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CHAPTER I - Hippolyte Taine, The French Revolution, vol. 3 
The French Revolution, 3 vols., trans. John Durand, (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002). Vol. 3.
Part of: The French Revolution, 3 vols.
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I.The Convention after Thermidor 9—Reaction against the Terrorists—Aversion to the Constitutionalists—The danger they run if they lose power—II.Decrees for the reelection of the Two-thirds—Small number of Voters—Manoeuvres for preventing electors from voting on the decrees—Frauds in the returns of votes—Maintenance of the decrees by force—Recruiting of Roughs—The military employed—The 13th of Vendémiaire— III.The Directory chosen among the regicides—It selects agents of its own species—Leading Jacobins are deprived of their civic rights—The Terrorists are set free and restored to their civic rights—Example at Blois of these releases and of the new administrative staff—IV.Resistance of public opinion—Elections, year IV., at Paris and in the provinces—The Directory threatened by ultra Jacobins—Forced amelioration of the Jacobin administration—V.Elections of year V.—Character and sentiments of the elected—The new majority in the Corps Législatif—Its principles and programme—Danger and anxiety of the Jacobin minority—Indecision, division, scruples, and weakness of the moderate party—Decision, want of scruples, force, and modes of procedure of the Jacobin faction—The 18th of Fructidor—VI.Dictatorship of the Directory—Its new prerogatives—Purgation of the Corps Législatif—Purification of the administrative and judicial authorities—Military commissions in the provinces—Suppression of newspapers—The right of voting reserved to Jacobins alone—Despotism of the Directory—Revival of Terror—Transportation substituted for the guillotine—Treatment of the transported on the way, in Guyanna, and on the islands of Rhé and Oléron—Restoration of Jacobin feudalism—VII.Application and aggravation of the laws of the reign of Terror—Measures taken to impose civic religion—Arrest, transportation, and execution of Priests—Ostracism proposed against the entire anti-Jacobin class—The nobles or the ennobled, not émigrés, are declared foreigners—Decrees against émigrés of every class—Other steps taken against remaining proprietors—Bankruptcy, forced loan, hostages—VIII.Propagandism and foreign conquests—Proximity and advantages of peace—Motives of the Fructidoreans for breaking off peace negotiations with England, and for abandoning the invasion of foreign countries—How they found new republics—How governed—Estimate of foreign rapine—Number of French lives sacrificed in the war—IX.National antipathy to the established order of things—Paralysis of the State—Intestinal discords of the Jacobin party—Coup d’état of Floréal 22, year VI.—Coup d’état of Prairial 30, year VII.—Impossibility of establishing a practicable government—Plans of Barras and Siéyès—X.Antisocial character of the sect and the faction—Contrast between civil and military France—Elements of reorganisation in institutions, habits, and in military sentiments—Character of the régime instituted on the 18th of Brumaire, year VIII.
Nevertheless they too, these glutted sovereigns, are anxious, and seriously so, and we have just seen in what direction; their object is to keep in office, that they may preserve their lives, and henceforth this is their sole concern. A good Jacobin, up to the 9th of Thermidor, could, by shutting his eyes, still believe in his creed;1 after the 9th of Thermidor, unless born blind, like Soubrany, Romme, and Goujon, a fanatic whose intellectual organs are as rigid as the limbs of a fakir, nobody in the Convention can longer believe in the Contrat-Social, in a despotic equalising socialism, in the merits of Terror, in the divine right of the pure. For, to escape the guillotine of the pure, the purest had to be guillotined, Saint-Just, Couthon, and Robespierre, the high-priest of the sect: that very day the Montagnards, in giving up their doctor, abandoned their principles, and there is no longer any principle or man to which the Convention could rally; in effect, before guillotining Robespierre and his associates as orthodox, it guillotined the Girondists, Hébert, and Danton, as heretics. Now, “the existence of popular idols and of head charlatans is irrevocably ended.”2 Ever the same conventional symbol before the empty sanctuary in the blood-stained temple, and ever the same loud-intoned anthem; but faith is gone, and only the acolytes remain to drone out the revolutionary litany, old train-bearers and swingers of incense, the subaltern butchers who, through a sudden stroke, have become pontiffs; in short, the valets of the church who have donned the mitres and croziers of their masters after having assassinated them.
From month to month, under the pressure of public opinion, they detach themselves from the worship at which they have officiated, for, however blunted or perverted their consciences, they cannot avoid admitting that Jacobinism, as they have practised it, was the religion of robbery and murder. Previous to Thermidor an official phraseology3 drowned with its doctrinal roar the living truth, while each Conventional sacristan or beadle, confined to his own chapel, saw clearly only the human sacrifices in which he himself had taken part. After Thermidor, the friends and kindred of the dead, the oppressed, make their voices heard, and he is forced to see collectively and in detail all the crimes to which, nearly or remotely, he has contributed either through his assent or through his vote, the same as in Mexico, the priest of Huichilobos walks about in the midst of the six hundred thousand skulls amassed in the vaults of his temple. Blow after blow, during the whole of year III., the truth unintermittingly declares itself through the freedom of the press and the great public discussions. First, comes an account of the funereal journey of one hundred and thirty-two Nantese, dragged from Nantes to Paris,4 and the solemn acquittal, received with transports, of the ninety-four who survive. After this, come the trials of the most prominent terrorists, that of Carrier and the Revolutionary Committee of Nantes, that of Fouquier-Tinville and the old revolutionary Tribunal of Paris, that of Joseph Lebon,5 and, during thirty or forty consecutive sessions, hundreds of minute, verified depositions ending in the most complete and satisfactory testimony. In the mean time, revelations multiply at the tribune of the Convention; these consist of the letters of the new representatives on mission and the denunciations of the towns against their overthrown tyrants; against Maignet, Dartigoyte, Piochefer-Bernard, Levasseur, Crassous, Javogues, Lequinio, Lefiot, Piorry, Pinet, Monestier, Fouché, Laplanche, Lecarpentier, and many others; add to these the reports of commissions charged with examining into the conduct of old dictators, Collot d’Herbois, Billaud-Varennes, Barère, Amar, Vouland, Vadier and David; the reports of the representatives charged with investigating certain details of the abolished system, that of Grégoire on revolutionary vandalism, that of Cambon on revolutionary taxes, that of Courtois on Robespierre’s papers. All these rays combine in a terrible illumination which imposes itself even on the eyes that turn away from it; it is now but too plain that France, for fourteen months, has been devastated by a gang of bandits; all that can be said in favor of the least perverted and the least vile is that they were born so, or had become crazy.6 The growing majority of the Convention cannot evade this testimony and the Montagnards excite its horror; and all the more, because it bears them a grudge; the seventy-three put in confinement and the sixteen proscribed who have resumed their seats, with the four hundred mutes who have so long sat under the knife, remember the oppression to which they have been subject, and they turn first against the vilest wretches, and then against the members of the old committees. The “Mountain,” upon this, as usual with it, launches forth its customary supporters in the riots of Germinal and Prairial, the greedy populace, the Jacobin rabble, and proclaims anew the reign of Terror; the Convention again sees the knife over its head. Saved by young men, by the National Guard, it becomes courageous through fear, and, in its turn, it terrorises the terrorists; the Faubourg St. Antoine is disarmed, ten thousand Jacobins are arrested,7 and more than sixty Montagnards are decreed under indictment; Collot, Billaud, Barère, and Vadier are to be transported; nine other members of former committees are to be imprisoned; the last of the veritable fanatics, Romme, Goujon, Soubrany, Duquesnoy, Bourbotte, and Duroy are condemned to death; immediately after the sentence five of them stab themselves on the stairs of the tribunal; two of the wounded who survive are borne, along with the sixth, to the scaffold and guillotined; two Montagnards of the same stamp, Rhul and Maure, kill themselves before their sentence. Henceforth the purged Convention regards itself as pure; its final rigor has expiated its former baseness, the guilty blood which it spills washing away the stains of the innocent blood it had shed before.
Unfortunately, in condemning the terrorists, it pronounced its own condemnation; for it has authorised and sanctioned all their crimes. On its benches, in its committees, often in the president’s chair, at the head of the ruling coterie, still figure the members of the revolutionary government, many of the avowed terrorists like Bourdon de l’Oise, Bentabolle, Delmas, and Rewbell; presidents of the September commune like Marie Chénier; those who carried out “the 31st of May,” like Legendre and Merlin de Douai, author of the decree which created six hundred thousand suspects in France; provincial executioners of the most brutal and most ferocious sort, the greatest and most cynical robbers like André Dumont, Fréron, Tallien, and Barras. Under Robespierre, the four hundred mutes “du ventre” were the reporters, the voters, the claqueurs, and the agents of the worst decrees against religion, property, and persons. The foundations of Terror were all laid by the seventy-three in confinement before they were imprisoned, and by the sixteen who were proscribed before their proscription. Excepting ten or a dozen who stayed away, the Convention, in a mass, pronounced judgment against the King and declared him guilty; more than one-half of the Convention, the Girondists at the head of them, voted his death. The hall does not contain fifty honorable men in whom character sustains conscience, and who had a right to carry their heads erect.8 In no law they passed, good or bad, did the other seven hundred have in view the interests of their constituents; in all their laws, good or bad, they solely regarded their own interests. So long as the attacks of the “Mountain” and of the rabble affected the public only, they lauded them, decreed them, and had them executed; if they finally rebelled against the “Mountain,” and against the rabble, it was at the last moment, and solely to save their lives. Before, as after the 9th of Thermidor, before, as after the 1st of Prairial, the mainsprings of the conduct of these pusillanimous oppressors or involuntary liberators were baseness and egoism. Hence, “the contempt and horror universally poured out against them; only Jacobins could be still more odious!”9 If further support is given to these faithless mandatories, it is because they are soon to be put out. On the premature report that the Convention is going to break up, people accost each other in the street, exclaiming, “We are rid of these brigands, they are going at last. … People caper and dance about as if they could not repress their joy; they talk of nothing but the boy (Louis XVIII. confined in the Temple), and the new elections. Everybody agrees on excluding the present deputies. … There is less discussion on the crimes which each has committed than on the insignificance of the entire assemblage, while the epithets of vicious, used up, and corrupt have almost wholly given way to thieves and scoundrels.”10 Even in Paris, during the closing months of their rule, they hardly dare appear in public: “in the dirtiest and most careless costume which the tricolor scarf and gold fringe makes more apparent, they try to escape notice in the crowd11 and, in spite of their modesty, do not always avoid insult and still less the maledictions of those who pass them.” In the provinces, at home, it would be worse for them; their lives would be in danger; in any event, they would be dragged through the gutter, and this they know. Save about “twenty of them,” all who are not to succeed in entering the new Corps Legislatif, will intrigue for offices in Paris and become “state messengers, employees in bureaux, and ushers to ministers”; in default of other places they would accept those of “hall-sweeps.” Any refuge for them is good against the reprobation of the public, which is already rising and submerging them under its tide.
There is no other refuge for them except in supreme power, and no other means for maintaining this but in the excesses of despotism, dishonesty, mendacity, and violence. In the Constitution they manufacture, they desire to remain the sovereigns of France and they decree12 at once that, willingly or not, France must select two-thirds of its new representatives from amongst them, and, that she may make a good selection, it is prudent to impose the selection upon her. There is a show, indeed, of consulting her in the special decrees which deprive her of two-thirds of her elective rights but, as in 1792 and in 1793, it is so contrived that she consents, or seems to consent, to this arrangement.13 In the first place, they relied on the majority of electors abstaining from a response. Experience indeed, had shown that, for a long time, the masses were disgusted with the plebiscite farces; moreover, terror has stifled in individuals all sentiment of a common interest;14 each cares for himself alone. Since Thermidor, electors and mayors in the boroughs and in the rural districts are found with a good deal of difficulty, even electors of the second degree; people saw that it was useless and even dangerous to perform the duties of a citizen; they would have nothing to do with public functions. A foreigner writes,15 after traversing France from Bourg-en-Bresse to Paris: “Ninety times out of a hundred that I have asked the question, ‘Citizen, what was done in the primary meeting of your canton?’ the answer would be: ‘Me, citizen, what have I to do with it? I’ faith, they had hard work to agree!’ Or, ‘What’s the use? There were not many there! Honest folks stayed at home.’ ” In effect, out of at least six million electors convoked, five millions do not come near the ballot-box, there being no embarrassment in this matter as they do not vote.16
In the second place, precautions have been taken to prevent those who come to vote on the Constitution from entertaining the idea of voting on the decrees. No article of the Constitution, nor in the decrees, calls upon them to do so; slight inducement is held out to them to come, in a vague style, through an oratorical interrogation, or in a tardy address.17 In addition to this, on the printed blanks sent to them from Paris, they find but three columns, one for the number of votes accepting the Constitution, another for the number rejecting it, and the third for “written observations” in case there are any. There are no special columns for marking the number of votes accepting or rejecting the decrees. Thereupon, many illiterate or ill-informed electors might think that they were convoked to vote solely on the Constitution and not at all on the decrees, which is just what happened, and especially in the remote departments, and in the rural assemblies. Moreover, many assemblies, nearer Paris and in the towns, comprehend that if the Convention consults them it is only for form’s sake; to give a negative answer is useless and perilous; it is better to keep silent; as soon as the decrees are mentioned they very prudently “unanimously” demand the order of the day.18 Hence out of five primary assemblies on the average which vote for or against the Constitution, there is only one which votes for or against the decrees.19 Such is the mode of getting at the voice of the nation. Apparently, it is induced to speak; practically, its silence is ensured.
The last and most ingenious expedient of all: when a primary assembly speaks too loudly it is taken for granted that it kept silent. In Paris, where the electors are more clear-sighted and more decided than in the provinces, in eighteen well-known departments, and probably in many others, the electors who voted on the decrees almost all voted against them; in many cases, even their minutes state that the negative vote was “unanimous,” but the minutes fail to state the exact number of the noes. On this, in the total of noes hostile to the decrees, these noes are not counted.20 Through this trickery, the Convention, in Paris alone, reduced the number of negatives by fifty thousand and the same in the provinces, after the fashion of a dishonest steward who, obliged to hand in an account, falsifies the figures by substituting subtractions for additions. Such is the way, in relation to the decrees, in which, out of the three hundred thousand votes which it accepts, it is able to announce two hundred thousand yeas and one hundred thousand noes and thus proclaim that its master, the sovereign people, after giving it a general acquittance, a discharge in full, invests it anew with its confidence and expressly continues its mandate.
It now remains to keep by force this power usurped by fraud. Immediately after the suppression of the Jacobin riots the Convention, menaced on the right, turns over to the left; it requires allies, persons of executive ability; it takes them wherever it can find them, from the faction which decimated it before Thermidor and which, since Thermidor, it decimates. Consequently, its executive committee suspends all proceedings begun against the principal Montagnards; a number of terrorists, former presidents of the sections, “the matadors of the quarter,” arrested after Prairial 1, are set free at the end of a month. They have good arms, are accustomed to vigorous striking without giving warning, especially when honest folks are to be knocked down or ripped open. The stronger public opinion is against the government the more does the government rely on men with bludgeons and pikes, on the strikers “turned out of the primary assemblies,” on the heroes of September 2 and May 31, dangerous nomads, inmates of Bicêtre, paid assassins out of employment, and roughs of the Quinze-Vingts and Faubourg St. Antoine.21 Finally on the 11th of Vendémiaire, it gathers together fifteen or eighteen hundred of them and arms them in battalions.22 Such brigands are they, Menon, “major-general of the army of the interior and commandant of the armed force of Paris,” comes the next day with several of his staff-officers and tells the Committee of Five that he “will not have such bandits in his army nor under his orders. I will not march with a lot of rascals and assassins organised in battalions” under the name of “patriots of ’89.” The true patriots, indeed, of ’89 are on the other side, the constitutionalists of 1791, sincere liberals, “forty thousand proprietors and merchants,” the élite and mass of the Parisian population,23 “the majority of men really interested in public matters,” and at this moment, the common welfare is all that concerns them. Republic or royalty is merely a secondary thought, an idea in the back-ground; nobody dreams of restoring the ancient régime; but very few are preoccupied with the restoration of a limited monarchy.24 “On asking those most in earnest what government they would like in place of the Convention, they reply ‘We want that no longer, we want nothing belonging to it; we want the Republic and honest people for our rulers.’ ”25 That is all; their uprisal is not a political insurrection against the form of the government, but a moral insurrection against the criminals in office. Hence, on seeing the Convention arm their old executioners against them, “the tigers” of the Reign of Terror, admitted malefactors, they cannot contain themselves.26 “That day,” says a foreigner, who visited many public places in Paris, “I saw everywhere the deepest despair, the greatest expression of rage and fury. … Without that unfortunate order the insurrection would probably not have broken out.” If they take up arms it is because they are brought back under the pikes of the Septembriseurs, and under Robespierre’s axe. But they are only national guards; most of them have no guns;27 they are in want of gunpowder, those who have any having only five or six charges; “the great majority do not think of fighting”; they imagine that “their presence is merely needed to enforce a petition”; they have no artillery, no positive leader; it is simply excitement, precipitation, disorder, and mistaken manoeuvres.28 On the contrary, on the side of the Convention, with Henriot’s old bullies, there are eight or nine thousand regular troops, and Bonaparte; his cannon, which rake the rue St. Honoré and the Quai Voltaire, mow down five or six hundred sectionists; the rest disperse, and henceforth the check-mated Parisians are not to take up their guns against the Jacobin faction whatever it does.
Supreme authority is once more in the hands of the revolutionary coterie. In conformity with its decrees of Fructidor, it first obliges electors to take two-thirds of their new representatives from the Convention, and as, notwithstanding its decrees, the electoral assemblies have not reelected a sufficient number of the Conventionalists, it nominates itself the one hundred and four which are wanting, from a list prepared by its Committee of Public Safety; in this way, in the council of the Five Hundred, as in the Council of the Ancients, it secures a certain majority in both houses of the Corps Legislatif. In the executive branch, in the Directory, it assures itself of unanimity; for the Five Hundred, adroitly preparing the lists, impose their candidates on the Ancients, the five names being selected beforehand, Barras, Lareveillère-Lepeaux, Rewbell, Letourneur and Siéyès, and then, on Siéyès refusing, Carnot, all of them regicides and, under this terrible title, bound at the risk of their heads, to maintain the regicide faction in power. Naturally the Directory chooses its agents from amongst those like itself,29 ministers and the employees of their departments, ambassadors and consuls, officers of all ranks, collectors of taxes direct and indirect, administrators of the national domains, commissioners of civil and criminal courts, and the commissioners of the departmental and municipal administrations. Again, having the right to suspend and dismiss all elected administrative bodies, it exercises this right; if the local authorities of any town, canton, or department seem to be anti-Jacobin, it sets them aside and, either on its own authority, or with the assent of the Corps Legislatif, replaces them with Jacobins on the spot.30 In other respects, the Convention has done its best to relieve its clients of their principal adversaries and most popular rivals; the night before its dissolution, it excluded from every “legislative, municipal, administrative, and judicial function,”31 even that of juryman, not only the individuals who, rightly or wrongly, had been put on a list of émigrés and not yet stricken off, but likewise their fathers, sons and grandsons, brothers and brothers-in-law, their connections of the same degree, uncles and nephews, probably two or three hundred thousand Frenchmen, nearly the whole of the élite of the nation, and to this it adds the rest of this élite, all the honest and energetic who, in the late primary or electoral assemblies have “provoked or signed” any manifestation against its despotism; if still in office they are to resign within twenty-four hours, or be sent into perpetual exile. Through this legal incapacity of the anti-Jacobins, the field is free to the Jacobins; in many places, for lack of candidates that please them, most of the electors stay away from the polls; besides this, the terrorists resort to their old system, that is to say to brutal violence.32 On again obtaining the support of the government they have raised their heads and are now the titular favorites. The Convention has restored to them the civic rights of which they had deprived their adversaries: “every decree of indictment or arrest” rendered against them, “every warrant executed or not, all proceedings and suits” begun, every sentence bearing on their revolutionary acts, is cancelled.33 The most “atrocious” Montagnards, the most sanguinary and foul proconsuls, Dartigoyte and Piochefer-Bernard, Darthé, Lebon’s secretary, Rossignol the great September massacrer, the presidents of former revolutionary committees, “patriotic robbers, seal-breakers” and garroters, brazenly promenade the streets of Paris.34 Barère himself, who, condemned to transportation, universally execrated as he traverses France, and who, everywhere on his journey, at Orleans, Tours, Poitiers, Niort, comes near being torn to pieces by the people, Barère is not sent off to Guienne; he is allowed to escape, to conceal himself and live tranquilly at Bordeaux. Furthermore, Conventionalists of the worst species, like Monestier and Foussedoire return to their natal department to govern it as government commissioners.
