;4 not one vote is cast for the adoption of the decree indicting the deputy, Dulaure;5 “no member rises for or against it; there is no vote”; the president, nevertheless, pronounces the act passed and “the Marais lets things take their course.” “Marais frogs” is the appellation bestowed on them before the 2d of June, when, amongst the dregs of the “Centre,” they “broke” with the “Mountain”; now, they still number four hundred and fifty, three times as many as the Montagnards; but they purposely keep quiet; their old name “renders them, so to say, soft; their ears ring with eternal menaces; their hearts shrivel up with terror;6 while their tongues, paralysed by habitual silence, cleave to the roofs of their mouths. In vain do they keep in the back-ground, consent to everything, ask nothing for themselves but personal safety, and surrender all else, their votes, their wills and their consciences; they feel that their life hangs by a thread. The greatest mute among them all, Siéyès, denounced in the Jacobin Club, barely escapes, and through the protection of his shoemaker, who rises and exclaims: “That Siéyès! I know him. He don’t meddle with politics. He does nothing but read his book. I make his shoes and will answer for him.”7
Of course, previous to the 9th of Thermidor, none of them open their mouths; it is only the Montagnards who make speeches, and on the countersign being given. If Legendre, the admirer, disciple, and confidential friend of Danton, dares at one time interfere in relation to the decree which sends his friend to the scaffold, asking that he may first be heard, it is only to retract immediately; that very evening, at the Jacobin club, for greater security, “he rolls in the mud”;8 he declares “that he submits to the judgment of the revolutionary Tribunal,” and swears to denounce “whoever shall oppose any obstacle to the execution of the decree.”9 Has not Robespierre taught him a lesson, and in his most pedantic manner? What is more beautiful, says the great moralist, more sublime, than an Assembly which purges itself?10 Thus, not only is the net which has already dragged out so many palpitating victims still intact, but it is enlarged and set again, only, the fish are now caught on the “Left” as well as on the “Right,” and preferably on the topmost benches of the “Mountain.”11 And better still, through the law of Prairial 22, its meshes are reduced in size and its width increased; with such admirable tackle, the tank could not fail to be exhausted. A little before the 9th of Thermidor, David, who was one of Robespierre’s devoted adherents, himself exclaimed: “Will twenty of us be left on the Mountain?” About the same time, Legendre, Thuriot, Léonard Bourdon, Tallien, Bourdon de l’Oise, and others, each has a spy all day long at his heels; there are thirty deputies to be proscribed and their names are whispered about; whereupon, sixty spring out of bed, feeling sure that they will be seized the next morning before they can get up.12
Subject to such a system, prolonged for so many months, people sink down and become discouraged. “Everybody stooped so as to pass beneath the popular yoke.13 Everybody became one of the low class. … Clothes, manners, refinement, cleanliness, the conveniences of life, civility and politeness were all renounced.” People wear their clothes indecently and curse and swear; they try to resemble the sans-culottes Montagnards “who are profane and dress themselves like so many dock-loafers”;14 at Armonville, the carder, who presides (at a meeting) wears a woolen cap, and similarly at Cusset, a gauze-workman, who is always drunk. Only Robespierre can appear in neat attire; others, without his ascendency, “big-bellied” demi-suspects, the remains of the ancient régime, might become dangerous; they do well not to attract the attention of the foul-mouthed spy who cannot spell;15 especially is it important at a meeting to be one of the crowd and remain unnoticed by the paid claqueurs, drunken swaggerers, and “fat petticoats” of the tribunes. It is even essential to shout in harmony with them and join in their bar-room dances. The deputations of the popular clubs come for fourteen months to the bar of the house and recite their common-place or bombastic tirades, and the Convention is forced to applaud them. For nine months,16 street ballad-singers and coffee-house ranters attend in full session and sing the rhymes of the day, while the Convention is obliged to join in the chorus. For six weeks,17 the profaners of churches come to the hall and display their dance-house buffooneries, and the Convention has not only to put up with these, but also to take part in them. Never, even in imperial Rome, under Nero and Heliogabalus, did a senate descend so low.
Observe one of their parades, that of Brumaire 20th, 22d, or 30th, which masquerade often occurs several times a week and is always the same, with scarcely any variation. Male and female wretches march in procession to the doors of the deputies’ hall, still “drunk with the wine imbibed from chalices, after eating mackerel broiled in patens,” besides refreshing themselves on the way. “Mounted astride of asses, covered with a chasuble and guided by a stole,” they halt at each low smoking-den, holding a pyx in their hand; the bar-tender, with a mug in his hand, fills it, and, at each station, they toss off their bumpers, one after the other, in imitation of the Mass, and which they repeat in the street in their own fashion. On finishing this, they don copes, chasubles, and dalmatica, and, in two long lines, file before the benches of the Convention. Some of them bear on hand-barrows or in baskets, candelabra, chalices, gold and silver salvers, monstrances, and reliquaries; others hold aloft banners, crosses, and other ecclesiastical spoils. In the mean time “bands play the air of the carmagnole and ‘Malbrook.’ … On the entry of the dais, they strike up ‘Ah! le bel oiseau’ ”;18 all at once the masqueraders throw off their disguise, and, mitres, stoles, chasubles flung in the air, “disclose to view the defenders of the country in the national uniform.” Peals of laughter, shouts and enthusiasm, while the instrumental din becomes louder! The procession, now in full blast, demands the carmagnole, and the Convention consents; even some of the deputies descend from their benches and cut the pigeon-wing with the merry prostitutes. To wind up, the Convention decrees that it will attend that evening the fête of Reason and, in fact, they go in a body. Behind an actress in short petticoats wearing a red cap, representing Liberty or Reason, march the deputies, likewise in red caps, shouting and singing until they reach the new temple, which is built of planks and pasteboard in the choir of Notre Dame. They take their seats in the front rows, while the Goddess, and old frequenter of the suppers of the Duc de Soubise, along with “all the pretty dames of the Opera,” display before them their operatic graces.19 They sing the “Hymn to Liberty,” and, since the Convention has that morning decreed that it must sing, I suppose that it also joined in.20 After this there follows dancing; but, unfortunately, the authorities are wanting for stating whether the Convention danced or not. In any event, it is present at the dance, and thus consecrates an unique orgy, not Rubens’s “Kermesse” in the open air, racy and healthy, but a nocturnal boulevard-jollification, a “Mardi-gras” composed of lean and haggard scape-graces. In the great nave of the Cathedral, “the dancers, almost naked, with bare necks and breasts, and stockings down at the heel,” writhe and stamp, “howling the carmagnole.” In the side chapels, which are “shut off by high tapestries, prostitutes with shrill voices” pursue their avocation.21 To descend to this low level so barefacedly, to fraternise with barrier sots, and wenches, to endure their embraces and hiccoughs, is bad enough, even for docile deputies. More than one half of them loathed it beforehand and remained at home; after this they do not feel disposed to attend the Convention.22 But the “Mountain sends for them, and an officer brings them back”; it is necessary that they should coöperate through their presence and felicitations in the profanations and apostasies which ensue;23 it is necessary that they should approve of and decree that which they hold in horror, not alone folly and nonsense, but crime, the murder of innocent people, and that of their friends. All this is done. “Unanimously, and with the loudest applause,” the Left, united with the Right, sends Danton to the scaffold, its natural chieftain, the great promoter and leader of the Revolution.24 “Unanimously, and with the loudest applause,” the Right, united to the Left, votes the worse decrees of the revolutionary government.25 “Unanimously,” with approbatory and enthusiastic cheers, manifesting the warmest sympathy for Collot d’Herbois, Couthon, and Robespierre,26 the Convention, through multiplied and spontaneous reelections, maintains the homicidal government which the Plain detests, because it is homicidal, and which the Mountain detests, because it is decimated by it. Plain and Mountain, by virtue of terror, majority after majority, end in consenting to and bringing about their own suicide: on the 22nd of Prairial, the entire Convention has stretched out its neck;27 on the 8th of Thermidor, for a quarter of an hour after Robespierre’s speech,28 it has again stretched this out, and would probably have succumbed, had not five or six of them, whom Robespierre designated or named, Bourdon de l’Oise, Vadier, Cambon, Billaud, and Panis, stimulated by the animal instinct of self-preservation, raised their arms to ward off the knife. Nothing but imminent, personal, mortal danger could, in these prostrated beings, supplant long-continued fear with still greater fear. Later on, Siéyès, on being asked how he acted in these times, replied, “I lived.” In effect, he and others are reduced to that; they succeeded in doing this, at all costs, and at what a price!29 His private notes, still redolent of his daily disgust, his most secret memoranda, confirm the statement;30 on the Committee of March 20, “Paillasse, half drunk, gives a dissertation on the way to carry on the war, and interrogates and censures the Minister; the poor Minister turns his questions with café gossip and a narrative of campaigns. These are the men placed at the head of the government to save the Republic!” “H——, in his distraction, had the air of a lucky dog inwardly smiling at his own knavish thoughts.” “Ruit irrevocabile vulgus. … Jusque datum sceleri.” “You keep your mouth shut?” he is told: “Of what use is my glass of wine in this torrent of ardent spirits?” All this is very well, but he did not merely keep silent and abstain. He voted, legislated, and decreed, along with the unanimous Convention; he was a collaborator, not only passively, through his presence, but also through his active participation in the acts of the government which he elected and enthroned, reelected twelve times, cheered every week, and flattered daily, authorising and keeping on to the end its work of spoliation and massacre. “Everybody is guilty here,” said Carrier in the Convention, “even to the president’s bell.” In vain do they constantly repeat to themselves that they were forced to obey under penalty of death: the conscience of the purest among them, if he has any, replies: “You too, in spite of yourself, I admit; less than others, if you please, but you were a terrorist, that is to say, a brigand and an assassin.”31
On a man becoming a slave, said old Homer, the Gods take away the half of his soul; the same is true of a man who becomes a tyrant. In the Pavillon de Flore, alongside of and above the enslaved Convention, sit the twelve kings it has enthroned, twice a day,32 ruling over it as well as over France.33 Of course, some guarantee is required from those who fill this place; there is not one of them who is not a revolutionist of long standing, an impenitent regicide, a fanatic in essence and a despot through principle; but the fumes of omnipotence have not intoxicated them all to the same degree. Three or four of them, Robert Lindet, Jean Bon St. André, Prieur de la Côte d’Or and Carnot, confine themselves to useful and secondary duties; this suffices to keep them partially safe. As specialists, charged with an important service, their first object is to do this well, and hence they subordinate the rest to this, even theoretical exigencies and the outcries of the clubs. Lindet’s prime object is to feed the departments that are without corn, and the towns that are soon to be short of bread; Prieur’s business is to see that biscuits, brandy, clothes, shoes, gunpowder, and arms are manufactured;34 Jean Bon, that vessels are equipped and crews drilled; Carnot, to draw up campaign plans and direct the march of armies: the despatch of so many bags of grain during the coming fortnight to this or that town, or warehouse in this or that district; the making up of so many weekly rations, to be transported during the month to certain places on the frontier; the transformation of so many fishermen into artillerymen or marines, and to set afloat so many vessels in three months; to expedite certain corps of cavalry, infantry, and artillery, so as to arrive by such and such roads at this or that pass—these are precise combinations which purge the brain of dogmatic phrases, which force revolutionary jargon into the background and keep a man sensible and practical; and all the more because three of them, Jean Bon, former captain of a merchantman, Prieur and Carnot, engineer officers, are professional men and go to the front to put their shoulders to the wheel on the spot. Jean Bon, always visiting the coasts, goes on board a vessel of the fleet leaving Brest to save the great American convoy; Carnot, at Watignies, orders Jourdan to make a decisive move, and, shouldering his musket, marches along with the attacking column.35 Naturally, they have no leisure for speechmaking in the Jacobin club, or for intrigues in the Convention: Carnot lives in his own office and in the committee-room; he does not allow himself time enough to eat with his wife, dines on a crust of bread and a glass of lemonade, and works sixteen and eighteen hours a day;36 Lindet, more overtasked than any body else, because hunger will not wait, reads every report himself, and “passes days and nights at it”;37 Jean Bon, in wooden shoes and woolen vest, with a bit of coarse bread and a glass of bad beer,38 writes and dictates until his strength fails him, and he has to lie down and sleep on a mattress on the floor. Naturally, again, when interfered with, and the tools in their hands are broken, they are dissatisfied; they know well the worth of a good instrument, and for the service, as they comprehend it, good tools are essential, competent, faithful employees, regular in attendance at their offices, and not at the club. When they have a subordinate of this kind they defend him, often at the risk of their lives, even to incurring the enmity of Robespierre. Cambon,39 who, on his financial committee, is also a sort of sovereign, retains at the Treasury five or six hundred employees unable to procure their certificate of civism, and whom the Jacobins incessantly denounce so as to get their places. Carnot saves and employs eminent engineers, D’Arcon, de Montalembert, d’Obenheim, all of them nobles, and one of them an anti-Jacobin, without counting a number of accused officers whom he justifies, replaces, or maintains.40 Through these courageous and humane acts, they solace themselves for their scruples, at least partially and for the time being; moreover, they are statesmen only because the occasion and superior force makes it imperative, more led by others than leading, terrorists through accident and necessity, rather than through system and instinct. If, in concert with ten others, Prieur and Carnot order wholesale robbery and murder, if they sign orders by twenties and hundreds, amounting to assassinations, it is owing to their forming part of a body. When the whole committee deliberates, they are bound, in important decrees, to submit to the preponderating opinion of the majority, after voting in the negative. In relation to secondary decrees, in which there has been no preliminary discussion in common, the only responsible member is the one whose signature stands first; the following signatures affixed, without reading the document, are simply a “formality which the law requires,” merely a visa, necessarily mechanical; with “four or five hundred business matters to attend to daily,” it is impossible to do otherwise; to read over and vote in every case, would be “a physical impossibility.”41 Finally, as things are, “is not the general will, at least the apparent general will, that alone on which the government can decide, itself ultrarevolutionary?”42 In other words, should not the five or six rascals in a State who vociferate, be listened to, rather than a hundred honest folks who keep their mouths shut? With this sophism, gross as it is, but of pure Jacobin manufacture, Carnot ends by hoodwinking his honor and his conscience; otherwise intact, and far more so than his colleagues, he likewise undergoes moral and mental mutilation; constrained by the duties of his post and the illusions of his creed, he succeeded in an inward decapitation of the two noblest of human faculties, common-sense, the most useful, and the moral sense, the most exalted of all.
If such are the ravages which are made in an upright, firm and healthy soul, what must be the havoc in corrupt or weak natures, in which bad instincts already predominate! And observe this, that they are without the protection afforded to Carnot and other occupied men, who are pursuing some specific and evidently useful object. They bear the title of “government men,” “revolutionists” properly so-called, “folks who carry things with a high hand”;43 in effect, they direct all things according to their conception of unity. The creation, organisation, and application of Terror belongs wholly to them; they are the constructors, regulators, and engineers of the machine,44 the recognised heads of the party, of the sect, and of the government, especially Billaud and Robespierre, who never serve on missions,45 nor relax their hold for a moment on the central motor; the former, an active politician, with Collot for his second, is charged with urging on the constituted authorities, the districts, the municipalities, the national agents, the revolutionary committees, and the representatives on mission in the interior;46 the latter, a theologian, moralist, titular doctor, and preacher, is charged with ruling the Convention and indoctrinating the Jacobins with sound principles; behind him stands Couthon, his lieutenant, with Saint-Just, his disciple and executor of works of great importance; in their midst, Barère, the Committee’s mouthpiece, is merely a tool, but indispensable, conveniently at hand and always ready to start whatever drum-beating is required on any given theme in honor of the party which stuffs his brain; below these comes the Committee of General Security, Vadier, Amar, Vouland, Guffroy, Panis, David, Jagot, and the rest, those who undertook, reported on, and acted in behalf of universal proscription. All these bear the imprint of their service; they could be recognised by “their pallid hue, hollow and bloodshot eyes,”47 habits of omnipotence stamped “on their brows, and on their deportment, something indescribably haughty and disdainful. The Committee of General Security reminded one of the former lieutenants of police, and the Committee of Public Safety, of the former ministers of state.” In the Convention, “it is considered an honor to talk with them, and a privilege to shake hands with them; one seems to read one’s duty on their brows.” On the days on which their orders are to be converted into laws “the members of the Committee and the reporter of the bill, keep people waiting, the same as the heads and representatives of the former sovereign power; on their way to the Assembly hall, they are preceded by a group of courtiers who seem to announce the masters of the world.”48 In fact, they reign—but observe on what conditions.