Consider the effect of these releases and of these appointments in a town which, like Blois, has seen the assassins at work, and which, for two months, follows their trial.35 Seven of them, members of the Revolutionary Committee, commanders of the armed force, members of the district or department, national agents in Indre-et-Loire, charged with conducting or receiving a column of eight hundred laborers, peasant women, priests and “suspects,” cause nearly six hundred of them to be shot, sabred, drowned, or knocked down on the road, not in self-defence or to prevent escape, for these poor creatures tied two and two marched along like sheep without a murmur, but to set a good revolutionary example, so as to keep the people in proper subjection by terror and enable them to line their pockets.36
A minute investigation has unfolded before the judges, jury, and public of Blois a long series of authentic facts and proofs, with eight days of pleading and the most complete and glaring evidence; the sentence is about to be pronounced. Suddenly, two weeks before Vendémiaire 13, a decree annuls the proceedings, which have already cost over six hundred thousand livres, and orders a new trial in another form. Next, after Vendémiaire 13, a representative arrives at Blois and his first care is to set the massacrers free. About thirty knaves ruled the town during the Reign of Terror, all strangers, save four or five, “all more or less befouled with crime”; at first, the principal slaughterers—Hézine, Gidouin, and their accomplices of the neighboring districts, Simon, and Bonneau the ex-mayor of Blois, Bézard, a former soldier, convicted of peculation and of robbing cellars which he had put under sequestration, Berger, an ex-monk, and then dragoon who, with pistol in hand, forced the superior of his old convent to give up the funds of the community, Giot, formerly a chief-butler of Monsieur (the King’s brother), next, a judge in the September massacres and then a quartermaster in the Pyrenees army and a pillager in Spain, then secretary to the Melun tribunal of which he stole the cash, along with other nomads and outlaws of the same stamp, most of them sots and roysterers, one an ex-schoolmaster, another an ex-ladies hair-dresser, another an ex-chair-bearer; all of them a vile lot, chosen by the government for its agents, and, under new titles, resuming their old positions. At the head of the armed force is Gen. Bonnard, who is accompanied by a prostitute and who passes his time in orgies, pilfering wherever he can, and so shameless in his thievery as to be condemned, six months later, to three months in irons;37 on arriving at Blois, he organises “a paid guard, composed of all the most abject Jacobins.” Elsewhere, as here,38 it is the full staff of the Reign of Terror, the petty potentates dethroned after Thermidor, the political Bohemians restored to their functions; and, it seems, after Vendémiaire 13, that the Jacobin band had made the conquest of France a second time.
Not yet, however, for, if it has recovered its authority, it has not yet recovered the dictatorship. In vain do Barras and Tallien, Dubois-Crancé, Merlin de Douai, and Marie Chénier, Delmas, Louvet, Siéyès, and their rotten, headlong crew, the habitués of power, the despotic, unscrupulous theorists, try to postpone indefinitely the opening of the Corps Legislatif, to annul the elections, to purge the Convention, to reëstablish for their own advantage that total concentration of powers which, under the title of revolutionary government, has converted France into a pachalic in the hands of the old Committee of Public Safety:39 the Convention has become alarmed for itself; at the last moment the plot is exposed, the blow frustrated;40 the Constitution, decreed, is put in operation, the system of the law has replaced the system of arbitrariness. The Jacobin invasion, through that alone, is checked and then arrested; the nation is in a condition to defend itself and does defend itself; it gradually regains lost ground, even at the centre. At Paris, the electoral body,41 which is obliged to take two-thirds of its deputies from the Convention, takes none of the regicide deputation representing Paris; all who are chosen, Lanjuinais, Larivière, Fermon, Saladin, Boissy d’Anglas, wished to save the King, and nearly all were proscribed after the 31st May. The departments show the same spirit. The members of the Convention for whom the provinces show a decided preference are the most prominent of the anti-Jacobins: Thibaudeau is reelected by thirty-two electoral colleges, Pelet de la Lozére by seventy-one, Boissy d’Anglas by seventy-two, Lanjuinais by seventy-three. As to the two hundred and fifty of the new third, these are liberals of 1789 or moderates of 1791,42 most of them honorable men and many of them well-informed and of real merit, jurisconsults, officers, administrators, members of the Constitutional Assembly or Feuillants in the Legislative Assembly, Mathieu Dumas, Vaublanc, Dupont de Nemours, Siméon, Barbé-Marbois and Tronçon-Ducoudray. The capital, especially, chose Dambray, former general-advocate to the Paris parliament, and Pastoret, former minister of Louis XVI.; Versailles sends the two celebrated lawyers who defended the King before the Convention, Tronchet and De Séze. Now, previous to the 13th Vendémiaire, two hundred members of the Convention had already heartily sided with the Parisian electors43 against the terrorists. This makes a strong opposition minority in the Corps Legislatif marching along protected by the Constitution; behind it and behind them march the élite and the plurality of Frenchmen awaiting something better. The Directory is obliged to act cautiously with this large group, so well supported by public opinion, and, accordingly, not to govern à la Turk; to respect, if not the spirit, at least the letter of the law, and not to exercise a too barefaced influence on local elections. Hence most of the local elections remain free; in spite of the decree excluding every relation of an émigré and every notorious opponent of the government from present and future offices, in spite of fear, lassitude, and disgust, in spite of the small number of votes, the rarity of candidates and the frequent refusal of the elected to serve,44 the nation substantially exercises its privilege of electing its administrators and judges according to its preferences. Consequently, the very large majority of new administrators in the departments, cantons, and municipalities, and the very large majority of new civil and criminal judges and justices of the peace are, like the new third of the Convention, highly esteemed or estimable men, untainted with excesses, still preserving their hopes of 1789, but preserved from the outset against, or soon cured of, the revolutionary fever. Every decree of spoliation or persecution loses some of its force in their hands. Supported by the steady and manifest will of their present constituents, we see them resisting the commissioners of the Directory, at least protesting against their exactions and brutality, gaining time in favor of the proscribed, dulling the point of, or turning aside, the Jacobin sword.
Again, on the other hand, the government which holds this sword dare not, like the Committee of Public Safety, thrust it in up to the hilt; if wielded as before it might slip from its grasp; the furious in its own camp are ready to wrest it away and turn the blade against it. It must defend itself against the reviving clubs, against Baboeuf and his accomplices, against the desperadoes who, through a nocturnal attempt, try to stir up the Grenelle camp: in Paris, there are four or five thousand now ready to undertake a “civic St. Bartholomew,” with the old Conventionists who could not get themselves elected, at their head—Drouet, Amar, Vadier, Ricord, Laignelot, Chaudieu, Huguet, Cusset, Javogues; alongside of them, the friends of Chalier, Robespierre’s and Marat’s followers, and the disciples of Saint-Just, Bertrand de Lyon, Buonarotti, Antonelle, Rossignol and Baboeuf; behind them, the bandits of the street, those “who gutted houses during the Revolution,” peculators or Septembriseurs out of employment, in short, the relics of the terrorist gang or of the revolutionary army. Their plan, in accordance with their precedents, character, and principles, consists not only in despatching “the rascals who keep coaches, the moneyed men and monopolisers,” all the deputies and functionaries who do not resign at the first summons, but again, and especially, in killing “the General of the Interior, his staff, the seven ministers and the five ‘cocked-hats’ (panachés) of the Luxembourg,” that is to say, the five Directors themselves. Such allies are troublesome. Undoubtedly, the government, which considers them as its forlorn hope, and that it may have need of them in a crisis, spares them as much as possible;45 it allows Drouet to escape, and lets the trial of the Babouvists drag along, only two of them being guillotined, Baboeuf and Darthé; most of the others are acquitted or escape. Nevertheless, for its own salvation, it is led to separate from the fiercest Jacobins and draw near to peaceable citizens. Through this internal discord of the ruling faction, honest people hold on the offices they occupy on the elections of the year IV.; no decree comes to deprive them of their legal arms, while, in the Corps Legislatif, as in the administrations and the tribunals, they count on carrying new positions in the elections of the year V.
“It was a long time,” writes a small trader of Evreux, “since so many people were seen at the elections.46 … The eight electors for the town obtained at the first ballot the absolute majority of suffrages. … Everybody went to the polls so as to prevent the nomination of any elector among the terrorists, who had declared that their reign was going to return.” In the environs of Blois, a rural proprietor, the most circumspect and most peaceable of men, notes in his journal47 that “now is the time to take a personal interest. … Every sound-thinking man has promised not to refuse any office tendered to him so as to keep out the Jacobins. … It is reasonably hoped that the largest number of the electors will not be terrorists and that the majority of the Corps Legislatif being all right, the minority of the furious, who have only one more year of office, will give way (in 1798) to men of probity not steeped in crime. … In the country, the Jacobins have tried in vain: people of means who employed a portion of the voters, obtained their suffrages, every proprietor wishing to have order. … The Moderates have agreed to vote for no matter what candidate, provided he is not a Jacobin. … Out of two hundred and thirty electors for the department, one hundred and fifty are honest and upright people. … They adhered to the last Constitution as to their sole palladium, only a very few of them dreaming of reestablishing the ancient régime.” Their object is plain enough; they are for the Constitution against the Revolution, for limited power against discretionary power, for property against robbery, for upright men against thieves. “Would you prevent, say the administrative authorities of Aube,48 a return to the disastrous laws of the maximum, of monopolies, to the resurrection of paper-money? … Would you, as the price of a blameless life, be once more humiliated, robbed, imprisoned, tortured by the vilest, most repulsive, and most shameless of tyrants? You have only one recourse: do not fail to go to your primary assemblies and remain there.” The electors, warned by their late personal and bloody souvenirs, rush to the polls in crowds and vote according to their consciences, although the government through the oaths it imposes, its official candidatures, its special commissioners, its intimidation and its money, bears down with all its weight on the resolutions they have taken; although the Jacobins at Nevers, Macon, and elsewhere, have forcibly expelled officers legally elected from their bureaux, and stained the hall with their blood,49 “out of eighty-four departments sixty-six elected a plurality of electors from among the antirepublicans, eight being neither good nor bad, while only ten remained loyal to the Jacobins.”50 Appointed by such electors, we can divine what the new Third will be. “Of the two hundred and fifty Conventionalists excluded by fate scarcely five or six have been reelected; there are but eight departments in which the Jacobins have had any success.” Immediately after the arrival of the new representatives, the roll of the Corps Legislatif having been checked off, it is found that “the Government has seventy out of two hundred and fifty voices among the Ancients, and two hundred out of five hundred among the Council of the Young,” and soon less than two hundred, one hundred and thirty51 at most, who will certainly be excluded at the coming renewal of the chambers by more and more anti-Jacobin elections. One year more, as the rulers themselves admit, and not one Conventionalist, not one pure Jacobin, will sit in the Corps Legislatif and, therefore, according to the revolutionists, the counter-revolution will be effected in the year VI.
This means that the Revolution is to end in the year VI., and that the pacific reign of law will be substituted for the brutal reign of force. In fact, the great majority of the representatives and almost the entire French nation have no other end in view: they wish to rid themselves of the social and civil régime to which they have been subject since the 10th of August, 1792, and which, relaxed after Thermidor 9, but renewed by the 13th of Vendémiaire, has lasted up to the present time, through the enforcement of its most odious laws and the maintenance of its most disreputable agents. This is all. Not twenty avowed or decided royalists could be found in the two Councils;52 there are scarcely more than five or six—Imbert-Colomès, Pichegru, Willot, Delarne—who may be in correspondence with Louis XVIII. and disposed to raise the white flag. For the other five hundred, the restoration of the legitimate King, or the establishment of any royalty whatever, is only in the background; they regard it only at a distance, as a possible accompaniment and remote consequence of their present undertaking. In any event, they would accept only “the mitigated monarchy,”53 that which the Liberals of 1788 hoped for, that which Mounier demanded after the days of October 5 and 6, that advocated by Barnave after the return from Varennes, that which Malouet, Gouverneur Morris, Mallet-Dupan and all good observers and wise councillors of France, always recommended. None of them propose to proclaim divine right and return to aristocratic feudalism; each proposes to abrogate revolutionary right and destroy Jacobin feudalism. The principle condemned by them is that which sustains the theory of anarchy and despotism, the application of the Contrat-Social,54 a dictatorship established by coups d’état, carried on arbitrarily and supported by terror, the systematic and dogmatic persistence of assaults on persons, property and consciences, the usurpation of a vicious, fanatical minority which has devastated France for five years and, under the pretext of everywhere setting up the rights of man, purposely maintaining a war to propagate its system abroad. That which they are really averse to is the Directory and its clique, Barras with his court of gorged contractors and kept women, Rewbell with his family of extortioners, stamp of a parvenu and ways of a tavern keeper, Larevellière-Lepaux with his hunchback vanity, philosophic pretensions, sectarian intolerance, and silly airs of a pedantic dupe. What they demand in the tribune,55 is the purification of the administration, the suppression of jobbery, and an end to persecution; according as they are more or less excited or circumspect they demand legal sentences or simply the removal of Jacobins in office, the immediate and entire suppression or partial and careful reform of the laws against priests and worship, against émigrés and the nobles.56 Nobody has any idea of innovation with respect to the distribution of public powers, or to the way of appointing central or local authorities. “I swear on my honor,” writes Mathieu Dumas, “that it has always been my intention to maintain the Republican Constitution, persuaded as I am that, with a temperate and equitable administration, it might give repose to France, make liberty known and cherished, and repair in time the evils of the Revolution; I swear that no proposals, direct or indirect, have ever been made to me to serve, either by my actions, speech or silence, or cause to prevail in any near or remote manner, any other interest than that of the Republic and the Constitution.” “Among the deputies,” says Camille Jordan, “several might prefer royalty; but they did not conspire, regarding the Constitution as a deposit entrusted to their honor. … They kept their most cherished plans subordinate to the national will; they comprehended that royalty could not be reestablished without blows and through the development of this bill.” “Between ourselves,” says again Barbé-Marbois, “there were disagreements as to the way of getting along with the Directory, but none at all as to the maintenance of the Constitution.”57 Almost up to the last moment they confined themselves strictly to their legal rights, and when, towards the end, they were disposed to set these aside, it was simply to defend themselves against the uplifted sabre above their heads.58 It is incontestable that their leaders are “the most estimable and the ablest men in the Republic,”59 the only representatives of free suffrage, mature opinions, and long experience, the only ones at least in whose hands the Republic, restored to order and justice, would have any chance of becoming viable, in fact, the only liberals. And this is the reason why the merely nominal Republicans were bound to crush them.
In effect, under a government which disavows attacks on persons and on public or private property, not only is the Jacobin theory impossible, but Jacobin wrongs are condemned. Now, the Jacobins, even if they have abjured their principles, remember their acts. They become alarmed on the arrival of the first Third, in October, 1795: “The Conventionalists,” writes one of the new deputies,60 “look upon us as men who will one day give them up to justice.” After the entry of the second Third, in May, 1797, their fright increased; the regicides, especially, feel that “their safety depends only on an exclusive and absolute dominion.”61 One day, Treilhard, one of their notables, alone with Mathieu Dumas, says to this old Feuillant and friend of Lafayette, of well known loyalty and moderation: “You are very honest and very able men, and I believe that you really desire to maintain the government as it is, because neither for you nor for us is there any sure way of substituting another for it. But we Conventionalists cannot allow you to go on; whether you mean it or not, you are gradually leading us to our certain ruin; there is nothing in common between us.” “What guarantee do you then require?” “But one. After that, we’ll do all you want—we’ll let you relax the springs—give us this guarantee and we’ll follow you blindly!” “Well, what do you mean by that?” “Enter the tribune and declare that if you had been a member of the Convention, you would have voted the death of Louis XVI. as we did!” “You demand an impossibility. You would not do this in our place. You sacrifice France to vain terrors.” “No, the risk is not equal; our heads are at stake!” Perhaps their heads, but certainly their power, places, fortunes, comforts, and pleasures, all that in their eyes makes it worth while to live. Every morning, seventy Paris newspapers and as many local gazettes in the large towns of the provinces expose, with supporting documents, details and figures, not merely their former crimes, but, again, their actual corruption, their sudden opulence founded on prevarication and rapine, their bribes and peculations—one, rewarded with a sumptuously furnished mansion by a company of grateful contractors; another, son of a bailiwick attorney and a would-be Carthusian, now possessor of ecclesiastical property, restored by him at a great outlay for hunting-grounds; another also monopolises the finest land in Seine-et-Oise; another, the improvised owner of four châteaux; another, who has feathered his nest with fifteen or eighteen millions,62 with their loose or arbitrary ways of doing things, their habits as hoarders or spendthrifts, their display and effrontery, their dissipations, their courtiers, and their prostitutes. How can they renounce all this? And all the more because this is all they have. These jaded consciences are wholly indifferent to abstract principles, to popular sovereignty, to the common weal, to public security; the thin and brittle coating of sonorous phrases under which they formerly tried to hide the selfishness and perversity of their lusts, scales off and falls to the ground. They themselves confess that it is not the Republic for which they are concerned, but for themselves above everything else, and for themselves alone; so much the worse for it if its interest is opposed to their interest; as Siéyès will soon express it, the object is not to save the Revolution but the revolutionists. Thus disabused, unscrupulous, knowing that they are staking their all, and resolute, like their brethren of August 10, September 2, and May 31, like the Committee of Public Safety, they are determined to win, no matter at what cost or by what means, the same as their brethren of August 10, September 2, and May 31. For this time again, the Moderates cannot comprehend a declaration of war, and that it is war to the knife. They do not agree amongst themselves; they want to gain time, they hesitate and take refuge in constitutional forms—they do not act. The strong measures which the eighty decided and clear-sighted deputies propose, are weakened or suspended by the precautions of the three hundred others, short-sighted, unreliable, or timid.63 They dare not even avail themselves of their legal arms, annul the military division of the interior, suppress Augereau’s commission, and break the sword presented at their throats by the three conspiring Directors. In the Directory, they have only passive or neutral allies, Barthélémy, who had rather be assassinated than murder, Carnot, the servant of his legal pass-word, fearing to risk his Republic, and, moreover, calling to mind that he had voted for the King’s death. Among the “Five Hundred” and the “Ancients,” Thibaudeau and Tronçon-Ducoudray, the two leaders “du ventre,” arrest the arms of Pichegru and other energetic men, prevent them from striking, allow them only to ward off the blow, and always too late. Three days after the 10th of Fructidor, when, as everybody knew and saw, the final blow was to be struck, the eighty deputies, who change their quarters so as not to be seized in their beds, cannot yet make up their minds to take the offensive. On that day, an eye-witness64 came to Mathieu Dumas and told him that, the evening before, in Barras’ house, they discussed the slaughter or transportation to Cayenne of about forty members of the two Councils, and that the second measure was adopted; on which a commandant of the National Guard, having led Dumas at night into the Tuileries garden, showed him his men concealed behind the trees, armed and ready to march at the first signal; he is to possess himself at once of the Luxembourg (palace)65 which is badly guarded, and put an end to Barras and Rewbell on the spot: in war one kills so as not to be killed, and, when the enemy takes aim, you have the right to fire without waiting. “Only,” says the commandant, “promise me that you will state in the tribune that you ordered this attack, and give me your word of honor.”66 Mathieu Dumas refuses, simply because he is a man of honor. “You were a fool,” Napoleon afterwards said to him in this connection, “you know nothing about revolutions.” In effect, honor, loyalty, horror of blood, respect for the law, such are the weak points of the party.