“Make no complaints,” said Barère,49 to the composer of an opera, the performance of which had just been suspended: “as times go, you must not attract public attention. Do we not all stand at the foot of the guillotine, all, beginning with myself?” Again, twenty years later, in a private conversation, on being interrogated as to the veritable object, the secret motive of the Committee of Public Safety, he replied: “As we were animated by but one sentiment,50 my dear sir, that of self-preservation, we had but one desire, that of maintaining an existence which each of us believed to be menaced. You had your neighbor guillotined to prevent your neighbor from guillotining you.”51 The same apprehension exists in stouter souls, although there may have been, along with fear, motives of a less debased order. “How many times,” says Carnot,52 “we undertook some work that required time, with the conviction that we should not be allowed to complete it!” “It was uncertain53 whether, the next time the clock struck the hour, we should not be standing before the revolutionary Tribunal on our way to the scaffold without, perhaps, having had time to bid adieu to our families. … We pursued our daily task so as not to let the machine stand still, as if a long life were before us, when it was probable that we should not see the next day’s sun.” It is impossible to count on one’s life, or that of another, for twenty-four hours; should the iron hand which holds one by the throat tighten its grasp, all will be over that evening. “There were certain days so difficult that one could see no way to control circumstances; those who were directly menaced resigned themselves wholly to chance.”54 “The decisions for which we are so much blamed,” says another,55 “were not generally thought of two days, or one day, beforehand; they sprung out of the crisis of the moment. We did not desire to kill for the sake of killing … but to conquer at all hazards, remain masters, and ensure the sway of our principles.” That is true, they are subjects as well as despots. At the Committee table, during their nocturnal sessions, their sovereign presides, a formidable figure, the revolutionary Idea which confers on them the right to slay, on condition of exercising it against everybody, and therefore on themselves. Towards two o’clock, or three o’clock in the morning, exhausted, out of words and ideas, not knowing where to slay, on the right or on the left, they anxiously turn to this figure and try to read its will in its fixed eyes. “Who shall fall tomorrow?” Ever the same reply steadily expressed on the features of the impassable phantom: “the antirevolutionists,” under which name is comprised all who by act, speech, thought, or inmost sentiment, either through irritation or carelessness, through humanity or moderation, through egoism or nonchalance, through passive, neutral, or indifferent feeling, serve well or ill the Revolution.56 All that remains is to add names to this horribly comprehensive decree. Shall Billaud do it? Shall Robespierre do it? Will Billaud put down Robespierre’s name, or Robespierre put down Billaud’s, or each the name of the other, with those he chooses to select from among the two Committees? Osselin, Chabot, Bazire, Julien de Toulouse, Lacroix, Danton, were on them, and when they left, their heads fell.57 Hérault-Séchelles, again, was on them, maintained in office with honor through the recent approbation of the Convention,58 one of the titular twelve, and on duty when an order issued by the other eleven suddenly handed him over to the revolutionary Tribunal for execution. Whose turn is it now among the eleven? Seized unawares, the docile Convention unanimously applauding, after three days of a judicial farce, the cart will bear him to the Place de la Révolution; Samson will tie him fast, shouters at thirty sous a day will clap their hands, and, on the following morning, the popular politicians will congratulate each other on seeing the name of a great traitor on the bulletin of the guillotined.59 To this end, to enable this or that king of the day to pass from the national Almanac to the mortuary list, merely required an understanding among his colleagues, and, perhaps, this is already arrived at. Among whom and against whom? It is certain that, as this idea occurs to the eleven, seated around the table, they eye each other with a shudder; they calculate the chances and turn things over in their minds; words have been uttered that are not forgotten. Carnot often made this charge against Saint-Just: “You and Robespierre are after a dictatorship.”60 Robespierre replied to Carnot: “I am ready for you on the first defeat.”61 On another occasion, Robespierre, in a rage, exclaimed: “The Committee is conspiring against me!” and, turning to Billaud, “I know you, now!” Billaud retorted, “I know you too, you are an antirevolutionist!”62 There are conspirators and antirevolutionists, then, on the committee itself; what can be done to avoid this appellation, which is a sentence of death? Silently, the fatal phantom enthroned in their midst, the Erynnes through which they rule, renders his oracle and all take it to heart: “All who are unwilling to become executioners are conspirators and antirevolutionists.”
Thus do they march along during twelve months, goaded on by the two sharp thongs of theory and fear, traversing the red pool which they have created, and which is daily becoming deeper and deeper, all together and united, neither of them daring to separate from the group, and each spattered with the blood thrown in his face by the others’ feet. It is not long before their eyesight fails them; they no longer see their way, while the degradation of their language betrays the stupor of their intellect. When a government brings to the tribune and moves the enactment of important laws, it confronts the nation, faces Europe, and takes a historical position. If it cares for its own honor it will select reporters of bills that are not unworthy, and instruct them to support these with available arguments, as closely reasoned out as possible; the bill, discussed and adopted in full council, will show the measure of its capacity, the information it possesses and its common-sense. To estimate all this, read the bills put forth in the name of the Committee; weigh the preambles, remark the tone, listen to the two reporters usually chosen, Saint-Just, who draws up the acts of proscription, special or general, and Barère, who draws up all acts indifferently, but particularly military announcements and decrees against the foreigner; never did public personages, addressing France and posterity, use such irrational arguments and state falsehoods with greater impudence.63
The former, stiff in his starched cravat, posing “like the Holy Ghost,” more didactic and more absolute than Robespierre himself, comes and proclaims to Frenchmen from the tribune, equality, probity, frugality, Spartan habits, and a rural cot with all the voluptuousness of virtue;64 this suits admirably the chevalier Saint-Just, a former applicant for a place in the Count d’Artois’ body-guard, a domestic thief, a purloiner of silver plate which he takes to Paris, sells and spends on prostitutes, imprisoned for six months on complaint of his own mother,65 and author of a lewd poem which he succeeds in rendering filthy by trying to render it fanciful. Now, indeed, he is grave; he no longer leers; he kills—but with what arguments, and what a style!66 The young Laubardemont, the paid informers and prosecutors of imperial Rome, have less disgraced the human intellect, for these creatures of a Tiberius or a Richelieu still used plausible arguments in their reasoning, and with more or less adroitness. With Saint-Just, there is no connection of ideas; there is no sequence or march in his rhapsody; like an instrument strained to the utmost, his mind plays only false notes in violent fits and starts; logical continuity, the art then so common of regularly developing a theme, has disappeared; he stumbles over the ground, piling up telling aphorisms and dogmatic axioms. In dealing with facts there is nothing in his speech but a perversion of the truth; impostures abound in it of pure invention, palpable, as brazen as those of a charlatan in his booth;67 he does not even deign to disguise them with a shadow of probability; as to the Girondists, and as to Danton, Fabre d’Eglantine, and his other adversaries, whoever they may be, old or new, any rope to hang them with suffices for him; any rough, knotted, badly-twisted cord he can lay his hands on, no matter what, provided it strangles, is good enough; there is no need of a finer one for confirmed conspirators; with the gossip of the club and an Inquisition catechism, he can frame his bill of indictment. Accordingly, his intellect grasps nothing and yields him nothing; he is a sententious and over-excited declaimer, an artificial spirit always on the stretch, full of affectations,68 his talent reducing itself down to the rare flashes of a sombre imagination, a pupil of Robespierre, as Robespierre himself is a pupil of Rousseau, the exaggerated scholar of a plodding scholar, always rabidly ultra, furious through calculation, deliberately violating both language and ideas,69 confining himself to theatrical and funereal paradoxes, a sort of “grand vizier”70 with the airs of an exalted moralist and the bearing of the sentimental shepherd.71 Were one of a mocking humor one might shrug one’s shoulders; but, in the present state of the Convention, there is no room for anything but fear. Launched in imperious tones, his phrases fall upon their ears in monotonous strokes, on bowed heads, and, after five or six blows from this leaden hammer, the stoutest are stretched out stupified on the ground; discussion is out of the question; when Saint-Just, in the name of the Convention, affirms anything, it must be believed; his dissertation is a peremptory injunction and not an effort of reason; it commands obedience; it is not open to examination; it is not a report which he draws from his coat pocket, but a bludgeon.
The other reporter, Barère, is of quite another stamp, a “patent-right” haranguer, an amusing Gascon, alert, “free and easy,” fond of a joke, even on the Committee of Public Safety,72 unconcerned in the midst of assassinations, and, to the very last, speaking of the Reign of Terror as “the simplest and most innocent thing in the world.”73 No man was ever less trammeled by a conscience; in truth, he has several, that of two days ago, that of the previous day, that of the present day, that of the morrow, of the following day, and still others, as many as you like, all equally pliant and supple, at the service of the strongest against the weakest, ready to swing round at once on the wind changing, but all joined together and working to one common end through physical instinct, the only one that lasts in the immoral, adroit and volatile being who circulates nimbly about, with no other aim than self-preservation, and to amuse himself.74 In his dressing-gown, early in the morning, he receives a crowd of solicitors, and, with the ways of a “dandified minister,” graciously accepts the petitions handed to him; first, those of ladies, “distributing gallantries among the prettiest”; he makes promises, and smiles, and then, returning to his cabinet, throws the papers in the fire: “There,” he says, “my correspondence is done.” He sups twice every decade in his fine house at Clichy, along with three more than accommodating pretty women; he is gay, awarding flatteries and attentions quite becoming to an amiable protector: he enters into their professional rivalries, their spites against the reigning beauty, their jealousy of another who wears a blonde perruque and pretends “to set the fashion.” He sends immediately for the National Agent and gravely informs him that this head-dress, borrowed from the guillotined, is a rallying point for antirevolutionists, whereupon, the next day, perruques are denounced at the Commune-council, and suppressed; “Barère roared with laughter on alluding to this piece of fun.” The humor of an undertaker and the dexterity of a commercial drummer: he plays with Terror. In like manner he plays with his reports, and at this latter exercise, he improvises; he is never embarrassed; it is simply necessary to turn the faucet and the water runs. “Had he any subject to treat, he would fasten himself on Robespierre, Hérault, Saint-Just, or somebody else, and draw them out; he would then rush off to the tribune and spin out their ideas; “they were all astonished at hearing their thoughts expressed as fully as if reflected in a mirror.” No individual on the Committee, or in the Convention, equalled him in promptness and fluency, for the reason that he was not obliged to think before he spoke: with him, the faculty of speaking, like an independent organ, acted by itself, the empty brain or indifferent heart contributing nothing to his loquacity. Naturally, whatever issues from his mouth comes forth in ready-made bombast, the current jargon of the Jacobin club, sonorous, nauseous commonplace, schoolboy metaphors and similes derived from the shambles.75 Not an idea is found in all this rhetoric, nothing acquired, no real mental application. When Bonaparte, who employed everybody, and even Fouché, were disposed to employ Barère, they could make nothing out of him for lack of substance, except as a low newsmonger, common spy, or agent engaged to stir up surviving Jacobins; later on, a listener at keyholes, and a paid weekly collector of public rumors, he was not even fit for this vile service, for his wages were soon stopped; Napoleon, who had no time to waste, cut short his drivelling verbiage. It is this verbiage which, authorised by the Committee of Public Safety, now forms the eloquence of France; it is this manufacturer of phrases by the dozen, this future sneak and prison-spy under the empire, this frolicking inventor of the blonde-perruque conspiracy, that the government sends into the tribune to announce victories, trumpet forth military heroism and proclaim war unto death. On the 7th of Prairial,76 Barère, in the name of the committee, proposes a return to savage law: “No English or Hanoverian prisoner shall henceforth be made”; the decree is endorsed by Carnot and passes the Convention unanimously. Had it been executed, as reprisals, and according to the proportion of prisoners, there would have been for one Englishman shot, three Frenchmen hung: honor and humanity disappeared from the camps; the hostilities maintained by Christians became as exterminating as among negroes. Happily, French soldiers felt the nobleness of their profession; on the order being given to shoot the prisoners, a brave sergeant replied: “We will not shoot—send them to the Convention. If the representatives delight in killing prisoners—let them do it themselves, and eat them, too, savages as they are!” The sergeant, a rough sort of fellow, is not on a level with the Committee, or with Barère; and yet Barère did his best in a bill of indictment of twenty-seven pages, full of grand flourishes, every possible ritornello, glaring falsehood and silly inflation, explaining how “the britannic leopard” paid assassins to murder the representatives; how the London cabinet had armed little Cécile Renault “the new Corday,” against Robespierre; how the Englishman, naturally barbarous, “does not give the lie to his origin”; how he descends from the Carthaginians and Phenicians, and formerly dealt in the skins of wild beasts and slaves; how his trading occupation is not changed; how Caesar, formerly, on landing in the country, found nothing but a ferocious tribe battling with wolves in the forest and threatening to burn every building which tried to encroach; and how it still is the same.” A consultation with a strolling operator who uses big words to recommend a deep amputation, a clumsy show-prospectus that does not deceive a poor sergeant, such is the exposition of motives by a government for the purpose of enforcing a decree that might have been drawn up by redskins; to horrible acts he adds debased language, and employs the inept to justify atrocities.