The opposite sentiments form the strong points of the other party. On the side of the triumvirs nobody knows twinges of conscience, neither Barras, a condottiere open to the highest bidder, and who understands the value of blows, nor Rewbell, a sort of bull, who, becoming excited, sees red, nor Merlin de Douai, the terrible legist, lay inquisitor, and executioner in private.67 As usual with the Jacobins, these men have unsheathed the sword and brandished it. In contempt of the constitution, they provoked discussions in the army and let the Corps Legislatif see that, if it did not yield, it would be put out at the point of the bayonet. They let loose against it, “as in the good old times,”68 their executive riff-raff, and line the avenues and tribunes with “their bandits of both sexes.” They collect together their gangs of roughs, five or six thousand terrorists from Paris and the departments, and two thousand officers awaiting orders or on half-pay. In default of Hoche, whose unconstitutional approach was reported and then prevented, they have Augereau, arrived expressly from Italy, and who states publicly, “I am sent for to kill the royalists.” It is impossible to find a more narrow-minded and greater military bully; Rewbell, himself, on seeing him, could not help but exclaim: “What a sturdy brigand!” On the 18th of Fructidor this official swordsman, with eight or ten thousand troops, surrounds and invades the Tuileries; the representatives are arrested in their committee-rooms or domiciles, or pursued, tracked, and hunted down, while the rest of their opponents, notables, officers, heads of bureaux, journalists, former ministers and directors, Barthélémy and Carnot, are treated in the same way. Barbé-Marbois, on demanding by virtue of what law they were arrested,69 is told, “by the law of the sabre,” while Sotin, Minister of the Police, adds with a smile, “You may be sure that after what I have taken on myself, it matters little whether one is more or less compromised.” Thus purged, the two Councils complete their purgation; they cancel, in forty-nine departments, the election of their colleagues; through this decree and transportation, through forced and voluntary resignations, two hundred and fourteen representatives are withdrawn from the Corps Legislatif, while one hundred and eighty others, through fear or disgust, cease to attend its meetings.70 Nothing remains of the two Councils, except, as in the English Parliament under Cromwell, a “rump,” which rump does business under drawn swords. In the Council of the Ancients, which, on the 18th of Fructidor, discussed at midnight71 the decree of transportation, “groups of grenadiers, with a haggard look, in brusque language, with threatening gestures” and fixed bayonets, surround the amphitheatre, and, mingled with the soldiers and civil cut-throats, shout out their orders. Such are the supporters of the scandalous stories got up by the Directory; voters who need this sort of argument to make them believe in the grand conspiracy which it denounces, to associate Barthélémy, Carnot, Siméon, Barbé-Marbois, Boissy d’Anglas, Mathieu Dumas, Pastoret, Tronçon-Ducoudray as accomplices with a knot of subordinate intriguers, contemptible “monkeys” (marmosets), dolts or spies, whose papers have been in the hands of the police for six months, and whom it forces to speak under lock and key.72 All are enveloped in the same net, all are confounded together under the same title, all are condemned en masse without evidence or formality. “Proofs!” exclaims an orator, “none are necessary against the royalist faction. I have my own convictions.”73 “Formalities!” exclaims another, “the enemies of the country cannot invoke formalities which they would have despised had they triumphed.” “The people are there,” says a third, pointing to a dozen ill-looking men who are present; “the whole people ought to prevail against a few individuals!” “Hurry up!” shouts a soldier, who wants the discussion ended, “patriots, march, double-quick!” The debate, nevertheless, drags along, and the Government, growing impatient, is obliged to intervene with a message: “The people,” says the message, “want to know what has become of the Republic, what you have done with it. … The conspirators have men who know something, even among yourselves.” That is understood, and besides, the representatives comprehend that if they do not transport, they themselves will be transported. Therefore, “about fourteen or fifteen stand up for the decree, while seven are against it; the rest remain motionless”: it is thus that the decree to save the Constitution is freely and legally passed. Four years before this a similar decree had passed to expel the Girondists, just in the same way, with this exception that, at that time, the Mountain made use of the populace, while now the army is employed; but save the difference in the figurants, the performance is simply a repetition of the same drama that was played on the 2d of June, and is now again played on the 18th of Fructidor.74
Thus is the system of 1793 revived, the concentration of all public powers in the hands of an oligarchy, a dictatorship exercised by about a hundred men grouped around five or six leaders. More independent, more despotic and less provisional than any Committee of Public Safety, the Directory has arrogated to itself the legal right of placing a commune in a state of siege, of introducing troops within the constitutional circle75 in such a way that it may, at its discretion, violate Paris and the Corps Legislatif. In this body, mutilated by it and watched by its hireling assassins,76 sit the passive mutes who feel themselves “morally proscribed and half-transported,”77 who abandon debate, and vote with its stipendiaries and valets;78 in fact, as formerly with the Convention, the two Councils have become chambers “of registry” of legislative mechanism charged with the duty of countersigning its orders. Its sway over the subordinate authorities is still more absolute. In forty-nine departments, specially designated by decree, all the administrators of departments, cantons and municipalities, all mayors, civil and criminal judges, all justices of the peace, all elected by popular suffrage, are dismissed en masse,79 while the cleaning out in the rest of France is almost as sweeping. We can judge by one example: in the department of Doubs, which is not put down among those to be weeded out, five hundred and thirty administrators or municipal magistrates are turned out in 1797, and, in addition, forty-nine others in 1798; the Directory puts its creatures in their places: suddenly, the departmental, cantonal, municipal, and judicial system, which was American, becomes Napoleonic; the local agents, instead of being delegates of the people, are government delegates. Note, especially, the most threatening of all usurpations, the way in which this government takes justice into its hands and attributes to itself the right of life and death over persons: not only does it break up common criminal courts and reorganise them as it pleases, not only does it renew and select among the purest Jacobins judges of the court of appeals, but again, in each military division, it institutes a special and expeditious court without appeal, composed of docile officers, subofficers, and soldiers, which is to condemn and execute within twenty-four hours, under pretext of emigration or priesthood, every man who is obnoxious to the ruling factions. As to the twenty-five millions of subjects it has just acquired, there is no refuge: even the right of complaint is interdicted. Forty-two opposition or “suspect” journals are silenced at one stroke, their stock plundered, or their presses broken up; three months after this, sixteen more take their turn, and, in a year, eleven others; the proprietors, editors, publishers and contributors, among whom are La Harpe, Fontanes, Fièvée, Michaud and Lacretelle, a large body of honorable or prominent writers, the four or five hundred men who compose the staff of the profession, all condemned without trial to transportation,80 or to imprisonment, are arrested, take flight, conceal themselves, or keep silent. The only voice now heard in France is the speaking-trumpet of the government.
Naturally, the faculty of voting is as restricted as the faculty of writing, while the victors of Fructidor, who possess the right to speak, monopolise the right of electing. The government, on the first day, renewed the decree which the expiring Convention had rendered against allies or relations of émigrés; in addition to this, it excluded all relations or allies of the members of the primary assemblies, and forbade the primary assemblies to choose any of these for electors. Henceforth, all upright or even peaceful citizens consider themselves as warned and stay at home; voting is the act of a sovereign, and therefore a privilege of the new sovereigns, which is the view of it entertained by both sovereigns and subjects:81 “a republican minority operating legally must prevail against a majority influenced by royalism.”82 They are to see the government on election days, launching forth “in each department its commission agents, and controlling votes by threats and all sorts of promises and seductions,83 arresting the electors and presidents of the primary assemblies,” even pouncing on refractory Jacobins, invalidating the returns of a majority when not satisfactory to them, and rendering the choice of a minority valid, if it suited them, in short, constituting itself the chief elector of all local and central authorities. Finally, all institutions, laws, public and private rights, are down, and the nation, body and soul, again becomes, as under Robespierre, the property of its rulers, with this sole difference, that the kings of Terror, postponing their constitution, openly proclaim their omnipotence, whilst the others hypocritically rule under a constitution which they have themselves destroyed, and reign by virtue of a title which interdicts royalty to them.
They, too, maintain themselves by Terror; only, like so many Tartuffes, they are not disposed to act openly as executioners. The Directory, heir to the Convention, affects to repudiate its inheritance: “Woe,” says Boulay de la Meurthe, “to whoever would reestablish scaffolds.” There is to be no guillotine; its purveyors have been too strongly denounced; they stand too near the red stream and view with too great nervous horror those who fed it. It is better to employ death at a distance, lingering and spontaneous, with no effusion of human blood, “dry,” less repulsive than the other sort, but more painful and not less certain; this shall be imprisonment on the marshes of Rochefort, and, better still, transportation to the feverish coasts of Guyanna: there is no distinction between the mode used by the Convention and that of the Directory, except the distinction between to kill and to cause death.84 Moreover, every brutality that can be employed to repress the indignation of the proscribed by fear is exhausted on the way. The first convoy which bears away, with thirteen others, Barthélémy, who negotiated the treaty of Basle, Pichegru, the conqueror of Holland, Lafond-Ladébat, president of the Council of the Five Hundred, Barbé-Marbois, president of the Council of the Ancients, was at first provided with carriages;85 an order of the Directory substitutes for these the prison van, an iron car with one door bolted and padlocked, and, overhead, openings through which the rain poured in streams, and with common boards for seats; this lumbering machine without springs rolls along at a fast trot along the ruts in the road, each jolt sending the condemned inmates against the hard oak sides and roof; one of these, on reaching Blois, “shows his black-and-blue elbows.” The man selected to command this escort is the vilest and most brutal reprobate in the army, Dutertre, a coppersmith foreman before the Revolution, next an officer and sentenced to be put in irons for stealing in the La Vendée war, and such a natural robber that he again robs his men of their pay on the road; he is evidently qualified for his work. On stopping at Blois, “he passes the night in an orgy with his brothers and friends,” fellow-thieves and murderers as above described, cursing Madame Barbé-Marbois who comes to take leave of her husband, dismissing on the spot the commandant of the gendarmerie who supports her in a swoon, and, noticing the respect and attentions which all the inhabitants, even the functionaries, show to the prisoners, he cries out, “Well, what grimaces for people that will perhaps be dead in three or four days!” On the vessel which transports them, and still in sight of Rochelle, a boat is observed rowing vigorously to overtake them and they hear a shout of “I am Lafond-Ladébat’s son! Allow me to embrace my father!” A speaking-trumpet from the vessel replies: “Keep away or you’ll be fired on!” Their cabins, on the voyage, are mephitic; they are not allowed to be on deck more than four at a time, one hour in the morning and an hour in the evening; the sailors and soldiers are forbidden to speak to them; their food consists of a sailor’s ration, and this is spoilt; toward the end of the voyage they are starved. In Guyanna they are allowed one candle to a mess, and no table-linen; they lack water, or it is not drinkable; out of sixteen taken to Sinnamary only two survive.
Those who are transported the following year, priests, monks, deputies, journalists, and artisans accused of emigration, fare worse; on all the roads leading to Rochefort, sorrowful crowds are seen on carts or tramping along in files, on foot, the same as former chains of convicts. “An old man of eighty-two, Monsieur Dulaurent of Quimper, thus traverses four departments,” in irons which strangle him. Following upon this, the poor creatures, between the decks of the “Décade” and “Bayonnaise,” crammed in, suffocated through lack of air and by the torrid heat, badly treated and robbed, die of hunger or asphyxia, while Guyanna completes the work of the voyage: out of one hundred and ninety-three conveyed on board the “Décade,” but thirty-nine remain at the end of twenty-two months, and of the one hundred and twenty brought by the “Bayonnaise,” only one is left. Meanwhile, in France, in the casemates of the islands of Rhé and Oléron, over twelve hundred priests become stifled or rot away, while, on all sides, the military commissioners in the departments shoot down vigorously. At Paris, and in its environs, at Marseilles, Lyons, Bordeaux, Rennes, and in most of the large towns, sudden arrests and clandestine abductions go on multiplying.86 “Nobody, on retiring to rest, is sure of awaking in freedom the next morning. … From Bayonne to Brussels, there is but one sentiment, that of unbounded consternation. No one dares either to speak to, encounter, look at or help one another. Everybody keeps aloof, trembles and hides away.” In fine, through this third offensive reaction, the Jacobin Conquest is completed, and the conquering band, the new feudalism, becomes a fixed installation. “All who pass here,” writes a Tours inhabitant, “state that there is no difference in the country between these times and Robespierre’s.87 … It is certain that the soil is not tenable, and that the people are continually threatened with exactions as in a conquered country. … Proprietors are crushed down with impositions to such an extent that they cannot meet their daily expenses, nor pay the cost of cultivation. In some of my old parishes the imposition takes about thirteen out of twenty sous of an income. … The interest on money amounts to four per cent. a month. … Tours, a prey to the terrorists who devour the department and hold all the offices, is in the most deplorable state; every family at all well-off, every merchant, every trader, is leaving it.” The veteran pillagers and murderers, the squireens (hobereaux), of the Reign of Terror, again appear and resume their fiefs. At Toulouse, it is Barrau, a shoemaker, famous up to 1792 for his fury under Robespierre, and Desbarreaux, another madman of 1793, formerly an actor playing the parts of valet, compelled in 1795 to demand pardon of the audience on his knees on the stage, and, not obtaining it, driven out of the house, and now filling the office of cashier in the theatre and posing as department administrator. At Blois, we find the ignoble or atrocious characters with whom we are familiar, the assassins and robbers Hézine, Giot, Venaille, Bézard, Berger, and Gidouin.88 Immediately after Fructidor, they stirred up their usual supporters against the first convoy of the transported, “the idlers, the rabble of the harbor, and the dregs of the people,” who overwhelmed them with insults. On this new demonstration of patriotism the government restores to them their administrative or judicial “satrapies,” and, odious as they are, they are endured and obeyed, with the mute and mournful obedience of despair. “The soul sinks89 on daily perusing the executions of conscripts and émigrés, and on seeing those condemned to transportation constantly passing by. … All who displease the government are set down on these lists of the dead, people asserted to be émigrés, this or that curé who is notoriously known not to have left the department.” It is impossible for honest people to vote at the primary assemblies; consequently, “the elections are frightful. Brothers and friends loudly proclaim that no more nobles, priests, proprietors, merchants, or justices are wanted; everything to be given up to pillage.” Let France perish rather than their domination. “The wretches have announced that they will not give up their places without overthrowing all, destroying palaces, and setting Paris on fire.” It is natural that with pure Jacobins pure Jacobinism should reappear, socialistic and anti-Christian equality, the programme of the funereal year; in short, the rigid, plain, exterminating ideas which the sect gathers together, like daggers encrusted with gore, from the cast-off robes of Robespierre, Billaud-Varennes, and Collot d’Herbois.90
First of all comes the fixed and favorite idea of a senile philosophism, meaning by this a regular plan devised for the founding of a lay religion, and imposing on twenty-six millions of Frenchmen the observances and dogmas of the theory, and, consequently, the extirpation of Christianity, its forms of worship and its clergy. The inquisitors who hold office multiply, with extraordinary persistence and minuteness, proscriptions and vigorous measures for the forcible conversion of the nation with a view to substitute for the tender emotions nourished by the customs of eighteen centuries, the improvised rites of a logical abstraction mechanically elaborated in the closet. Never did the dull imagination of a third-rate litterateur and classic poetaster, never did the grotesque solemnity of a pedant fond of his phrases, never did the irritating hardness of the narrow and stubborn devotee display with greater sentimental bombast more administrative officiousness than in the decrees of the Corps Legislatif,91 in the acts passed by the Directory and in the instructions issued by the ministers Sotin, Letourneur, Lambrechts, Duval, and François de Neufchateau. War on Sunday, on the old calendar and on fasting, obligatory rest on the décadi under penalty of fine and imprisonment,92 obligatory fêtes on the anniversaries of January 21 and Fructidor 18, obligatory participation of all functionaries with their families in the new cult, obligatory attendance of public and private instructors with their pupils of both sexes at civic ceremonies, an obligatory liturgy with catechisms and programmes sent from Paris, rules for scenic display and for singings, readings, postures, acclamations, and imprecations; one might shrug his shoulders at these prescriptions of cuistres and these parades of puppets, if, behind the apostles who compose moral allegories, we did not detect the persecutor who imprisons, tortures and murders. By the decree of Fructidor 19, not only were all the laws of the Reign of Terror against unsworn priests, their harborers and their followers, enforced again, but the Directory arrogated to itself the right of transporting, “through individual acts passed for cause,” every ecclesiastic “who disturbed the public peace,” that is to say who exercised his ministry and preached his faith;93 and, moreover, the right of shooting down, within twenty-four hours, every priest who, banished by the laws of 1792 and 1793, has remained in or returned to France. Almost all the ecclesiastics, even those who are sworn, are comprised within the first category; the administration enumerates three hundred and sixty-six in the department of Doubs alone,94 and five hundred and fifty-six in that of Hérault. Thousands of ecclesiastics are comprised in the second category; the administration enumerates over eight hundred who, returned from the frontier of Spain alone, still wander about the southern departments. On the strength of this the moralists in office proclaim a hunt for the black game in certain places, an universal destruction without exception or reprieve; for instance, in Belgium, recently incorporated with France, the whole of the regular and secular clergy is proscribed en masse and tracked for transportation; five hundred and sixty ecclesiastics in Ourbe and the forests, five hundred and thirty-nine in Escaut, eight hundred and eighty-three in Jemmapes, eight hundred and eighty-four in Sambre-et-Meuse, nine hundred and twenty-five in Lys, nine hundred and fifty-seven in Deux-Nèthes, one thousand and forty-three in Meuse-Inférieure, one thousand four hundred and sixty-nine in Dyle, in all six thousand five hundred and sixty-six, without counting the missing names.95 A number of them escape abroad or hide away; but the rest are caught, and quite enough of them to load and fill the carts constantly. “Not a day passes,” says an inhabitant of Blois,96 “that from seven to twenty and more are not lodged at the Carmelites.” The next day they set out for the casemates of Rhé and Oléron, or for the Sinnamary marshes, where it is known what becomes of them: after a few months, three-fourths of them lie in the cemetery. In the interior, from time to time, some are shot for the sake of example—seven at Besançon, one at Lyons, three in the Bouches-du-Rhone, while the opponents of fanaticism, the official philanthropists, the enlightened deists of Fructidor, use all these disguised or declared murders as a basis on which to rear the cult of Reason.
It remains now to consolidate the worship of Reason with the reign of Equality, which is the second article in the Jacobin credo; the object now is to mow down all the heads which rise above the common level, and, this time, to mow them down, not one by one, but in large classes. Saint-Just himself had only covertly proposed so extensive and so sweeping an operation; Siéyès, Merlin de Douai, Rewbell, Chazal, Chénier, and Boulay de la Meurthe, more openly and decidedly insist on a radical amputation. According to them,97 it is necessary “to regulate this ostracism,” by transporting “all those whose prejudices, pretensions, even existence, in a word, are incompatible with republican government”; that is to say, not alone priests, but likewise nobles and the ennobled, all parliamentarians, those who are well-off and distinguished among the bourgeoisie and former notables, about two hundred thousand property-holders, men and women; in short, all who still remained among those oppressed and ruined by the Revolution. Forced back by the ex-noble Barras and by the public outcry “of merchants and workmen themselves,” banishment is replaced by civic degradation. Henceforth,98 every noble or ennobled person, even if he has not left the territory, even if he has constantly and punctually obeyed revolutionary laws, even if he be not related to, or allied with, any émigré, finds himself deprived of his quality as a Frenchman; the fact alone of his being ennobled or noble before 1789, obliged him to be naturalised according to legal forms and conditions. As to the one hundred and fifty thousand gentlemen, artisans, and farmers who have emigrated or who have been accused of emigration, if they have returned to, or remain in France, they are to leave Paris and all communes above twenty thousand souls within twenty-four hours, and France in fifteen days; otherwise, they are to be arrested, brought before the military commissions and shot on the spot;99 in fact, in many places, at Paris, Besançon and Lyons, they are shot. Thereupon, a large number of pretended emigrants, who had never left France,100 nor even their province, nor even their commune, and whose names have been put on the lists simply to strip them of their property, find that they are no longer protected either by the constancy or the notoriety of their residence. The new law is no sooner read than they see the executive troops advancing; the natal soil is too warm for them and they speedily emigrate.101 On the other hand, once the name is down on the list, rightly or wrongly, it is never removed; the government purposely refuses to strike it off, while two decrees are applied which render its removal impossible;102 each name maintained on the list of spoliation and death relieves the Revolution of a probable adversary, and places one more domain at its disposal.
The Directory renews and aggravates the measures of the Convention against the remainder of the property-holders: there is no longer a disguised but a declared bankruptcy; three hundred and eighty-six thousand fund-holders and pensioners are deprived of two-thirds of their revenue and of their capital;103 a forced loan of one hundred millions is levied progressively, and wholly on “the well-off class”; finally, there is the law of hostages, this being atrocious, conceived in the spirit of September, 1792, suggested by the famous motions of Collot d’Herbois against those in confinement, and of Billaud-Varennes against the youth, Louis XVII., but extended, elaborated and drawn up with cool legal acumen, and enforced and applied with the foresight of an administrator. Remark that, without counting the Belgian departments, where an extensive insurrection is under way and spreading, more than one-half of the territory falls under the operation of this law; for, out of the eighty-six departments of France,104 properly so-called, forty-five are at this moment, according to the terms of the decree,105 “notoriously in a case of civil disturbance”; in effect, in these departments, according to official reports, armed mobs of conscripts are resisting the authorities charged with recruiting them; bands of two hundred, three hundred, and eight hundred men overrun the country; troops of brigands force open the prisons, assassinate the gendarmes and set their inmates free; the tax-collectors are robbed, killed, or maimed, municipal officers slain, proprietors ransomed, estates devastated, and diligences stopped on the highways.” Now, in all these cases, in all the departments, cantons, or communes, three classes of persons, at first the relations and allies of the émigrés, next the former nobles and ennobled, and finally the “fathers, mothers, grandfathers, and grandmothers of persons who, without being ex-nobles or relations of émigrés,” nevertheless form a part of the bands or mobs, are declared “personally and civilly responsible” for the violent acts committed. Even when these acts are only “imminent,” the administration of the department must, in its report, give a list of all the men and women who are responsible; these are to be taken as “hostages,” and kept in confinement at their own expense in the local jail, and, if they escape, they must be put on the same footing as émigrés, that is to say punished with death; if any damage is sustained, they are to pay costs; if any murder is committed or abduction effected, four amongst them must be transported. Observe, moreover, that the local authorities are obliged, under severe penalties, to execute the law at once: that, at this date, they are ultra Jacobin; that, to inscribe on the list of hostages, not a noble or a bourgeois, but an honest peasant or respectable artisan, it suffices for these local sovereigns to designate his son or grandson, either absent, fugitive or dead, as “notoriously” insurgent or refractory; the fortunes, liberties, and lives of every individual in easy circumstances being thus legally surrendered to the despotism, cupidity, and hostility of the levellers in office. Contemporaries estimate that two hundred thousand persons were affected by this law;106 the Directory, during the three months of its existence which yet remain to it, enforces it in seventeen departments; thousands of women and old men are arrested, put in confinement, and ruined, while several are sent off to Cayenne—and this is called respect for the rights of man.
According to the system which the Fructidoreans establish in France, we can judge of the system which they impose abroad—always the same contrast between the name and the thing, the same phrases covering the same misdeeds, and, under proclamations of liberty the institution of brigandage. Undoubtedly, in any invaded province which thus passes from an old to a new despotism, fine words cleverly spoken produce at first the intended effect; but, in a few weeks or months, the ransomed, enlisted, and forcibly “Frenchified” inhabitants, discover that the revolutionary right is much more oppressive, more harassing and more rapacious than divine right.
It is the right of the strongest. The reigning Jacobins know no other, abroad as well as at home, and, in the use they make of it, they are not restrained like ordinary statesmen, by a thorough comprehension of the interests of the State, by experience and tradition, by far-sightedness, by an estimate of present and future strength. Being a sect, they subordinate France to their dogmas, and, with the narrow views, pride and arrogance of the sectary, they profess the same intolerance, the same need of domination and his instincts for propagandism and invasion. This belligerent and tyrannic spirit they had already displayed under the Legislative Assembly, and they are intoxicated with it under the Convention. After Thermidor,107 and after Vendémiaire, they remained the same; they became rigid against “the faction of old boundaries,” and against any moderate policy; at first, against the pacific minority, then against the pacific majority, against the entreaties of all France, against their own military director, “the organiser of victory” Carnot, who, as a good Frenchman, is not desirous of gratuitously increasing the embarrassments of France nor of taking more than France could usefully and surely keep. If, before Fructidor, his three Jacobin colleagues, Rewbell, Barras, and Larevellière, broke with him, it was owing not merely to inside matters, but also to outside matters, as he opposed their boundless violent purposes. They were furious on learning the preliminary treaty of Leoben, so advantageous to France; they insulted Carnot, who had effected it;108 when Barthélémy, the ablest and most deserving diplomatist in France, became their colleague, his recommendations, so sensible and so well-warranted, obtained from them no other welcome than derision.109 They already desire, and obstinately, to get possession of Switzerland, lay hands on Hamburg, “humble England,” and “persevere in the unlucky system of the Committee of Public Safety,” that is to say, in the policy of war, conquest and propagandism. Now that the 18th Fructidor is accomplished, Barthélémy transported, and Carnot in flight, this policy is going to be displayed.
Never had peace been so near at hand;110 they almost had it in their grasp; at the conference at Lille it was only necessary to take complete hold of it. England, the last and most tenacious of her enemies, was disarming; not only did she accept the aggrandisement of France, the acquisition of Belgium and the left bank of the Rhine, the avowed as well as the disguised annexations, the great Republic as patron and the smaller ones as clients, Holland, Genoa, and the Cis-Alpine country, but, again, she restored all her own conquests, all the French colonies, all the Dutch colonies, except the Cape of Good Hope,111 and all the Spanish colonies except Trinidad. All that amour-propre could demand was obtained, and they obtained more than could be prudently expected; there was not a competent and patriotic statesman in France who would not have signed the treaty with the greatest satisfaction. But the motives which, before Fructidor, animated Carnot and Barthélémy, the motives which, after Fructidor, animated Colchen and Maret, do not animate the Fructidoreans. France is of but little consequence to them; they are concerned only for their faction, for power, and for their own persons. Larevellière, president of the Directory, through vain-glory, “wanted to have his name go with the general peace”; but he is controlled by Barras, who needs war in order to fish in troubled waters,112 and especially by Rewbell, a true Jacobin in temperament and intellect, “ignorant and vain, with the most vulgar prejudices of an uneducated and illiterate man,” one of those coarse, violent, narrow sectarians anchored on a fixed idea and whose “principles consist in revolutionising everything with cannon-balls without examining wherefore.”113 There is no need of knowing the wherefore; the animal instinct of self-preservation suffices to impel the Jacobins onward, and, for a long time, their clear-sighted men, among them Siéyès, their thinker and oracle, have told them that “if they make peace they are lost.”114 To exercise their violence within they require peril without; lacking the pretext of public safety they cannot prolong their usurpation, their dictatorship, their despotism, their inquisition, their proscriptions, their exactions. Suppose that peace is effected, will it be possible for the government, hated and despised as it is, to maintain and elect its minions against public clamor at the coming elections? Will so many retired generals consent to live on half-pay, indolent and obedient? Will Hoche, so ardent and so absolute, will Bonaparte, who already meditates his coup-d’état,115 be willing to stand sentry for four petty lawyers or litterateurs without any titles and for Barras, a street-general, who never saw a regular battle? Moreover on this skeleton of France, desiccated by five years of spoliation, how can the armed swarm be fed even provisionally, the swarm, which, for two years past, subsists only through devouring neighboring nations? Afterwards, how disband four hundred thousand hungry officers and soldiers? And how, with an empty Treasury, supply the millions which, by a solemn decree, under the title of a national recompense, have once more just been promised to them.116 Nothing but a prolonged war, or designedly begun again, a war indefinitely and systematically extended, a war supported by conquest and pillage can give armies food, keep generals busy, the nation resigned, the maintenance of power of the ruling faction, and secure to the Directors their places, their profits, their dinners and their mistresses. And this is why they, at first, break with England through repeated exactions, and then with Austria and the Emperor, through premeditated attacks, and again with Switzerland, Piedmont, Tuscany, Naples, Malta, Russia, and even the Porte.117 At length, the veils fall and the character of the sect stands out nakedly. Defence of the country, deliverance of the people, all its grand phrases disappear in the realm of empty words. It reveals itself just as it is, an association of pirates on a cruise, who after ravaging their own coast, go further off and capture bodies and goods, men and things. Having eaten France, the Parisian band undertakes to eat all Europe, “leaf by leaf, like the head of an artichoke.”118
Why recount the tragic comedy they play at home and which they repeat abroad? The piece abroad is the same as that played in Paris for the past eight years,119 an absurd, hasty translation in Flemish, Dutch, German, and Italian, a local adaptation, just as it happens, with variations, elisions, and abbreviations, but always with the same ending, a shower of blows with gun and sword on all property-owners, communities, and individuals, compelling the surrender of their purses and valuables of every description, and which they gave up, even to remaining without a sou or even a shirt. As a rule, the nearest general, or resident titulary in every small state which has to be turned to account, stirs up malcontents against the established authorities, never lacking under the ancient régime, especially all social outcasts, adventurers, coffee-house ranters and young hot-heads, in short the Jacobins of the country; these, to the French representative, are henceforth the people of the country, if only a knot of the vilest sort. The legal authorities are forbidden to repress them, or punish them; they are inviolable. Employing threats or main force, he interferes in their support, or to sanction their assaults; he breaks up, or obliges them to break up, the vital organ of society; here, royalty or aristocracy, there, the senate and the magistracy, everywhere the old hierarchy, all cantonal, provincial, and municipal statutes and secular federation or constitutions. He then inaugurates on this cleared ground the government of Reason, that is to say, some artificial imitation of the French constitution; he himself, to this end, appoints the new magistrates. If he allows them to be elected, it is by his clients and under his bayonets; this constitutes a subject republic under the name of an ally, and which commissioners despatched from Paris manage to the beat of the drum. The revolutionary régime with anti-Christian despoiling and levelling laws, is despotically applied. The 18th of Fructidor is carried out over and over again; the constitution is revised according to the last Parisian pattern, while the Corps Legislatif and Directory are repeatedly purged in military fashion;120 only valets are tolerated at the head of it: its army is added to the French army; twenty thousand Swiss are drafted in Switzerland and made to fight against the Swiss and the friends of Switzerland; Belgium, incorporated with France, is subjected to the conscription; national and religious sentiment is made the fulcrum of oppression and injury even to the provocation of mobs,121 religious and national, five or six rural and lasting Vendées in Belgium, Switzerland, Piedmont, Venetia, Lombardy, the Roman States and Naples, while fire, pillaging and shooting are employed to repress them. Any description of this would be feeble; statements in figures are necessary and I can give but two.
One of them is the list of robberies committed abroad,122 and this comprises only the rapine executed according to order; it omits private plunderings without any orders by officers, generals, soldiers, and commissaries; these are enormous, but cannot be estimated. The only approximative total which can be arrived at, is the authentic list of robberies which the Jacobin corsair, authorised by letters of marque, had already committed in December, 1798, outside of France, on public or on private parties; exactions in coin imposed in Belgium, Holland, Germany and Italy, amounting to six hundred and fifty-five millions; seizure and removal of gold and silver objects, plate, jewels, works of art, and other precious objects, three hundred and five millions; requisitions of provisions, three hundred and sixty-one millions; confiscations of the real and personal property of deposed sovereigns, that of the regular and secular clergy, that of corporations and associations even laic, of absent or fugitive proprietors, seven hundred millions; in all, in three years two billion livres. If we closely examine this monstrous sum, we find, as in the coffers of an Algerian pirate, a booty which up to this time, belligerent Christians, commanders of regular armies, would have shrunk from taking, and on which the Jacobin chiefs incontinently and preferably lay hands; the plate and furniture of churches in the Netherlands, in Liège, and in the Electoral sections of the Lower Rhine, twenty-five millions; the plate and furniture of churches in Lombardy, in the three Legations, in the State of Venice, in Modena, and the States of the Church, sixty-five millions; diamonds, plate, gold crosses and other depots of the Monts-de-piété at Milan, Bologna, Ravenna, Modena, Venice and Rome, fifty-six millions; furniture and works of art at Milan and in other towns, five millions; furniture and works of art in the Venetian towns and palaces of Brenta, six million five hundred thousand; the spoils of Rome sacked, as formerly by the mercenaries of the Duc de Bourbon, collections of antiques, pictures, bronzes, statues, the treasures of the Vatican and of palaces, jewels, even the pastoral ring of the Pope, which the Directorial commissary himself wrests from the Pope’s finger, forty-three millions, and all this without counting analogous articles, and especially direct assessments levied on this or that individual as rich or a proprietor,123 veritable ransoms, similar to those demanded by the bandits of Calabria and Greece, extorted from any traveller they surprise on the highway. Naturally operations of this kind cannot be carried on without instruments of constraint; the Parisian manipulators must have military automatons, “sabre hilts” in sufficient numbers. Now, through constant slashing, a good many hilts break, and the broken ones must be replaced; in October, 1798, two hundred thousand new ones are required, while the young men drafted for the purpose fail to answer the summons and fly, and even resist with arms, especially in Belgium,124 by maintaining a revolt for many months, with this motto: “Better die here than elsewhere.”125 To compel their return, they are hunted down and brought to the depot with their hands tied; if they hide away, soldiers are stationed in their parents’ houses; if the conscript or drafted man has sought refuge in a foreign country, even in an allied country as in Spain, he is officially inscribed on the list of émigrés, and therefore, in case of return, shot within twenty-four hours; meanwhile, his property is sequestrated and likewise that of “his father, mother, and grandparents.”126 “Formerly,” says a contemporary, “reason and philosophy thundered against the rigors of punishment inflicted on deserters; but, since French reason has perfected Liberty it is no longer the small class of regular soldiers whose evasion is punished with death, but an entire generation. An extreme penalty no longer suffices for these legislative philanthropists: they add confiscation, they despoil parents for the misdemeanors of their children, and render even women responsible for a military and personal offence.” Such is the admirable calculation of the Directory—that, if it loses a soldier it gains a patrimony, and if the patrimony fails, it recovers the soldier: in any event, it fills its coffers and its ranks, while the faction, well-supplied with men, may continue turning all Europe to account, wasting, in the operation, as many French lives as it pleases; requiring more than one hundred thousand men per annum, which, including those which the Convention has squandered, makes nearly nine hundred thousand in eight years.127 At this moment the five Directors and their minions are completing the mowing down of the virile, adult strength of the nation,128 and we know through what motives and for what object. I do not believe that any civilised nation was ever sacrificed in the same way, for such a purpose and by such rulers: the crippled remnant of a faction and sect, some hundreds of preachers no longer believing in their creed, usurpers as despised as they are detested, second-rate parvenus raised their heads not through their capacity or merit, but through the blind upheavals of a revolution, swimming on the surface for lack of weight, and, like foul scum, borne along to the crest of the wave—such are the wretches who strangle France under the pretence of setting her free, who bleed her under the pretence of making her strong, who conquer populations under the pretence of emancipating them, who despoil people under the pretence of regenerating them, and who, from Brest to Lucerne, from Amsterdam to Naples, slay and rob wholesale, systematically, to strengthen the incoherent dictatorship of their brutality, folly and corruption.