About one hundred representatives sent by the Committee of Public Safety, sometimes singly and, again, in groups of two or three, go and succeed each other in the provinces, “with unlimited power,” to establish, enforce, or aggravate the revolutionary government, their proclamations at once declaring the nature of this government.77 “Brave and vigorous sansculottes!” writes a deputy on leaving a mission and announcing his successor,78 “You seem to have desired a good b—— of a representative, who has never swerved from his principles, that is to say, a regular Montagnard. I have fulfilled your wishes, and you will have the same thing in citizen Ingrand. Remember, brave sans-culottes, that, with the patriot Ingrand, you can do everything, get anything, cancel whatever you please, imprison, bring to trial, transport and guillotine everybody and regenerate society. Don’t f—— him a minute’s patience! Let everybody tremble through him; let everything crumble, and order be at once restored!” The representative arrives at headquarters by post, and presents his credentials. All the authorities at once bow to the ground. In the evening, in his sabre and plume, he harangues the popular club, blowing into a flame the smouldering embers of Jacobinism. Then, according to his personal acquaintances, if he has any in the place, or according to the votes of the Committee of General Security, if he is a new-comer, he selects five or six of the “warmest sans-culottes” there, and, forming them into a revolutionary committee, installs them permanently at his side, sometimes in the same building, in a room next to his own, where, on lists or with verbal communications furnished to him, he works with a will and without stopping.79
First comes a purification of all the local authorities. They must always remember that “there can be no exaggeration in behalf of the people; he who is not imbued with this principle, who has not put it in practice, cannot remain on an advanced post;”80 consequently, at the popular club, in the department, in the district, in the municipality, all doubtful men are excluded, discharged, or incarcerated; if a few weak ones are retained provisionally, or by favor, they are berated and taught their duty very summarily: “They will strive, by a more energetic and assiduous patriotism, to atone for the evil committed by them in not doing all the good they could do.” Sometimes, through a sudden change of scene, the entire administrative staff is kicked out so as to give place to a no less complete staff, which the same kick brings up out of the ground. Considering that “everything drags in Vaucluse, and that a frightful moderantisme paralyses the most revolutionary measures,” Maignet, in one order81 appoints the administrators and secretary of the department, the national agent, the administrators and council-general of the district, the administrators, council-general and national agent of Avignon, the president, public prosecutor and recorder of the criminal court, members of the Tribunal de Commerce, the collector of the district, the post-master, and the head of the squadron of gendarmerie. And the new functionaries will certainly go to work at once, each in his office. The summary process, which has brusquely swept away the first set of puppets, is going to brusquely install the second one. “Each citizen appointed to any of the above mentioned offices, shall betake himself immediately to his post, under penalty of being declared suspect,” on the simple notification of his appointment. Universal and passive obedience of governors, as well as of the governed! There are no more elected and independent functionaries; all the authorities, confirmed or created by the representative, are in his hands; there is not one among them who does not subsist or survive solely through his favor; there is not one of them who acts otherwise than according to his approval or by his order. Directly, or through them, he makes requisitions, sequestrates, or confiscates as he sees fit, taxes, imprisons, transports, or decapitates as he sees fit, and, in his circumscription, he is the pacha.
But he is a pacha with a chain around his neck, and at short tether. From and after December, 1793, he is directed “to conform to the orders of the Committee of Public Safety and report to it every ten days.”82 The circumscription in which he commands is rigorously “limited”; “he is reputed to be without power in the other departments,”83 while he is not suffered to grow old on his post. “In every magistrature the grandeur and extent of power is compensated by the shortness of its duration. Overprolonged missions would soon be considered as birthrights.”84 Therefore, at the end of two or three months, often at the end of a month, the incumbent is recalled to Paris or despatched elsewhere, at short notice, on the day named, in a prompt, absolute, and sometimes threatening tone, not as a colleague one humors, but as a subordinate who is suddenly and arbitrarily revoked or displaced because he is deemed inadequate, or “used up.” For greater security, oftentimes a member of the Committee, Couthon, Collot, Saint-Just, or some near relation of a member of the Committee, a Lebas or young Robespierre, goes personally to the spot to give the needed impulsion; sometimes, agents simply of the Committee, taken from outside the Convention, and without any personal standing, quite young men, Rousselin, Julien de la Drôme, replace or watch the representative with powers equal to his. At the same time, from the top and from the centre, he is pushed on and directed: his local counsellors are chosen for him, and the directors of his conscience;85 they rate him soundly on the choice of his agents or of his lodgings;86 they force dismissals on him, appointments, arrests, executions; they spur him on in the path of terror and suffering. Around him are paid emissaries,87 while others watch him gratis and constantly write to the Committees of Public Safety and General Security, often to denounce him, always to report on his conduct, to judge his measures and to provoke the measures which he does not take.88
Whatever he may have done or may do, he cannot turn his eyes toward Paris without seeing danger ahead, a mortal danger which, on the Committee, in the Convention, at the Jacobin Club, increases or will increase against him, like a tempest. Briez, who, in Valenciennes under siege, showed courage, and whom the Convention had just applauded and added to the Committee of Public Safety, hears himself reproached for being still alive: “He who was at Valenciennes when the enemy took it will never reply to this question—are you dead?”89 He has nothing to do now but to declare himself incompetent, decline the honor mistakenly conferred on him by the Convention, and disappear. Dubois-Crancé took Lyons, and, as pay for this immense service, he is stricken off the roll of the Jacobin Club; because he did not take it quick enough, he is accused of treachery; two days after the capitulation, the Committee of Public Safety withdraw his powers; three days after the capitulation, the Committee of Public Safety has him arrested and sent to Paris under escort.90 If such men after such services are thus treated, what is to become of the others? After the mission of young Julien, Carrier at Nantes, Ysabeau and Tallien at Bordeaux, feel their heads shake on their shoulders; after the mission of young Robespierre in the East and South, Barras, Fréron and Bernard de Saintes believe themselves lost.91 Fouché, Rovère, Javogue, and how many others, compromised by the faction of which they are, or were, Hébertists or Dantonists, are sure of perishing if their patrons of the Committee succumb; not sure of living if their patrons keep their place; not knowing whether their heads will not be exchanged for others; restricted to the narrowest, the most rigorous and most constant orthodoxy; guilty and condemned should their orthodoxy of today become the heterodoxy of tomorrow; all of them menaced, at first the hundred and eighty autocrats who, before the concentration of the revolutionary government, ruled for eight months uncontrollable in the provinces; next, and above all, the fifty hard-fisted Montagnards, unscrupulous fanatics or dissipated despots, who, at this moment, tread human flesh under foot and allot themselves power, the same as wild boars in a forest, or wallow in scandal, like swine in a mud-pool.
There is no refuge for them, other than temporary, and not temporary refuge, otherwise than in zealous and tried obedience, such as the Committee demands proof of, that is to say, through rigor. “The Committees so wanted it,” says Maignet, later on, the incendiary of Bédouin; “The Committees did every thing. … Circumstances controlled me. … The patriotic agents conjured me not to give way. … I did not fully carry out the most imperative orders.”92 Similarly, the great exterminator of Nantes, Carrier, when urged to spare the rebels who surrendered of their own accord: “Do you want me to be guillotined? It is not in my power to save those people.”93 And another time: “I have my orders; I must observe them; I do not want to have my head cut off!” Under penalty of death, the representative on mission is a Terrorist, like his colleagues in the Convention and on the Committee of Public Safety, but with a much more serious disturbance of his nervous and his moral system; for he does not operate like them on paper, at a distance, against categories of abstract, anonymous, and vague beings; his work is not merely an effort of the intellect, but also of the senses and the imagination. If he belongs to the region, like Lecarpentier, Barras, Lebon, Javogue, Couthon, André, Dumont, and many others, he is well acquainted with the families he proscribes; names to him are not merely so many letters strung together, but they recall personal souvenirs and evoke living forms. At all events, he is the spectator, artisan and beneficiary of his own dictatorship; the silver-plate and money he confiscates passes under his eye, through his hands; he sees the “suspects” he incarcerates march before him; he is in the court-room on the rendering of the sentence of death; frequently, the guillotine he has supplied with heads works under his windows; he sleeps in the mansion of an emigré; he makes requisitions for the furniture, linen, and wine belonging to the decapitated and the imprisoned,94 lies in their beds, drinks their wine and revels with plenty of company at their expense, and in their place. In like manner, a bandit chief who neither kills nor robs with his own hands, has murder and robbery committed in his presence, by which he substantially profits, not by proxy, but personally, through the well-directed blows ordered by him. To this degree, and in such proximity to physical action, omnipotence is a mephitic atmosphere which no state of health can resist. Restored to the conditions which poisoned man in barbarous times or countries, he is again attacked by moral maladies from which he was thenceforth believed to be exempt; he retrogrades even to the strange corruptions of the Orient and the Middle Ages; forgotten leprosies, apparently extinct, with exotic pestilences to which civilised lands seemed closed, reappear in his soul with their issues and tumors.
“It seems,” says a witness who was long acquainted with Maignet, “that all he did for these five or six years was simply the delirious phase of an illness, after which he recovered, and lived on as if nothing had happened.”95 And Maignet himself writes: “I was not made for these tempests.” That is true of all, and first of the coarser natures; subordination would have restrained them; a dictatorship brings them out; the brutal instinct of the old soldier or of the faun breaks out in an eruption. Contemplate a Duquesnoy, a sort of bull-dog, always barking and biting when satiated more furiously than ever. Delegate to the army of the Moselle, and passing by Metz96 he summoned before him Altmayer, the public prosecutor, although he had sat down to dinner. The latter waits three hours and a half in the ante-chamber, is not admitted, returns, and, at length received, is greeted with a thundering exclamation: “Who are you?” “The public prosecutor,” he replies. “You look like a bishop—you were once a curé or monk—you can’t be a revolutionist. … I have come to Metz with unlimited powers. Public opinion here is not satisfactory. I am going to drill it. I am going to set folks straight here. I mean to shoot, here in Metz, as well as in Nancy, five or six hundred every fortnight.” The same at the house of General Bessières, commandant of the town; encountering there M. Cledat, an old officer, the second in command, he measures him from head to foot: “You look like a muscadin. Where did you come from? You must be a bad republican—you look as if you belonged to the ancient régime.” “My hair is gray,” he responds, “but I am not the less a good republican: you may ask the General and the whole town.” “Be off! Go to the devil, and be quick about it, or I will have you arrested!” The same, in the street, where he lays hold of a man passing, on account of his looks; the justice of the peace, Joly, certifies to the civism of this person, and he “eyes” Joly: “You too, you are an aristocrat! I see it in your eyes! I never make a mistake.” Whereupon, tearing off the Judge’s badge, he sends him to prison. Meanwhile, a fire, soon extinguished, breaks out in the army bakehouse; officers, townspeople, laborers, peasants, and even children form a line (for passing water) and Duquesnoy appears to urge them on in his way: using his fists and his foot, he falls on whoever he meets, on an employee in the commissariat, on a convalescent officer, on two men in the line, and many others. He shouts to one of them, “You are a muscadin!” To another: “I see by your eyes that you are an aristocrat!” To another: “You are f—— beggar, an aristocrat, a rascal,” and he strikes him in the stomach; he seizes a fourth by his collar and throws him down on the pavement.97 In addition to this, all are imprisoned. The fire being extinguished, an indiscreet fellow, who stood by looking on, “recommends” the dispenser of blows “to wipe his forehead.” “You can’t see straight—who are you? Answer me, I am the representative.” The other replies mildly: “Representative, nothing could be more respectable.” Duquesnoy gives the unlucky courtier a blow under the nose: “You are disputing—go to prison,” “which I did at once,” adds the docile subject. That same evening, “whereas, in the conflagration, none of the inhabitants in good circumstances offered their services in extinguishing the fire,98 and none but sans-culottes came thereto, from the garrison as well as from the commune,” Duquesnoy orders “that a tax of forty thousand livres be imposed on the commune of Metz, levied on the fortunes of the rich and distributed among the poor, payable within the decade.”99 “Fais moi f … dedans tous ces b … là,”100 “quatre j … f … à raccourcir;”101 at Arras, as at Metz, the lout is ever the ruffian and the butcher.
Others are either jolly fellows, or blackguards. A certain André Dumont, an old village attorney, now king of Picardie, or sultan, as occasion offers, “figures as a white negro,” sometimes jovial, but generally as a rude hardened cynic, treating female prisoners and petitioners as in a kermesse.102 One morning a lady enters his ante-room, and waits amidst about twenty sans-culottes, to solicit the release of her husband. Dumont appears in a morning-gown, seats himself and listens to the petitioner. “Sit down, citoyenne.” He takes her on his lap, thrusts his hand in her bosom and exclaims: “Who would suppose that the bust of a marchioness would feel so soft to one of the people’s representatives.” The sans-culottes shout with laughter. He sends the poor woman away and keeps her husband locked up. In the evening he may write to the Convention that he investigates things himself, and closely examines aristocrats. To maintain this revolutionary strain at this point requires a drop too much in one’s head, and most of them take precautions in this direction. At Lyons,103 “the representatives sent to ensure the people’s welfare, Albitte and Collot,” call upon the Committee of Sequestrations to deliver at their house two hundred bottles of the best wine to be found, and five hundred bottles more of Bordeaux red wine, first quality, for table use.” In three months, at the table of the representatives who devastate la Vendée, nineteen hundred and seventy-four bottles of wine are emptied,104 taken from the houses of the emigrés belonging to the town; for, “when one has helped to preserve a commune one has a right to drink to the Republic.” Representative Bourbotte presides at this bar; Rossignol touches his glass, an ex-jeweler and then a September massacreur, all his life a debauchee and brigand, and now a major-general; alongside of Rossignol, stand his adjutants, Grammont, an old actor, and Hazard, a former priest; along with them is Vacheron, a good républiquain, who ravishes women and shoots them when they refuse to succumb;105 in addition to these are some “brilliant” young ladies, undoubtedly brought from Paris, “the prettiest of whom share their nights between Rossignol and Bourbotte,” whilst the others serve their subordinates: the entire band, male and female, is installed in a Hotel de Fontenay, where they begin by breaking the seals, so as to confiscate “for their own benefit, furniture, jewelry, dresses, feminine trinkets, and even procelains.”106 Meanwhile, at Chantonney, representative Bourdon de l’Oise drinks with General Tunck, becomes “frantic” when tipsy, and has patriotic administrators seized in their beds at midnight, whom he had embraced the evening before. Nearly all of them, like the latter, have too bad wine, Carrier at Nantes, Petit-Jean at Thiers, Duquesnoy at Arras, Cusset at Thionville, Monestier at Tarbes. At Thionville, Cusset drinks like a “Lapithe” and, when drunk, gives the orders of a “vizier,” which orders are executed.107 At Tarbes, Monestier “after a heavy meal and much excited,” warmly harangues the court, examines the prisoner himself, M. de Lasalle, an old officer, whom he has condemned to death, and signs the order to have him guillotined at once; M. de Lasalle is guillotined that very evening, at midnight, by torchlight. The following morning Monestier says to the president of the court: “Well, we gave poor Lasalle a famous fright last night, didn’t we?” “How a famous fright? He is executed!” Monestier is astonished—he did not remember having issued the order.108 With others, wine, besides sanguinary instincts, brings out the foulest instincts. At Nismes, Borie, in the uniform of a representative, along with Courbis, the mayor, Géret, the justice and a number of prostitutes, dance the farandole around the guillotine. At Auch, one of the worst tyrants in the South, Dartigoyte, always heated with liquor “vomited every species of obscenity” in the faces of women that came to demand justice; “he compels, under penalty of imprisonment, mothers to take their daughters to the popular club,” to listen to his filthy preaching; one evening, at the theatre, probably after an orgy, he apostrophises all the women between the acts, lets loose upon them his smutty vocabulary, and, by way of demonstration, or as a practical conclusion, ends by stripping himself naked.109 This time, the genuine brute appears. The clothing thrown around him by centuries and with which civilisation had protected him, the last drapery of humanity, falls to the ground. Nothing remains but the primitive animal, the ferocious, lewd gorilla supposed to be tamed, but which still subsists indefinitely and which a dictatorship, joined to drunkenness, revives in an uglier guise than in remotest times.