Once again has triumphant Jacobinism shown its antisocial nature, its capacity for destruction, its impotence to reconstruct. The nation, vanquished and discouraged, no longer resists, but, if it submits it is as to a pestilence, while its transportations, its administrative purifications, its decrees placing towns in a state of siege, its daily violence, only exasperate the mute antipathy. “Everything has been done,” says an honest Jacobin,129 “to alienate the immense majority of citizens from the Revolution and the Republic, even those who had contributed to the downfall of the monarchy. … Instead of seeing the friends of the Revolution increase as we have advanced on the revolutionary path … we see our ranks thinning out and the early defenders of liberty deserting our cause.” It is impossible for the Jacobins to rally France and reconcile her to their ways and dogmas, and on this point their own agents leave no illusion. “Here,” writes the Troyes agent,130 “public spirit not only needs to be revived, but it needs to be re-created. Scarcely one-fifth of the citizens side with the government, and this fifth is hated and despised by the majority. … Who attend upon and celebrate the national fêtes? Public functionaries whom the law summons to them, and many of these fêtes often dispense with them. It is the same public spirit which does not allow honest folks to take part in them and in the addresses made at them, and which keeps the women away who ought to be their principal ornament. … The same public spirit looks only with indifference and contempt on the republican, heroic actions given on the stage, and welcomes with transport all that bears any allusion to royalty and the ancient régime. The parvenus themselves of the Revolution, the generals, the deputies, dislike Jacobin institutions;131 they place their children in the chapel schools and send them to the confessional, while the deputies who, in ’92 and ’93, showed the most animosity to priests, do not consider their daughter well-brought up unless she has made her first communion.” The little are still more hostile than the great. “A fact unfortunately too true,” writes the commissary of a rural canton,132 “is that the people en masse seem not to want any of our institutions. … It is considered well-bred, even among country folks, to show disdain for everything characteristic of republican usages. … Our rich farmers, who have profited most by the Revolution, are the bitterest enemies of its forms: any citizen who depended on them for the slightest favor and thought it well to address them as citizen, would be turned out of their houses. Citizen is an insult, and patriot a still greater one; for this term signifies Jacobin, partisan, murderer, robber133 and, as they were then styled, “man-eaters.” What is worse is that a falsification of the word has brought discredit on the thing.” Nobody, say the reports, troubles himself about the general interest;134 nobody will serve as national guard or mayor. “Public spirit has fallen into such a lethargic slumber as to make one fear its complete collapse. Our successes or our failures excite neither uneasiness nor pleasure.135 It seems, on reading the accounts of battles, as if it were the history of another people. The changes that take place within our borders no longer excite any emotion; one asks out of curiosity, one is answered without any interest, one learns with indifference.” “The pleasures of Paris136 are not disturbed a moment by any of the crises which succeed each other, nor by those which are feared. Never were the theatres and public entertainments more frequented. At the ‘Tivoli,’ it is said that it is going to be worse than ever; the country (patrie) is called la patraque, and dancing goes on.” This is intelligible; how can one interest one’s self in the public weal when there is none, when the common patrimony of all has become the private property of a band, when this band is devouring or wasting all in the interior and outside the frontier, where it is playing pitch and toss? The Jacobins, through their final victory, have dried patriotism up, that is to say, the deep inward spring which supplies the substance, the vitality and the force of the State. In vain do they multiply rigorous decrees and imperious prescriptions; each energetic blow is half deadened against the general and mute resistance of voluntary inertia and of insurmountable disgust; they do not obtain from their subjects any of that mechanical obedience, that degree of passive coöperation, without which the law remains a dead letter.137 Their Republic, so young, “is attacked by that nameless malady which commonly attacks only old governments, a species of senile consumption to which one can give no other definition than that of the difficulty of living; nobody strives to overthrow it, although it seems to have lost the power of standing erect.”138
Not only does their domination paralyse instead of animating the State, but, with their own hands, they undermine the order they themselves have established; whether legal or extra-legal, it makes no difference: although they reign, no constitution, made and remade, no government, not even that of their chief, can subsist. Once masters of France, they quarrel over it amongst themselves, each claiming for himself the whole of the prey. Those who are in office want to stay there; those who are out want to get in. Thus is formed two factions, while each repeats against the other the coup d’état which both have together carried out against the nation. According to the ruling coterie, its adversaries are simply “anarchists,” former Septembriseurs, Robespierre’s confederates, the accomplices of Baboeuf, eternal conspirators. Now, as in the year VI., the five agents still keep the sabre-hilt firm in their grasp, and they can oblige the Corps Legislatif to vote as they please; on the 22d of Floréal, the government cancels, in whole or in part, in forty-five departments, the new elections, not alone those of representatives, but again those of judges, public prosecutors, and the grand-jurymen; then, it dismisses the terrorist administrations in the departments and towns.139 According to the governing coterie, the Directory and its agents are false patriots, usurpers, oppressors, contemners of the law, dilapidators, and stupid politicians; as all this is true, and as the Directory, in the year VIII., used up through its twenty-one months of omnipotence, out of credit on account of its reverses, despised by its generals, hated by the beaten and unpaid army, dares no longer and can no longer raise the sabre, the ultra Jacobins resume the offensive, have themselves elected through their kith and kin, reconquer the majority in the Corps Legislatif, and, in their turn, purge the Directory on the 30 of Prairial. Treilhard, Merlin de Douai, and Larevellière-Lepaux are driven out; narrow fanatics replace them, Gohier, Moulins, and Roger Ducos; terrorist spirits install themselves in the Ministries, Robert Lindet in the Treasury, Fouché in the Police; after that, in the departments, they give office to, or restore “the exclusives,” that is to say, the resolute scoundrels who have proved their capacity.140 The Jacobins reopen their club under its old name in the hall of the Manège; two directors and one hundred and fifty members of the Corps Legislatif fraternise with “all that the dregs of the people provide that is vilest and most disgusting.” Eulogies are here pronounced on Robespierre and on Baboeuf himself; they demand the levy en masse and the disarming of “suspects.” Jourdan exclaims in a toast, “Here’s to the resurrection of pikes! May they in the people’s hands crush out all its enemies!” In the Council of the Five Hundred, the same Jourdan proposes in the tribune to declare the “country in danger,” while the gang of shouting politicians, the bull-dogs of the streets and tribunes, gather around the hesitating representatives and howl and threaten as in 1793.
Is it, then, the régime of 1793 which is about to be set up in France? Not even that one. Immediately after the victory, the victors of Prairial 30 separated and formed two camps of enemies, watching each other with arms in hand, intrenched and making sorties on each other; on one side are the simple bandits and the lowest of the populace, the tail (queue) of Marat, incorrigible monomaniacs, headstrong, conceited spirits proud of their crimes and disposed to repeat them rather than admit their guilt, the dogmatic simpletons who go ahead with their eyes shut and who have forgotten everything and learnt nothing; on the other side, men still possessing common sense, and who have profited somewhat by experience, who know what a government of clubs and pikes leads to, who fear for themselves and are unwilling to begin again, step by step, the mad course on which at each stage, they have come near perishing; on one side two members of the Directory, the minority of the Ancients, the majority of the Five Hundred, and the vilest of the Parisian rabble; on the other, the majority of the Ancients, the minority of the Five Hundred, and three members of the Directory, the latter supported by their executive staff.141 Which of the two troops will crush the other? Nobody knows; for most of them are ready to pass from one to the other camp according as the chances for succeeding become more or less great, and, from day to day, any defection amongst the Five Hundred, amongst the Ancients, or in the Directory, foreseen or not, may change a minority into a majority. Where will the majority be tomorrow? From which side is the next coup d’ état to come? Who will make it? Will it be the ultra Jacobins, and, through another 9th of Thermidor, will they declare the mitigated Jacobins “outlaws”? Will it be the mitigated Jacobins, and, through another 18th of Fructidor, will they put the ultras under lock and key? If one or the other of these blows is struck, will it succeed? And if it succeeds will a stable government be at last established? Siéyès well knows that it will not; he is far seeing in his acts, although chimerical in his theories. In power himself, titular Director, counsellor and guardian of the intelligent republic against the stupid republic, he well knows that all of them, so long as they are republicans of both bands, take a road without an issue.142 Barras is of the same opinion, and taking time by the forelock, turns around and promises Louis XVIII. his coöperation in restoring the legitimate monarchy; in exchange he receives letters patent granting him full pardon, exemption from all future prosecution and a promise of twelve millions. Siéyès, more sagacious, seeks force where it exists, in the army; he prepares Joubert, sounds Moreau, thinks of Jourdan, of Bernadotte and of Macdonald, before surrendering himself to Bonaparte; “he requires a sword.” Boulay de la Meurthe, comparing in a pamphlet the English revolution with the French revolution, announces and brings on the establishment of a military protectorate. “The Constitution of the year III. will not work,” said Baudin, one of the Five Hundred, to Cornet, one of the Ancients, “only I do not see when to find the executive arm.” The Jacobin republic still lives, and its servants, its doctors, already speak aloud of its interment the same as strangers and heirs in the room of a dying man who has become unconscious, like Tiberius when sinking in his palace at Misene.143 If the expiring man does not go fast enough some one will help him. The old monster, borne down with crimes and rotten with vices, rattles in his throat on his purple cushions; his eyes are closed, his pulse is feeble, and he gasps for breath. Here and there, around his bed, stand groups of those who minister to his debauches at Capri and his murders at Rome, his minions and executioners who publicly take part in the new reign; the old one is finished; one need no longer be circumspect and mute before a corpse. Suddenly the dying man opens his eyes, speaks and asks for food. The military tribune, “the executive arm,” boldly clears the apartment; he throws a pile of bedclothes over the old man’s head and quickens the last sigh. Such is the final blow; an hour later and breathing stops.
If the Jacobin Republic dies, it is not merely on account of decrepitude, nor because of its murders, but, and above all, because it is not born viable: at the outset it harbored within itself a principle of dissolution, an innate mortal poison, not alone for others but for itself. That which maintains a political society is the mutual respect of its members, especially the respect of the governed for its rulers and of the rulers for the governed, and, therefore, habits of mutual trust and confidence; on the part of the governed, a well-grounded certainty that the rulers will not attack private rights, and, on the part of the rulers, a well-founded certainty that the governed will not attack public powers; both inwardly recognising that these rights, more or less broad or restricted, are inviolable; that these powers, more or less ample or limited, are legitimate; in fine, each being convinced that, in case of conflict, the trial will be conducted according to forms which law or custom provide; that pending the discussion, the strongest will not abuse his strength, and that, when the discussion is over, the successful party will not wholly sacrifice the loser. Only on this condition can there be concord between governors and the governed, the concurrence of all in the common work, internal tranquillity, and, accordingly, stability, security, well-being, and force. Without this deep and persistent disposition of minds and hearts, the bond of union among men is wanting. It constitutes the brightest of social sentiments; it may be said that this is the soul of which the State is the body. Now, in the Jacobin State, this soul has perished; it has not died out through unforeseen accidents, but through a forced result of the system, through a practical effect of the speculative theory, which, converting each man into an absolute sovereign, sets every man warring against other men, and which, under the pretence of regenerating the human species, lets loose, authorises and consecrates the worst instincts of human nature, all the lusts of license, tyranny and domination. In the name of the ideal people whom it declares sovereign, and which has no existence, the Jacobins have violently usurped all public powers, brutally abolished all private rights, regarding the actual living people as a beast of burden, and yet worse, as an automation, subjecting their human automation to the cruellest restraints in order to mechanically maintain it in the antinormal, rigid posture, which, according to principles, they inflict upon it. Thenceforth, all ties are sundered between them and the nation; to prey upon, bleed and starve this nation, to reconquer it after it had escaped them, to repeatedly enchain and gag it—all this they could well do; but to reconcile it to their government, never! Between them, and for the same reason, through another consequence of the same theory, and another effect of the same lusts, no bond between them would hold. Each faction inside of the party, having forged its ideal people according to its own logical process and necessities, exercised the orthodox privilege of claiming the monopoly of sovereignty;144 to secure the benefits of omnipotence, it has combated its rivals with falsified, annulled, or constrained elections, with plots and mendacity, with ambushes and sudden assaults, with the pikes of the rabble and with the bayonets of soldiers; it has then massacred, guillotined, shot, and transported the vanquished as tyrants, traitors, or rebels, and the survivors do not forget this. They have learnt what their so called eternal constitutions amount to; they know how to estimate their proclamations and oaths, their respect for law, their justice, their humanity; they understand them and know that they are all so many fraternal Cains,145 all more or less debased, dangerous, soiled and depraved by their work; distrust with such men is irremediable. They can still turn out manifests, decrees and cabals, and get up revolutions, but they can no longer agree amongst themselves and heartily defer to the justified ascendency and recognised authority of any one or more among their own body. After ten years of mutual assault there is not one among the three thousand legislators who have sat in the sovereign assemblies that can count on the deference and loyalty of a hundred Frenchmen. The social body is disintegrated; amongst the millions of disconnected atoms not a nucleus of spontaneous cohesion and stable coördination remains. It is impossible for civil France to reconstruct itself; as impossible as it would be to build a Notre Dame of Paris, or a St. Peter’s of Rome out of the slime of the streets or the dust of the highways.
With military France it is otherwise. Here, men have made trial of each other, and are devoted to each other, subordinates to their leaders, and all to one great work. The sentiments are strong and healthy which bind human wills with one fasces of mutual sympathy, trust, esteem, and admiration, and all these superabound, while the free companionship which still subsists between inferior and superior,146 that gay unrestrained familiarity so dear to the French, draws the knot still closer. In this world unsullied by political defilements and ennobled by habits of abnegation,147 there is all that constitutes an organised and visible society, a hierarchy, not external and veneered, but moral and deep-seated, with uncontested titles, recognised superiorities, an accepted subordination, rights and duties stamped on all consciences, in brief, what has always been wanting in revolutionary institutions, the discipline of sentiments and emotions. Give to these men a countersign and they do not discuss; provided it is legal, or seems so, they act accordingly, not merely against strangers, but against Frenchmen: thus, already on the 13th Vendémiaire they mowed down the Parisians, and on the the 18th of Fructidor they purged the Corps Legislatif. Let a famous general appear, and provided he respects formalities, they will follow him and once more repeat the operation. One does appear, one who for three years has thought of nothing else, but who on this occasion will repeat the operation only for his own advantage; he is the most illustrious of all, and precisely the conductor or promoter of the two previous ones, the very same who personally brought about the 13th of Vendémiaire, and likewise, at the hands of his lieutenant, Augereau, the 18th of Fructidor. Let him be authorised by the semblance of a decree, let him be appointed major-general of the armed force by a minority of one of the Councils, and the army will march behind him. Let him issue the usual proclamations, let him summon “his comrades” to save the Republic and clear the hall of the Five Hundred; his grenadiers will enter with fixed bayonets and even laugh at the sight of the deputies, dressed as for the opera, scrambling off precipitately out of the windows.148 Let him manage the transitions, let him avoid the ill-sounding name of dictator, let him assume a modest and yet classic revolutionary Roman title, let him along with two others be simple consuls; the soldiers, who have neither time nor leisure to be publicists and who are only skin-deep republicans, will ask nothing more; they regard their system as a very good one for the French people, the despotic system without which there can be no army, that which places the absolute command in the hands of one individual. Let him put down other Jacobins, let him revoke their late decrees on hostages and the forced loan, let him restore safety and security to persons, property, and consciences; let him bring back order, economy, and efficiency to the administrations; let him provide for public services, hospitals, roads and schools, the whole of civil France will welcome its liberator, protector, and restorer.149 In his own words, the system he brings is that of “the alliance of Philosophy with the Sword,” philosophy meaning, as it was then understood, the application of abstract principles to politics, the logical construction of a State according to general and simple notices with a social plan, uniform, and rectilinear. Now as we have seen,150 two of these plans square with this theory, one anarchical and the other despotic; naturally, the master adopts the latter, and, like a practical man, he builds according to that theory a substantial edifice, with sand and lime, habitable and well-suited to its purposes. All the masses of the great work—civil code, university, Concordat, prefectoral and centralised administration—all the details of its arrangement and distribution of places, tend to one general effect, which is the omnipotence of the State, the omnipresence of the government, the abolition of local and private initiative, the suppression of voluntary free association, the gradual dispersion of small spontaneous groupings, the preventive interdiction of prolonged hereditary works, the extinction of sentiments by which the individual lives beyond himself in the past or in the future. Never were finer barracks constructed, more symmetrical and more decorative in aspect, more satisfactory to superficial views, more acceptable to vulgar good sense, more suited to narrow egoism, better kept and cleaner, better adapted to the discipline of the average and low elements of human nature, and better adapted to etiolating or perverting the superior elements of human nature. In this philosophical barracks we have lived for eighty years.
The typeface in which this book has been set is Monotype Fournier, a digitized version of the 1925 hot-metal release. It was based on Pierre Simon Fournier’s “St. Augustin Ordinaire,” cut in Paris in the 1740s. Fournier, one of the great innovators in the history of typography, devised a system of measurements, or points, to relate the size of type bodies to each other. His work built upon that of a committee established in 1692 by King Louis XIV to create a new series of types for the exclusive use of the Imprimerie Royale. This committee, supervised by the Academie des Sciences, moved to “rationalize” type. The transitional nature of the Romain du Roi, and later, Fournier, was, according to Stanley Morison, its own revolution: it marked the move away from humanistic, calligraphic traditions of typography to a more mechanized, disciplined art of engraving and punchcutting.
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[1. ]Gaudin, Duc de Gaëte, “Mémoires,” i., 28. Gaudin, commissioner of the Treasury, meets the president of the revolutionary committee of his quarter, an excellent Jacobin, who says to him: “Eh, well, what’s all this? Robespierre proscribed! Is it possible? What is wanted—everything was going on so well!” (It is true that fifty or sixty heads fell daily.) “I replied, ‘Just so, there are some folks that are never satisfied.’ ”
[2. ]Mallet-Dupan, “Mémoires,” ii., 16. (Letter of January 8, 1795.)—Ibid., “Correspondance avec la cour de Vienne,” i., 23, 25, 32, 34, (January 8, 1795, on the four parties composing the Convention).
[3. ]Marshal Marmont: “Mémoires,” i., 120. (Report of General Dugommier on the capture of Toulon.) “That memorable day avenged the general will of a partial and gangrened will, the delirium of which caused the greatest misfortunes.”
[4. ]Memorial of the ninety-four survivors Thermidor 30, year II., acquitted Fructidor 28.
[5. ]Carrier indicted Brumaire 21, year III. Decree of arrest passed by four hundred and ninety-eight out of five hundred votes, Frimaire 3; execution Frimaire 26. Fouquier-Tinville indicted Frimaire 28; execution Floréal 28, there being four hundred and nineteen witnesses heard. Joseph Lebon indicted Messidor 1, year III. Trial adjourned to the Somme court, Messidor 29; execution Vendémiaire 24, year IV.
[6. ]Cf. chapters 4, 5 and 6 of the present volume. Numbers of printed documents of this epoch show what these local sovereigns were. The principal ones in the department of Ain were “Anselm, who had placed Marat’s head in his shop. Duclos, a joiner, living before the 31st of May on his earnings; he became after that a gentleman living on his rents, owning national domains, sheep, horses and pocket-books filled with assignats. Laimant, a tailor, in debt, furnishing his apartment suddenly with all the luxuriousness of the ancient régime, such as beds at one hundred pistoles, etc. Alban, mayor, placing seals everywhere, was a blacksmith and father of a family which he supported by his labor; all at once he stops working, and passes from a state of dependence to one of splendor; he has diamonds and earrings, always wearing new clothes, fine linen shirts, muslin cravates, silk stockings, etc.; on removing the seals in the houses of those imprisoned and guillotined, little or nothing was found in them. Alban was denounced and incarcerated for having obliged a woman of Macon to give him four hundred francs on promising to interest himself in her husband. Such are the Ain patriots. Rollet, another, had so frightened the rural districts that the people ran away on his approach; on one occasion he had two of them harnessed to his carriage and drove them along for some time in this manner. … Another, Charcot (of Virieu), before the Revolution, was a highway assassin, and was banished for three years for an act of this description.” (Bibliotheque Nationale. Lb. 41, No. 1318. “The truth in reply to calumnious charges against the department of Ain.” Letter of Roux, Vendémiaire, year III.)