If intoxication is needed to awaken the brute, a dictatorship suffices to arouse the madman. The mental equilibrium of most of these new sovereigns is disturbed; the distance between what the man once was and what he now is, is too great; formerly, a petty lawyer, village doctor, or schoolmaster, an unknown mover of a resolution in a local club, and only yesterday one voter in the Convention out of seven hundred and fifty; behold him now, the arbiter, in one of the departments, of all fortunes and liberties, and master of five thousand lives. Like a pair of scales into which a disproportionate weight has been thrown, his reason totters on the side of pride. Some of them regard their competency unlimited, like their powers, and having just joined the army, claim the right of being appointed major-generals.110 “Declare officially,” writes Fabre to the Committee of Public Safety,111 “that, in future, generals shall be simply the lieutenants of the delegates to the Convention.” Awaiting the required declaration, they claim command and, in reality, exercise it. “I know of neither generals nor privates,” says Gaston, a former justice of the peace, to the officers; “as to the Minister, he is a dog on a skittle-ground; I am in command here and must be obeyed.” “What are generals good for?” adds his colleague Guiter; “the old women in our faubourgs know as much as they do. Plans, formal manoeuvres, tents, camps, redoubts? All this is of no use! The only war suitable to Frenchmen after this will be a rush with side arms.” To turn out of office, guillotine, disorganise, march blindly on, waste lives haphazard, force defeat, sometimes get killed themselves, is all they know, and they would lose all if the effects of their incapacity and arrogance were not redeemed by the devotion of the officers and the enthusiasm of the soldiers. The same spectacle is visible at Charleroy where, through his absurd orders, Saint-Just does his best to compromise the army, leaving that place with the belief that he is a great man.112 There is the same spectacle in Alsace, where Lacoste, Baudot, Ruamps, Soubrany, Milhaud, Saint-Just, and Lebas, through their excessive rigor, do their best to break up the army and then boast of it. The revolutionary Tribunal is installed at headquarters, soldiers are urged to denounce their officers, the informer is promised money and secrecy, he and the accused are not allowed to confront each other, no investigation, no papers allowed, even to make exception to the verdict—a simple examination without any notes, the accused arrested at eight o’clock, condemned at nine o’clock, and shot at ten o’clock.113 Naturally, under such a system, no one wants to command; already, before Saint-Just’s arrival, Meunier had consented to act as major-general only ad interim; “every hour of the day” he demanded his removal; unable to secure this, he refused to issue any order; the representatives, to procure his successor, are obliged to descend down to a depot captain, Carlin, bold enough or stupid enough to allow himself to take a commission under their lead, which was a commission for the guillotine. If such is their presumption in military matters, what must it be in civil affairs! On this side there is no external check, no Spanish or German army capable of at once taking them in flagrante delicto, and of profiting by their ambitious incapacity and mischievous interference. Whatever the social instrumentality may be—judiciary, administration, credit, commerce, manufactures, agriculture—they can dislocate and mar it with impunity. They never fail to do this, and, moreover, in their despatches, they take credit to themselves for the ruin they cause. That, indeed, is their mission; otherwise, they would be regarded as bad Jacobins; they would soon become “suspects”; they rule only on condition of being infatuated and destructive; the overthrow of common-sense is with them an act of State grace, a necessity of the office, and, on this common ground of compulsory unreason, every species of physical delirium may be implanted.
With those that we can follow closely, not only is their judgment perverted, but the entire nervous apparatus is affected; permanent overexcitement has begun, and a morbid restlessness. Consider Joseph Lebon, son of a sergeant-at-arms, subsequently, a teacher with the Oratoriens of Beaune, next, curé of Neuville-Vitasse, repudiated as an interloper by the élite of his parishioners, not respected, without house or furniture, and almost without a flock.114 Two years after this, finding himself sovereign of his province, his head is turned; much less would make it turn; it is only a twenty-eight-year-old head, not very solid, without any inside ballast,115 already disturbed by vanity, ambition, rancor, and apostasy, by the sudden and complete wheeling-about which put him at variance with his past educational habits and most cherished affections: it breaks down under the vastness and novelty of this greatness. In the costume of a representative, a Henry IV. hat, tricolor plume, waving scarf, and sabre dragging the ground, Lebon orders the bell to be rung and summons the villagers into the church, where, aloft in the pulpit in which he had formerly preached in a threadbare cassock, he displays his metamorphosis. “Who would believe that I should have returned here with unlimited powers!”116 And that, before his counterfeit majesty, each person would be humble, bowed down and silent! To a member of the municipality of Cambray who, questioned by him, looked straight at him and answered curtly, and who, to a query twice repeated in the same terms, dared to answer twice in the same terms, he says: “Shut up! You disrespect me, you do not behave properly to the national representative.” He immediately commits him to prison.117 One evening, at the theatre, he enters a box in which the ladies, seated in front, keep their places. In a rage, he goes out, rushes on the stage and, brandishing his great sabre, vociferates and threatens the audience, taking immense strides across the boards and acting and looking so much like a wild beast that several of the ladies faint away: “Look there!” he shouts, “at those muscadines who do not condescend to move for a representative of twenty-five millions of men! Everybody used to make way for a prince—they will not budge for me, a representative, who am more than a king!”118 The word is spoken. But this king is frightened, and he is one who thinks of nothing but conspiracy;119 in the street, in open daylight, the people who are passing him are plotting against him either by words or signs. Meeting in the main street of Arras a young girl and her mother talking Flemish, that seems to him “suspect.” “Where are you going?” he demands. “What’s that to you?” replies the child, who does not know him. The girl, the mother, and the father are sent to prison.120 On the ramparts, another young girl, accompanied by her mother, is taking the air, and reading a book. “Give me that book,” says the representative. The mother hands it to him; it is the “History of Clarissa Harlowe.” The young girl, extending her hand to receive back the book, adds, undoubtedly with a smile: “That is not ‘suspect.’ ” Lebon deals her a blow with his fist on her stomach which knocks her down; both women are searched and he personally leads them to the guard-room. The slightest expression, a gesture, puts him beside himself; any motion that he does not comprehend makes him start, as with an electric shock. Just arrived at Cambray, he is informed that a woman who had sold a bottle of wine below the maximum, had been released after a procès-verbal. On reaching the Hôtel-de-Ville, he shouts out: “Let everybody here pass into the Consistory!” The municipal officer on duty opens a door leading into it. Lebon, however, not knowing who he is, takes alarm. “He froths at the mouth,” says the municipal officer, “and cries out as if possessed by a demon. ‘Stop, stop, scoundrel, you are running off!’ He draws his sabre and seizes me by the collar; I am dragged and borne along by him and his men. ‘I have hold of him, I have hold of him!’ he exclaims, and, indeed, he did hold me with his teeth, legs, and arms, like a madman. At last, ‘Scoundrel, monster, b—,’ says he, ‘are you a marquis?’ ‘No,’ I replied, ‘I am a sans-culotte.’ ‘Ah, well! people, you hear what he says,’ he exclaims, ‘he says that he is a sans-culotte, and that is the way he greets a denunciation on the maximum! I remove him. Let him be f—— in prison!’ ”121 It is certain that the King of Arras and Cambray is not far from a raging fever; with such symptoms an ordinary individual would be sent to an asylum.
Not so vain, less fond of parading his royalty, but more savage and placed in Nantes amidst greater dangers, Carrier, under the pressure of more sombre ideas, is much more furious and constant in his madness. Sometimes his attacks reach hallucination. “I have seen him,” says a witness, “so carried away in the tribune, in the heat of his harangue when trying to overrule public opinion, as to cut off the tops of the candles with his sabre,” as if they were so many aristocrats’ heads.122 Another time, at table, after having declared that France could not feed its too numerous population, and that it was decided to cut down the excess, all nobles, magistrates, priests, merchants, etc., he becomes excited and exclaims, “Kill, kill!” as if he were already engaged in the work and ordering the operation.123 Even when fasting, and in an ordinary condition, he is scarcely more cooled down. When the administrators of the department come to consult with him,124 they gather around the door to see if he looks enraged, and is in a condition to hear them. He not only insults petitioners, but likewise the functionaries under him who make reports to him, or take his orders; his foul nature rises to his lips and overflows in the vilest terms: “Go to —— and be ——. I have no time.”125 They consider themselves lucky if they get off with a volley of obscene oaths, for he generally draws his sabre: “The first —— that mentions supplies, I will —— his head off.”126 And to the president of the military commission, who demands that verdicts be rendered before ordering executions: “You, you old rascal, you old ——, you want verdicts, do you! Go ahead! If the whole pen is not emptied in a couple of hours I will have you and your colleagues shot!” His gestures, his look have such a powerful effect upon the mind that the other, who is also a “bruiser,” dies of the shock a few days after.127 Not only does he draw his sabre, but he uses it; among the petitioners, a boatman, whom he is about to strike, runs off as fast as he can; he draws General Moulins into the recess of a window and gives him a cut.128 People “tremble” on accosting him, and yet more in contradicting him. The envoy of the Committee of Public Safety, Julien de la Drôme, on being brought before him, takes care to “stand some distance off, in a corner of the room,” wisely trying to avoid the first spring; wiser still, he replies to Carrier’s exclamations with the only available argument: “If you put me out of the way today, you yourself will be guillotined within a week!”129 On coming to a stand before a mad dog one must aim the knife straight at its throat; there is no other way to escape its tusks and slaver. Accordingly, with Carrier, as with a mad dog, the brain is mastered by the steady mechanical reverie, by persistent images of murder and death. He exclaims to President Tronjolly, apropos of the Vendéan children: “The guillotine, always the guillotine!”130 In relation to the drownings: “You judges must have verdicts; pitch them into the water, which is much more simple.” Addressing the popular club of Nantes, he says: “The rich, the merchants, are all monopolisers, all antirevolutionists; denounce them to me, and I will have all their heads under the national razor. Tell me who the fanatics are that shut their shops on Sunday and I will have them guillotined.” “When will the heads of those rascally merchants fall?” “I see beggars here in rags; you are as big fools at Ancenis as at Nantes. Don’t you know that the money, the wealth of these old merchants, belongs to you, and is not the river there?” “My brave b——, my good sans-culottes your time is come! Denounce them to me! The evidence of two good sans-culottes is all I want to make the heads of those old merchants tumble!” “We will make France a grave-yard rather than not regenerate it in our own way.”131 His steady howl ends in a cry of anguish: “We shall all be guillotined, one after the other!”132 Such is the mental state to which the office of representative on mission leads. Below Carrier, who is on the extreme verge, the others, less advanced, likewise turn pale at the lugubrious vision, which is the inevitable effect of their work and their mandate. Beyond every grave they dig, they catch a glimpse of the grave already dug for them. There is nothing left for the grave-digger but to dig mechanically day after day, and, in the meantime, make what he can out of his place; he can at least render himself insensible by having “a good time.”
Most of them follow this course, some instinctively and through lassitude, and others because the display they make adds to their authority. “Dragged along in carriages with six horses, surrounded by guards, seated at sumptuous tables set for thirty persons, eating to the sound of music along with a cortege of actors, courtezans, and pretorians,”133 they impress the imagination with an idea of their omnipotence, and people bow all the lower because they make a grand show. At Troyes, on the arrival of young Rousselin, cannon are discharged as if for the entry of a prince. The entire population of Nevers is called upon to honor the birth of Fouché’s child; the civil and military authorities pay their respects to him, and the National Guards are under arms.134 At Lyons, “The imposing display of Collot d’Herbois resembles that of the Grand Turk. It requires three successive applications to obtain an audience; nobody approaches nearer than a distance of fifteen feet; two sentinels with muskets stand on each side of him, with their eyes fixed on the petitioners.”135 Less menacing, but not less imposing, is the pomp which surrounds the representatives at Bordeaux; to approach them, requires “a pass from the captain of the guards,”136 through several squads of sentinels. One of them, Ysabeau, who, after having guillotined to a considerable extent, has become almost tractable, allows adulation, and, like a Duc de Richelieu coming down from Versailles, tries to play the popular potentate, with all the luxuries which the situation affords. At the theatres, in his presence, they give a ballet in which shepherds form with garlands of flowers the words “Ysabeau, Liberty, Equality.” He allows his portrait to pass from hand to hand, and condescendingly smiles on the artist who inscribes these words at the bottom of an engraving of the day: “An occurrence which took place under Ysabeau, representative of the people.” “When he passes in the street people take off their hats to him, cheer him, and shout ‘Hurrah for Ysabeau! Hurrah for the saviour of Bordeaux, our friend and father!’ The children of aristocrats come and apostrophise him in this way, even at the doors of his carriage; for he has a carriage, and several of them, with a coachman, horses, and the equipage of a former noble, gendarmes preceding him everywhere, even on excursions into the country,” where his new courtiers call him “great man,” and welcome him with “Asiatic magnificence.” There is good cheer at his table, “superb white bread,” called “representatives’ bread,” whilst the rustics of the neighborhood live on roots, and the inhabitants of Bordeaux can scarcely obtain over four ounces per diem of musty bread. There is the same feasting with the representatives at Lyons, in the midst of similar distress. In the reports made by Collot we find a list of bottles of brandy at four francs each, along with partridges, capons, turkeys, chickens, pike, and crawfish; also white bread, “equality bread,” the other kind, assigned to simple mortals, offending this august palate. Add to this the requisitions made by Albitte and Fouché, seven hundred bottles of fine wine, in one lot, another of fifty pounds of coffee, one hundred and sixty ells of muslin, three dozen silk handkerchiefs for cravats, three dozen pairs of gloves, and four dozen pairs of stockings: they provide themselves with a good stock.137 Among so many perambulating satraps, the most audaciously sensual is, I believe, Tallien, the Septembriseur at Paris and guillotineur at Bordeaux, but still more rake and robber, caring mostly for his palate and stomach. Son of the cook of a grand seignor, he is doubtless swayed by family traditions: for his government is simply a larder where, like the head-butler in “Gil Blas,” he can eat and turn the rest into money. At this moment, his principal favorite is Teresa Cabarrus, a woman of society, or one of the demi-monde, whom he took out of prison; he rides about the streets with her in an open carriage, “with a courier behind and a courier in front,” sometimes wearing the red cap and holding a pike in her hand,138 thus exhibiting his goddess to the people. And this is the sentiment which does him the most credit; for, when the crisis comes, the imminent peril of his mistress arouses his courage against Robespierre, and this pretty woman, who is good-natured, begs him, not for murders, but for pardons. Others, as gallant as he is, but with less taste, obtain recruits for their pleasures in a rude way, either as fast-livers on the wing, or because fear subjects the honor of women to their caprices, or because the public funds defray the expenses of their guard-room habits. At Blois, for this species of expenditure, Guimberteau discharges his obligations by drafts on the proceeds of the revolutionary tax.139 Carrier, at Nantes, appropriates to himself the house and garden of a private person for “his seraglio”; the reader may judge whether, on desiring to be a third party in the household, the husband would make objections; at other times, in the hotel Henry IV., “with his friends and prostitutes brought under requisition, he has an orgy”; he allows himself the same indulgence on the galiot, at the drownings; there at the end of a drunken frolic, he is regaled with merry songs, for example, “la gamelle”:140 he must be amused. Some, who are shrewd, think of the more substantial and look out for the future. Foremost among these is Tallien, the king of robbers, but prodigal, whose pockets, full of holes, are only filled to be at once emptied; Javogues, who makes the most of Montbrison; Rovère, who, for eighty thousand francs in assignats, has an estate adjudged to him worth five hundred thousand francs in coin; Fouché, who, in Nièvre, begins to amass the twelve or fourteen millions which he secures later on;141 and so many others, who were either ruined or impoverished previous to the outbreak of the Revolution, and who are rich when it ends: Barras with his domain of Gros Bois; André Dumont, with the Hotel de Plouy, its magnificent furniture, and an estate worth four hundred thousand livres; Merlin de Thionville, with his country-houses, equipages, and domain of Mont-Valérien, and other domains; Salicetti, Rewbell, Rousselin, Chateauneuf-Randon, and the rest of the corrupt Directory cormorants. Without mentioning the taxes and confiscations of which they render no account, they have, for their hoard, the ransoms offered underhandedly by “suspects” and their families; what is more convenient?142 And all the more, because the Committee of General Security, even when informed, let things take their course: to prosecute Montagnards, would be “making the Revolution take a step backward.” One is bound to humor useful servants who have such hard work, like that of September; irregularities, as with these September people, must be overlooked; it is necessary to allow them a few perquisites and give them gratuities.143
All this would not suffice to keep them at work if there were not an attraction of superior force. To the common run of civilised men, the office of Septembriseur is at first disagreeable; but, after a little practice, especially with a tyrannical nature, which, under cover of the theory, or under the pretext of public safety, can satiate its despotic instincts, all repugnance subsides. There is keen delight in the exercise of absolute power; one is glad, every hour, to assert one’s omnipotence and prove it by some act, the most conclusive of all acts being some act of destruction. The more complete, radical and prompt the destruction is, the more conscious one is of one’s strength. However great the obstacle, one is not disposed to recede or stand still; one breaks away all the barriers which men call good sense, humanity, justice, and the satisfaction of breaking them down is great. To crush and to subdue becomes voluptuous pleasure, to which pride gives keener relish, affording a grateful incense of the holocaust which the despot consumes on his own altar; at this daily sacrifice, he is both idol and priest, offering up victims to himself that he may be conscious of his divinity. Such is Saint-Just, all the more a despot because his title of representative on mission is supported by his rank on the Committee of Public Safety: to find natures strained to the same pitch as his, we must leave the modern world and go back to a Caligula, or to a caliph Hakem in Egypt in the tenth century.144 He also, like these two monsters, but with different formulae, regards himself as a God, or God’s vicegerent on earth, invested with absolute power through Truth incarnated in him, the representative of a mysterious, limitless and supreme power, known as the People; to worthily represent this power, it is essential to have a soul of steel.145 Such is the soul of Saint-Just, and only that. All other sentiments merely serve to harden it; all the metallic agencies that compose it—sensuality, vanity, every vice, every species of ambition, all the frantic outbursts, and melancholy vaporings of his youth—are violently commingled and fused together in the revolutionary mould, so that his soul may take the form and rigidity of trenchant steel. Suppose this an animated blade, feeling and willing in conformity with its temper and structure; it would delight in being brandished, and would need to strike; such is the need of Saint-Just. Taciturn, impassible, keeping people at a distance, as imperious as if the entire will of the people and the majesty of transcendent reason resided in his person, he seems to have reduced his passions to the desire of dashing everything to atoms, and to creating dismay. It may be said of him that, like the conquering Tartars, he measures his self-attributed grandeur by what he fells; no other has so extensively swept away fortunes, liberties and lives; no other has so terrifically heightened the effect of his deeds by laconic speech and the suddenness of the stroke. He orders the arrest and close confinement of all former nobles, men and women, in the four departments, in twenty-four hours; he orders the bourgeoisie of Strasbourg to pay over nine millions in twenty-four hours; ten thousand persons in Strasbourg must give up their shoes in twenty-four hours; random and immediate discharges of musketry on the officers of the Rhine army—such are the measures.146 So much the worse for the innocent; there is no time to discern who they are; “a blind man hunting for a pin in a dust-heap takes the whole heap.”147 And, whatever the order, even when it cannot be executed, so much the worse for him to whom it is given, for the captain who, directed by the representative to establish this or that battery in a certain time, works all night with all his forces, “with as many men as the place will hold.”148 The battery not being ready at the hour named, Saint-Just sends the captain to the guillotine. The sovereign having once given an order it cannot be counter-manded; to take back his words would be weakening himself;149 in the service of omnipotence, pride is insatiable, and, to mollify it, no barbaric act is too great. The same appetite is visible in Collot d’Herbois, who, no longer on the stage, plays before the town the melo-dramatic tyrant with all becoming ostentation. One morning, at Lyons, he directs the revolutionary Tribunal to arrest, examine and sentence a youthful “suspect” before the day is over. “Towards six o’clock,150 Collot being at table enjoying an orgy with prostitutes, buffoons, and executioners, eating and drinking to choice music, one of the judges of the Tribunal enters; after the usual formalities, he is led up to the Representative, and informs him that the young man had been arrested and examined, and the strictest enquiries made concerning him; he is found irreproachable and the Court decided to set him free. Collot, without looking at the judge, raises his voice and says to him: ‘I ordered you to punish that young man and I want him out of the way before night. If the innocent are spared, too many of the guilty will escape. Go.’ The music and gaiety begin again, and in an hour the young man is shot.” And so with most of the other pachalics; if any head mentally condemned by the pacha escapes or does not fall soon enough, the latter is indignant at the delays and forms of justice, also against the judges and juries, often selected by himself. Javogues writes an insulting letter to the commission of Feurs which has dared acquit two former nobles. Laignelot, Lecarpentier, Michaud, Monestier, Lebon, break up, recompose, or replace the commissions of Fontenoy, St. Malo, and Perpignan, and the tribunals of Pau, Nismes, and Arras, whose judgments did not please them.151 Lebon, Bernard de Saintes, Dartigoyte, and Fouché rearrest prisoners on the same charge, solemnly acquitted by their own tribunals. Bô, Prieur de la Marne, and Lebon, send judges and juries to prison that do not always vote death.152 Barras and Fréron despatch, from brigade to brigade, to the revolutionary Tribunal in Paris, the public prosecutor and president of the revolutionary Tribunal of Marseilles, for being indulgent to antirevolutionists, because, out of five hundred and twenty-eight prisoners, they guillotined only one hundred and sixty-two.153 To contradict the infallible Representative! That of itself is an offence. He owes it to himself to punish those who are not docile, to rearrest absolved delinquents, and to maintain cruelty with cruelty.
When one has long imbibed a strong and disagreeable draught, not only does the palate get accustomed to the draught, but it often acquires a taste for it; it soon wants to have it stronger; finally, it swallows it pure, completely raw, with no admixture or condiment to disguise its repulsiveness. Such, to certain imaginations, is the spectacle of human gore; after getting accustomed to it they take delight in seeing it. Lequinio, Laignelot, and Lebon invite the executioner to dine with them;154 Monestier, with his cut-throats, is going himself in search of prisoners in the dungeons, so that he may accompany them to the Tribunal and overwhelm them with charges, if they are disposed to defend themselves; after their condemnation, he assists in uniform at their execution.155 Fouché, lorgnette in hand, looks out of his window upon a butchery of two hundred and ten Lyonnese. Collot, Laporte, and Fouché feast together in a large company on shooting days, and, at each discharge, stand up and cheer lustily, waving their hats.156 At Toulon, Fréron, in person, orders and sees executed, the first grand massacre on the Champ de Mars.157 On the Place d’Arras, M. de Vielfort, already tied and stretched out on the plank, awaits the fall of the knife. Lebon appears on the balcony of the theatre, makes a sign to the executioner to stop, opens the newspaper, and, in a loud voice, reads off the recent successes of the French armies; then, turning to the condemned man, exclaims: “Go, wretch, and take the news of our victories to your brethren.”158 At Feurs, where the shootings take place at the house of M. du Rosier, in the great avenue of the park, his daughter, quite a young woman, advances in tears to Javogues, and asks for the release of her husband. “Oh, yes, my dear,” replies Javogues, “you shall have him home tomorrow.” In effect, the next day, her husband is shot, and buried in the avenue.159 It is evident that they get to liking the business. Like their September predecessors, they find amusement in murdering: people around them allude gaily to “the red theatre” and “the national razor.” An aristocrat is said to be “putting his head at the national window,” and “he has put his head through the cat-hole.”160 They themselves enjoy the style and humor of the occupation. “Tomorrow, at seven o’clock,” writes Hugues, “let the sacred guillotine be erected!” “The demoiselle guillotine,” writes Lecarlier, “keeps steadily agoing.”161 “The relatives and friends of emigrés and of refractory priests,” writes Lebon, “monopolise the guillotine.162 … Day before yesterday, the sister of the former Comte de Bethune sneezed in the sack.” Carrier loudly proclaims “the pleasure he has derived” from seeing priests executed: “I never laughed in my life as I did at the faces they made in dying.”163 This is the extreme perversity of human nature, that of a Domitian who watches the features of the condemned, to see the effect of suffering, or, better still, that of the negro who holds his sides with laughter at the aspect of a man being impaled. And this delight of contemplating death throes, Carrier finds it in the sufferings of children. Notwithstanding the remonstrances of the revolutionary Tribunal and the entreaties of President Phelippes,164 he signs on the 29th of Frimaire, year II., a positive order to guillotine without trial twenty-seven persons, of whom seven are women, and, among these, four sisters, Mesdemoiselles de la Metayrie, one of these twenty-eight years old, another twenty-seven, the third twenty-six, and the fourth seventeen. Two days before, notwithstanding the remonstrances of the same tribunal and the entreaties of the same president, he signed a positive order to guillotine twenty-six artisans and farm-hands, among them two boys of fourteen, and two of thirteen years of age. He was driven “in a cab” to the place of execution and he followed it up in detail. He could hear one of the children of thirteen, already bound to the board, but too small and having only the top of the head under the knife, ask the executioner, “Will it hurt me much?” What the triangular blade fell upon may be imagined! Carrier saw this with his own eyes, and whilst the executioner, horrified at himself, died a few days after in consequence of what he had done, Carrier put another in his place, began again and continued operations.
[1. ]Thibaudeau: “Mémoires,” i., 47, 70.—Durand-Maillane, “Mémoires,” 183.—Vatel, “Charlotte Corday et les Girondins,” ii., 269. Out of the seventy-six presidents of the Convention eighteen were guillotined, eight transported, twenty-two declared outlaws, six incarcerated, three who committed suicide, and four who became insane, in all sixty-one. All who served twice perished by a violent death.
[2. ]Moniteur, xviii., 38. (Speech by Amar, reporter, Oct. 3, 1793.) “The apparently negative behavior of the minority in the Convention, since the 2d of June, is a new plot hatched by Barbaroux.”
[3. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, viii., 44. Election of Collot d’Herbois as president by one hundred and fifty-one out of two hundred and forty-one votes, June 13, 1793.—Moniteur, xvii., 366. Election of Hérault-Séchelles as president by one hundred and sixty-five out of two hundred and thirty-six votes, Aug. 3, 1793.
[4. ]“The Revolution,” vol. iii., ch. i.—Mortimer-Ternaux, vii., 435. (The three substitutes obtain, the first, nine votes, the second, six votes, and the third, five votes.)
[5. ]Marcelin Boudet, “Les Conventionnels d’ Auvergne,” 206.
[6. ]Dussault: “Fragment pour servir à l’histoire de la Convention.”
[7. ]Sainte-Beuve: “Causeries du Lundi,” v., 216. (According to the unpublished papers of Siéyès.)
[8. ]Words of Michelet.
[9. ]Moniteur, xx., 95, 135. (Sessions of Germinal II. in the Convention and at the Jacobin club.)
[10. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxii., 17. (Sessions of Ventose 26, year II. Speech of Robespierre.) “In what country has a powerful senate ever sought in its own bosom for the betrayers of the common cause and handed them over to the sword of the law? Who has ever furnished the world with this spectacle? You, my fellow citizens.”
[11. ]Miót de Melito, “Mèmoires,” i. 44. Danton, at table in the ministry of Foreign Affairs, remarked: “The Revolution, like Saturn, eats its own children.” As to Camille Desmoulins, “His melancholy already indicated a presentiment of his fate; the few words he allowed to escape him always turned on questions and observations concerning the nature of punishment, inflicted on those condemned by the revolutionary Tribunal and the best way of preparing oneself for that event and enduring it.”
[12. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxiii., 363, 357. (Police reports on the deputies, Messidor 4, and following days.)—Vilate: “Coups secrètes de la Révolution du 9 et 10 Thermidor,” a list designated by Barère.—Denunciation by Lecointre. (2d ed. p. 13.)
[13. ]Thibaudeau, i., 47. “Just as in ordinary times one tries to elevate oneself, so does one strive in these times of calamity to lower oneself and be forgotten, or atone for one’s inferiority by seeking to degrade oneself.”
[14. ]Madame Roland: “Mémoires,” i., 23.
[15. ]Archives Nationales, F7, 3,1167. This set of papers contains five hundred and thirty-seven police reports, especially those of Nivose, year II. The following is a sample Report of Nivose 25, year II. “Being on a deputation to the Convention, some coleagues took me to dine in the old Breteuil gardens, in a large room with a nice floor. … The bill-of-fare was called for, and I found that after having eaten a ritz soup, some meat, a bottle of wine, and two potatoes, I had spent, as they told me, eight francs twelve sous, because I am not rich. ‘Foutre!’ I say to them, how much do the rich pay here? … It is well to state that I saw some deputies come into this large hall, also former marquises, counts, and knights of the poniard of the ancient régime … but I confess that I cannot remember the true names of these former nobles … for the devil himself could not recognise those b—— disguised like sans-culottes.”
[16. ]Buchez et Roux, xxviii., 237, 308. (July 5 and 14, 1793.)—Moniteur, xix., 716. (Ventose 26, year II.) Danton secures the passage of a decree “that nothing but prose shall be heard at the bar.” Nevertheless, after his execution, this sort of parade begins again. On the 12th of Messidor, “a citizen admitted to the bar reads a poem composed by him in honor of the success of our arms on the Sambre.” (Moniteur, xvi., 101.)
[17. ]Moniteur, xviii., 369, 397, 399, 420, 455, 469, 471, 479, 488, 492, 500, etc.—Mercier, “Le Nouveau Paris,” ii., 96.—Dauban, “La Demagogie en 1793,” 500, 505. (Articles by Prud’homme and Diurnal by Beaulieu.)
[18. ]Moniteur, xviii., 420, 399.—“Ah, le bel oiseau,” was a song chosen for its symbolic and double meaning, one pastoral and the other licentious.
[19. ]De Goncourt, “La Société française pendant la Revolution,” 418. (Article from “Pêre Duchesne.”)—Dauban, ibid., 506. (Article by Prud’homme.) “Liberty on a seat of verdure, receives the homage of republicans, male and female, … and then … she turns and bestows a benevolent regard on her friends.”
[20. ]Moniteur, xviii., 399. Session of Brumaire 20, on motion of Thuriot: “I move that the Convention attends the temple of Reason to sing the hymn to Liberty.”—“The motion of Thuriot is decreed.”
[21. ]Mercier, ibid., 99. (Similar scenes in the churches of St. Eustache and St. Gervais.)
[22. ]Durand-Maillane, “Mémoires,” 182.—Grégoire, “Mémoires,” ii., 34. On the 7th of November, 1793, in the great scene of the abjurations, Grégoire alone resisted, declaring: “I remain a bishop; I invoke freedom of worship.” “Outcries burst forth to stifle my voice the pitch of which I raised proportionately. … A demoniac scene occurred, worthy of Milton. … I declare that in making this speech I thought I was pronouncing sentence of death on myself.” For several days, emissaries were sent to him, either deputies or bandits, to try and make him retract. On the 11th of November a placard posted throughout Paris declared him responsible for the continuance of fanaticism. “For about two years, I was almost the only one in Paris who wore the ecclesiastical costume.”
[23. ]Moniteur, xviii., 480. (Session of Brumaire 30.) N. … “I must make known the ceremony which took place here today. I move that the speeches and details of this day be inserted in full in the bulletin, and sent to all the departments.” (Another deputy): “And do not neglect to state that the Right was never so well furnished.” (Laughter and applause.)
[24. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxii., 103. (Germinal 11.)—Moniteur, xx., 124. (Germinal 15.) Decree for cutting short the defence of Danton and his accused associates.