[7. ]Decree of Germinal 12 for the transportation of Collot, Barère, Billaud-Varennes and Vadier. Eight Montagnards are put under arrest.—Decree of Germinal 14: the same against nine other Montagnards.—Decree of Germinal 29: the same against Maribon-Moutant.—Decree of Prairial 6: twenty-nine Montagnards are indicted.—Decree of Prairial 8, putting six Montagnards under arrest.—Decree of Prairial 9: the same against nine members of former committees.—Decrees of Prairial 10 to Thermidor 22, condemning six Montagnards to death, one to transportation and twenty to arrest.
[8. ]Barbé-Marbois, “Mémoires,” preface, p. viii. “Except about fifty men who are honest and intelligent, history presents no sovereign assembly containing so much vice, abjectness and ignorance.”—Buchez et Roux, xxxvii., 7. (Speech by Legendre, Thermidor 17, year III.) “It is stated in print that, at most, there are but twenty pure men in this Assembly.”—Ibid., 27. Order of the Lepelletier section, Vendémiaire 10, year IV. “It is certain that we owe the dearth and all its accompanying evils to the incapacity and brigandage of the present government.”
[9. ]Mallet-Dupan, “Correspondance,” etc., i., 211. (May 27, 1795.)
[10. ]“Un Séjour en France,” 267, 271. (Amiens, March 13, April 12, 1795.)
[11. ]Meissner, “Voyage à Paris,” 123, 351. (The author arrives in Paris, September 22, 1795.)
[12. ]Decrees of Fructidor 5 and 13, year III.
[13. ]Mallet-Dupan (“Correspondance avec la cour de Vienne,” i, 292, August 30, 1795).—Moniteur, xxv., 518, 551. (Session of Fructidor 3.) The first idea of the Commission of Eleven was to have the Convention itself choose the two-thirds. “Its opponents took advantage of the public outcry and broke off this plan … of the Girondist cabal.” Louvet, Fructidor 3, mounted three times into the tribune to support this project, still more scandalous than the other. “Eh, what electoral assembly could be better than yours! You all know each other well.” Louvet adds this significant expression: “The armies also will vote the new Constitution. I have no fears of its fate.”
[14. ]Moniteur, xxii, 22. (Report of Lindet, 4th sans-culottide, year II.) “Each man confines himself to his family and calculates his resources.”
[15. ]Meissner, 58.
[16. ]Decree of Fructidor 5. “All Frenchmen who voted at the last primary assemblies will be admitted to vote on the acceptance of the Constitution.”—Archives Nationales, A. II. B. 638. (General recapitulation of the vote on the Constitution of the year III, and on the decrees of Fructidor 5 and 13 printed by order of the Convention Vendémiaire, year IV.) Number of voters on the Constitutional bill, one million one hundred and seven thousand three hundred and sixty-eight.
[17. ]Moniteur, xxv., 637. (Address to Frenchmen by Lareveillère-Lepeaux, in the name of the Commission of Eleven, affixed to the decree of Fructidor 13.) “Let all opposition to the legitimacy of this measure cease! The only legitimate measure is that which saves the country! Besides, if the majority of the primary assemblies of France approve of it, who dares say that the people would have renounced its sovereignty in thus expressing its will!”—Cf. Sauzay, vii., 653 to 667, on the details and circumstances of the elections in one of the departments.
[18. ]Archives Nationales, A. II. B., 688. (Procès-verbaux of the primary meetings of Seine-Inférieare, Dieppe, “Liberté” section, session of Fructidor 20.) The Constitution is unanimously accepted by forty-four voters, on a call of names. Then, “before proceeding to the nomination of electors the law was read, concerning the mode of electing the two-thirds of the National Convention. The President having asked if any one wished to speak on this law the order of the day was immediately called for on all sides.” The electors are appointed forthwith and the assembly adjourns.—The clerk, who has to draw up the minutes, writes on the margin “forty-four voters unanimously accept the Constitution as well as the decrees of Fructidor 5 and 13,” which is false. It is clear that the scribe had been instructed to enlarge the number of votes accepting the decrees, which suggests doubts on the truth of the total furnished by the Convention.
[19. ]Ibid., A. II. B., 638 (General recapitulation). I have taken the number of primary assemblies in the twenty-two first departments on the alphabetical list, that is to say, one-quarter of the territory, which warrants a conclusion, proportionately, on the whole country. In these twenty-two departments, one thousand five hundred and seventy assemblies vote on the Constitution and only three hundred and twenty-eight on the decrees. The figures are herewith given: in the Côtes-du-Nord, eighty-four primary assemblies; only one votes in favor of the decrees. Bouches du Rhone, ninety primary assemblies; four vote on the decrees, two for and two against. Aude, eighty-three primary assemblies; four vote on the decrees, three for and one against. Ariége, fifty-nine primary assemblies; two vote on the decrees. Basses-Alpes, forty-eight primary assemblies; two vote on the decrees. Maritime Alps, twenty-three primary assemblies; not one votes on the decrees.
[20. ]Ibid. (Procès-verbaux of the primary assemblies of the department of the Seine, Popincourt section, Vendémiaire), 91. This section, on learning that its vote against the decrees “was put down as a cipher in the general count of votes,” protested and declared that “when the vote was taken at the meeting of Fructidor 22, it was composed of eight hundred and forty-five citizens representing two thousand five hundred and ninety-four votes.” Nevertheless, in the general recapitulation of Vendémiaire its vote counts for nothing.—The same remark for the “Fidélité” section. Its minutes state that the decrees are rejected “unanimously,” and that it is composed of one thousand three hundred citizens; its vote, likewise, goes for nothing. The totals given by the recapitulation are as follows: Voters on the Constitution, one million one hundred and seven thousand three hundred and sixty-eight; for, one million fifty-seven thousand three hundred and ninety; against, forty-nine thousand nine hundred and seventy-eight.—Voters on the Decrees, three hundred and fourteen thousand three hundred and eighty-two; for, two hundred and five thousand four hundred and ninety-eight; against, one hundred and eight thousand seven hundred and ninety-four.—Mallet-Dupan (i., 313) estimates the number of electors, at Paris, who rejected the decrees, at eighty thousand. Fiévée, “Correspondance avec Bonaparte,” introduction, p. 126.—(A few days before Vendémiaire 13, Fiévée, in the name of the Theatre-Français section, came, with two other commissioners, to verify the returns announced by the Convention.) “We divided the returns into three parts; each commissioner undertook to check off one of these parts, pen in hand, and the conscientious result of our labor was to show that, although the Convention had voting done in a mass by all the regiments then in France, individually, the majority, incontestably was against its project. Thus, while trying to have the election law passed under the Constitution, both measures were rejected.”
[21. ]Schmidt, “Tableaux de Paris pendant la Revolution.” (Reports of Messidor 1 and 24, year III.) “Good citizens are alarmed at the numerous pardons granted to the members of the revolutionary committees.” “The release of numerous terrorists is generally turned to account.”—Mallet-Dupan, “Correspondance,” etc., i., 259, 261, 321. “The vilest terrorists have been set free; a part of them confined in the château of Ham have been allowed to escape; they are summoned from all parts of the kingdom; they even send for them abroad, in Germany, in Belgium, in Savoy, in Geneva. On reaching Paris they are given leaders and organised. September 11 and 12 they began to meet publicly in groups and to use threats. I have proof of emissaries being engaged in recruiting them in the places I have mentioned and in paying their expenses to the capital.” (Letter of September 26, 1795.)
[22. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxvii., 36, 49. (Reports of Merlin de Douai and Barras on the 13th of Vendémiaire.)—Thibaudeau, “Histoire de la Convention et du Directoire,” i., 209.—Fabre de l’Aude, “Histoire secrete du Directoire,” i., p. 10. “The Convention opened the prison doors to fifteen or eighteen hundred Jacobin lunatics, Seides of the former members of the Committee of Public Safety.”—Mallet-Dupan (ibid., i., 332, 337, 361) estimates the numbers of terrorists enrolled at three thousand.
[23. ]Barbé-Marbois, “Mémoires,” i., p. ix.—Meissner, p. 246.
[24. ]Mallet-Dupan, ibid., i., 282. (Letter of August 16, 1795.) “At Paris, the patriots of 1789 have got the upper hand. The regicides have the greatest horror of this class because they regard it as a hundred times more dangerous than pronounced aristocrats.” Ibid., 316.—Meissner, p. 229. “The sectionists want neither a republic nor monarchy but simply intelligent and honest men for the places in the new Convention.”
[25. ]Lavalette, “Mémoires,” i., 162, 170.
[26. ]Meissner, p. 236.—Any number of details show the features and characters of the male and female Jacobins here referred to. For example, Carnot (“Mémoires,” i., 581), says in his narrative of the foregoing riot (Prairial, i., year III.), “A creature with a horrible face put himself astride my bench and kept constantly repeating: “Today is the day we’ll make you passer le gout de pain? and furies posted in the tribunes, made signs of the guillotine.”
[27. ]Meissner, p. 238.—Fiévée, p. 127, and following pages.
[28. ]Mallet-Dupan, i., 333, and following pages. (Letter of October 24, 1795.) “Barras does not repeat the mistake made by the Court on the 10th of April, and shut himself up in the château and the Tuileries; he posts troops and artillery in all the avenues. … Fréron and two other representatives, supplied with coin and assignats collected in the Faubourg St. Antoine, four or five hundred bandits which joined the terrorists; these formed the pretended battalions of the loyal section which had been pompously announced to the Convention. No section, excepting the “Quinze-Vingts,” sent its battalion, this section having separated at the outset from the other forty-seven sections. … The gardens and court of the Tuileries resembled a feasting camp, where the Committees caused distributions of wine and all sorts of provisions; many of their defenders were intoxicated; the troops of the line were kept faithful with money and drink.”—After Vendémiaire 13, the Convention brings further reinforcements of regular troops into Paris to keep the city under, amounting to eight or nine thousand men.
[29. ]Constitution of year III., Articles vi. and vii.
[30. ]Albert Babeau, “Histoire de Troyes,” ii., 367 and following pages. Sauzay, “His. de la Persécution Révolutionnaire dans le Doubs,” viii., ch. 52 and 54.—Law of Pluviose 4, year IV., authorising the executive Directory to appoint the members who, up to Thermidor 1, year IV., shall compose the municipal bodies of Bordeaux, Lyons, Marseilles and Paris.
[31. ]Decree of Brumaire 3, year IV.
[32. ]Archives Nationales, AF., II., 65. (Letter of Gen. Kermorvan, to the Com. of Public Safety, Valenciennes, Fructidor 22, year III.) At Valenciennes, during the elections, “the leaders of the sections used their fists in driving out of the primary assemblies all the worthy men possessing the necessary qualities for election. … I knew that the “seal-breakers” (brise-scellés) were the promoters of these turbulent parties, the patriotic robbers, the men who have wasted public and private fortunes belonging to the commune, and who are revelling in the houses and on the estates of the émigrés which they have had awarded to them at a hundred times below their value. … All of them are appointed electors. … They have paid … and still pay agitators to intimidate honest folks by terror, in order to keep what they have seized, awaiting an opportunity to get more. … When the elections were over they sent daring men, undoubtedly paid, to insult people as they passed, calling them royalist chouans.” (He mentions the despatch of supporting affidavits.)—Mercier, “Le Nouveau Paris,” ii., 315. “Peaceable people in Paris refuse to go to the polls,” so as to “avoid being struck and knocked down.”—Sauzay, viii., 9. At Besançon, Nov. 6, 1795, out of five thousand three hundred and nine registered voters, only one thousand three hundred and twenty-four vote and the elected are terrorists.—Archives Nationales, F7, 7,090. (Documents on the Jacobin insurrection of Nivose 4 and 5, year IV., at Arles): “The exclusives, or amnestied, regarded the Constitution only as a means of arriving at a new state of anarchy by getting possession of all the offices. … Shouts and cries of Vive Marat! and Robespierre to the Pantheon! were often repeated. The principal band was composed of genuine Terrorists, of the men who under Robespierre’s reign bore the guillotine about in triumph, imitating its cruel performances on every corner with a manikin expressly made for the occasion.” “Domiciliary visits, rummaging everywhere, stealing jewelry, money, clothes, etc.”
[33. ]Decree of Brumaire 4, year IV.
[34. ]Mallet-Dupan, ii., 363.—Schmidt (Police report of Brumaire 26 and 27).
[35. ]Dufort de Cheverney (manuscript memoirs communicated by Robert de Crêvecoeur).—Report of the public prosecutor, dated Thermidor 13, year III., according to documents handed in on Messidor 16, by the foreman of the jury of indictment and by the juges de paix of Chinon, Saumur, Tours, Amboise, Blois, Beaugency, etc., relating to the charges made by the administrators of the department of Loire-et-Cher, dated Frimaire 30, year II., concerning the fusillades at Blois, Frimaire 19, year II.
[36. ]The line of this march from Saumur to Montsoreau could be traced by the blood along the road; the leaders shot those who faltered with fatigue.—On reaching Blois, Frimaire 18, Hézine says, before the town-hall, “Tomorrow morning they shall be straightened out and we’ll show the Blésois how the thing is managed.” The following day, Hézine and Gidouin, taking a walk with Lepetit, commander of the escort, in the court of the inn, say to him: “You’ll shoot some of them for us. You must give the people an example by shooting some of those rascally priests.” Lepetit orders out four peasants and placing them himself on the river bank, gives the command to fire and to throw them in. Hézine and Gidouin shout Vive la Nation! Gidouin then says to Lepetit: “You don’t mean to stop with those four peasants? won’t you give us a few curés?” Five priests are shot.—At Beaugency, there is a fresh fusillade. The leaders take the best part of the spoil. Among other objects, Lepetit has a coffer sent into his chamber and takes the effects it contains and sells a bed and mattress beside.
[37. ]Ibid., (March, 1796). “Meanwhile, the young men who were recruited, hid themselves: Bonnard made them pay, and still made them set out. Baillon, quartermaster in the war, told me that he had paid Bonnard nine hundred thousand livres in assignats in twelve days, and one million four hundred thousand in twenty days; there were thirty-five thousand livres in the memoir for pens, penknives, ink, and paper.”
[38. ]Mallet-Dupan, “Correspondance, etc.,” i., 383. (Letter of Dec. 13, 1795.) “The Directory keeps on filling the offices with Terrorists. The government agents in the departments arbitrarily set aside the constituted authorities and replace them with Jacobins.”
[39. ]Thibaudeau, “Histoire de la Convention,” i., 243. “Tallien, Barras, Chénier and Louvet talked of nothing but of annulling the elections. … Nothing was heard at the bar and in the tribunals but the most revolutionary propositions. The “Mountain” showed incredible audacity. The public tribunes were filled with confederates who applauded furiously. … Tallien and Barras ruled and shared the dictatorship between them. … Since the 13th of Vendémiaire, the deliberations of the Convention are carried on in a camp; the exterior, the tribunes, the hall itself are invested by soldiers and terrorists.”—Mallet-Dupan, “Correspondence, etc.,” i., 248. (Letter of Oct. 31, 1795.)
[40. ]Thibaudeau, ibid., i., 246, et seq.—Moniteur. (Session of Brumaire 1.) Speech by Thibaudeau.
[41. ]Mallet-Dupan, ibid., i., 328. (Letter Oct. 4, 1795.) “Nearly all the electors nominated at Paris are former administrators, distinguished and sensible writers, persons recommendable through their position, fortune, and intelligence. They are the royalists of 1789, that is to say about in the sense of the constitution of 1791, essentially changed fundamentally. M. d’Ormesson, former comptroller-general of the Treasury, the Marquis of Gontant, M. de Vandeuil, former maitre de requêtes, M. Garnier, former conseiller an Châtelet of Paris and others of the same order, all electors. It is another world; in one month we have gone back five years.”—Ibid., 343, 350, 359, 373.
[42. ]Barbé-Marbois, “Journal d’un Déporté,” preface, p. xiv. “Outside of five or six men who might be regarded as ‘suspects’ of royalism the most animated were only really irritated against the despotic conduct and depredations of the directors and not against the republican system.”
[43. ]Mallet-Dupan, ibid., i., 369. (Letter of Nov. 22, 1795.) “Never would the resistance of the sections have shown itself so unanimously and so perseveringly without the promptings of the two hundred monarchist members of the Convention and the aid they promised. They had engaged to enter the tribune and support the cause of Paris, to carry the majority and, in case they did not succeed in revoking the decree respecting the two-thirds, to withdraw from the Convention and come and take their seats with the sections; the pusillanimity of these two hundred members caused the failure of these promises. … I guarantee the authenticity of this statement.”
[44. ]“Souvenirs et Journal d’un Bourgeois d’Evreux,” pp. 103, 106. “The Constitution has been adopted by a very small number of citizens, for, in the section of the Nord only one hundred and fifty voters at most are found amongst twelve hundred or fifteen hundred estimated.” (September 6, 1795.)—On Tuesday, November 10, “the section assemblies of Evreux completed their nominations of juge de paix and of its assessors and five municipal officers. It took time, because there were a great many who declined.”
[45. ]Thibaudeau, “Mémoires sur le Convention et le Directoire,” ii., 58.—Mallet-Dupan, (“Correspondence, etc.,” ii., 281.) Dufort de Cheverney (“Mémoires” in manuscript). He is at Vendôme and attends the trial out of curiosity. “Germain, cheerful and witty, makes fun of the jurymen: they are really stupid, said he, not to see conspiracy when there was as complete a one as ever existed. … Besides, I conspired and always shall.”
[46. ]“Souvenir et Journal d’un Bourgeois d’Evreux,” p. 118 (March 24, 1797).
[47. ]Dufort de Cheverney, “Mémoires,” (March, 1797).
[48. ]Albert Babeau, ii., 408, et seq. (Address of the administrators of Aube for the elections of year V.)—Ibid., 414. (Speech by Herlinson, Librarian of the Ecole Centrale at Troyes, Thermidor 10, year V. in the large hall of the Hôtel-de-Ville, before the commissioners of the Directory, and received with unbounded applause.) “The patriots consisted of fools, madmen and knaves, the first in their illusions, the second in their dreams and the third in their acts. … Everywhere you would see two or three executioners, a dozen satellites, of whom one-half trembled for their lives, and about a hundred witnesses, most of them in spite of themselves, against thousands of victims. … Vengeance is not necessary; never was special vengeance of any benefit to the public. Let them rest in their slough, let them live as objects of contempt and horror.”—Cf. Sauzay, viii., p. 659 et seq.
[49. ]Thibaudeau, ii., 152, 153.—Mallet-Dupan, ii., 262.
[50. ]Mallet-Dupan, ii., 265, 268, 278.
[51. ]Thibaudeau, ii., 244, 248.
[52. ]Carnot, “Mémoires,” ii., 108. “Not fifteen leaders.”—Lacretelle, “Dix Années d’Epreuves,” p. 308. “Twenty or thirty men devoted to monarchical opinions, but who did not dare state them openly.”
[53. ]Mallet-Dupan, ii., 267, 278, 331.
[54. ]Mallet-Dupan, ii., 265. “Not only have they discarded (at Paris) the Republicans, but even those among the old Constituents, known or denounced for having taken too important a part in the first revolution. … Men have been chosen who aspired to a modified and not perverted monarchy. The suffrages have equally set aside the sectarian royalists of the ancient régime and violent antirevolutionists.”
[55. ]Mallet-Dupan, ii., 298. “The deputies never attack a revolutionary law, but they are mistrusted of some design of destroying the results of the Revolution, and every time they speak of regulating the Republic they are accused of ill-will to the Republic.”
[56. ]Thibaudeau, ii., 171.—Carnot, ii., 106.—The programme of Barthélémy is contained in this simple phrase: “I would render the Republic administrative.” On the foreign policy, his ideas, so temperate, pacific and really French, are received with derision by the other Directors. (André Lebon, “Angleterre et l’Emigration Française,” p. 335.)
[57. ]Mathieu Dumas, “Souvenirs,” iii., 153.—Camille Jordan. (Letter to his constituents on the Revolution, Fructidor 18, p. 26.) “The Constitution, the Constitution alone, is the rallying word at Clichy.”—Barbé-Marbois, “Souvenirs d’un Déporté,” i., page 12 and preface. “The largest number wanted to disregard the future and forget the past.”
[58. ]Mallet-Dupan, ii., 336. “Eighty of the deputies who were menaced have slept elsewhere since the 30th of August, keeping together in one domicile for fear of being carried off at night.”—Mathieu Dumas, iii., 10. “I could no longer occupy my house in Paris, rue Fosses-du-Temple, without risking an attack from the sbirri of the Directory, who proclaimed in the clubs that the people must be avenged in (our) houses.”—Mallet-Dupan, ii., 343. “This pretended conspiracy imputed to the councils by the triumvirs, is a romance similar to those of Robespierre.”—Ibid., 346. “There has been no conspiracy, properly so-called, of the Corps Legislatif against the Directory.”—Only, “every constitution in France kills the Revolution if it is not destroyed in time for the Revolutionary leaders. And this, because four-fifths of France being detached from the Revolution, the elections will put into the legislative and administrative offices men who were opposed to the Revolution.”
[59. ]Lord Malmesbury, “Diaries,” ii., 544. (September 9, 1797.) The words of Mr. Colchen. “He went on to say that all the persons arrested are the most estimable and most able men in the Republic. It is for this reason and not from any principles of royalism (for such principles do not belong to them) that they are sentenced to transportation. They would have supported the Constitution, but in doing that they would have circumscribed the authority of the executive power and have taken from the Directory the means of acquiring and exercising undue authority.”
[60. ]Barbé-Marbois, “Journal d’un Déporté,” preface, p. xvi.
[61. ]Mathieu Dumas, iii., 84, 86.
[62. ]De Goncourt, “La Société Française pendant le Directoire,” 298, 386. Cf. the Thé, the Grondeur, the Censeur des journaux, Paris, and innumerable pamphlets.—In the provinces, the Anti-Terrorist, at Toulouse; the 9 Thermidore, at Besançon, the Annales Troyennes at Troyes, etc.
[63. ]Mallet-Dupan, ii., 309, 316, 323, 324, 329, 333, 339, 347. “To defend themselves constitutionally, whilst the Directory attacks revolutionarily, is to condemn themselves to inevitable perdition.” “Had it a hundred times more ability the Corps Legislatif without boldness is a lightning flash without thunder.” “With greater resources than Louis XVI. had in 1792, the Corps Legislatif acts like this prince and will share his fate, unless it returns war for war, unless it declares that the first generals who dare send out the deliberations of their armies are traitors to the State.” “It is owing to the temporising of the legislative councils, to the fatal postponement of the attack on the Luxembourg in the middle of August, on which Pichegru, Villot, General Miranda, and all the clairvoyant deputies insisted on, … it is owing to foolishly insisting on confining themselves to constitutional defences, … it is owing to the necessity which the eighty firm and energetic deputies found of conciliating three hundred others who could not agree on the end as well as the means, which brought about the catastrophe of the Councils.”
[64. ]Carnot, “Mémoires,” ii., 161. “The evil having reached its last stage, it was necessary to have a 10th of June instead of a 31st of May.”—Mallet-Dupan, ii., 333, 334. The plan for cancelling the military division of the Interior under Augereau’s command was to be carried out between the 15th and 20th of August. If the triumvirate should resist, Pichegru and Villot were to march on the Luxembourg. Carnot refused to accept the project “unless he might name the three new Directors.”—De la Rue, “Histoire du 18 Fructidor.” Carnot said to the Moderates who asked him to act with them: “Even if I had a pardon in my pocket, amply confirmed by the royal mouth, I should have no confidence.”
[65. ]Occupied by the members of the Directory.
[66. ]Mathieu Dumas, “Mémoires,” iii., 113.
[67. ]Mallet-Dupan, ii., 327. “Barras is the only one who plays squarely and who, taking the risk, wants Jacobinism to triumph par fas et nefas.”—Ibid., 339. “The triumvirs hesitated up to Friday; Barras, the most furious of the three, and master of Augereau, decided his two colleagues.”—Ibid., 351. “Barras and Rewbell, by dint of exciting the imagination of that poor little philosophiser Larevellière, succeeded in converting him.”—Thibaudeau, ii., 272. “It was Barras who bore off the honors of dictatorship that night. … Larevellière shut himself up in his house as in an impenetrable sanctuary. Rewbell, at this moment, his head somewhat affected, was watched in his apartment.”
[68. ]Mallet-Dupan, ii., 304, 305, 331.—Carnot, ii., 117.
[69. ]Barbé-Marbois, “Journal d’un Déporté,” pp. 34 and 35.
[70. ]Mallet-Dupan, ii., 343.
[71. ]Barbé-Marbois, ibid., p. 46.
[72. ]Mallet-Dupan, ii., 228, 342. “The use the triumvirs intended to make of D’Entraigues’ portfolio was known two months ago.”—Cf. Thibaudeau, ii., 279, on the vagueness, scanty proof and gross falsity of the charges made by the Directory.
[73. ]Barbé-Marbois, ibid., p. 46.
[74. ]Lord Malmesbury, “Diary,” iii., 559 (Sep. 17, 1797). At Lille, after the news of the coup d’état, “it was a curious circumstance to see the horror that prevailed everywhere lest the system of Terror should be revived. People looked as if some exterminating spirit were approaching. The actors in the theatre partook of the sensation. The Director called Paris, said to Ross, on his paying him: ‘Nous allons actuellement être vandalisés.’ ”
[75. ]Decrees of Fructidor 18 and 19, year V., Article 39.
[76. ]Thibaudeau, ii., 277. “I went to the meeting of Fructidor 20, the avenues of the Odéon were besieged with those subaltern agents of revolution who always show themselves after commotion, like vultures after battles. They insulted and threatened the vanquished and lauded the victors.”
[77. ]Ibid., ii. 309.
[78. ]Ibid., ii., 277. “As soon as I entered the hall several deputies came with tears in their eyes to clasp me in their arms. The Assembly all had a lugubrious air, the same as the dimly lighted theatre in which they met; terror was depicted on all countenances; only a few members spoke and took part in the debates. The majority was impassible, seeming to be there only to assist at a funeral spectacle, its own.”
[79. ]Decree of Fructidor 1, articles 4 and 5, 16 and 17, 28, 29 and 30, 35, and decree of Fructidor 22.—Sauzay, ix., 103. Three hundred communes of the department are thus purged after Fructidor.—Ibid., 537, the same weeding-out of jurymen.
[80. ]Lacretelle, “Dix ans d’Epreuves,” p. 310.
[81. ]“Journal d’un Bourgeois d’Evreux,” 143. (March 20, 1799.) “The next day the primary assemblies began; very few attended them; nobody seemed disposed to go out of his way to elect men whom they did not like.”—Dufort de Cheverney, “Mémoires,” March, 1799. “Persons who are not dupes think it of very little consequence whether they vote or not. The elections are already made or indicated by the Directory. The mass of the people show utter indifference.” (March 24.) “In this town of twenty thousand souls (Blois) the primary assemblies are composed of the dregs of the people; but a very few honest people attend them; ‘suspects,’ the relations of émigrés and priests, all expelled, leave the field free to intriguers. Not one proprietor is summoned. The terrorists rule in three out of the four sections. … The Babouvists always employ the same tactics; they recruit voters in the streets who sell their sovereignty five or six times over for a bottle of wine.” (April 12, according to an intelligent man coming from Paris.) “Generally, in Paris, nobody attends the primary assemblies, the largest not returning two hundred voters.”—Sauzay, ix., ch. 83. (Notes on the election at Besançon, 1798, by an eye-witness.) “Jacobins were elected by most frightful brigandage, supported by the garrison to which wine had been distributed, their election being made at the point of the bayonet and under blows with sticks and swords. A good many Catholics were wounded.”
[82. ]Albert Babeau, ii., 444. (Declaration of the patriotic and secessionist minority of the canton of Riquy at the elections of the year VI.)
[83. ]Mercure Britannique, No. for August 25, 1799. (Report read, July 15 and August 5, before the Five Hundred on the conduct of the Directors Rewbell, Larevellière-Lepaux, Merlin de Douai and Treilhard, and summary of the nine articles of indictment.)—Ibid., 3d article. “They have violated our constitution by usurping legislative powers through acts which prescribe that a certain law shall be executed, in all that is not modified to the present act, and by passing acts which modify or render the present laws illusory.”
[84. ]Fiévée, “Correspondance avec Buonaparte,” i., 147.
[85. ]Barbé-Marbois, i., 64, 91, 96, 133; ii., 18, 25, 83.—Dufort de Cheverney, “Mémoires.” (September 14, 1797.)—Sauzay, ix., chapters 81 and 84.
[86. ]Sauzay, vols. ix. and x.—Mallet-Dupan, ii., 375, 379, 382.—Schmidt, “Tableau de Paris Pendant la Revolution,” iii., 290. (Report by the administrators of the Seine department.)
[87. ]Dufort de Cheverney, “Mémoires,” August, 1798, October, 1797 and 1799, passim.
[88. ]Archives Nationales, F7, 3,219. (Letter of M. Alquier to the First Consul, Pluviose 18, year III.) “I wanted to see the central administration; I found the ideas and language of 1793.”
[89. ]Dufort de Cheverney, “Mémoires,” (February 26, March 31 and September 6, 1797). “That poor theoristic imbecile, Larevellière-Lepaux, who, joining Barras and Rewbell against Barthélémy and Carnot, made the 18th of Fructidor, and shut himself in his room so as not to witness it, himself avows the quality of his staff.” (“Mémoires,” ii., 164.) “The 18th of Fructidor necessitated numerous changes on the part of the Directory. Instead of putting republicans, but above all, honest, wise, and enlightened men in the place of the functionaries and employees dismissed or revoked, the selections dictated by the new Councils fell for the most part on anarchists and men of blood and robbery.”
[90. ]Lacretelle, “Dix ans d’Epreuves,” p. 317. A few days after Fructidor, Robert, an old Jacobin, exclaimed with great joy on the road to Brie-Comté, “All the royalists are going to be driven out or guillotined!” The series F7 in the Archives Nationales, contains hundreds of files filled with reports “on the state of the public mind,” in each department, town or canton between the years III. and VIII. I have given several months to their examination and, for lack of space, cannot copy any extracts. The real history of the last five years of the Revolution may be found in these files. Mallet-Dupan gives a correct impression of it in his “Correspondence avec la cour de Vienne,” also in the “Mercure Britannique.”
[91. ]Sauzay, x., chaps. 80 and 90.—Ludovic Sciout, iv., ch. 17. (See especially in Sauzay, x., pp. 170 and 281, the instructions given by Duval, December 16, 1796, and the circulars of François de Neufchateau from November 20, 1798, down to June 18, 1798, each of these pieces being a masterpiece in its way.)
[92. ]“Journal d’un Bourgeois d’Evreux,” p. 134. “June 7, 1798.” “The day following the décade, the gardeners, who as usual came to show themselves off on the main street, were fined six livres for having treated with contempt and broken the décade.” January 21, 1799. “Those who were caught working on the décade, were fined three livres for the first offence; if they were caught more than once the fine was doubled and it was even followed by imprisonment.”
[93. ]Ludovic Sciout, iv., 160. Examples of “individual motives” alleged to justify the sentence of transportation. One has refused to baptise an infant whose parents were only married civilly. Another has “declared to his audience that the Catholic marriage was the best.” Another “has fanaticised.” Another “has preached pernicious doctrines contrary to the constitution.” Another “may, by his presence, incite disturbances,” etc. Among the condemned we find septuagenarians, known priests and even married priests.—Ibid., 634, 637.
[94. ]Sauzay, ix., 715. (List of names.)
[95. ]Ludovic Sciout, iv., 656.
[96. ]Dufort de Cheverney, “Mémoires,” September 7, 1798. Ibid., February 26, 1799. “In Belgium priests are lodged in the Carmelites (convent).” September 9, 1799. “Two more carts are sent full of priests for the islands of Rhé and Oléron.”
[97. ]Thibaudeau, ii., 318, 321.—Mallet-Dupan, ii., 357, 368. The plan went farther: “All children of emigrants,” or of those falsely accused of being such, “left in France, shall be taken from their relatives and confided to republican tutors, and the republic shall administer their property.”
[98. ]Decree of Frimaire 9, year VI. (Exceptions in favor of the actual members of the Directory, ministers, military men on duty, and the members of the diverse National Assemblies, except those who in the Constituent Assembly protested against the abolition of nobility.) One of the speakers, a future Count of the Empire, proposed that every noble claiming his inscription on the civic registers should sign the following declaration: “As man and as republican, I equally detest the insolent superstition which pretends to distinctions of birth, and the cowardly and shameful superstition which believes in and maintains it.”
[99. ]Decree of Fructidor 19, year II.
[100. ]Lally-Tollendal, “Défense des Emigrés” (Paris, 1797, 2d part, 49, 62, 74. Report of Portalis to the Council of Five Hundred, Feb. 18, 1796). “Regard that innumerable class of unfortunates who have never left the republican soil.”—Speech by Dubreuil, Aug. 26, 1796. “The supplementary list in the department of Avignon bears one thousand and four or one thousand and five names. And yet I can attest to you that there are not six names on this enormous list justly put down as veritable emigrants.”
[101. ]Ludovic Sciout, iv., 619. (Report of the Yonne administration, Frimaire, year VI.) “The gendarmerie went to the houses, in Sens as well as Auxerre, of several of the citizens inscribed on the lists of émigrés who were known never to have left their commune since the Revolution began. As they have not been found it is probable that they have withdrawn into Switzerland, or that they are soliciting you to have their names stricken off.”
[102. ]Decrees of Vendémiaire 20 and Frimaire 9, year VI.—Decree of Messidor 10.
[103. ]Dufort de Cheverney, “Mémoires.” (Before the Revolution he enjoyed an income of fifty thousand livres, of which only five thousand remain.) “Madame Amelot likewise reduced, rents her hotel for a living. Through the same delicacy as our own she did not avail herself of the facility offered to her of indemnifying her creditors with assignats.” Another lady, likewise ruined, seeks a place in some country house in order that herself and son may live.”—“Statistique de la Moselle,” by Colchen, préfet, year VI. “A great many people with incomes have perished through want and through payment of interest in paper-money and the reduction of Treasury bonds.”—Dufort de Cheverney, ibid., March, 1799. “The former noblesse and even citizens who are at all well-off need not depend on any amelioration. … They must expect a complete rescission of bodies and goods. … Pecuniary resources are diminishing more and more. … Impositions are starving the country.”—Mallet-Dupan, “Mercure Britannique,” January 25, 1799. “Thousands of invalides with wooden legs garrison the houses of the tax-payers who do not pay according to the humor of the collectors. The proportion of impositions as now laid in relation to those of the ancient régime in the towns generally is as eighty-eight to thirty-two.”
[104. ]De Tocqueville, “Oeuvres complètes,” v., 65. (Extracts from secret reports on the state of the Republic, September 26, 1799.)
[105. ]Decree of Messidor 24, year VI.
[106. ]De Barante, “Histoire du Directoire,” iii., 456.
[107. ]A. Sorel, “Revue Historique,” No. 1, for March and May, 1882. “Les Frontieres Constitutionelles en 1795.” The treaties concluded in 1795 with Tuscany, Prussia, and Spain show that peace was easy and that the recognition of the Republic was effected even before the Republican government was organised. … That France, whether monarchical or republican, had a certain limit which French power was not to overstep, because this was not in proportion to the real strength of France, nor with the distribution of force among the other European governments. “On this capital point the Convention erred; it erred knowingly, through a long-meditated calculation, which calculation, however, was false, and France paid dearly for its consequences.”—Mallet-Dupan, ii., 288, Aug. 23, 1795. “The monarchists and many of the deputies in the Convention sacrificed all the conquests to hasten on and obtain peace. But the fanatical Girondists and Siéyès’ committee persisted in the tension system. They were governed by three motives: 1, the design of extending their doctrine along their territory; 2, the desire of successively federalising the States of Europe with the French Republic; and 3, that of prolonging a partial war which also prolongs extraordinary powers and revolutionary resources.”—Carnot, “Mémoires,” i., 476. (Report to the Committee of Public Safety, Messidor 28, year II.) “It seems much wiser to restrict our plans of aggrandisement to what is purely necessary in order to obtain the maximum security of our country.”—Ibid., ii., 132, 134, and 136. (Letters to Bonaparte, Oct. 28, 1796, and Jan. 1, 1797.) “It would be imprudent to fan the revolutionary flame in Italy too strongly. … They desired to have you work out the Revolution in Piedmont, Milan, Rome, and Naples; I thought it better to treat with these countries, draw subsidies from them, and make use of their own organisation to keep them under control.”
[108. ]Carnot, ibid., ii. 147. “Barras, addressing me like a madman, said, ‘Yes, it is to you we owe that infamous treaty of Leoben!’ ”
[109. ]André Lebon, “L’Angleterre et l’Emigration Française,” p. 235. (Letter of Wickam, June 27, 1797, words of Barthélémy to M. d’Aubigny.)
[110. ]Lord Malmesbury, “Diary,” iii., 541. (September 9, 1797.) “The violent revolution which has taken place at Paris has overset all our hopes and defeated all our reasonings. I consider it the most unlucky event that could have happened.” Ibid., 593. (Letter from Canning, September 29, 1797.) “We were in a hair’s breadth of it (peace). Nothing but that cursed revolution at Paris and the sanguinary, insolent, implacable and ignorant arrogance of the triumvirate could have prevented us. Had the moderate party triumphed all would have been well, not for us only but for France, for Europe and for all the world.”
[111. ]Carnot, ii., 152. “Do you suppose, replied Rewbell, that I want the Cape and Trinquemale restored for Holland? The first point is to take them, and to do that Holland must furnish the money and the vessels. After that I will make them see that these colonies belong to us.”
[112. ]Lord Malmesbury, “Diary,” iii., 526. (Letter from Paris, Fructidor 17, year V.)—Ibid., 483. (Conversation of Mr. Ellis with Mr. Pain.)
[113. ]Ibid., iii., 519, 544. (The words of Maret and Colchen.)—“Rewbell,” says Carnot, “seems to be perfectly convinced that probity and civism are two absolutely incompatible things.”