[25. ]Moniteur, xx., 226. (Germinal 26. Report by Saint-Just and decree on the police.)—Ibid., xix., 54. (Report by Robespierre, and decree on the principles of revolutionary government, Nivose 5.)—Ibid., xx., 567, 589. Prairial 6 (Decree forbidding the imprisonment of any Englishman or Hanoverian), and xxi., 13. (Messidor 16.)
[26. ]Moniteur, xx., 544. After the effort of Ladmiral against Collot d’Herbois, the latter appears in the tribune. “The loudest applause greets him from all sides of the house.”—Ibid., xxi., 173. (Messidor 21.) On the report of Barère who praises the conduct of Joseph Lebon, criticising nothing but “somewhat harsh formalities,” a decree is passed to the order of the day, which is “adopted unanimously with great applause.”
[27. ]Moniteur, xx., 698, 715, 716, 719. (Prairial 22 and 24.) After the speeches of Robespierre and Couthon, “Loud and renewed applause; the plaudits begin over again and are prolonged.” Couthon, having declared that the Committee of Public Safety was ready to resign, “on all sides there were cries of No, No.”—Ibid., xxi., 268. (Thermidor 2.) Eulogy of the revolutionary government by Barère and decree of the police “unanimously adopted amidst the loudest applause.”
[28. ]Moniteur, xxi., 329.
[29. ]Lafayette, “Mémoires,” iv., 330. “At last came the 9th of Thermidor. It was not due to people of common sense. Their terror was so great that an estimable deputy, to whom one of his colleagues put the question, no witness being present, ‘how long must we endure this tyranny?’ was upset by it to such a degree as to denounce him.”
[30. ]Sainte-Beuve, “Causeries du Lundi,” v., 209. (Siéyès’ unpublished papers.)—Moniteur, xviii., 631, containing an example of both the terror and style of the most eminent men, among others of Fourcroy the celebrated chemist, then deputy, and later, Counsellor of State and Minister of Public Instruction. He is accused in the Jacobin Club, Brumaire 18, year II., of not addressing the Convention often enough, to which he replies: “After twenty years’ devotion to the practice of medicine I have succeeded in supporting my sans-culotte father and my sans-culottes sisters. … As to the charge made by a member that I have given most of my time to science. … I have attended the Lycée des Arts but three times, and then only for the purpose of sans-culotteising it.”
[31. ]Michelet, “Histoire de la Révolution,” v., preface xxx (3rd ed.). “A young man and trying to find something to do, I was directed to an ultra Review, to a well-known philanthropist, devoted to education, to the people, and to the welfare of humanity. I found a very small man of a melancholy, mild and tame aspect. We were in front of the fire, on which he fixed his eyes without looking at me. He talked a long time, in a didactic, monotonous tone of voice. I felt ill at ease and sick at heart, and got away as soon as I could. It was this little man, I afterwards learned, who hunted down the Girondists, and had them guillotined, and which he accomplished at the age of twenty.”—His name is Julien de la Drôme. I saw him once when quite young. He is well known: first, through his correspondence, and next, by his mother’s diary. (“Journal d’une bourgeoise pendant la Revolution,” ed. Locroy.)—We have a sketch of David (“La Demagogie à Paris en 1793,” by Dauban, a fac-simile at the beginning of the volume), representing Queen Marie Antoinette led to execution. Madame Julien was at a window along with David looking at the funeral convoy, whilst he made the drawing.—Madame Julien writes in her “Journal,” September 3, 1792: “To attain this end we must will the means. No barbarous humanity! The people are aroused, the people are avenging the crimes of the past three years.”—Her son, a sort of raw, sentimental Puritan, fond of bloodshed, was one of Robespierre’s most active agents. He remembered what he had done, as is evident by Michelet’s narrative, and cast his eyes down, well knowing that his present philanthropy could not annihilate past acts.
[32. ]Archives Nationales, AF. II., 46. Register of the Acts of the Committee of Public Safety, vol. ii., orders of August 3, 1793.
[33. ]On the concentration and accumulation of business, cf. Archives Nationales, ibid., acts of Aug. 4, 5, 6, 1793; and AF. II., 23, acts of Brumaire 1 and 15, year II.—On the distribution and despatch of business in the Committee and the hours devoted to it, see Acts of April 6, June 13, 17, 18, Aug. 3, 1793, and Germinal 27, year II.—After August 3, two sessions were held daily, from 8 o’clock in the morning to 1 o’clock in the afternoon, and from 7 to 10 o’clock in the evening; at 10 o’clock, the Executive Council met with the Committee of Public Safety, and papers were signed about 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning.—The files of AF. II., 23 to 42, contain an account of the doings of the Committee, the minutes of its meetings and of its correspondence. A perusal of these furnishes full details concerning the initiative and responsibility of the Committee. For example (Nivose 4, year II., letters to Fréron and Barras, at Marseilles), “The Committee commend the vigorous measures you have sanctioned in your orders at Marseilles. Marseilles, through you, affords a great example. Accustomed, as you are, to wielding thunderbolts, you are best calculated for still governing it. … How glorious, citizen colleagues, to be able like you, after long continued labors and immortal fame, how gratifying, under such auspices, to return to the bosom of the National Convention!”—(AF. II., 36, Pluviose 7, year II., letter to the representatives on mission at Bordeaux, approving of the orders issued by them against merchants.) “Concealed behind the obscurity of its complots, mercantilism cannot support the ardent, invigorating atmosphere of Liberty; Sybaritic indolence quails before Spartan virtue.”—(AF. II., 37, Pluviose 20, letter to Prieur de la Marne, sent to Nantes to replace Carrier.) “Carrier, perhaps, has been badly surrounded; … his ways are harsh, the means he employs are not well calculated to win respect for the national authority: … he is used up in that city. He is to leave and go elsewhere.”—(AF. II., 36, Nivose 21, letter to Fouché, Laporte, and Albitte, at Commune-affranchie, signed by Billaud-Varennes and composed by him.) “The Convention, Nivose 1, has approved of the orders and other measures taken by you. We can add nothing to its approval. The Committee of Public Safety subjects all operations to the same principles, that is to say, it conforms to yours and acts with you.”
[34. ]Sainte-Beuve, “Nouveaux Lundis,” viii., 105. (Unpublished report by Vice-admiral Villaret-Joyeuse, May 28, 1794.)
[35. ]Carnot, “Mémoires,” i., 107.
[36. ]Ibid., i., 450, 523, 527, “we often ate only a morsel of dry bread on the Committee’s table.”
[37. ]Moniteur, xxi., 362. (Speech by Cambon, Session of Thermidor 11, year II.)
[38. ]Beugnot, “Mémoires,” ii., 15. (Stated by Jean Bon himself in a conversation at Mayence in 1813.)
[39. ]Gaudia, duc de Gaéte, “Mémoires,” i., 16, 28. “I owed my life to Cambon personally, while, through his firmness, he preserved the whole Treasury department, continually attacked by the all-powerful Jacobin club.”—On the 8th of Thermidor, Robespierre was “very severe on the administration of the Treasury, which he accused of an aristocratic and antirevolutionary spirit. … Under this pretext, it was known that the orator meant to propose an act of accusation against the representative charged with its surveillance, as well as against the six commissioners, and bring them before the revolutionary Tribunal, whose verdict could not be doubtful.”—Buchez et Roux, xxxiii., 431, 436, 441. Speech by Robespierre, Thermidor 8, year II. … “Machiavellian designs against the small fund-holders of the State. … A contemptible financial system, wasteful, irritating, devouring, absolutely independent of your supreme oversight. … Antirevolution exists in the financial department. … Who are its head administrators? Brissotins, Feuillants, aristocrats, and well-known knaves—the Cambons, the Mallarmés, the Ramels!”
[40. ]Carnot, “Mémoires,” i., 425.
[41. ]Moniteur, xxiv., 47, 50. (Session of Germinal 2, year II.) Speeches by Lindet and Carnot with confirmatory details.—Lindet says that he had signed twenty thousand papers.—Ibid., xxxiii., 591. (Session of Ventose 12, year III. Speech by Barère.) “The labor of the Committee was divided amongst the different members composing it, but all, without distinction, signed each other’s work. I, myself, knowing nothing of military affairs, have perhaps, in this matter, given four thousand signatures.”—Ibid., xxiv., 74. (Session of Germinal 6, year III.) Speech of Lavesseur, witness of an animated scene between Carnot and Robespierre concerning two of Carnot’s clerks, arrested by order of Robespierre.—Carnot adds “I had myself signed this order of arrest without knowing it.”—Ibid., xxii., 116. (Session of Vendémiaire 8, year II., speech by Carnot in narrating the arrest of General Huchet for his cruelties in Vendée.) On appearing before the Committee of Public Safety, Robespierre defended him and he was sent back to the army and promoted to a higher rank: I was obliged to sign in spite of my opposition.”
[42. ]Carnot, “Mémoires,” i., 572. (Speech by Carnot, Germinal 2, year III.)
[43. ]Sénart, “Mémoires,” 145, 153. (Details on the members of the two committees.)
[44. ]Reports by Billaud on the organisation of the revolutionary government, November 18, 1793: and on the theory of democratic government, April 20, 1794.—Reports by Robespierre on the political situation of the Republic, November 17, 1793; and on the principles of revolutionary government, December 5, 1793.—Information on the genius of revolutionary laws, signed principally by Robespierre and Billaud, November 29, 1793.—Reports by Robespierre on the principles of political morality which ought to govern the Convention, February 5, 1794; and on the relationship between religious and moral ideas and republican principles, May 7, 1794.
[45. ]Billaud no longer goes on mission after he becomes one of the Committee of Public Safety. Robespierre never went. Barère, who is of daily service, is likewise retained at Paris.—All the others serve on the missions and several repeatedly, and for a long time.
[46. ]Moniteur, xxiv., 60. The words of Carnot, session of Germinal 2, year III.—Ibid., xxii., 138, words of Collot, session of Vendémiaire 12, year III. “Billaud and myself have sent into the departments three hundred thousand written documents, and have made at least ten thousand minutes (of meetings) with our own hand.”
[47. ]Dussault, “Fragment pour servir à l’histoire de la Convention.”
[48. ]Thibaudeau, i., 49.
[49. ]Arnault, “Souvenirs d’un Sexagénaire,” ii., 78.
[50. ]“Mémoires d’un Bourgeois de Paris,” by Véron, ii., 14. (July 7, 1815.)
[51. ]Cf. Thibaudeau, “Mémoires,” i., 46. “It seemed, then, that to escape imprisonment, or the scaffold, there was no other way than to put others in your place.”
[52. ]Carnot, “Mémoires,” i., 508.
[53. ]Carnot, i., 527. (Words of Prieur de la Cote d’Or.)
[54. ]Carnot, ibid., 527. (The words of Prieur.)
[55. ]“La Nouvelle Minerve,” i., 355, (Notes by Billaud-Varennes, indited at St. Domingo and copied by Dr. Chervin.) “We came to a decision only after being wearied out by the nightly meetings of our Committee.”
[56. ]Decree of September 17, 1793, on “Suspects.” Ordinance of the Paris Commune, October 10, 1793, extending it so as to include “those who, having done nothing against the Revolution, do nothing for it.”—Cf. “Papers seized in Robespierre’s apartments,” ii., 370, letter of Payan. “Every man who has not been for the Revolution has been against it, for he has done nothing for the country. … In popular commissions, individual humanity, the moderation which assumes the veil of justice, is criminal.”
[57. ]Mortimer-Ternaux, viii., 394, and following pages; 414 and following pages (on the successive members of the two committees).
[58. ]Wallon, “Histoire du Tribunal Révolutionaire,” iii., 129–131. Hérault de Séchelles, allied with Danton, and accused of being indulgent, had just given guarantees, however, and applied the revolutionary régime in Alsace with a severity worthy of Billaud. (Archives des Affaires Étrangérès, vol. v., 141.) “Instructions for civil commissioners by Hérault, representative of the people” (Colmar, Frimaire 2, year II.), with suggestions as to the categories of persons that are to be “sought for, arrested, and immediately put in jail,” probably embracing nineteen-twentieths of the inhabitants.
[59. ]Dauban, “Paris en 1794,” 285, and following pages. (Police Reports, Germinal, year II.) Arrest of Hébert and associates “Nothing was talked about the whole morning but the atrocious crimes of the conspirators. They were regarded as a thousand times more criminal than Capet and his wife. They ought to be punished a thousand times over. … The popular hatred of Hébert is at its height. … The people cannot forgive Hébert for having deceived them. … Popular rejoicings were universal on seeing the conspirators led to the scaffold.”
[60. ]Moniteur, xxiv., 53. (Session of Germinal 2, year III.) Words of Prieur de la Côte d’Or: “The first quarrel that occurred in the Committee was between Saint-Just and Carnot; the latter says to the former, ‘I see that you and Robespierre are after a dictatorship.’ ”—Ibid., 74. Levasseur makes a similar statement.—Ibid., 570. (Session of Germinal 2, year III., words of Carnot): “I had a right to call Robespierre a tyrant every time I spoke to him. I did the same with Saint-Just and Couthon.”
[61. ]Carnot, i., 525. (Testimony of Prieur.) Ibid., 522. Saint-Just says to Carnot: “You are in league with the enemies of the patriots. It is well for you to know that a few lines from me could send you to the guillotine in two days.”
[62. ]Buchez et Roux, xxx., 185. (Reply of Billaud, Collot, Vadier, and Barère to the renewed charges against them by Lecointre.)—Moniteur, xxiv., 84. (Session of Germinal 7, year III.) Words of Barère: “On the 4th of Thermidor, in the Committee, Robespierre speaks like a man who had orders to give and victims to point out.”—“And you, Barère,” he replies, “remember the report you made on the 2nd of Thermidor.”
[63. ]Saint-Just, report on the Girondists, July 8, 1793; on the necessity of imprisoning persons inimical to the Revolution, Feb. 26, 1794; on the Hébertists, March 13; on the arrest of Hérault-Séchelles and Simond, March 17; on the arrest of Danton and associates, March 31; on a general policy, April 15.—Cf., likewise, his report on declaring the government revolutionary until peace is declared, Oct. 10, 1793, and his report of the 9th of Thermidor, year II.
[64. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxi., 346. (Report of March 13, 1794.)—xxxii., 314. (Report of April 15.)
[65. ]See “The Revolution,” ii., 313.
[66. ]A single phrase often suffices to give the measure of a man’s intellect and character. The following by Saint-Just has this merit. (Apropos of Louis XVI. who, refraining from defending himself, left the Tuileries and took refuge in the Assembly on the 10th of August.) “He came amongst you; he forced his way here. … He resorted to the bosom of the legislature; his soldiers burst into the asylum. … He made his way, so to say, by sword thrusts into the bowels of his country that he might find a place of concealment.”
[67. ]Particularly in the long report on Danton containing a historic survey of the factions (Buchez et Roux, xxxii., 76), and the report on the general police (Ibid., 304), with another historic document of the same order. “Brissot and Ronsin (were) recognised royalists. … Since Necker a system of famine has been devised. … Necker had a hand in the Orleans faction. … Double representation (of the Third Estate) was proposed for it.” Among other charges made against Danton; after the fusillade on the Champ de Mars in July, 1791: “You went to pass happy days at Arcis-sur-Aube, if it is possible for a conspirator against his country to be happy. … When you knew that the tyrant’s fall was prepared and inevitable you returned to Paris on the 9th of August. You wanted to go to bed on that evil night. … Hatred, you said, is insupportable to me and (yet) you said to us ‘I do not like Marat,’ etc.” There is an apostrophe of nine consecutive pages against Danton, who is absent.
[68. ]Buchez et Roux, Ibid., 312. “Liberty emanated from the bosom of tempests; its origin dates with that of the world issuing out of chaos along with man, who is born dissolved in tears.” (Applause.)—Ibid., 308. Cf. his portrait, got up for effect, of the “revolutionary man” who is “a treasure of good sense and probity.”
[69. ]Ibid., 312. “Liberty is not the chicanery of a palace; it is rigidity towards evil.”
[70. ]Barère, “Mémoires,” i. 347. “Saint-Just … discussed like a vizier.”
[71. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxii., 314. “Are the lessons furnished by history, the examples afforded by all great men, lost to the universe? These all counsel us to lead obscure lives; the lowly cot and virtue form the grandeurs of this world. Let us seek our habitations on the banks of streams, rock the cradles of our children and educate them in Disinterestedness and Intrepidity.”—As to his political or economic capacity and general ideas, read his speeches and his “Institutions” (Buchez et Roux, xxviii., 133; xxx., 305, xxxv., 369), a mass of chemical and abstract rant.
[72. ]Carnot, i., 527. (Narrated by Prieur.) “Often when hurriedly eating a bit of dry bread at the Committee table, Barère with a jest, brought a smile on our lips.”
[73. ]Véron, ii., 14.—Arnault, ii., 74.—Cf., passim, “Mémoires de Barère,” and the essay on Barère by Macaulay.
[74. ]Vilate, Barère Edition, 184, 186, 244. “Fickle, frank, affectionate, fond of society, especially that of women, in quest of luxuries and knowing how to spend money.”—Carnot, ii., 511. In Prieur’s eyes, Barère was simply “a good fellow.”
[75. ]Moniteur, xxi., 173. (Justification of Joseph Lebon and “his somewhat harsh ways.”) “The Revolution is to be spoken of with respect, and revolutionary measures with due regard. Liberty is a virgin, to raise whose veil is a crime.”—And again: “The tree of Liberty grows when watered with the blood of tyrants.”
[76. ]Moniteur, xx., 580, 582, 583, 587.—“Campagnes de la Revolution Française dans les Pyrénées Orientals,” by Fervel, ii., 36 and following pages.—General Dugommier, after the capture of Toulouse, spared the English general O’Harra, taken prisoner in spite of the orders of the Convention, and received the following letter from the Committee of Public Safety. “The Committee accepts your victory and your wound as compensations.” On the 24th of December, Dugommier, that he may not be present at the Toulon massacres, asks to return to the Convention and is ordered off to the army of the eastern Pyrenees.—In 1797, there were thirty thousand French prisoners in England.
[77. ]Moniteur, xviii., 291. (Speech by Barère, session of Brumaire 8, year II.) At this rate, there are one hundred and forty deputies on mission to the armies and in the departments.—Before the institution of the Committee of Public Safety (April 7, 1793), there were one hundred and sixty representatives in the departments, sent there to hasten the levy of two hundred thousand men. (Moniteur, xvii., 99, speech by Cambon, July 11, 1793.)—The Committee gradually recalled most of these representatives and, on the 16th July, only sixty-three were on mission.—(Ibid., xvii., 152, speech by Gossuin, July 16.)—On the 9th of Nivose, the Committee designated fifty-eight representatives for settling up the revolutionary government in certain places and fixing the limits of their jurisdictions. (Archives Nationales, AF., II., 22.) Subsequently, several were recalled, and replaced by others.—The letters and orders of the representatives on mission are classed in the National Archives according to departments, in two series, one of which comprises missions previous to Thermidor 9, and the other missions after that date.
[78. ]Thibaudeau, “Histoire du Terrorisme dans le department de la Vienne,” p. 4. “Paris, Brumaire 15, the sans-culotte Piorry, representative of the people to the sans-culottes composing the popular club of Poitiers.”
[79. ]Archives Nationales, AF., II., 116. (Letter of Laplanche, Orleans, September 10, 1793.—“Also procès-verbaux of the Orleans sections, September 7.) “I organised them, after selecting them from the popular club, into a revolutionary Committee. They worked under my own eye, their bureau being in an adjoining chamber. … I required sure, local information, which I could not have had without collaborators of the country. … The result is that I have arrested this night more than sixty aristocrats, strangers or ‘suspects.’ ”—De Martel, “Études sur Fouche,” 84. Letter of Chaumette, who posted Fouché concerning the Nevers Jacobins. “Surrounded by royalists, federalists, and fanatics, representative Fouché had only 3 or 4 persecuted patriots to advise him.”
[80. ]Archives Nationales, AF., II., 88. Speech by Rousselin, Frimaire 9.—Ibid., F7, 4,421. Speech and orders issued by Rousselin, Brumaire 25.—Cf. Albert Babeau, “Histoire de Troyes pendant la Revolution,” vol. ii. Missions of Garnier de Rousselin and Bô.
[81. ]Archives Nationales, AF., II., 145. (Order of Maignet, Avignon, Floréal 13, year II., and proclamation of Floréal 14.)—Ibid., AF., II., 111, Grenoble. Prairial 8, year II. Similar orders issued by Albitte and Laporte, for renewing all the authorities of Grenoble.—Ibid., AF., II., 135. Similar order of Ricord at Grasse, Pluviose 28, and throughout the Var.—Ibid., AF., II., 36. Brumaire, year II., circular of the Committee of Public Safety to the representatives on mission in the departments: “Before quitting your post, you are to effect the most complete purification of the constituted authorities and public functionaries.”
[82. ]Decrees of Frimaire 6 and 14, year II.
[83. ]Archives Nationales, AF., II., 22. Acts of the Committee of Public Safety, Nivose 9, year II.
[84. ]Ibid., AF., II., 37. Letter to the Committee on the War, signed by Barère and Billaud-Varennes, Pluviose 23, year II.
[85. ]Ibid., AF., II., 36. Letter of the Committee of Public Safety to Lecarpentier, on mission in l’Orne, Brumaire 19, year II. “The administrative bodies of Alençon, the district excepted, are wholly gangrened; all are Feuillants, or infected with a no less pernicious spirit. … For the choice of subjects, and the incarceration of individuals, you can refer to the sans-culottes: the most nervous are Symaroli and Préval.—At Montagne, the administration must be wholly removed, as well as the collector of the district, and the post-master; … purify the popular club, expel nobles and limbs of the law, those that have been turned out of office, priests, muscadins, etc. … Dissolve two companies, one the grenadiers and the other the infantry who are very muscadin and too fond of processions. … Reform the staff and officers of the National Guard. To secure more prompt and surer execution of these measures of security you may refer to the present municipality, the Committee of Surveillance and the Cannoneers.”
[86. ]Ibid., AF., II., 37. To Ricord, on mission at Marseilles, Pluviose 7, year II. He is rudely lectured: he softens, he went and lodged with N. Même, a suspect; he is too favorable to the Marseilles people who, during the siege “made sacrifices to procure subsistances”; he blamed their arrest, etc.—Floréal 13, year II., to Bouret on mission in the Manche and at Calvados. “The Committee are under the impression that you are constantly deceived by an insidious secretary who, by the bad information he has given you, has often led you to give favorable terms to the aristocracy, etc.”—Ventose 6, year II., to Guimberteau, on mission near the army on the coasts of Cherbourg: “The Committee is astonished to find that the military commission established by you, undoubtedly for striking off the heads of conspirators, was the first to let them off. Are you not acquainted with the men who compose it? For what have you chosen them? If you do not know them, how does it happen that you have summoned them for such duties?”—Ibid., and Ventose 23, order to Guimberteau to investigate the conduct of his secretary.
[87. ]See especially in the “Archives des Affaires Étrangérès,” vols. 324 to 334, the correspondence of secret agents sent into the interior.
[88. ]Archives Nationales, AF., II., 37, to Fromcastel on mission in Indre-et-Loire, Floréal 13, year II. “The Committee sends you a letter from the people’s club of Chinon, demanding the purging and organisation of all the constituted authorities of this district. The Committee requests you to proceed at once to carry out this important measure.”
[89. ]Words of Robespierre, session of the Convention September 24, 1793.—On another representative, Merlin de Thionville, who likewise stood fire, Robespierre wrote as follows: “Merlin de Thionville, famous for surrendering Mayence, and more than suspected of having received his reward.”
[90. ]Guillon, ii., 207.—“Fouché,” by M. de Martel, 292.
[91. ]Hamel, iii., 395, and following pages.—Buchez et Roux, xxx., 435. (Session of the Jacobin Club, Nivose 12, year II. Speech of Collot d’Herbois.) “Today I no longer recognise public opinion; had I reached Paris three days later, I should probably have been indicted.”
[92. ]Marcelin Boudet, “Les Conventionnels d’Auvergne,” 438. (Unpublished memoir of Maignet.)
[93. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxiv., 165, 191. (Evidence of witnesses on the trial of Carrier.)—Paris, ii., 113, “Histoire de Joseph Lebon.” “The prisons,” says Le Bon, “overflowed at St. Pol. I was there and released two hundred persons. Well, in spite of my orders, several were put back by the Committee of Surveillance, authorised by Lebas, a friend of Darthé. What could I do against Darthé supported by Saint-Just and Lebas? He would have denounced me.”—Ibid., 128, apropos of a certain Lefèvre, “veteran of the Revolution,” arrested and brought before the revolutionary Tribunal by order of Lebon. “It was necessary to take the choice of condemning him, or of being denounced and persecuted myself, without saving him.”—Beaulieu, “Essai,” v., 233. “I am afraid and I cause fear was the principle of all the revolutionary atrocities.”
[94. ]Ludovic Sciout, “Histoire de la Constitution civile du Clergé,” iv., 136. (Orders of Pinét and Cavaignac, Pluviose 22, and Ventose 2.)—Moniteur, xxiv., 469. (Session of Prairial 30, year III., denunciation of representative Laplanche at the bar of the house, by Boismartin.) On the 24th of Brumaire, year II., Laplanche and General Seepher installed themselves at St. Lô in the house of an old man of seventy, a M. Lemonnier then under arrest. “Scarcely had they entered the house when they demanded provisions of every kind, linen, clothes, furniture, jewelry, plate, vehicles and title-deeds—all disappeared.” Whilst the inhabitants of St. Lô were living on a few ounces of brown bread, “the best bread, the choicest wines, pillaged in the house of Lemonnier, were lavishly given in pans and kettles to General Seepher’s horses, also to those of representative Laplanche.” Lemonnier, set at liberty, could not return to his emptied dwelling then transformed into a storehouse. He lived at the inn, stripped of all his possessions, valued at sixty thousand livres, having saved from his effects only one silver table-service, which he had taken with him into prison.
[95. ]Marcelin Boudet, 446. (Notes of M. Ignace de Barante.) Also 440. (Unpublished memoir of Maignet).
[96. ]Archives Nationales, AF., II., 59. Extract from the minutes of the meetings of the People’s Club of Metz, and depositions made before the Committee of Surveillance of the Club, Floréal 12, year II., on the conduct of representative Duquesnoy, arrived at Metz the evening before at six o’clock.—There are thirty-two depositions, and among others those of M. Altmayer, Joly, and Clédat. One of the witnesses states: “As to these matters, I regarded this citizen (Duquesnoy) as tipsy or drunk, or as a man beside himself.”—This is customary with Duquesnoy.—Cf. Paris, “His. de Joseph Lebon,” i., 273, 370.—“Archives des Affaires Étrangérès,” vol. 329. Letter of Gadolle, September II, 1793. “I saw Duquesnoy, the deputy, dead drunk at Bergues, on Whit-Monday, at 11 o’clock in the evening.”—“Un Séjour en France, 1792 to 1796, p. 136. “His naturally savage temper is excited to madness by the abuse of strong drink. General de —— assures us that he saw him seize the mayor of Avesnes, a respectable old man, by the hair on his presenting him with a petition relating to the town, and throw him down with the air of a cannibal.” “He and his brother were dealers in hops at retail, at Saint Pol. He made this brother a general.”
[97. ]Alexandrine des Echerolles, “Une famille noble sous la Terreur,” 209. At Lyons, Marin, the commissioner, “a tall, powerful, robust man with stentorian lungs,” opens his court with a volley of “republican oaths.” … The crowd of solicitors melts away. One lady alone dared present her petition. “Who are you?” She gives her name. “What! You have the audacity to mention a traitor’s name in this place?” Get away! and, giving her a push, he put her outside the door with a kick.
[98. ]Ibid. A mass of evidence proves, on the contrary, that people of every class gave their assistance, owing to which the fire was almost immediately extinguished.
[99. ]Ibid. The popular club unanimously attests these facts, and despatches six delegates to enter a protest at the Convention. Up to the 9th of Thermidor, no relief is granted, while the tax imposed by Duquesnoy is collected. On the 5th Fructidor, year II., the order of Duquesnoy is cancelled by the Committee of Public Safety, but the money is not paid back.
[100. ]Paris, i., 370. (Words of Duquesnoy to Lebon.)
[101. ]Carnot, “Mémoires,” i., 414. (Letter of Duquesnoy to the central bureau of representatives at Arras.)
[102. ]“Un Séjour en France,” 158, 171.—Manuscript journal of Mallet-Dupan (January, 1795).—Cf. his letters to the Convention, the jokes of jailors and sbirri, for instance.—(Moniteur, xviii., 214, Brumaire 1, year II.)—Lacretelle, “Dix Années d’ Epreuves,” 178. “He ordered that everybody should dance in his fief of Picardy. They danced even in prison. Whoever did not dance was “suspect.” He insisted on a rigid observance of the fêtes in honor of Reason, and that everybody should visit the temple of the Goddess each decadi, which was the cathedral (at Noyon). Ladies, bourgeoises, seamstresses, and cooks, were required to form what was called the chain of Equality. We dragoons were forced to be performers in this strange ballet.”
[103. ]De Martel, “Fouché,” 418. (Orders of Albitte and Collot, Nivose 13, year II.)
[104. ]Camille Boursier, “Essai sur la Terreur en Anjou,” 225. Letter of Vacheron, Frimaire 15, year II. “Républiquain, it is absolutely necessary, immediately, that you have sent or brought into the house of the representatives, a lot of red wine, of which the consumption is greater than ever. People have a right to drink to the Republic when they have helped to preserve the Commune you and yours live in. I hold you responsible for my demand.” Signed, le républiquain, Vacheron.”
[105. ]Ibid., 210. Deposition of Madame Edin, apropos of Quesnoy, a prostitute, aged twenty-six, Brumaire 12, year III.; and of Rose, another prostitute. Similar depositions by Benaben and Scotty.
[106. ]Dauban, “La Demagogie en 1793,” p. 369. (Extracts from the unpublished memoirs of Mercier de Rocher.)—Ibid., 370. “Bourdon de l’Oise had lived with Tuncq at Chantonney, where they kept busy emptying bottles of fine wine. Bourdon is an excellent patriot, a man of sensibility, but, in his fits of intoxication, he gives himself up to impracticable views.” “Let those rascally administrators,” he says, “be arrested!” Then, going to the window—he heard a runaway horse galloping in the street—“That’s another antirevolutionist! Let ’em all be arrested!”—Cf. “Souvenirs,” by General Pélleport, p. 21. At Perpignan, he attended the fête of Reason. “The General in command of the post made an impudent speech, even to the most repulsive cynicism. Some prostitutes, well known to this wretch, filled one of the tribunes; they waved their handkerchiefs and shouted “Vive la Raison!” After listening to similar harangues by representatives Soubrang and Michaud, Pélleport, although half cured (of his wound) returns to camp: “I could not breathe freely in town, and did not think that I was safe until facing the enemy along with my comrades.”