[114. ]Mallet-Dupan, ii., 49. Words of Siéyès, March 27, 1797. Ibid, i., 258, 407; ii., 4, 49, 350, 361, 386. This is so true that this prevision actuates the concessions of the English ambassador. (Lord Malmesbury, “Diary,” iii., 519. Letter to Canning. August 29, 1797.) “I am the more anxious for peace because, in addition to all the commonplace reasons, I am convinced that peace will palsy this country most completely, that all the violent means they have employed for war will return upon them like an humour driven in and overset entirely their weak and baseless constitution. This consequence of peace is so much more to be pressed, as the very best conditions we could offer in the treaty.”
[115. ]Mathieu Dumas, iii., 256—Miot de Melito, i., 163, 191. (Conversations with Bonaparte June and September, 1797.)
[116. ]Mallet-Dupan, “Mercure Britannique,” No. for November 10, 1798. How support gigantic and exacting crimes on its own soil? How can it flatter itself that it will extract from an impoverished people, without manufactures, trade or credit, nearly a billion of direct and indirect subsidies? How renew that immense fund of confiscations on which the French republic has lived for the past eight years? By conquering every year a new nation and devastating its treasuries, its character, its monts-de-piété, its owners of property. The Republic, for ten years past, would have laid down its arms had it been reduced to its own capital.
[117. ]Mallet-Dupan, “Mercure Britannique,” Nos. for November 25, and December 25, 1798, and passim.
[118. ]Ibid., No. for January 25, 1799. “The French Republic is eating Europe leaf by leaf like the head of an artichoke.” It revolutionises nations that it may despoil them, and it despoils them that it may subsist.”
[119. ]Letter of Mallet-Dupan to a deputy on a declaration of war against Venice and on the Revolution effected at Genoa. (The “Quotidienne,” Nos. 410, 413, 414, 421.)—Ibid., “Essai Historique sur la destruction de le Signe et de le Liberté Historique.” (Nos. 1, 2, and 3 of the “Mercure Britannique.”)—Carnot, ii., 153. (Words of Carnot in relation to the Swiss proceedings of the Directory.) “It is the fable of the Wolf and the Lamb.”
[120. ]Overhauling of the Constitution, or purgation of the authorities in Holland by Delacroix. January 22, 1798, in Cisalpine by Berthier, February, 1798, by Trouve, August, 1798, by Brune, September, 1798, in Switzerland by Rapinat, June, 1798, etc.
[121. ]Mallet-Dupan (“Mercure Britannique,” numbers for November 26, December 25, 1798, March 10 and July 10, 1799). Details and documents relating to popular insurrections in Belgium, Switzerland, Suabia, Modena, the Roman States, Piedmont, and Upper Italy.—Letter of an officer in the French army dated at Turin and printed at Paris. “Wherever the civil commissioners pass the people rise in insurrection, and, although I have come near being a victim of these insurrections four times, I cannot blame the poor creatures; even the straw of their beds is taken. Most of Piedmont, as I wrote, has risen against the French robbers, as they call us. Will you be surprised when I tell you that, since the pretended revolution of this country, three or four months ago, we have devoured ten millions of coin, fifteen millions of paper money, with the diamonds, furniture, etc., of the Crown? The people judge us according to our actions and regard us with horror and execrations.”
[122. ]Mallet-Dupan, Ibid., number for January, 1799. (List according to articles, with details, figures and dates.)—Ibid., No. for May 25, 1799: details of the sack of Rome according to the “Journal” of M. Duppa, an eye witness.—Ibid., Nos. for February 10 and 25, 1799: details of spoliation in Switzerland, Lombardy, Lucca, and Piedmont.—The following figures show the robberies committed by individuals: In Switzerland, “the Directorial commissary, Rapinat, the major-general, Schawembourg and the ordinance commissary, Rouhière, each carried away a million tournois.” “Rouhière, besides this, levied 20 per cent. on each contract he issued, which was worth to him three hundred and fifty thousand livres. His first secretary Toussaint, stole in Berne alone, one hundred and fifty thousand livres. The secretary of Rapinat, Amberg, retired with three hundred thousand livres.” General Lorge carried off one hundred and fifty thousand livres in specie, besides a lot of gold medals taken from the Hôtel-de-Ville at Berne; his two brigadier-generals, Rampon and Pijon, each appropriated two hundred and sixteen thousand livres. “Gen. Duheur, encamped in Brisgav, sent daily to the three villages at once the bills of fare for his meals and ordered requisitions for them; he demanded of one, articles in kind and, simultaneously, specie of another. He was content with one hundred florins a day, which he took in provisions and then in money.”—“Massena, on entering Milan at eleven o’clock in the evening, had carried off in four hours, without giving any inventory or receipt, all the cash-boxes of the convents, hospitals and monts-de-piété, which were enormously rich, taking also, among others, the casket of diamonds belonging to Prince Belgioso. That night was worth to Massena one million two hundred thousand livres.” (Mallet-Dupan, “Mercure Britannique,” February 10, 1799, and “Journal,” MS., March, 1797.) On the sentiments of the Italians, cf. the letter of Lieutenant Dupin, Prairial 27, year VIII.; (G. Sand, “Histoire de ma Vie,” ii., 251) one account of the battle of Marengo, lost up to two o’clock in the afternoon; “I already saw that the Po, and the Tessin were to be crossed, a country to traverse of which every inhabitant is our enemy.”
[123. ]Mallet-Dupan, ibid., number for January 10, 1791. “December 31, 1796. Marquis Litta had already paid assessments amounting to five hundred thousand livres milanais. Marquis T., four hundred and twenty thousand, Count G., nine hundred thousand, and other proprietors in proportion.” Ransom of the “Decurioni of Milan, and other hostages sent into France, one million five hundred thousand livres.” This is in conformity with the Jacobin theory. In the old instructions of Carnot, we read the following sentence: “Assessments must be laid exclusively on the rich; the people must see that we are only liberators. … Enter as benefactors of the people, and at the same time as the scourge of the great, the rich and enemies of the French name.” (Carnot, i., 433.)
[124. ]Ludovic Sciout, iv., 776. (Reports of the year VII., Archives Nationales, F7, 7,701 and 7,718). “Out of one thousand four hundred men composing the first auxiliary battalion of conscripts, one thousand and eighty-seven cowardly deserted their flag (Haute-Loire), and out of nine hundred recently recruited at Puy, to form the nucleus of the second battalion, eight hundred again have imitated their example.”—Dufort de Cheverney, “Mèmoires,” September, 1799. “We learned that out of four hundred conscripts confined in the (Blois) château, who were to set out that night, one hundred had disappeared.”—October 12, 1799. “The conscripts are in the château to the number of five hundred or six hundred. They say that they will not desert until out of the department and on the road, so as not to compromise their families.”—October 14, “Two hundred have deserted, leaving about three hundred.”—Archives Nationales, F7, 3,267. (Reports every ten days on refractory conscripts or deserters arrested by the military police, year VIII. Department of Seine-et-Oise.) In this department alone, there are sixty-six arrests in Vendémiaire, one hundred and thirty-six in Brumaire, fifty-six in Frimaire and eighty-six in Pluviose.
[125. ]Mallet-Dupan, No. for January 25, 1799. (Letter from Belgium.) “The revolt today is the United Provinces against the Duke of Alba. Never have the Belgians since Philip II. displayed similar motives for resistance and vengeance.”
[126. ]Decrees of Fructidor 19, year VI. and Vendémiaire 27, year VII.—(Mallet-Dupan, No. for November 25, 1798.)
[127. ]M. Léonce de Lavergne (“Economie rurale de la France since 1789,” p. 38) estimates at a million the number of men sacrificed in the wars between 1792 and 1800.—Mallet-Dupan. (No. for December 10, 1798.)—Ibid. (No. for March 20, 1799.) “Dumas stated, in the Corps Legislatif, that the National Guard had renewed the battalions of the defenders of the country three times. … The fact of the shameful administration of the hospitals is proved through the admissions of generals, commissaries and deputies, the soldiers dying for want of food and medicine. If we add to this the prodigality of lives by the leaders of the armies we can readily comprehend this triple renewal in the space of seven years.”—(“Histoire du Village de Croissy, Seine-et-Oise pendant la Révolution,” by Campenon.) A village of four hundred and fifty inhabitants in 1789 furnished (1792 and 1793) fifty soldiers.—Meissner, “Voyage à Paris,” p. 338, latter end of 1795): La Vendée was a bottomless pit, like Spain and Russia afterwards. A good republican, who had to supply the Vendée army with provisions for fifteen months, assured me that out of two hundred thousand men whom he had seen precipitated into this gulf there were not ten thousand that came of it.”—The following figures (“Statistiques des Préfets” years IX. and X.) are exact. Eight departments (Doubs, Ain, Eure, Meurthe, Aisne, Aude, Drôme, Moselle) furnish the total number of their volunteers, recruits and conscripts, amounting to one hundred and ninety-one thousand three hundred and forty-three. These three departments (Arthur Young, “Voyage en France,” ii., 31) had, in 1790, a population of two million four hundred and forty-six thousand souls; the proportion indicates that out of twenty-six million Frenchmen a little more than two millions went with the armies.—On the other hand, five departments (Doubs, Eure, Meurthe, Aisne, Moselle) gave, not only the number of their soldiers, one hundred and thirty-one thousand three hundred and twenty-two, but likewise that of their dead, fifty-six thousand nine hundred and seventy-six, that is to say, four hundred and thirty-five out of every thousand men furnished. This proportion shows eight hundred and seventy thousand dead out of two million soldiers.
[128. ]The statistics of the prefects and reports of council-generals of the year IX. all agree in the statements of the notable diminution of the masculine adult population.—Lord Malmesbury had already made the same observation in 1796. (“Diary,” October 21 and 23, 1796, from Calais to Paris.) “Children and women were working in the fields. Men evidently reduced in number. … Carts often drawn by women and most of them by old people or boys. It is plain that the male population has diminished; for the women we saw on the road surpassed the number of men in the proportion of four to one.” Wherever the number of the population is filled up it is through the infantile and feminine increase. Nearly all the prefects and council-generals state that precocious marriages have multiplied to excess through conscription.—Dufort de Cheverney, “Mémoires,” September 1, 1800. “The conscription having spared the married, all the young men married at the age of sixteen. The number of children in the commune is double and triple what it was formerly.”
[129. ]Sauzay, x., 471. (Speech by Representative Biot, Aug. 29, 1799.)
[130. ]Albert Babeau, ii., 466. (Letter of Milany, July 1, 1798, and report by Pout, Messidor, year VI.)
[131. ]Schmidt, iii., 374. (Reports on the situation of the department of the Seine, Ventose, year VII.)—Dufort de Cheverney, “Mémoires,” October 22, 1799. “The column of militia sets out today; there are no more than thirty persons in it, and these again are all paid or not paid clerks, attachés of the Republic, all these belonging to the department, to the director of domains, in fine, all the bureaux.”
[132. ]Schmidt, iii., 313. (Report of Guyel, Commissary of the Directory in the canton of Pierrefitte, Seine, Germinal, year VI.)
[133. ]M. de Lafayette, “Mémoires,” ii., 162. (Letter of July 22, 1799.) “The other day, at the mass in St. Roch, a man by the side of our dear Grammont, said fervently: “My God, have mercy on us, exterminate the nation!” This, indeed, simply meant: “My God, deliver us from the Convention system!”
[134. ]Schmidt, 298, 352, 377, 451, etc. (Ventose, Frimaire and Fructidor, year VII.)
[135. ]Ibid., iii. (Reports of Prairial, year III., department of the Seine.)
[136. ]M. de Lafayette, “Mémoires,” ii., 164. (Letter of July 14, 1799.)—De Tocqueville, “Oeuvres complètes,” v., 270. (Testimony of a contemporary.)—Sauzay, x., 470, 471. (Speeches by Briot and de Chasseriaux.) “I cannot understand the frightful state of torpor into which minds have fallen; people have come to believing nothing, to feeling nothing, to doing nothing. … The great nation which had overcome all and created everything around her, seems to exist only in the armies and in a few generous souls.”
[137. ]Lord Malmesbury’s “Diary,” (November 5, 1796). “At Randonneau’s, who published all the acts and laws. … Very talkative, but clever. … Ten thousand laws published since 1789, but only seventy enforced.”—Ludovic Sciout, iv., 770. (Reports of year VII.) In Puy de Dome: “Out of two hundred and eighty-six communes there are two hundred in which the agents have committed every species of forgery on the registers of the Etat-Civil, and in the copying of its acts, to clear individuals of military service. Here, young men of twenty and twenty-five are married to women of seventy-two and eighty years of age, and even to those who have long been dead; then, an extract from the death register clears a man who is alive and well.” “Forged contracts are presented to avoid military service, young soldiers are married to women of eighty; one woman, thanks to a series of forgeries, is found married to eight or ten conscripts.” (Letter of an officer of the Gendarmerie to Roanne, Ventose 9, year VIII.)
[138. ]Words of De Tocqueville.—“Le Duc de Broglie,” by M. Guizot, p. 16. (Words of the Duc de Broglie.) “Those who were not living at this time could form no idea of the profound discouragement into which France had fallen in the interval between Fructidor 18 and Brumaire 18.”
[139. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxviii., 480. (Message of the Directory, Floréal 13, year IV., and report of Bailleul, Floréal 18.) “When an election of deputies presented a bad result to us we thought it our duty to propose setting it aside. … It will be said that your project is a veritable proscription.” “Not more so than the 19 of Fructidor.”—Cf. for dismissals in the provinces, Sauzay, v., ch. 86.—Albert Babeau, ii., 486. During the four years the Directory lasted the municipal council of Troyes was renewed seven times, in whole or in part.
[140. ]Buchez et Roux, xxxix., 61. (Session of Prairial 30, year VII.)—Sauzay, x., ch. 87.—Léouzon-Leduc, “Correspondence Diplomatique avec la cour de Suede,” p. 293. (Letters of July 1, 7, 11, 19; August 4; September 23, 1799.) “The purification of functionaries, so much talked about now, has absolutely no other end in view but the removal of the partisans of one faction in order to substitute those of another faction without any regard to moral character. … It is this choice of persons without probity, justice or any principles of honesty whatever for the most important offices which makes one tremble, and especially, at this moment, all who are really attached to their country.” “The opening of the clubs must, in every relation, be deemed a disastrous circumstance. … All classes of society are panic-stricken at the faintest probability of the reestablishment of a republican government copied after that of 1793. … The party of political incendiaries in France is the only one which carries out such designs energetically and directly.”
[141. ]Léouzon-Leduc, ibid., 328, 329. (Despatches of September 19 and 23.)—Mallet-Dupan, “Mercure Britannique.” (No. for October 25, 1799. Letter from Paris, September 15. Exposition of the situation and tableau of the parties.) “I will add that the war waged with success by the Directory against the Jacobins (for, although the Directory is itself a Jacobin production, it wants no more of its masters), that this war, I say, has rallied people somewhat to the government without having converted anyone to the Revolution or really frightened the Jacobins who will pay them back if they have time to do it.”
[142. ]Gohier, “Mémoires,” conversation with Siéyès on his entry into the Directory. “Here we are,” says Siéyès to him, “members of a government which, as we cannot conceal from ourselves, is threatened with a coming fall. But when the ice melts skilful pilots can escape in the breaking up. A falling government does not always imperil those at the head of it.”
[143. ]Tacitus, “Annales,” book vi., § 50. “Macro, intrepidus, opprimi senem injectu multae vestis discedique a limine.”
[144. ]Mallet-Dupan, “Mercure Britannique.” (Nos. for December 25, 1798 and December 10, 1799.) “From the very beginning of the Revolution, there never was, in the uproar of patriotic protestations, amidst so many popular effusions of devotion to the popular cause and to Liberty in the different parties, but one fundamental conception, that of grasping power after having instituted it, of using every means of strengthening themselves, and of excluding the largest number from it, in order to centre themselves in a privileged committee. As soon as they had hurried through the articles of their constitution and seized the reins of government, the dominant party conjured the nation to trust to it, notwithstanding that the farce of their reasoning would not bring about obedience. … Power and money and money and power, all projects for guaranteeing their own heads and disposing of those of their competitors, end in that. From the agitators of 1789 to the tyrants of 1798, from Mirabeau to Barras, each labors only to forcibly open the gates of riches and authority and to close them behind them.”
[145. ]Mallet-Dupan, ibid., No. for April 10, 1799. On the Jacobins. “The sources of their enmities, the prime motive of their fury, their coup-d’état lay in their constant mistrust of each other. … Systematic, immoral factionists, cruel through necessity and treacherous through prudence, will always attribute perverse intentions. Carnot admits that there were not ten men in the Convention that were conscious of probity.”
[146. ]See in this respect “Histoire de ma Vie,” by George Sand, volumes 2, 3, and 4, the correspondence of her father enlisted as a volunteer in 1798 and a lieutenant at Marengo.—Cf. Marshal Marmont, “Mémoires,” i., 186, 282, 296, 304. “Our ambition, at this moment, was wholly secondary; we were occupied solely with our duties or pleasures. The most cordial and frankest union prevailed amongst us all.”
[147. ]“Journal de Marche du sergent Fracasse.”—“Les Cahiers du Capitaine Coignet.”—Correspondence of Maurice Dupin in “Histoire de ma Vie,” by George Sand.
[148. ]“Les Cahiers du Capitaine Coignet,” p. 76. “And then we saw the big gentlemen getting out of the windows. Mantles, caps and feathers lay on the floor and the grenadiers ripped off the lace.” Ibid., 78, Narration by the grenadier Chome: “The pigeons all flew out of the window and we had the hall to ourselves.”
[149. ]Dufort de Cheverney, “Mémoires,” September 1, 1800. “Bonaparte, being fortunately placed at the head of the government, advanced the Revolution more than fifty years; the cup of crimes was full and overflowing. He cut off the seven hundred and fifty heads of the hydra, concentrated power in his own hands, and prevented the primary assemblies from sending us another third of fresh scoundrels in the place of those about to take themselves off. … Since I stopped writing things are so changed as to make revolutionary events appear as if they had transpired more than twenty years ago. … The people are no longer tormented on account of the decade, which is no longer observed except by the authorities. … One can travel about the country without a passport. … Subordination is established among the troops; all the conscripts are coming back. … The government knows no party; a royalist is placed along with a determined republican, each being, so to say, neutralised by the other. The First Consul, more a King than Louis XIV., has called the ablest men to his councils without caring what they were.”—Anne Plumptre, “A Narrative of Three Years’ Residence in France from 1802 to 1805,” i., 326, 329. “The class denominated the people is most certainly, taking it in the aggregate, favorably disposed to Bonaparte. Any tale of distress from the Revolution was among this class always ended with this, ‘but now, we are quiet, thanks to God and to Bonaparte.’ ”—Mallet-Dupan, with his accustomed perspicacity (“Mercure Britainnique,” Nos. for November 25 and December 10, 1799), at once comprehended the character and harmony of this last revolution. “The possible domination of the Jacobins chilled all ages and most conditions … Is that nothing, to be preserved, even for one year, against the ravages of a faction, under whose empire nobody can sleep tranquilly, and find that faction driven from all places of authority just at a time when everybody feared its second outburst, with its torches, its assassins, its taxers, and its agrarian laws, over the whole French territory? … That Revolution, of an entirely new species, appeared to us as fundamental as that of 1789.”
[150. ]The Ancient Régime, p. 144.