[107. ]Archives des Affaires Étrangérès, vol. 332; correspondence of secret agents, October, 1793. “Citizen Cusset, representative of the people, shows no dignity in his mission; he drinks like a Lapithe, and when intoxicated commits the arbitrary acts of a vizier.” For the style and orthography of Cusset, see one of his letters. (Dauban, “Paris en 1794,” p. 14.)—Berryat St. Prix, “La Justice Révolutionnaire” (2d ed.), 339.
[108. ]Ibid., 371. (According to “Piecés et Documents” published by M. Fajon.)—Moniteur, xxiv., 453. (Session of Floréal 24, year III.) Address of the Commune of St. Jean du Gard.—xxi., 528. (Session of Fructidor 2, year III.) Address of the Popular Club of Nismes.
[109. ]Moniteur, xxiv., 602. (Session of Prairial 13, year III.) Report of Durand-Meillan: “This denunciation is only too well supported by documents. It is for the Convention to say whether it will hear them read. I have to state beforehand that it can hear nothing more repulsive nor better authenticated.”—De Martel, “Fouché, 246. (Report of the constituted authorities of la Nièvre on the missions of Collot d’Herbois, Laplanche, Fouché, and Pointe, Prairial 19, year III.) Laplanche, a former Benedictine, is the most foul-mouthed.” In his speech to the people of Moulins-Engelbert, St. Pierre-le-Montier, and Nevers, Laplanche asked girls to surrender themselves and let modesty go. “Beget children,” he exclaims, “the Republic needs them. Continence is the virtue of fools.” Bibliotheque Nationale, Lb. 41, No. 1802. (Denunciation, by the six sections of the Dijon commune to the Convention, of Leonard Bourdon and Piochefer Bernard de Saintes, during their mission in Côte d’ Or.) Details on the orgies of Bernard with the municipality, and on the drunkenness and debaucheries of Bourdon with the riff-raff of the country; authentic documents proving the robberies and assassinations committed by Bernard. He pillaged the house of M. Micault, and, in four hours, had this person arrested, tried and guillotined; he attended the execution himself, and that evening, in the dead man’s house, danced and sung before his daughter with his acolytes.
[110. ]“Souvenirs,” by General Pélleport, p. 8. He, with his battalion, is inspected in the Place du Capitale, at Toulouse, by the representative on mission. “It seems as if I could see that actor. He tossed his hideous, plumed head and dragged along his sabre like a toy soldier, that he might appear brave. It made me feel sad.”
[111. ]Fervel, “Campagnes des Français dans les Pyrénées Orientals,” i., 169. (October, 1793.)—Ibid., 201, 206.—Cf. 188. Plan of Fabre for seizing Roses and Figuières, with eight thousand men, without provisions or transports. “Fortune is on the side of fools,” he said. Naturally the scheme fails. Collioure is lost, and disasters accumulate. As an offset to this the worthy general Dagobert is removed. Commandant Delatre and chief-of-staff Ramel are guillotined. In the face of the impracticable orders of the representatives the commandant of artillery commits suicide. On the devotion of the officers and enthusiasm of the troops. Ibid., 105, 106, 130, 131, 162.
[112. ]Sybel (Dosquet’s translation [French]), ii., 435; iii., 132, 140. (For details and authorities, cf. the Memoirs of Marshal Soult.)
[113. ]Gouvion St. Cyr, “Mémoires sur les campagnes de 1792 à la paix de Campio-Formio,” i., pp. 91 to 139.—Ibid., 229. “The effect of this was to lead men who had any means to keep aloof from any sort of promotion.”—Cf., ibid., ii., 131 (November, 1794), the same order of things still kept up. By order of the representatives the army encamps during the winter in sheds on the left bank of the Rhine, near Mayence, a useless proceeding and mere literary parade. “They would listen to no reason; a fine army and well-mounted artillery were to perish with cold and hunger, for no object whatever, in quarters that might have been avoided.” The details are heart-rending. Never was military heroism so sacrificed to the folly of civilian commanders.
[114. ]See Paris, “Histoire de Joseph Lebon,” i., ch. I, for biographical details and traits of character.
[115. ]Ibid., i., 13. His mother became crazy and was put in an asylum. Her derangement, he says, was due to “her indignation at his vows and at his appointment to the curacy of Nouvelle-Vitasse.”
[116. ]Ibid., i., 123. Speech by Lebon in the church of Beaurains.
[117. ]Ibid., ii., 71, 72.—Cf. 85. “Citizen Chamonart, wine-dealer, standing at the entrance of his cellar, sees the representative pass, looks at him and does not salute him. Lebon steps up to him, arrests him, treats him as an “agent of Pitt and Cobourg.” … “They search him, take his pocket-book and lead him off to the Anglaises (a prison).”
[118. ]Ibid., ii., 84.
[119. ]Moniteur, xxv., 201. (Session of Messidor 22, year III.) “When in the tribune (of the Convention) prison conspiracies were announced … my dreams were wholly of prison conspiracies.”
[120. ]Ibid., 211. (Explanations given by Lebon to the Convention.)—Paris, ii., 350, 351. (Verdict of the jury.)
[121. ]Paris, ii., 85.
[122. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxiv., 181. (Depositions of Monneron, a merchant.).
[123. ]Ibid., 184. (Deposition of Chaux.)—Cf. 200. (Depositions of Monneron and Villemain, merchants.).
[124. ]Ibid., 204. (Deposition of Lamarie, administrator of the department.).
[125. ]Ibid., 173. (Deposition of Erard, a copyist.)—168. (Deposition of Thomas, health officer.) “To all his questions, Carrier replied in the grossest language.”
[126. ]Ibid., 203. (Deposition of Bonami, merchant.)
[127. ]Ibid., 156. (Deposition of Vaujois, public prosecutor to the military commission.)
[128. ]Ibid., 169. (Deposition of Thomas.)—Berryat Saint-Prix, pp. 34, 35.—Buchez et Roux, 118. “He received the members of the popular club with blows, also the municipal officers with sabre thrusts, who came to demand supplies.” … “He draws his sabre (against the boatman) and strikes at him, which he avoids only by running away.”
[129. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxiv., 196. (Deposition of Julien.) “Carrier said to me in a passion: ‘It is you, is it, you d—— beggar, who presumes to denounce me to the Committee of Public Safety. … As it is sometimes necessary for the public interests to get rid of certain folks quickly, I won’t take the trouble to send you to the guillotine, I’ll be your executioner myself!”
[130. ]Ibid., 175. (Deposition of Tronjolly.) 295. (Depositions of Jean Lavigne, a shopkeeper; of Arnandan, civil commissioner; also of Corneret, merchant.) 179. (Deposition of Villemain).—Berryat Saint-Prix, 34. “Carrier, says the gendarme Desquer, who carried his letters, was a roaring lion rather than an officer of the people.” “He looked at once like a charlatan and a tiger,” says another witness.
[131. ]Ibid., xxxiv., 204. (Deposition of Lamarie.)
[132. ]Ibid., 183. (Deposition of Caux.)
[133. ]Mallet-Dupan, “Mémoires,” ii., 6. (Memorial of Feb. 1, 1794.) On André Dumont, “Un Séjour en France,” 158, 171.—On Merlin de Thionville, Michelet, vi., 97.
[134. ]De Martel, “Fouché,” 109.
[135. ]Mallet-Dupan, ii., 46.
[136. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxii., 413, 423. (Letter of Julien to Robespierre.)
[137. ]Archives Nationales, AF., II., 111. An order issued by Bourbotte, Tours, Messidor 5, year II., “requiring the district administration to furnish him personally, as well as for the citizens attached to his commission, forty bottles of red wine and thirty of white wine, to be taken from the cellars of emigrés, or from those of persons condemned to death; and, besides this, fifty bottles of common wine other than white or red.”—On the 2d of Messidor, ale is drank and there is a fresh order for fifty bottles of red wine, fifty of common wine, and two bottles of brandy.—De Martel, “Fouché,” 419, 420.—Moniteur, xxiv., 604. (Session of Prairial 13, par iii.) “Dugué reads the list of charges brought against Mallarmé. He is accused … of having put in requisition whatever pleased him for his table and for other wants, without paying for anything, not even for the post-horses and postillions that carried him.”—Ibid. 602. Report of Perès du Gers. “He accuses Dartigoyte … of having taken part with his secretaries in the auction of the furniture of Daspe, who had been condemned; of having kept the most valuable pieces for himself, and afterwards fixing their price; of having warned those who had charge of the sale that confinement awaited whoever should bid on the articles he destined for himself.”—Laplanche, ex-Benedictine, said in his mission in Loiret, that “those who did not like the Revolution must pay those who make it.”
[138. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxii., 426. (Extract from the Memoirs of Sénart.)—Hamel, iii., 565. (Description of Teresa’s domicile by the Marquis de Paroy, a petitioner and eye-witness.)
[139. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxiii., 12. (Extract from the Memoirs of Sénart.) “The certified copies of these drafts are on file with the Committee of General Security.”
[140. ]Report of Courtois, 360. (Letters of Julien to Robespierre, Pluviose 15 and 16, year II.)—Buchez et Roux, xxxiv., 199, 200, 202, 203, 211. (Depositions of Villemain, Monneron, Legros, Robin.)—Berryat Saint-Prix, 35. (Depositions of Fourrier and of Louise Courant, sempstress.)
[141. ]See, on Tallien, “Mémoires de Sénart.”—On Javogues, Moniteur, xxiv., 461, Floréal 24, III. Petition against Javogues, with several pages of signatures, especially those of the inhabitants of Montbrison: “In the report made by him to the Convention he puts down coin and assignats at seven hundred and seventy-four thousand six hundred and ninety-six francs, while the spoils of one person provided him with five hundred thousand francs in cash.”—On Fouché, De Martel, 252.—On Dumont, Mallet-Dupan, “Manuscript notes.” (January, 1795.)—On Rovère, Michelet, vi., 256.—Carnot, ii., 87. (According to the Memoirs of the German Olsner, who was in Paris under the Directory): “The tone of Barras’ Salon was that of a respectable gambling house; the house of Rewbell resembled the waiting-room of an inn at which the mail-coach stops.”
[142. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxii., 391, and xxxiii., 9. (Extracts from the Memoirs of Sénart.)
[143. ]Carnot, “Mémoires,” i. 416. Carnot, having shown to the Committee of Public Safety, proofs of the depredations committed on the army of the North, Saint-Just got angry and exclaimed: “It is only an enemy of the Republic that would accuse his colleagues of depredations, as if patriots hadn’t a right to everything!”
[144. ]As to Caligula see Suetonius and Philo.—With respect to Hakem, see “L’Exposé de la Religion des Druses,” by M. de Sacy.
[145. ]Saint-Just, speaking in the Convention, says: “What constitutes a republic is the utter destruction of whatever is opposed to it.”
[146. ]Orders issued by Saint-Just and Lebas for the departments of Pas-de-Calais, Nord, la Somme et l’Aisne.—Cf. “Histoire de l’Alsace,” by Stroebel, and “Recueil de pièces authentiques pour servir à l’histoire de la Révolution à Strasbourg,” 3 vols.—Archives Nationales AF., II., 135, orders issued Brumaire 10, year II., and list of the one hundred and ninety-three persons taxed.
[147. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxi., 32. (Saint-Just’s reply to Mayor Monet.)—De Sybel, ii., 447, 448. At the first interview Saint-Just said to Schneider: “Why use so much ceremony? You know the crimes of the aristocrats? In the twenty-four hours taken for one investigation you might have twenty-four condemned.”
[148. ]“Journal de marche du sergent Fricasse,” p. 34. (Narrative by Marshal Soult.)
[149. ]Cf. in the Bible, the story of Ahasuerus who, out of respect for his own majesty, cannot retract the order he has issued against the Jews, but he turns the difficulty by allowing them to defend themselves.
[150. ]Mallet-Dupan, ii., 47.
[151. ]Berryat Saint-Prix, “La Justice Révolutionnaire,” xvii.—Marcelin Boudet, “Les Conventionnels d’Auvergne,” 269.—Moniteur, Brumaire 27, year III., report by Calès.
[152. ]Paris, “Histoire de Joseph Lebon,” i., 371; ii., 341, 344.—De Martel, “Fouché,” 153.—Berryat Saint-Prix, 347, 348.
[153. ]Berryat Saint-Prix, 390. Ibid., 404. (On Soubrié, executioner at Marseilles, letter of Lazare Giraud, public prosecutor): “I put him in the dungeon for having shed tears on the scaffold, in executing the antirevolutionists we sent to be executed.”
[154. ]Moniteur, xviii., 413. (Session of the Convention, letter of Lequinio and Laignelot, Rochefort, Brumaire 17, year II.) “We have appointed the patriot Anse guilloteneur and we have invited him, in dining with us, to come and assume his prescribed powers, and water them with a libation in honor of the Republic.”—Paris, ii., 72.
[155. ]Marcelin Boudet, 270. (Testimony of Bardanèche de Bayonne.)
[156. ]Guillon, “Histoire de la ville de Lyons pendant la Révolution,” ii., 427, 431, 433.
[157. ]“Mémoire du Citoyen Fréron,” (in the Barrière collection), p. 357. (Testimony of a survivor.)
[158. ]Paris, ii., 32.
[159. ]Delandine, “Tableaux des prisons de Lyons,” p. 14.
[160. ]Camille Boursier, “Essai sur la Terreur en Anjou,” 164. (Letter of Boniface, ex-Benedictine, president of the Revolutionary Committee, to Representative Richard, Brumaire 3, year II.) “We send you the said Henri Verdier, called de la Saurinière. … It will not be long before you will see that we make the guillotine a present. … The Committee begs you to send him sacram sanctam guillotinam, and the republican minister of his worship. … Not an hour of the day passes that new members do not come to us whom we desire to initiate in its mysteries, (sic).”
[161. ]Thibaudière, “Histoire du Terrorisme dans le départment de la Vienne,” 34, 48.—Berryat Saint-Prix, 239.
[162. ]Archives Nationales F7, 4,435. (Letter of Lebon, Floréal 23, year II.)—Paris, i., 241.
[163. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxiv., 184, 200. (Depositions of Chaux, Monnéron and Villemain.)
[164. ]Register of the revolutionary Tribunal of Nantes, copied by M. Chevrier. (M. Chevrier has kindly sent me his manuscript copy.)—Berryat Saint-Prix, 94.—Archives Nationales, F7, 4,591. (Extract from the acts of the Legislative Committee, session of Floréal 3, year III. Restitution of the confiscated property of Alexander Long to his son.) Dartigoyte, at Auch, did what Carrier did at Nantes. “It follows from the above abstract duly signed that on the 27th Germinal, year II., between eight and nine o’clock in the evening, Alexandre Long, Sr., was put to death on the public square of the commune of Auch by the executioner of criminal sentences, without any judgment having been rendered against the said Long.”—In many places an execution becomes a spectacle for the Jacobins of the town and a party of pleasure. For instance, at Arras, on the square devoted to executions, a gallery was erected for spectators with a room for the sale of refreshments, and, during the execution of M. de Montgon, the “Ca ira” is played on the bass drum. (Paris, ii., 158, and i., 159.) A certain facetious representative has rehearsals of the performance in his own house. “Lejeune, to feed his bloodthirsty imagination, had a small guillotine put up, on which he cut off the heads of all the poultry consumed at his table. … Often, in the middle of the repast, he had it brought in and set to work for the amusement of his guests.” (Moniteur, xxiv., 607, session of June 1, 1795, letter from the district of Besançon, and with the letter, the confirmatory document.) “This guillotine, says the reporter, is deposited with the Committee of Legislation.”